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The Travelling Freelancer
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Thalassa van Beek
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Tell us your business story to date...
When I started freelancing a year ago and knew that I wanted all my work to be online so that I could travel whenever I want, I figured I wanted to do 'something' with that journey and saw that the domain TheTravellingFreelancer.com was still available. I claimed it, but wasn't quite sure yet what it was going to be. I knew a blog wouldn't work. Fast forward to a few months later, I was immersed in the 'digital nomad' scene, but I noticed so much information was missing. There are plenty of articles out there about '5 steps to quit your job and live your dream life' but there's very little on what comes next.
At the same time, I was a big fan of Foundr., an online magazine for young entrepreneurs. In addition, in a previous job I really enjoyed being the project manager of an online magazine. The last drop was when I was reading some other online magazines and simply thought 'I can do so much better than this.'
That's when I knew The Travelling Freelancer was going to be an online magazine for digital nomads & location independent professionals about business, travel & food for the soul - in other words, all the things you encounter after you've quit your job.
Tell us about your products/services in more detail...
The Travelling Freelancer is an online magazine for digital nomads & location independent professionals and is published once every two months. It really focusses on all the aspects of this lifestyle you don't think of when you see the photos of laptops on a beach (which is, by the way, a lie in itself. When your laptop is your source of income, would you really take it to a sandy beach..?).
There are three pillars - business, travel, and food for the soul. The business articles can cover anything which is relevant to almost all the readers. Think of marketing, productivity, remote team work, crowdfunding and dealing with clients. We also have a lawyer who covers topics like taxes - very relevant when you're working and travelling!
Everyone seems to be going to Chiang Mai and Bali, but where to go next? The travel section covers other cities that are great for digital nomads, as well as the best coworking spaces around the world.
One thing people don't realise when pursuing this lifestyle is that there are downsides, too. What do you do when you feel lonely? How do you maintain friendships? What do you do when there are family issues at the other side of the world and you cannot afford to go - or do not want to go? What do you do when your family makes you feel guilty? These are all topics in the 'food for the soul' section.
Because of the chosen topics, the magazine is interesting for both aspiring digital nomads, as well as for people who have been on the road for a long time.
What has been the most challenging startup experience to-date? What did you learn?
This is my passion project, meaning that I'm not making a profit with it yet. All revenues go directly back into the magazine - to hosting, contributors and marketing. To pay the bills, I still do freelance client work. I enjoy doing that as well, but sometimes it's difficult. For example, last week I was ill, so everything I did just took up more time. Health comes first, client work second, so I had to work very hard the last few days to finally catch up with all the magazine work. Luckily I started to get some help from a great graphic designer, otherwise I wouldn't know how to get it all done!
So that's what I'm learning right now. Don't be afraid to ask for help and outsource whenever possible. My strength is my vision for the magazine and bringing everything together, but I'm absolutely not a designer, so giving that responsibility to someone who enjoys that part is a true blessing.
What has been the most fulfilling startup experience to-date? What did you learn?
The most fulfilling part so far has absolutely been all the people I met virtually and in real life because of the magazine. I was always a bit of an outsider, but since being part of this digital nomad community, I feel like I found my tribe, and with the magazine I have an excuse to reach out to people and people are reaching out to me because of it, which is absolutely great. I'm super proud every time I publish a new issue, but the best thing truly is meeting all these amazing people.
Is there anything you can offer to help other startup businesses?
I love creating magazines and if someone is interested in launching one, I would be very happy to brainstorm with you about what exactly you could do.
Is there any help that are you looking for?
I'm always looking for contributors on a wide range of subjects. If you think you've got something interesting for my readers, contact me!