How to turn the digital nomad lifestyle into a business

The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Rachel Pregunta and her partner, Ruben Arribas, started traveling together in 2013 with what they could carry on their backs. They hopped on the couch and stayed in the dorms, always looking for the next opportunity to fly somewhere new.

Pregunta, who was still working a 9-to-5 job in digital marketing, encouraged Arribas to start a blog to share his previous adventures, such as a five-month cycling trip from Spain to Finland, and their current nomadic travels.

Along with the blog, Pregunta started an Instagram account (@Gamintraveler) and grew it from zero to 130,000 followers. Images and stories of their travels have taken them to Indonesia, France, Argentina, Greece, Iceland, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Thailand and more. They have also partnered with hospitality businesses and launched a social media agency for freelancers and content creators.

“People will see maybe five percent through Instagram photos and everything, but there’s a lot of work behind it,” says Pregunta.

The work that made their lifestyle and business possible stems from Pregunta’s never-ending desire to learn, a trait he developed not on an exotic trip, but at a desk in front of a keyboard.

Something bigger

Pregunta was not much of a traveler before meeting Aribas. In fact, he enjoyed browsing the Internet thousands of miles away from more than one city.

“I’m more of an online marketer and he’s more of a traveler,” says Pregunta. “So for a moment I just thought. “Let’s mix our two passions and maybe we can do something bigger.”

He wanted to continue working remotely in digital marketing, so in between sketching Wi-Fi signals and reworking flight schedules, Pregunta made his nomadic vision a reality.

Hearing the stories of Aribas’ 10 years of travel inspired Pregunta to start a blog. When they joined the online travel space, there was already a solid community of bloggers, but Instagram was just getting started and far from the polished platform it is today.

“We were definitely just posting selfies or random pictures [with] no styling,” says Pregunta.

“Then I found out founderand this whole new world opened up.’

In 2016, Pregunta became one of the university’s earliest students Instagram dominance the course teaches founder CEO Nathan Chan. She discovered the course after being kicked out of another entrepreneurial course because travel bloggers weren’t their ideal students.

“The big shifts in my life always happen when I invest in something I’m really afraid to do,” says Pregunta. “Instead of just being a way to drive new traffic to a website, Instagram has actually become a channel and a medium in its own right.”

Instagram priority button

Jumping in with both feet

Packed with strategies Instagram dominancePregunta obsessively increased their account.

“The Internet is just a big thing. It’s just a huge place and you’re easily bombarded with a lot of information,” says Pregunta. “Now, here’s someone who has a course and who has outlined the process for you.”

One of the first tips offered in the course is to set a tone, particularly with the first nine pieces of content on your profile.

“I am such a person [who] when I try something I know I have to jump in with both feet […] The fun part is once you establish that, you just keep sharing your story.”

After reaching 5,000 followers, Pregunta and Aribas began receiving inbound messages from hotels, resorts and travel companies seeking partners. Their first unsolicited gift was an international portable lens startup that gave them a lens to use on their travels. Back then, Pregunta says, the terms “influencer,” “micro-influencer” and “non-influencer” didn’t even exist.

“They were so happy to work with so many people, which is a good thing in the influencer space and hotels,” says Pregunta. “So as long as it’s an energy exchange, and of course if you’re really willing to give them what you can, they’ll be more than happy to host you.”

Pregunta says people entering the social media travel industry these days think they need a large following or portfolio to reach businesses, but how you connect with them is more important than your resume.

“Think of your first email as an elevator pitch,” says Pregunta.

“You need to be brief, but at the same time, tell the company in two or three sentences what you’re willing to offer them in a way that’s concise enough that they know exactly who you are.”

Like developing a unique selling proposition for a product, Pregunta recommends leveraging what makes you unique and connecting with businesses that fit that niche. She says that being a multicultural couple, Pregunta is from the Philippines; Arribas from Spain. the main reason affiliates choose them is because they connect with their target audience.

Pregunta says the first message will set the tone for the relationship, but be ready to follow up immediately.

“You have to think about how many people can get to that property,” says Pregunta. “Make sure your links are email ready. in the mail, then let them decide if they want to work with you or not.”

Pregunta’s systematic formula continued to snowball. They stopped getting free invitations to exotic places and started paying to travel. Their corporate partnerships expanded to include an airline and international payment transfer capability.

But Pregunta wanted more than new directions. He sought to tap into his first love, digital marketing.

A fighting chance

Pregunta says many of her friends have traditional corporate jobs, but she stayed in social media and digital marketing because of its fast pace.

“What I love about social media and digital marketing is that there’s something new happening every day. And even if you did well last week, something comes out this week and then everyone can be on the same level again,” says Pregunta. “So you always have a fighting chance.”

When @Gamintraveler’s follower count reached six figures, Pregunta started using the social media skills she’d been learning all the time for influencers like her. So he created an agency that focused on Instagram growth for solopreneurs.

“Developing Instagram is almost a full-time job, especially if you’re one person,” says Pregunta.

“The bigger the Instagram account, the more you need to take your skills to the next level.”

He quickly added 20 to 30 clients, working tirelessly between stops on the tour. But the workload of managing client accounts while keeping @Gamintravler compliant was exhausting.

“I always had this idea that an entrepreneur has a great life, especially when you look at social media,” says Pregunta. “You’ll always see amazing entrepreneurs who have a great home life and then a great business life. And then you look at your life. “My home life is crazy.”

So he got a mentor, Daniel DiPiazza, a startup consultant and founder instructor (see video below).

“He was the first person who really told me that you’re working with too many people because your price is low,” says Pregunta.

By charging prices at the right value and matching clients to her skill set, Pregunta was able to balance her agency and free up time to see the places she traveled to instead of staying at her laptop all day.

“I would always tell them that if the energy matches, if they feel they want to work with me and vice versa, then if it’s good, we can work together,” says Pregunta. The corresponding energy ensured that Pregunta’s key customers not only made financial commitments, but stayed with him throughout the year. “If your mindset and attitude aren’t ready, you won’t make it [growth]”.

Loving the platform

The past three years have been difficult for the tourism industry. In 2020, Pregunta stayed home and focused on the agency. Since then, he’s slowly regained his travel muscles, but it’s clear that his developed habits are the reason he’s still in business after the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s about following the process, and it’s not just for Instagram, it’s for a lot of things you do in life,” Pregunta says. “But the thing about following the process and being patient with it is that you’re developing that habit and mindset at the same time.”

Pregunta encourages fellow social media entrepreneurs not to worry about getting thousands of followers in the first few weeks of a new account or campaign.

“Just develop the habit of loving the platform—loving who you are, how you’ve arrived, and how you provide value.”

He says it’s not too late for the travel blogging industry or any industry that uses visual tools like social media to grow.

“If you think about the business, there are always new clothing brands,” says Pregunta. “And the good thing now is that you can just start being yourself and start building from there, and you’re bound to find your people.”

So the digital nomad lifestyle is all it’s cracked up to be.

Well, in some ways it is.

Like Pregunta, you must be willing to learn to learn while booking flights, traversing mountains, and having unforgettable adventures.

Keep learning. How much do consultants earn?

How to make a business partner, according to Rachel Pregunta

  1. Keep it short and sweet, no more than two or three sentences.
  2. Ask what they are trying to solve (reach a new audience, launch a new product, capitalize on a trend).
  3. Share your unique value proposition (UVP). What makes you different as an influencer, content creator or entrepreneur?
  4. Connect the dots between your UVP and their audience.
  5. Post what you can deliver for them. Be specific.
  6. Be prepared to send a follow-up email.
  7. Be you. Your email messages should reflect your brand as much as your Instagram captions.

Get the same training that helped Pregunta start his business.

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