"Hiring a virtual assistant has been the best decision early on." [Interview 07 - Melody]
A former website designer who built her first website at age 12, Melody Thomas is now inspiring thousands of people of color to work from anywhere in the world through her platform Black Digital Nomad. Her mission is to show you how to create a location independent lifestyle that gives you the freedom to travel the world and live life on your own terms.
It's hard to find much public representation for Black women in digital nomad spaces around the globe, and I love the community that Melody is cultivating. It's important for us to see that this lifestyle isn't just for one specific demographic, or for people with generations of financial privilege. It's so important, especially for women of color, to know that there are alternatives to playing the Corporate America game, ones that ultimately reward you with much more fulfillment and freedom.
Below, Melody shares the one thing that keeps her going as a trailblazer, the best & worst things about being a digital nomad, and her top 3 productivity tips:
LN: What's the most important mindset shift you had to make to transition full time into online-based work?
MT: THE most important mindset shift I had to make was discipline! Honestly, I'm still working on this, but I realized I have to do work that I enjoy in order to remain disciplined. To any aspiring digital nomads that's are reading this, please make sure you're doing a job or work that you love so you can stay motivated to do it.
What are your most rewarding & most challenging aspects of creating your own online brand & working as a digital nomad?
The most rewarding is building the community and closing the sale (ha!). Before I started Black Digital Nomad, I owned a full-service web design and branding business that was pretty successful. Once I learnt how to close sales over the phone, which was my favorite part, I was getting clients left and right. Once business was booming, I quickly realized I didn't want to continue with it anymore. I was constantly burnt out, because I still had a full-time job and I had client work to do and deadlines to meet. I was working 80 hours per week! I decided to shut that business down and start Black Digital Nomad, which was originally planned to be a job board website for people of color. I launched this business six months ago and the community I've cultivated has been AMAZING! It's by far my favorite business. :)
The most challenging aspect is the loneliness, or feeling lonely in my journey. I'm thankful to have one person in my circle that's been through what I'm going through right now. She quit her six-figure paying job as an executive director of a non-profit to travel the world and build her business. Everyone thought she was crazy as hell and that's exactly how I feel right now. While my family and friends have been supportive, there is still a collective side-eye I'm getting from them. But I have to remind myself that they'll never understand because they're from a different generation.
What are your top 3 favorite tools to use (to increase productivity/run your business) and why do you love them?
I use so many tools, so it's hard to choose just three! My TOP of the top three are:
Manifestation Journal: It's filled with every hair-brained scheme idea ever thought of, what I desire to manifest into my life, goals for the month/year, and what I want my life to look like.
Facebook and Instagram Ads: If you're not on game about social media advertising, your business will not survive! It's my favorite way to market without physically doing anything like going to networking events, getting business cards, cold calling, and other shit I think is played out. Facebook and Instagram ads is how I've been able to build the Black Digital Nomad community up so quickly.
A virtual assistant: I hate to call a person a "tool," but hiring her has been the best decision I made early on. Even if you're just starting out, try to make an effort to hire a virtual assistant to handle what I like to call "mundane tasks." Doing everything yourself doesn't save money, because your productivity decreases. Hire help!