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5 Lessons From 2 Months in Bali as a Digital Nomad

Plus: What goes into a $1,000 case study? 💰

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Hi there, 

It’s been 64 days since I left NYC to live in Bali. I figured enough time has passed to share some things I’ve learned — about digital nomadism, being productive abroad, and what it’s like to set off a nuclear bomb in your old life to start anew. 

Ready? Let’s get to it: 

Working From Coffee Shops is Overrated. ☕️ They are a gamble — will it be too hot? Too cold? Will there be outlets? Who will watch my stuff when I go to the bathroom? Will music be blasting? Is there internet? Outlets? I find it impossible to go into deep writing mode in coffee shops. You’re better off at your home office or local co-working spot. 

Ditch Airbnb. Find a Home. 🏡 My first month in Bali, I hopped around from Airbnb to Airbnb, never staying more than four nights at a time. This was depressing as I couldn’t ground myself or establish a routine. The second month, I joined the Canggu Housing Group on Facebook and moved into a spare room in someone’s home. This allowed me to…

  • Use the Kitchen. Eating out every day is a strain on your wallet and gut! Having a place to cook meals you’re familiar with eases homesickness. 

  • Combat Loneliness. Having a roommate to come home to (hi, Olivia) is a blessing. It’s someone you can debrief, watch movies, or hang out with. 

A 12 Hour Time Difference With Clients Isn’t Too Bad.  At first, I was terrified a 12-hour difference would end in catastrophe. It’s actually been smooth sailing. Sure, you’ll have to take the occasional call at 10 PM, but it’s a small price to pay to globe trot. As long as you get your writing done ahead of time, it’s all good. 

Your Most “Productive Hours” Are a Byproduct of Your Environment. ✍️ In NYC, I would write in the mornings. I’d guard these hours as it was when I was “most productive.” But that’s not necessarily true. Because of timezones and tides (I surf when the waves are best) there are days I’ll write from 12 PM to 4 PM or 6 PM to 8 PM.

Ultimately, the formula for productivity is To-Do + Deadline = Productive. 

Growth and Grief are a Package Deal. 🙇‍♀️ As Mark Manson said, 

“All growth requires loss. A loss of your old values, your own behaviors, your old loves, your old identity. Therefore, growth sometimes has a component of grief to it.” 

He’s right, you guys. To move abroad and leave behind everything you know is both exhilarating and gut-wrenching.

I’m loving the woman I’m becoming — one who drives, surfs, goes to dinner alone — and am so grateful for this life. But each time I grow, an old part of me withers. It’s difficult to accept that your new life will cost you your old one. 

Additional thoughts: 

There are zero regrets in this decision. Although it’s painful, it’s the “hard” I chose. It’s hard to leave behind your old life. It’s also hard to stay in your comfort zone and always wonder, “What if?”

If you’re in a similar situation, ask yourself: Which “hard” do I want to live with?

I promise you, you can do it. You are more capable than you think. 🤍

A morning surf session in Canggu. Fun tidbit: My surf instructor’s name was Koko and we met in front of Coconut Cafe. 🥥 

✍️ Quick Freelance Writing Tip

What Goes into a $1,000 Case Study? 

Two things: 

  1. A significant ROI. For example, one of my case studies for an influencer marketing agency helped them close a deal up to $50,000 — a 4,900% ROI. 

  2. Details. Lots of details. Include subject matter expert quotes, graphics (I create mine in Canva), and data. 

But the third most powerful thing you can do? 

Turn the client into the hero by raising the stakes. Here’s what I mean (using my influencer agency client as an example):  

✖️ [Company X] wanted to use TikTok to reach Gen Z, their target audience. 

✔️ Once customers choose a brand, they rarely switch. [Company X] has one chance to become their target audience’s preferred — and only — choice. Cue: TikTok. [Company X] knew the platform could connect with Gen Z, and if done right, it would net them hundreds of new — and more importantly, lifelong — buyers. 

See how much higher the stakes are?  

Now, my client isn’t “just helping [Company X] with TikTok.” 

They’re going to boost [Company X’s] profitably, now and forever. 

And that kind of callout is worth its salt. 💰

 🥒 Content Diet

How To Write Thought Leadership Content by Ryan Law — This is the course for ghostwriters and creators who want to write authoritative content (minus the cringe). Ryan’s course delivers. It’s jam-packed with templates, tips, and frameworks, and after finishing it, I could confidently raise my rates. 

Is this a cheeky affiliate link? Yes! But Ryan is the real deal. I promise you’ll learn so much about persuasive and memorable writing. 

14 Ways Freelancers Can Save Themselves From 100 Headaches by Austin Church — Austin is a veteran freelance writer who knows his stuff. These tips (especially the “reactivation fee” in number 9) will boost your professionalism and profit margins. 

Brie Wolfson on How I Write by David PerellBrie is a stellar business writer (seriously, she’s a legend). Her chat with David Perell is full of writing gems. Here’s one I just have to share: 

“The First Ten Minutes: The Marriott group obsesses over the first ten minutes guests spend in their hotels. You should obsess over the first paragraph of your essay. Does it spike an emotion? Raise an eyebrow? Land a joke? No? Rewrite until it does.” 

Thanks for being here! 

I hope you have a beautiful week, wherever you are. 

Stay Creative, 

Alice 💌

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