Pros and Cons of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Trevor here with eCommerce Paradise.
In this episode, I will talk about the lessons I learned through traveling long term as a digital nomad for the last couple of years.
Being a digital nomad is fun and exciting. You learn a lot of things when you travel around the world. It's been very enlightening to experience all sorts of people from different cultures and their religions and their ways of life. I've dealt with a lot of obstacles and overcome a lot of challenges during my travels. I also experienced internal challenges, things that we have to deal with ourselves and recognize within ourselves to remain productive individuals and get out there every day and do good work and stuff.
Our goal right now is to see the world. We're in our late 20s, early 30s. It's a perfect time in our life where we both have education in business and marketing and sales and Internet marketing specifically, and then, of course, dropship in eCommerce. We're now able to create an online business, independent location, independent businesses, independent of any particular place on Earth. We just need Wi-Fi and our laptops. It's an excellent way to live, and it's an awesome way to run a business. It's a lean startup method, so we don't need a whole lot of money to invest upfront. We can get new suppliers, and we don't have to invest in their stock upfront. We just have to invest in creating the product listings on our website, creating the content for those product listings, and placing advertisements for those products across the Web. We invested in the customer service personnel to fulfill the orders and to do the customer service after the sale. It's a big operation; even though it sounds like it's pretty small, it's quite big. If you think about it, it does take a lot of work, which is very time-consuming.
I started doing this because I really wanted to become a world traveler and become more aware of how the world is and different places and cultures and different types of people and stuff like that. I've grown tired of the United States, and there are so many great places in the United States and then so many places. It's amazing. One of the biggest drawbacks of the USA is it's very expensive no matter where you go.
There are so many places on Earth that you can travel as a traveler who owns a location independent business, like an online business outside of Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia has tons of places, but there are also places in Europe. They're all very inexpensive to live in. There are places in Central America and South America, and Africa. There are even places in Eastern Europe, in the Middle East, and China. The world is a vast place. It's always changing, always evolving.
Dropshipping lifestyle can be challenging to be profitable in the first year. And so, throughout the travel process, you're saving a lot of money. We were spending somewhere between three and five thousand dollars per month, which wasn't the most basic living situation possible. We're buying groceries instead of eating out and all this stuff. With our job shipping business, we started reaching profitability within the first couple of months. But it wasn't until a month, like six to month 12, that we started seeing that three to five thousand dollars a month in income. And we were still unsure as to whether it would grow or not.
We knew that it was the best idea to move our situation to a place where it was much less expensive to live. Through a lot of research online, we decided that Chiang Mai, Thailand, will be the first place to go because it's very peaceful, very safe, and very inexpensive, and it's enjoyable. Chiang Mai has a big digital nomad community. We could meet with like-minded people, which is also part of being happy is knowing and meeting and enjoying like-minded people throughout the journey.
I realize that additional nomad people are wonderful people, but you have to be careful because everybody's a digital nomad to make money like you; otherwise, you would just be a traveler. Making friends with digital nomads is great, but you have to be careful who you trust. You have to be careful who you tell things to and who you teach and who you spend time with and stuff like that. I met a lot of shady digital nomads throughout my journey. Sometimes it was me and my openness to giving and giving, understanding and giving, experience and knowledge, and stuff like that. And I found myself being taken advantage of quite a few times over the first six months to a year of digital nomad travel, unfortunately. I just want to send that as a warning for you to understand that we, as human beings, have so many different interests in our life that making money online doesn't have to be your only interest. You should make friends with like-minded people outside of the digital nomad community because you'll just be such a more open and happy person. You'll be able to make friends with people who are into the hobbies that you're into.
I don't like talking shop with people, but I honestly love talking about hobbies. I love talking about skateboarding. I love it, not just because I want to make money from it. Right. And whereas with eCommerce, you're doing it because you need to make money. You're building a business, and you're doing it because you want to help people solve a problem and make a good living doing it right. For instance, with eCommerce Paradise, my goal here is to help you guys solve your problems of building your eCommerce business and then making money doing it. That's why I'm building a membership site and a coaching program. Second, provide you with a network and a community of people who will help you get to that next level. I need to make a good living from that, so I'll be charging access to it. The other reason I'm excited about it is that creating a membership site instead of just a dropship really does build a more solid income core for your overall business.
Everybody that starts dropship starts an LLC or something like that, and you base multiple stores under the same LLC. That's usually how people do it.
And so that LLC is one business, right? You have separate stores or not. They all account for that same business, depending on how you do your accounting. But the bottom line is that the new way of doing eCommerce, the evolved way, is similar to Amazon. Creating and selling digital products and access to digital products like music videos, courses, community, and charging access to that either on a monthly or a yearly basis. Amazon has Prime, and I think it's upwards of one hundred dollars and more now per year. If you break that down, that's only like 10 bucks a month or something like that, but think of it as $9.99 a month or seven bucks a month for ten months. It's a huge core for their business to run off of. It keeps people coming back to their Web site for more content from our products to consume the new products that come out and all that that they pay in paying for. It also brings people back to the site to buy products, obviously. It's a great business model. That's what I've been studying for a long time now. And I'm adding that into all of our business models now. I'm going to be able to teach that to you guys and build a recurring income membership core into an eCommerce business alongside products, alongside having affiliate offers, affiliate marketing offers, and things like that. Those three things combined really create the most powerful business you can possibly have and powerful in the way of creating a big influence and impact on your marketplace, on your own society in the world, and making it so much more useful for people and solving more of those people's problems than just the one upfront. The truth is it builds a bigger business, a better business, a more meaningful business, and something that you can take on the road with you more because you're not just relying on dropship sales every single day. You can kind of relax a little bit more as you build a team to manage that business for you. It's just a more solid business structure.
In the end, if you want to exit from your business, you can sell that business for a lot more money because someone who's going to buy it sees that you have incurring recurring income core. You have drop ship products, you have affiliate offers making money, so there are so many different income streams. It's a little bit more diversified as far as the income streams go, so it's not just a site that does dropship. If it's turnkey, if they can just literally change the information on the accounts and start making sales right there, then that is the biggest you can offer somebody. And yes, you can get upwards of like 24 to 32 X, monthly recurring income for a business like that for sure, because you have a diversified income portfolio for that business and it's much more stable business structure. That's the way you build a huge business that is built to sell. I highly recommend going that direction, guys. I can't wait to dive into this and teach you guys what I learned and teach you guys my examples.
I think it's worth it if you haven't ever traveled before. It can be scary to think about. My biggest advice is to do a lot of research, read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, look at pictures, get on TripAdvisor, get on other forums, read things, and just ask questions to Google. Find out the prices of stuff, and you'll realize that it's very cheap to live in foreign countries and developing countries. You get a studio apartment for around 300 to five hundred dollars per month, depending on the neighborhood. It's not as sketchy as the media makes it out to be. It's actually a pretty cool country. And not just that, but you can also get private office space as I coworking offices for like five hundred dollars a month, which is amazing. You can get coworking memberships for a hundred bucks a month. You just don't mind working in the office areas. There are coffee shops as Wi-Fi readily available in Mexico, and Mexico has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Playa del Carmen and Cosmo and on the East Coast and player to Vyatta and like Mazatlan on the West Coast are some of the most beautiful, stunning places. I can't wait to do more traveling, spend some time out there. And that's kind of our next destination after Bali, which we leave here in about a week.
It's mid-February right now, and we're going to be in Los Angeles for about a month. Going from place to place is something you just have to have patience with. You have to understand your body. Make sure you're being open-minded and meeting tourists along the way and other travelers and starting conversations and having a great time there because that will serve you later in life as you make more connections. My biggest tip is to journal your journey and blog about it. I have some apps on the home page of my iPhone. If you want to blog, I highly suggest using Medium.
Medium is a really great place to blog because it's kind of like YouTube for bloggers, and you can write articles. People can find them using the tags you put in there, just like YouTube videos, and they can clap to your articles, and they'll follow the links through. Everybody talks about using the word press, and that's the best platform. You want to use WordPress sometimes depending on your business model because WordPress gives you the ability to place advertisements on your site now. And of course, I have email pop-ups to capture email leads. You can own your website. You can sell it later. But for the purpose of blogging and just creating content and just getting practice, use Medium. It's the easiest thing. I can go back there and optimize it by adding links to squeeze pages for certain funnels and stuff like that and maybe have affiliate funnels. I can have my courses, and I can send them to my dropship sites or something like that. There are all different things you can do; it's just endless.
The other app that I have that I'm using right now to record this podcast is the Podbean app. You can record your podcast right there in the app. It's super useful. I held myself back from making a podcast for a long time because I thought I would have to be perfect. People are super professional with their podcasts, but podcasting these days is available to the masses. You and I can start our podcast. All we have to do is talk. I mean, nobody's going to tell you that you're doing a terrible job. Don't be scared and just create the content.
I really hope that I'm inspiring you guys to blog podcasts and make YouTube videos every day. The other suggestion I have is to become part of communities. Join Facebook groups and communities you want to and join the discussions there.
Enjoy the world as you go. I think a lot of people hold themselves back because they're scared of it. They have a fear of the unknown. I made a podcast about that. It can really hold you back in life. It can really limit you, and it can take years to overcome that kind of stuff. But, you know, the bottom line is you've got to figure yourself out. I figured out that the amount of work I can do at any given time is limited. My left brain and my right brain sort of work in tandem with each other. When my left brain runs out of juice, runs out of energy, my right brain kicks in more. Every time I realize that's happening, I take a break, walk around, ride a bicycle, or go skateboarding. After that, I can sit down and create a lot of content. I love making YouTube videos, podcasts, or writing a blog post out of the blue. It's just content, have fun with it. You can create this huge library. Don't expect anything crazy to come out of it; just build it. Because unless you have a library of content, you're not going to get a whole lot of people paying attention to you. Once you start building it out consistently and building a huge library of content, people will start taking notice, and they really will appreciate your work. You'll get a lot more attention to your projects than you would if you weren't building the content out. Inspire people to change their lives.
There's like the flipside of that, which is don't just give everything away for free, but make sure that you hold some stuff back and get it behind some membership wall, whether it's paid because that kind of gets people to respect your content more and to consume it all the way through. That will supply you with a business as well. It's all up to you. I'm going to make more podcasts in the future. I don't want to go off on any more tangents right now.
I think the digital nomad lifestyle is a wonderful lifestyle. Focus on slow travel from time to time. You'll be able to make all sorts of content that way while having fun.
Check out ecommerceparadise.com, if you want to learn how to start a dropshipping business. I have a free drop shipping course there. I am working on my main course right now, and I don't have a name for it yet, but it's basically about the entire drop ship setup. I will highlight the beauty of the business. It is going to cover how to build a recurring income model into your dropship business. And, of course, other streams of income through affiliate offers as well. You don't have to build out separate Web sites to do this kind of stuff. You can do it through email marketing. You can do it through YouTube videos. You can do it through blog content, so it can all be done on one website, and it can all be done using Shopify, which is pretty awesome if you think about it. There also is another platform called Teachable. I'm using it a lot right now. It is so easy to use.
I'll be showing methods in the new course. I figured out there are actually membership apps you can use, and it's only a small monthly fee. And of course, you can put the like you can put the video on YouTube as a host on unlisted if you're willing to do that. Charge for access like the blog poster pages where you put the content and have a membership site. They're using Shopify. It's just like the tools are available. If you get creative with them, you can do so much stuff with what's available out there. You just got to get creative and understand the sales process, marketing, sales funnels, which will do more content in the future. And, of course, I have all these courses lined up. I can't wait. It's going to be an amazing experience to teach people.
With this eCommerce Paradise business, I'll help you through coaching and teaching. I'm so excited about it. Let's get to work and build our business.
Hope you enjoyed this.
We'll see you on the road.
eCommerce Paradise was created by Trevor Fenner of Seattle, Washington in 2015 to help you, the entrepreneur, to start and scale your own eCommerce business selling high-ticket products online with the drop shipping fulfillment method so you can make more profit per sale, have a sustainable and evergreen online business, get started with very little upfront investment, and live a location independent lifestyle. Trevor owns multiple 7-figure High-Ticket Drop Shipping eCommerce stores and is a digital nomad, traveling the world while working remotely with the help of his team of over 10 virtual assistants from around the world. Trevor is currently located in Bali, Indonesia. Trevor is also a passionate skateboarder, surfer, scuba diver, photographer, environmentalist, outdoorsman, fitness and tattoo enthusiast.
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