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ReStation Blog
Coliving and coworking in worlds' best locations
May 31, 2019
Islanders: Jennifer Lachs
Jenny is one of those people that Restation puts in your life and you know great things will come out of the connection.
Active, friendly, hard working and positive, we are proud to have her as part of our community and to work together on different projects such as de Digital Nomads Girl Coliving Summer.
What do you do? Do you have any special requests or preferences?
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It's worth it to meet people to share this lifestyle with. If you try to do it by yourself, it won't be a sustainable lifestyle.
Jennifer Lachs
Digital Nomads Girl founder
What you do and how you do it?

I run a global community for location independent women called Digital Nomad Girls. We run networking and masterminding retreats in Europe, have a membership called the DNG Inner Circle where we meet for virtual coworking, expert Live Q&As, monthly Goal Setting, a virtual Book Club and many more fun events.

And we also have a free Facebook Group (that's how it all started) and a blog where we share information and interviews with our members.

I run everything online from my laptop, while travelling as a digital nomad.

How did you start the journey as a digital nomad? How did you change your career and what did you do before?

In my old life, I was a scientist. I studied chemistry for nearly 10 years and did research in the lab for 4 years of my PhD before graduating in 2013. I knew that I didn't want to continue with academia or research after graduation, and I wanted to see the world. So my boyfriend, also a former chemist, and I set off on a round-the-world-trip that was supposed to last one year. Nearly 6 years later we're still travelling.

We backpacked for 7 months, then ran out of money and ended up in Australia on a working holiday visa for a year. That's where I really learned about digital nomads and we decided to move to Thailand once our visa was up.

We went to Chiang Mai to figure out how to work online. I was originally thinking about doing dropshipping but just a few days into that I realised it's not something I'm interested in. It doesn't really align with my values and I'm glad I didn't pursue it. Instead, I set myself a challenge to try out every 'digital nomad job' I could find, so basically any online gig. I started writing SEO articles, did translations (I'm from Germany originally), learned Wordpress and started designing websites and then also got into social media management.

I wanted to see what's out there, what I'd enjoy and whether I could actually make money online. I eventually stuck with mainly writing, social media and web design stuff which I did for a few years.

At the same time, I also noticed that I was often the only girl in the coworking space in Chiang Mai. I wasn't meeting that many other women which I found strange as the travel scene is pretty 50/50. And when we moved to Koh Phangan, a small Thai island a month or so later I felt very isolated from the nomad world as it wasn't quite a nomad hotspot there yet.

That's when I decided to start a Facebook Group for Digital Nomad Girls. I invited the friends I had met, they invited their friends and so on. It grew completely organically and now, nearly 4 years later, we have over 21k members from around the world.

After about a year, I ran the first retreat and that's when I realised I could probably turn my passion project into a business. DNG is now my full-time business and I only have one freelance writing client left.
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What do you like most about being a DN? And less?

The digital nomad lifestyle has its ups and downs, like everything else. What I love most is the freedom I have in deciding what I want my life to look like and the wonderful people I get to meet and call friends. I have met incredible women from all over the world and have learned so much from them.

I also adore running my own business. It's just so much fun! It's really stressful too and exhausting and it can totally take over your life. But at the same time, I can be completely me, try out my own ideas, be creative, decide on my own schedule and business model. If I want to take a day off on Wednesday, nobody will miss me.

Of course, I also love travelling and visiting new places, especially eating new dishes all over the world. But after nearly 6 years, I also have to admit that I am getting a bit tired of moving fast. Even 3 months in a place now start to feel too short and we're thinking of finding a home base to travel from in the future. I think the lack of stability and having to settle into a new place every few months is what I struggle with most.

I'd also love to be able to see my friends more often, so we do plan our trips around our nomad friends more at the moment.

3 first steps on how to get started (for those who want to)

Oh wow, that so depends on what you do and what stage in your life you are! I think the hardest work is mindset related and overcoming our own - and society's - doubts that this is a feasible lifestyle.

1. I think first, you need to realise that it's actually possible to live an alternative lifestyle. In order to do that you need to surround yourself with like-minded people who want the same, who you don't have to justify yourself to. It takes up too much energy. Instead, find people who want the same thing and who cheer you on instead. It makes all the difference.

2. Find work you actually like. I think this is where so many aspiring digital nomads go wrong. They want this lifestyle more than anything, so they fall into this trap of thinking they need to have a dropshipping store, monetise a blog or do affiliate marketing. All the things that are touted as 'passive income' by some online business gurus. This is not true at all and in fact, there's nothing very passive about it. Monetising a blog is possibly the hardest way to make a good living online.

Instead, find out whether you already have skills that lend themselves to working remotely. So many jobs can be done remotely nowadays. Either find a fully remote job, or start freelancing. It's hard to get started, sure. But it's totally possible and tens of thousands of people do it.

You'd be surprised how many people with many years of work experience in marketing for example, think they have to start selling essential oils online. Please don't fall into that trap.

3. Once you've got work you can do online, do a test run. Don't just sell up everything and buy a one-way ticket to Bali or Thailand. Instead, take a few weeks to test this lifestyle from a neighbouring country or even a city in your home country. See how you like it, how it goes, what you feel you could improve. There's no rush. And also don't think you have to travel full-time with just a backpack. There's no right or wrong way of being a digital nomad.

The best advice you can give anyone who's getting started?

Surround yourself with like-minded people. Join online communities. Go to paid events like retreats, conferences, join paid communities, etc. This is where you meet people who also value community. It's worth it to meet people to share this lifestyle with. If you try to do it by yourself, it won't be a sustainable lifestyle.
What's your next big thing? I.e. BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) - personal or professional

I'm heading off to my 4th retreat in 3 weeks and we're also running the DNG Coliving Summer here in Las Palmas in July & August.

After the retreat, I will be working on growing the DNG Inner Circle, my membership site, and also creating a beginner course or ebook which I've been wanting to do for years.

What's your take on Las Palmas? What do you like about it?

I love Las Palmas. This is my 4th or 5th time here and I've spent well over a year here in total. I think Las Palmas is a great city for digital nomads and I love the lifestyle. It's small enough to get around by walking everywhere. The weather is lovely, the beach is stunning, no matter what time of year. And there's a big community of digital nomads here. A welcoming and warm community that's not just about 'husting' or 'crushing it'. People come here because the lifestyle is relaxing and easy, you can be active and healthy here. And on weekends and days off, there's so much to explore on the island, from beaches to sand dunes, wineries to mountain hikes.

And ReStation is at the heart of the community here. You guys organise so many events because you really care about the people who come to visit. I think that's also why so many nomads keep on returning here.

What's the craziest story that has ever happened to you when you were traveling?

Oh that's such a hard question. I think my boyfriend Simon and I kicked off our round-the-world-trip in a bit of a crazy way. Our first stop was Peru. We had never really backpacked before, I'd never been on a holiday longer than 2 weeks. So we were pretty new to this whole full-time travelling thing.

We rocked up in Peru, had a few days in Lima and the desert, then made our way to Cusco to get ready to hike the Inca Trail to Machi Picchu for 5 days. Somewhere along the way we picked up food poisoning (from bad Western food btw) and the morning before starting our 5-day hike, we had to go to the hospital to get antibiotic and anti-nausea injections. That's how bad it was.

I had also twisted my ankle the first moment I set foot in Lima and Simon was suffering from altitude sickness. Nevertheless, we were determined to do this hike. So off we went with severe food poisoning, I had an ankle brace and we were on a cocktail of medication. But we hiked, we made it and on the last day, we walked to Machi Picchu in the pouring rain. We didn't even see the iconic views because clouds were covering everything. It was still to this day one of the best things we ever did and we proved we were a little tougher than we thought.

Where can we find you?

Website: https://digitalnomadgirls.com/
DNG Inner Circle: https://circle.digitalnomadgirls.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalnomadgirls/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/digitalnomadgirls
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DigitalNomadGirls/

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