Today I had the privilege to interview Vikki Louise, a self-described reformed hustler turned time hacker. She’s the creator of Time Hackers, a coaching community where “time has nothing to do with clocks and calendars.” Vikki is also host of the F*CK Anxiety & Get Sh*t Done podcast.
What was your inspiration for living and working nomadically? What factors inspired you to leave the stationary lifestyle and start earning money remotely?
I first left to live overseas straight out of university, and went to Australia, literally the other side of the world. It was there that I fell in love with the idea of putting myself in completely new environments that required me to literally build a life and network. I’m a personal development junkie and this was the ultimate high.
What unexpected challenges and hurdles have you encountered so far as a digital nomad?
So when I decided to leave corporate, I was already sold on the nomad life, had already lived on three continents, and had taken lots of time out to travel. For me, it wasn’t so much a conscious choice to start earning remotely, more that I quit, and spent the next 6 months traveling so automatically built my business remotely from the start.
Do you have any personal anecdotes or stories about the hardships you’ve faced as a location independent worker? How did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdles and challenges have always provided the biggest growth opportunities: this past year, living in France during the pandemic, was the first time I really experienced loneliness as a nomad. I moved with my partner for his pilot school (a good choice in a partner for a travel lover!) and it hasn’t been the best year to be social as bars and restaurants have been shut, and in-person social events have been cancelled. Add to this that I don’t speak the local language and it has definitely been a challenge. Especially since I love people. In saying that, I never would have spent so much time with myself and built the relationship I now have otherwise.
The nomad lifestyle continues to provide me with opportunities to grow and learn. A few months ago I was in an Airbnb with bad wifi and no permanent address or local bank account (both required to buy a portable router and each required for the other). It was also a month I’d been invited on my coach’s podcast and to teach in her community – both of which were massive opportunities. Luckily, after spending a few days with dodgy internet and apologizing to clients I was able to get into a coworking space and rent a private office. It was a huge investment (the same as the Airbnb for the month), but completely worth it. Simply just to see other faces. This has been a year of spending time in the apartment, the park, and the supermarkets. Now, I’m itching to explore.
Has any aspect of the lifestyle and career been easier than expected? Is there anything that you thought would be difficult but, in reality, hasn’t been?
It has been really easy to grow my business and create global clients while changing time zones. The world is so easily set up for this type of work and in the past year people that had originally insisted on in-person meetings opened up to doing them online. I also am not shy about hiring experts to make sure I’m up to date with taxes and legal obligations. This eliminates any stress as I move around and I highly recommend making those investments to anyone doing this.
What character traits would you say are the most important or essential for successful digital nomads?
I would say resilience, openness, and courage. They can all be learned, and I know I continue to develop them more and more as I continue as a digital nomad. It’s part of the reason I continue to love this lifestyle. It really provides so many opportunities for growth and discomfort for brains wired to seek comfort and pleasure and play small. For sure, it has impacted my success in my business.
If you were starting over from scratch today, what would you do differently?
Hire a coach sooner. Join an online community of like-minded people. That’s why I love creating my Time Hackers coaching community – it is everything I wanted to find. I would also be more vocal about my business sooner – you’ll be amazed how many people you know are looking for the solution you provide.
What would you say to aspiring digital nomads looking to get started on a similar career path? Any words of wisdom or cautionary tales?
I would say jump, now. The best plans will still change, the best way to build this life is to get out there and do it. Things will not go to plan and that’s the best part so cut the planning down and just go for it. If you try to avoid things going wrong you are really trying to avoid the best parts.
What did you do early on to improve your platform’s visibility and online presence?
The best thing I did was launch my podcast (F*CK Anxiety & Get Sh*t Done) when I couldn’t meet client demands. I did it because I wanted everyone to have access to bitesize learning teaching simple tools that I wish had been taught in school, so we can all manage procrastination, perfectionism, anxiety, and more. There’s no editing, and it’s super simple, but has reached over 250,000 downloads and created most of my clients. This definitely has been a commitment too – recording an episode every single week, I once missed a deadline and thought about recording from an airport, before realizing the sound quality would be terrible for my listeners. I confessed and built a whole episode around it. It ended up being one of my most downloaded episodes. I would also say that having clients all over the world is interesting for optimizing social media posts – I tend to spend less time thinking about the right time to post and let the quality of what I teach bring people in.