Common Mistakes to Avoid when Growing a Freedom Based Business as a Digital Nomad Entrepreneur

by | Jun 24, 2024 | 2 comments

Let’s dive into the most common mistakes I see freedom based business owners make and how you, being the born digital nomad entrepreneur you are, can avoid them.

Did you, too, become a digital nomad entrepreneur to create a freedom based lifestyle? Yup, me too.

And so are my clients. And likely millions of fellow travelers who sit in co-working cafes and beach cafes, typing away at their laptop. 

After five years of being in business for myself and after 7 years of pursuing a freedom based lifestyle, I’ve made and seen plenty of mistakes digital nomad entrepreneurs make. 

These business mistakes can cause stagnation of growth, lead to frustration, result in too little cashflow, or create other financial, business, or even legal issues.

The truth is that entrepreneurial freedom comes from discipline, not whim. It comes from planning, not flowing with life. 

And it comes from short-term sacrifice for the sake of long-term freedom. Moreover, business freedom comes from establishing the financial and structural requirements of running a digital nomad business…not ignoring and defying them.

I want you to succeed. I do. 

I wish for so much growth, abundance, and for the freedom for you to do whatever the F you want to do. 

The path there is exciting. And while the path may be filled with a bit more discipline than you’d hoped for, you can still pave it entirely on your terms.

Freedom begets freedom. So let’s get you on that path!

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Mindset Mistakes to avoid when growing a freedom based business

How you relate to your freedom-based business will determine every action you take. 

Your relationship with the little digital nomad start-up you have at your hands directly impacts the potential growth your business can achieve.

Nothing matters if your mind isn’t set up for success. This is why I find myself in coaching conversations with clients about their moms and dads when their goal is to grow their client roaster. Because your heart and your mind are right there with you as you take action.

Avoid these business mindset mistakes when growing your freedom based business:

Defying what didn’t work without defining what will

If you defy what didn’t work for you without clearly defining what will, you’ll end up with a digital nomad business that may be different from your 9-5, but not one that will powerfully support your needs, desires, and dreams.

You’ll build a freedom in againstness to what was before.

Instead, what you’ll want to do is build a business FOR freedom. FOR location independence. FOR what freedom of time truly means to you.

Thus, the first step in creating a digital nomad business, inevitably, must be to create a clear vision of your ideal life!

Fill in that vision board: Where will you travel? Where will you live? Who will you be working with? What will you be able to afford?

A little free help with that:

Invitation to download my free guide for Nomad Entrepreneurs to create purpose-aligned business goals
Download this guide to set your freedom business goals

Not clarifying How your Business Structure can Support your Lifestyle

I made that mistake! I created a business structure that heavily relied on individual clients at first. Not only did that not support my definition of time freedom, but it didn’t support my business goals either.

What a valuable lesson. As you step into clearly defining what freedom means to you, you want to assess if your business model can actually support that vision.

No, you don’t need to have all the pieces and steps exactly laid out. You truly don’t. What you want to have a good idea. 

Some business models, while online, might, require your physical presence in a certain country. Will this support or interfere with your definition of freedom? 

Other business models, like one-on-one coaching, might demand your presence on Zoom during pre-scheduled times. Does this feel aligned for you, or not?

There’s a business model for every single definition of freedom; for every type of digital nomad entrepreneur. Allow yourself to find what will work for you.

Adjusting your business to your lifestyle too soon

Growing a start up takes time, effort, and a lot of focus. I see a lot of location independent business owners jump onto the lifestyle business wagon far too soon. It’s one of the most detrimental mistakes of freedom based business owners:

You must recognize that you’re not building your business to drink margaritas at 11 o’clock tomorrow, but two years from now. 

If you want sustained and uncompromised freedom in your lifestyle, you’ve got to put in the sweat and time upfront. 

That might mean that you choose your travel destinations not based on adventure, but based on access to coworking cafes, networking opportunities, and the Internet for the first 2 years.

That might mean that you travel slower, as a slowmad. Or not at all. 

While you’re creating a digital nomad business, your guiding question is future-focused: 

Will this one action today create more of the freedom I desire tomorrow?

Building a freedom based business has been one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve ever risen to

not hiring a mentor who’s been there done that

One of the quickest accelerators in my business was, and continues to be, the decision to hire a coach or mentor.

I continuously invest in professional growth opportunities, masterminds, courses, and time with people who’ve done what I want to do.

Sure, you can absolutely make it without a coach. It’s going to take longer. You’ll miss the mark more often. You’ll lose time and you’ll lose money.

The sooner you can create the resources to hire a coach, the sooner you’ll begin to reap the rewards of your effort.

Yes, this requires an investment of money you may not have. I’m not here to say, go into debt.

No. But since you’re on this entrepreneurial journey, you’ve got to move from “I don’t have the money” to “I will figure out how to create the money“.

The sooner you shift that mindset, the sooner you’ll empower your investment decisions. The sooner you’ll get to live that freedom you so desire.

Following the Wrong Advice

On the other hand, another one of the biggest mistakes of freedom based business owners is to follow the advice of someone who’s not interested (or experienced) in creating the life you desire.

I once sought advice from my mom about a big investment decision. She’s a rockstar teacher, but no entrepreneur. That advice was ill-informed and I didn’t yet have the muscle required to discern between relevant and irrelevant advice. 

You need to lean on advice, though. So how can you discern? 

Look at the person’s life: Do they have some of what you wish to have? Do they know your struggle, on some level? Can they relate to your dreams? Are they on the same or a similar journey?

Your coaches and mentors don’t need to live exactly your dream life. But someone who’s never left a 9-5 and launched a location independent business might not have the best advice for you. 

Instead, someone who’s created an online business suited to their needs but lives settled at their home with a mortgage might have fantastic guidance to offer.

This goes for judgment, as well. As you grow your digital nomad business, there will be people who judge and reject you for your actions. 

You don’t need the opinion on your decision of someone who lives a life entirely different from yours.

Joining a community of fellow freedom seekers is one of the best ways to avoid being sensitive to the wrong advice, or hurtful opinions.

Join Freedom Seekers Community for $39/month: 
For Online Entrepreneurs who seek freedom of
judgment, expectations, location, and time.

The Membership for all Freedom-Based Business Owners:

Freedom Seekers Community

Freedom Seekers know that freedom is a mindset first, a business strategy second.

Join Today:

  • Activate your Freedom Mindset.
  • Expand your business.
  • Design your dream life, independent of location.

Digital Nomad Entrepreneurs should avoid these Mistakes when building a business while traveling

Not dedicating enough time to your business growth

I blame Instagram!

Jokes aside, I notice a lot of digital nomad entrepreneurs call their business a lifestyle business before they’ve actually grown a business that supports their dream lifestyle.

In plain English: Unless you put in time and effort upfront, your pursuit of a freedom based life will fail.

Upfront, you’ve got to prioritize your time around business growth, not the beach. Yes, this might mean you spend significantly more time in front of a screen than is ideal.

It might also mean late nights. Even taking on clients that aren’t ideal.

This is why it’s so crucial to have a clear definition of freedom. And the mindset that freedom is, in fact, earned.

Spending too much time nomading

On that note, one of the mistakes of freedom based business owners is that they simply travel too frequently. Yes, you can certainly build a business while in Da Nang instead of your parent’s basement.

However, moving too fast might cause your business priorities and routines to become fuzzy, and less attainable.

The start up phase of your digital nomad business might not be the time to go off-grid by spending a month at an Ashram. Neither is it the time to take that bucket list trip to Bhutan.

It’s important that you create the habits and travel routines that serve the growth of your business, first.

If you do this meticulously for two or three yours, you’ll soon be able to create the routines that sustain your business and provide you with the financial freedom and time to go off-grid while the business keeps growing.

Save this article for when you need a reminder:

Not establishing Routines & Habits that can travel with you

This is a big one, so let’s unpack this: project plans, quarterly goals, mindset & health routines.

Your project plans, ideally, determine how you spend your working days. However, traveling and moving can affect these plans. You may catch a stomach bug due to a foreign cuisine or wish to adjust your daily routine so that you can catch the sunlight before the daily downpour.

I recommend that you thoroughly integrate your lifestyle into your project plans and timelines. Don’t throw planning and discipline out the window. Instead, see if you can create recurring tasks for every week, instead of every day. 

As far as timelines are concerned, we’re often taught to have annual plans and quarterly goals. It’s a great way to increase efficiency. And of course, more efficiency in your business will lead to greater freedom with your time.

However, oftentimes, quarterly goals seem utterly arbitrary when you chase the summer all around the globe. Instead, I recommend that you adjust your annual plan to your destinations by creating destination goals. More on how to implement this here.

Finally, maintaining a grounding mindset routine while traveling is a must. This is important not only to stay grounded within yourself while your environment is ever-changing. Additionally, it’s important for your business that you’re tappedinto your values and your intuition.

Creating cues for that via a little meditation area at home is far easier to do than when we travel. But it’s not impossible. Find ways to maintain a spiritual practice while traveling. this can be via apps on your phone, a lightweight deity on your desk, or a foldable yoga mat. Make this a priority.

white skinned woman sitting by the pool in a blue bikini. She smiles, wears large sunshades and a blonde pixie hair cut. this is only one representation of an entrepreneur avoiding mistakes of freedom based business owners.
I enjoy the freedom of taking time off whenever – and have made it a non-negotiable habit to take Friday afternoons off for exploration.

Structure and Growth Mistakes of freedom based business owners

No business plan or action plan

One of the most fatal mistakes of freedom based business owners is to run toward freedom without a plan. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh. 

It is a key step in creating a business. Oftentimes, freedom-seeking entrepreneurs tend to overlook that step. Don’t be them!

How will you create money? Which revenue streams will you set up, in which order? How will your clients find you? What investment of time and money is required of you? Etc. 

Answering these questions is crucial to successfully creating a freedom based life. Please take the time to clearly define your business goals. With that in mind, create a strategic and an action plan so that you can be sure you know what your priorities are at any given time.

Doing so will help accelerate your growth, inside out:

Invitation to download my free guide for Nomad Entrepreneurs to create purpose-aligned business goals

Having created your business plan, it’s mighty time to consider the legalities of your new venture.

Surely, when it comes to digital nomad entrepreneurship, the question of saving taxes isn’t far. And the way to minimize your taxes isn’t by avoiding setting up the legal structures of your business.

On the contrary, you’ll want to do your due diligence to figure out where to set up your business, your tax residency, and your business bank accounts in order to:

  • Avoid unlawful tax-evasion
  • Enable your business to create legal invoices (crucial for B2B)
  • Provide accurate details when signing up for affiliate programs or even just credit card payment processors
  • Enable yourself to work with U.S based business who require even contractors to fill out certain forms.
  • Create a healthy financial infrastructure that can grow with your business.

Don’t make the mistake of defying without defining. Defy traditional business structures all day long. But please do take the time to define what they will be instead.

Unclear boundaries and priorities – Saying Yes too often

As you begin to grow your freedom based business, opportunities of all sorts will fly your way:

  • People from college who’ve been MIA from your life for years will suddenly take an interest in your (or the money your business makes)
  • You’ll find your mind bombarded with shiny-objects promising 6 figures in 6 months.
  • YOu’ll want to do it all: the blog, the podcast, the newsletter, Flipboard, Instagram, …
  • You might get asked to speak on Podcasts or on conferences.

The list goes on. Do you see now why defining what freedom means to you AND setting clear business goals is so crucial? If you do these two things, you’ll end up with clear priorities very soon.

I strongly encourage you to create what I call freedom boundaries around these priorities.

For example, if your 6 month goal is to bring in $30,000 through individual clients, speaking on podcasts and chatting with your old college friend about how they can help you with Canva projects simply isn’t a priority.

Imagine you only have one daily yes to give out – choose carefully when you give it out. The next level of success will require you to say yes less often, and no more often.

growing your Instagram to avoid growing your business

Yup, you read that right. growing your Instagram will ultimately contribute to expanding your business, no doubt. However, it won’t help much in the start-up phase.

In fact, I grew my coaching business to six figures entirely without social media and I advise my clients do the same.

Now, if you have the bandwidth in the beginning, get a head start on social media from Day 1, but please don’t wait to sign clients or even create offers until you have more than X amount of followers.

You can find clients, speaking opportunities, and an array of income streams much faster, more directly, and in a more aligned way away from social media.

While I’m at it, don’t waste your initial time and money on professional brand colors or a professionally made website. There is no need for that. And doing so will take you away from bringing in that life-changing money.

Instead, activate your network, begin to talk about your offers to everyone, create offer ideas and test run them through your existing network. More on that here.

Instead of growing a following, you’ll want to focus on nurturing a community of like-minded freedom seekers:

Join Freedom Seekers Community for $39/month: 
For Online Entrepreneurs who seek freedom of
judgment, expectations, location, and time.

The Membership for all Freedom-Based Business Owners:

Freedom Seekers Community

Freedom Seekers know that freedom is a mindset first, a business strategy second.

Join Today:

  • Activate your Freedom Mindset.
  • Expand your business.
  • Design your dream life, independent of location.

Building offers that aren’t tested (or based on your expertise)

Sadly, another devastating set of mistakes of freedom based business owners is to build the wrong kind of courses or build the right kind without appropriate market research.

If you’re wondering what you should be doing instead of growing your Instagram following, it’s this: 

Determine what expertise or experience you bring to your business and, thus, to your clients. Take that experience, and chunk it up into at least three parts. 

For example, my experience is in mentoring individuals to leave their 9-5, launch an online business, and create a freedom based life.

There are at least three elements to this: 

  1. Creating a mindset shift from restriction towards freedom (I do that here
  2. Teaching how to determine the right business model and create aligned business goals. (I do that here
  3. Holistic coaching that serves the business and life of the individual and creates freedom throughout. (I do that here

Within each of these chunks, you’ll find opportunities to help your clients in differing ways. The important thing is to test-run your ideas: Invite 5 people into an hour-long Q&A session, read up on Reddit, read through questions in Facebook groups, or create a small version of your offer before scaling it.

Financial Mistakes of Freedom Based Business Owners

While a business can truly not sustain itself without the right mindset and business plan, even the most promising entrepreneur will fail at mission “freedom business”, unless their finances are in order.

This includes the management of finances and cashflow as well as the clarity on income streams.

no clear financial goals (Savings, Income, Spending)

In his book, I will Teach you How to Be Rich, Ramit Sethi asks this question:

“What does your rich life look like?” That question is intended to reveal financial goals:

  • Income: How much income is required to afford that kind of life?
  • Savings/Investments: How much must be invested or saved in order to attain this life? How much do we need to set aside today? (And do we need to bring in more money to make this a reality?)
  • Spending: What would you love to spend money on that you don’t or can’t right now?

The one thing I find so fascinating about creating and growing a freedom based business is that it is meant to be uniquely suited to your dream lifestyle. That also means two things:

  1. You can’t just follow another person’s script.
  2. You must plan for freedom. Especially when it comes to your finances.

Before you go on to price your next offer, hoping someone won’t find it too expensive, sit down and define the kind of financial goals that will enable your freedom based life.

Neglecting setting up a conducive financial infrastructure

Mistakes of freedom based business owners often are innocent in nature, but fatal in effect. Neglecting to set up an appropriate financial infrastructure is one of these mistakes.

Setting up a PayPal Account that’s routed into your domestic bank won’t do. You’ll need a financial operating system that supports your international, free spirit. This system must:

  • allow for cost-effective wire transfers,
  • offer separate business and personal accounts,
  • provide the option of automated salary payments,
  • let you grant CPA access,
  • allow for an easy integration with credit card payment processors
  • be conducive to billing and receiving money in international currencies.

As complicated as this may sound, Wise Business makes it incredibly easy, cheap, and secure. There is an entire guide on how to properly set up this part of your business right here.

Notice that in order to do this, you need to be a registered business.

neglecting to save for emergencies and mentoring

In other words: create a budget already.

Your budget must reflect your priorities, needs, and goals. Now this can seem impossible when you’re just starting out and experiencing a more severe version of living paycheck to paycheck: living client to client.

However, creating a budget to follow can enable you to make far more empowered decisions in life and business:

You’ll see when you run out of money, which investments you can and can’t take, how much money you are and should be spending, and how much money comes in and when.

With this system set up, you can now allocate a sub-budget for savings and mentoring. Your savings are for emergencies, of course. A separate pot of savings, however, should be dedicated to investing in mentoring.

I share how to appropriately manage your money as an online business owner AND as a digital nomad here.

You can also read this article to learn how to set up an envelop system for your saving goals.

Creating such financial clarity and priorities will send a strong message to your brain and life that you’re in this properly. You’re not here to dilly-dally. You’re here to stay. And to attain unmatched levels of abundance and freedom.

Finally Words

Ironically, achieving entrepreneurial freedom as a digital nomad requires careful planning and discipline.

Use this article as a guide to clarify your true vision for a freedom based life, begin to plan for success, and start to establish all necessary structures to support your dreams.

If you can avoid just one of the mistakes of freedom based business owners provided here, I know in myh heart that you’ll be 10 steps further along on the journey towards freedom, your dreams, and aspirations.

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Tell me below, which mistakes did this article help you avoid and what action towards freedom will you take today?

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Hi! I'm Dina

Way of the Founder offers a pathway to holistic success, where personal growth, spiritual exploration, and business leadership converge. Come join me on this incredible adventure called LIFE!

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Join Freedom Seekers Community for $39/month: For Online Entrepreneurs who seek freedom of judgment, expectations, location, and time.

Hi, I’m Dina!

Way of the Founder offers a pathway to holistic success, where personal growth, spiritual exploration, and business leadership converge. Come join me on this incredible adventure called LIFE!

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  1. Badr Lakchiri

    Honestly, when I read about the clarity for financial goals part, it resonated deeply. I have a lot of work to do towards being clear on my financial goals. It starts with my money mindset.


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