Estela: Welcome everyone on Freedom Experience. We have the lovely lady here Bettina, who’s going to tell us a little bit about the Marketing Agency that she’s running and how to run an independent agency as a woman. It’s great to have you here.
Bettina: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here, it’s a really cool event, and thank you.
Estela: So Bettina is originally from Vienna. So let me ask you what is your background, how much do you travel, where do you live, and if you can give a little bit summary of your background, and how do you run your life?
Bettina: So I was born in Australia and lived there for half of my life. But I moved to Amsterdam, and started to work with more online, and that’s kind of like where it started to learn all this skills I thought I needed to in running a remote business. And I started to travel in January 2016, and I went to Bali, like a lot of people, I guess, and I met so many inspiring people, started to work as a freelancer in an online Marketing, and have it take from there, and turn into an online Marketing Agency, and I have that now for about a year. I think what’s important for me is to meet all these people. And I used to think I would have never really get into it, because I always struggling, I was like holding myself back, and I thought I don’t know how to do this, probably a lot of people have that issue, but when I started, I just thought, “you can do this”, and I just did.
Estela: What was the main motivation for you in started living this more freedom-business lifestyle? Did you had a sudden shift, like you want to make a change, or what is the main inspiration for you to change your lifestyle?
Bettina: I would say it came in steps, slowly at the back of my head. I always like I wanted this. I started to research about digital Nomad lifestyle, I think in 2013, but it took me two years to finally make that step. It just happened by accident, I would say, I started backpacking, and when I met these people, I thought, this is actually happening, this is really a thing, and I was like, “I want to do that, I want to be free, I want to work on my own terms, serving clients the best way I can”. I thought in the corporate job I couldn’t do it that way I supposed to, the way like to, and that’s where it all came from.
Estela: Great! So you were travelling as a backpacker, and that’s where you first met a digital Nomad, and when was that?
Bettina: that was in Bali, last year, in February. And then I met a lot of people in Thailand, in Shemai, in Bangkok, those were the main spots where I met a lot of them, and I thought, what you can do, I can do as well, and then I just did. It was really a spontaneous thing, I would say, in the end, after planning it for two years.
Estela: What was your background before? When you were working in corporate, did you also do marketing or did you just pick up skillsets when you started to be a digital Nomad?
Bettina: in general, I was on Marketing, but I was on a more managerial role for many years. I had managed an event, I got to do social media, so there was a little part of the experience, but it was not my main skill. But like three years ago, I started to work on Sales first in an online company, and then switched to online marketing, and then that was like prolonged. But besides that, I have learned a lot of skills myself, for example, how to create a website, how to do blog, SEO, and kind of like those things, I just did everything myself.
Estela: And what was the biggest challenge in starting this lifestyle and establishing yourself with it?
Bettina: I would say my background isn’t very broad, I didn’t come from a family like this, also none my friends is self-employed, so I didn’t have people to talk to about this, and that is also one thing that took me so long to actually do this, because it is also important to have a tribe to support you, and teach knowledge, and just somebody that will say, “you can do this and you’re amazing”, and that’s kind of what happened when I met all these people.
Estela: Amazing. Yeah that’s one of the things that most people say, like for me, I started this freedom lifestyle many, many years ago, and I thought I was only weirdo, and it took me ten years to actually meet other weirdos and now that more of us are working together, much easier to establish this kind of thing, and as well as coming together in an events, and other workshops.
So right now you are in Austria, do you know where are you going to be heading next? What are your plans for the near future?
Bettina: So for now, I want to be in Europe, at least. I’m not only going to be in Austria, but I’m going to be in Spain next month, and then in Portugal in November, I might go in Amsterdam in October, but that’s not in plan exactly. And then, I’m thinking about Asia, but not sure yet.
Estela: Can you also share a little bit of the type of nature of work that you do, like what type of clients are you working with? How long this projects does lasts for? Is it just you, or are you working with a team of people?
Bettina: So I’m basically the “main character” in this. It really depends on the project, some are like two months, and some are ongoing clients I have for more than a year now. It really depends on why they came to me, because some just needed a “quick fix”, let’s say, and some needed to start their business from scratch, from a Marketing perspective, or from online perspective. Then there’s this very long project, and because of that, it depends on how big my team is, I don’t have a lot of employees, but I work with a lot of freelancers, for either a project with a lot of skillset, I’d say.
Estela: So you are the person that brings that whole team together, helps with the strategy, and helps run the project, manage the clients, and all that, right?
Estela: And where are your clients from? Are they mainly from Austria, or also from all over the world?
Bettina: It really shifts, and really depends on where I am at, at that moment. So at the beginning, mostly people from the US and Australia, and a couple of German clients. Now that I’m in Austria for three months, I got more of a German-speaking clients here, but it’s still everywhere, still Australia, US, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, more or less.
Estela: How do you find this whole independent lifestyle, is something that you always wanted to be doing? How much is this serving you? How much does it excites you? How much do you see this as challenges, and what are those?
Bettina: It’s a good question. I still love my life, I think it’s the best decision I made. In the beginning, I think I was travelling too fast in doing the business, and I got a little bit of struggle because, sometimes, especially, if you have clients from a different time zones, you have to get up really early, or stay up really late to have meetings, or if you have team that was like everywhere, like I work with freelancers that are all over the place. But now that I’m travelling and saw everything, it’s much easier to fulfill the projects that way I wanted to, because, of course, you want to serve with quality to the clients.
Estela: Yeah, I agree that timezone is always a challenge. How do you experience this lifestyle and running a business as a woman, is it challenging, or do you find it really normal that woman is travelling and doing businesses this way? What is your experience?
Bettina: I feel two ways about it, I would say. On one hand, I feel that there’s still no enough woman that are in business. I also feel that we are holding ourselves back more than men do, for example. I know a lot of woman who would like to do it, but then are a little bit afraid, or cannot step up for themselves. On the other side, I think women are more supportive, maybe because of that, and helped each other grow. In that sense, I really never had a negative experience as a woman, but it’s definitely different, maybe for some people, it is harder than as a man. But not so much because of the society, but more because of the way we were raised, and the way we behave also.
Estela: It makes sense. I also have the experience of having networks, many networks much more with man. I get to work in a network in Bangkok being the only woman with like fifty man, which is a little bit uncomfortable, but that’s really a great example, thank you for that. What is that one or two tips that you would share with another woman, or maybe another man, who are thinking to start this journey? And what is the best advice you could give to someone who wants to start this journey?
Bettina: First of all, I would say go for it, that’s probably the simplest one. Think about what you can do best and how you can monetize that, in a sense.
Estela: As a last question, can you tell me one or two tips for people who would wanting to start this lifestyle? What is the first thing that you would say to them to encourage them, or something to be aware of in starting this freedom lifestyle?
Bettina: I would say, go for it, that’s probably the best advice. Find people, search online, if you don’t know anyone, that will support you in what you do, maybe a business buddy, or a digital Nomad buddy, because I feel that as soon as you know the right people, you grow much faster, and you’re actually going to accomplish more, than you just like look around you and with people that are where you are from, basically.
Estela: Thank you. So the network, and community, and connectivity is really important that is?
Bettina: Yeah, that helped me grow the most, and the helps me growing, by finding the right people, supporting each other. Like, sometimes, you just need a second opinion, or view on things, and it is much easier.
Estela: Yeah, that’s right. Thank you so much Bettina for having to chat with us here in Freedom Experience and those amazing other speakers as well in freedom experience online. And those watching in this room, if you have any question, you can leave a comment and we will back on that. Thank you Bettina and for the great feedback.
Bettina: Thank you very much, if you have any questions, go contact me anytime, drop me a message, I’m happy to answer all your questions.
Estela: Thank you again for being here Bettina.
Bettina: Thank you for having me.