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Paige: Hey ladies. I’m so excited that you’re joining me for today’s episode because we are chatting with one of my own personal Business Besties. We’re chatting today with Charlotte O’Hara. So Charlotte is a Squarespace website designers. She does two main things. She helps clients individually build Squarespace websites. Then she also does a bit of SEO consulting work specifically on the Squarespace platform. So Charlotte has been working from her laptop for over a year now.
Paige: She’s been in a few different destinations, so she’s pretty experienced when it comes to landing at a new location and then figuring it all out, getting all set up and making sure that your business actually gets things done while you are traveling. Today we’re talking all about everything that you need to know before you go to move abroad and then also what to do once you actually land in the country. How to get started, get situated and get to work.
Paige: Before we get to my chat with Charlotte, there is one thing I want you to hear first. So you know you want to run an online business which allows you a lifestyle of complete freedom, but you’re stuck figuring out which online business idea would actually work for you. Not to worry, my online business match maker training is just for you. Think of the training and like a cocktail. We’re going to mix together the passions and talents that you already have, your dreamy ideal customer, and successfully proven online business revenue models.
Paige: Get immediate access to the totally free 30 minute video training and accompanying workbook at paigebrunton.com/matchmaker. Again, that’s paigebrunton.com/M-A-T-C-H-M-A-K-E-R. Hey Charlotte. Welcome to the show.
Charlotte: Hi Paige. Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Paige: Good. Awesome. So, I know your whole story, but everyone listening doesn’t. So can you give us a little introduction to who you are, what you do and how you got into all of this?
Charlotte: Yeah, definitely. Okay. So if we rewind back a few years ago before everything fell in place with my online business, I was living in Vancouver. My background is actually in software. So I worked in software for years and then I joined a startup that was doing a lot of digital strategy. I was working with clients on that part in various business sizes. From there, the startup thing really didn’t end up working out for me. For a couple of reasons I wasn’t really vibing with it, I guess you would say, so I full on just quit. One day I was like, “I’ve had enough. I can’t do it anymore.” I just stop working.
Paige: So you had no game plan. You were like-
Charlotte: No. Well, I’ll tell you, I figured I would go back and work at another software company or join another startup or something. Anyways, while I was unemployed, I think the first week or something, one of my, it was actually my dad’s friend, was like, “Hey, Charlotte knows about computers. Do you think she can build me a really basic website?” My dad was like, “Charlotte, can you?” I said, “Yeah, no problem. I can definitely do it.” I didn’t really know how to do it that well, but I’m like, “I’m fairly smart. I can YouTube and Google, so sure.”
Charlotte: So I built this random website for a friend of my dad’s. Then the second week that I was unemployed, after start up, somebody else asked, they’re like, “Oh, can you build me a website?” And I’m like, “Yeah. No problem. I just did one.” Then a third one came right after that. So this all happened really quickly after being… quitting that startup job. So all of a sudden I was like, wait, I built three websites and people are like, “Wow, I didn’t know you do that.” So then I was thinking, “Oh this is nice. Maybe I can charge for it.” Then it takes the pressure off about finding a real job again.
Charlotte: Then I was like, “Oh, I mean if I can do a few websites on the side and then start working, then it’s a bit of a buffer.” Anyways, one thing led to another and I realized it could be a little bit profitable. I ran the numbers and figured let me just try this out for a bit. Maybe I want to work for myself. So I went into it completely by chance, but that’s how it got started. Then from there I realized it was actually going to work out for me. I started up my business doing website design and development for Squarespace websites.
Charlotte: I mostly niched in from there to do law firm websites just because that was what I’ve done for the first few and I knew the industry pretty well. So, yeah, that’s how I got started on the actual building a website business. From there I was living and working in Vancouver for a while. Everything was going really well. Then I just basically decided one day I’m like, “I don’t want to be here for winter again.” It’s cold and it rains a long time. I had a friend who was living and working in Bali.
Charlotte: She was like, “Charlotte, why don’t you come and join me?” I thought, why don’t I come and join? I’d never been to Bali, but it sounds like fun. I did some research online, found out that they had coworking spaces and all of that. So, I just, honestly, it was… thinking back it felt really brave at the time. I just was like, “I’m going to go. I’m going to try it and see what happens.” Thinking I’d be there for two or three months and that was a year and a half ago and here I am. Still living and working remotely in Bali.
Paige: Awesome. So good. That’s such a common thing. When people go to Bali, they’re like, they plan to go for a month or two months and then three years later they’re like, “I’m still here. I don’t know how that happened.”
Charlotte: It’s amazing. Honestly, you can get such good work done, there’s a phenomenal community here. People are here to work and be successful. It’s not just people bumming around only, it’s a very, very good community sense. I found a lot of awesome other entrepreneurs, there’re service providers, there’re people that are running businesses and it just worked. The vibe was right.
Paige: Yeah. I found out, I mean we met when we were both in Bali at the same time, just turned out we were there at the same time. We’re in the same industry.
Charlotte: That was so fun.
Paige: Yes. So sick. It’s so true, so many people there, I think from the outside, people think that people in Bali are just like chill out at the beach and not doing anything but no. People are running sick businesses, really successful businesses. They are getting so much done there. It’s not just sitting around chilling all day. You are seriously working from there.
Charlotte: Seriously. I think that, one thing that I’ve noticed about people that are doing the whole working abroad and are location independent or digital nomad sense, is that there’s so much more incentive to be good with your time management because you want to be able to get the most out of your time in Bali or wherever it is that you are. You don’t want to just be sitting at your desk, bumming around on Facebook or something.
Charlotte: You’re there to work, but then you’re also there to play, explore, travel and so it makes you, when you’re doing your work, you’re way more focused and getting it done. Efficient with your time.
Paige: Totally. Okay. So I want to rewind actually to when you made the decision and your friend was like, “Hey, come to Bali.” And you’re like, “All right. Okay.” What were you feeling? I mean, that’s a pretty big leap to just be like, “All right. I just started this business.” How long was your business making money that you knew, it was like-
Paige: Okay. Yeah. Okay.
Charlotte: Yeah. So at that point I had been running my own business for well over a year at that point I’d say. So I already knew that it was working well. I’ve worked with clients mostly through Canada or the US and they didn’t really care where I was working from. So, with doing web design and development, so much of the communication happens by email or through the project management tool. So it wasn’t like we’re chatting on the phone every day or anything. So I knew, I’m thinking like, okay, I can try this out for a couple of months. If it completely goes bust, then I’ll just come back to Canada and-
Paige: Figure it out.
Charlotte: Get an apartment again, figure it all out and stuff. But, when I decided basically to go, it was a good timing in that it was basically, I moved over to Bali the very beginning of January of 2018, so I was home for the holiday season and everything. I had been living with my friend in an apartment, but our lease was up at that time too. So it just was a good natural time to be like, “I’m going to put my stuff in storage for a few months to go to Bali and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just come back and whatever.”
Paige: Yeah. That was my next question. Was, so many people are like, “Oh, but I have a car, I have a lease and how about this and that?” Whatever. But I guess it just worked out for you. Your lease was ending and so you’re like-
Charlotte: Yeah. Exactly. So, but the months leading up to before I went I was thinking do I… I knew my lease was ending, did I want to renew it? Did I want to find a place to live or something? I just thought like, “Look, this is a really wonderful period of my life where I can be selfish and I can just be a bit daring.” I didn’t have a boyfriend, I didn’t have a mortgage to worry about, I don’t have a pet, no car.” Just would pop around town on my bicycle and whatever. Uber kind of thing. So I didn’t really, I just figured why the heck not. Let’s just try it. If it doesn’t work out then I would just come home.
Paige: Were you freaking out a little bit like when you book your flight or gone on the flight where you’re like, “What am I doing?”
Charlotte: Yes. Straight up, because I was like, “I haven’t been to Bali”. It’s not like I was going to a place that I had been to, I was familiar with or something. But I did have a big sense of comfort in knowing that I already had one friend who was living and working in Bali and my uncle also lives here and he’s been here for 30 years. So, I knew that at the very least, if I ended up dead in a gutter, someone would get me home kind of thing. Yeah. But I was nervous. Oh my God.
Charlotte: Thank goodness. Right. Yeah. But I was definitely nervous, but I just figured like push through it, it’ll probably be fine when I get there. It’s going to be a little rocky at some points, but everyone loves it. I just figured why not be adventurous at this time of my life and just see how it goes basically. So yeah, it was a big thing. It was scary, but I’m so glad that I did it and I just pushed through all those fears and here we go.
Paige: Got It. Awesome. Okay. So you clearly have lots of experience with living abroad and digital nomading around as you run your business. So, I have lots of questions that I get from people frequently about doing the work and travel at the same time thing. I have experience so I think you’re the perfect person to ask all these questions to. So I, sort of like crowd sourced, I did a survey to my email list and also a bunch of what are their biggest questions when it comes to working and traveling and these are the questions that came from it. So you’re basically directly answering these questions for me so thank you.
Charlotte: Oh my God. So exciting. These are straight from your people. Okay.
Paige: Yeah. Straight from the people.
Charlotte: Give the people what they want. The answer.
Paige: We’re going to start with the questions of before you go and then we’re also going to get into questions about, okay, once you landed and got there, how do you, from here? So about where you go-
Charlotte: What is life?
Paige: Yes. So, when do you know that it’s a good time to go? What consistent income should you have before you leave? Then how do you, or how do you know that you’ve gone to the point where you’re able to be working and traveling at the same time?
Charlotte: Right. Okay. So I would say at the very least you should have… Okay, if you’re going to go and live and work abroad, you’re going for a couple months realistically, right? You’re not just going to go for 20 days or something. So make sure that, let’s say you’re going to go, you’re saying, “I’m going to give myself two or three months,” make sure that you have enough money in a separate savings account that you can completely support yourself during that time. If you, for whatever reason, made no money at all. If you don’t want to, you want to make sure that you have your savings for and coverage.
Charlotte: I would say in terms… So, if you’re, okay, if you’re trying to decide about how much money do you have? Yeah, make sure it’s at least two or three months of living expenses completely covered. Then if you know your business is at the point where you can go, I would say, you can grow and build your business when you get there. Right? So whether or not you already have clients and you’re just continuing the work but just in a different location, that’s one scenario. That’s what I did basically. At the start of my journey at least.
Charlotte: But then there are lots of other people who come to a place like Bali or whatever and they have their savings account, but then they also come here and decide they want to build their business maybe from the ground up or growing it from stage one to the next intermediate phase. That can work too, right? Because you’re going to be there to work. You’ve got plenty of hours in the day and you can dedicate that to growing your business in whatever way it is. I would always just say, bring more money than you think you need.
Charlotte: Make sure you have a buffer and know that you can just hustle hard when you get here. You can work smart and keep growing your business or take it to the next level.
Paige: That’s good. Sick. Actually, that would be a really good blog post in the future is like, expected costs when you’re living in Bali for a month. That would be a good one.
Charlotte: Yes, there were so many things that I thought would be a cost that maybe weren’t as significant and then the other things that I had completely not taken into consideration. I’m sure some of that will come up. So we’ll get there.
Paige: Okay, cool. Awesome. Then what locations are good to work online from or how do you find a location to live abroad? So you just got a friend, but have you heard of other places where, which is really common that digital nomads are working from?
Charlotte: Definitely. Yeah. So I am living and working in Bali specifically in Canggu, which I think is the top rated spot for digital nomads internationally. I also have worked and done the digital nomad thing in Phnom Penh, in Cambodia and that was a phenomenal experience too. I worked specifically out of Outpost, which is one of the big coworking spaces there. It was such a cool experience. I definitely would recommend that. I would say that in Asia, if you’re specifically interested in working abroad and doing the digital nomad thing, most people go to either Canggu in Bali or they go to Chiang Mai in Thailand.
Charlotte: There’s also some people down in one of the southern islands, maybe Koh Lanta I think has a pretty big community as well, but I haven’t been there so I can’t speak for it. Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, amazing community. Really, really neat, especially if you’re into mountains and jungles. It has a lot of infrastructure and stuff, so that’s neat. I also know that it’s very popular for people to go and work in central and South America as well. Mexico has a huge digital nomad scene. Lots and lots of people are in Columbia as well.
Charlotte: I think Medellin, or however you say it. I don’t know. There’s a lot of people that work from there as well. Then of course in Europe, Portugal is huge. Feels like everyone in there, is in Portugal working especially in the summertime. Yeah, it’s just what vibe are you looking for? What part of the world do you want to explore? You can do it anywhere as long as there’s decent WiFi. But there are some places that are much more of a hub that than others. I would say Bali for sure is one of them. Portugal, Mexico.
Paige: Yeah. I find a hub is probably a good place to start to sort of like, you have other people you can talk to or get your questions answered. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere no one knows what you’re doing. It can be tough, but those are really good places to start.
Charlotte: Oh completely. Because if you’re doing this for the first time and you’re just taking a leap of faith and hoping for the best, if you want that community aspect, you want to be able to ask people who are, have done it before and who are doing what you want to be doing, whether that’s building a business or growing your business and you’ll find that in some of these digital nomad hubs for sure.
Paige: Totally. There’s also the website Nomad List, which I thought that’s where Canggu was rated number one on Nomad List. That’s the website to go to, to search and find the places of the world by what you want.
Charlotte: Oh yeah. It’s such a good thing. They even talk about stuff like cost of living there or internet speed, which you definitely want to think about internet speed as well, which was something that I hadn’t really thought about coming from Canada where the Internet is always just decent. Like, what do you mean? What is this? I have to worry about. Yeah. I would check out Nomad List for sure. You can also do searches. People have written a lot of blog posts reviews on digital nomads locations or the best coworking spaces. I would check stuff out about that.
Paige: Yeah, sick. Okay, cool. Now working visas. People are always wondering like, “Do I need a visa? How do I get it? What’s the situation? How long does it take to get a visa?” It definitely is to come down every single country, but what have you found so far when it came to visas? How do you do it?
Charlotte: Okay. So I can only, again, speak from my own experience. I’ll tell you that right now I am in Bali and I’m on the two month visa extensions. That means that at the end of every 60 days I have to leave Bali, leave Indonesia and then reenter and get another 60 days visa. So if people want to know an idea of costs on it, so let’s say you arrive day one at the airport and before you go into immigration, there’s a queue, a separate queue where you get the extension for your visa on arrival and that lets you stay for 60 days. I think it’s the equivalent of 50 bucks or something like that.
Charlotte: So you pay it at the airport and then within your first month of being there, you have to get the actual visa extension approved by immigration. So usually you pay the equivalent of another 50 or 60 bucks to a visa agent who does all of that for you. It does require a very brief trip to the immigration office where I think they check your fingerprints or something like that. But it’s very simple. Then lets you stay for 60 days and then you just repeat the process.
Charlotte: There are other options too. You can get a social visa but then, the social visa lasts for six months, but then there are some limitations. Like you can’t leave Bali, so it only is going to work for, or leave Indonesia, pardon me. You can still go elsewhere in Indonesia but you have to stay within the country. But then yeah, you can only, it works only if you’re going to be there for a six month period without exiting and reentering. It is a bit of a gray zone, I’ll say, in places like Indonesia or something because you’re there technically under a tourist visa, right?
Charlotte: You’re not working there and that means you’re not being employed by a local company, you’re not like, none of the work that I do or most digital nomads do is with local companies either because that’s a really big gray zone, right? They don’t want you taking a job that a local could do instead. So that’s definitely something to keep in mind as well. You’re there working on your online business, but you’re not there to work in Indonesia, if that makes sense.
Paige: Totally makes sense.
Charlotte: So that’s something to keep in mind. I would say that also when I went to Cambodia, it was way more lax. I literally just showed up. I don’t think they would have cared at all. There’s no check on immigration there. They’re just like, “Cool. Come on in and bring your tourist dollars. We don’t care if you’re working online in the slightest bit.” Whereas Indonesia, they’re a little bit more gray zone I’d say. So I know that that’s very different than places like if you go to the UK or Australia where you have to get a living and working visa and it’s a bit more preapproved process. But, that’s what my experience has been.
Paige: Yeah. That’s sick. I know a lot of people when they get started, they’ll just, some places are like, say Europe for example, you can stay up to 90 days, three months without getting any sort of visa. Some people will do it where they’re just like, “No.” Without ever really getting a visa. They’re like, “I’m just going to show up here for the 90 days that I can.” Not getting any visa and they’re going to move on to the next place for another three months after that whatever.
Paige: So you can actually travel throughout the world, fully throughout the year, without you don’t want to ever getting any visa anywhere.
Charlotte: Yeah, exactly. Same thing, if you want it to go to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, there’s a pretty big expat community of digital nomads there and it’s the same thing. You just show up at the airport in KL and they’ll give you a stamp in your passport. You can be there for three months. You don’t have to pay a visa fee. You don’t have to do anything. It’s just like you’re good to go. Bali’s a bit different because there are a bit more restrictions on it. So you do have to get these visa extensions and pay for them but like price to pay to live in paradise.
Paige: Yeah. Exactly. Okay, awesome. Then there’s also work and travel visas. Do you know about those?
Charlotte: Yeah. So, if you were going to go to a place like the UK or some countries in Europe or I think Canada has them as well. Australia definitely does too. So if you wanted to go to that, those are more developed countries that offer these work and travel visas. With that, I’m pretty sure you have to arrange them in advance. But it does let you live and work in whichever country you’re applying for. That’s really awesome because it’s a safety net.
Charlotte: You can always work with a local company or be an employee there, but it also is a great option if you have your own online business and you want to just do it in the country of your choice. So let’s say UK or in Australia, you can just go and do your work from anywhere. So that’s definitely an option as well. It just depends on where you want to go in the world, just check the visa restrictions for your own country and see how it plays out.
Paige: Yeah. That was the first one. When I got to Germany the first time, I had no idea what I was doing. But you, I’d heard of work and travel visas. So, I Googled it. As a Canadian, I went to Germany with work travel visa, so I just rocked up to the German consulate or embassy in Toronto, the paperwork was so easy. It was like, I put the paperwork together in literally a day and a half went to the console the next day. Then they’re like, “Yup, your visa will be ready two weeks later and you can go to Europe for a year.”
Paige: I was like, “Awesome.” Which means I could stay in the whole of Europe, then I could travel around throughout Europe or whatever. So those are probably like… I didn’t need to have a job before I went or whatever, I just need to know I had some amount of money.
Charlotte: They might need a proof of account balance or something just to make sure that you’re not there and going to be like, “Help, give me welfare,” or something. But, otherwise it’s fine.
Paige: Yeah, totally. So that’s another sick option. So either visas, you do visa runs, I did work and travel visa or you can just bop around the world without ever getting a visa, however long you’re allowed to as a tourist. Sick.
Charlotte: Yeah, there’s so many options. It just depends on where you want to go and you just check it from there.
Paige: Okay, good. Next question we had was, is it possible to travel long-term while maintaining a business? Will traveling for two to three months kill your business?
Charlotte: Okay. I really liked that question. So yes, it’s definitely possible to travel long-term and either maintain your business or even better, grow your business. Easy. No problem at all. I would say the biggest thing to do with that is that you’re arriving in a new place in another part of the world, but you’re intending to be there for at least a couple months, right? So you will develop some sort of routine. Whether it’s work a few days and then travel for a few days. Where you do more of a traditional Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00 structure and then do whatever fun on weekends.
Charlotte: You’ll find your rhythm, but you for sure can keep growing your business and take it to the next level anywhere. It doesn’t matter. As long as you have WiFi, you can do it, right? Sometimes you might have to, if you do a services based business, maybe sometimes you’ll have to do a client call at whatever time of the day, but who cares? It’s an annoyance, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s going to help you to live and work anywhere that you want. So when you’re like, all right, that’s the expat perks as we call it. Right?
Charlotte: Yeah, so I would say for sure don’t let that be something that holds you back. You can either choose to tell your clients that you’re living or working abroad or you don’t have to. You can completely keep that information to yourself. As long as it’s not affecting the work that you do, then it’s completely up to your discretion and you can run your business as normal through all of your, let’s say in my case, Canadian stuff, everything goes through my Canadian banks. Everything still goes to my permanent residence in Canada. Nothing changes. I just happened to be somewhere else geographically.
Paige: Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. I think a lot of people when they think about working and traveling, they think about their experiences. Like, I went on vacation in Mexico for a week or something. I wouldn’t have really had time to be working in that time because I was touristing and seeing things or whatever. But when you go work and travel, you generally want it to be for a couple months because you need to actually get settled, get your routine and then you can actually get worked done. If you’re changing locations every two weeks, you will not do that.
Charlotte: You will not. No. You honestly, there’s so much to be said about sticking in a place and doing smaller trips out of it. So let’s say in my case I’m in Canggu in Bali, but I can patter around to different places on the, within Bali to different islands or maybe take a weekend trip somewhere else if I’m getting, I need a change of scenery or something. But for me, I find it really, really helpful to block out my time with, all right, this is my work days and then maybe a couple of days off to go travel or do some activities, something like that.
Paige: Okay, cool. Next question is how long in advance do you have to plan in order to start working and traveling?
Charlotte: Well, I would say at the very least a couple of weeks or a month before. Don’t just impulse, buy a ticket and go the next day because there’s logistically some stuff that you need to think about. I would say in my experience, I probably started seriously thinking about it three months before I left. Then once I decided, there’s stuff to figure out like what are you going to do with your apartment or your car? Are you putting your stuff in storage? Have you notified all of your banks? Things like that. Do you have proper, all your technical equipment like your laptop? Do you have a charger converter? Things like that. You can’t just buy all of that in one day.
Charlotte: So I would say, realistically, think about how you’re going to structure both your business and your personal life when you’re going abroad and that will probably take you, at least for the very first time, a couple months. However, I will say that once you’re already on the road, it’s much easier to just pick up and move to somewhere else. You’ve already got the groundwork covered and from there, you have way more flexibility, spontaneity and you can see how it is.
Paige: Sweet. Yeah. What I did was I brought a back up laptop charger when I went to Bali because I knew if I lost that are broke or something, I was going to have a real issue. Think I was going to-
Charlotte: Oh my gosh. Right?
Paige: Because if you do lose a laptop charger, there’s no Apple Store on the island.
Charlotte: There’s no Apple Store. No. Right. You can hope for the best with one of the authorized retailers and you’re like, “Has this been switched for a fake? I don’t know.” But, there was one time I think my laptop charger wasn’t working, not really. I had to wait five weeks until I went on a visa run to Hong Kong and then like, “Oh my gosh, just keep it plugged in at all times because it’ll die if I unplug it.”
Paige: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. So good. Okay, sweet. What do you do about cell phone service while you’re traveling? How do you have a consistent phone number?
Charlotte: Great question. Okay, so most people do it in two ways. Okay. So the one option is, let’s say you still are stuck in a contract for a phone plan back at home, then just keep your same, let’s say Canadian or American SIM card or something and you can either get data but realistically that’s expensive. So what most people do, and this is what I did for the beginning, is just put your phone on airplane mode, keep the Canadian SIM card in there. Put your phone on airplane mode all the time and just connect to WiFi anywhere you go. So in most places there’s WiFi all over. So you can still make phone calls, you can still go on Instagram, you can send text messages, whatever.
Charlotte: Then the other option is just when you arrive buy a local SIM card and then from there, same thing too. You have full access to data. You can do anything. You have a phone number and you’re probably going to be there for at least a couple of months. So it makes sense to just use that one. You can connect it to your WhatsApp, to your Apple account. So everything just keeps coming and going like normal. The nice thing too is if you opt for a local SIM card, usually they have much, much, much better and more cost efficient mobile plans or something.
Charlotte: So, what your phone plan at home might be 80 or 100 bucks a month and then you roll up to somewhere like Bali, you’re like, “Cool. That’s 10 bucks and I get unlimited data.” Essentially, it’s unreal.
Paige: Yeah. You realize how much you’re getting ripped off at home once you go to other countries.
Charlotte: They’re fleecing you. It’s insane. Yeah.
Paige: Yeah. Canada is the worst for that, anyways. Okay. So yeah, that’s perfect. What I did also in terms of planning ahead, I knew that I was going to start traveling and so what I did was when I went and bought a cell phone I went and got it unlocked from the Apple Store or whatever and then I only signed phone plans that didn’t have a contract because I knew I was going to be, over the next couple of years, constantly in different places. So that’s actually how I was… Even Germany though, my phone plan’s so cheap. If I leave for a few months, I don’t even stop because. It’s 15 euros a month. So it’s like whatever.
Charlotte: Yeah. That’s such a good point though about getting your phone unlocked. I would definitely recommend that if you’re going to be traveling, get your phone unlocked and you can always switch in and out of SIM cards depending on where you are too. If your phone card, if your phone plan is only your 15 euros a month or something, then who cares if you keep that going for a few months while you’re in Bali or something. Right? It’s not worth the hassle of canceling your entire plan.
Paige: Yeah, totally. Okay, cool. Let’s talk about necessary tools for when you are working from abroad. So things when it comes to virtual meetings or video things, what are the tech tools that you tend to use which are really useful for you working abroad?
Charlotte: Right. Okay. So I would say that Zoom is really good, which is a very good meeting video conferencing system. You can also use Google Hangouts, which I used a lot of and they have really good, if you’re going to use it either for a phone service or as well for video. So I would recommend those ones. You’re probably already using some sort of project management tool like Asana. But that’s great because you can give access or permission to your clients and then they can check the status of various projects through the project management tool as well. Email as well.
Charlotte: That’s probably something that you’re already doing. Email marketing, whether it’s ConvertKit or MailerLite. Again that won’t change where you are at all. One thing I would say from a technical point of view to keep in mind, is that you’re, depending on where you are in the world, you’re going to have to have different converters for your electronics and stuff. So make sure that you have either one of the universal converters or something where you get one specifically for that region like Asia region or Europe region or something like that, because the power surge can be different depending on where you are. So you want to make sure you don’t fix your battery.
Charlotte: Another thing I would say that’s really helpful that I brought with me was a mouse as well. So don’t only rely on the touch pad on your laptop, bring that. Quite a few other people as well will even bring an external laptop that they, sorry, keyboard that they plug in so that they can prop up their laptop at eye level and that makes sense. Especially too, if you’re going to be somewhere for a few months and you go to the same coworking space every day, it’s definitely worth bringing that with you.
Paige: Save your neck.
Charlotte: Yeah. Save your neck, man. Geez, you got to protect that.
Paige: It’s important.
Charlotte: It totally is. Another thing that might be really helpful is some noise canceling headphones, because if you’re going to be working at different cafes or coworking spaces, sometimes it’s not a completely silent space. So a good set of headphones can be really helpful. Yeah, headphones, mouse, some sort of video software, those would be some of the main things I would bring.
Paige: Yeah. Most of the tech stays the same regardless of your home or away.
Charlotte: Where you are. Exactly.
Paige: Yeah. Really does make a huge difference. One thing which I did get was I got a Google voice plan or whatever, which allows me to make free phone calls to the US. You can only get that-
Charlotte: I just use Google Hangouts for that.
Paige: That works too. Could you call their phone number directly from Google Hangouts?
Charlotte: Yeah, totally. They have an app on your phone as well that you can use too. So, for me, whenever I call my bank, I just use the Google Hangouts APP and I call my bank in Canada.
Paige: I didn’t know that. That’s good to know. I was using Google voice, it’s basically like the same thing. Interesting.
Charlotte: Yeah. Same, same but different.
Paige: Yeah. Totes. Pretty cool. All right. Top five items that you think you should pack when you’re traveling or working abroad? I guess you mentioned something like the tech.
Charlotte: Yeah. Okay. So tech things like your basic computer setup. So, your laptop, your charger, your converter, your MOUSE, all of that would be important. Your passport and make sure that your passport as well is not going to expire anytime soon and that you have enough pages for any passport stamps or visa applications. That’s another thing. I would also make sure that you have at least two bank accounts so that, if let’s say something happens to one bank card, you lose it, then you have a backup one and make sure on that note as well that your credit card is still valid for the entire duration of your trip.
Charlotte: So yeah, that’s the tech stuff, banking, passport. Having a good converter is very, very helpful. I would say a reusable water bottle, you should definitely bring that too because, especially, if you’re somewhere in Asia where you can’t drink the tap water, then you want to make sure that you’re not blowing through the plastic bottles all the time. Then, maybe any medications that you have at home as well, because sometimes it can be a little bit different wherever you’re going.
Charlotte: Medications can also include things like your glasses or your contacts or if you’re a woman, and you want to make sure that all of your personal care, whether that’s pills or tampons or anything like that, make sure that you bring enough for that because you don’t always know what the equivalent will be or if they even have an equivalent of that, depending on where you’re going to be. Those are some things that jump out at me, but I would also. You know what also is a cute thing? Bringing good variety of clothing too.
Charlotte: So the first time I came over I was like, “Oh my God, Bali, it’s going to be really, really humid.” So I just brought all this athletic wear and that was great. I pretty much just bought a suitcase of lulu lemon. But then, I’m not, you think I’m joking, but I’m not. I am from Vancouver I come with lulu, like, no. But then I got here and I realized everyone is really cute and trendy and it’s you’d want to wear a normal person clothing. Right?
Paige: Yeah, that’s true. Everyone has the cutest, they rock up to the coworking space in the cutest dresses and outfits.
Paige: I just came from Yoga class and I look like a sweaty mess, but okay.
Charlotte: Exactly. So then when I returned to Bali, I made sure to bring more of my normal outfits I would say. I mean that sounds funny to say, but real person clothing, not just athletic wear. That was a nice thing. I brought some cute dresses if I’m going out or something like that. So, yeah, a variety of stuff in your wardrobe for different climates, different occasions, that would be helpful.
Paige: Not just Lululemon.
Charlotte: Yeah, don’t make my mistake. Bring some Adidas.
Paige: Okay. Let’s talk about healthcare and health insurance. How do you do health care and health insurance while you’re abroad?
Charlotte: So in my opinion, health insurance or travel insurance is nonnegotiable. Do not be one of those dummies that just unless their insurance expire or just comes and thinks, “Oh I’m a healthy 20, 30 something year old. I don’t need health insurance.” Because, no. Even if you think you’re super healthy or you think that you’re the carefulness motor driver ever, something will happen eventually and you’re going to be really, really happy. Especially to my American friends who have to pay up the wazoo for anything health care related.
Charlotte: So get travel insurance, get healthcare insurance. Depending on where you are or you might be able to get it through your credit card or your existing provincial or state health insurance, I don’t really know. Check it up from your local stuff. There’s also Alliance, I think has some good ones.
Paige: I’ve heard of World Nomads also-
Charlotte: Yeah. World Nomads.
Paige: Really get it online. You can just do it that day or something.
Charlotte: Exactly. So, it is a bit of an expense, expect to pay at least a couple of hundred bucks for it. But it might be, if you’re planning on going long term, it might be worth it to just get an annual plan instead of paying monthly as well. Just run the numbers. Another thing I would think of too is does it cover insurance for your goods like your laptop and stuff too. If something gets stolen or whatever, does that get covered under your insurance? It’s not just health insurance kind of thing.
Charlotte: I would also, if you have any medications, try to, in there, you’re already getting it covered for a good price at home. Try to stock up as much of that as you can in advance so that when you come in case they’re pricing is a little bit different then you’re not surprised by it. Yeah. Definitely insurance matters.
Paige: Yeah. If you’re Canadian though, I think, I remember the Ontario health insurance that I had or whatever, covered this. It says you’re technically covered abroad, but the things that covers is so, so, so small that you need to actually, I think specifically if you’re Ontario, Canada, then it’s, you need to get something else.
Charlotte: Completely. Yeah, I think it was the same from Vancouver as well. I needed to supplement it for sure.
Paige: Yeah. I think the first time that I went abroad I just went onto World Nomads the website and then got it there because it was just so quick and easy to do. So that was the one that I started with. Now I have a German health insurance, which costs me an arm and a leg, but it covers me everywhere in the world.
Charlotte: Yeah, exactly.
Paige: All right. Once you get there, so how do you get started once you get to a new country? You literally land in wherever you are, what do you do?
Charlotte: Okay. So when you land, I would say the very first thing to do is in advance, we’ll get at least three, four, five days at a hotel or an Airbnb, whatever it is. That lets you hit the ground running and gets you some time to get over your jet lag or whatever. Then from there, depending on where you’re going to be, your living situation, long term is going to change, right? Some places you just might end up living in a hotel, other places you might rent a room in a villa. There’s loads of different options for you depending on where it’s going to be.
Charlotte: I would say that if you’re going to be working online like we are, it’s probably best for both the business point of view and a social community thing to join a coworking space. So read the different reviews of the coworking spaces that are around, go check note in person to see which vibe you like and all of that kind of thing. Join the Facebook groups as well and start creeping on what’s going on in the Facebook groups as well. So that could be either the coworking spaces, Facebook group, or also the locations community group like Canggu community or whatever the Facebook group is for your particular area.
Charlotte: Then, that way you can see people who are posting things like, “Oh, there’s a room for rent,” or “hey, we’re hosting an event here. You should come and see what’s going on.” Yeah, so that’s what I would say the biggest thing is. Also, you’re probably going to want to sort out your transportation option as well. So in some places like in Bali, that means renting a motor or a scooter. If that’s the case and you’re doing it for the very first time, I definitely would recommend signing up for at least one or two lessons so you know how to do it and you’re safe.
Paige: Yup. I did that whole thing.
Charlotte: Yeah, right? Obviously I had a friend teach me, but, same thing. But in other places like if you’re going to Germany or the UK or Australia, there probably is more means getting bus pass or something. So it just depends on what your options are. You can get a SIM card either at the airport or in town anywhere. Again, most of the questions that you have probably can be answered at the coworking space or in these Facebook groups. So just check that stuff out.
Paige: Yeah, I agree. Coworking space is key. Once you get there book something for a couple of days once you get there, before you get there. Stay there, go find your coworking space and then start talking to people and those are the people who can, they’ve all gone through what you’re going through, so they know and they have the recommendations specific to whatever that location is. So coworking space is super key.
Charlotte: Oh my gosh, the coworking space, they might even just have a page on their website that’s like, Bali 101, or like, moving to Australia. I don’t know, whatever.
Paige: Yeah. Totally. Okay, cool. Then finding a place to live, how did you do it when you got there?
Charlotte: Okay. So when I first got to Bali, I stayed the first little bit with a friend, the friend that was already here. So I stayed for the first maybe week or so with her and then I moved to the town that I wanted to live in. I just stayed in a hotel for the first little bit. Then from there, I think… Oh yeah, the first villa that I moved into was just through friends. I had met these friends at a coworking space and we were all at a barbecue one day and I was saying, “Oh yeah, I think I’m going to be here for a while and I’m looking for a room to rent.” They were like, “Hey, one opened up in our villa. Why don’t you move in?”
Charlotte: So I did. That’s as easy as it happened. But then since then I’ve lived in a couple of different spots. I would say that I found them either through friends or on Facebook as well. It’s weird because, I don’t know, at home Facebook wasn’t… it was a dying platform, but then because it, everyone’s international in these locations and stuff, so much happens on Facebook and the groups are in group chats and stuff. So, creep the Facebook groups and you’ll see a lot happening here.
Paige: Yeah. When I got to Bali I also found it through Facebook group as well. That’s where I just found a few different places just like, “Hey, I’m looking for something. This is my budget,” yadi yada, “this is the area I want to live in.” Then people would message you and then you just set up times to go look at different places.
Charlotte: Totally. You can either post something being like, ‘”This is what I’m looking for.” Or people will post it and be like, “Hey, the room is opened up in my building. Send me a message if you want details.” Then you just go, check them out, see if it looks good and then you can either move in or not. Some people prefer to stay in a guest house as well, which is more of a hotel feel. But then with me, for example, I would rather stay in a villa that had a bit more of a homey feel. So it’s just completely personal preference.
Paige: Yeah, totally. Okay. How do you find friends once you get to your new location?
Charlotte: Well for me finding friends was never a hard thing to do because I just will talk to a brick wall pretty much. So I would say that the biggest thing is just try to get as involved as we can. Right. So let’s say we’ve already established the fact that you’re probably going to join a coworking space at least at the very beginning and they’re going to be hosting events all the time. So go to those and just turn to the person who’s sitting next to you and be like, “Hi, I’m Charlotte.” Or whatever. That works.
Charlotte: I’d also say people at the gyms and fitness centers are very, very, very friendly too. It’s not weird to talk to people at the gym the way it is at home. When you go to the gym at home it’s like, don’t even look at me. But no, that’s not the case in most of these community senses. So I would say the coworking space, the gym. Same thing with coffee shops because a lot of people are working from coffee shops and so just start talking to the person next to you. It can be as simple as like, “Oh, what are you working on now?” Or “Hey, can you watch my stuff? Thanks so much. I’m Charlotte by the way. I live around here.” Kind of thing, whatever it does.
Charlotte: Same thing to people who are going to be posting stuff in the Facebook groups about, “Hey girls. I’m hosting an event happening. Would love for you to come.” Or whatever. If you just see what’s going on that way, accept these invitations, push out of your comfort zone and if you feel awkward about it, don’t, because so many people are in the exact same position as you are. You’re going to see, it’s surprising how warm and friendly everyone is. You’re going to meet more friends through these people and it’s just a completely different approach to making friends than you have at home.
Charlotte: Because when you go to these digital nomad communities or whatever, everyone’s in the same boat, right? Everyone shows up by themself and it’s like, “Hi, I know no one. I need friends. I don’t want to eat dinner by myself for a six nights in a row.” Right. So you can just go and make friends in a completely different way.
Paige: Yup. I 100% agree. It’s totally weird and normal life in Canada or something to go up to random people start talking to them. But when you’re in these digital nomad hub, it’s not. Because everyone, even if someone’s been there for a few months or so, people are coming and going so fast. So if they have friends, at some point they’re leaving. So, you’re always meeting new people. So it’s not weird at all to just be like, “Hi, I’m blah, blah, nice to meet you.”
Charlotte: It’s not at all. You have to be pretty bold about it. Be like, “Hi, can I add you on Facebook?” Or, “Can I get your WhatsApp number?” That would be so offside at home. If you just met someone was like, “Hey, can I get you on Facebook?” I’d be like, “Can you chill?” But no here, it’s so normal. Everyone’s like, “Let me get you on Facebook. Let me add you on this group chat on WhatsApp.” Or whatever. You just have to be bold. I’ve literally never once asked someone to be my friend on Facebook in Bali and they’ve declined. That’s never happened. Never ever, ever. It’s not weird. So just be bold. If someone seems like a cool person that you want to chill with, do it.
Paige: Yup, totally. That’s how we met. I mean, you just sent me a message. You were like, “Hey, I saw on your blog you’re in Bali. Want to meet up?”
Charlotte: That was straight up what happened. I was like, “Hey wait, oh my God. We’re both here. Let’s get together.” That was it. Beautiful friendship formed.
Paige: Yeah. Exactly. So good. I’m very glad you messaged me.
Charlotte: I know. I have zero shame. I’ll slide into anyone’s DMs. I’m not joking.
Paige: So good. Awesome. Let’s move on to work things. So setting up timelines when you’re working on projects, is there anything that you need to think about when you’re working with clients or projects or something while you’re working and traveling?
Charlotte: Definitely. So there’s a couple of ways you can go about it I say. The first option is think about what holidays or trips you’re going to take. Block those off and then fill in your work around it. Or, the opposite side is get all of your work done and whenever you have gaps between projects or something, then that’s when you travel. So think about which approach or which combination of those two you’re going to be doing.
Charlotte: I would say I found it very, very helpful to stick to a calendar, schedule things all in and if it’s in the calendar, do it. If that’s going to be a work day, get your work done, but if it’s a travel day, don’t do it. I would also say another thing that’s important is knowing that sometimes depending on what project you’re working on or what services you have, you might have to take some calls or meetings at weird hours. But again, that’s the expat perks. It just comes with the territory.
Charlotte: If you find that you’re doing these calls more weird hours all the time, maybe you need to look at your schedule and be like, “Hey, can any of this be transferred over to email? Can any of this be done through communications in my project management tool? Why do we have to have a meeting when instead this could be done in a different way?” So really evaluate guests, right? Move. So helpful.
Paige: Move. Yeah. Use lulu.com. Best thing. Like you can send videos, just explain things so quickly and then you don’t need to use phone calls, which is so great.
Charlotte: Oh my gosh, completely. Or think about your services offerings. Maybe you do an audit or something, this needs to be a live audit or instead can you just be like, “Here’s one hour of me talking.” And then you can watch it at your convenience.
Paige: Yes. I 100% agree. So yeah, I definitely agree that you need to, whatever, maybe the normal way you do things, maybe you’ll rethink it once you’re like, this isn’t convenient for me to be up at midnight or whatever. It’s definitely a thing. Anytime you go to any coworking space abroad and it’s midnight, people are still working because that is totally normal. If you can be as efficient as possible and you don’t feel like being up at midnight, then you can change things.
Charlotte: Completely right. Yup. I agree.
Paige: Okay, cool. What are the real amount of hours per day spent working on an online business? How do… I guess just answer with what your normal hours are.
Charlotte: Oh. It depends. I know that’s not what your listeners want to hear, but it completely, completely depends. Some days I’m working, well 14 maybe even 16 hours and then other days I’m straight up not working. If there’s something I really want to do, let’s say I want to take a three or four days, surf trip weekends and then that means I’m not working on Friday and Monday, then I’m probably working hella hard the days beforehand so that I can take those four days off without worrying about it.
Charlotte: But, so it’s hard to say. It’s not traditional nine to five hours, that’s for sure. I feel like you do way more batch work. You do way more sprints of heavy work and then a few days off. That’s been my experience at least. Yeah. Sorry guys. I can’t be like, people were 5.75 hours per day.
Paige: No. Yeah, the 9:00 to 5:00 mindset is like, okay, I work eight hours a day or something. Is that normal with an online business? Online business is like, especially if you’re traveling because it’s like, if this takes three days for you to get to a location, settle down, whatever and that’s the middle of your work week, then you’re going to have to hustle on the weekend or something or…
Charlotte: Absolutely. Or the little things as well. This is something that your listeners might find useful is thinking about the time of day that you work really well. So I know you and I are quite different on this point. I am an early riser. I’m up at 6:00 AM, I’ll be up. I’m up and that kind of thing. So for me, I’d rather work quite hard for a bit and the more early in the morning and then I usually to take a long lunch break, maybe take a nap or something in the middle of the afternoon because it’s hot, right?
Charlotte: I find it really hard to work in prime, noon heat sort of thing. Then work a bit more in the late afternoon or something or other people would rather go adventuring around through the day or hit up the gym, meet some friends for a long brunch and then work late at night or anything [inaudible 00:52:06]. So it just, it’s about knowing what, when do you work well, what time of day is that working well? Do you have to accommodate for any meetings that are happening with maybe clients at home or deadlines that you’re working with and just be smart about it.
Charlotte: Be dedicated. You have to discipline yourself I would say, because otherwise it’s so easy to just, time flies and you’re like, you have nothing to show for it.
Paige: Yup. So true. Have you ever knocked at your coworking space? Because I have.
Charlotte: Oh, I totally have. Yeah. So in a lot of these coworking spaces, they’ll have really comfy benches or whatever that you can lay down on or some of them have hammocks or you can lay on a beanbag by the pool. I have slept there multiple times completely.
Paige: Same. I’ve done the exact same thing.
Charlotte: Then not a cute nap.
Paige: Yeah, everyone’s doing it. So there’s no shame.
Charlotte: There’s no shame. Again, it’s what is mobile at home? Probably is not part of the course here yet.
Paige: At the coworking space which I was at, you could not wear shoes. They would not allow you to-
Charlotte: Oh yeah. You had to take them off right?
Paige: If go to a normal office, they’d be like, “Why are you walking around with no shoes on? Are You Australian?”
Charlotte: Yeah. Oh my God. Totally, right. Or there’s little things that are funny like I was at the coworking space, I was at Tropical Nomad, which you haven’t been to that one yet, but when you come, I’ll show it to you. It’s great. They have a couple of cats that walk round. Anyways, freak of a cat. I love it. It’s so cute. But it knocked over the plant. It was on the big table. Then I had to stop for a little bit to clean up all the dirt, whatever. I was, “This is ridiculous.” This cat, this stray cat, who’s just coming and wreaking havoc.
Paige: I remember one time we had a phone call too and you were like, “Sorry. The Internet went out of my coworking space because a monkey ate the wires.”
Charlotte: Oh my God. You remember that? The electrocuted monkey that fell three stories and the WiFi completely quit. I’m like, “Sorry. I can’t even just do this.” Because it’s not happening.
Paige: You just get used… This is also why you need to plan in advance because weird things can happen like that. One time I also got stuck to my coworking space in the middle of the night because the roads completely flooded. Like to get back home and I can get through on a scooter. So yeah.
Charlotte: You can’t. No. You’re just like, cool I’ll return home.
Paige: Yeah. But I mean, that’s so, I don’t know, it’s fun and it’s exciting. It’s different. It’s like, oh whatever.
Charlotte: It’s such an adventure. Yeah. Right. You think, sometimes I get myself being like, “Oh, this is so annoying. This would never happen at home.” Blah, blah, blah. Then I think it’s fun that it would never happen at home. Like this is wild.
Paige: Yeah. Exactly. Okay. Sweet.
Charlotte: I forgot about that monkey. Thank you for reminding me. That was outrageous. Oh my God.
Paige: Yeah. I was like, “Only in Bali would that happen. Not somewhere else” Okay. So how do you make sure that you’ll always be able to find a reliable Internet connection?
Charlotte: Test it out in advance. So if you’re thinking, okay, I’m going to do a meeting from my villa, or I think I’m going to do a meeting from a coffee shop or something like that, make sure you’ve been there before. You get there 15 minutes early so you can check it out, make sure that the quality is good enough. Yeah. Most places to be honest, if you’re in any sort of digital nomad hub, you can always find a coworking space. Most of the hotels or villas have fiber optic, WiFi, Internet connection. At the very least you can hotspot from. You’re not going to hop onto your phone, but you’re going to hotspot your phone.
Charlotte: So that gives you a good enough connection to… WiFi, I would say the biggest thing just test it out. Don’t, if you’re in a public space, if it’s somewhere like a coffee shop or whatever, that could be slowed down by a lot of people. Maybe don’t use it right at peak hours, but coworking space, you’re fine if you’re in a villa or home stay or hotel, it’s probably fine.
Paige: Yeah. I would say coworking spaces without a doubt, generally the most reliable place that you can find with WiFi. You need a coworking space.
Charlotte: Yeah, exactly.
Paige: Money transfers, getting money out while you’re in a location, how do you do that?
Charlotte: Okay. So this is definitely, I’m glad you asked this because it’s super important that people understand that banking can screw you over in a major way. So I personally have had my bank accounts frozen on me so many times because Indonesia is like, Bali is in Indonesia and Indonesia can be a big, I don’t know, a spot for scammers or problems with legitimate transactions. I don’t really know, but it’s flagged as a destination for sure. So I would say that it’s definitely something to think about with your cards getting eaten by the machines.
Charlotte: So maybe all of a sudden your card gets eaten or if someone’s put something in there that steal your card, always protect your pin. Always have at least one backup account that you can use that’s not your regular bank account. Then as well in your bank account that you’re using to withdraw money from the ATM, only put in as much money as you need in that account. So transfer money into it when you know you’re going to take it out and then don’t leave a lot of money in it because then that way if, let’s say your card gets compromised, then no one can wipe your account, and you could lose thousands of dollars. That’s a very big thing.
Paige: Yeah. I had a whole banking situation when I first got to Bali and then I found the bank, which is the best solution to this problem. So I’m going to do a whole other episode on that bank because I just asked all the digital nomads once I got there, because I was having some serious money issues once I got to Bali. I had three different banks. Three different cards. An American and German card, none of them worked. I was like, “How do I take out money? I need to pay for my scooter.”
Charlotte: Completely. Yeah. I know, I’ve heard of so many people too that get their card compromised and then a couple days later, oh someone wiped their entire account clean.
Paige: Yeah. So that’s why the two bank accounts situation is good. So you just transfer money and when you go to take it out, you take out the money and there’s nothing left. So if they compromise the card and tried to take everything out, there’s nothing in there anyways.
Charlotte: So, there’s nothing for them to take. Exactly.
Paige: But, even my fancy bank, which I found, even gets around that issue too, which is sick. So I’ll do another episode on that one specifically that would be useful.
Charlotte: Yeah. That’s a sweet set up. I need to get it but I’m not near it.
Paige: Yeah. How do you manage time zone differences?
Charlotte: So try to do your best to eliminate that as a problem. That goes back to how can you organize yourself in a better way that you’re relying more on communications by email or project management tools or how can you get rid of your meetings? How can you use a tool like Loom so that you can send your own video recordings and then get rid of the meeting entirely. Can you maybe ramp up sales of products so that you can move away from services? Or, maybe another thing too is okay, I’m only doing meetings at weird hours on like Tuesdays and Wednesdays and then that way you don’t have to worry about time zone issues on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Really try to just eliminate that as much as you can because otherwise it’ll take over your life.
Paige: Yes, absolutely. When I was in Bali, so I was 12 hours different, in Germany, it’s not so much an issue because I’m just six hours ahead of people and I actually find it big. I sometimes need to do calls later in the evening, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. In Bali, I was 12 hours different. So I was like, okay, I can be working with clients right now, or I could build this course, which I’ve been thinking about. So I just took to build the course and so I didn’t need to be dealing with clients the entire time. So I did exactly what you said. So maybe you completely rethink your business and you’re like, maybe I should actually switch over from services to products at some point to make it easier.
Charlotte: Right. Yeah, that’s such a good point of view. Another thing I wanted to mention about the time zone thing is that, for example, for a while when I was in Bali, if I was in Bali but then with the daylight savings, if I was talking to someone on west coast time, it was 16 hour difference. So, if let’s say I was doing the meeting at 6:00 AM my time, it would be 2:00 PM the day before, if that makes sense. So make sure that you really are keeping an eye on calendar invites so that you’re accommodating for time zones, both where you are and where your client or whoever it is.
Paige: Yup. I use acuity scheduling to schedule a lot of my appointments. When you do, you can set your time or whatever. Then you can go see it and then I’d go put them whatever my client’s time zone is and then I can see those times which I just set in my time zone in their time zone and see like, okay wait, does that make sense or should I Google it?
Charlotte: Does that make sense?
Charlotte: Definitely. Yeah. I mean I’ve, it’s happened, not a lot, thank goodness, but there have been a few times where I’ve been a little bit thrown off by the time zone and it’s created a problem because people are like, “Oh, I thought you said Tuesday?” I’m like, “Sorry, that was my Tuesday, which is actually your Monday.”
Paige: Yeah. Having an automatic appointment schedulers are super helpful for that situation. Okay. I really liked this next question. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it. The reasons that I love working and traveling. I mainly struggle with feelings that I’m exploiting my privilege. It can be hard when you see locals that are in poverty. What can I do to help? Is helping even helpful. Why does our global system, hedge money suck so much? Why is life so unfair? How did I get so lucky?
Charlotte: Oh my God, I think about this often. It comes in waves sometimes too and it’s just, it hits you a ton of bricks because you can’t deny that we’re insanely privileged. We are not only fortunate enough to have her own online business so we have freedom. But then probably you and I and all of the listeners come from developed countries where opportunities are available to us. So I would say that that’s something I have thought about and pretty much everyone does at some point or another. So know that that’s a normal thing to think about.
Charlotte: Here’s some examples of stuff that I’ve done or that I know of. So, for example, if you come to Bali and you go to the coworking spaces, they have community days where they organize, it’s a volunteering session and you get to go and help out various causes or something like that. Another thing too is its good you’re coming in and spending your essentially tourist dollars there, but you’re also living and working there. So you get to support maybe your house cleaner or your gardener or your pool guy or things like that is helpful too.
Charlotte: You can support causes. In Bali there’s Bali Dog Organizations that help to spay and neuter. You can foster them or take them for walks or help with their adoptive bonds or things like that as well. But for more of a psychological point of view of thinking about like, wow, my privilege and all of this, one thing that I’ve heard a lot of people do is that maybe they want to donate a certain portion of their service or product sales to a cause that they believe in vocally. So maybe you want to, you’ve been in Bali for a while and you want to divert a percentage of it so we can build a school or something like that.
Charlotte: That’s so amazing and what a great way to give back. Or you want to take a day off your business so that you can go volunteer in the local community or you want to shop at local markets so that the money is going straight to the person, not a grocery chain or things like that. Just supporting people at a local level as well. If you don’t think it has an impact, but it really does. These people are making, I don’t know where, especially if you go into rural areas or whatever but the amount of money that these people are working and living off of and stuff is so small.
Charlotte: Maybe you buy fruit at a roadside stand and you can tip them a couple extra bucks. That really is going to make a big difference for that family and stuff. So just go for it. I would say. I don’t have the answers to all those questions and I know that it was a huge amount of injustice. I just think the best is do what you can, try to be generous with both your time and your money, use your business for good and that already will put you in a better space for like karma.
Paige: Karma. That was such a good answer. You killed it. Yeah. I mean that’s the thing which we’ve talked about on so many occasions is this type of thing. I think it was a really interesting question that came in. Not like the other ones, but it’s so good.
Charlotte: It’s so true. We’ve talked about this a lot, my various friends and I, your sense of privilege is mind blowing and that’s something that I’m glad that we’re talking about and bringing up. You can’t resent or deny your privilege to you. You can’t stay home -just because you’re a privileged person. Just because someone else doesn’t have the opportunity doesn’t mean you can’t take the opportunity that you have. But I would say make the most of what you can do with it.
Paige: I’ve absolutely, more recently as the business has grown and made more and more money, I’ve just thought about, this seems really unfair that this is possible for me. Even in comparison to other friends and family who have just normal jobs. Then I just think like, “Well there’s no benefit in me not doing. If anything, make this money and then I could just do something really great with it.” I believe that’s probably the best thing I can actually do.
Charlotte: Oh my God. Completely. I think it is almost your responsibility to make as much money as you can for your business so that you can then go and improve the lives of yourself and your friends and family, but more importantly the causes that you believe in that don’t have the funding on their own.
Charlotte: It is, I truly believe that, it’s your duty to make as much money as you can so that you can give to all those people that otherwise couldn’t have it.
Paige: A friend of mine, his girlfriend went to go study psychology because she wanted to be, I think a children’s therapist, and I was thinking like, that’s really great. But then when I think when I was like, what if I could make x number of dollars to go fund a hundred children’s therapists? I can impact times 100 just through this business. Which tech, I don’t know. It’s my businesses specifically like a charitable thing by any means.
Charlotte: No. But you can still have a charitable element within your business. Yeah and I think honestly that’s actually a really good business model. What does that shoe called?
Paige: Oh, Tom’s?
Charlotte: Yes. Think about like Toms. That’s completely built into their business model or Patagonia, 1% for the planet. It actually improves the bottom line of these businesses by being conscious and having a social cause associated to it.
Paige: Yup. Totally, sick. Okay good. Those were all my questions. I so appreciate you taking the time to answer them.
Charlotte: Oh my gosh. It was so much fun. I can’t believe that those all came from your audience too. Those are really, really great detailed questions, and I hope that this inspires a few people to just try it out and see where it takes them, whether it’s short-term or long-term. Don’t be afraid for anyone that’s listening about it. It works for both you and I and it worked for literally thousands of other people. It’s only getting easier and easier too. So, if you’re thinking about it, do it.
Paige: Yes. Good. Okay. Awesome. Now if our listeners want to connect with you, where can they find you? Where can they hang out with you?
Charlotte: Okay, so my website is charlotteohara.ca. I would say that’s probably the best spot. It’s your go-to source for anything related to me and my business. I also have a YouTube channel, which you can find too. Look for Charlotte O’hara or listen to on my website as well. On there, I’ve got much more tech tutorials and stuff. But if you want to creep my YouTube, there you go.
Charlotte: Then another thing is fun is I have a weekly email that I send out every Wednesday and that’s a really fun spot to not only stay up to date with what I’m doing in my business, but I also like to make it a bit more personal. So if you want to see some insight that way, I definitely would recommend checking that out and you can sign up for it on my website as well. There’s plenty of links and stuff there. I’m not really active on social media, so don’t bother creeping me there.
Paige: So good. I like that you built a business without social media. I think that’s awesome.
Charlotte: I know. I mean, I know it works really, really well for other people, but I just am not the person that can handle a beautiful Instagram photo and story to go along with it.
Paige: I hear you. Okay, good.
Speaker 1: Thanks so much for hanging out with us for this episode of the Online Business Besties podcast. If you love the show, be sure to leave a rating and review wherever you listen to podcasts. And of course, check out the show notes for this episode and all past episodes at paigebrenton.com.
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