In this episode of the Cadana Remote Worker Series, we had the privilege of engaging in a thought-provoking discussion with Kathleen, the esteemed CEO and founder of Wanderers Wealth. The conversation delved into a wide range of topics surrounding the realm of Digital Nomadism, exploring its inherent advantages, and strategic insights, as well as addressing pertinent challenges that arise within this dynamic context.
Hey, let's get to know you and your company a bit better! Tell us a bit about who you are and what your company does.
I’m the CEO and founder of Wanderers Wealth, an international consulting firm that takes care of the legal logistics when being a Digital Nomad or simply having an international life. This includes things such as international taxation issues, business structures, bank account openings, second residencies, and second citizenships.
What inspired you to become a digital nomad, and how has it impacted your approach to business?
I’ve been a digital nomad for over 4 years now. As a former tax lawyer, I was very much part of the corporate world. However, there are many rules inside the corporate world that didn’t sit well with my free spirit and constant need for adventure. Therefore, I decided to take some time off to travel and along the way, I found people that needed my skills and expertise and that’s how I started doing work whilst on the road. Now I no longer believe that you need to be in a corporate setting to be ‘successful’ or to run an impactful business. But thanks to the internet we get to do it from anywhere.
Insightful, so what's the coolest thing about being able to work from anywhere, and where's the most interesting place you've ever worked from?
The coolest thing about being able to work from anywhere is that I get to do work around my preferred lifestyle. In my case, this means that I value spending as much time as possible outdoors. I’m passionate about going on hikes, going surfing, snowboarding, and exploring new places. So, I get to do all of those things and design my work hours around the things that set my soul on fire. The most interesting place I’ve ever worked in has got to be in some national parks while doing van life in New Zealand.
We could all use some remote work hacks - what are some of your favorites?
Invest in a good power board. When you need to charge your laptop, your phone, your AirPods, your Kindle, and maybe your camera all at the same time you’ll thank me for it. Previously I used to buy new sim cars everywhere I went. However, I’ve come to really like e-sims. “Airolo” is a great app that offers this. Basically, you’re able to keep your home country’s network going and even still receive text messages and calls on it whilst using data in the local place you’re visiting.
As a CEO, how do you balance running a company with the demands of being a digital nomad?
I travel together with my partner most of the time so we share the admin side of being a digital nomad such as looking for flights, finding accommodation, hiring a car, etc. And since the beginning of this year, we have had an assistant that also helps to take off the load with all organizational things to make sure the travel part of being a digital nomad still feels enjoyable so that we can focus on running our businesses while experiencing new places.
What are some of the unique challenges that come with managing a remote team as a CEO, and how have you overcome them?
Clear communication is the key. Since you don’t have much face-to-face interaction it’s important to give very clear instructions. If you have a specific work style it’s best to communicate that with your team. Having a shared and common vision of business values is equally as important so everybody is aware of their role and what they’re supposed to be doing.
Burnout can be a real problem for remote workers - have you ever experienced it, and how do you keep it at bay?
I’ve never experienced burnout. Personally, I’m pretty good at honoring my needs. I know that being outdoors and getting movement into my daily life is a must. So, even when I have a lot on my plate I make sure to do those things.
As a digital nomad, how do you find new opportunities for networking and building business relationships?
I focus on building my network and community via social media channels. Most of the time I’m hanging out on Instagram, Tiktok, and Linkedin. Other than that I tend to also visit digital nomad hubs such as Bali and Mexico where it’s easy to meet other like-minded individuals.
How do you see the future of remote work and digital nomadism evolving over the next few years, and how do you plan to stay ahead of the curve?
I believe that more and more people will be joining this trend. New niche markets will evolve around remote work such as remote work retreats. Co-living and Co-working places will become more and more important as we’re spending so much time in the virtual world which will have to be balanced with in-real-life connections. I believe that the remote work trend will influence all different aspects of life such as health, finances, relationships, family life, etc. I’m trying to stay ahead of the curve by being curious, voicing my opinions and experiences through social media channels, and inviting others into the discussion.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a digital nomad while also running their own company?
At the end of the day, you just have to do it and see if it works for you. You can keep reading about it, and prepare for it through books and podcasts, but until you’re out there, really experiencing it, you won’t know what to really expect. If you’re completely new to this I recommend staying for 3-6 months in one place. It’s easier if you actually give yourself some time to adjust to a new environment. It’s also easier to start this journey somewhere where there are plenty of other people doing it. I can highly recommend Digital Nomad Hubs such as Bali, Chiang Mai, and Playa del Carmen in Mexico.