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Lilian is an accomplished Digital Nomad Coach and entrepreneur who left the corporate world to build her own path and attain financial freedom. In our interview, she gives us insight into her journey.
Fire Round Questions
- Favorite Books: Atomic Habits, Never Split the Difference, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Favorite Places: London, Taipei, and Bordeaux
- Favorite Hobbies: dancing, interior design, and wine tasting
- My Dream: develop and manage a co-living space/hostel, where people can play with rescue animals and meet others through organized community events
What’s your current profession?
My background was in commercial real estate investments. I was working as a Financial Analyst for a developer in Southern California, but quickly realized I wasn’t built for the traditional corporate career path.
I spent nearly a year exploring what I wanted next and eventually became a Digital Nomad Coach. Through Chapter Nomad, I help high achievers travel the world, build wealth, and reimagine their dream lives.
How did you get started with working remotely and how did you make this transition?
While I was still working full time, I wrote blog posts about personal finance and real estate investing on weekends. I also put together investment models and presentations for real estate businesses, just like I did at my job.
Although my freelancing hours were limited then, I gained confidence knowing I had the ability to make money on my own, and didn’t have to depend on a steady paycheck.
This knowledge saved me when I got laid off during the pandemic. I knew I was going to be fine. I took on some high-ticket clients through my previous connections, and moved to Asia to lower my living expenses.
It was the perfect opportunity for me to start a business: I had more than enough in savings, a lower cost of living, and some freelance income coming in.
What are you currently working on?
I am building my coaching business, Chapter Nomad. My vision is to make the digital nomad lifestyle accessible to those who prefer a more secure and strategic approach to achieving their dream lives.
When I became a digital nomad, I scoured the internet for information, but was shocked by just how much bad advice was out there. People were quitting their jobs with no plan and only a few thousand dollars in savings. They were crashing on strangers’ couches and working random jobs below their countries’ minimum wage.
That image gave me the misconception that the digital nomad lifestyle would never work for me. I realized I needed to create my own narrative of what it meant to be a nomad.
My clients have worked hard to climb the corporate ladder, but feel stuck and unfulfilled. How would they talk themselves into giving up their 6-figure paycheck to chase their dreams, when they aren’t even sure whether their dream lives are feasible? Short answer: They don’t and continue to stay in their unhappy lives.
I want to help these people by showing them why the nomad lifestyle is an amazing opportunity for them to LEVEL UP their lives – not a dream they have to sacrifice everything to get. I want to help them shatter their old beliefs and reimagine what their lives could be.
What’s your typical workday like?
Now that I get to set my own schedule, I try to plan my routines around my own biological clock.
- I usually sleep until I wake up naturally. I enjoy working out first thing in the morning and doing a light meditation in the shower (if that counts).
- My most productive hours are the first 3-4 hours after I complete my morning routine. I try to do the most difficult and important tasks during this time.
- I tend to slow down in the afternoon, so I relax and run some errands before returning to work in the evening.
- My second most productive period is in the late evenings, so I try to get some work done after dinner. (Tip: wear blue-light glasses for better sleep!)
- Sometimes I wake up on a Wednesday and feel awful, or I wake up on a Sunday morning feeling totally ready to go. I listen to my body and allocate two of my least productive days of the week to treat as “weekends”.
- I always plan something fun to look forward to. I like taking dance classes, getting dinner with friends, and showing up to random events around town. I never get bored.
- To maintain my quality of sleep, I try to go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends.
What do you like about working remotely?
For me, being able to work remotely and live anywhere in the world is my dream come true. It’s important for me to have total control over my own schedule. I enjoy the freedom to explore during the weekday to avoid crowds and stay at home during the weekend.
I love that I am most productive while working from home. I’m practically a sloth: the less I have to move, the better. I waste so much time getting ready, commuting, attending meetings, and walking around while I am outside. My most productive days are those involving no plans to go out at all.
What do you not like about working remotely?
I love everything about working remotely. I don’t have a problem with loneliness because I make an effort to go out and spend quality time with people. I call my friends all the time too.
Ironically, it’s much harder for me to turn down invitations than it is to find social events to attend. I have to learn how to set boundaries for myself to make sure I get enough “me time”.
Which city or country have you worked at since working remotely? Which one has been your favorite?
Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to travel much. I’ve worked in Southern California and Taiwan, and plan to travel more next year. I enjoy living in large cities, so Taipei is a lot more fun for me. The downside? There is too much to do in the city, and it really takes self-discipline to resist the temptation of going out all the time.
Do you have a dedicated workspace to work?
I am one of those people who can be perfectly productive while working from my bed. I’m not advocating for this, but I tend to rotate between sitting on my bed and lying on my bed. I am mindful of my posture, but ergonomics is sometimes a luxury depending on where you stay. I get a massage every other week to give my body a break.
What tools do you use when you’re working?
I use Google Calendar religiously, both as a planning tool and a tracking tool. I record how I spend my time throughout the entire day down to the half hour. Time management is like dieting – if we aren’t aware of our habits, we can’t control the outcome.
In addition, I have a journal where I set my top three priorities every day. At the end of the week, I write a reflective summary of what I’ve accomplished that week, how I felt, and what I learned. Things don’t always go as planned, so I try to be easy on myself when I don’t complete everything.
How do you stay focused when working?
I’m a believer that staying focused is a skill. If we don’t practice our ability to focus, no amount of mobile app, productivity hack, or coffee is going to save us.
The best tip I have is to get 8-9 hours of sleep each night; we are better off sleeping more hours if that means we can get more done in fewer awake hours.
In addition, I find it extremely helpful to give myself deadlines. I get nothing done when I’m under-stressed. For example, when I have evening plans, I force myself to get work done before I get to go out.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’d like to give to those that want to work remotely?
Working remotely is a skill that takes time to hone. When I first started working remotely, I didn’t know how to set boundaries and felt burned out very quickly.
It takes experimentation to figure out what really works, and it’s different for everyone. My advice is to allow yourself a few months for trial and error, so you don’t write off remote work entirely if it doesn’t work well since day one. Be patient.
What kind of services do you provide, if any?
I teach people how to reimagine their dream lives as digital nomads. I researched and built an entire program based on numerous online courses, coaching programs, books, blogs, YouTube videos, and personal experience.
The first unit focuses on building the mindset to overcome limiting beliefs and gaining clarity on exactly what you want in life. The goal is to free people from blindly following society’s definition of success to chase their own version of success.
The second unit teaches people how to turn their existing marketable skills into profitable online businesses, so they never have to apply for low-paying online jobs.
The last unit is focused on personal finance and wealth building. The nomad journey shouldn’t be something that requires a lot of money to fund; rather, it should be an opportunity to fast track wealth building.
Visit my website below to learn more.
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