My name is Carolin, I am originally from Germany and I have been a nomad and roaming the world while working from the most beautiful places for the past 3.5 years. During those years, I have changed my location pretty much every few weeks and called Chiang Mai, Darwin, Sydney, Bali and Barcelona home for a considerable amount of that time with loads of trips to other destinations in-between.
Today, I have a homebase on the beautiful Gold Coast in Australia and still work entirely location independent and still travel a fair bit. I run a social media agency specializing in Facebook Advertising as well as a travel website called breathingtravel.com. I always have new ideas and love being an Entrepreneur!
How did you get started? And how can others do the same?
I started at the end of 2014, I had finished my university degree in Germany the year prior and worked in marketing for a while, but soon got itchy feet and decided to make the jump. I sold up everything in my apartment in Germany and left on a one-way ticket to Thailand. I think everyone can become a nomad, I am not special or anything, you just have to want it enough and make a plan – how you save some money ahead of time, how you’d like to make money on the road, what your skill set is or what skills you need to learn to work online… and then go surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do, that has helped me the most when I arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
What went into building your business? How did you come up with the idea?
I always loved traveling, I already lived overseas when I was 16 as a high school exchange student in Australia and ever since traveled a lot during my studies, I also did two semesters abroad – let’s say travel is ingrained in me! It only was natural to build a site where I could share about all my adventures and help other people travel like I do. With Breathing Travel, I also build up my social media channel, however, prior to that I worked for Tourism Australia in the marketing department and absolutely loved it as it combined both worlds I enjoy most, so I started helping other businesses with social media through my agency breathingsocialmedia.com.
Let’s talk about revenue streams! How do you make money?
Through my agency as well as my travel website with partnerships, affiliates as well as selling products.
How have you grown your revenue?
A lot of it comes through building my brand Breathing Travel over the years, first nobody knows about you and then suddenly your stuff is read, featured and people come flocking in and work with you. Obviously social media has helped a lot, I love Instagram and Pinterest, as well as strategic SEO!
How do you promote your business?
It’s a combination of channels, among them social media, SEO & email marketing as well as I do a fair bit of networking locally as well as when I travel for my social media agency.
What strategies do you use to grow your traffic and followers?
Video is a big driver, such as Instagram Stories and beautiful visuals/content. But also to be consistent on a daily basis and always engaging personally with my followers.
What platforms, tools and Ad networks do you use for your business?
Instagram and Pinterest are my favorite channels, but I am definitely also very present on Facebook. I believe YouTube has a lot of opportunity too however I am not a geek with video edits (yet). I love a tool called Later for IG scheduling and VSCO for editing my images. And I run strategic advertising campaigns across Facebook and Instagram.
To what do you attribute your success? Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
This is largely thanks to the people I met along the way and who have supported me! You cannot do it alone. Building a business, even more while travelling comes with a number of challenges and it is invaluable to build up your network of support, may it be on a business or personal level, you will need both to be successful.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
There sure are plenty along the way. My advice: Take them on with a smile and I am sure you can conquer them. It starts with little things like finding stable wifi everywhere I travelled, to finding workspaces – for example, I have found that if I have at a proper workspace with good desk and inspiring people around me I work 100% more productive than on a swanky chair in some dark café. You know yourself best what you need and how you work best! And then there is the everyday challenges when you travel to a new place: finding a place to stay, where to buy your groceries, finding other people you relate to, buyin the best SIM card plan… Be open that things are done differently than in your home country and you will adapt in no time.
What is the greatest high you had owning your own business?
The freedom and flexibility that it gives me every day! I wouldn’t want to swap that for anything in the world.
How did you earn your first dollar online? Do you still remember?
Sure do! I had my first client within four weeks of arriving in Thailand, I met him in the lobby of my new apartment where I moved in and chatted to him about my services, the week after he rang me to set up to meet and we started working together from there.
It took me longer to get going with the blog since I pretty much ran two things as the same time, but I also still remember making my first affiliate dollar, it’s such a cool feeling to get money coming in without ever touching a product or spending time with a client!
What are your future plans and goals?
I love my new homebase in Australia, it’s where I want to be! I still love to travel and have a few trips planned for the coming year, however I will go a lot slower and do more local travel as well. As for the business, I have plans to grow a product line for Breathing Travel and expand my social media agency with local and online trainings aimed at helping tourism and ecommerce businesses.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Make a plan, especially if you feel unsure. And always keep in mind, there is no failure, you can only learn and grow and be assured that there is always a way back (home) if you ever needed or wanted to go back. Nothing is set in stone, be couragous and just do it. All the challenges along the way will come, surround yourself with the right people and you will concour them in a breeze.
Thanks Carolin! Where can we go to learn more about you and your business?
Feel free to get some travel inspiration over on breathingtravel.com, where I write a lot about Southeast Asia & Australia, as well as how to become a digital nomad and featuring inspiring nomad stories. Come say hello on Instagram too, I am most active there as well as Facebook.
And if you are in need of some Facebook Ads Management or looking for social media coaching, you’ll find me over at breathingsocialmedia.com.