You Don’t Have to Sell Everything You Own To Be A Digital Nomad

When you read about digital nomads who travel the world with nothing but a backpack, your brain kicks into high gear and thinks “Oh wow! How freeing. I wish I could sell everything I own.. but I couldn’t. How could I get rid of my beloved Barbie collection?”

I might be the only “digital nomad” who is not in favor of selling everything you own and stuffing your life into a backpack. In fact, I have never not checked luggage. You can be a full-time traveler without giving up the things you love.

I have this amazing collection of designer dresses that has taken me years to amass. Erin Fetherston, Nicole Miller, Cynthia Rowley - we’re talking glamorous designers every girl kills to get her hands on.

This colorful array of dresses really does make me happy. I’m ecstatic when I wear one. I love looking at them lined up in the closet. Call me weird, but getting rid of them would make me sad, angry and full of regret. I don’t usually pack them for my travels, but they are kept clean and safe in my family’s home. On the other hand, I don’t miss any of the burgundy colored garments I’ve donated. I realized one day I really hate burgundy, so I purged my wardrobe of the color. Why keep something I really don’t like, enjoy or use?

You’re the only one who can dictate what location independence means for you. If it’s not a capsule wardrobe of 30 items or less, you haven’t failed as a digital nomad.

These are the most important things to think about when preparing to travel while you work.

 

What kind of traveler am I?

Are you adventurous and eager to explore jungles? Or would you prefer the spa facilities over hiking? Be realistic. If you have never hiked a day in your life you probably won’t climb a mountain right away, if at all. Your current habits and preferences are telltale signs of your travel life. If you don’t like the height of your neighbors diving board, you won’t like the elevation of the cliff you’ll feel pressured to jump off of. 

While most travel pictures online show people doing extreme sports like skydiving, surfing and rafting, I know that’s not my style. I prefer swimming, beach days, and exploring cities on my terms. There’s a heavenly place for everyone, and the sooner you figure out what yours looks like the easier your life will be.

 

Have I traveled long term before?

It’s crucial that if you haven’t traveled while working for at least a month that you do a trial run. This means going somewhere and working as you explore. Everyone has their own preferences and schedule, so get into the rhythm of what works for you. 

A trial run is vital to ensuring this how you want to live indefinitely. If you’ve already sold everything you own, get on the road then realize you’re homesick - it’s not fun. What a waste!

 

What can I absolutely never get rid of?

It’s important to think this through. You could easily donate a few outfits and still have a few left over. But your heirloom jewelry? Your sofa you searched high and low for that makes you smile every time you lounge? Your scrapbooks? Your coveted book collection with signed copies? Note what you will never part with and can reasonably keep. If you feel like you’re a bad person for throwing away your 5th grade art project you hated, then you might want to enlist the help of a professional to work through the emotional and mental roadblocks you have that are preventing you from sending your stuff to a better place.

All clothing, accessories, furniture and even tchotchkes can be donated if they’re in good enough condition. I was always taught to think about how much they are going to help the next lucky person who gets them. I have 20 black cardigans, so getting rid of one I never wear doesn’t affect my wardrobe. But to a girl who desperately needs a cardigan to look presentable at her job and can’t afford one? That makes her day. Once you realize how much you already have, it’s easier to happily pass on items that others aren’t so lucky to possess.

 

Do I have somewhere I could store my extra belongings for free?

Maybe it’s a family member’s home, a friend’s garage or an existing family storage unit you don’t pay for. If you don’t have anywhere to freely store things indefinitely, the more you’ll need to sell. Paying for a storage unit is wasteful and should be reserved for dire situations only.

 

Do I want to rid myself of my home completely?

This depends on your circumstances, but it might make more sense to keep your current residence and either rent it out (for a profit) or put it up on Airbnb. If you’re paying rent, then just get rid of it. But if you already own it, are almost paid off or could make more money renting it out, then it’s worth exploring. Just know that this involves you learning how to be a property manager or paying someone to run it. They need to be trustworthy and responsible. There are also agencies that handle your Airbnb listing and just take a cut of your profits.

If you frequently celebrate occasions with local friends and family that you wouldn’t want to give up, keeping your residence is an option as long as it isn’t costing you extra money or adding a headache. When you keep your home, you get a place to store all your things!

I am surely going to receive backlash for even presenting this as option because most “digital nomads” are extremists and miniamlists- they sell everything they own, say goodbye to homes and family and venture off into the adventurous future.

I’m bringing this up because I know it’s not realistic for everyone to pack up and leave their life behind. If you ask me, it seems like an underlying issue of many digital nomads is that they aren’t super close with family or friends and don’t miss anything they leave. Not everyone, but a lot.

Extended travel around the world with the comfort of knowing you still have an actual home is viable. Especially if you have a loved one who isn’t well or children in the family who are hitting milestones you don’t want to miss. You don’t have to come home every month, but being able to pop back in a few times a year can mean a lot to both you and your family.

Your values should dictate your ideal life, not the other way around. Just because everyone is living a location independent life a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the kind of life you want for yourself.

 

The key is to downsize as if you’re selling your home.

Be ruthless in donating and selling any items you don’t use and wouldn’t think of packing. Unless it “sparks joy” (thanks Marie Kondo), consider it useless.

By the time you leave, you have safely stored all your nonessentials away and left enough furniture and basics for guests or yourself when you return.

You feel lighter already.

Nicole Faith
Email Course: Just Launched

Your Current Dilemma

What are you the best at? Did you ever think you could build a business around your best skills? Are you dying to leave your 9-5? Are you crying yourself to sleep every night because this working for yourself thing is harder than you thought? Is your current job tying you down when you just want to travel while you work?

Freelancing seemed like a good option, until you realized you’re working for clients instead of with them. Not to mention, they dictate what you should be doing instead of letting you do your thing. Your rates are all over the place and you sometimes heavily discount your services based on a client’s whining demand. You know you’re worth so much more, but no one takes you seriously. You feel disposable. 

A remote job seemed like a good option too, except you still have to keep certain hours and don’t have any flexibility. Their rules. Their time. It’s just not yours.

Enter.. a five star business. Imagine commanding respect and premium pricing from clients that look up, not down, to you. Imagine being seen as a top player in your industry, charging high rates and working on your time. Imagine turning clients away because you know they’re not a good fit, and still making rent (and then some) every month.

I noticed there is serious lack of public understanding of what makes up a business so great it collects fan, charges higher rates and still thrives. We get so used to settling for sub-par products, experiences, and customer service that we don't blink an eye. This is what inspired me to create a course diving deep into the core components of a five star business. When you craft a five star business, it automatically elevates you head and shoulders above everyone else.

Interested in changing the way you see your business?

Learn the exact methodology I use to turn entrepreneurs into tycoons that command respect and premium prices doing what you're already great at in my exclusive email course You're A Tycoon: Five Steps To A Five Star Business™.

Your Opinion Is Worth A Lot

I am looking for ten people’s feedback on the course.

In exchange for your feedback, you will receive a complimentary two hour Concept Concierge appointment with me.

I want to make this the best it can be because this is valuable information that needs to be shared. That can only happen with your insightful and incredibly helpful suggestions.

If you’re interested in providing 30 minutes of feedback in exchange for a complimentary appointment, sign up for the course here and email me at concierge@10caratcreations.com right after to confirm your spot.

Nicole Faith
The 4 Elements Of The Perfect Business Card

Five star businesses make an unforgettable positive first impression.

When that first meeting happens in person, a business card is exchanged. This small piece of paper speaks volumes about your business, and can either intrigue or bore the person on the other end.

Whenever I hand out my business card, I get an immediate reaction. The receiver usually gasps in surprise and says “Oh my gosh! This is such a nice card.” They then proceed to analyze and obsess over it while trying to maintain composure. If you think I’m being dramatic, you probably haven’t had the luxury of handing out a premium business card.

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These are the four elements of the perfect card that can garner you those wide-eyed stares of admiration.

Business Name

This can be a logo and text, just the logo or just the text depending on your business. My card has my logo and tagline. What’s not necessary is endless repetition of your business name or logo, unless that is an intentional part of the design. If your business name is different than your name, you need to clarify your name. Your logo should be readable and self-explanatory. If it requires additional explanation then it's either insanely original or needs to be re-designed.

What You Do

Here is where most people go wrong. They list everything and anything they can do in a tiny space. If you do web design, marketing, SEO, graphic design and more then you need to downsize your business and niche. My tagline is “Where 5 star businesses are built” because it sums up what I do in a few words. I craft upscale online service businesses for the jet setter. Less is more, but don’t leave your network hanging. I’ve been handed a card only to see their business name (which isn’t specific at all and could have been a number of industries) and their name. No title, no explanation. No kidding.

Contact Information

I kind of sigh a loud exasperated sigh when I see someone’s business card with the url of every single social network they’re on typed out. And their symbols. It’s truly overkill, and doesn’t let your new cardholder focus on the one thing they should- you. Instead, it feels like they’re being choked with your demand to follow follow follow. It doesn’t incite interest in you at all. It has the opposite effect. If someone is enamored with your business, they will follow all your social accounts without being prompted. It’s second nature, so there’s no need to remind them. And the people who don’t love what you do? They’re just not a good fit, which is more than okay. You only want to engage with likeminded tycoons.

Make sure your website is there, and definitely an email or phone number depending on how you communicate. But everything else is optional. Icons for every social site you are on are unnecessary because if your website is done right you should have links to your social accounts in an easy to find place. My card has my name, email and website in just two lines with the least possible text. There’s no need to write my domain twice when white space is so precious.

Visual and Tactile Design

Here’s where people get too fancy. Especially when using Moo’s printfinity option, where you can have a different design on the backs of your cards. Your logo/business name should always be on your card, with any accompanying graphics that COMPLEMENT and not detract from your brand.

For Ilene B. Miller's business cards, I created a rainbow of options that corresponded with her bright and colorful website. This included the saying on the back of every card “Every child is a..” with a graphic of a sun, star, music note and more. It captures her belief that all children are special and should be celebrated.

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For a musician, I used a sheet of music as the inspiration for his logo and subsequently his cards. Without being overtly literal, the polished black and white takes on a new formality. 

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The card stock you choose says a lot about your business as well. There’s no “thicker is more luxe” rule here. It truly depends on the feeling you’re trying to convey. You can have a heavy, thick luxe card stock- but if that business card contains crowded contact information, a gmail email address and a zillion social icons then your luxe just went out of the window. All of the elements have to work together in perfect harmony for a "WOW!" moment.

My business cards are a soft smooth matte. Glossy or spot gloss works for colorful graphics you want to highlight. Cotton makes sense for the fashion industry. Gold foil adds a touch of pop, if not overdone.

Here are some five star business cards I found online that are great examples to follow.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

 

 This hairstylist hit every nail on the head- pun intended. Her card is simple and easy to read with a touch of glamour from well-placed gold foil. There's no excess information- just everything you need and nothing more.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

 

Again, everything you need and nothing more. The backs showcase her art and aesthetic, which is muted and soothing.

 

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

There is something to be said about white space. While this minimalist card is the extreme, it remove all distractions through oversized text and sparse contact information. He doesn't overwhelm you with the myriad ways to contact him. Clearly, he doesn't mind phone calls if his number is on his card. If you primarily communicate via email, you wouldn't advertise your phone number.

While most of these entrepreneurs seem to rely on Instagram and not a website as their home base, they still hit it out of the park with their business cards.

When You Know It’s Perfect

I typically do several iterations of a business card until I’m thrilled with the result. Most of the time I like the first one I’ve designed, but it’s necessary to see all of my options before making that decision. Like most creatives, I don’t have a set process or formula. I go with my gut. This intuitive taste is why professionals are called upon. If design isn’t your strong suit, it’s better to admit that and give a pro the reigns than struggle by yourself.

Business cards should be left to the end of your business being built. Too many times, I see entrepreneurs get ahead of themselves and order business cards without a custom domain, email address or fully formed brand. The feeling of having a business card is so exciting and “official” that it’s easy to overlook all the important steps. When you do this though, you set yourself up for failure because it’s only a matter of time before all the chaotic design decisions start conflicting with each other.

I design my clients’ business cards after their website is built, the copy is written, their services are packaged and e-commerce set up. Why? Because by this point, I’ve spent so much time in the brand that only then do I feel confident in visually representing it on a business card. After all, a card is just an extension of the business. If you’re lacking a foundation, then your card's impact will crumble.

Your website should match your cards which should match your social graphics which should match your letterhead. Matching your outfit is optional.

Nicole Faith
Why Every Solopreneur Needs An Intake Form and Automated Calendar (no matter what service you provide!)

You’re in need of an illustrator. You check out an illustrator’s website. You love their work. They list all these services, but when you inquire all there is is a sad measly contact form. You know what you want. They know what you want. So why should you have to type out the whole shebang?

This creates unnecessary hurdles for potential clients and can result in losing their interest. Not to mention, you waste valuable time following up and chasing them to have an initial discussion.

Exhibit A: Client Inquiries Without Structure

If you have a process for everything to go through, it requires less work on both your ends. I love using Ilene B. Miller as an example because she provides a very important service that’s largely unknown by the majority of people. The only people who care about her are parents of children with academic, social and emotional difficulties.

Ilene is an educational consultant and special needs advocate, which essentially means she guides families down the path of success and achievement for their struggling children. Getting the right support services for a child, making sure they are administered properly and tracking progress is the core of her business.

She used to have a slew of services listed like consulting, advocacy, tutoring and more. She also had a generic “Consultation” session people had to purchase prior to working with her. This presented several problems:

  1. No one knew what they were getting from a consult. They felt it was just money thrown away. When in reality, she was analyzing and strategizing that whole time.
  2. Parents would contact her and ask specific questions about their situation. It was a free-for-all with no way to reign in the information.

Once I productized her consult into a more tangible and valuable product, an Open Opportunity Session, the process became simple.

Processes = Less Work

The first step in working with Ilene is an Open Opportunity Session. Part of the checkout process includes a long questionnaire where specific questions about the child’s situation are asked. Based on these answers, Ilene can come into an Open Opportunity Session with all the background information she needs to give parents the most she can. It sets up Ilene to demonstrate her expertise even more and provides parents with the best use of their time and money. This way, their two hour session isn’t wasted on getting up to speed- she can jump right into the here and now.

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Clients Are Like Children

Hand holding is necessary, because you can't expect clients to know your industry like you do. They also don't know the right questions to ask or how to frame their inquiry. When you structure your intake into a form, you gently guide them into providing the most important information in the best way for you.

Dumping a lot of information about your services and then telling visitors to "contact you" is overwhelming and confusing for clients. As the professional, it's your job to take control from the first interaction to the last. 

You Can Be The Hero

Not only is this less hectic for you, but it puts your clients at ease and slides you into the "five star business" category. Clients love to know they are being taken care of. That why we stay in luxury resorts, opt for white glove service and rely on full service companies.

Your intake form doesn't have to be incredibly long, and should be as concise as possible. Too much work is a turnoff for clients as well- it quickly becomes a chore.

Ask the appropriate questions so that you get all of the information you need and avoid redundancy.

You'll be surprised what a small tweak like an intake form does for your sanity and the client's confidence in you. Say goodbye to wasted hours emailing back and forth or conversations that don't go anywhere. Below is the questionnaire all my clients fill out when they book an appointment with the Concept Concierge.

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Automated Bookings Give You More "Me Time"

Either before or after the intake form should be a way for clients to schedule an appointment to discuss their info. I prefer Calendly for its ease of use, but Acuity has a built-in block in Squarespace and Youcanbook.me is another popular option.

Regardless of your industry, you can benefit from automating your appointment setting. This saves time, and let's you gracefully step in for your first client meeting. Whether the first meeting is free or not (I always say not), you're hands off for the beginning of your process. This allows leads to organically come in, share their needs, schedule a convenient time for them to meet and get excited about speaking with you.

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A smooth beginning indicates what's to come, and without speaking a word you've already made one heck of a first impression.

Clients will happily answer a few questions in advance if it means a frictionless first conversation. Why make both sides jump through hoops when a simple intake form and calendar scheduling can give you a few more hours by the pool?

Nicole Faith
Introducing 10 Carat Creations

A business reborn. I am keenly aware of the small percentage of location independent entrepreneurs doing their own thing in a very spectacular way. Lawyers to accountants to coaches to everyone in between are in need of a business that lets them shine while effortlessly fitting into their lifestyle. When you live the high life, only the best will do.

10 Carat Creations is the go-to partner for the jet set solopreneurs in need of an exquisite solution to re-branding their business from top to bottom. No detail gets left behind!

Tycoons come in all shapes and sizes. Only the truly extraordinary surpass all expectations. Perhaps you're one of them?

Well traveled and well read. You provide an exemplary service and built a reputation to match.

When it's time to step your business up into first class, I'll be here.

Because this is where five star businesses are built.

Nicole Faith