The Dojo Nomad Show 003

Watch the Dojo Nomad Show with Danielle Thompson today to find out Danielle’s success recipe for high productivity, traveling as a pro and how to earn enough money with a few hours work a day.

More episodes of The Nomad Show on our Youtube Channel. 



D = Danielle I = Interviewer C = Cameraman

D: Ready?

I: Kay.

D: Are we ready?

I: Yeah.

(music) dojo nomad show

D: Are you going to always make eye contact with me this whole time?

I: Nah, I’ve never looked at anyone before.

D: Okay, cool.

I: (laughter)

C: Okay, we’re rolling.

I: But we’re gunna have, like, a conversation.

D: Okay.

I: Okay. So, here we are. Episode /three of the Dojo Nomad Show

D: /(laughter) 

I:  and, I don’t know I think this one’s gunna be interesting because we are joined all the way from Canada by Danielle Thompson. How’re you sister?

D: I’m good. I’m good, yeah.

I: You’re good. Yeah=

D: =It’s a great day.

I: Yeah.

D: It’s a great day.

I: We can’t maintain this eye contact for like /an hour

D: /It’s really creeping me out /(laughter). I feel so uncomfortable.

I: (laughter)

D: Okay.

I: Okay, good. So (laughter). So, am, we’re interested in, kind of, your digital nomad story?

D: Okay.

I: Like, all your stories /are really interesting.

D: /(laughter).

I: So, I think it’s gonna be fun.

D: Uh…

I: So, (1.00) tell us about yourself. Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?

D: Oh, I’m still trying to figure most of those things out but, you know, I’m Danielle. I’m from Canada. Uh, I run a design agency called Moku. So, I’ve been working as a designer, first freelance, then I have hired some awesome people over the last six years, actually. And now I’m building a school to teach freelancers business skills. ‘Cus I realised I was really good at the business side of all this stuff, you know. And I couldn’t find anything online that didn’t take less than six weeks to learn a skill and I have a very short attention span. So, I’m creating these three day workshops, uh, to teach people different business skills.

I: Okay, a famously short attention span. So, /six years you’ve been doing this.

D: /(laughter). Yeah but it’s always like, it’s, it feels really casual to me, you know? My business always feel (laughter)it feels quite casual.

I: Okay.

D: Like, it never, it is a business, you know, in so many ways, like, it’s set up as a business, it runs as a business, it helps businesses, it’s profitable. But it just feels pretty casual, you know? (2.00)

I: Okay, that’s good.

D: Yeah!

I: So, no stress.

D: Um, like, I used to get stressed when I wasn’t good, you know? I feel like that’s why people get stressed ‘cus they’re not very good and they’re stressed out about how to fix the problem. But once you kind of get good at what you do, there’s a lot less stress.

I: Yeah, that makes sense. /(laughter)

D: /(laughter)

I: Okay, cool. So, um, I’m interested to, kind of, know, I’m sure everyone’s interested to kind of know how you got into this position to be so good (laughter)

D: Yeah.

I: And so humble, as well. /(laughter)

D: /(laughter). I’m trying. Um, yeah, I. How did I get so good, no, how did I start all of this. I started, okay.

I: So, it was quite interesting, so, tell us about your first day at work. That was quite a good story.

D: Oh, like, when I tried to get a job? That time /I got a job?

I: /yeah.

D: Okay, so, /well

I: /How many jobs have you had?

D: Well, no I haven’t had any jobs that I actually went to. I’ve just signed contracts and maybe showed up, like, one time. /So

I: /Okay.

D: my first job was actually at a theme park.

I: Yeah.

D: And, I, it was called Wonderland at the time (laughter)(3.00). /That

I: /Where is this? /In Canada?

D: /In Canada. (laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: And I was, the, a merchant, right? So that’s, like, a really good position. They gave me a math test and everything so I was quite scared I’d failed that, but I passed, /right

I: /Okay.

D: and, am, they gave me the position of a merchant. I was making nine fifty an hour.

I: Okay. Is that a lot of money?

D: No, no, it was Canadian dollars too so it was, like, six US /(laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: And, and, the bus ride to get there would cost more than that. Am, but, still. So, I was a merchant but I also had to make candy apples, right?

I: Okay.

D: (laughter)So, (laughter)so, I was working at this candy apple stand. There was two types. There were sugar apples. Like, the red ones, you know?

I: Yeah.

D: And then the caramel ones. And I love caramel. But they told me I couldn’t eat the caramel while I was working. And I thought this was just blasphemy, like, you know, I’m there all day. I have to look at this caramel and I can’t even just nibble on it on my break or something like that, right? /So

I: /That sounds like blasphemy. /Yeah

D: /it does. (laughter)

I: it sounds like torture.

D: And then you have to, like, wash your hands in between (4.00)everything, right? So, if someone might just show up, right? At the, to buy something. You run to wash your hands and your hands get so dry, and, so after two shifts, I was, it was too much for me /and I

I: /Okay.

D: I told them the job wasn’t working out well for me.

I: /Okay

D: /Um.

I: so, after two shifts, how long’s a shift?

D: Like, four hours?

I: So, you /did

D: /Five hours?

I: eight hours and you were like, this is enough.

D: Well, it’s just, yeah. It didn’t seem like the right fit for my skills.

I: Okay, and there was another job where they expected you to turn up.

D: Yeah, so that job of, I was. Okay, so, it was so interesting because I hadn’t graduated from university and I went and I, just like, applied to a bunch of things on LinkedIn and, kind of, just, like, mass messaged them and, uh, I got this interview with this giant SAS company. And they interviewed me, I talked to the CEO and they asked me to be the head of design, and I was like, wow. / I was

I: /How old were you then?

D: I was nineteen, I guess. Twenty, twenty? How old are you when you finish university, I guess? Twenty?

I: I was late.

D: Oh. (5.00) (laughter).

I: (laughter)

D: Maybe twenty-one? I don’t know. Whatever age=

I: =You must be twenty-one when you finish university. You start university /when you’re eighteen.

D:/’Cus I finished two years ago and I’m twenty four now.

I: Okay, so you were twenty two.

D: /Math.

I: /And you passed that math test?

D: Yeah, (laughter)right. So, I’m twenty two and I’m gunna, like, be the head of this, of design, for this SAS company. And I was like, ah, cool. Yeah, why not, right? And, um, so they invite me to the Christmas party. I sign all the contracts and I didn’t even know how to sign a work contract so I, like, went to the washroom and called my dad. (laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: Dad. Like, what do I do? I took a screenshot, I took, like, pictures of the contracts and I sent it to my dad. And then he was like, he was like, don’t worry Danielle, it’s okay, and he helped me through it. And, this is, they want me to lead this company, right? And I was like, wow. Am, so I go to the Christmas party and have a great time. Awesome food, they give me, like, a fifty dollar gift card. I was like, life is good. And I was talking to who would be my manager. And I was like, hey, so, you know, I live in Montreal, that’s where I was living at the time. And I said, okay, but I’ll be working from home most of the time (6.00) but I’ll come in for meetings. And he was like, okay, and, I, I said I explained my manager when I work from home and everything was good. I was like, wow, this is gonna be a great job and then, uh, a day later I get an e-mail from the HR person and she said hey I would love for you to come in for another interview we heard you wanted to work from home and, uh, you know, water cooler culture is really important to us. And I was like, water cooler culture? You know, I looked it up. It’s like standing around the water cooler (laughter). I was like, that’s efficient. Um, and, uh, so, I, I quit. And, I, I, I quit the job and I said I don’t think it’s the right environment for me, you know, because I wanna be in a company whose values the output, you know, not where I am. It seemed kind of silly.

I: Okay, so your experience of working with that countries, uh, with that company is that you went to the Christmas party=

D: =It was so fun.

I: And then they expected you to show up, and you were like, no, I’m not showing up.

D: Well, I e-mailed them.

I: You e-mailed them.

D: Yeah.

I: Okay, cool. Is that on your CV now that job?

D: (laughter)No.

I: (laughter)

D: I don’t think it would be the best reference. (7.00)

I: Maybe not the best reference. So, you graduated only two years ago but you’ve been running this business for six years.

D: Yeah.

I: Okay.

D: (laughter)

I: So, that’s cool. So, tell us about that. Why did you decide to run your own business?

D: Well, I went to go apply for jobs when I was around sixteen with my friend at the mall. So, we had our resumes printed out. I had, you know, did mine in Photoshop it was really nice and it looked good and, I thought, I thought I was qualified, you know. I asked my mom for a reference and=

I: =Qualified for what /at sixteen?

D: /I don’t know. Something, like, retail, right? You know, since we went to the mall.

I: Okay.

D: And everyone rejected me but all my friends got interviews and I was so sad. I have no idea why but I was so sad. Maybe I was, I think I was very awkward, you know, I was a bit nervous. And I was like, can I, can I have a job please? (laughter)

I: I can’t imagine you being awkward or nervous.

D: Yeah, I was a really nervous person. And I was like, can I please have a job, and like, handing my resume, shaking, so nervous, you know. And, um, I, ‘cus I had never done this before. This like, getting a job thing. And, uh, I got rejected. I was sad. (8.00) I came home. I was super distraught and my mom was like, you don’t need a job. Like, you’re in high school, it’s fine. Just like go to school and learn and enjoy, you know. And from that day I was like I never want a job again. This is awful. Like, that, it felt so bad, I was like, this is just like, I don’t want to deal with this ever again so I’m just going to run my own company.

I: Okay. So you started your own company when you, uh, so you did. You went to high school, you didn’t have a job, you enjoyed high /school

D: /Yeah.

I: stuff like that. But then, later on you must have needed some money or /something.

D: /Well. I, I, I ran a little photography business when I was in high school. So, I would take pictures of my friends’ moms and husbands (laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: Or just the moms or the baby or.

I: Okay.

D: Yeah. Yeah, so=

I: =It sounds really inspiring.

D: (laughter)So, basically I, uh, I actually, this is an internship I got in high school. So I was always trying to find ways to avoid being in school.

I: Yeah.

D: So, I would take gym. And I would just like, try to find the minimal amount of credits I needed so that I could get to university(9.00). Um, to the ones I wanted. And one way was co-op. So, you get to take this whole semester off of school and just go work, in like, some creative place, right? And I was like, this sounds way better than going to school. So, I was working at this photography studio and I was designing albums, taking pictures, working with, like, really high-end clients and stuff, and it was super cool. Uh, and so that’s how I kind of got into photography and I was, uh, I did that when I was seventeen, and, um. Yeah, then I was like, I could make a little side business off of this so I could buy, like, I wanted more RAM for my computer. It was two hundred bucks, and I was like, I’ll do this shoot for two hundred bucks. And then I bought some more RAM and.

I: Okay, cool. So quite entrepreneurial then. But that sounds like a job, like a work placement job kind of a thing.

D: Yeah, except you don’t get paid. So, it’s an internship ‘cus it’s high school /and you’re seventeen

I: /Ah, okay.

D: And like, it’s very, like they didn’t always expect me to be there and, you know, we’d go to parties together and it was just like. I mean, if that’s a job I’ll take it, but.

I: Yeah. You wanna get paid if it’s a job though, really.

D: Yeah, exactly. (10.00)

I: Okay, cool. So, you’re, now you’re sixteen or seventeen. You’re a /high school

D: /I was like, no not now. I’m twenty-four.

I: still. Not now, no. (laughter)Still twenty-four but you’re running your own business.

D: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So, I, little, small stuff, right?

I: Okay.

D: So, my dad’s an entrepreneur. My dad works in financial services and he’s always worked for himself. So, from when I was really young I’d be in the car and my dad’s like, Danielle so what do you do when your stocks drop? And I was like, you buy low and you sell high. (laughter)And like, this is me at like, nine, you know?

I: It sounds like a TV show.

D: Yeah, or a cult or something like that. I don’t know, like. (laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: I say I’ve been positively brainwashed, you know, from a young age.

I: Yeah.

D: And, um, he’d give me these How Money Works for Kids books and stuff and to learn if you invest your allowance what happens and things like that.

I: Okay, cool.

D: Yeah.

I: Sounds like a Rich Dad, Poor Dad kind of a/

D: /Well, he loved that book.

I: Kind of in real life. He loved that book.

D: Yeah. /I never read it.

I: /Cool. So, quite entrepreneurial. How much were you, (11.00) how much were you working? How much were you making?

D: At that age, /oh,

I: /Yeah.

D: just like, money here and there. Like, two hundred bucks, like, you know, for that one shoot. I was, I was making very sporadic money I wasn’t making anything consistent when I was seventeen.

I: But probably more than your friends were making. Like, if you compare it to the time and stuff=

D: =Yes. /Definitely.

I: /But you weren’t thinking like that at the time.

D: No, I wasn’t. I just wanted to buy RAM. (laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: And pizza, right? You know, these are the things /that were important.

I: /Okay. If you could buy RAM and pizza then you’re golden.

D: Then I’m golden. And that’s the thing right?

I: Yeah.

D: You just work for what you need.

I: And that’s it. Okay, so that’s cool. So, then, have you had other jobs? I think it’s hilarious, your work history.

D: (laughter)No, so, I was seventeen. No, I just did that little photography bit and then when I got to university, that first year I actually got recruited by the university to do contract work.

I: Okay.

D: I went to this, uh, I don’t know, day. And, I, my parents encouraged me to network and they were like, go talk to people. So, I did. (12.00) And I met this girl and I was like, yeah, I do photoshop things. I was studying at the time fine art and business. It was like this combined programme. So, you take things like drawing and painting. But you also take things like economics and accounting. So, it was really interesting. And I told her I did things in photoshop. And she said you should come to this place, ah, where we do research for tech start ups in Canada. And, uh, they would love you. And I was like, oh, okay cool. So, I showed up and it was kind of creepy too ‘cus this place was like out of town and stuff so you had to like, like (laughter)leave town and there’s like a big, uh, Mennonite community there. So, the landscape completely changes, there’s horses and like, really out of town. And, and there’s this like building, you go into and then there’s, like, this tech research centre there. In the middle of this, like, Mennonite village.

I: Mennonite village.

D: Yeah.

I: What’s a Mennonite village?

D: It’s just, like, where a lot of Mennonites live together.

I: Who are Mennonites?

D: Don’t go into it. Anyways, /(laughter)

I: /(laughter)

D: But, no, so this very traditional village, /you know,

I: /Okay.

D:  (13.00) and there’s horses and there’s farming and kind of more traditional way of living. And then there’s this research tech centre in just like, this randomly. So, it was pretty strange taking the bus out there for the first time.

I: Yeah.

D: And I get there and they show me all this cool technology, it’s when they’re doing like, the VR, or, no, was it AR, Augmented Reality stuff was happening and they were doing, like, I don’t know some cool stuff in there. And they asked me to do a design and research project. And I was like, okay. So, they said, when people come into the office we want them to be greeted, they have a fob and we want something to show up on the screen and, we wanna, you know, think that through. And they’re like, just come up with anything. And I was like, someone’s gonna pay me for this. I was like, sceptical, you know, I didn’t know. The, two hundred bucks, right? And ten hours of work. It was twenty dollars an hour. So, I stepped it up, right? From my six dollars, or like, my nine dollars an hour from, from the theme park and, am, I was, uh, I was like, just doing random things in photoshop (14.00) like, it wasn’t functional or anything and they loved it. And I was like, huh, this is interesting, like, it was just me thinking and brain dumping and they got so much value out of it. They started thinking about new ideas and all. I was like, this is interesting, like, people will pay me to think about things and, like, just, kind of, draw it up in photoshop. This is like a great gig. Um, and then, uh, I met, uh, this guy, we were dating. He (laughter), he would be, either like, we’d be making food and he’d be like, oh, just one second I’m gonna take a call. Thinking he’s calling his mum or something, it’s like a business call. Ah, yeah, I just made seventy-five dollars. I was like, I’m only making twenty dollars for my hour. What are you doing? He’s like, you can work online, you know. I work online for companies in the UK. I was like, huh. What is this world, you know, that I’m falling into and, um, and that’s how I discovered the world of online working.

I: Okay, cool. So, when, when is this now? In this story?

D: This, I’m eighteen, nineteen.

I: Eighteen or nineteen. Okay, but you’re still gonna go to university.

D: I’m in university now. (15.00) /The first year

I: /In university. Okay, cool. And your business is kind of running throughout this, is this, or are you now start thinking I’m gonna run a business.

D: So, I’m start, I’m doing little gigs on the side here and there but it’s, you know, I’ve been doing design work for the past six years but I haven’t been, like, running a proper design business for six years. That’s very recent, like, actually, you know, so that I could live off of it fully. ‘Cus I just graduated two years ago. So, I’ve only had two years actually focusing on this business but it’s going swimmingly.

I: (laughter)Swimingly.

D: (laughter)Swimingly.

I: Okay, cool. So, am, Okay, cool. And then, so, you graduate, two years ago.

D: Yeah, but there’s so much that happened in between.

I: Okay, so tell us about that.

D: Yeah, so I started another company, right? /Um

I: /Okay.

D: so because I was, after I learned about freelance and working online I was doing that, I was outsourcing things. I was, I was running like a micro business, right? Um, where I would delegate more than I would actually work and I was making way more money than all of my friends in university but I was by far the worst designer. (16.00) Like, seriously, I was so bad at that time. And I was actually getting a chance to work in my industry, working with really big clients and stuff like that, and my friends were working, you know, retail jobs. Or, or, or doing things outside of their industry and I was like this makes no sense, you know? And I kind of felt like school was the system that created, um, people waiting for validation, you know? So, like, when I graduate, when I get to this step, when I get this internship, when I do this, I don’t know, finish this project, I’ll be good enough. And I was like, you guys are all good enough right now. It’s not your lack of skills, it’s totally a lack of confidence. And so, I started a company called Intern to help connect, uh, students, with work online, right? So, taking, looking at, like, the time it was E-lance, not Upwork. But looking at their business models and just making it for students. Um, and so I raised some money. I raised like seventy-five k for that company and (laughter)

I: How do you raise seventy-five k?

D: (laughter)(17.00) So, I moved, I had switched schools, so, by this time I moved to Montreal. But, I moved back for the summer to, um, that first school I went to. Like, that same town. ‘Cus it has the highest millionaires per capita in, in Canada. So, I’m like, well, if I need to raise money I’m gunna move back there, right?

I: Okay.

D: So, I moved back there. And I just go to all these parties with all these, like, very rich people and I just chat. And, and just ask them, like, hey did you want to have dinner? And mentor me? And we would just have dinner and then one day, one, one of them was like hey, do you need money for your company? I was like, yeah, I do. And, um, and then I raised thirty five from that person. Thirty five k. And then there was a match fund, right? From the government. And so, I, I was eligible for the match fund, um, and some money for coaching and all this stuff. But, I was, okay, ask your question.

I: You know this doesn’t happen to normal people, yeah?

D: Well, it’s (laughter)

I: (laughter)(18.00) So, you’re like, there’s, so, so many justs. Like this guy, this person, just gave me thirty five k. Or I just ended up doing the work that I really wanted to do. How did it happen? Like, so I understand. /You went to

D: /(laughter)Yeah.

I: the parties. You met millionaires, stuff. You went to dinner. They suggested they wanted to invest in you. /So,

D: /Yeah.

I: that’s how that happened. But how did you end up working with the people, exactly the people you wanted to work with? And in your industry? Like, where did those relationships start? Where did they come from?

D: Online.

I: Online.

D: Yeah. Online. (laughter)

I: (laughter) 

D: Everything happens online.

I: Everything does happen online.

D: But, um, yeah, it just would, I would just pitch a lot, you know? My dad taught me to run ratios. So, he said for every ten things you send out you might get one back. So, I just took that ratio. Mine is a lot better these days, /don’t get me wrong.

I: /Okay.

D: But that was the ratio I based on all my pitching. And it was just a numbers game, right? I just kept sending things. I had a lot of free time. Like, university was not hard, right? So

I: Well, that was also what I was wondering. When did you study? Did you /pass your degree?

D: /Yeah. Yeah, I did really well. (19.00) Like, did really, really well. Just, below honours though.

I: (laughter)Okay.

D: (laughter)But I did really well. So, with my degree it was a design degree. And, but, it was a lot of design thinking. So, we were allowed to, we got a brief and we were allowed to interpret it any way we’d like. And, so, I knew this digital stuff. I could figure out how to build an app or a website. I could go on Skillshare, you know? But I wanted to, like, weld and woodwork. So I would spend, like, welding and woodworking and being in the shop and stuff like that, so. That’s what I did at school most of my days. I would just be in the shop. Doing, like, making things out of metal and wood and then making that relevant to the brief somehow. (laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: But, um, yeah. So, that’s it. I didn’t find school very challenging. ‘Cus it was just a lot of creative thinking, and you know, pitching, really, you know? You think of something. You pitch it. You sell it. People like it. They buy it. And, uh, not physically buy but, you know, like=

I: =Buy the idea.

D: Yeah, they buy the idea. And it was good. My friends were all stressed about school. It was so funny. They would be so (20.00) worried all the time. Like, oh my god. This is due in two days. I’m like, it’s fine. Like, guys, don’t worry. It’s all gonna be okay. And, um. So, I don’t know. I must have believed that if you do, if you’re happy. Everything else will work out.

I: I think that’s true.

D: Yeah.

I: I think I believe that as well, yeah. Um, so, you. How were you pitching? You were pitching online? You were saying online, /so is it through

D: /Yeah.

I: like LinkedIn or is it through=

D: =Well, at the time it was E-Lance.

I: Oh, was it E-Lance?

D: Yeah.

I: So, you were posting as a freelancer on E-Lance and you were getting jobs. But then you were outsourcing.

D: Some of that.

I: So, you started outsourcing early.

D: Yeah. So, some of them I would outsource because, I, you know, in truth the client back then got, like, so much value because they got me delegating and that person outsourcing because I wasn’t super good. I would take small margins to try and get the best value for my clients, you know? And, uh, so I was only outsourcing ‘cus I didn’t know how to do it yet. You know, when they said build a website I said, yeah, I can do that. (21.00) And I found the people who could do that and, and, and they did a good job and I delivered it. But I manage all the client relationships and did all the meetings and called them and made sure everyone was happy. So,

I: Okay. Where in the world are these people that you are outsourcing to?

D: Um, everywhere really. You know, everywhere. Like, at the start I think it was a lot of, like, people from the Ukraine. I don’t know why. (laughter)

I: (laughter)

D: Uh, you know, I tried to hire my friends as much as I could. You know, because I was, that was the premise of the company that I was starting. To hire students. I tried to hire my friends as much as I could. Give them as much work as I could. ‘Cus if it stays in the family then we can all go out on that money, you know? So, I would always just make deals sometimes. I’d be like, you know, I’ll pay for your drinks tomorrow night if you, like, design this logo. And (laughter)just, like, make all these deals and stuff with my friends. And it was great. It was a really fun, we had so much fun working together. Like, we would go to cafes and then be like, alright, time to party now. Close the laptops and then head off to, like, go dance and stuff. It was just a good time.

I: (22.00)But the outsourcing thing doesn’t work for everyone. Like, still lots of /people

D: /Yeah.

I: have tried. I’ve tried. I don’t think it’s been particularly successful for me. So, is there a different, you’ve got this happy outlook and everyone wants to do stuff with you and party with you and is that what’s going on.

D: Am, I just, don’t take this the wrong way, okay?

I: I have, how could I not take it the wrong way now? (laughter) Wait, let me brace myself.

D: Okay. I just, this is my thing. Ask yourself, am I a good client? Like, and I think that if you, if you think of yourself as a client and you were like working for you it might not be as, as, as, as ideal as a freelancer would want it. You know what I mean? And I think a lot of people are bad clients. And that’s why they have bad experiences with outsourcing. And I’m not saying that you’re the worst client, don’t worry. But it’s=

I: =But I’m definitely bad.

D: You know, and I was a bad client too. You know, I used to be a bad client and micro manage. Or, you know, not let people be creative but I try and treat my, my contractors or my employees (23.00) now how I want, would like to be treated. And, um, you know, they, everyone works differently. So, for sure you’re gonna adjust things and maybe have to tighten things up with certain people.  Or if you just start working with them to be a bit more strict than other times. But I think that people often don’t treat contractors like humans sometimes. And, uh, that’s the feedback I get a lot. So many of my contractors are willing to work with me for free and I’ll never let them do it. But they wanna work with me and they wanna work for me. Because we just have a lot of fun. Like, talking to my VA last night, at like, I don’t know ten o’ clock about the Philippines and where I should go and just chatting them up. But then this morning I thought she made a mistake and I definitely told her. I said hey, did you do this? And, but I always put it on myself though. I said, you know, was this clear enough? Did I make it clear enough? And, because, I don’t know, like, there’s bad fits but it’s always my fault because it’s my business.

I: Yes. Okay, so that’s good. Like, taking personal /responsibility

D: /Yeah.

I: is really powerful, obviously. And, that’s good. But what, so does that mean that they get to make mistakes for a period of time (24.00) and you need to let it go. Or does it mean don’t, like, you give time, you invest time for the relationship to develop.

D: I give good instructions. I give really good instructions. So, um, it’s, I don’t really leave room for mistakes.

I: Okay.

D: So, if you give enough instructions and if you make it very very clear and, so, I often use video where they can see exactly if it’s a process I’ll even draw it out, the whole process and I’ll do, like, a flow chart of exactly the steps and all the contingencies so if this, then this. If that, then this. So, I don’t really leave that much room for error. And then, if there is error it’s because I didn’t communicate very well most likely. In like, every case that there’s been an error, almost, I didn’t communicate well. Unless, they’re just like, you know, not good at their job in general, you know. And I, then I hired the wrong person. So, it’s like always me, uh, to some extent /responsible

I: /Okay.

D: for their output.

I: That’s amazing. So, at what point, so, (25.00)at what point does it become efficient if you’re doing all of the stuff. If you’re drawing it out, you’re giving them wire frames, every instruction, making videos. Is it not, then, does there not come a point where you might as well just do it yourself?

D: No, ‘cus, it’s, that’s what a lot of people run into trouble with is that, they don’t always realise the value of systems and setting them up early. So, you know, I spent one day a few weeks ago planning out the next four weeks for my contractor. It took, like, you know, a day to do it, you know. And it felt like, oh my gosh, I wish I could just do this myself. But now, that’s like four weeks that I don’t have to look at what he’s doing. Or, um, you don’t even have to plan so far in advance. It would be task by task and when you actually think about the time it would take to do this task, like, I had my VA organise my taxes, you know, /like

I: /Yeah.

D: um, ‘cus it was just, I had, I had categories of expenses line by line and, but, I need totals of these categories and I needed it presented in a way that I could move things around and things would react to each other. And it seemed like I could do it and I started to do it but, (26.00) it’s, not, that’s not my specialty, /you know?

I: /Yeah.

D: And, so, inherently it takes me longer than it would, than it takes her even though I had to make her a little video to show /her

I: /Yeah.

D: step by step.

I: And now you work with these people for a period of time. So, you have a relationship with these people and they’re coming, like, the more you have invested /the easier it is?

D: /Um. Yeah that’s definitely true, but, uh, there is turnaround though, right? Especially for positions like a VA there has been turnaround, um, because that’s a position that I’m learning to delegate for. So, I’m learning how to hire for that. So, right now I have, um, a lovely lady who I just hired. So, I’m trying to see if that works now. And it might work, it might not work but I’m not as proficient in hiring for tasks that are not native to me. I mean it’s better for me to hire a designer, um, and so, I give myself room and I give them room to, to test the waters. It’s a relationship, right? /It’s a relationship.

I: /Yeah, yeah, yeah.

D: You gotta see if it works and break up if it doesn’t.

I: And where in the world is this VA?

D: So, my VA’s in the Philippines. My designer is in Vietnam. (27.00)And I have a, uh, another girl who does various tasks like editing or, like, just some social media stuff or management and she’s in Jordan.

I: Okay.

D: No. She’s in Georgia. But not /America Georgia.

I: She’s in Georgia.

D: Like Georgia in=

I: = The Caucasus. In Russia. Near Russia, Georgia.

D: Yeah, that place.

I: Yeah. Okay, cool. So, when did you start outsourcing? You started outsourcing, like, really young.

D: Yeah, pretty young.

I: Like eighteen or nineteen.

D: Yeah.

I: Okay, cool. You’re so fucking clever. (laughter)

D: (laughter)

I: And so good at this stuff. I think that’s what’s amazing. Okay, so then the, the business is now running. You start this business called Interns.

D: Yeah. Oh, Intern. It’s called Intern.

I: Intern.

D: You know, yeah, so it was called, like, I don’t remember what the domain was but it was called Intern. And, uh, so yeah, I raised the money and I was trying to figure everything out, and, uh, I was trying to get some assets for my school ‘cus they had, kind of like, an incubator (28.00) space and stuff like that. But that wasn’t working out. And, uh, I was really stressed. I was so stressed. I was so stressed and I was, like, really upset most of the time, you know? I was just, like, I was in school, I was trying to run this business. I had people now, I, I was about to take their money because I was setting up the bank accounts and all this stuff and I was just, like, freaking out. Like, having anxiety. I was super stressed. And I looked at my investor at the time and I looked at his lifestyle and he was stressed, you know? And he had so much more money than me. And he was, like, doing well, traditionally, you know? And, um, but he was stressed. He was very unhappy. And I was like, so am I working all of this to be like that? Like, this makes no sense. You know, and I, I, I started, I remember seeing my friends and stuff who were building start-ups in that in that incubation space in, in my school as well. Like, they weren’t eating properly. They would eat like just pizza. I know that in high school I was only eating pizza but now we’re not in high school so you gotta eat other things, you know?

I: (laughter)

D: (laughter)So, so, they’re just eating pizza(29.00). They’re stressing on, they’re not sleeping. They don’t have healthy relationships and, and I was just like this seems like a poor trade off, you know, like, I’m not guaranteed the next how many years of my life and, like, I’m gonna spend years building this company that’s statistically set up to fail. Um, and, and, and make my body suffer and make all this, it was, it was, you know, yeah. It was not good because at the time also I just got diagnosed with ADHD, right? So, I got diagnosed with ADHD.

I: Why does that surprise me? That you got diagnosed with ADHD.

D: (laughter)It says on Aderol, right, I was on Aderol. So, I was like, wuh, I’m gonna be working and I realised in this moment that Aderol is taking all my creativity. And I was like, this is no fun. I’m, like, such a robot. I’m like, I’m not even hilarious anymore (laughter).

I: Imagine that.

D: And I was like, I was, uh, making like DIY soylent, you know? ‘Cus, they’re soylent. You know soylent? That like=

I: =Soylent?

D: Yeah.

I: No.

D: It’s like food replacement and you /just like

I: /Okay.

D:  yeah, like, astronaut kind of food. And, like, but there was DIY ones. I was making that ‘cus your (30.00) appetite’s gone when you take Aderol and all this stuff. And I was like, I could totally just be outside having fun. Like, you know, there’s building this company and just like being stressed and whatever and maybe getting a salary of, like, (laughter)a little bit of money. Or, um=

I: =Who is that?

(mumbling in background)

I: ‘Kay, am, yeah.

D: Or, or just hanging out with my friends and enjoying my life, you know? A lot more. /So.

I: /Okay.

D: I decided to hang out with my friends. So I, like, dissolved that company.

I: Okay, so how long did that run for? How long was that going for?

D: Like, less than a year.

I: Oh, okay.

D: Yeah.

I: But considerable. Had you spent some of that investment money or not?

D: No. I didn’t take any of the money, actually.

I: Oh, okay.

D: So, I had, like, I still have the contracts, technically, but, (laughter)I didn’t take any of the money because I felt like I, I, I, I wanted to think about it before I took anything to see if I was invested in it. And I wasn’t. And I mean, I could have took and run but I’m not an awful person, so.

I: So, do you feel responsible for people? So, do you feel responsible for people?


Dojo Bali is a coworking space located on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. Dojo Canggu is open 24/7 and located at Echo Beach, Canggu offering a collaborative and relaxing coworking environment. New locations are coming soon. Stay tuned to find out where the next Dojo will be set up.

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