In this edition of How She Does It, I interview Liz Stephenson, a blogger, social media influencer, and international teacher. She’s got lots of inspiration, tactical tips, and advice for those looking to get into her industry. But first, as always, a little story about how we met.
Once again, I have to thank Digital Nomad Girls Facebook group for this awesome connection. I was so genuinely impressed by Liz’s blog and her authentic voice. I reached out to her for help when I was in the beginning phases of building this blog! She agreed to help me get my thoughts together on what I really wanted to put out there. We clicked right away and have been helping each other ever since. I couldn’t think of anyone better to feature on How She Does It. Liz’s story and approach to her remote lifestyle are so unique. We can all learn so much from her.
Liz Stephenson, 25
Luxe Travel and Lifestyle Blogger at The Tongue In Chic
What was your very first hint of the location independent lifestyle? Was it from the media? A friend? A role model?
After moving to Kuwait, traveling, and travel-blogging, I read A LOT online. I joined all the female travel Facebook groups and started to hear the term “digital nomad” thrown around. I had no idea what it meant so I literally googled it and then understood.
So you were already doing it, and HAVE been doing this digital nomad thing for a while now. How do you sustain this lifestyle?
It isn’t easy and I’ve been kind of lucky! But I think having different income streams or options helps. So no matter what, I have my teaching degree and that will always be my fall back or steady job that I don’t have to worry about. But I also have the blog which pulls in part time income and other freelance writing or social media managing gigs. I like to switch it up.
Speaking of multiple gigs, where do you find most of your opportunities?
As an “influencer” I am part of a few Social Media Marketing databases and PR Networks. Other times companies will cold email me. For freelance work I had success on Upwork a couple of times, Twitter, and by joining Facebook groups for writers, bloggers, virtual assistants, etc.
How do you decide how much work to take on?
To be frank it comes down to the gain most of the time. Is it worth my time? A lot of the projects I get are great but some can be pretty meh…. like today I was offered a job that is less than my going rate however I am pretty free this week so I still think I’ll take it. But I definitely account for when and how I’m traveling. I am trying to save up right now for long flight when I move to Oman (business class would be nice).
That’s so awesome that you are flexible like that! So how do you keep it all organized?
I don’t. I wish I had the answer to being that type of person but I just have never been able to budget or handle finances well. I kinda just play it by ear and hope for the best. I think it helps that I also have a steady job (the teaching) to always fall back on.
How do you balance your schedule between the full time job and your side hustle? What does the typical day look like for you?
Well thank god there’s so much time off with teaching which allows me to keep my destinations fresh and new…. so constant content for the blog! But because I’m living away from friends and family I feel like there’s less to do. I’m super content hitting a cafe for 6 hours over the weekend, working on my blog during prep periods, and freelancing at night. When I’m teaching it’s usually 7am-3pm so there’s a lot of time afterward to “work”.
Also by choosing projects that are more fun than work, it doesn’t seem that tedious. That’s why I love social media curation because it’s not like I’m sitting down stuck at my desk, I’m taking cool photos and exploring new places for optimal Instagram opportunities.
You’re the queen of cute travel photos for your blog. How do you capture those? Can you give us any tips?
I honestly use my iPhone 6 Plus 75% of the time and have gotten shameless about asking for help. Like all those cute hotel breakfast in bed shots? Taken by the room service guy… Also as my audience grew I started reaching out to local photographers of whatever cities I was visiting for some help.
So what’s next for you?
I’m going back to international teaching in August! Moving to Muscat, Oman. It will be different because it’s a full time commitment kind of job, BUT I love the freedom it gives me financially allowing me to keep up with the luxe travel style. I plan to stay there for a while if it goes well… still traveling every month or so on weekends or holidays. I’m going to keep up with the blogging and influencer/social media stuff. I’d love to work with a Middle Eastern PR agency so I’ll explore that too!!
Where have you taught internationally? Do you have any advice for people looking to get into international teaching?
After graduating University (with my bachelor of education) I went straight to Kuwait! I taught there for 2 years. It’s hard to find a good paying teaching job if you don’t have a degree but there are lots of ESL teaching jobs out there for native english speakers! So easy to get those
If there is one thing you wish people knew about your remote lifestyle what would it be?
It isn’t easy but it’s also not hard. There is plenty of online work to go around so don’t be discouraged if it all doesn’t come at once! Make connections with the people in your new city, when you are all alone and uncomfortable, those random friendships will actually be helpful in keeping you sane.
Want to read more inspiring stories just like this one? Check out previous editions of How She Does It here!
Follow The Tongue In Chic