Jennifer’s business is Digital Nomad Girls, a community of location independent ladies around the world. The heart of it all is the business’ Facebook Group with over 11,000 girls. They organise meet-ups around the world so their members can network, connect with like-minded girls and make friends in real life, as well as online. Last September, Jennifer ran their first coworking and masterminding retreat in a beautiful little town on the Costa Blanca in Spain. They were 14 girls from 10 different countries, all with the dream to become location independent. She is currently organising their next retreat, this time in Las Palmas and is working on great content and new ideas for Digital Nomad Girls (DNG). The idea is to make it a one-stop shop for all information, advice and support for girls who are embarking on this location independent journey.
Jennifer Lachs // Digital Nomad Girls // Online community and organising coworking retreats // United Kingdom // 30s
What motivated & inspired you to start your business?
I’m originally a chemist, but I decided to change careers after going on an around the world trip and falling in love with travel. I wanted to become location independent, so I initially started as a freelance writer and social media manager and moved to Thailand with my boyfriend. When I was starting out as a digital nomad I noticed that there weren’t many girls in coworking spaces and at nomad events. I love Facebook groups, so I set out to find female focussed nomad groups but couldn’t find any. I really missed my girlfriends so I decided to start my own group to connect with others, get some advice and hopefully make new friends. Turns out there are thousands of other girls just like me who want to make meaningful connections and get advice, that’s how it all started.
What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
It all started out as a fun side project but quickly grew to thousands of members in the Facebook group. I was meeting so many amazing women and wanted to share their stories so I launched our website last March on International Women’s Day. The digital nomad lifestyle can be quite lonely at times, after all, therefore I started organising real-life meet-ups for free around the world, to expand the online experience. Soon there was demand for a longer, more business-focused event, like a retreat or workation. At this time, DNG was still just a passion project but I was working on it for a solid 15-20 hours a week. I decided to go for it and organise a retreat, although I’d never done anything like this before. It was a huge success and we sold out the first event and since then we’ve had huge demand for more retreats. I guess it all started accidentally, but I noticed the need for this type of community and listened to what the girls wanted, that was probably the most important lesson I learned. Listen to your audience.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Hands down the Facebook Group. Groups are such powerful tools to build an audience and I think especially in the digital nomad world, we use them to network, make friends, find cool new places to work at and organise meet-ups. What started as a tiny group of myself and a few other girls I’d met in Thailand, organically grew to over 4000 members in less than a year. At the moment we are adding around 100 girls per day. Apart from that, sharing my members’ stories was a great way to spread the word. People love reading about real people who are living the lives that they are still dreaming of. This lifestyle is still new and it’s great to show different success stories, to show people that there is more than one way to achieve this dream. Instagram has also been a very powerful tool for us, we grew to over 12k followers in a year.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Oh, I feel overwhelmed every single day. I have been struggling to be consistent with content and social media posts. It’s incredibly hard when you’re trying to do everything yourself. Managing the Facebook Group is also a ton of work and I quickly realised I needed some help with that. I found lovely girls in the group who volunteered to be moderators. I think the most important thing is to get help as early on as possible. Whether it’s a volunteer, intern, a paid VA, get someone to help you, it’s impossible to do everything and do it well.
Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
Productivity and organisation are ongoing battles for me. My whole business is built on the ability to work online, but I noticed how important it is to write things down on paper. I have a paper planner that I write everything in, it weighs a ton but it’s worth it. I review it every morning and evening before bed. As I work from home most of the time, I force myself to leave the house at least once a day to go for a walk or run. It’s a great way to clear your head and get new ideas.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
The most important thing is to believe in yourself every single day. I feel terrified and doubt myself all the time, which is the biggest energy drain and doesn’t get you anywhere. Believe in yourself like you believe in your best friends, be kind to yourself, and keep going no matter how impossibly huge your dreams may feel. A baby step every day is better than not moving at all.
When I face a big challenge, I…
talk everything through with my mastermind group.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done as an entrepreneur is…
to just launch a retreat and invite 13 girls from around the world I’ve never met before.
If I could go back in time to when I started my business I would tell myself…
to go all in right from the start.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
“You can always change your mind.”
My favorite business tool/resource/book/podcast is…
FEA and the Passion Planner.
My favorite quote is…
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”