Admit it - we have all been lost in digital nomad’s instagram feeds wondering ‘what I am doing in this grey and rainy place when I could be at a beach in Bali?!’
Born a citizen of the world, Cepee is half Colombian and half Iranian, and proudly considers herself a native Texan. She loves jumping feet first into the unknown and encouraging others to make their own leap in life. She's the creator and manager of She Hit Refresh, a +3000 member community for women 30 years an older who want to break free from routine and start a life of travel, and the Madrid Blogger Network, Madrid's largest online/offline community for bloggers and content creators.
What made you start She Hit Refresh?
She Hit Refresh is a community for women 30 years and older who want to break free from routine and start a life of travel. The concept of the She Hit Refresh community was an evolution of ideas over time. It started off as a conversation between friend, and co-founder Annette, and me. While in Italy, where I mentioned that it would be great to share information for "seasoned" women who want hit refresh on their lives. Women who want to move abroad, travel for an extended period of time, quit their jobs and life of convention, and make a big change. I've been hitting the refresh button for almost two decades, most recently at 35 with a move from Austin, Texas to Madrid, Spain. And Annette had just taken her first sabbatical, quitting her job of almost a decade to go travel, all in her early 40s. A lot of our female friends were asking us how we did it and there wasn't much information out there for women our age.
Initially I thought about starting a blog, we also talked about starting a podcast where we could provide a conversation around big life changes through travel for the 30 and up crowd; however it was in an online course, focused on storytelling that my mentor, Kay Fabella, asked "Have you thought about starting a Facebook Group?" Bingo! It was a light bulb moment, and the concept of a community truly fit what we wanted to do: provide a space where like-minded women could find their tribe and have conversations online that no one else was having. All of the existing female travel groups limited their conversations to short-term travel: what hostel to stay in, where to eat, what to see, what clothes to pack. We wanted to create something more; something where we could help women understand how to do become a digital nomad or traveling freelancer. So we did! That was November 2017, and now 10 months later, we've grown to a community of over 3,000+ women worldwide.
What're the first steps to take to become a digital nomad?
Each person's journey is unique, so I would say there are a variety of paths one can take. A good place to start is to identify your skill, what value you can provide so you can find a remote jobs, freelance jobs, or start a lucrative business, that will allow you to be location independent. Sorting out your work and income situation is the first step for most people. If you don't have a skill, start to build one in your free time as a freelancer.
In my case, I wasn't necessarily looking to become a digital nomad. I just wanted to move from Texas to Spain, and got my foot in the door through a government program to teach English. From there I was able to find a job in social media marketing and honed my skills in the field at work and through my personal creative projects. I quickly realized the remote work possibilities this field could offer and started the job search, even though I was still very green. After a few months I scored my first remote gig.
The next step is to figure out where you want to go, what visa you'll need, and create a budget. Do you want to hunker down in one location for a few months, stay indefinitely, or spend your time on the go? You'll need to check the visa requirements for each country you're visiting to see how long you are able to stay and if there are options to stay long term, if that's what you're looking to do. Last, create a budget, try to pay off your debt before you take off, and make sure you can afford your digital nomad life. Ideally you'll have enough money coming in to sustain your life of travel. The last thing you want to do is stress about money while working on the road in a foreign country.
What are your best tips women who want to start working remotely?
First I would say, you got this! The road to remote work or freelancing isn't always easy and takes hustle and patience, but it's worth it.
Game Plan & Exit Strategy. Make a game plan and an exit strategy from your current situation so that you can have a smooth-ish transition to working remotely. But, don't wait for perfection to pull the plug; if you wait for things to be perfect you'll never start. So push yourself out of your comfort zone and aim high!
Find freelance work. Start applying for remote jobs or freelance work even if you only have 60%-80% of the required skills. Many studies show that women do not apply for jobs unless if they feel they have 90%+ of the require qualifications while men apply when they only meet 60% of the required skills. Don't sell yourself short, I've been able to score jobs that I didn't think I was qualified for just by applying and letting the hiring manager decide if I was fit for the position. Get started with our piece on the best sites to find remote work.
Start your side hustle. If you want to become a writer, blogger, social media manager, SEO expert, etc. start doing the work now, even if no one is paying you. You need to be able to sell yourself with examples of your work and achievements. Use your side hustle or freelance work to build your portfolio. Do good work and it will start to speak for itself, people will notice. In just two years I've been able to build my skills in social media marketing and create a reputation through my work. My freelancing side hustle has opened doors that I could have never imagined.
Build a network. I learned this lesson later in life, but a strong network can help bring the right opportunities to you. Find your tribe of, like-minded freelancing and entrepreneurial women who inspire you and push you to do better and be better. A strong network in invaluable in helping you start a like of remote work.
Sharehive is a network for women doing their own thing. We are copywriters, digital marketing experts, graphic designers, digital nomads, aspiring freelancers and founders who believe in the creative power of working together. Find freelance jobs, barter & learn new skills, build your professional network and make new friends.