Episode #
016

Taking Action First as a Successful Remote Worker With Mitko Karshovski

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Episode Summary

Balancing thought and action will always be a challenge for many people. When you spend too much time studying and picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be, and too little time actually making the thing, you make no progress. It doesn’t hurt to research but is there a thing like too much research? Yes, there is. So just take the action and get your plans rolling. That’s just what Mitko Karshovski did. He majored in the fields of Microbiology, Biotechnology, Art History, Journalism, and Creative Writing then eventually put all the collective wisdom he gained into action.

Mitko joins Andrew Jernigan and Allen Koski in another knowledge-filled episode of The New Nomad. They discussed the pros and cons of passion and why it is better to pursue something that sparks your interest and turn it into a raging fire. Our three nomads share their experiences and give away kernels of helpful tips on how to thrive in the world of location independence. This is an episode that you wouldn’t even think about missing out on.

What You'll Learn

Learn new skills, pursue your goals, and prepare to be wheat you want to become in the seasons ahead in your life.

Timestamps

[4:19] Surround yourself with like-minded people

[7:55] Pursuing your interests

[10:14] How entrepreneurship changes perspectives

[13:50] Rediscovering your hometown through the eyes of your friends

[16:40] Reinventing and capitalizing on the skills you already know

[22:57] Corporate world “gigafied”


Show Transcript

Allen  

Welcome to The New Nomad, we have a very interesting guest today. Mitko, from That Remote life will join us. Really an early adopter, back to 2015, I saw on even just noting digital nomads back back then we were just filling to saying we work at home. But it's the beginning of a great community. So we're gonna have a lot of conversation about launching a successful remote company, assisting others, and learn about his personal journey. But before we do that, we're going to catch up with my co host, Andrew Jernigan. Andrew, what's on your mind today?

Andrew  

Oh, my what's on my mind. Hi, everybody. Great to be back here with you all. Thanks for tuning in again this week. We are hitting a lot of topics. And I know ideas flow when you tune in and listen to these folks. So you know, what other whatever flavour of location independent person you are, whatever persona fits you. I think we're there a lot of a lot of variety in this in this mix. Allen, with this remote work, you've done it over the years, I first decided I was going to join this lifestyle in '95. And it took me about it took me about four years before it became permanent for me, right around January of 2000, 2000. That's when it became real for me. You've been in this for many years working remotely. What are some some tips that come to mind for you? First off before we, before we hear Mitko's story and he joins us for today's episode.

Allen  

Yeah, you know, you know, I came out of an environment that I was in a building with 450 people. And then like almost immediately, two weeks later working for a different company out of my house in Delaware. And to be honest with the it took a bit of an adjustment, you know, it took to be, you know, you couldn't just wander off, you need to have good list management. But I think one thing that was really, really helpful and I think I see this in this independent living lifestyle, is people tend to have good friends that are also living that lifestyle. And so there were times when you kind of feel lonely that you could reach out to somebody say are you are you feeling the same way I am. And you know your you have your wife or partner or friend. I mean, one of the things that many studies seem to indicate is if you have a best friend at work, you work harder, and you enjoy your work more. Many of us who are in this remote, or home lifestyle are our best friend is our spouse, partner, whatever. Or we also have friends in the same area. So I'm really interested to hear your Mitko's comments today on that. As you know, you really want somebody that you can also commiserate with but frankly, I'll be honest with you, it took a lot of discipline and a lot of lists to get to used to doing this at home when there wasn't 350 other people around to get you focused on that. Andrew, are you in in a similar boat to me before we be asked Mitko about this.

Andrew  

I am you know, and during this one of the key things is having community. And I feel like you got to take that with you whether it's your pet, or your partner, or your spouse. And if not, you've got to create it. And that may be with locals, it may not be with other nomads and take that label off of Nomad. And it's just yeah, people. Well, let's be out to get people in our lives. And and that partner thing with me, it's often in working with my partner, always actually. Not always, but in many seasons.

Allen  

So let's bring Mitko into the conversation because it's kind of an interesting start. Welcome to The New Nomad with we'd love to get your thoughts because, you know, Andrew and I sometimes go off on these tangents. But you know, sometimes there's a kernel of wisdom in there. If there is we'd love to hear. If we missed the whole point. We'd love to get your perspective too. Yeah,

Mitko  

First of all, thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to be talking with you guys about what's like my favourite topic. But yeah, I mean, I think both of you guys are correct on this. I do think community has a lot to do with it and people, right. So people think that like, oh, working remotely means just being by myself all the time and as an extrovert, like, I can't think of something that's worse than just being by myself all day, all the time. Like that would just be awful. But I think it's a lot about people. I agree about that. Andrew just like you I work with my wife, my partner pretty often, even though sometimes we try to find a little bit of time away from each other. 


That's also important, but I think the two things that you guys haven't mentioned that are really important along with this is, are you doing something that you're interested in? I think when you work in an office, it's far easier to just kind of like put in the hours on something that you're not passionate about, or something that you're not at least interested or curious about. And I think working remotely removes all of this other stuff going on around you. And all of a sudden, all you can focus on is like, what is it that I'm doing right now. And if it sucks, and it's not something I'm interested in, then it becomes really apparent. So that's the one thing. 


And then the other thing, I think, one of the things that you might hear out there read, and I say over and over again, is that remote work allows you to stop, like living to work, and it helps you start to work to live. And so what are the other things like why why do you want to make more money? You know, why are you doing this? Like, what are some of those benefits that you can go out there and enjoy. So like, for example, one of the things that I've started doing recently is, whenever I go somewhere, right, as a digital nomad, one of the benefits is that I get to work and take my work with me wherever I want to go. And one of the things that I look at now is okay, well, instead of going to the next cool place that somebody talked about, why don't I go somewhere, that actually helps me do something outside of work, right? So I was just in Mexico for three months, and one of my big things was like, hey, I want to learn how to surf. So I went to Mexico, I went to a surfing town, and I worked out there for a little bit because like I was working, and then I was surfing, and I was learning how to surf. So I think those are two things that are really important is like, Hey, are you doing something that you're interested in? And, you know, curious and passionate about? And what are you doing on your you know, you get, like, lean into the benefits of remote work, you know, enjoy your hobbies, like do fun things with your family and friends. So I think that those are important.


Andrew  

Passion, passion, doing something you enjoy. I think so many times people enter a field of study right after getting out of high school and realise, okay, I'm studying something for the money, not because I enjoy it. I'm going back into going back in time, when you decided, Okay, I'm going to do something I'm passionate about? Where did that start with you? And are you? Are you really new to this global mindset are? You know, tell us a bit of your story here.


Mitko  

Yes, I'm always a little bit. And maybe you've noticed this, like when I was saying this, I don't lean heavily on the passion thing, because I think it puts too much pressure on people to find this like one true calling, that's going to answer all their questions. And like, you guys know, this, like, that doesn't happen, right? So that's why I don't really focus on this, like passion kind of topic, but do something you're interested in and do something that you're curious about, and that it doesn't hurt to wake up four in the morning. 


And like for me, yeah, you're right. Like, my global mindset. I was. I wasn't born with it. But it happened very early on, because as you can tell from the dodgy name, I was born in Bulgaria. And when I was ten years old, we actually immigrated to the United States, my my parents and I, and one of the things that happened very quickly on was that I was known in school as the Bulgarian kid, like I wasn't, you know, just Mitko, I was Mitko, the Bulgarian kid. And that's just how everyone knew me. And then when I go back to Bulgaria, I was Mitko, the American kid. And so nowhere was I like, like, I was at home in both places, but I didn't really feel like I fit in in either one of them. And so from a very early age, I just kind of started feeling like, like, I guess I started looking at the world more as like a whole place as opposed to when most people grew up in one country, they only see themselves and their life in that one place, right. A


And so I never really could imagine myself working a job and going, you know, there every single day and just like leaving the rest of this world and everything that it has to offer, just like yeah, I'm just not going to worry about it. So like I sometimes talk about the world as a sandbox, right? So like, you can either decide to play in this tiny, one little corner of the sandbox and make like your own little castles over there. Or you can play in the entire sand castle and build you know, things with other people and get to kind of explore that. So that's kind of like where my journey started. And then it's funny that you talk about passion because I actually got started. So I studied biotechnology in high school. I was in a biotech program and a pug. I don't know if you guys can hear that. My dog. One of the benefits of working from home,

Allen  

it's all good. We all have dogs here. We understand that.

Mitko  

But yeah, so I started studying about technology. And I would the program that I went through is essentially, my junior year of high school, you got all the skills in biotech, and then your senior year, you use the skills, came up with a capstone and then tried to solve a problem. So that's actually where I did my first, you know, business proposal and drew out of business, and all this kind of stuff was in that class. And then I went on to study biotechnology in college, and I hated it. Because all of a sudden, it was a biotech class, it wasn't this entrepreneurial version of school, and you know, it now it sounds very easy and very common sense looking back at it, that I was passionate about entrepreneurship and solving problems, using entrepreneurial skills. But at the time, I was like, I have no idea what to do with my life. So I actually dropped out of college, and I got started in the startup scene here in Cincinnati, and just very slowly figured it out.

Allen  

You know, what's interesting about? Well, first off it, some of us It takes a long time to figure things out, right. So traveling and experiencing, I mean, I love what you mentioned about when you you went, and you worked, but you took that time to learn to surf. And it's, it's kind of almost like, getting into the culture and, and, and trust me, I, I tried to surf, they gave me the biggest heaviest longboard, you could get that anybody could get up on no proficiency. But that was on a business trip. But I forgot about the business. To this day, I remember that experience. So you know, I love what you mentioned about that? Is that a part of the excitement? Did you pick the spots? Or do you suggest to people, hey, if you've had something on your bucket list, you can still take this on the road? And this is your chance to do two things once, both of which interests you? I mean, how do you pick your spots? Where to go? Is it by by type of activity? Or is it by place that you think might be interesting?

Mitko  

Yeah, so I always say location independence does not mean that location doesn't matter, right? Use your location dependence to go to locations that matter to you, whether that's an activity, whether it's an event, whether it's a community that you want to be a part of, for some amount of time, those are kind of like the ways that I pick places to go to, you know, if you're starting a business right now, and it's a tech based business, and you need developers use your location independence, to go somewhere where you can find developers, right. So like, I'm from Eastern Europe, you want to find people to build your app, go to Eastern Europe, you know, like, go to the taxis go to the star startup scenes, in those parts of the world and use your location as a way to learn more, you know, really ingrain yourself in those places. And you know, hire the best people that get to know you and that kind of stuff. So, yeah, I would definitely say I pick up places first based on community, like, Is there a community already there that I'm interested in, that I want to plug myself into? Or are a lot of my friends going there or, you know, people that, you know, I interact with going there as well, we do kind of like to travel in little pods like, oh, you're going to Budapest, I'll come to Budapest to you know, and then after, after that, I'd say activities is an important one.

Allen  

So just an aside of that. So I mean, I assume that you have friends that also come to Cincinnati to visit you, which is from overseas, in which it could be as much of a cultural exchange there too. How do you feel is it kind of, I've sometimes find a very interesting, because I travelled to so many places out but I love it as much when people come visit me, because it makes me look at my location differently. How does that work out for you as you have people that maybe even come to visit you wherever you are?

Mitko  

So interesting question because I don't know if I've had a lot of people come to visit me here in Cincinnati or at least from like my digital nomad, quote unquote, group of friends. I don't know if I've had a lot of them come to visit. There's been a few and it's always a lot of fun because yeah, I mean, one of the things about clinical coming home to Cincinnati is that I get to rediscover it all over again, like I don't spend a lot of my time here. So even though this is home and I grew up here, every time I come here, it's almost like I'm revisiting and I'm kind of a little bit of like a tourist again, I get to go to my favourite bars my favourite breweries, you know, we talked about this before we hit record so yeah, it's always fun to do that and it's even more fun when I get to show someone else around.

Andrew  

Yeah, so wondering if you were I know you share and you coach people just because of your your personality. You figure this out, you've you've found a way that certain people can follow a similar similar line to become location independent. This I don't know if you agree with term digital nomad because it's so loosely defined and has some people love that term. Other people despise it. Similar to the term expat, it's like, well, you have a home base and you live as a foreigner in another country, but it's a colonial term, so they don't want to use it. And so labels that we place need to be easily removed and, and plans. But, you know, do you have any tips that you would give someone or recommendations on how to start this lifestyle. And I know that comes in so many flavors because it could be of, okay, create an Upwork profile if you're a programmer, or create a Fiverr profile if you do another type of service. If you're in another line of work, and you're  a nurse, you're not going to be doing that route but yet you can still have those lifestyle working through telemedicine and other alternatives. It's it runs the gamut of what your skill set is, what your desires are. With that, if you do have a program that you would recommend for certain types of professions, go ahead and tell us about that as well.

Mitko  

Yeah, so I think you kind of hit the nail on the head there in terms of like, what I suggest, I think, way too many people who want to become digital nomads or location independent, or whatever you want to whatever term you want to use, like think that they need to reinvent the wheel, they need to go out there and learn some new sexy skill that's going to then allow them to do this. And my biggest tip is, look at what you're already being paid to do. So you kind of set it if you're a nurse, you know, telemedicine is an interesting way to go or, like find a way to use what you already know what you're already being paid to do by your employer, and figure out how to then pivot that skill that experience into something that you can do remotely and it doesn't like maybe you're a nurse and you're like, Listen, I'm sick of being a nurse, I don't I want to do something else. Okay, that's fine. You can learn to you know, you can start doing something else. But can you do it in the medical industry? Right? Can you make sure that like, all of this skill in this experience that you've built up over years of working in that industry isn't wasted. 

And I think that not only does that build the most interesting businesses and the most interesting lifestyles, as opposed to becoming another travel blogger, or whatever, you know, is out there. But it's also very sustainable, and more and more industries are going to be going remote. I mean, we're like, it's literally day by day, we're seeing more and more businesses that are announcing alright guys that were fully remote. So it's never been easier to find clients online that are willing to work with you remotely. I mean, I can't think of a corporation in the world right now that would be like, no, like, we're not gonna work remotely, because it's taboo. You know, I mean, like everyone that has now figured out that you can work remotely and be very successful and bear and very efficient at that. So yeah, my tip is use like, look at what you're already being paid to do. And is there a way to take that skill that a company is already valuing you and paying you for and seeing if you can do it online, whether that's through Upwork or whether it's through find your own clients doesn't matter? Or is there a way to pivot your experience and do something within that industry? So I used to work as a lifeguard in high school and in college, and my tip would be like, Okay, I have all these years of lifeguarding experience, instead of going out there and building something in a completely different industry. Even though I can't take lifeguarding online, can I do something in the aquatics industry? So that would be kind of like my tip for that.

Allen  

You know, when we when we talk to people, with with the passion that you're showing too is, I think there's one underlying element that seems to work is people that are curious. You know, if you're, if you're not curious, you're probably not going to be adventurous. This may not work out. Any tips that you have for people that maybe, you know, understand themselves better that this might make sense, or this may not make sense because I'm sure there's also folks that that see this as a great escape, but they just aren't able to, you know, leave this the structure, let's say, for the, you know, remote or the lifestyle where they actually have to put it upon themselves to, you know, be industrious, you reach out to others. Help me understand the type of folks that you see that do really well at this, and maybe those who don't do as well, but they could work at it.

Mitko  

So, I actually think what I've seen you I coach people I help people who are professionals essentially take their skills and transition them into a service business online. And the biggest separator of those who make it and those who don't is actually action. Do you go out there and put your neck on the line and take action on the things that we talked about and the things that we decide that you need to do? I think curiosity is really important. But it can almost be an Achilles heel, because curiosity almost leads this constant need to learn. And I find so many people that are like, Oh, let me take this other course. And like, let me read this book. And like, let me go through this thing. And like, I need to read this other book. And I'm like, hey, you've read like 100 books on business, go out there and do business things, right? Like, go out there and actually do the thing, like, put your, you know, like, neck out on the line, actually take action on some of these things, try to go out there and sell something on the product or the service that you're building, you know, talk to a potential client. And the people who make it who are successful at it, are the people who take action first, I almost say is like, stop reading the books, like right now, put the blog down close YouTube put, like, put it away, go out there talk to potential clients like that is the action that people who make it have. And it's the number one separator. 

And the other thing that I think is, you know, you touched on that I want to, you know, talk a little bit about is, yes, there are some people who might say, this isn't for me, I don't have the right personality. For this, I'm just more comfortable being an employee. And I get that that's, that's totally fine. However, I want to issue a warning of look at where the trends are going. Right? Because I understand that it's not for everyone. But in a few years, you might come to a place where you don't have an option so you better get started early. And the reason why I say that is I mean, you're seeing this with, you know, some industries like fast food, for example, where they're literally getting caught in the crosshairs, there's almost like a scissor movement. And on one hand, you have automation, taking away the lowest parts of the job. And then now post COVID, when everyone has seen the remote work works, where companies are going to go for employee is going to be overseas because no longer is it that like, hey, I need to hire Stacey from Chicago, because my office is in Chicago as well. They're gonna say, Okay, well, who's the best person for this job. And if the best person for that job is somebody in Italy, then they're gonna hire that person in Italy and take the, you know, the better salary, right, they're gonna, you know, pay them less, and they're gonna get a better person for the job. So what's gonna end up happening is a lot of people in the United States in the Western world are going to get caught in this uncomfortable position in the middle. And the way to exist in that place in the middle, is to be highly specialized, highly skilled person who executes specific projects. 


So this is where kind of, you're going to start seeing this gigafication, so to say, of corporate America happen, and I think this is gonna happen in the next five to 10 years. And I just, I understand a lot of people out there want to be employees, they're not interested in being an entrepreneur, and that's fine. But just be careful because I have a lot of friends are in this position, and I'm telling them like, just Just be careful, because unfortunately, you might get, you might end up being in a place where you don't have an option, so you better start learning these things now.

Andrew  

Wow. Okay. So, I hope there folks listening today that are on the start of this journey, or they're looking for some of these nuggets, because because you're speaking from experience. You know, I wonder, you know, this is the time when I want to ask this question of this may take a minute of thought but what's the one thing that you would tell somebody that they should either experience or the one book they should read the one person they should meet? The the one nugget here of from your life in the last few years? Is location independent or as a digital nomad? You do call yourself a digital nomad. Right. 

Mitko  

Yeah, I mean, I gotta go for the SEO as Right. I mean, I don't think that the digital nomad term kind of encompasses everything I tend to go with location dependent, global citizen, but who cares potato-potato. 

Andrew  

Right, right. So that that question there, what's the one overlooked person place or experience that you would share that someone needs to, needs to go for? So it's, it's rather broad

Mitko  

So how about I actually give you two. I'm going to give you a place and I'm going to give you a book. Okay? So the place that I would say is Varna, Bulgaria, it's where I was born. And it's been interesting because I've gotten to rediscover it as a digital nomad and realise that I'm that it's like, hey, it's actually a pretty nice place for digital nomads. And it's not just me, I'm not just being super biassed, because people keep visiting me and saying like, I think you're right. So we have a big group of people actually coming to Varna, Bulgaria this year, who are digital nomads it's just a great city. It has superfast Wi Fi. It's cheap. It's on the beach. It has the you know, city living, but it's on, you know, the beach. So you get all those benefits. So it's it's really, really nice for that. So that's the first place Varna Bulgaria. That's the place. 


And the second thing, I'm going to give you a book. And I don't know how many people have heard of this book. But I really think that this book, I mean, not only is it the best book that I've read this year, it could be one of the most valuable books that I've read in my entire sort of young adult life. And it also answers the person question that you asked, okay. And the book is called the Almanac of Naval Ravikant. I don't know if you guys know who Naval Ravikant is or people listening know who that who it is. But Naval is the founder of Angel List. And this guy, his name is Eric Jorgensen. He is a blogger. And he's done a lot of cool things in the internet space. I'm actually having him on on my podcast here in a few weeks. So if anyone listening wants to listen, that interview, they can check that out. But Eric went out there and actually took all of the Naval's tweets and all of his appearances on interviews and podcasts and YouTube and whatever, and compiled them together into specific topics. So what has Naval say about wealth and all the places where he's talked about wealth, he kind of breaks it down. And the book is fantastic, because it packages all of this information that Naval has to share in a very specific section. So I highly recommend you check that out. It's called the Almanac of Naval Ravikant or as I call it, the the fama neck actually think that's what they call it as well. But yeah, so I would say those two things Varna, Bulgaria, and the Almanac of Naval Ravikant

Allen  

So fantastic. on that, well, obviously, you have more to share. So where can other folks find you out? Tell them a little bit about your podcast, and, you know, for for our nomad community out there, I know they'll want to stay in touch. So please share.

Mitko  

Yes, so definitely, you can find me at ThatRemoteLife.com and I publish a podcast every single week called That Remote Life, where I interview entrepreneurs and leaders in the remote space. So we have a lot of experts who talk about everything from how to build an online business to remote work, you know, cyber, cyber cryptocurrency and even smart cities. We've had a bunch of different people talking about sort of what life is going to look like in this digital age. So that's That Remote Life is the podcast. And then I publish a new video on YouTube every single week, all about kind of doing deep dives on these topics as well. And the last place is I have a community called Parable, which is essentially, we take the Harvard Business School case study method of studying businesses to better understand what makes those businesses tick. And we've applied it to online lifestyle businesses. So if you want to get a behind the scenes, under the hood, look at how some successful lifestyle businesses work, then you can join Parable, and we go over case studies of real life businesses like that, and then get to talk about them live. So yeah, that's Parable, you can just get links to all of that at ThatRemoteLife.com

Allen  

Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for sharing with us today. We'll also be listening in on the podcast. Andrew, I learned a lot today. One of the things that I think I'm taking away is I love the comment of take action first. There's a point in time that one has to stop studying, exploring, not totally or but you know, to put stuff to use. And it's funny, you bring it up, there's many folks that I know that, for lack of a better term are almost professional students. But then there's a point in time that you need to really take action for so I've learned a lot and first of all, to tip my hat to anyone who is decided to try to learn to surf. Because as someone who it was a very long experience. Thankfully, there's heavy boards out there for folks like me, but how about yourself, Andrew, any last thoughts for our audience?

Andrew  

Yeah, I you know, the things that Mitko says are worth listening to. One, you know, balancing between studying because, you know, you can listen to podcasts you can watch YouTubes that's almost the equivalent of over studying, over listening and not doing. So choose wisely on who you listen to and where but for those of you who are on this journey of saying, Okay, I'm going to work from anywhere. And I want to figure out how to do it. Dude, subscribe to his channels in the links on TheNewNomad.net. And, you know, I'm I am one that works my list and I have my project management programs in place, and we go forward. So so the things he does put out, I do listen to quite often. So my questions were a bit leading because I knew he was going to provide some great information to us all.  I'm glad that Mitko was able to join us today. And thanks, Allen. It's been it's been a great episode.

Allen  

Yeah, I'd like to thank the people for listening today. Remember, The New Nomad is not just a podcast. It's a community of people, ideas and spirits, helping you take advantage of that location independent lifestyle. Please join us again next week. And please leave a great review and subscribe to the podcast. Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you in your travels.

Taking Action First as a Successful Remote Worker With Mitko Karshovski

About the Guest

Mitko Karshovski

For the last 5 years, Mitko Karshovski has been living as a digital nomad and spent a majority of that time growing an agency from a small team of 6 to over 25 professionals all working 100% remote. At the end of 2020, he launched Parable, an online membership that uses detailed case studies of real-world 6, 7, and 8 figure location-independent businesses to teach people how to build an online business of their own that allows them to live life on their terms. Mitko is also the host of That Remote Life, one of the fastest-growing podcasts in its category where he interviews entrepreneurs and thought leaders on the topics of business, remote work, global citizenship, economics, tech, and much more.