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My First Week in Bali as a Digital Nomad

Welcome to the shit show 💋

Hi there. 👋 Internetly is a newsletter that helps internet writers be profitable freelancers, hone their written craft, and go nomadic. To join, subscribe below.

Disclaimer: The story in today’s newsletter is deeply personal. If that’s not your vibe, keep scrolling to find the must-have-clauses in your freelance contracts. Plus, here’s a (free!) cold pitching template and guide on crushing Twitter. Hope this helps! 💌

“Welcome to Bali,” Rahman, my surf instructor, laughs. 

I cling onto my surfboard and gasp for air. A particularly violent set of waves slammed into me, the sea water mixed with wrappers, napkins, cups, plastic bags, and spit coagulated from Bali’s surfers and passerbys. The locals call it “coffee water.” 

This couldn’t be a better metaphor for my first week here. Here I was, Bali, Island of the Gods, and yet I was getting pummeled — scratch that, destroyed. There hasn’t been one day I haven’t cried, one day loneliness hasn’t eaten me alive. 

I’ve traveled to dozens of countries alone. I know the drill. These first few days have a honeymoon phase, guaranteed. That’s the deal. The air feels sweet, warm, and electric with possibilities. An unseen force pats you on the back and says, “You’re finally here. I’ve been waiting for you.” 

That is not happening. And fine, I’ll admit it: I feel ripped off. 

So here we are. Twelve days ago, I left behind my life in New York City — my parents, childhood friends, partner of four years — and leapt into the unknown. Was I expecting immediate relief and joy? No. I’m not an idiot. I braced for impact. 

But I hadn’t expected this much agony. It made Canggu, a town (city?) perpetually under construction, feel cold and concrete. In every yoga studio, café, beach, rooftop, clang clang clang booms around you. 

And man, I couldn’t have predicted how inconvenient grief could be. To write is complicated enough. To write when your self-esteem is in the gutter? Jesus. Creating my own personal projects — a priority for this year — is on the sidelines as client work is now twice as cognitively demanding. 

On Monday, I tried to write a 50-word paragraph on how Chipotle is hiring Gen-Z employees. It cost me 48 minutes, a sob session in a very public co-working space, and my acrylics (ripping my nails is how I deal with anxiety. TMI.). 

This isn’t to say Bali has been a flop. I recognize how lucky I am. The gratitude is still here, beating around my heart. And through the billows of grief, I experience sprinkles of serendipity, a reminder the universe’s magic hasn’t completely disappeared.

On Tuesday, I meet Diana in a minuscule air-conditioned pharmacy. She’s buying ant bait. I’m getting mosquito repellent. “Are you American?” she asks after I mutter, “Excuse me.” 

By that Friday, we’re having slumber parties. We order vegan desserts, sing karaoke to old-school Taylor Swift, and reminisce over our past lives. Her friendship has healed me tremendously.  

The mantra that’s been helping during this shit show: Do the thing sad. If you’ve ever had a crisis, you know how intense the pull is to do, well, nothing. To wallow. Acknowledge that pain and then do the thing anyway

Go to the gym sad. Go see a friend sad. Go journal sad. Emotions are temporary — even if your brain is convinced otherwise — but those small acts of self-preservation are permanent. Over time, they’ll compound to shape who you want to be. 

Now if you excuse me, I’m off to the gym. 

(Sad). 🙂

I’ve been coming to this little café almost every morning around 7 AM to journal – it is such a beautiful space. 🤍 

✍️ Quick Freelancing Tip

The Must-Have-Clauses in Your Project Proposal

Implementing an iron-clad project proposal is a pivotal moment in your freelancing business.

If done correctly, it’ll protect you from the pitfalls of freelancing, and guard your time, energy, and resources. I almost never sign a client without a project proposal and it’s made a world of difference.

But, it’s the clauses in the proposal that matter. Here’s a short list of all the clauses I include, all of them implemented after an error I made in my first year of freelancing. Chuck these in your next project proposal so you don't make the same mistakes I did:

"1.1 Schedule. Proposal serves as a partnership agreement, which begins on the date of deposit receipt."

Why It’s Important: You don’t start the project until the client pays your deposit. This protects you from doing unpaid labor.

• "1.2 Consultation. Retainer includes up to (insert hours) of video conferencing for the duration of the retainer. If additional calls are required, they are billed as a line-item cost of ($X) per hour."

Why It’s Important: This protects you from the dreaded “Can you hop on a call really quickly?”. If clients want your time, they can pay extra for it.

• "1.3 Retainer. Both parties agree that due to the retainer nature of this agreement, the client is required to pay full amount even if they are unable to provide the required deliverables to complete the project."

Why It’s Important: If a client signs a retainer agreement, they are reserving a set number from hours from you. If the client cannot provide what you need to finish a project (i.e., a round of edits), they still must pay you the full amount of the retainer because during this agreement, you were unable to do work with someone else.

"1.4 Turnaround Times. Turnaround time for written assignments is (X) business days. If a deliverable needs to be expedited, it is subject to a rush fee of 20%."

Why It’s Important: “Can you get this done by tomorrow!” a message urgently reads. That’s fine, but as Seth Godin says, “Panic costs extra.” Your time is not the price you should pay for your clients disorganization.

"1.5 Invoices. Client agrees to pay the amount owed within (X) days of receiving the invoice. Payment after that date will incur a fee of (X)% per month on the outstanding balance."

Why It’s Important. Straightforward. Your bills don’t wait, and you shouldn’t wait for a client. Apply late fees!

P.S – This is not legal advice. Always do your own research or better, hire a lawyer!

 🥒 Content Diet

The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer – Do you feel like you’re spiraling out of control? That nothing is going your way? Then this book is for you. Michael’s theory is that the key to a peaceful life is total surrender – and I can attest that the more I’ve been letting things just be, the calmer I become.

How I Earned Almost $16K in December 2023 as a Freelance Content Writer by Jennifer Gregory – Jennifer is a legend. While this number is astounding, remember: She’s been in the freelance game for 11 years. Getting to these type of numbers happens over time, not overnight.

Alo Yoga App For $13 a month, I get hundreds of classes on everything from pilates, to strength training, to sound baths. It’s especially great for meditation (‘Practicing Self-Compassion’ is a go-to).

Thanks for being here! 

Hope you have a beautiful rest of your week, wherever you are.

Stay Creative,

Alice 💌

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