I first found out about Marcus and Feli in 2015 when they were preparing DNX – the first global digital nomads conference. I decided to attend the event and took it as an opportunity to meet new people. It was even more than expected and I ended up having a great time, meeting awesome people and getting some new ideas. Next time I met them was on the Nomad Cruise – an amazing experience that needs to be repeated. They make a wonderful couple that can inspire many of the present and future nomads. I asked them to tell us a bit more about their lifestyle and projects and I am excited to show you the result.
Tell us a few things about your projects for the nomad community
DNX connects and supports digital nomads all over the world. The DNX GLOBAL is the first international digital nomad conference: during our conferences in Berlin and Bangkok we had around 1,000 participants from 45 countries. The conference is all about the location independent lifestyle and online entrepreneurship. We have an amazing and vibrant global community of location independent entrepreneurs who want to change the world. Our DNX community is happy to share their ideas and knowledge.
Beside Talks, Workshops and Mastermind sessions, you get to know a lot of like-minded people, boost your business to the next level and make new friends and valuable business connections or even new clients. During the event, we also cover topics like problems that digital nomads face and visions for the future. We love the idea of sustainability both for business & traveling. The feedback we get for the event is amazing, so we are totally motivated to keep on going.
In our DNX – coworking & coliving CAMPS for digital nomads we have coworking sessions, masterminds and hot seat sessions.
We also bring in inspiring talks from local entrepreneurs at the most beautiful spots in the world. We love to plays sports and eat healthy during our CAMPS. People that attend our events, not only grow in the business-sense, but also as a person.
Depending on the location, we work in a beach villa where we can access superfast Internet connections or partner with coworking spaces. Our latest DNX CAMPS have been in Tarifa (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Jericoacoara (Brazil) and Ko Lanta (Thailand). The next ones are on Lemnos (Greece) and in Santa Cruz, California (USA). The CAMPS are 10 days with 10 – 20 people and very intense. Join us and check it out!
Our biggest project for the future is the DNX ISLAND – where the magic happens!
This ambitious project brings together the best people on the planet to solve world issues on a beautiful island.
What was the AHA moment when you realized this community is growing?
We were traveling for a long time and we realized that we were meeting more and more nomads on the road. I think the AHA moment was when we even met one nomad in a rather unusual location for nomads—a small fisher village in Colombia. We also realized that our events had a huge impact on people who were already freelancers or those who had an online business but did not travel. After the DNX they really got into action, and we could follow their travels online via Facebook.
What is the DNX CAMP guest profile?
The DNX CAMPS are for people who are entrepreneurs or freelancers. We have an application process for the camps and do not take any beginners onboard.
If they are freelancing, they usually want to start their own services or products they can scale. That means no more time against money exchange. We really love the great mix of our DNX CAMP attendees. We have an excellent ratio of women and men. The backgrounds and fields the people are working in also vary a lot. That is essential for gaining new ideas and insight.
During our last CAMP, for example, we had Helga, who was working location independent for a company as a remote worker. We also had Jasper, who is an entrepreneur, and we had Anja, who works as a freelancer.
Why should people join a DNX CAMP?
During the DNX CAMPS we try to achieve a perfect mix between activities and spending time with the community. The main focus is still working, boosting your business, learning and growing personally. The feedback is amazing. We already have several people who have joined more than just one CAMP. People love the events because of how motivating these meetings are. Everyone feels ready to take their business to the next level and grow as a person.
How does a regular day at DNX CAMP look like?
It depends a little bit on the location, but let’s take the Jericoacoara Brazil event for example:
A typical day will look like this:
- 7 a.m. running, climbing the dune (optional)
- 8 a.m. tribe/mastermind check-in over breakfast in our villa
- 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. work / skill share / talk
- 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. kitesurfing / relaxing on the beach / excursion – lunch out (can be arranged in the house if somebody has a lot of work)
- 6 p.m. watching sunset from the dune / caipi street / capoeira show / samba show / live music in a beach bar or by the pool
- 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. relax in the villa / catch up with work
- 9 p.m. dinner in a different popular restaurant / farewell BBQ in our villa
- 11 p.m. caipi street / party
Check out our video from the DNX CAMP in Brazil:
How does DNX CAMP help guests take their businesses to the next level?
We do different things like mastermind groups, hot seats and goal setting. In one activity you write down the task you are procrastinating most on and get a partner out of the CAMP group who helps you to get it done. Usually we have group talks as well as external speakers for various topics such as productivity, sales funnels, how to create products, team building and so on. We might also do a Fuck Up night, where we talk about things that didn’t go right on the entrepreneurial journey.
The deep connections the people make during the CAMPS also lead to new reach and customers. People boost one another’s blog posts, visit podcasts, share things on Facebook or learn to connect with individuals who can solve their specific problems.
Many nomads want to become entrepreneurs and gain more freedom. How important is it to have a good team in order to achieve that and after how much time?
This really depends on the background of the people and how hard they are working for it. It also depends on the exact business model you have.
We hired our first VA more than 2 years after we started. We even organized a 5000-person DNX conference just with us two. When the time came that we could not breathe any more, we stepped out of our comfort zone and hired the first person.
Now we have 15 people worldwide working for us in our remote team.
You have so many businesses. How do you prioritize them? Are some automated?
Yes, we have for sure SOP’s – automated workflows for different areas in our business. We try to go as much as possible for the 80/20 rule and try to concentrate on the 80 percent that has the most impact on our business.
However, this is of course not always easy, and we are continuously trying to learn and improve.
We define 1-2 really important tasks per day (MIT – Most important task of the day) that has to be done first. This should be something where you work on your business not in your business. This could be improving your sales funnel or create a new product or service, set up a team…
When is the moment you would advise people to attend workations?
Well that is hard to say. I think as a freelancer / digital nomad / entrepreneur we can constantly learn and improve. You are never done. So it makes sense in all different phases of your journey. It also depends on what the workation focuses on: beginners or advanced workers? It is always good to be surrounded with like-minded people, get new feedback, develop inspirations and learn a lot in a short period of time.
Some of the OFFIce To Travel readers are still employees or freelancers who want to become entrepreneurs. Usually there is a whole process behind a successful business and it takes years until it reaches success. That’s why many people quit this path – they believe they’ve failed. How much time did it take you to get at the point where your business grew exponentially?
There is not one point where it grew exponentially – it grew step by step organically, and we worked very hard for it. Most people have one of these two problems: either they create a product or service and don’t have any traffic, which means no reach to sell it, or, on the other hand, they build up a big audience but don’t have any product to sell yet. You definitely need both. It takes time, and in between you fail, learn, and improve.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@officetotravel”]You really need to be consistent to be successful, and yes it’s hard, and that is why many people quit. [/tweetthis]
But maybe they do not want it bad enough?
What are your thoughts regarding lifestyle businesses vs. startups?
I worked for a long time in different online startups in Berlin. Startups are, in my view, much better than traditional companies, as you can really learn a lot and take on more responsibilities and find more chances to grow, and not just be tied to one area in the company.
However, it is still a 9-5 life, and startups have usually Venture Capital, have to do reportings, and burn more money than they are making.
I love the lean startup and lifestyle business approach much more. But this must not be the case for everyone. The only way to know what is right for you, is to test it out.
I actually tried all of them: Typical corporate world, startup world, and self-employment (solopreneurship / lifestyle business). Without aiming for it, we have begun to develop startup structures of our own.
How do you see the future of workations and work in general?
In the future, what we are doing will be normal. I am also sure that self-employment will rise exponentially as the new generation Y is not willing to work for others anymore. Jobs are not secure anymore. People look for alternatives and want more self-determination, flexibility & freedom in their lives. The Internet gives us the possibility to reach the whole world and own businesses without a huge investment.
The trend is also going to concepts like roam.co where you pay a monthly rent and can switch between different locations—locations with good Internet connection, sport facilities and a strong sense of community.
What are your plans for the next two years?
Well this year is actually pretty much planned already, however, things might change. We will for sure continue to do our DNX Conferences and DNX CAMPS and work on our DNX ISLAND project.
As far as everything else goes, we are actually doing research right now to get a better feel for where to go next.