WOMEN MAKING WAVES: Sam Laliberte

Women Making Waves is a bi-monthly series by The Women Wave that spotlights badass women who are playing active roles in making waves in their communities.

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We speak for every millennial when we say our next badass lady for #WomenMakingWaves is GOALS. Sam Laliberte is a digital nomad and the founder of Freedom Lifestyle, an online community and podcast series that empowers the movement and entrepreneurial shift towards flexible work.

Many of us often daydream about working around the globe -- not chained to a desk from 9 to 5 -- but often never make the jump to becoming a “digital nomad” because of the fear of financial instability, the possibility of failure, and imposter syndrome. Meanwhile, the desire for independence and freedom to create our own days and work in ways that works for us still lingers. 

In 2017, Sam courageously took a leap of faith into this unknown world of being her own boss while working remotely -- and she graciously shares her wealth of knowledge on her podcast for everyone courageous enough to join her in this movement. Three seasons later, she’s created: partnerships with global brands, an engaged online community of freedom seekers, paid speaking gigs, two sold out live podcast tapings, freelance clients that have let her work for them from all over the world, and a closer understanding of her version of free. 

You’re definitely going to want to read Sam’s Q&A with us below on how you can let freedom ring for yourself!

So many people want to be a digital nomad, but are afraid of the uncertainty of it all. What’s your advice for making the jump from a stable 9-5 to the Freedom Lifestyle? What is the first thing you recommend doing to get started?

I've spoken with so many aspiring Digital Nomads and financial security is the biggest barrier for many. A few things that worked really well for me:

Learn what it costs you to live. I studied my bank statements closely over a six month period and looked for little things (that really add up) that I could eliminate to reduce my monthly spending. Even while I'm traveling, I make 90% of my meals, I take public transit or walk whenever possible and I've stopped buying new clothes on a regular basis. 

Diversify your income. I added passive income streams that helped take the pressure off of having to balance a typical work week while traveling. I learned how to Airbnb my condo so I'm not paying for rent in two spots, I launched a drop shipping e-commerce store and next month I'll be releasing my first online course!

Find a remote gig. Self-employment isn't for everyone and that doesn't mean you should have to miss out on the "freedom lifestyle". This is why I find the new movement towards companies hiring entirely remote teams to be so exciting. Check out Workew and We Work Remotely's job posting directories to discover remote jobs.

What helped you build a community and brand partnerships when you went out on your own?

Having a vision for what I wanted to build! It's easy to feel like brands will think you're too small to work with when you're just starting out. If you focus on pitching where you're headed and what you're going to do to make it happen, you'd be surprised by how many brands will give you a chance! 

My first partnership was with Fiverr. I reached out after wrapping up a modest five episode podcast season. Even though my content and audience at the time was limited, I knew what my listeners cared about and that it was a community Fiverr aligned with. It worked and we've been collaborating ever since!

 How do you make your podcast and brand stand out in a world of so much content?

 There's so much noise online! There's over 700,000 podcasts available for listening; however, only 18% are active (consistently creating content). Since it's so easy to create a podcast or online content these days, I've really noticed the bar has lowered on quality content.

 I try not to post for the sake of posting and when I'm about to interview someone for my podcast, I know ahead of time the value I want my listener to get from the conversation. In such a crowded space, producing content that people can "get something from" will always win you loyalty!

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself during the transition of becoming a digital nomad?

It's funny how you can have a dream for so long and once it materializes you start to see the drawbacks that come with it. For me, I've really learned how important my personal relationships are.

It's all fun and games to travel the world, collecting experiences until you come home and there's no one left to tell the stories to. I've had to work on managing long-distance friendships and family dynamics while I'm away. I hate the feeling of being out of the loop of their lives and have been getting much better at staying connected from a distance.

What do you do to fill your creative cup back up when you’re feeling uninspired?

Interview someone! I get so much inspiration from my guests who live the most fascinating lives, all on their own terms. Whenever I wrap up producing an episode, I feel so re-energized and confident in the life I'm pursuing.

Follow Sam’s adventures on IG and stay connected in her private Facebook group!

Xo,

Sterling & Tricia