In a recliner, eating breakfast, watching a soccer game. And "working". I didn't get very much done that day.
How I thought it would go: quit my job, fly to another country, find a cute coffee shop and build my business from the road. I'd work two days a week, creating content and meeting with clients. The rest of my days would be spent laughing, eating with friends, sleeping in, and snuggling up on my week old niece.
How it really went: quit my job, flew to another country, drank a ton of coffee, got easily distracted by all of the people and noises, and felt like I was totally neglecting my business. I set aside two days a week to work, and then felt panicked that I wasn't spending enough time on my business.
I scheduled clients (and even met with two of them face-to-face!!), and created just enough content for a 5 Day challenge I was hosting that I felt sorrrrrrrt of ok. "Sleeping in" ended up being 8am PST, and most days I was awake anywhere from 5:30am-6:30am (stupid time zones.) I missed calls from clients because I couldn't figure out the time zone conversion, the wifi sucked and dropped calls and internet connection. I had to call one client back FOUR FREAKIN' TIMES during one session. There were a lot of F bombs in that recorded call.
And let's talk about the guilt!!!
I felt guilty about not spending enough time on my business and playing around too much.
I felt guilty for working too much and not spending enough time with my family.
I felt guilty for not being as present as I "should have" during my appointments.
I felt guilty for not completing all of the homework my coach and I assigned to me for my challenge prep work.
So. Much. Guilt.
And then I remembered my mantra: This is all part of your story.
Not just my story in the sense that, I'm making a story up of how things are "supposed to be", because I was totally doing that. But also my story in the sense that, this is all part of my journey and it can be used to help other new digital nomads who are experiencing the same feelings!!
This is all a learning experience (is what I keep reminding myself). Anytime we start a new job, it's like a fish out of water. We don't know where things are, how to do a certain task, the culture of the company, or how to work the damn copy machine.
Being a first-time digital nomad (coach, yoga instructor, consultant, insert new job here), is going to be a learning experience. So be gentle on yourself, ask for help and trust that things will get better as you gain more experience.
Here is a list of things that have helped me during my first month as a Digital Nomad.
1. Get dressed and leave the damn house! Put clean clothes on, do your hair, put on some makeup (if that's your thing). Pretend you're going to a real job, BECAUSE YOU ARE!!! When you show up properly, it reminds you that you're actually going to work and not playing on the computer in your pajamas.
2. If you're working from home, get dressed and ready for the day. That's fine that you don't plan on leaving the house unless there's a fire. When you look good, you do good.
3. Find a proper co-working space. Next time I will remember my own advice and plan this out!! Just Google "coworking space (city you're in)". It's quieter than a coffee shop, you're around other entrepreneurs and business people and typically they have high speed internet that won't drop your calls. There are even co-working communities popping up, like this one on Grand Cayman!! I have a community to connect with when I return home!!
4. Figure out time zones and your online scheduler ahead of time. One way to look like you're new at this is to miss calls and have to re-schedule with clients. Know what time zone you're in, what time zone your online scheduler is in, and clarify where your client is calling from. Be transparent with your clients and let them know you're working on the road and apologize ahead of time for any hiccups. And then just laugh when they happen. Because they will, and you have a choice. Laugh or get pissed. Laughing is way more fun.
5. Hire a coach to help you with accountability. I am soooo thankful for my coach!! She's kept me on track and being a digital nomad herself, she was able to give me some great tips. She was also able to help me talk about my anxiety and explore where the guilt was coming from and how to alleviate some of it. Having the extra accountability has helped me stay on track so I can meet deadlines and maintain engagement with my online community.
6. Get on a regular schedule ASAP. Set your alarm clock and wake up at a proper time. Give yourself some buffer days when you land in a new city to get settled and explore, and then get to work. If you work out, start planning out your gym days. Find a yoga studio, grocery store, and restaurants and businesses you'll need to know about to keep you feeling like you're actually living somewhere and not just on vacation.
7. Write out your work schedule. How many days a week will you be working? If you typically work 4 days a week, do you think you can cram all of that work into two days? Well, that's what I did and it didn't work. At all. It caused me major anxiety and panic attacks. Next time I will be more realistic with my expectations. If you know people in the city that you're visiting, make sure you plan time with them without neglecting your business. Want to go sightseeing? Plan it out!
8. Block out your days with similar tasks. I recommend this for any entrepreneur, not just digital nomads. As a coach, I wear a lot of different hats. I am writing newsletters, maintaining social media accounts, creating course content, engaging with potential clients on Facebook, meeting with clients, prepping for sessions with clients, updating my schedule. If I did ALL of these things in the same day, I'd go crazy. Block out time for each task throughout the week. For example, I meet with clients in 3 hour time blocks, break for lunch and a nap, and then either continue with client calls or content creation for three more hours. Schedule similar tasks together so you save time and lower frustration.
9. Find some coworkers!! Join my private Facebook group, The Traveling Wild Woman Coaching Community, to meet other digital nomads + entrepreneurs who are just starting out!! Find out what works for them, share tips and ideas and get support from others who understand how frustrating it is to have an important client call dropped four times in 45 minutes!! It can get lonely working alone, so find your community and co-workers and make some friends!!
10. Mindset, mindset, mindset. Do you have a daily mindset practice? Not sure what that is? Visualizations, mantras, meditation, prayer, gratitude lists, empowering beliefs, chanting, vision boards, journaling. The Woo Woo stuff. It works. It helps you focus, gain clarity, and allows you to Dream Bigger! Vision Boards are a daily visual reminder of what you desire to create in your life. Mindset work will help you move from struggle to success in no time!!