This post is one of a series of interviews with digital nomads, and their experiences (good and bad). If you’d like to be interviewed, contact me!
Next up is Kevin Ohashi of Review Signal LLC.
Where are you from (city)?
What’s your job?
I run the largest web hosting review website. I also do freelance web development.
How has traveling changed your business (for the better, for the worse)?
It’s made me happier. My web hosting reviews give me a basic income that I could support myself from. The freelance work makes it so I’m earning a competitive wage. Since I don’t have a normal job, I can fairly easily travel as long as I manage client expectations and continue to deliver on time. While traveling, I prefer smaller projects or ones that can be broken up into smaller components/deliverables. I’ve found continuously delivering and communicating with my clients leads to better project outcomes and traveling really forces me to meet expectations and keep schedule.
It’s also good for setting boundaries between me and my clients and taking time off. Most clients are pretty flexible if they’re given notice. I like to tell them that I will be traveling, give them the dates, and then we can talk about their needs during that time frame. It helps me plan, it makes them plan and I think everyone is happier knowing what will happen and when it will happen.
How much do you work weekly (i.e., 40 hrs per week)?
It really varies tremendously. The most was 111 hours in 1 week. There are many weeks that are near zero. I prefer small projects that consume me full time (or more than full time) and then lots of free time.
How do you keep up relationships and look for new business while on the road?
Constant communication with clients who have on-going projects is a must. I try to update them at every mile-stone or whenever I feel like it’s been a while since we last touched based. As I mentioned earlier, I also let them know well in advance of actually traveling. As far as finding new business while traveling, most of my work has been leads from friends and coworkers. They are almost always over email/phone, so being remote isn’t that big an issue.
When did you start (and possibly finish) working while traveling?
My first workcation was at the beginning of this year. I’ve been abroad for a total of 4 months of 2013.
Best place to travel?
I really love Thailand. It’s cheap. The internet is good enough. The food is wonderful and the people are friendly. The beaches are gorgeous. And the diving is fantastic.
Worst place to travel?
I don’t have any major complaints against most of the places I’ve worked remotely from.
Dream trip still on the horizon?
I haven’t been back to Europe for a few years and would love to do an extended trip there. I’ve never been to most of the Mediterranean countries.
Biggest issue when working while traveling?
Discipline. It’s really easy to get lost in the fun of traveling and lose focus of personal goals. I haven’t had any issue with client work, but personal projects often seem to take less precedence over exploring and having fun while traveling.
What is your setup for working remotely?
Laptop is the big one. I try to get a cheap phone with a 3g sim card if they are available that I can tether to as a backup.
What are your travel tech must-haves?
Other than a laptop and phone, I like to travel light. My GoPro is nice to have though.
Please share your website(s), Twitter, FB, or other URLs you’d like to share.
ReviewSignal.com – web hosting reviews
KevinOhashi.com – personal blog
OhashiMedia.com – freelance site
@kevinohashi – twitter
Anything else you’d like to share for those looking to work while traveling?
It’s not going to go perfect. I don’t recommend traveling if you don’t have a good financial buffer. Things like getting paid can be difficult to do in a timely manner. Go with friends, it’s easier to be accountable if you’re not alone.