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How to work online and make passive income?

How to work online and make passive income?
Louise Croft - Digital Nomad Girl - at her 'office'... (Credit: private archive of L.Croft)
Working remotely from home it's easier than you think. Digital Nomad Era.
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Have you ever thought of working remotely on your laptop from anywhere you like? If working a 9-5 job every day gives you nightmares, then try being a ‘Digital Nomad’!

Digital nomads are people who are location-independent and use technology to perform their job.
How to become a digital nomad and travel the world ? Let me introduce you to Louise Croft, a Digital Nomad Girl who never followed the crowd and became self-employed at a very young age. She inspires women to travel the world, have fun and work remotely.

Louise, can you tell us more how you started making your business? Have you ever worked for anyone else or only just for yourself?
- I did a few internships during University and school but I've never really had a "proper" job! Straight out of University I worked as a freelance consultant for a charity helping them improve their retail shops and hold fashion events. I did that for about nine months and had an amazing time but was keen to travel the world, so I ended my contract and decided to become a Digital Nomad full time. That was over 5 years ago now!

I started my journey by moving to Chaing Mai (in Thailand) because it's the global hub for nomads. I asked as many people as I could find about what they did for work to decide which suggestion I'd most enjoy. That led me to create online courses and I've been doing it ever since. I've been involved with other jobs along the journey too - like doing sales for a tech startup, writing as a freelance journalist, offering PR services, and of course starting my Youtube Channel (Digital Nomad Girl) and Instagram.

How can you make income from online business now?
- I make money primarily through my courses - I create educational video courses about subjects I am an expert in, and also help other people make courses where they are the teacher. I also recently started an Amazon shop that sells physical things on Amazon in Australia, and I've also done some freelancing in the past (e.g. journalism, public relations, editing, coaching etc).

Of course there are also countless ways to make money online - and I've made several videos on my youtube channel listing them out. Almost every time I meet a new nomad I discover a new online job! Everything from lawyers to yoga teachers to authors to accountants. Some of the most common careers are software developers, graphic designers, social media managers, and e-commerce websites. Most people are highly entrepreneurial but some people simply have full-time jobs and convince their bosses to let them work remotely. If you can get permission to work from home then why not work from Thailand!?

"Sometimes I don't work at all, or I go for a long lunch date, or go shopping while places aren't busy, and I also take holidays to go visit friends or family abroad", admits Louise...

What motivates you and makes you keep going?
- Honestly, I love what I do. Not every day is the most exciting work (every job has excel sheets and emails!) but knowing every dollar I make is within my own control and goes to my own pocket is so empowering. I am a naturally motivated and driven person and I've always worked hard, but I am thankful that I can shape my job around what I enjoy.

Things I don't like or I'm not good at I have to do for a while to get the business started, but once it's established I outsource those things as quickly as possible. The first thing I did was hire an accountant, and now I also work with a video editor, a writer, and packaging designers. That's one of the best things about running your own business is you can choose industries and jobs which interest you so you don't have to be as motivated on things you don't enjoy!

Do you work from the moment you wake up? What does your day look like? Are you working from 9-5 but just being your own boss?
- Honestly, we work quite long hours! My husband is also an entrepreneur so we tend to be quite addicted and often work during evenings and weekends. I don't mind too much though because it's flexible so it's my own choice, and it's all for my own gain. We generally get up at about 10am, then work until around 8pm. We take breaks for lunch and dinner in restaurants, plus a gym session or something social.

However, sometimes I don't work at all, or I go for a long lunch date, or go shopping while places aren't busy, and I also take holidays to go visit friends or family abroad. When we travel we are living in a city for at least a month so we try to do a few "touristy" things on weekends, but we also get really engaged in the local culture. We join a gym, eat in small restaurants, go to local meetups, and take public transport. All of those things mean you get to know local people, local food, and local culture really well. For me that's the best thing about being a Nomad compared to on Holiday.

Have you met more people like yourself? Are their businesses similar to yours?
- Absolutely! There are thousands of Digital Nomads around the world and we have an amazing network of fascinating, driven people that we've met. Everyone does different businesses, and many are employed full time remote instead, but they all love travel and are creative and interesting. It seems like the community is growing every year as word spreads, and now we try to always go to nomad "hotspots" - cities where lots of nomads like to go. That way you know there will be good coworking spaces, fun events, and plenty of people to meet. For example Lisbon, Chiang Mai, Ubud (Bali), Medellin, and of course Poland!

If you can get permission to work from home then why not work from Thailand!?, asks Louise.

What advice can you give to someone who would like to start an online business?
- Make a start - even if it's small. If you're working full time then try to get just one freelance client on the side (e.g. using Upwork or your personal network), or see if your boss will let you do one day a week from home. The sooner you can start earning even a tiny amount online, the faster you will learn how to make it your full-time job. If you have an idea for your own business then the same applies - start asking around to see if people would buy it, or make a rough website on Shopify or SquareSpace and see if people visit it, spend $50 on Facebook ads to see if you get any clicks.

The best advice is to try small things quickly. Most people spend six months building an incredible website and making sure everything is perfect, and then when they finally launch they discover no-one wants their product anyway. So start small and get feedback quickly.

Then once you've made the first few steps, and hopefully have a bit of online money coming in to prove to yourself that it's possible, my top suggestion is to head to a popular nomad city. Meeting other nomads will accelerate your learning massively, and help you discover other ways to earn money or tips to save time. My personal favourite is Chiang Mai because it's very cheap to live, has got the biggest nomad community in the world, and covers everything from beginners to experts. If you want to see a list of all the places Nomads are hanging out then check out the website Nomad List, or my Youtube Channel.

How did you come up with the idea for an Australian Amazon business?
- Selling on Amazon is a very common business model for nomads and was something I'd always had my eye on. I have been making courses for 5 years now and I was looking for something to diversify my income a bit, and try a new challenge. When I was living in Australia I was shocked to hear that they didn't have Amazon! Then I heard it was launching in 2019 and I knew I wanted to be an early adopter. Everything just happened to work out because I was based there at the time, had outsourced a lot of my course creation work, and met someone who was an Amazon expert and wanted to pair with a beginner.

So that's how it began! Now I've been running it full time for about a year (alongside my online courses) and sharing the journey on my Youtube channel (Digital Nomad Girl). It's going to be a long term business because Amazon isn't very well known in Australia yet so we need to wait for it to grow in popularity, but I am confident it will be a smart business choice.

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