800
8 min 29 sec

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Digital Nomads

A German chemist goes nomadic and builds a community for women who work remotely.
International Membership Service Social Media Travel

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What It's About

An online community for female digital nomads.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Community Building & Communication
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Running a membership site isn't like a course or one-off program. It is ever evolving. Jenny experiments with different offerings to see what works best for her members. She has found that the “live” components, like virtual coworking and online socials, are especially valuable to her members, who crave that personal connection while traveling.

Fun Fact

A 1997 book titled ‘The Digital Nomad’ prophesied the invention of the mobile phone and is the first recorded use of the term “digital nomad.”

Notes from Chris

Episode 800
Jenny Lachs started her career in Germany by earning a PhD in organic chemistry. But before long, she realized that research and academia wasn’t the path she wanted to follow. At the time, all of her friends were PhD students as well. They thought she had lost her mind when she decided to completely change paths.

Although it wasn’t easy to go against the grain, Jenny believed another life was possible for herself. Three years earlier, she had taken a solo trip to Israel where she met people who were traveling for months and years on end. After finishing the final years of her PhD and saving all the money she could, Jenny embarked on an around-the-world trip with her boyfriend.

When funds got low seven months in, she spent a year working in Australia on a working holiday visa, which involved all sorts of random day jobs. It was during this time that she came across people working online.

Eager to keep seeing the world, Jenny challenged herself to try out any online work she could find to see whether she liked it, was good at it, and could make money from it.

Writing and social media management are “location independent” jobs. In other words, there’s no need to be physically present in an office. As long as she has her laptop and a wifi connection, Jenny can continue working from anywhere in the world.

In the first few months of becoming a digital nomad, Jenny found herself living and working from a beautiful island in Thailand. But something was missing. She was lonely.

Jenny knew if she wanted this new lifestyle to be sustainable, she needed to surround herself with others who shared the same dreams and values. She joined online business communities but didn’t find them to be as supportive as she hoped. Most of the loudest voices on the scene tended to be male, earning themselves the term “bromads.” But people pursue location independence for different reasons, and many didn’t identify with that bromad culture that had developed.

Jenny noticed a real need for a community where women could exchange stories, learn from each other, and support each other. So as a passion project, she started an online community called Digital Nomad Girls. She launched a Facebook Group and invited the women she'd met on the road to join. They added their friends, and the community took off. The group grew steadily and 100% organically.

Two years later, with the Facebook community still going strong, Jenny launched a membership site for Digital Nomad Girls called the Inner Circle. When the first person joined the Inner Circle, Jenny remembers dancing around her apartment like a maniac. She had a custom button sent to the woman—who was also one of her retreat alumni—and then went out to a celebratory dinner with her boyfriend.

The membership site was a game changer. It brought in steady, recurring income of $22,000 annually.

With nearly 20,000 members of the free Facebook community and roughly 130 Inner Circle members, income from Digital Nomad Girls is expected to more than triple this year. As Jenny reflects on the leap she made to turn her passion project into a business, she is deeply grateful. “Creating something from scratch that helps people, supports me and my lifestyle and allows me to experiment, try new things and learn new skills is incredible,” she says. The PhD in organic chemistry feels like a lifetime ago.  
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Digital Nomad Girls: If you're living that digital nomad life and you'd like to join a supportful community of women located all over the world, head on over to Jenny's website!
  • Wordpress: Jenny used Wordpress to setup Digital Nomad Girls, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes
  • MemberPress: The easy to use WordPress membership plugin that Jenny uses to manage her memberships
  • Zoom: The video communication platform that Jenny uses with her community

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"It took me a long time to realize that internal work is just as important as the rest because I am my business, and I can only run it well if I am happy, confident, and balanced."
—Jenny Lachs #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau