5 Questions to Danielle Greason

Name and last name

Curious about how to lead a digital nomad life with a family? Read it here in “30 Digital Nomad Stories: How to Work Remotely and Travel the World”! Danielle Greason and her family moved away from the big cities of Europe to enjoy a much slower rhythm of life in a tropical surrounding. They are earning an income by providing online marketing implementation and consulting services at Greason Media – which is their own company – and are enjoying a life as family.

Why did you decide to begin a nomadic life and what does it mean to you?

We decided to pack up our city life and venture to the tropics predominantly because we wanted a slower pace of life, and we wanted to spend more time together as a family. As young parents with a 2 year old and a 1 year old, both Daniel and I working and all that comes with normal family life, things were pretty hectic. It was go go go from early in the morning until last thing at night, 6 days a week. On Sunday, we’d ‘recover’ by doing the weekly shopping, cleaning, ironing and cooking. That basically was our limited time to spend together as a family. It was nothing out of the ordinary, really, but we just knew there had to be a better way than enduring this crazy routine for the foreseeable future.

Now we’re able to spend each and every day together as a family, we go to the beach, river or waterfall several times a week, and our kids are always nearby, even when we’re working. We have help with that of course! Wow, it makes such a difference to our quality of life compared to what we would be doing back in our home country, which is dropping the kids off at daycare each day at 7am, commuting to the city for work, then picking them up at 6 in the evening, just to get ready to do it all over again the next day.

Family time, time in nature, having the time and resources to be healthy and fit, and living life on our own terms – that’s what this lifestyle really means to us.

How do you earn an income now?

We earn an income providing online marketing implementation and consulting services at Greason Media. I manage a small team of virtual assistants, writers, a web developer and a designer who collaborate on projects and ongoing tasks for clients in all different industries, all over the world. I started out working as a solo virtual assistant in early 2011, four weeks after we hopped on a plane to start our new life, and it grew from there as my experience and skills developed, and new clients were referred.

The two little girls of Danielle Greason.

What is your approximate travel budget for a year? Any tip to lower it down?

We’re a family of 5 now, so our annual budget currently sits around $36,000. Factored into that is a big proportion of the budget invested into childcare (our nanny and her family are amazing!), cleaning and help food prep or cooking. We also eat out once or twice per week as a family, and throw in a few coffees and snacks here and there when we’re out and about or working in a local hotel or cafe for the day.

There are plenty of digital nomad friends that we meet who get by on a whole lot less than that, because they don’t spend the same amount we do on the childcare and household support side of things. You can definitely lower your budget as a digital nomad family if just one of you is working (so that you’re not spending any money on childcare), if you do all your food prep at home, or if you choose local style rental accommodation which tends to be cheaper than ‘expat style’ housing or temporary tourist accommodation.

What would you consider to be one of the best tools for becoming a Digital Nomad?

A solid, reliable laptop computer. Hands down. You can always hunt down a good Wi-Fi connection wherever you go (or keep moving ‘til you find one!) but if you don’t have a sturdy computer to go with it, your progress is going to be hindered. You need to be able to find work efficiently, or deliver a client project efficiently, or set up your own business website smoothly without wrestling with an out-of-date operating system, software or a computer full of viruses or cyber junk. That way you can get your work done, make money for the day, and then go out and enjoy yourself. That’s probably the whole reason you hit the road in the first place, right?

You can budget and save on a lot of things when you’re getting ready for location independent life, but don’t skimp on a good computer, even if it’s just a matter of refurbing and upgrading your current one. And generally speaking, you’ll have an easier time getting that sorted out before you leave.

remote worker on the beach

Do you have any advice for those starting a DN life?

If you’re getting ready now to embark on a digital nomad lifestyle, my two key pieces of advice would be:

1. Do whatever it takes to build the absolute conviction that it’s doable for the long term. That is: watch videos on YouTube, read blog posts, chat with people in social media who are already doing it successfully. It’s likely you’re already doing this anyway, so my advice is really just realizing that this is in fact a BIG part of the equation to making it work for you too. It’s the way you program your mind to recognize the endless possibilities and opportunities, and what step to take next.

2. Start building your online business skills now (even if you haven’t left to travel yet). Work on that early in the morning before work, or late at night after the kids go to bed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to use these skills to build your own business online, or to be paid an hourly rate to provide services to other business owners. Either way, it’s the same skill set. So start wherever you can now, and if you have a small savings fund put together to live on when you first hit the road, then you’ll be that much closer to having a stable income to replenish it when the time comes.