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Silvia

What is Coliving at Sun and Co. – A Day In The Life

By | Community, Digital Nomad, Remote Worker | No Comments

While community housing and communal living have been around for awhile, coliving is still a fairly new concept. Even as a remote worker, it can be hard to understand what we mean by coliving at Sun and Co. if you’ve never experienced it. 

Generally speaking, coliving can be described as a shared housing model. Tenants (aka ‘colivers’) live in a home where common areas like kitchens, living rooms, office spaces, laundry facilities, and sometimes bathrooms are shared. The fee you pay include all your utilities, high-speed internet, weekly cleanings, fully equipped kitchens, furnished common and living spaces, constant restocking of your kitchen and essentials including coffee, tea, seasonings etc. And if you are at Sun and Co., a coworking space accessible 24/7.

But this is only the technical definition. There’s an entirely different aspect of coliving, which we will attempt to describe in the next few paragraphs, that can’t be priced.

So let’s start from the basics!

What coliving is NOT

Coliving is NOT a hotel. When you book a hotel, you generally know what to expect: a room for yourself and pretty much no interaction with other guests. Good if you’re a tourist or just travelling through a place.

Coliving is NOT a hostel. If you are travelling solo and/or are looking for some more human interactions, hostels are certainly a better option than hotels. However, hostels attract all sorts of people. Which means, while you are looking for a work-life balance while on the road, your hostel buddies might just be looking for the happy hour!

Coliving is NOT an AirBnB. As a remote worker, AirBnB can look like a good compromise for your work-and-travel lifestyle. However, there’s no guarantee that your host will be sociable and willing to connect you with the locals. And if you’re looking for a place to work from, it is rare (and time consuming) to find a fully-equipped workspace with solid wifi.

What IS coliving then?

A ‘coliving space’ like Sun and Co. can be defined as a modern form of housing designed to support a purpose-driven life, where residents share living space and a set of interests, values, and/or intentions. People choose to stay in coliving spaces as they’re visiting the location to keep a healthy work-life balance, meet like-minded people, and discover a new place too. 

So who are these people, you ask? There are mainly three types of guests at Sun and Co.:

Digital nomads, aka location-independent workers travelling full-time.

Remote workers, who might have a base somewhere in the world, but due to the nature of their jobs can work remotely for some time.

Professionals, who have a full-time job in their countries, but want to get away and/or aspire to become location independent and are looking for inspiration.

The average stay is between one week and two months. The minimum stay we recommend in order to get the most out of the coliving experience is two weeks.

Javea + COliving COworking COmmunity = Sun and Co.

Javea – the charming little town we call home on the east coast of Spain – provides the ‘Sun’ all year round. We just had to add the ‘Co.’s to create the perfect home for location independent workers!

We covered COliving, let’s have a look at what COworking and COmmunity mean.

Both the coliving and the coworking spaces are under the roof of a renovated 19th-century house, with three floors and over 200 sq meters of common areas, including a huge kitchen and a patio. We offer up to 20 workspaces, 3 working areas, a conference room and 24/7 access (plus free coffee and tea!). We also have printer, projector, LCD screens and oh yes, 300 mbps/300 mbps internet fiber connection!

But what makes Sun and Co. really famous around the world is its community. It is true that spaces like ours attract a certain type of like-minded people. However, behind every great coliving community there is always a great host that works hard to build it and promote strong shared values. We are a team of four hosts here at Sun and Co., and every day we work hard to make sure our guests have an amazing experience. Judging by our Facebook Reviews and Google Reviews, we ain’t doing a bad job! 

Why We Love Mondays

Part of our job is to make sure that everyone feels welcomed and included in the community. This is why every Monday at 7pm we run a ‘Family Meeting’, when we all get together to introduce one another and talk about who we are, what we do, what we value in life and a few fun questions. We also ask everyone to come up with a skill that they’d be willing to teach to the community, and a skill that they would like to learn. And if anyone has a particular life or work-related challenge they’re currently facing, we encourage them to organise a mastermind to find a collaborative solution.  

During the meeting we also come up with a calendar of events for the week ahead. Expect a lot of learning with professional events like skillshares led by colivers on any kind of different topics, from online advertising, to cyber-security, coding, storytelling, and much more. The goal is to mix professional and social events and to balance the time, so that we can still get work done while making the most of our time with the community and in Javea. Work smarter, live better is our motto, after all!

A Day In The Life At Sun and Co.

Living with another 15-20 people all under one roof doesn’t mean you need to do things together all the time. At Sun and Co., nothing is mandatory and everyone works and lives at their own pace. Having clarified this, here’s a sneak peek into a typical day at our home!

7.00am – 10.00am 

Wake up at your leisure, then go for a morning hike, a walk/run on the beach, or a morning surfing session. Or just cook breakfast with the other colivers and kickstart your day with some interesting conversations (and coffee!). Perhaps you feel like doing yoga in the patio, or read? Hitting the snooze button over and over is ok too! 

10.00am – 1.00pm 

Grab coffee or tea, settle into any of our inspiring workspaces and get to work to own the day. 

1.00pm – 2.30pm 

In typical Spanish fashion, there’s always time for lunch! So take a break, cook something yummy with the other colivers, bond over lunch conversations in the patio or attend a lunchtime skillshare session!

2.30pm – 6.00pm 

You choose. Continue working to hit those deadlines? Hold your afternoon calls in the Skype room? Take a break and explore Javea? Go to the beach? If too many options are making you tired, remember when in Spain… Siesta is always a good idea!

6.00pm – 8.00pm 

How about learning a new skill before dinner? Skillshares and masterminds are a great way to harness the power of our diverse community and take your personal and professional growth to the next level.

8.00pm – 11.00pm 

Time to unwind. Go out for tapas, or stay in to cook dinner and chat with your housemates over a glass of wine. Then why not watching a movie, or playing games. Or just head to your room for some quiet you-time, and get ready for another full day tomorrow!

Coliving is something that is on the rise and we believe is the future of remote working. Now that you know more about coliving at Sun and Co., will you be willing to try for yourself? 

If you’re ready to take the next step in your life and career, be in a new environment, connect with other like-minded people and spend your days inspired by where you are and what you’re doing, head to our booking page and book your stay with us! 

How To Convince Your Boss To Let You Work Remotely

By | Business, Digital Nomad, Remote Worker | No Comments

Latest researches show that remote work is here to stay. Thanks to digital communication improvements, people from many different fields are now able to work remotely. Yet, many employees are still dreaming of a flexible work-life balance and the ability to determine when, where and how they work. There’s just one thing stopping them: their current job.

Too often, we look at our current situation and see no way of changing the traditional 9-5 schedule, confined to the four walls of a conventional office. You might love your job, but crave the flexible lifestyle that you know you can have.

Before you start updating your resume and beginning to search for a new position, have you ever considered pitching the idea of a remote position to your current employer? Of course this may require some preparation on your end before initiating the conversation, in order to help your boss feel comfortable with the idea of you becoming a remote employee.

Here are five top tips that will help you to convince your boss to let you work remotely.

Choose The Right Time

If peak season or a particular busy time is coming up, this might be the best time for you to approach your boss. Why? Many times managers will be looking for employees to put in some overtime to meet deadlines, so the argument can be made that instead of spending time commuting, you can complete extra work in a space with no distractions.

Know Your Worth and Document All Your Wins

At least three months before you talk to your manager, start documenting all of your contributions, performance results, and what you’ve been doing that benefits the team and company. If you can quantify your value to your boss, you will have greater leverage when making the argument that you will be more productive and creative while working with more autonomy.

Do Your Research

Preparation is the key to success, so come to the table with research to back up your ask, i.e. bring a list of the pros and cons of remote work, particularly when it applies to you and your company, or do some research on how companies that allow greater flexibility with their employers could help attract and retain talent.

For example, a recent survey by the Society of Human Resources Management found that of those who work remotely at least a few times a month, 77% reported greater productivity while working offsite, and 30% said they accomplished more in less time. And LinkedIn data show that 51% of professionals say they are proudest to work at companies that promote work-life balance and flexibility.

By creating a well-informed case that shows how allowing you to work remotely is a win-win for both parties, you can convince your employer to grant you greater flexibility.

Suggest a Remote Work Trial Period

When you’re ready to start approach your boss, decide on a trial time frame that works for you based on your job and workload (one month, three months, six months, etc.) and ask what they think. Giving your employer an alternative to an all-or-nothing proposition makes it a lot easier for them to say yes.

Put Your Employer’s Interests First and Be Flexible

Before introducing the subject of remote work to your boss, you need to be ready to explain how personal benefits – flexible work schedule, work-life balance, less time commuting, a more relaxed job environment etc. – will translate into benefits for your employer.

Think about the “why” of why you want to go remote, and focus on how your “why” will help the company. By digging deep into your motivation for moving to remote work, you’ll also be able to anticipate concerns your employer might have and respond to them proactively.

Finally, let your boss know that you’re flexible and open to compromising. For example, you could agree on something like sending a full report of what you plan to do and accomplish every week on Monday. Or you could offer to come in for face-to-face meetings throughout the week, perhaps moving it to regular video calls once your boss becomes more accustomed to the idea of remote work. Accommodating your employer when asking for a remote arrangement is critical, especially at the beginning or during your trial period.

These are some of our top tips that we hope will help you to present your case for remote work to your current employer. If your manager is open to trying it out, congratulations! You now just need to make sure to keep yourself organised and productive, so that your boss will let you transition into even more remote and flexible work over time.  And if they’re not, you won’t have lost anything by trying—in fact, you’ll simply know where you’re employer stands on remote work, and that you need to start looking into new remote job options if you’re serious about making the change.

Meet the Sun and Co. Team: Silvia

By | Community, Interview, The Team | No Comments

Sun and Co. team is growing! Silvia recently joined the team as our Digital Marketing Executive. Let’s get to know her a bit more…

Tell us a bit about you Silvia!

I grew up in a small town called Treviso, about 30km from Venice, Italy. But I’ve been travelling and living abroad for most of my adult life. After living in London for 7 years, working as a Programme Manager for London Business School and later as a marketing executive for a private university, in 2017 I got rid of most of my stuff, packed my life into a 23kg suitcase and went travelling for two years around the world. I worked as a Program Leader for Remote Year and then went backpacking solo throughout Central America for a few months. Until I met Jon at the Freedom X Festival last summer and found out about Sun and Co. And here I am!

What do you at Sun and Co?

I help running Sun and Co.’s social media platforms and support the overall digital marketing strategy.

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

Spending time in nature, walking, running and being active as much as I can. Of course I love travelling, and I’m always planning the next trip! I’m currently enjoying exploring Javea and its beautiful surroundings.

If you had to describe coliving in one word, what would it be?  

Sharing.

What do you think makes Sun and Co. so special?

The people that run it and the people that come here. I think Edu, Jon and Sienna have done a great job identifying and communicating the values that are at the foundation of Sun and Co. and therefore attracting the right type of people: passionate, inspiring, adventurous, kind, open-minded, curios and with a growth-oriented mindset. The Sun and Co. community is so welcoming and open that ‘family’ is truly the first word that comes to mind.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to become location independent?

Being location independent is not just a ‘cool’ way to live. It’s a choice of lifestyle and it comes with pros and cons. It’s not for everyone and it’s ok. Make sure you really identify your core values and what you want your life to look like before taking the leap. Then buckle up and prepare for an epic rollercoaster ride!

What is your favourite thing about Javea? Every day is a sunny day!

Biggest surprise since joining the Sun and Co. team? How quickly and effortlessly they managed to make me feel at home.

Quick round off!

Favourite place you’ve ever traveled to: I have too many!!

Beach or mountain: Beach.

Carry-on or big suitcase: Backpack.

Coffee or tea: Coffee and green tea.

Summer or winter: Javea any season!

3 Most Used Apps: Whatsapp, Google Maps, Spotify.

Favourite Song at the moment: Tal Vez by Paulo Londra.

 

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Silvia a bit more! Check out the rest of the Sun and Co. team’s interview if you missed them!

Three Benefits Of Organizing A Company Retreat

By | Business, Productivity, Remote Worker | No Comments

When thinking about company culture and how to effectively engage your employees, a few things come into play. Whether you’re a fully remote team, looking to transition or a company that wants to start innovating with how you’re showing your employees that you care, something that should be put into consideration is organizing a team retreat at least once a year.

Team retreats are on the rise as companies begin to realize that employees are valuing immersive experiences over everything and aim to have immersive experiences in their day to day lives. When thinking about bringing your team together, there are some unexpected benefits to organizing a company retreat.

Let’s talk dive into them and see how you can get started today.

Bring Company Culture Front And Center

Company culture is a hot topic where many businesses talk the talk but don’t necessarily walk the walk in their day to day team culture. Hosting a team retreat is a great way for a company to show its employees firsthand the type of culture that they want to have.

When you bring your whole team to a beautiful location, you’ll be able to inspire them and also show them a look inside the values that a company has. It’s not just about getting work done but also about the overall vibe and atmosphere that you’re looking to bring in the activities that you do.

Whether you choose to bring your team on a paddleboarding or kayaking adventure, maybe wine tasting or tapas… it will be able to show them what the culture is like behind the company.

Increase Employee Engagement

When you bring your team to a new location and innovate with activities in an offsite retreat, it allows for employees to not just feel seen and appreciated but also get them to engage with others on a different level.

Professional development is a big part of employee engagement with 87% of millennial workers stating that it’s important to them in their work. Taking time for workshops and learning opportunities in retreats can motivate top employees to continue learning and growing.

Being outside of the office and in new environments, it also allows for your team to share different talents, skills and knowledge that you might not see in normal day to day activities.

Work Smarter So Your Team Can Live Better

Work smarter, live better is our motto here at Sun and Co. and over 300 remote workers who have stayed with us are adopting the same mentality and want their employers to follow it too.

With 6 out of 10 millennials stating that work/life balance is very important to them when thinking about the companies they want to work for, your retreats shouldn’t just be about meetings, work and innovative ideas, but also incorporate social activities where teams can bond.

Company retreats are just one of the many ways for teams to feel better connected, valued and efficient so that they can do their best work. When bringing everyone together for a period of time it allows for purposeful connection, innovation and deeper connection.

If you’re thinking about hosting a company retreat, feel free to send us an email at sienna@sun-and-co.com. You don’t need to do any of the heavy lifting, we’ll handle all the details so that all you need to think about is arriving.

Real Estate Investing for Digital Nomads

By | Business, Digital Nomad, Guest Blog | No Comments

Written by Micki McNie

 

I meet a lot of nomads who are interested in real estate investing, but aren’t sure how it fits into their location independent lifestyle. That’s probably because most people think real estate investing means owning rental property. A traveling lifestyle doesn’t have to prevent anyone from owning their own home or rental properties. Real estate investing is so much more diverse than that!

I’d like to introduce you to a few nomad-friendly strategies, along with some questions to help you figure out the best option for your unique situation.

Owning Property VS Owning Debt

On the simplest level we can break things down into two categories. In the first category you own the property. In the second, you own the debt.

Owning property comes with the obvious risks of damage or loss of value. For example: bad tenants who trash the place; repair items like a leaking roof or an old hot water heater; changes in the market that reduce the value of the property.

There are many ways to invest in property that range from owning your own home to owning a share of a large apartment or office building (so called syndication). The upside to owning property is that over the long term it generally increases in value, and you can rent your home out when you’re traveling.

Owning debt has different pros and cons. When you own debt, also called “notes”, you don’t have to fix toilets. You act as the bank and the person paying you is the owner of the property, which hopefully means they intend to take better care of it. The risk with a note is that the person stops paying their mortgage. However, you can always work out a deal with them to get them paying again, or you can take control of the property.

How do you acquire notes, you ask? There are a variety of ways from selling a property with owner finance, to shopping online marketplaces where you can purchase everything from car loans to large commercial mortgages. The key is to buy the note for less than it is worth. For example, I purchased a $55k mortgage for $22k, meaning I collected interest on the full $55k and when they refinanced and paid me off I collected the full balance owed.

Understand Your Goals and Set Some Investing Criteria

Before investing in real estate you should ask yourself a few questions.

Are you looking for short term profits or do you want ongoing income?

How much money are you comfortable investing?

Do you want to manage your investment or be hands off?

Where do you want to invest and why?

Thinking about where to invest is important. Places you are familiar with or have people to help are ideal. If you want to invest in a country where you are currently living or visiting, you’ll need to carefully investigate the laws and tax implications. Maybe you just want to invest where the best opportunities for you are, in which case connecting with local investors in that area is a great start.

Start Investing!

Real estate is a highly creative industry. There are any number of ways to invest and make money, it just takes some education to know where to look for opportunities and how to manage your risk. So where do you start?

Biggerpockets.com has a great podcast that talks about all sorts of investing strategies. When you hear one you like, take a deep dive into that topic and reach out to some people who are already doing it. Real estate investors are some of the most generous people I know, always happy to talk about their success and share what they’ve learned.

I’ve dabbled in all these strategies and am still learning more, so if you ever want to talk about real estate and what might work for you, I’m happy to chat!

Micki McNie has been working and investing in real estate since 2011 and manages Big Why Real Estate. She is passionate about creating financial freedom through real estate investing, and loves helping others do the same. Her favourite thing to do is to turn neglected buildings into beautiful, useful spaces again. You can reach her at micki@33zenlane.com.

How a Workation Can Increase Productivity

By | Digital Nomad, Javea, Productivity, Remote Worker, Travel | No Comments

With today technology and the increasing number of people becoming location independent, the old idea of taking a vacation to disconnect in order to reboot your productivity just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Instead, a workation might be the solution to make you more productive and focused on your work, whether you are a freelance, entrepreneur, or a company’s employee.

What Is a Workation and Why You Should Try It

Workation (literally work + vacation) is something more than just casually checking emails while you travel. It means actually fully immersing yourself in your work, while also dedicating time to unwind and relax, exploring a new environment, trying new things, meeting new people etc.

There’s no doubt that spending time in a different environment can make you feel more inspired and come up with innovative ideas and solutions for your work. We see this every day at Sun and Co., with our guests choosing to take a workation with us to escape winter in their home countries or spend time in beautiful Javea. After two or three weeks they all go back feeling better at way they do.

This being said, there are a few rules you should follow for a real productive workation.

Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People

When you go on workation, it’s important that you take your working mood with you. Having people around you that are also on a mission to immerse themselves in work helps a lot when it comes to motivation and not getting off the course.

Set Expectations

Before you leave for your workation, make sure that both yourself and everyone else (coworkers, clients, travel companions etc.) understands that working is actually going to be the main focus of your trip. Setting the right expectations means avoiding disappointment when sometimes you will have to stay inside and work on some urgent task, instead of going out to enjoy the sunny weather and beautiful spanish beaches. But it also means that your clients or coworkers back home won’t freak out when you’re not responding to an email straight away. Of course you will, you are not just on holiday!

Choose Your Accommodation Wisely

The place you stay will play a great role when it comes to your productivity, so it’s important to make sure you get all of these things:

A good internet connection;

A desk you can sit and work at;

An environment that is quite and peaceful, but also has places and activities nearby for when you want to change your setting or go explore.

Places like Sun and Co. offer all these three and much more, which is why coliving with us makes our guests always feeling super productive!

Establish a routine

From day one, try to set yourself a schedule and stick to it throughout your workation. Having the same schedule every day will help you stay organised, plan your time more effectively, and avoid pushing things off for later. Here are some of our favourite apps for an extra help on stay productive.

Stay in the same place for the entire trip

Traveling from one place to another not only takes time, but it also requires a lot of energy. Besides, If you’re traveling somewhere new every 3-7 days you won’t be able to fully take in the area, which on the long run will make you feel lonely and disconnected.  2-6 weeks is ideal for workationing and it will give you enough time to get used to the new environment, find a spot you can work, establish a routine and ultimately do good work.

 

Now that you know the rules for a productive workation, why not starting to plan your first or next one in Javea? Check out our availability or make an enquiry!

An Interview with Jennifer Lachs, Founder of the Digital Nomad Girls Community

By | Digital Nomad, Guest Blog, Interview | No Comments

Entrepreneur and founder of the ‘Digital Nomad Girls’ community, Jennifer Lachs is nothing but positive energy!

At Sun and Co. we had the pleasure to host her community of remote workers and female entrepreneurs twice already, and she’s coming back for the third time in June 2019 to run her Digital Nomad Girls Retreat.. Guess where? At Sun and Co. in Javea, of course 🙂

We sat down with Jennifer to talk about how she got the inspiration to start her business, the joys and challenges of life on the road, and how her view of ‘digital nomadism’ has changed with time.

Without saying anything about work, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you value.

I’m a bit of a contradiction actually. In a way I’m a free spirit, but I also have a very analytical, scientific mind. I’m an adventurer, but also a chicken. I love backpacking, exploring all corners of the world but am happiest in Disneyland.

I value friendship and connection, freedom of choice, freedom to explore and the freedom to learn new skills and reinvent myself.

I love food and think it’s one of the greatest pleasures in life to discover new dishes from around the world. My favourite dishes are ceviche, soup dumplings and laksa soup but I love everything to do with noodles or dumplings.

So, what do you do that allows you to be location independent?

It’s a long story, but now I run my own business called Digital Nomad Girls. It’s a community that brings together location independent women from around the world. I’ve run retreats and also have a membership site ‘The DNG Inner Circle’, a virtual coworking community that travels with you.

In the past I was a chemist and then became a freelancer after backpacking and gallivanting around the world for nearly 2 years.

What inspired you to start Digital Nomad Girls? Did it come from a lack of representation or more of a longing to create community?

To be honest, a bit of both. After travelling for a good few years I was really missing having close girl friends. And at the same time I noticed I was often the only girl at coworking spaces or digital nomad events. The online business world can also be quite loud and a bit overwhelming for women I think. So I had the idea to start a Facebook group to meet other girls who were trying to do the same thing as me. And it seemed there was a big need for it at the time.

How would you say that working remotely has impacted your life?

Wow, it has completely changed it. I studied chemistry and have a PhD in it too, so most of my 20s were spent in research labs and immersed in academia. Once I broke free from this to travel the world I knew there was no way back really. Being able to work remotely has opened so many doors. I think if I hadn’t discovered the digital nomad lifestyle I would either be working in a chemistry job I’d resent or be stuck in the work-save-money-travel cycle.

But more than that, working remotely has allowed me to meet hundreds of amazing women (and men) from all over the world, make new friends and even become an entrepreneur. It’s opened a lot of doors for me.

What’s the biggest thing you struggle with while on the road?

Well there are a few things actually, and I think it’s super important to talk about the ups and downs of this lifestyle. Work-life balance and productivity are definitely big challenges but if I had to pick just one thing I’d say it’s a lack of community. Thankfully, I am meeting incredible people all the time and I make new friends quite easily. But it’s hard to have to say goodbye to new friends all the time, and it doesn’t really get easier. That’s why online communities are so important for us digital nomads.

You’ve been here with us at Sun and Co. a few times. How would you describe your experience here to someone who is on the fence about coliving?

Yes, twice already! And well, I’m a little biased because I think you guys are amazing and that Sun and Co is incredible. Apart from the beautiful house and the lovely town (seriously, Javea is dead cute) I think you’d struggle to find many coliving spaces that care so much about their colivers. As soon as you arrive at Sun and Co you feel like you’ve arrived home. The other colivers were always super friendly and open, the vibe is very relaxed, no-pressure but fun and a bit adventurous. I would love to spend time at Sun and Co every year, to get lots of work done and hang out with awesome people.

If you’re on the fence, don’t even think about it anymore and just book! I can’t think of a single thing that I don’t like about Sun and Co. Oh well, maybe that there isn’t one in every city.

Being a digital nomad full-time can sometimes be hard. How would you explain your personal transition over the years from constantly traveling to choosing one place as your “home base”?

Yes it can definitely be exhausting. I think after 3 years of almost full time travel including 1 year of jumping from city to city every month while working basically full-time, I needed a break. It’s hard for a digital nomad to say, ok, I’m staying here for a while and I won’t move. But you have to listen to yourself and your body. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with travelling slowly, or having a home base. I think that’s so important to know.

At the same time, what I am experiencing now is that it’s equally important to listen to yourself when it’s time to move on. It’s easy to get comfortable and get used to your routine. But too much of that is also not good and I noticed over the past months that I was getting itchy feet. I was nervous to hit the road again full-time but since booking the flights I am just excited to travel more again and explore new countries.

When do you feel you’re happiest?

Woah, that’s an awesome question. I think when I am meeting new people and making new friends. When I’m connecting with people who have similar dreams and goals as me. I think some of my happiest weeks have been during the DNG retreats, two of which were in Javea.

Oh and when I eat really good food with my boyfriend Simon.

What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your location independent journey?

There’s no right or wrong way to be a digital nomad and travel. Don’t listen to the gurus, to people who want to teach you how to live this life. You have to figure it out yourself and your travel style also adapts over time.

One thing you can’t leave home without?

Oh so many. My ear plugs and sleeping mask for practical items and my hula hoop for fun.

Imagine that you had one month to travel anywhere in the world (money not being an issue), where would you go and why?

Such a hard question. (20 minutes later…) My first thought was India but it’s such a cheap destination that I think I’ll go with Italy. I absolutely adore Italy and would love to drive around for a month, take cooking classes, stay in little villas, eat cheese and drink wine all day. Sounds like a dream.

Or for something more exotic, definitely Japan. I’d love to see the cherry blossoms and eat my way around the country.

Lastly, where do you see yourself/what do you see yourself doing one year from now?

One year from now I might still be in Mexico or maybe in the States on a road trip. I’ll still be working on DNG and my membership site, the DNG Inner Circle, and I’ll be organising a retreat in Mexico. Or maybe I’ll be back in Europe and living in Sicily for a few months.

Rapid Fire

Window or aisle?  Window

Carryon or overweight?  Overweight!

Favorite city you’ve visited? Sydney

Favorite tool for remote work? Asana and Bear

What song do you currently have on repeat? The Moana soundtrack

Anything else you want to share?

I’m so glad that there are spaces and communities like Sun and Co. who make the digital nomad experience so much easier and more fun. Thanks for what you do guys and I can’t wait to return soon!

Where can we find you on the web and social media?

You can find me on my website digitalnomadgirls.com, on Instagram and in my Facebook Group.  

Interested in joining the next Digital Nomad Girls retreat in Javea? Get in touch with Jenny and mention you’ve heard of her through Sun and Co. to get €200 off the normal price ticket!

How I Became A Digital Nomad: Lessons Learnt From My Time With Remote Year Program

By | Community, Digital Nomad, The Team | No Comments

Two years ago I quit my office job in London, sold all my stuff, packed my life in a 23kg suitcase, said goodbye to all my friends and flew to Colombia to start my year-long adventure working as a Program Leader with the Remote Year program. It was like they basically invented my dream job and then offered it to me. I was over the moon, and terrified.

By the end of March 2017 I had successfully led a community of 50+ digital nomads, who were working remotely and travelling around the world. For 12 months we lived in 12 different cities across Europe, Asia and South America, always together.  Intense? I felt like I’d aged 5 years in 12 months, and sometimes struggled to understand how profoundly the experience had changed me.

The thing is, travelling always changes you in some ways. But travelling as part of a community is a completely different story. Here’s three important lessons I learned in the process.

Stop talking, start listening

When you’re constantly travelling from place to place and meeting new people that are also doing the same, you want to be able to create meaningful relationships in a short period of time. You quickly realise you don’t have the time nor the energy for small talk. But if you step back and take the time to really listen to others, you’ll be able to tune in very quickly with whoever you meet. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, and it’s often not what you were expecting.

No matter how open-minded and well-travelled you are, you will judge

Being forced to spend time with people that I wouldn’t normally choose to hang out with in a familiar environment made me realise how often we tend to judge a book from its cover. Back home, we tend to stick to people that we feel are similar to us and make us feel comfortable. However, if we take the time to dig deeper and push through the initial ‘awkward’ feeling, we will find that people that are very different from us are those that we should seek out and hang out with more often. They are the ones that would offer us a different perspective and really make us richer individuals.

Location independent work is the future, and communities are the key. As long as they foster vulnerability

Before I started to travel with a bunch of 50+ strangers, I had heard the term ‘tramily’ (travel + family) a few times from previous colleagues at Remote Year. And I was skeptical. I thought there was no way I would get attached to these people, as nice as they were, to the point that I would call them ‘family’. Once again, I was wrong. Travelling for a long period of time will eventually make you feel uncomfortable and push you to your limit, revealing who you really are and hence making you vulnerable. Nobody likes their dark sides to be exposed, but when your insecurities and fears are revealed and you have no choice but opening up about who you really are, that’s when the deepest sense of connection arises. Vulnerability is the most powerful tool for creating communities that really feel like families. It allows others to better understand you, accept you and love you for who you are; it instantly erases the defensive walls that we all build and that prevent us to have real, meaningful, heart-to-heart connections.

A year after saying goodbye to my Remote Year program and tramily, I find myself starting a new adventure at Sun and Co. I am excited to have the opportunity to witness and spread the word about coliving, a new way of living and working for digital nomads based on communities, collaboration and meaningful connections. It’s a revolutionary concept that is hard to explain and understand without having experienced it.

If you’re skeptical, like I was, you just need to come and try. You’ll never want to go back 🙂

What being a digital nomad means for your taxes

What Being a Digital Nomad Means for Your Taxes

By | Business, Digital Nomad, Guest Blog | No Comments

As a digital nomad, what are the tax issues that you need to be aware of? How is income reported, what provisions are there for full-time travelers, and what are the pitfalls? While location independent work is on the rise, tax regulations struggle to keep up with it and there are still a lot of grey areas in the matter. Regulations also vary greatly from country to country, so it’s always recommended to do some research of your own or talk to a tax professional.

However, if you are a US citizen digital nomad you’re in luck! We spoke with Krystal Pino, seasoned accountant, digital nomad and founder of Nomad Tax, a firm dedicated serving the nomad community when it comes to small business and personal tax issues.

Keep reading to find out Krystal’s recommendations when it comes to dealing with taxes for US digital nomads.

Krystal Pino

 

Making a Federal Case Out Of It

First and foremost: the foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE). The tax code provision states that if you are outside of the United States for either a set number of days, or you’re considered a resident of another country, you could be exempt from paying federal income taxes on a portion of your income ($103,900 for 2018 and $104,100 for 2019). Hold your horses though, it’s not automatic simply because you’ve decided to travel. There are tests that need to be met.

First is either the bona fide resident test or the physical presence test. Under the bona fide resident test, you’re considered exempt should you qualify as a resident of another country for a full calendar year. For those of us constantly on the move, there’s the physical presence test (PPT). Under the PPT, you need to be outside of the United States for 330 out of 365 rolling days (which means you can use any 365 day period, not just January-December).

Once you pass the PPT, the next thing the Internal Revenue Service wants to know is where your tax home is. For our FEIE purposes, this tax home is not your residence, or abode (discussed later), but rather refers to how and where you make your money. If you’re self employed, you make your money wherever you are. Congrats, you’ve passed the second test!

W-2 employees take a little bit of an extra look at the nature of their work and assignment. You’re going to have to convince the IRS that your remote work is for the benefit of your employer and not only personal. Not impossible, but it weakens your case for the FEIE.

But wait! We’re not done yet!
The last thing the IRS takes a look at is what is called your ‘abode’. This is a referral to your social, family, and economic ties to the United States. Own a home in the US and not renting it out? Still voting in local elections? Have a car registered? Strong family ties? While none of these automatically disqualify you from the FEIE, they could potentially weaken your case that the US is not your permanent home, and this lifestyle of travel is only temporary for you and you’re trying to get out of paying taxes for a bit.

Self(ish) Employment Taxes

Another important thing to note when considering the FEIE is that it only applies to FEDERAL income taxes. None of us are exempt from paying social security and Medicare taxes. Good news for W-2s: you get to split this with your employer, and it is already taken care of for you. Those of us who are self employed are responsible for the full burden (12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% Medicare), although a credit is offered for half. Self employed and don’t want to deal with SE tax? You can mitigate your SE tax by setting up your business as an S Corporation, but this does subject you additional tax filings.

State of Affairs

So, what about state taxes? While some states do have foreign earned income exclusion provisions, most of the time you’ll still be subject to state taxes. Traveling full time? CA, CT, DE, ID, MN, MO, NY, OK, OR, and WV all offer safe harbor provisions, provided you’re out of the state for a number of days and subject to other residency requirements.

State residency is another hot topic among US digital nomads and something my firm looks at intently. Residency can be both hard to break and to establish, especially when trying to do it from overseas. Thus, consider it before you leave or talk to someone who’s already done all the leg work.

Deductions Reasoning

Finally, another frequent question I get is “what can I deduct?” 
If you’re a W-2 employee: nothing. Sorry. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act basically got rid of anything you could previously deduct.
For self-employed individuals, the answer is: it depends. First, consider the nature of your business and the nature of your travel. The IRS states heavily that business expenses must have a clear business purpose, and nothing that is considered personal is allowed. What you can deduct include coworking space fees, trips made specifically for client/business work, meals with clients, and professional fees, which are still deductible simply as if you were sitting still.

Congratulations, you made it this far! Dealing with taxes can be daunting, but it should be on your top priority list when planning your life on the road.

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5 Tips to Hire Top Talents For Your Remote Team

5 Tips to Hire Top Talents For Your Remote Team

By | Business, Guest Blog, Remote Worker | No Comments

Going remote can be daunting at first when you want to build and scale a business or agency, but as long as you hire the right team members straight off the bat, you’re well on the road to success. The top talents aren’t drifters; rather, they’ll stick around for the long haul, which is exactly what you want.

However, the hiring process has for a long time saddled all businesses. When we don’t hire the right people, productivity slows down, morale drops, and we have to spend money repeating the process until we get the right person in.

The last thing we want is to hire an individual who suddenly vanishes from the online world.

For your company to be a success, you need to bring the A-players to your team. The thing is that, with everyone working remotely, you might need to be a bit more creative with how you identify and “seduce” the top talent.

Let’s take a look at 5 tips to hire top talents for your remote team.

 

5 Tips to Hire Top Talents For Your Remote Team

Know Where to Look

There are a variety of places to look for remote workers, from Craigslist to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is one of the best places to find your next hire because you get the advantage of seeing an individuals resume, testimonials and credentials there and then. Plus, they’re just a DM away. If you do decide to use LinkedIn, switching to a recruiters account gives you access to perks that a regular account doesn’t have. Then, you need to use keywords like “remote graphic designer” to find potential hires.

Moreover, if a talent really is the best talent, it’s highly likely that they’ll be on LinkedIn. And they’ll probably have examples of their work for you to browse.

Global freelance platforms like Upwork and Freelancer are worth taking a look at, too. These hubs allow clients to post jobs — long term or short term — and multiple businesses have used them to hire the best talent. The problem is that, while there are top-rated remote workers on these sites, there are also lots of dead wood, too. As such, it might take you some time before you find the right person for the right job. However, these platforms allow clients to give freelancers feedback and scores so that you can take a look at an applicants profile to determine how skillful, motivated and reliable they’ll be for you.

 

Outline Your Why

The best remote workers don’t have to work for you. Unlike an office worker who might be terrified of being made redundant because they’ll never find another job, the best remote workers always have other clients they can work for.

This is why you need to sell the job to them.

Outline your company’s ‘Why’. Why should someone work for you? Share your company’s vision with remote workers. Explain your purpose and where your company is heading. What are the perks of working for you? Why should the best talent choose you?

The more attractive you can make your company appear, the easier it will be for the top talent to want to be a part of your future.

 

Go for the Experience

When assessing who is right and who isn’t for your team, it’s a good idea to take a look at how experienced the remote worker is. This doesn’t simply mean how experienced they are in terms of the role — it also means how experienced they are as a remote worker.

For example, if someone has literally just started working remotely, it might not always be the best idea to hire them. They could be a starstruck remote worker who quit the 9-5 grind in the hopes that working remotely would bring them a better work/life balance. Ultimately, however, they have no track record and you don’t know how motivated they’ll be as a remote worker.

Instead, it’s much safer to go for remote workers who already have a proven track record working remotely. If they’ve been doing this for 2+ years now and have strong testimonials to back them up, they’re well worth considering over young pups who may end up like rabbits caught in headlights. They might be good at what they do, but are you taking a gamble?

 

Assign a Test Project

When hiring a remote worker, it’s typical for a company to assign the candidates a test project first. This gives you a better insight into the quality of their work, as well as the speed at which they work. Turnaround time is key, so it makes sense to test each candidate first with a small (but paid) project.

 

Be Communicative

The top talent wants to see a few things from a prospective company they might work for before they commit. One of them is good communication.

The best talent know that communication is the bedrock of all good working relationships, and it’s important to remember the reasons why someone has decided to work remotely in the first place. It might be that they did it for family reasons, but a prime factor is often that the individual doesn’t want to work for a boss they hate anymore.

The top talent can pick and choose who they work for. If they no longer want stress in their working life, they won’t work with someone they dislike.

Poor communication skills can easily make you appear unappealing to a remote worker. If you take too long to respond to messages, or if your messages are often blunt, impersonal and full of criticism, it’s going to put the best talent off.

Be a good communicator. Be friendly, personable and open. Stay in touch with your prospects and your hires. Offer feedback and offer criticism, but offer praise, too. Be positive. That way, it will be a lot easier to hire and keep hold of the best remote talent.

 

These are 5 top tips to hire top talents for your remote team. Look in the right places, sell your company to the worker, go for the experience, run a test project by them and be communicative. If you can do all this, you should be well on your way to building a stronger team.

 

About the author: Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of Nightwatch a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out Nightwatch blog and follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut

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