How Digital Nomads Build Business Connections

June 28, 2017

7:15 am

Combining work and travel isn’t a new idea, but today it’s even easier than ever before. If your work can be done 100 percent online, you might be able to join the throngs of digital nomads who leverage technology to work remotely. There’s now the option to join programs like Hacker Paradise and Unsettled, or take planning into your own hands by using coworking spaces, cafes, and sharing economy startups like Airbnb in cities around the world.

In 2016, I lived and worked in 17 countries, which was a jump from my 2015 number of 10. A common question I am asked is if it’s difficult to build business connections while always on the move.

Here are three ways to accelerate serendipity and make the most of the new environment you find yourself in – even if it’s a temporary one!

Tap Into Networks

The first step that I take after planning my next stop is to begin booking meetings. I do this because it doesn’t only set the intention for the trip, but it also makes the entire experience a more proactive one.

I do this in three ways:

  • Send emails to people who live in the city. These can be warm connections with people I have met before or cold connections with people I would like to meet.
  • Send messages to people seem to be fine-tuned to the business network in the city to ask if they’d be able to make any introductions. Startup Weekend organizers or those who manage community work at tech-focused coworking spaces tend to be my favorite people to contact.
  • I put out an open call on social media to see if anyone would like to meet up.

Don’t be presumptuous that people will have time to squeeze you in for a coffee – get those meetings set up weeks in advance!

Read about the challenges of being a digital nomad at Tech.Co

Create a Game Plan to Speak

Besides filling my calendar up with meetings, I look for opportunities to speak and plan them out ahead of time.

One example happened when I was heading back to the United States to attend a wedding. I saw my trip overlapped with a monthly meetup of Utah’s largest digital marketing association. I emailed the organizers to see if they were looking for a speaker for their upcoming meetup and sent a talk proposal.

I ended up landing an opportunity to speak to a room of 100 local marketers with no travel cost for our startup. We were also able to invite local users, who were thrilled to hear someone from our team was giving a talk in their neck of the woods!

Look For “Planned Serendipity” Events

How do we use serendipity to build business connections while on the road?

I look for events happening at coworking spaces, such as pitch nights or fireside chats. I also spend time searching Meetup.com for interesting events, such as coding user groups, or women in tech events. Having events on a calendar has an added productivity benefit – it helps shape my day so I can take a break from heads-down work, explore my new location, and return to projects refreshed.

Being a digital nomad trapezing from city to city sometimes makes me feel like I have start all over again each time. But remote work can actually increase business connections.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, released in February, shows more American employees were working remotely and for longer periods. As the worldwide trend of remote working continues to shape the future of work, the barriers between living, working, traveling, and playing are coming down.

There’s no reason building meaningful business connections needs to slow down as environments change. With a little planning and strategy, these opportunities may actually increase!

Read more about the life of a digital nomad at Tech.Co

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Jacqueline Jensen is the Community Evangelist at Piktochart. She is a former venture-backed startup founder, recognized storyteller, and relationship builder. As Community Evangelist, Jacqueline shares Piktochart innovation with various groups at conferences, and enjoys meeting users around the globe.

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