Ep. 292: How This Business Strategist Travels The World As A Digital Nomad with Claudia Woodham
In this episode, I speak to Claudia who is a marketing and business strategist and travel obsessed digital nomad. She specializes in teaching other online business owners how to grow and scale their business with courses and digital products whilst having the freedom to travel the world.
Listen on to find out how this business strategist travels the world as a digital nomad.
Ep. 289: How This Remote Entrepreneur Left The Rat Race And Now Helps Others Create A Freedom Lifestyle with Jule Marie Rose
Ep. 288: How This Nomad Creates Income as a Virtual Assistant and Travel Researcher with Ali Sullivan
Ep. 287: How This Freelancer Travels The World As A Virtual Consultant with Emily Fang
Hey everyone, thank you so much for being here! I am so excited to speak with my guest today.
I’m here with Claudia.
Hi, Debbie! Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here!
I’m so, so happy that you are gonna be talking to us today because you have an interesting offbeat life.
So, can you tell us about you and why you have this offbeat lifestyle that you have, Claudia?
Yeah, of course.
So, I don’t know why, but ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to just see more of the world, but I, for a while got really caught up in, you know, almost like the standard way of living, which is, you know, go to university, get a corporate career, buy a house, all of that kind of stuff.
Everybody in my family kind of did that, and for so long I kind of got in that mindset of, “Oh, that must be what I have to do as well.”. But deep down I always had this feeling of, “This isn’t right for me.”.
So, when I was working in corporate, I felt so lost and I felt like, “Do you know what? I have to do something about this because this just does not feel right for me.”.
So, I convinced my partner to come on a three week holiday to Thailand, and we did it backpacker style and I totally convinced him, he didn’t even wanna travel at all. Totally convinced him that this was the life for us.
So, we headed back to the UK, saved up for a year, and then we just quit our jobs. So, we headed out to Thailand and started backpacking full time. At that time, I had no idea like what was in store for me. I was just, you know, living my best life as a backpacker, traveling around Southeast Asia and I kept meeting digital nomads, full-time, you know, travelers along the way. And I just started to believe that I could actually have that lifestyle myself as well.
And I made a decision maybe after a year that I needed to find a way to make this a full-time reality for me.
So, that’s what I did. We ended up staying out for about two years and then we only came back to the UK for the pandemic. But the whole time I was in the pandemic, I was building up my business and I’ve never gone back to an employed job since then.
That is pretty incredible also, not just the fact that you became a digital nomad just from hearing other people live this lifestyle, but for you to convince your partner to do this with you because I hear that all the time.
It’s either, you know, you tell your partner that you’re gonna do this and they’re like, “Nah, that’s not for me”. They ended up leaving each other, or they do it together and they both embraced it and that’s what you ended up doing. I mean, did your partner embrace it or?
It was hard at first because he wasn’t so open-minded about it at first. He came from a small town where everybody just stays where they are, kind of thing.
So, it was difficult to convince him, but when I took him to Thailand for a few weeks and he saw, you know, how people were living and how people were traveling, he just completely, it clicked for him and it changed his mind.
And now he’s one of the most open-minded people that I know and we’ve been traveling together on and off for the last five years.
That’s amazing. I love that he also had that trust in you and was like, “Okay, I’ll do this with you and we can do this together.”.
Which is pretty incredible and sometimes rare, right? To find somebody who’s gonna be able to do that with you and walk through that uncertainty in life.
Yeah, I agree. I think it would’ve been a deal breaker for me if he said he didn’t wanna come. I think I would’ve gone anyway, to be honest.
Absolutely. You’re like, “Peace. That’s it. No more.”.
But that’s awesome. And I totally feel that too, cause that was my husband. He’s the type of person that’s like, “Okay, I need some sort of security. I can’t just leave and go off somewhere. There has to be some sort of whatever, something that we can’t just gallivant off.”.
And it’s funny because now he’s working remotely and he’s like, “Oh my gosh, now we could do X, Y, and Z. And I’m like, “Yes!”.
And I think for a lot of people, I don’t know, I feel like with men, you know, as a partner, it’s like you have to really show them and they have to be in it before they actually can understand it. Because I feel like with us, we can visualize it, we can believe in it, but with them it’s like they actually have to be there and feel it too, to be convinced.
Yeah, 100%. That’s exactly how it’s always been with us. I’m always kind of the one with these big crazy travel plans and ideas and now he kind of just goes along with it and he loves it when we go. So yeah, it works perfectly now.
So, you talked Claudia about how you spoke to other digital nomads, you wanted this type of lifestyle. How did you figure out what was right for you? Because there’s a ton of ways to create income online.
There’s a ton of ways to really make this into a full-time living, but it can get really confusing. How did you decide what was right for you?
It was really difficult for me in the beginning, and I actually think, like I had been planting the seed from actually much sooner.
So, when I was 18, I remember scrolling the internet, searching how to make money online. Back then there wasn’t as much information. This was a good 10 years ago now, and I just kind of, you know, put it on the back burner. I was like, you know, “I can’t do that. That’s just for special kinds of people.”.
So, I think I already kind of had it subconsciously in my mind. And when I started traveling and speaking to people that were doing all sorts of different things, I kind of started getting new ideas and doing more research. When I was backpacking I did a bunch of different casual jobs and many of them I didn’t really enjoy or didn’t really like.
So, when I was teaching English in Vietnam, that was one of the jobs that I did, which I didn’t enjoy that much. I had some spare time available. I was only working about 12 hours a week. So, I was like, “Right, this is it, if I’m gonna do it anytime, it’s gonna be now.”. So I just started researching and, you know, looking up my skills and what can I do with my skills? I had a degree in marketing, which I hadn’t really used and a couple of the things that came up was social media manager, virtual assistant.
And I knew how to use social media, although, you know, I didn’t know how to be a social media manager yet, but I knew that I had a background in marketing. So that’s something that I explored and it took a while for me to actually believe that I could do something like that or start a business because I’d always convinced myself that, you know, people who start businesses are special or they’re really intelligent or really smart or really something.
So it was a lot of, it was more of a mindset shift for me than anything. And also just trying, trying out new things. And once I started just trying it, trying the social media management and trying the virtual assistance, I realized actually, “Of course I can do this.”. This is just something that I have to learn and get better at and build on my skills and believe in myself a bit more. And that’s how I kind of got more and more into it and it got the ball rolling and eventually it kind of just blew up, which was incredible.
That is crazy good because what, you know, we often think is like we have to be the best at something. We have to have gone to school for something and that really affects your ability to do anything, right? Because, you know, for most people who wanna do this lifestyle, they didn’t go to school for it. Everyone is really confused.
And I think since the pandemic happened, a lot more people realized that it’s really something that is stable. You know, you can create a stable income from it. And also, it’s one of those things that if the pandemic happens again, or God forbid, something crazy happens again, you can literally work from anywhere and you do have that freedom or if it’s just the type of lifestyle that you wanna have.
So, you did it because you obviously want this freedom lifestyle, but you also found something that you really created a skill that you enjoyed and that’s something that you were just, you know, just to live off of.
So, why did you do it in terms of like your social media skills? Was it just because you really enjoyed that or was it something that you wanted to get further on and make this into a huge business or a business for yourself?
It started out more of me just trying things out. Back then, I was lacking a lot of clarity in the direction I wanted to go in, in my life. So back then it was more of, you know, I wanna make money so I can continue to travel.
So, it wasn’t until I started trying things out and I worked with a range of clients who gave me different, you know, things to help them with their business. And it was a lot of social media management work and that I realized quite quickly that it’s something that I really enjoyed. One thing that kind of happened to me in corporate was I was in a very non-creative role and I started to tell myself that I was not a creative person. That I had no creativity in me, that I could not do creative roles.
So for so long I was thinking, you know, I can’t, I can’t do social media, I can’t write posts or create content. And as soon as I actually started nurturing that side of myself, I realized, I’m actually really good at this.
And fast forward to now, I create content every single day across multiple channels. And it’s incredible the shift that you see in yourself when you start a business and start trying out new skills. It just started from trying things. And then from that I think I found my passion.
Yeah, I love that. And also the convincing yourself that you’re not creative, especially when you put yourself in the environment where it kind of takes that out of you, you know, and it can become really stifling.
And I think for somebody like you, Claudia, who is super creative, I think there is a point in your life where you have to look at it and be like, “Okay, I could either stay doing this and really not enjoying what I’m doing and then maybe having…”, cause that happened to me, I started having panic attacks because I was just like, “Oh my gosh, what am I doing with my life?”.
Or you can take yourself out of that and really thrive in an environment that you either create for yourself or you have a team that is actually allowing you to grow into that type of, you know, growth that you need for yourself.
So I love that, I love that you realize that for yourself and did something about it.
Yeah. Honestly, I think if I hadn’t escaped that job and actually started trying things, I probably would’ve kept believing these things about myself that just weren’t true.
Yeah. And that’s easy to do, by the way. That’s easy, that’s so easy to do because the environment that you’re around can either nurture that or it could take it away from you. But I think for a lot of creative, it’s, it’s very hard to do unless you’re forced into that situation and thank goodness we’re not and we have choices, you know, especially if you’re still fairly young.
And I see that all the time when, when people are young and they’re very confused and I think we are taught that there’s something wrong with us when we’re confused or we’re trying to figure things out. But then as you grow older, you realize that that’s normal and it shouldn’t be something that you should feel bad about because that’s what life is. You know, it’s just like constant daily figuring things out and you know, if you did figure everything out so soon, I think sometimes that’s also really boring too.
A hundred percent. Yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t like my old job was because it wasn’t challenging me at all or helping me grow. So yeah, a hundred percent agree with that.
So, now that you are able to do this type of lifestyle, how do you make it sustainable for yourself?
Do you stay in one place for a certain amount of time? Do you travel quite often? What is your situation like and how do you make that right for you and your partner as well?
Yeah, so we don’t travel super fast, but I don’t, I mean, it’s not super slow either. In the last year we’ve traveled quite a bit, so in the last year we’ve been in Madeira, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Bali, and now Thailand.
So, I don’t know that, maybe that’s pretty fast in a year. I’m not sure how other nomads are doing it, but we like to spend usually at least a few months in each place because without that, my routine just completely goes out the window and I just feel, you know, like, I don’t know what’s going on.
So, I definitely need at least a few months in each place. But right now what I think we are trying to do is find a country that we can settle down into for a little bit, whether that’s six months, a year and maybe even longer, who knows? But I’m still always gonna wanna travel around a bit, I think. But I do wanna find that place that feels like it could be home for a while.
And just now we stayed in Bali for six months, which was amazing, but I was ready to go and try somewhere else after Bali.
Yeah, I mean, six months is a pretty for, for digital nomads, that’s a pretty long time to do it. Usually here people do like a month or so. But again, this is the type of life where you can decide how long you stay in one place and then go.
And I love that, that you’re trying to find a space or a place that you could call home for a bit. Now, do you have a like criteria of how you find that? Or is it just like going to a few different places and then figuring out if that’s the right one for you?
It’s a, good question. I think I almost feel a bit confused about where I wanna be right now, so that, but I’m quite content traveling around until that place feels right. There’s so many different things about each country that I like and I wish I could take them all and just put them into one place. But obviously it’s difficult to do that.
So, I think for now I’m just going to keep, keep going, keep seeing where it could be a good option for us. I think I like somewhere where there’s a really great community. That’s one thing that I loved about Bali.
I like having great tropical weather, you know, being outdoorsy lifestyle, being out in nature, things like that. And that’s probably one of the reasons I wouldn’t wanna live back in the UK, from my home country. But I also do sometimes miss, you know, western comforts and being in a more homely environment.
So it’s a difficult one. I’m not sure where I’m gonna end up to be honest.
I think that’s the confusion but also the beauty of trying to figure all of that stuff out. Like, it’s confusing but also fun to do that.
You did mention a routine and you wanna stick to your routine. Can you walk us through that? What is that like? Because you know, when we’re at home we have a specific routine.
So what is yours? Like, is it different than when you’re at your, you know, your home, your base, or how do you make that work for you as well?
Yeah, I don’t like to make that super strict, but I do like to have some kind of routine. So whenever I get to a new place, I like to find a gym that we can join if there’s not one in the accommodation, making sure we’re going in the morning and then starting work around nine o’clock and then we, you know, we don’t work too many hours luckily, but we tend to finish around the same time each day around four o’clock, five o’clock.
But that’s obviously not always the way, but when I get to a new place, I like to make sure I’ve got a decent workspace or somewhere that’s comfortable to work in, a decent gym and then figuring out what the food or the, you know, the eating options are.
So it’s pretty basic really. It’s just making sure that I am getting into that and we’re not treating it as a holiday all the time because it’s very tempting when you get to a new place to go out and go start exploring straight away. But obviously I am still running a business, I’m still trying to grow and scale my business.
So it’s important to me that I stay productive as well as enjoy the place that I’m in.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s one of the big mistakes when you’re a newbie at this, is that you tend to forget that you still have to create income. And it is, there’s a lot of distraction from so many different places.
But then you also have to remember, it’s not like a vacation, it’s not a vacation anymore. You do have the time, you know, after work or before work during the weekends to see these different places.
So there’s no rush. And I think we all get really excited, right? And we’re like, “Oh my gosh, I wanna see all these different places.”. And it’s like, “Okay, calm down.”.
Yeah, I was speaking to my Nan on the phone earlier and she was like, “What have you been doing these last few weeks?”.
And I didn’t really have much to tell her cause we’ve been really like working and chilling and just enjoying, you know, and I was like, “It’s not, it’s not a holiday, Nan like I, this is my, my lifestyle. I’m not always just going out and doing things every single day.”. But yeah.
Yeah, it’s most of the time, okay, so, you know, on social media it looks really fun and then your everyday life is literally like your regular routine and then it’s work most of the time, most of the day. And then you go out and do fun stuff.
But I think the different part is that you’re in different cultures, you’re in different scenery that’s just so different from where you are from. So that’s the beauty of it now, you could just explore whenever you want.
Yeah, for me it’s the laid back lifestyle that I love. That’s why I really love being in, you know, Southeast Asia where it’s very relaxed. It’s, life’s like more slow. I kind of like that. I just like the vibe of it, you know?
Yeah. And I think we all need that in our life because, right, you know, it’s been so crazy the last few years that having that laid back type of life is a good change. Especially if you come from a big, huge city and everything is just go, go, go.
So you also mentioned, Claudia, that you and your partner, you are both working at the same time. Are you both working on your business together or is he doing something completely different? How is that, like, what is your work situation together like?
Yes. So, I actually hired him so that we could travel together. So, but when we went back to the UK during the pandemic, he actually got a nine to five job whilst I was building the business. And luckily I managed to get into a position where I could hire him full-time.
So since then, he’s my tech manager, admin, assistant operations manager, CFO, etcetera. So, he does a lot for me. And yeah, we run the business together.
That is incredible.
And oh my gosh, when you get to that point where your partner can actually start working with you because the business is making money, that is pretty amazing and you know, now you can actually do things together and it’s also like a curse and a blessing because being with your partner all the time, like, you’re either going to love each other more or you’re going to kill each other. So.
We have our moments, definitely.
So, you have this business, how did you get your first client? Because I feel like for most people, that is the most nerve wracking, right? Finding that first client that you have and then retaining the clients that you have and continuously growing that business.
I know that’s a lot, you know, to go over. So, let’s start from the beginning. How did you, once you realized that you wanted to do this, how did you get your first client?
Yeah, so this is gonna sound like something really simple, but the way I got my first couple of clients actually was by literally telling everybody what I was doing. That I was starting a business to help as a virtual assistant at first. That’s how it started.
And I remember speaking to this influencer that I’d followed for a while and I messaged her because she’s somebody who inspired me, like mindset wise. And I just reached out to her, told her I was starting a business, and she literally came back to me that same day and was like, “I need a virtual assistant. I need help in my business.”.
And she hired me. That was my very first client. And if I hadn’t had gone out there and started telling everybody what I was doing, I wouldn’t have landed that. So that’s what I would urge people to do. A hundred percent.
And you know, it’s, also, it’s like something that you’re not confident in, especially when you’re just starting out so you’re afraid to say it. Maybe you’re just a little bit shy.
But yeah, it takes, you know, a few minutes a day to just put it out there or just tell people close around you and then the word spreads and that’s honestly one of the easiest ways to do it.
So, once you got your first client, how did you grow this? How did you keep growing your business that now you and your partner are able to do this together?
Yeah, so my primary method of growth has always been Instagram. So I landed, I’d say 90% of my clients have come through Instagram. I got good at Instagram really fast. So, from the beginning, I’d say from the moment I decided I was starting this business, I started posting, you know, at least three to four times a week since that time.
And I haven’t stopped and my content was terrible when I started. I had no idea what I was doing, my content just looked so generic, like everybody else’s. But because I was so consistent and I kept learning from every single time that I posted, I just got better and better at marketing myself and I managed to get actually fully booked within four months of starting the business.
That is amazing. And obviously because this is also what you do, right? You specialize in social media and when you show that, that you’re really good at what you’re doing there, I mean, that in itself is a way for you to start booking these clients because that’s how you convince them, which is, which is amazing.
Exactly. I think it’s so important to showcase what you can do for your own work. So for example, if you’re a writer, like have a blog, showcase your writing.
If you’re a social media manager, have some really great social media profiles. I think that is one of the best ways that you can get clients.
Yeah. And it definitely does take a lot of skill, right?
Cause you know, like the easier it looks, the harder it is. And how did you learn what works for you, Claudia? Was it just kind of trial and error? Did you have a mentor?
Yeah, I, it was a lot of trial and error in the beginning. I have had various mentors on my journey. I’ve never been, I’ve never held back from investing in my business and getting help from people. I think that’s, is quite important.
But it’s been a mixture of just trying and testing. I mean, I’ve had lots of moments where things haven’t worked and things have been really difficult and things haven’t sold as I wanted them to. But you learn from every single thing that works and every single thing that doesn’t work.
So, I think I’ve just had a really great mindset throughout where I haven’t been afraid to fail or I haven’t been afraid to get things wrong. I’ve taken messy action and I’ve been, I’ve showed up the whole way through and that’s helped me, I think, to get where I am now.
Yeah. And it’s those messy actions honestly that will get you through everything and just believing that somehow it’s going to work because you’ve done so many different things already. Yeah. Which is, you know, so crucial if you wanna succeed.
I often wonder back to that time when I was 18 and looking up how to make money online, like what would’ve happened if I started then and not when I was 24.
But we’ll never know. We’ll never know.
So speaking of that, Claudia, do you have any like advice to somebody who wants to do something similar to what you’re doing or maybe just wanna get into this lifestyle that if you heard it when you were 18, it could have changed your life or it could have made you kind of look at it in a different perspective?
Yeah, I would say, I think the thing that really, really got me started and really got me pushing even when, you know, I didn’t even have my first client, was just that really strong vision of where you want to get to. I knew that no matter what, I did not want to work for somebody else. Again, I knew that I needed to have this lifestyle that was the number one thing that I always had at the forefront of my mind. And I would do anything to make that happen.
So, I think if you have a really strong vision and this is the lifestyle that you want, you need to almost live and breathe it. Like go and try it out and show yourself that this is what you want and you can, you know, go out and make it happen. Obviously, you’ve got to put the action steps in place, but I think vision is the number one thing.
Yeah. And you know, just keep going. Just keep doing it and keep believing in yourself. And because there’s going to be a lot of failures, most likely you can’t really succeed without failing.
And I think a lot of people, I think it’s so interesting when people are afraid to fail and I’m like, “Then you’re not gonna ever succeed in anything cause you’re, if you’re afraid to fail and not do well in something.”. So.
Yeah, failing’s important. I think failing has to be a part of the process. It’s never gonna be plain sailing the whole way.
Absolutely. So, let’s move forward to around 40 to 50 years from now, Claudia, and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you wanna be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for somebody who empowers and inspires other female business owners to strive for big, crazy goals whilst living a freedom led lifestyle. That’s what I wanna be remembered for, because I think there’s so many people out there who don’t think this is possible for them or they don’t think they have what it takes.
And I used to be one of those people. So, I want to be able to empower people to go after that life rather than wondering what could have happened if they didn’t.
Love that. And you know, it’s really good to see somebody like you, Claudia, who is able to do this and you are spreading the word out there. And honestly by just you doing it is an inspiration to a lot of people. A lot of, you know, women who wanna do this as well.
But thank you so much, Claudia for sharing with us your journey. If our listeners wanna learn more about you, where can they find you?
Yeah, thank you so much.
So, you can find me on Instagram, Claudia Woodham underscore or on YouTube. Claudia Woodham.
Thanks so much Claudia, we really appreciate you!
Thank you so much!
Listen to Claudia’s extended interview where she talks about hot to sell online courses through social media.
What you’ll find:
In this extended interview, Claudia gives us the 411 on how to use social media to sell online courses.