Her Expat Life recently spoke with Dina, a digital nomad coach about how she lives the expat lifestyle and runs several businesses.
1. How did you begin your expat lifestyle? As a student, entrepreneur, trailing spouse, professional, retiree, etc? And tell us about that journey! Tell us about being a Digital Nomad Coach’...What does this entail… how did you get started in the coaching world?
My sister who is 12 years older than me went backpacking when I was 9 and since then I knew I wanted to live a life on the road and experience new cultures. I kept this at the back of my mind always but also had another goal: to be an entrepreneur. So at University, I started my first business which was a charity fundraising event business. This business led me to work in London doing different types of event roles which was great but not a sustainable life due to not making enough money, which kept me stuck in the U.K. and was a lot of long days and nights. I then decided to work a corporate events sales job which I hated. My boss took me in private and told me that I wasn’t made for this world and told me I would make a good life coach.
I then looked around for a coach so I could experience what he meant and also started looking for courses. I decided to take courses in The Coaching Academy to learn performance coaching and also enrolled to do a master's in Organisational Psychology. Both were amazing courses that got me ready to become a business psychologist and life coach.
I started up two businesses once I completed my qualifications: Infinido and a life coaching business. Both businesses were going ok, but Brexit happened and I decided I wanted to leave the U.K. to pursue my childhood dream of traveling the world. I broke up with my long-term partner, moved my role in Infinido to one that could be online, and focused on building my coaching business. As I had lots of business experience I was attracting a lot of people wanting to start up online businesses and then also people who were interested in a travel lifestyle. My coaching business grew to new levels, so I put most of my effort and time into doing this as it’s close to my heart. Digital Nomad Coach is my lifestyle because I am always on the road, going to events, and meeting people. Infinido is my U.K. business that I do when I’m in the U.K. and online.
2. What are the benefits and challenges that you've faced as a remote worker?
So the benefits of being a remote worker are that you can experience different cultures and meet all different kinds of people. I find that you make friends easily when you’re abroad, people are in a better mood because of the excitement of being in a new place. I also love experiencing new food and drinks and learning the basics to connect with the locals. And my routine is great! I wake up, go for a swim in turquoise waters, eat breakfast, do some work, and then see how I can fit in a hike or activity when I can before going out for dinner and some drinks.
So the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced was overstaying my visa because of COVID. So I missed my flight to leave Malaysia just before COVID and once COVID became serious they closed all the airports. I couldn’t legally be in the country but couldn’t leave so they kept me in an immigration centre for the first lockdown and I had to wait for flights to start running again. So crazy stuff does happen, but I will say that travel is worth it! I still travel now even with that experience and also I trust the British embassy which was very supportive at this time.
3. Where have you traveled or lived in as a digital nomad that has left a lasting impression on you and why?
So I’ve lived in many different places. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Portugal and Greece to name a few. These are places where I’ve rented out places and created a routine and life for myself. However, I’ve only lived on tourist visas rather than longer-term visas. My favourite place in the world has to be either Greece or Thailand. The food is AMAZING, both have awesome beaches and the people are really friendly. They are both very safe for people wanting to dip their toes into the travel lifestyle.
4. You have had an incredible career with coaching and business! What advice do you have for women who want to start out with their own business?
So the best advice I can give is to hire a coach who has turned your dream into their reality. It’s honestly worth the money. I spent years trying to figure out what type of coach I should be and what type of career I should have. I could have saved myself years of experimenting and spending money. Surrounding yourself with knowledge, support, and the right ideas will help you get to your dream quicker and cheaper.
5. What advice do you have for females who may not have lived the expat or digital nomadic life but want a change, but they don’t know where to start?
So for an expat, the first thing I recommend that you do is research places where you want to live and make a pros and cons list. Then visit the place for 2 weeks to see if you connect with the place. Figure out if it’s more of a holiday destination or a place you could spend your time long-term.
And for a digital nomad, I recommend getting your business started first, so you can create security, get all the hard work out of the way, and even start building a routine before taking the leap. Work with a coach to figure out what type of business would suit you best.
6. How have you helped clients through your coaching business?
What I’m good at is being optimistic (I’ll be your cheerleader!), problem-solving (I will share the burden), and uncovering what type of business you should be running based on your strengths, personality, and interests (I will give you options). This mix of listening and helping people helps people build their dream business and get on the road in 6 months. You can become location independent and financially independent by summer this year! Imagine that!
7. What top tips do you have for females who are entrepreneurs or starting out in entrepreneurship?
So as I’ve said before, it’s worth having a coach to bounce ideas off and problem-solve with you. Someone who has been there before to help you get there quicker and better than you could do on your own.
Secondly, allocate a number of hours a week in your calendar that you will spend on your business so that you keep making baby steps towards your dream business. Life gets busy so if you don’t make time, it won’t happen soon.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to delegate work to experts who can boost your business. Want to be on the front page of google, hire an SEO expert. Yes, it’s money to spend but it will be worth it when you get your next few clients.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
So I’m quite sporty. I like to surf, snowboard, wild swim, and work out. I also like to have a yoga and meditation practice and develop my skills by reading books/listening to podcasts. And of course, I like to enjoy the country that I’m in, especially all the delicious food.
9. What do you think is the best business venture for women who want to live the remote/digital nomadic lifestyle and earn a comfortable income?
So I wouldn’t say there was a specific business venture that is good for being a digital nomad. I recommend understanding yourself and your personality so you can develop a business that you are passionate about. Something that you LOVE working on rather than doing something that bores you and you do a half-assed job. Clients vibe on your passion and will pay more for people who are willing to go the extra mile. But one skill that is super important for any business is learning copywriting… what you write on your website and social media posts. Although you can delegate this out, it’s worth knowing how it works and how to boost your copy for yourself (and maybe if you like it so much, your potential clients!).
Connect with Dina: