In this episode I’m going to start the conversation about how to start building your own following and traffic to reduce how much you rely on platforms like Shutterstock, Amazon, and Udemy as a content creator.
In this podcast i introduce a tool called ubersuggest that I’m trying out for keyword research. I want to search for competitors in my space to see which sites are linking to their site to give them authority with google. I also use this tool to validate content I plan to create.
After you generate some traffic to your website it’s important to capture that traffic. What I mean is you can try to build up your email list. You can do this by using free email software like Mailchimp. Once you get a bit more advanced and have over 1000 subscribers and are looking to do some automation you can look at a program like convertkit.
If you are a stock footage videographer that is looking to promote and sell your footage direct to the customer you can get more help with this in my course Stock Footage Machine.
Learn how to build traffic, and sell your footage direct to customers
With the Corona Virus impacting all of our lives I can’t help but wonder if the era of being a Digital nomad is over for awhile at least. The allure of being a digital nomad is closely linked to Travel, which is the hardest hit industry. Countries have closed their borders to foreigners, and even transiting through an airport is not possible at the moment. Airlines and Airports have started to downsize staff, and operations making less flights available. I and some friends are currently in various parts of Asia went this pandemic suddenly accelerated into a full lockdown.
The last 7 years have been a bit of a roller coaster with ongoing travel and what seems non stop hustling and grinding to scale our businesses. It’s also a good time to reflect a bit on highlights of the digital nomad lifestyle.
I would like to share a bit of background before I continue. I have been a digital nomad since 2013 before I even heard of the term in Taiwan. I first heard of the term from a Canadian Digital nomad named Nigel while in Taipei in 2014. I’ve been able to earn an income regardless of location using my video and creative skills in freelancing and online business and sustain it for 7 years. I consider myself a veteran in this game due to my age and time in the game and share my creative, travel, and business knowledge in my Creator Academy School. I have digital nomad friends that are 10 years my senior as well as the younger group that are 10 – 15 years younger than I am. Although I don’t consider myself a digital nomad because I tend to stay in a location for 3 – 6 months I do identify most closely with this group.
Traveling itself was never an essential requirement of being a digital nomad although it has been one of the perks being able to travel primarily to lower cost countries with a good lifestyle. The term nomad implies not having a home base, and there are different flavors of the digital nomad from slow to binge traveler. The issue is that regulation and government visa’s haven’t adapted to technology and the new lifestyle possibilities that digital nomad’s have enjoyed in recent years using tourist or social visit visa’s. Digital nomads often use creative means like visa runs where they change location every 1 to 3 months to another country often returning to their home base country to reset the duration of their visa. If you spend any length of time in Thailand especially in Chiang Mai you’re bound to hear a visa run story.
If the traveling lockdown does ever end and I think we may be looking at a very different environment for travelers and digital nomads. Travelers are already in the crosshairs of governments seen as the primary carriers of the coronavirus. In the future we may be looking at countries that make non essential travel a lot more restrictive than ever. Of course digital nomads are just a minority of the potential victims of a post corona fallout. We’ve already read stories of airlines, hotels, tourism operators, and travel companies like Lonely Planet take a hit.
Human’s are naturally curious and I think the rules will relax over time to allow travel again. I’m not sure how long this period could be. It could be 6 months, it could be a year or many years. By this time there will be a larger group of people with home base businesses with the ability to live a digital nomad lifestyle. There may come up a point where pent up demand meets a relaxation in traveling again potentially creating the next larger wave of digital nomads.
How are Digital Nomads coping with the lockdown?
For this year 2020 at least I think the established Digital Nomads are in good shape partly because most will benefit from the rest of the world spending more time online than ever. They had a period of 5 years to ramp up their knowledge and skills to make a sustainable living without the need to return back to their home countries. They are highly independent and it is normal for them to solo travel and work in isolation at home or from a co-work space or cafe.
I myself teach online courses and I have seen all-time highs of my teaching minutes as well as watch time on myYoutube Channel.Most established digital nomads are able to earn an income purely online so that they don’t have to be in physical contact with people. They have learned specialized skills in areas of affiliate marketing, online teaching, dropshipping, ecommerce, youtubing, video editing, teaching english, teaching online courses, translation, search engine optimization, stock trading, licensing video and templates and more. It’s true there has probably never been a better time for someone to make a living online due to the technology we have available and the number of people spending time online in isolation.
We are fortunate that technology is where it is today in 2020. Internet speeds, smartphones, laptops, and essentials apps and platforms have made this lifestyle possible. Starting in the period between 2013-2015 developing and lower cost countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia offered everything that a Digital nomad needed and then some. Things like good weather, safe environments, cowork spaces, fast wifi, nice places to stay, and the opportunity for new friendships and relationships. Established digital nomads are quite tech savy, adaptable, flexible, and can operating a business lot of overhead. My Videography production side of the business has been impacted, but I had build a business on the foundation of diverse income streams. For example, I have online course, license footage, and still freelance by video editing for clients.
Co-work spaces were also an important, but not an essential requirement of the digital nomad. In fact it was in 2019 that co-working spaces had reached the mainstream where giants like we-work had become the domain of team startups and even larger firms. In Thailand and Malaysia I had seen cowork spaces sprout up to serve Digital nomads, students, and businesses. Co-work spaces for some were essential to get the necessary environment to do their work, for some a place to get inspired and get out of the house, and for some it was a place to network and community. However many cowork spaces will likely loose a lot of money and business during the lockdown and may even shutdown and not reenter the market. I hope this is not the case.
Chiang Mai, Thailand was considered the global capital for Digital nomads. In my opinion it reached it’s golden age in 2015 where there was peak interest and there was a strong organic international community. It was a great time to meet other like-minded people, exchange ideas, get inspiration, make friends, and attend business and social events. This year in 2020 the dreaded burning seasons started as early as January and still continues to plague Chiang mai even into April. Digital nomads value the basic essentials like fast wifi, good weather, but also value good air. I see digital nomads spending shorter periods of time here in the future unless this changes.
When stripped down to the bare essentials needed to run my online business it is fairly basic. I need a power laptop, hdmi cable, fast internet, monitor, and comfortable desk and chair. If this is the last season for awhile to being able to enjoy this lifestyle I will have no regrets. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences being able to make good international friendships, relationships, scaling my business, and experiencing living in different cities around the world. Some digital nomads and travelers currently abroad including myself are currently in Asia anxiously awaiting to see what will unfold during the lockdown. There are many factors at play like government decisions on lockdown’s, visa length, airport closures, flight costs, and even health and safety being in a plane and airport with other travelers.
We may end up staying in our current destination longer than expected or our options may dwindle down to one, which is to return home. Whatever happens I will treasure the remaining time abroad. If travel is restricted, if cowork spaces close, if we have to return home it mark a different chapter for many digital nomads. 2013 to 2020 was a good run and I’m grateful for it. Thanks Thailand and Malaysia for the memories. If you have enjoyed any of these digital nomad vlog videos be sure to subscribe to my digital nomad Youtube Channel.
The Corona Virus in Asia is having a global impact, but what about to everyday life in Malaysia and my Video Business. I will talk about the Corona Virus in Kuala Lumpur as well as some opportunities that are coming out of this global event.
If you are a Videographer looking to earn an income online or leverage the Internet to help you then check out this episode.
Stock Footage – I discovered this business model by making a $90US sale on a shot from Beijing China. Most people are aware you can sell stock photos. You can do the same, but with Video Footage. For example you can license your aerial footage shot with a drone to nightlife shots done with a DSLR camera and earn from $40 to 199US a video clips. You can sell your clips on stock agencies like Shutterstock that keep a commission from 30 to 50%. Learn more about Stock Footage and which agencies to use.
Gumroad – This is a great platform that allows you to sell anything digital or service related from skype coaching to PDF ebooks. You are only limited by your imagination. You have to take care of your own marketing, but gumroad plays nice with Youtube and email marketing platforms like convert kit.
Online Teaching – I discovered online teaching while teaching English in Taiwan. Platforms like Udemy were growing in popularity with a built-in audience so I started teaching courses about Travel video, How to shoot with a gopro, how to do aerial footage, and do stock footage. I’ve since published 16 courses with about 6500 students on Udemy. With some camera and audio gear, some knowledge, and a desire to teach you can also teach online. It’s a good business model that is passive income and is non exclusive allowing you to build your own school online or host your courses on other platforms like skillshare.
check out the Episode for more ways to earn an income as a videographer
Johnny FD is a prominent digital nomad who has built up the digital nomad community and openly shares business advice and earnings. He has been featured on articles like Forbes and Business insider. In part 3 of 3 Johnny shares his single most important piece of advice for digital nomads.
Hosted By Greg Hung chicvoyagetravel.com
Produced and edited by Greg Hung chicvoyageproductions.com
filmed at Maker Bar Taipei
Chiang Mai, digital nomad, johnny fd, maker bar, Taipei, Taiwan
Johnny FD is a prominent digital nomad who has built up the digital nomad community and openly shares business advice and earnings. He has been featured on articles like Forbes and Business insider. In part 2 of 3 from Taipei Taiwan we compare food and rent in Taiwan vs Chiang Mai, food airlines in Asia, banking, and his business. The real gem comes at the end of this epsiode when Johnny talks about the abundance mindset.
I’ve heard about the value of creating a vision recently from Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Tim Ferris podcast. I thought I would give it a shot and try to have some fun with it. At the beginning of most years I have written something in my journal or evernote, but rarely look at it again. I thought I would put into blog format to share with the world to see if it works out differently this year.
Link to the podcast with Arnold Schwarzenegger & Tim Ferris
Jan – Mar 2015 Scale business for Stock Footage & On-line Teaching $3000US
I plan to work my butt off to continue to build on my Internet foundation putting my time into the Internet activities that are generating revenue: Stock footage and on-line teaching.
I plan to scale the stock footage business by optimizing skills and leveraging my existing collection on more stock footage agencies like Pixta, Dissolve, 123Rf, Videoblocks and Stockgiant. I would like to find the 3rd and 4th stream that pays consistently to compliment Shutterstock and Pond5.
I would like to continue to build the video library. The Pingxi Taiwan festival and Tokyo are 2 major opportunities to introduce fresh footage. I would like to continue teaching courses on-line through the Internet with subjects that I’m familiar with. A new course “How to build a successful IT career” was just launched at the time of writing. There are 2 Mandarin based courses in the pipeline that I plan to get ready to launch. I would also like to look at minor optimizations and new content to existing course to bring more value and hopefully. I plan to introduce possible 1-2 more courses before the end of the quarter. One course I really want to introduce is a quality course on teaching people how to fly drones for aerial video and photography.
I also want to begin doing paid talks around Asia teaching people to inspire them to begin their businesses by teaching them how I do my stories. I would also like to connect with more like-minded entrepreneurs. Although passive income is volatile I would like to reach at least $3000 US in passive income a month by the end of Q1 and keep that as a minimum average going forward.
Audience building, Gear upgrades and outsourcing April – June 2015 $5000 US
I would like to continue to build an audience on both Chicvoyageproductions.com by introducing helpful how-to content on producing videos. I would like to carve a niche for producing courses and aerial videos. On the digital nomad blog I would like to share great content on the Travel lifestyle, passive income, and Entrepreneur interviews. I’ve learned how to set-up products and services that I sell over the Internet. I would like to try build some direct sales through my website. I would also like to work regularly out of creative environment like a co-working space as a space to do day to day work, video recordings, and paid talks.
This is the time for much needed upgrades. I plan to upgrade my drone and camera gear to make the move up to 4k. I may experiment with different camera lenses to get unique looks. I want to upgrade the hard-drive to back-up the library in the cloud.
Trip to Philippines & outsourcing
I would like to take a trip to the Philippine’s for a beach vacation and relaxation and of course a video shoot. I enjoy shooting the videos, but I would to see if I could find some talent while in the Philippine’s to begin building a virtual team to outsource the stock footage process freeing me to travel in Asia more. I may follow up that trip with a filming food trip to Vietnam.
I return to Taiwan to continue to practice my Chinese. I release 3 new courses on making money with video, Gopro 4, and an updated Drone course and plan the next trip to Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Using the help with outsourcing I’m able to quickly scale the collection to 6000 video clips and become one of the leaders of Asian footage for 4k and aerial footage. By the end of June I plan to average $5000 US a month.
Plan for q2
Team building, South Korea, Drone Academy, and visit home
July – Sep 31 $10,000 US
I launch the Drone Academy and my own podcast to teach people how to fly drones and build their business. I build my team to include travel assistants from Taiwan to help me with filming and possible teach me Chinese on trips. The next trip is to Shenzhen in China to see what the roadmap is for their products and see if there are any partnership opportunities.
The next trip is South Korea for a filming trip to Seoul and do some paid talks. Next stop is a relaxing stay in Okinawa at the Club Med resort. Kobe is nearby so I take the opportunity to sample the beef and find our more about UCC coffee.
The collection is now up to 10,000 and I am selling stock footage directly to agencies. I take a trip back home to Vancouver for the summer for a couple of weeks. I also do paid talks their sharing the experiences of building a business on-line. I go on a wine trip to Kelowna to film the wineries and enjoy the wine. The monthly income is up to $10,000 US at this time.
India trip, Maldives and more paid talks
Oct – Dec 31 $15,000 US
I take a trip to India to film the footage and enjoy the food. I also schedule paid talks to share what I’ve learned over the year. I end the year by celebrating at the Maldive Islands. Stock footage is now up to $15,000 a month.
Okay well there is the 2015 vision. It may not look like it, but it took a long time to put this together on the blog. Let’s see how this year plays out. Have you created a vision and has it helped your business?
Resources and links from this post
I earn a affiliate income for clicking on some of the links. No cost to you but it helps me out. Thanks!
Once you’re ready to start making some passive income with your videos Pond5 is a great start. Their site was easy to use, upload, and their review turn around is pretty fast. I’ve got my largest collection of videos here and I get paid from this site. I’ve created an on-line video course on “Making Money with Travel videos” if you want the complete process on getting started. The link I’ve provided is an Affliate link so you help me out by clicking the link.
Shutterstock was the second site I started using to sell my travel videos. Once you’ve started to share your video collection on-line it doesn’t take much more time and effort to start selling on another site. Because I choose a non-exclusive model I can sell on this site too. Shutterstock is a public company and has a high Internet ranking so I get paid out from this site. The site is easy to use once you figure out the system and they have a great blog for contributors. The link I’ve provided is a referral link, so if you click on it it helps me out a bit. Thank you in advance.
Skillfeed is owned by Shutterstock so you know that it is backed by a large public traded company based in New York. Skilfeed is one of the platforms I use to upload my video courses. They take care of the marketing and how it works is that after you film and upload your course it accumulates viewer minutes over the month. You will then get paid the following month on the 15th.
Udemy is the the other on-line platform I used to upload and sell my courses. They are more established than Skilfeed and generally pay out more. However, because there is a non-exclusive model you can upload the same course to both platforms extending your earnings per course.
Stitcher is an awesome app and website that is the 2015 version of the radio. I use it to tune into business entrepreneurs and MMA shows. You can download the shows to your phone so you don’t have to stream for later. I find myself using it more often than itunes now.
Meditate for business success like Russell Simmons in Taiwan
Do you meditate or have you thought about meditating for business or personal reasons? Is it all wishy washy, foo foo, or fluffy stuff. In this article I’m going to explore how to meditate for business success like Russell Simmons. I’m going to share the experience of my full-day meditation and what tell you what I think meditation can do for you as a digital nomad and entrepreneur.
I’m a strong believer in a balanced life as an entrepreneur. Although my friends may think I enjoy going out socializing for drinks, which I do. I also try to strive for balance in terms of health and spirituality. I believe as an entrepreneur it is important to have a balanced and healthy life, and to try to evolve as a person.
Recently my friend Serena convinced me to attend a one-day meditation retreat in Taipei. She observed that I had too many things on the go (which I do), and I was making poor decisions and mistakes. I think in today’s world with smart-phones, email, instant messaging, multi-tasking, multi-tabs, and multi-social media platforms I think this is normal life. I think we are surrounded by distractions that sadly I surround myself with. Being an entrepreneur that spends a lot of time checking my phone with multiple Firefox sessions with over numerous tabs open I felt that I could use a digital detox and give my mind a vacation.
I’ve flirted with meditation during my days working out in the Steve Nash gym in Vancouver. They had a meditation class that I would attend and even the Yoga classes would dedicate some time to meditation. I enjoyed these classes, but these were shorter sessions. Serena introduced me to the Dharma Drum Mountain group in Taipei. They offered free half-day meditation sessions, which I tried once. It was a good experience, but I found myself falling asleep a lot and didn’t get much out of it.
I decided to skip a Friday night out drinking and get some decent sleep. This retreat was scheduled for 9am on a Saturday in the North of Taipei near Qiyan MRT。A group of 24 of us were led to a large modern temple. As I looked at the schedule I was expecting a 3-hour commitment, but saw this was going to a 9am – 5pm affair. “I don’t do this this often, but I should. I’m here so I might as well make the most of it.” I thought. Besides they offered a free vegetarian lunch.
We went to the grand hall. A large impressive space and what appeared to be a large Buddhist statue with 24 meditation mats facing it. The décor was impressive on each side of the statue. I think there about 2000 mini illuminated Buddhist statues. The meditation mat had a firm round cushion and we were given a towel. We were forbidden to use cell-phones, talk, or wear shoes inside. It was quite a structured day. For example, right side for men and left side for women.
The master was dressed like a monk and she gently spoke on the microphone to instruct us in English. We started the first meditation session. I crossed my legs, closed my eyes, with hands facing upwards resting on my knees. I was ready to reach my blissful state. There was no “ohming” or yoga music. Just silence. At first I was worried I was going to get bored just sitting there for 8 hours. Being in this space with these 23 other people put me in the right mindset to take this seriously. The master told us to get comfortable “not to get attached to the wandering thoughts” to “put them down”. We were here to let go of the garbage in our minds. Sounded purifying to me. It was very quiet and still except for the occasional scooter sounds outside. As I closed my eyes my mind started to wander from thing to thing. Constantly I would just try to blank out my mind. Think nothing. Simple. “Be still” I told myself. I think the session was about an hour. Surprisingly the time passed very fast. I actually got 6 hours of sleep the night before unlike the others so I would only sleep for short periods during the hour meditation.
We had 3 of these sessions throughout the day. The interesting thing was that various thoughts would pop in my mind during the day. Some of them were creative ones or solutions to problems that I had. I didn’t want to loose them. Since the goal was to put the thoughts down I would imagine I had a mental version of Evernote and park these ideas in my mind for later. We ended each session with light self-massage and stretching.
I’ll share one example of a creative idea or solution that I put into action.
Connect laptop to my 32-inch LCD TV.
I have been working from my apartment a lot lately. Since I work on a 15-inch laptop screen I’ve been interested in saving up to purchase a larger LCD screen. Having already window-shopped for monitors I know they start out at 5000nt or $157 US. I just don’t think it’s a priority at this point so I didn’t do it yet. Besides if I were to travel more buying more this wouldn’t be able to go with me. During the meditation I envisioned my work desk with the laptop connected to my 30 inch LCD TV screen. Brilliant I thought. This would be making good use of the resources I already had. When I got home I relocated my work desk in front of the TV and moved the coffee table. My gosh! the desk was the perfect height to use the TV as my external monitor for my laptop. This is going to make reading and working on the laptop so much enjoyable for my eyes. I had a couple of other ideas throughout the day that I’m looking forward to putting into action. It was an AHA moment to get a creative idea from meditation, do it and have it work out!
I thought this excerpt from Successful Hip Hop Entrepreneur Russell Simmons Entrepreneur.com’s article was spot on.
When you sit quietly and let your mind settle, all the innovative, inventive and inspired ideas that have been hiding out in the depths of your mind are going to begin to bubble to the surface.
We did other interesting type of meditations. We did a walking meditation where we walked slowly and in a clockwise direction. We meditated with out eyes open. We were reminded to adopt a feeling of gratefulness. We should be grateful that we are healthy enough to walk. I think gratuity is a great mindset to adopt. Instead of trying to think of things that we don’t have we can be thankful for the things we already have, but take for granted.
The lunch meditation was interesting. Women and men were separated across the dining hall facing each other. Men sat side-by-side as did the women. No talking was allowed and we were instructed to focus on chewing our food 30 times to enjoy it. This was an interesting experience. Usually when eating food I’m talking to someone or if I’m eating on my own I study Chinese or use my phone. This exercise forced me to focus on enjoying the food. “How voluptuous, big, and juicy the mushroom looked” I thought. It tasted great btw. How green and perfectly shaped the green beans were cooked an opened so I could see the beans. I don’t see any business application to this exercise, but I think it is good to be aware of what you are eating.
We also went outside to do what was called a direct contemplation. We stopped at a park area and were asked by the master to look at something in the park. Furthermore, we were asked to ignore distractions such as noise and avoid labeling the first things that would come to mind. For example, when I was staring at a lake I was supposed to stare at it, but not think of it as a thing called “a lake”. I think through practice this exercise could help to train your mind not to make quick judgments on things you see.
We wrapped up by sitting in a circle and sharing our thoughts about the day. Some people re-iterated the importance of getting the body comfortable to allow the mind to settle. One person spoke about how sore his leg was that it distracted him from concentrating on the remaining meditations. My legs would get sore so I would alternate once them once in a while to avoid getting them numb. Many people found the direct contemplation interesting because actually looking at something rather than closing their eyes allowed them to avoid wandering thoughts better.
Overall, with my experience and after reading Russell’s article I believe that there is value of regular meditation. I used to use a nap as my poor excuse for meditation. It is different. In meditation are you still in wakeful state to control your thoughts although you can sometimes drift into a sleep during meditation. The master mentioned that during meditation we learn about ourselves in that we learn what thoughts we might be attached to. She mentioned that we were trying to get to place where we could become unattached. I think there is some parallel if you read Russell’s explaination about how we get caught up in the highs and lows of our professional lives. We try to celebrate the big successes and throw parties and become depressed when we fail. He refers to neither reaction as sustainable as the journey of an entrepreneur will have it’s high and lows. He suggests focusing on the process of work and “not the fruit of our labor.”
I believe that we can learn a lot about ourselves through meditation and in my early experiences of meditation I see it as a way to exercise and control our mind and our mindset. If we can train our mind to be still and reap the ideas that are submerged in the depths of our mind we can unlock great creativity within ourselves.
Personally I don’t think I need an 8-hour 1-day or 1 week retreat, but the goal for myself in 2015 will be to try to make time to do meditation and do it consistently. All the talk of “being still “reminded me of Oprah, arguably the most influential women in the world. Specifically in her Stanford graduation ceremony address I remember Oprah encourages us to take time to “get still” and slow down and listen to our feelings. Could it be that Oprah’s “stillness” prescription and meditation are similar allowing us to literally “tap into our inner power” and reach our business success? Is meditation one of the missing keys I need for business success in 2015?
I’m not sure, but one of the things I am good at is taking action on ideas. The challenge will be to do it consistently. For a digital nomad I’m sure you deal with numerous distractions working on the Internet and your smartphone. You also deal with a lot of change as a result of adapting and living in a new country. I can see how meditation can help you reserve time to help solve your own business problems. It’s also great for learning more about yourself and relaxing your mind. I think the idea of remaining unattached from successful and failures may be something great to strive for; however I do love the thrill of getting a sale from my own products. Perhaps for now this is something for me just to keep in mind.
Stay tuned. What have your experiences being with meditation as it relates to business?
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It’s hard to imagine I’ve lived in Taipei for almost a year and 4 months. During this time I spent some time learning Chinese, teaching English, and building several businesses on the Internet. It wasn’t until I met a fellow Canadian that came to visit Taipei that I began to think of myself as a Digital nomad.
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is someone that earns money on the Internet. It is the idea that you can do work where you are free of the constraints of being in your office. In fact you can do it anywhere in the world. I spend most of my time working from home or the many cafe’s throughout Taipei. The type of businesses can vary. There are developers and coders that have clients in other countries like South Africa, but they are able to do their work from a country like Taiwan. Usually it makes sense to live in a country that has lower costs, but where you can earn overseas money to maximize your situation. A digital nomad is not limited to a coder. I myself create video stock footage and sell them through stock agencies on the Internet like Pond5. Some people earn income from youtube, google adsense, and being an affiliate for different products. I also create courses that are in video format that are available and sold on learning platforms like Udemy.com and have also began publishing and selling Travel adventures on Amazon Kindle. I believe the idea of traveling and being able to work anywhere over an Internet connection was popularized by the book “the 4 hour work week” by Tim Ferris. There are different types of Digital nomads of course. I prefer to spend 3 months or longer before traveling to a nearby country. There are some digital nomads that travel more frequently.
Again this idea I believe was also made popular my Tim Ferris. It is the idea that you can do work upfront that earns you can income while you sleep. While it’s not always while you sleep you can create a digital products like an e-book and then put it up for sale. The courses I create are in video format and once on the internet the sale of the course happens automatically through the platform. You can automate the sales transaction and the delivery of the product to the customer so you could be having dinner when you can get an email from Paypal telling you that you have money. Another advantage of this type of income is that once you have created your product or service it can continue to bring in a regular income so you can move onto the next project. An example is that I built a course on making money with travel videos that sells every month. I am now free to build a new course that there is a cumulative effect.
The experience of being a Digital Nomad in Taiwan
Let’s start with basic needs. Shelter, connectivity, food, transport, and social life. Compared to Vancouver and other North American cities I found just about everything cheaper in Taipei. I traveled to many places around the world from Singapore, Australia, and South Africa. Taiwan is one of the most Internet Wifi friendly cities that I’ve traveled to. The Taiwanese love their wifi and their smartphones. Just look at the number of people looking at their phones with power banks attached to their phones. Rent is cheap compared to apartments in North America. You can get 3 or 6 month contracts ready to move in that are fully furnished and have fast Internet. I’ve observed directly and heard from many local Taiwanese friends that there are more foreigners now in Taipei in the past year or so. Taiwan is often overlooked, but I believe it is a gem in Asia and the word is getting out. Taiwan is a food paradise with local specialties like noodles, soup, and rice available at cheap prices. Food is cheap enough that I can eat out almost every meal giving me more time to work on my business. Transportation is convenient and cheap with numerous options from the MRT, bus, u-bike, or Taxi. There are also plenty of social and business events to meet new friends and fellow entrepreneurs around Taipei. There is a happening nightlife in Taipei if that is your thing. Because of convenient and cheap transportation you can have a good time without worrying about driving.
The bottom line is Taipei is a good choice for being a digital nomad. You can get connected, live and eat at a low cost. I’m not promoting this, but you can purchase a can of Taiwan beer for 35nt and drink it in a 7-11 or out on the street. Taiwan is a clean, safe, and modern city. Taiwan is also a foreign friendly city with low cost healthcare. It is easy and cheap to get around. However, to get the most out of Taiwan it definitely helps to speak Chinese Mandarin. You can get by on English though.
Costs of being a Digital Nomad in Taiwan
I’ve read about costs of being a digital nomad in techinasia.com’s article and the Digital nomad guide’s site. Techinasia has claimed a cost of $2121. I wanted to share with you a breakdown of my actual monthly costs of being a digital nomad in Taipei that is approximately $1071 US. Note that Taipei is the most expensive city in Taiwan. You could travel to Kaoshiung, the second largest city in Taiwan and reduce your accommodation costs by 40%. This is hearsay from a local friend, and I haven’t had a chance to look up the rental costs myself. Ok lets begin
Digital nomad monthly budget in Taipei, Taiwan
Accommodation in the central Taipei – 16,000NT Food (based on a 400nt daily budget) – 12,000nt Transportation – 1500nt Entertainment – 2000nt Cafe – 2000NT Mobile monthly wifi 2gb 320nt Total 34,020 NT US $1071 $1283 CDN 706 GBP There is no tax added on for most expenses for the customer. Most places don’t ask for tips except for nicer or western style restaurants. Of course you are probably wondering the assumptions behind the figures. I live near central Taipei, which is considered more on the high end. If you live in New Taipei City (20 minutes MRT across the river) you can expect to pay about 10,000nt a month. If you share a 2 bedroom apartment with a roomate you could pay 25,000nt in the Da-an area. Included in the the accommodation is High speed Internet, furniture, television, garbage service, and a small kitchen. It is normal to eat out every meal in Taiwan because it is good and cheap. Some apartments don’t have a kitchen area. I normally like to eat a healthy hot oat breakfast with fruit and then I’ll buy a noodle or rice dish for lunch and dinner. A bowl of beef noodles at a local shop goes for $130nt $4.11. You can go more expensive for western foods like a good burger and fries at Bravo Burger for 270nt $8.56Us or get a bbq chicken leg rice dish with vegetables, soup, and drink for 90nt $2.85. You can get around 1 way on the MRT to most locations in Taipei for 25nt one way .79 cents US. If you take the bus it is 15nt or .47 US. If you take the U-bike (free bike rental) to your destination in under 30 minutes it is free. The MRT is modern, fast, and has extensive coverage throughout the city. As I am central I save money on my transport as I don’t have to travel that far. I budgeted about 50nt per day to arrive at the that figure. If you need a taxi for those times on the weekend you can get to most locations from the Xinyi nightlife district for 200nt or under $6.34.
Starbucks cafe’s allow you to get a tall black coffee for 80nt and offer a good environment to work in. Note that not all Starbucks are equal. Some will be offer more space and offer plug outlets. If you buy a Starbucks card you get 2 hours daily free wifi. Local coffee shops like Mr. Brown you can get a coffee and unlimited daily Internet. If you go to the trendy cafe’s you’re looking to pay 130nt $4.11 US for an Americano. There are many choices with varying prices for Wifi. I heard that that 7-11 offers free wifi if you sign up and that’s completely free. If you’re heading for a night our you can expect to pay about $230nt for a pint of Heineken. $150nt for a small glass of wine. I use a mobile sim card on a 2gb plan which I think is super cheap. This isn’t your full-time connection for work, but good for communication with your friends or checking email when you don’t have coverage. Most cafe’s and restaurants will have wifi to converse your data, and when you have depleted you can always refill at different increments. 180nt $5.70Us will give you another 1GB. Do you have similar or different experiences in Taiwan. Please comment. Would you like to share your Digital nomad experience in another city that you live. Please comment.
Where to go for great cheap local food Where to go for good Western food in Taipei Where to go to relax and exercise ( Gyms, Pools, hotsprings)Current prices of food, shelter, food, clothing and more Where to meet new friends Which areas and neighbourhoods to stay and workWhich bars and clubs to visit in Taipei’s nightlifeHow and where to find an apartment (without overpaying)How to meet other Entrepreneurs living in TaiwanHow to stay safe in Taipei Where to get the the fastest and cheapest SIM-card plans with mobile data with the exact address Tips on hacking Chinese with technology Cultural differences and how to cope with them
Today you’re in for a treat . This is an audio interview that I did during the holiday season in Vancouver. April Tioseco Bellia is the Granola Girl. Today she teaches us how to create,market, and sell organic Granola at Wholefoods and other large chains in Western Canada. She is the creator of an artisan organic granola sold in 250 stores including Whole foods ,Urban fare, and London drugs. I enjoyed hearing from a seasoned Vancouver business owner with a physical product in well-known stores and I’m sure you will lots of value during this episode and get a sense of her passion for her product. Thanks to my sister Candice for the introduction.
Part 1 of 2 Cliff notes
She had 12 years in the wedding cake business before starting Granola girl
Enjoyed creating her own work schedule
Student introduced her to Wholefoods. Whole foods supported local business and was the potential first customer
Distribution through Overwaitea food
London Drugs gave Western Canada and on-line distribution
Whole Foods approval process took 3 months and required persistence and relationship building
Approached other businesses while waiting for Whole foods to approve product
Believes in putting energy into one company. Many things in place before she could start the business
Financing – It can be challenging for new companies starting out to raise funding. Line of credit was a low interest rate
Banks – Catch 22. Want to see a one year track record. Vancity credit unions might be more lenient to startup’s and females, but high interest rates
Marketing strategy – collaboration with community focused on girl empowerment and female self development. Encourage customers to share with their friends
Being an Entrepreneur can be lonely so she created her own fun tea group that consisted of her target market
Business with a message – not so transactional based. Business referrals are based on people that you get along with. Getting to know people first on a personal level and business is secondary
Social media – Facebook was used a quick way to share announcements and events. Not used to hard sell. She’s interested in the quality likes.
Facebook business page use in Taiwan – trade free products for likes.
Twitter – like a public instant message. April uses it to find similar businesses due to the grouping feature. Businesses more accessible sometimes.
A lot of competition – April knows her competitors and clearly knows what makes her product different
Making sense of it all
April’s strategy of using Whole foods as her first customer was an intelligent choice. They are a well-known name that I’m sure helped attract other stores to distribute their product. Whole foods also supported local products so April acted on this information from her student. Her marketing strategy is interesting as she tries to collaborate with the local community and tries to encourage customers that like the product to act as her ambassadors. April mentioned that being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey. I could really relate to this being an entrepreneur myself. A really creative idea that April had to deal with this was to create her Tea party group with her customer market. She made it a fun event and she used the feedback from her group to help with input into the product. Genius. She also touched on the importance of building relationships before business. This is so different from my early days in Asia at least in networking situations where it seems that relationships are built in a transactional manner. Business cards are often exchanged before even having a discussion for a minute. Her use of Twitter is interesting. Using it to find other people and businesses she can network with in her industry. Her Facebook page she uses mostly for the convenience of announcing events opting instead to build quality likes instead of chasing people.
Part 2 of 2 Cliff notes
What is the message behind your business and what does it stand for. Why?
A quick way to think when doing business. SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities
April knows what she is good at and thinks to hire a specialist in her industry rather than take it on herself
Has not thought about selling over the Internet yet because she has a physical product and she herself does not shop over the Internet
The WP Touch wordpress plug-in is a quick win to mobilize your site
Many people are not happy or healthy because they are not happy at their jobs
If you don’t try you will have regrets. Follow your heart. If you fail. Fail fast.
Starting up do your research, but don’t stall. Try and fail fast.
Have your finances in place before you start business. What is your plan B
It is difficult and people won’t support you because they don’t understand. The naysayers are the voice of reason. Don’t dismiss them completely especially if they are your spouse
Making sense of it all
It seems that businesses in Vancouver have begun to shift from just doing business as a transaction and evolved to focusing on what does it stand for. What is the why? Why am I working on Chicvoyage Travel. I think to be honest the idea of starting my own business made me feel alive and gave me a sense of purpose. I knew what I was passionate about and I after heading from Steve Jobs, Oprah, and countless successful people that that following your heart is the key. I enjoy travel, sharing, and the freedom. April talks about being honest with yourself. When you go to the office are you slowly dying inside? Are you affecting your mental or physical well being. Finally I think some great advice to do some market research, but don’t stall too long from taking action. When y0u realize your idea is not working don’t fail slowly. Fail fast and move on.