We talked to Mike Holp of Digital Nomad Ventures about pursuing one’s passion and breaking out of the comfort zone.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mike Holp: I’m doing just fine living abroad and working remotely in beautiful Thailand. We’re leading the world in handling the COVID situation, with only 60 deaths in the entire country. My aunt recently passed away from COVID, and no one was allowed to attend the funeral. However, both my parents in their 60’s are coping very well with this virus.
My dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes and lives a very sedentary lifestyle. I try to convince him to take a vacation in Hawaii for a few weeks, but he’s simply not interested. No one in my family has a passport or is interested in traveling outside their comfort zone. At the end of the day, the only person you can take responsibility for is yourself.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Digital Nomad Ventures.
Mike Holp: I’m a digital nomad, photographer, travel influencer, growth marketer, and business consultant. I started Be Remote Consulting in March 2020 at the beginning of the world pandemic to help entrepreneurs adapt to the remote work lifestyle, escape the 9-5, and be their own boss.
In 2015, I quit my lucrative 9-5 job as a software developer and bought a one-way ticket to the tropical paradise of Costa Rica. After exploring this beautiful country for 10 days, I decided to go on with my passion for travel and photography.
Long story short — A few years later, I sold most of my possessions, packed my hiking bag with clothes and camera equipment, and bought a one-way ticket to Panama City. The wild dream was to reach my destination at a national park in Southern Chile with only $500 in my bank account, zero paying clients, and zero job prospects. I didn’t know how I was going to make money to survive and follow my dreams of traveling the world. But I was determined to make it happen one way or another!
Over the last 5 years, I’ve found ways to generate passive income as a professional referrer for Airbnb, stay at luxury hotels and resorts for free while traveling the world on a shoestring budget, grow my professional network to find consistent paying clients, and make money online so I can do what I love anywhere in the world.
How does Digital Nomad Ventures innovate?
Mike Holp: I help entrepreneurs adapt to the remote work lifestyle and enjoy more freedom in a post-COVID world. Compared to most remote work advocates, I’m not just sitting at home and dreaming of the future. I’m actually out here living abroad in Thailand and following my guiding vision! Lots of people can talk and pretend to be leading the charge. Few dare to break out of their comfort zone and actually do it! At the end of the day, actions always speak louder than words!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mike Holp: The Coronavirus has affected my life and business. I’ve been forced to find creative solutions to make extra money online while living abroad. I got a job at a tech startup on the largest island in Thailand for one month and was let go since I was denied the official work permit. I recently launched an online course teaching how to adapt to the remote work lifestyle and an e-commerce store selling tech accessories for digital nomads. I’ve learned so much about adapting to difficult circumstances over the years backpacking through over 12 countries on a shoestring budget with zero paying clients. At this point, I can pretty much handle anything life throws at me without having a panic attack!
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mike Holp: I had to make the correct and challenging decision to stay in Thailand rather than return home during this world pandemic. Thankfully the government enacted a visa amnesty program for all foreigners stranded in the Kingdom to prevent the spreading of the virus at immigration. I sometimes get homesick and miss my friends, but we can always stay in touch on social media platforms. I really enjoy inspiring my friends by sharing beautiful photos and telling epic stories of my travels abroad.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Digital Nomad Ventures in the future?
Mike Holp: I handle stress by reminding myself that everything will be alright, and this too shall pass. I also enjoy going to long walks around the city, talking to new friends, and meditating at Buddhist temples. I’m excited to continue traveling around this beautiful country! I’m visiting the third-largest island Koh Chang in a few weeks and possibly riding all the way to Chiang Mai by motorbike with a retired friend.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mike Holp: I can’t think of any direct competitors off the top of my head…
Your final thoughts?
Mike Holp: Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
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