Written by Thalassa van Beek
I walked up the stairs to my room, on one of the last days of my stay at Sun and Co. in Jávea, Spain. From one step to the next, everything just clicked in my head. I saw my entire sales funnel in front of me. I’d been working on what my next move should be for a while now, and this was it! I ran back down to my laptop and started writing, afraid I would lose this sudden idea.
I’m writing this from an airplane on my way to Turkey, while at home my suitcase from my trip to Germany is still waiting to be taken to the basement and Photoshop is still waiting for me to finish my editing my photos from Spain. This one sentence sums up my life pretty well; I consider myself a ‘part-time digital nomad’. I rent an apartment in The Netherlands, but all my work is location independent and I travel as often as I feel like – which is quite a lot. To me, this is the ultimate freedom; designing a life that works best for me. I could travel non-stop, but I choose to come back every few weeks.
I discovered co-working and co-living by chance, but since I realised it’s a ‘thing’, I don’t want anything else. Not only because this scene makes me feel like I’ve found my ‘tribe’ (I was always an outsider growing up), but most of all because every time I spend just a couple of weeks at such a place, my business grows faster than it does during months at home.
I guess I have an entrepreneurial mind-set; I come up with new ideas often and once they feel right, I act upon them. For many people at home, it seems like I’m starting something new completely out of the blue. That’s not the case though. Usually, it starts with a feeling, some scattered thoughts maybe, nothing coherent yet. I let the idea just sit in my mind for a while, sometimes for very long if that’s what it takes. However, when I’m really on to something, at some point those small ideas that have been simmer for a while, suddenly start to boil and there will be a point at which they explode like the Geysir hot spring in Iceland. For example, in March 2016 I thought of the name ‘The Travelling Freelancer’ but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. It took until August 2016 before the idea finally erupted, and three weeks later, there was an online magazine for location independent professionals. Where I was during those 3 weeks? You guessed it: at my first co-working and co-living space.
So what exactly is it that makes co-working and co-living so beneficial for me? I think the main reason is that my business is on my mind 24/7 when I’m in those places. Everyone is there with the same reason; to work on something that allows them to live the way they want. The effect is that when you’re in the lounge at 10PM, you will still see people hustling and you’re easily tempted to do the same. When you’re having dinner together, going out for drinks or doing some outdoor activities together, often you will be discussing each others’ ideas, thoughts and business plans. And even when you’re not talking business, you’ll be sharing travel experiences and personal stories which, too, can be very inspiring. After all, people travelling from city to city always have an interesting story. And when a co-working space organizes skill-share and mastermind sessions, like Sun and Co. does, the inspiration will be even greater. When you see how others apply structures, strategies and tools to their businesses, you will get new ideas about your own possibilities.
There’s more, of course. The change of scenery (and in my case often: the change of weather!) works wonders for me. I get so demotivated when I spend too much time in my rainy home country. Then, if you’re anything like me, you will try new things whenever you go to a new place; whether it’s new food, new sports, or new places you would usually never walk in to (hello rock bar!), it all helps to grow your ideas in new ways.
Because a client organizes this trip to Istanbul, I won’t be staying in a co-living space this time, but the team will be working from 3 different co-working spaces. In June, I’ll be co-working in Portugal, in July maybe from Bulgaria, I’m considering a digital nomad train on the Trans Siberian express for September. Probably I’ll go back to Sun and Co. in October and in December I’ll turn 30 and where better than to celebrate that in a co-living space in Barcelona? Just imagine where my business could be by the time 2018 starts…
About Thalassa: She is based in The Netherlands but travels as much as she can. She works as a freelancer in social media marketing and specializes in Facebook advertising.
All her work is location independent, so she travels several months throughout the year. Whenever she’s not working for her clients, she’s working on her own projects, like The Travelling Freelancer – an online magazine for location independent professionals – as well as other projects. In addition, she loves horse riding, motorbike riding and going for road trips to discover the places she visits. More about here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thalassavanbeek/