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Note: you can read more about my story here

Hey Monkeys, would love to get your feedback on this. So I'm finally getting my own business of the ground and I need your input to help make it successful. I'll be posting questions to my personal network, you guys, (and google surveys to the target market) at each big stage in the decision process (brand name, logo, site design, business plan and strategy, etc) so any feedback you can give is MUCH appreciated!

The Idea: I love travel. I love talking about travel and giving advice. I want to combine this into a website that will offer free content (blog/videos) and paid services (coaching, videos, ebooks) that will help coach working professionals who want to live anywhere in the world (preferably Latin America) and work remotely.

Steps 1 and 2 for today: 1) Help me pick a name for my site and 2) Pick out any holes you see in my business plan draft (below)

CLICK HERE to vote in the URL/brand name survey.

Target market:
A) ~22-35 working professionals who already have the ability to work remotely (permanently and/or temporarily) and want to live/travel in Central/South America while maintaining a full or part time work schedule, but have no idea where to start.
B) All the same, but want to include additional content for people that will need to leave their job to do this, and I will give them resources and help them research to match their skill set to find a job that they can do remotely.

Free value I will consistently offer to bring in traffic:
Weekly blog posts (written posts and video) giving tips based on my own experience (and from my network of fellow travelers) via my blog/facebook/twitter etc.

Blog and video topic ideas: (in random order, and yes some of this sounds 4hr workweek-ish)
-Motivational personal stories "On the same day I decided to quit my job, break up with my girlfriend, donate my kidney, and move to Argentina"
-Guest posts and interviews with people in my network
-How you can make this your life and never need to take a vacation again
-Remote worker hubs in central/south america, best places to network
-How to negotiate a remote work agreement with your company/boss/clients (w/ actual case studies)
-How to manage and utilize a virtual assistant from the Philippines
-How to manage a team of workers / interns around the world
-How to have your cake and eat it too (live in exotic locations AND be a great employee and/or entrepreneur)
-Product reviews: laptops, travel backpacks,
-"Where's the wifi", dealing with bandwidth / connectivity / power outage issues,
-GTD while on the move, skype, timezones, schedules
-How this lifestyle can make you a more productive employee or entrepreneur than you've ever before
-The lifestyle tradeoff (e.g. doing remote work that you may not necessarily love, but if offers you the lifestyle you love, vs working in a job you love, but not necessarily the hours/location/life outside work)
-Health and diet while on the move
- How to pack / what I travel with
-Airbnb advice
-Travel, Visa, Residency, second passport hacks (e.g. you can buy citizenship in Paraguay for $5k)
-Where to find the best travel advice and when to trust someone's opinion on something
- + 50 other ideas I have written down

How I will get people to initially follow me (newsletter, facebook, etc):
1) I will offer a free ebook, something like "The 49 essential tools you need to become a successful remote employee".
2) Offer some type of free survey they can fill out that will ask them questions about their situation, give them some type of progress report, and then I can follow up with that info and get in contact with them (warm lead).
3) Possibly offer a free ~15min 'consultation' where they can give it a try and see if it's the right fit for them.

How it will make $ (goal is to have income within 1 year):
A)The goal is to get a small %(~1%) of my traffic to sign up for the initial free offering (ebook, consultation) and then x% of that group to pay an initial set up fee where I spend x hours helping them plan their trip (via skype and email). Then for a recurring amount per month I coach them each week via skype.
B) I want to create a library of ebooks and videos teaching the same content that I teach in the coaching sessions, but is available at a lower cost.
Edit: the more I think about it option B is going to be a lot more easy to scale and less time intensive over the long term, but always worth it to offer some type of option for 1 on 1 consulting

Will it work?
There is a ton of advice out there (tripadvisor, similar sites (http://www.thrillingheroics.com/) forums in local cities etc), BUT I believe there is a growing demand for niche personalized coaching coming from someone who has already been successful doing this (I practice what I preach kinda thing). If I had found a service like this when I first started planning all my travel I definitely would have signed up for it.

Marketing: I need to be known as THE expert on working remotely in Latin America
1) Become an authority via high quality content that I post on my blog
2) Become an authority on relevant sites (tripadvisor, expat forums, etc) via short high quality advice posts
3) Active communication with fellow bloggers (via twitter etc)
4) Kickstarter or indigogo campaign to raise money for advertising and site design
5 ) Possibly consider targeted google advertising if the ROI is worth it
6) Word of mouth marketing via my network will be HUGE
7) High quality guest blog posts on similar sites (see below) in exchange for links
8) Partnerships and/or advertising with relevant travel sites such as worldnomads, tripadvisor, lifestyle business podcast, nomadicmatt, http://chrisguillebeau.com/, and other digital nomads
9) etc

CLICK HERE to vote in the survey.

+ Don't forget to add in your thoughts (rip it apart if you wish:) on my business plan, SB's for constructive criticism!

3

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Comments (65)

  • Mr. Manager's picture

    Lived for over two years in central america in roughly the same conditions as the average-low income individual. In addition to the items you mention, I can opine on certain aspects of living in Latin America from that experience.

    Good luck though, I think this is a great idea, as I think the ubiquity of information in the internet age has creating a huge quantity over quality skew and a strong demand for specific, personalized information. After a while, yahoo answers and cha cha doesn't do the trick and churns out the same generalized information.

  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    Going to check everything out in depth and give you feedback. Just right off the bat, though, I want to alert you to a potential problem (may or may not ever materialize): CubeEscape.com and EscapeYourDesk.com are really similar to Pam Slim's blog and book of the same titile, EscapeFromCubicleNation.com. I know Pam a little bit and she doesn't strike me as the litigious type, but a trademark fight is the last thing you need when you're just getting rolling. Something to think about.

  • In reply to Mr. Manager
    AndyLouis's picture

    rhen:

    Lived for over two years in central america in roughly the same conditions as the average-low income individual. In addition to the items you mention, I can opine on certain aspects of living in Latin America from that experience.

    which parts of central america did you live? any spots you'd definitely recommend? any places to avoid?

    jan ill be in Nicaragua (San Juan del Sur), feb Costa Rica (San Jose, family lives there), march Panama (Bocas del Toro), and april Roatan or Guatemala. After that... Mexico or Colombia for a longer term, ~6mos

    Good luck though, I think this is a great idea, as I think the ubiquity of information in the internet age has creating a huge quantity over quality skew and a strong demand for specific, personalized information.

    glad you like the idea and yes totally agree that the demand will just continue to grow for personalized information

  • In reply to Edmundo Braverman
    AndyLouis's picture

    thanks Eddie, i'm sure there are plenty of similar names/brands out there and hopefully no one decides to get litigious :)

    p.s. according to my sources the chances she'd win a lawsuit if i built my brand on one of those two names are zil to none, if I chose RunFromCublicalNation on the other hand she'd obviously have a case

  • In reply to Edmundo Braverman
    WallStreetOasis.com's picture

    meh, i was having new domain discussions with Andy and we have the google chats to show that we came up with the name completely without even knowing about her blog...plus, there are 1,000s of similar domains to hers since it is so long with 4 words...I think that is like concern #1,372 on his list and he should just choose the best name. If he was trying to do something like "RunFromCubicleNation.com", then I'd agree with you :-)

  • Macro Arbitrage's picture

    Fourminuteworkweek.com

    Based on your outline, this was the type of content that I used to look forward to reading on Tim Ferriss' blog, until he deviated towards nearly every other possible trajectory.

    Edit: Just found the survey. NomadNow and EscapeYourDesk stand out.

  • maineiac42's picture

    If you're focused on picking a URL you are doing it wrong. This is an awful revenue model.

  • mikesswimn's picture

    Just spit-balling here, but what strikes me as a potential revenue stream is getting some partner retailers to give you a kickback on their products. Now, I'm not suggesting that you start hawking every travel related gadget and service, but looking at your list of blog & video topics, I have to imagine that some products and services will be mentioned and recommended as a matter of course. It seems reasonable that you should get some amount of compensation if you're already sending customers their way. An additional service in this vein would be to create packages of products and services on a region by region basis, although this is probably something you've thought of already!

    Thoughts? Like I noted, just spit-balling, so feel free to shoot each and every one of these ideas down :). Just my $0.02.

    "My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

  • Monkey in Acquisitions's picture

    Sorry, Andy, but neither of the names really thrill me.
    Certainly, don't go for WorkTravel.com. For me (maybe due to European perspective?) it sounds as though you'll be yet another guy advising high school seniors planning their gap year in Australia.

  • In reply to maineiac42
    Macro Arbitrage's picture

    Negative. If you pick a suboptimal blog name you're pretty much predestined to fail.

  • UFOinsider's picture

    Just throwing out random ideas for a name:

    WorkAnywhere.net
    WanderingWorker.com
    ProfessionalVagabond.org
    LocationIndependant.com
    RoamingPros.com
    LifeWithoutCubicles.com

    Get busy living

  • ttghalust's picture

    betherenotsquare.com (When you say "there" every person thinks of a specific location subconsciously that they'd really rather be /adds a bit of mystery as well - the square being word play on the cubicle aspect) .

    Just my $0.02

  • FundofFun's picture

    DitchtheDesk.com

    Alliteration sticks well in people's minds and it gets your idea across.

  • In reply to AndyLouis
    maineiac42's picture

    Let' s start here

    AndyLouis:

    Target market:
    A) ~22-35 working professionals who already have the ability to work remotely (permanently and/or temporarily) and want to live/travel in Central/South America while maintaining a full or part time work schedule, but have no idea where to start.

    Is this market really big enough? Census bureau says 13.4 million people in the US work for home. Not bad, until you start digging a bit deeper. Turns out that this 13.4 million includes people that only work one day a week from home. The number of exclusive at home workers shrinks to 9.4 million with a media age of 47.5. Only 14.2% of those 9.4 million fall in your age range. How many of these people will want to work remotely outside the U.S.?
    The market size is simply too small. While the website itself is easily scaleable for ad revenue, the consulting service is not. If you plan on charging a substantial amount you will have to dedicate quite a bit of time on each individual client which means less time writing and working with new clients.

    AndyLouis:

    How I will get people to initially follow me (newsletter, facebook, etc):
    1) I will offer a free ebook, something like "The 49 essential tools you need to become a successful remote employee".

    Does this technique ever really work? There's a reason ebooks like this are free. They're shit. They are cheesy and sleazy. People don't want to pay an internet ebook guru for advice.
    You are chasing a niche demographic that realistically has little desire or capability to become an ex-pat. You are trying to become the authority on something that, frankly, wouldn't be that difficult to do if you really wanted to. It is incredibly difficult to monetize.
  • wannabeaballer's picture

    Don't brand it before you build it.

  • barbariansatthegates's picture

    Just to be cheeky here is a name I thought of:

    Cube'sTraveler.com

    Sounds like a pretty good idea. I second the thought that you could use retailers or other sites as affiliates to book tickets or buy products. You've probably thought of that, but just saying it again.

    PE is the new black.

  • In reply to maineiac42
    duffmt6's picture

    maineiac42:

    Is this market really big enough? Census bureau says 13.4 million people in the US work for home. Not bad, until you start digging a bit deeper. Turns out that this 13.4 million includes people that only work one day a week from home. The number of exclusive at home workers shrinks to 9.4 million with a media age of 47.5. Only 14.2% of those 9.4 million fall in your age range. How many of these people will want to work remotely outside the U.S.?

    I don't see why this would only work for U.S. workers. Also, there has been massive growth in the number of people seeking to work remotely:
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB100014241278...

    Just to add, there are about 8mm finance professionals in the US. Patrick seems to have done OK for himself. Really, we should be looking at the number of undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in finance/working internationally as well. Probably more relevant target audience.

    Basically, this was an amateur hour at the Apollo market size analysis.

    "For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

  • In reply to duffmt6
    maineiac42's picture

    You just linked to an article that quoted figures from the same census report I was discussing. Just because there is an increased demand for remote work doesn't mean there is a significant amount of people who want to do it from another country.

  • In reply to FundofFun
    Going Concern's picture

    FundofFun:

    DitchtheDesk.com

    I stopped in to make my biggest contribution to the business: drop the "the." Just DitchDesk...it's cleaner.

    OP, I think your thoughts sound well and good, but it seems like you're planning to run a one-man operation or close to it. And by that, I mean it's entirely dependent on you. I'm not sure that's as much a "business" as much as a coaching service you're providing. Which is fine, as long as you understand/ackowledge that. This would be in contrast to other tech websites (such as Twitter as an extreme example) where they set something in motion and then it kind of just runs on its own and builds momentum. In general I think for it to be more of a business (like WSO for example) there should be infrastructure & maintenance set in place and enhancements implemented periodically but to some extent it is "self-operating".

    "He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee."

    "Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent."

  • Big4Bound's picture

    Why it could work: "If I had found a service like this when I first started planning all my travel I definitely would have signed up for it " This is absolutely key. You know exactly what people like you were looking for, and now that you have gone through the process, you can provide them the information they need. (The whole reason for me starting the site in my signature).

    Your biggest challenge will definitely be overcoming the competition from current blogs/websites. From your expertise with WSO I'm sure you have the skills to do this.

    Have you done any keyword research on the areas you want to focus? From what I quickly googled there are quite a few "authority sites" like http://liferemotely.com, numomad.com and some others mentioned above.

    After that, pick a domain and get rolling with it. As many entrepreneurs say JFDI (Just fucking do it). Get hosting, learn how to operate wordpress, design a good looking site, and start cranking out content. Utilize fiverr.com for graphics, logos, "landing pages" and anything that you don't have expertise on. You can get some great quality for $5, but be skeptical of larger jobs like designing your site or getting you "backlinks".

    For revenue streams, I would say you have a good plan, but also look into affiliate revenue from product reviews. You could get traffic from youtube (and revenue if they click through and end up purchasing) by doing a product review on a backpack or waterbottle or whatever full time travellers buy.

    :EDIT: I forgot you were the Andy and gave you some pretty basic advice :p Hope this helps.

    Big 4 Accounting Recruiting Guide Interview Questions and Answers, Networking Guide and more - Complete 50 page guide.

  • heister's picture

    You are on the right path with your specialization, however you will need to draw in a larger potential market. I would advise you help those whom wish to work remotely, but currently are unable to. Give advice on how to do it, what is needed, and the likes. This will allow you to manufacture your own customers of other services. Think if it as the freemium app model. Those who work remotely will be able to find much of the required information from general travel sites. With only limited use for the work specific information.

    Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

    Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

  • DBCooper's picture

    Posting in order to follow thread.

    Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

  • In reply to maineiac42
    duffmt6's picture

    maineiac42:

    You just linked to an article that quoted figures from the same census report I was discussing. Just because there is an increased demand for remote work doesn't mean there is a significant amount of people who want to do it from another country.

    No but it does mean there is a trend toward remote workers, and not just on an absolute basis, as the % of remote workers has also increased over the time frame. Stop being dense.

    "For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

  • In reply to Edmundo Braverman
    OswalDDDDDDDDD's picture

    Oh my God you just made me LOL.

    Best

  • bigtree53's picture

    Good idea. Have to agree with people's assessment of the questionable need for people working remotely abroad vs simply working remotely.

    Also, name idea: DeskQuitter.com

  • DickFuld's picture

    ExpatOasis.com

    The TRUTH about Lehman Brothers

    2018 Incoming Summer Investment Banking Analyst

    Sent from my iPad

  • In reply to duffmt6
    maineiac42's picture

    NO FUCKING SHIT THERE IS A TREND TOWARDS REMOTE WORK. I have said that twice now. You are being extraordinarily dense if you believe that this trend which is overdetermined by a long list of factors means that there is a significant increase in the amount of people must want to work remotely from another country. Most of these people are probably only working 1 or 2 days from home. Most of them probably have families. Most of the full time at home workers are self employed. They don't need to negotiate with their boss for remote work.

  • In reply to AndyLouis
    Mr. Manager's picture

    I'll PM some specifics.

  • In reply to maineiac42
    duffmt6's picture

    maineiac42:

    NO FUCKING SHIT THERE IS A TREND TOWARDS REMOTE WORK. I have said that twice now. You are being extraordinarily dense if you believe that this trend which is overdetermined by a long list of factors means that there is a significant increase in the amount of people must want to work remotely from another country. Most of these people are probably only working 1 or 2 days from home. Most of them probably have families. Most of the full time at home workers are self employed. They don't need to negotiate with their boss for remote work.

    Thanks for that impressive, data driven analysis. Also the capital letters were a nice touch.

    "For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

  • OswalDDDDDDDDD's picture

    Now tell me what do you guys think about a liquor store,I know this isn't my thread but I've had this idea of a liquor store at a prime intersection besides a busy road entering and exiting the city GR it seems like a good idea since the location is notorious for heavy drinkers.

    Best

  • In reply to mikesswimn
    AndyLouis's picture

    agree on the partnerships and affiliates (and amazon affiliate links).. that would come with time. shopping on amazon for travel gear is like my favorite thing to do, so many different products that i can recommend / monkeyshit on

    maybe i can start doing underwear ads for ex officio boxers http://www.amazon.com/ExOfficio-Give-N-Go-Boxer-Br...

    side note, that catamaran story you told me about? that could make for a great guest post for example, would love to fill blog with stuff like that

    keeping adding more cents when you think of things, respect your opinion, and keep on swimn

  • In reply to Macro Arbitrage
    AndyLouis's picture

    not gonna go down the workweek path but thanks for the suggestions

    yeah i haven't checked out 4hww blog in awhile, i like the different verticals he's explored, always interesting stuff to learn

    4hr body is one reason i lost a good chunk of my beer belly, want to jump on 4hr chef sometime soon

    escape your desk winning the contest....

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    AndyLouis's picture

    these all available? locationindependant good but i always mispell independant and i bet it's already taking

    any other ideas? what do you think of my strategy? i know you'd be a customer :)

  • In reply to wannabeaballer
    AndyLouis's picture

    branding can be molded as i find out more about my customers, get more feedback. need SOMETHING to get started and get excited about. 1) name, 2) logo 3) basic layout, 4) vamos

  • In reply to Going Concern
    AndyLouis's picture

    re part 2

    good points, and I didnt address this in the initial post.

    1. i would definitely consider a partner or 2, particularly people that have strong knowledge in other areas of the world (SE Asia, Eastern Euroep)

    2. It may or may not be coaching. All I know is I have A LOT of information to offer, and marketing/packaging it will be the (fun) challenge. whether it's just coaching, or something that resembles more of a business is TBD.

    3. re self-operating - i mentioned having a video library (similar to what WSO has), which would scalable and self operating,

  • archipelago's picture

    for god's sake pay a copywriter to come up with a name.

    Teach a man to make a fire, he'll be warm for the night. But set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  • In reply to bigtree53
    AndyLouis's picture

    the working abroad part isn't for everyone, but YOU KNOW there is a segment with this interest. Imagine taking your job to Rio for a year and doing it all from home / your local Acai Cafe

  • In reply to maineiac42
    AndyLouis's picture

    been wanting to respond to this mislead comment all day.

    1. You forget that i mentioned a second target market (B) of people who want advice on finding remote work

    Any #'s you look up won't include the vast amount of people that have some type of freelance work they can fall back (which brings in enough per month to live in latin america). Additionally, people in any English speaking country could be included in the target market, plus I can partner with site owners who do the same thing but market to Australians, Europeans, etc etc

    2. Not looking to make ad revenue on this.

    3. No 1-on-1 consulting not scalable, BUT I plan to release information products that are high quality plus offer a per hour consulting rate (when the demand is there) that is worthy of my time

    4. Yes free incentives work. It wouldn't be a shit product, that's not what I'm here to do. I want customers who are going to refer me to other people. How? I give them an AMAZING free product that is great and makes x% trust me and want more information in whatever form I offer it

    You are chasing a niche demographic that realistically has little desire or capability to become an ex-pat. You are trying to become the authority on something that, frankly, wouldn't be that difficult to do if you really wanted to. It is incredibly difficult to monetize.
    -there are too many false assumptions in this comment for it to even reply to it. How do you know it's not difficult? I'm chasing a niche demographic that doesnt want to be an expat? how do you know? plus you put a hyphen in expat, addt'l proof you don't know what you're talking about. monkey shit for you my friend
  • DBCooper's picture

    I like deskditcher

    Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

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