Top 5 LifeHacks to Start as a Digital Nomad | My Tips & Advice – Riley Bennett @ Nomad Summit


This talk is from Nomad Summit 2017.

Nomad Summit 2018 is January 20th in Chiang Mai!
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[my first public speaking gig EVER so, it was messy i know.. give me a break 😄]

See below for the slides and transcription. 👇


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Riley Bennett @NOMAD SUMMIT 2017 – Top 5 'Major Keys' to start as a   Digital Nomad




For those who don't know - I have a YouTube channel and video podcast called Livin That Life.

And we just hit 10,000 subscribers after just over a year of starting to document our travels out here in SE Asia.

So that’s how most people know me,

[2014 Dropship Lifestyle conference, Chiang Mai]

But the cool thing about today, is I got started at a CONFERENCE just like this 2 years ago - October 2014 I QUIT my job with Parker and BOOKED 1 way tickets out here -

Like I know some of you just did - QUIT - I know for a fact - you guys told me lol.

[I’ve actually been PROMOTING this conference for some time now in my videos - cuz it was such a major key for me gettin getting started - and I didn’t even know i was speaking until a month ago so. I get real fired up over this.

And that’s been my FAVORITE thing so far about sharing on YouTube - is now we get to give back –

– after being INSPIRED by Johnny and Jubril and other youtubers to start our journey and make it out - to make the dream happen -

... now we’ve gotten to RETURN the favor by showing what’s possible on youtube - and we’ve inspired thousands of people from around the world to start their journey – simply by sharing...

.. but it was this CONFERENCE was the CATALYST that helped us to start our Amazon business that allowed this whole youtube thing to be possible..

.. so the online biz the LIFEBLOOD, the FUEL behind ALL of these adventures.

But this talk isn’t about the Amazon biz, it’s about the FREEDOM and TIME that it gave me to focus on our passions - Travel - Creating.


So Johnny invited me to speak today to kind of represent the ‘SNAPCHAT generation’ - and i’ve never heard that term before but ya i guess i do snapchat constantly every day so … ya feel free to add me on Snap guys.

[cuz yes i am snapping constantly - but i’m a BLOGGER now hehe! It’s WORK mom! (directing foodporns at dinner) -- MOMS in the audience today! ]

But anyway - the younger generation – the newbies – cuz I’m a newbie myself compared to a lot of ppl here.

So maybe for some of you guys still in the ‘DREAM PHASE’ or just getting started - whether ur fresh out of college or still in school –




.. So I’m going to share some of the MAJOR KEYS – that in hindsight helped turn our dream - a travel-based dream - a LIVE ABROAD dream - into our actual daily life.


Moving on - talking TRAVEL - Because that is what so many of us strive to do when starting on an ONLINE BUSINESS.

So first of all I'm a big PHILOSOPHY guy so I always like to keep the BIG PICTURE in mind.

..I believe Seneca once said …. YOLO!


Yeah, YOLO. Young ppl like to say that right - and i think what What we mean is -- to live life to the FULLEST - what that really means - and for a lot of us, TRAVEL EMBODIES that - YOLO... And everything that comes with travel – new experiences.

And I always like to remind myself that we really live in the most AMAZING TIME ever in history.

( Ok here’s our little dose of philosophy for today… a little dose of Jason Silva / Joe Rogan / Alan Watts philosophy:)


You know what I mean, It’s now POSSIBLE to SEE the entire world in one lifetime is we want. For the first time ever.

We live in the age of FLYING BUSSES busses and MAGICAL TELEPATHIC COMMUNICATION communication aka the INTERNET ...

– basically we live in the EASIEST time to travel ever - if we want.


So because of that - - I kind of feel some sort of OBLIGATION to do it -

… i feel that i would deeply REGRET not seeing the world before I DIE knowing that it’s POSSIBLE in this day and age.

-- so there's a little bit of philosophy of why we want to travel - and a good REMINDER for people already traveling as well - YOLO;)


[ 5 minutes: My Story - How I got here: selling door to door, listening to the podcast, coming to a conference in Chiang Mai, meeting other people, staying,5 ]

-- So, my story real quick. How did this all get kicked into motion? So you guys can relate.

So 2013 i was just working like any college grad - slavin away. --7


And then.. TOO WEEKS IN THAILAND happened!



Took a short visit to Thailand because PARKER was doing semester abroad at that time.

He would call us and say ‘ yo this is AMAZING get your BUTTS out here to visit’

So long story short it was a TWO WEAKS -- And if u have the 4 Hour workweek u know that the typical 2 weeks is always t-o-o-w-e-a-k ..

So we DECIDED we wanted to MOVE BACK to thailand to WORK for a year, teach ENGLISH or whatever - do the LIVE ABROAD thing for a while.


So – back home in Seattle we moved into ONE BEDROOM apartment together on a TAG TEAM MISSION to get back to thailand -

...that’s why I always refer to myself as ‘WE’, it’s really PARKER and I - this whole journey was totally a TEAM effort - a MAJOR key for us.

[Our studio apartment in Bellevue, WA]

So i actually slept on the COUCH for a year. True story.

So one of the MAJOR KEYS that kicked off our digital nomad journey was not signing myself up for cable TV and instead streaming strictly Youtube on our TV. So of course we started watching videos on thailand …


… And guess who we found. The infamous $200 apartment in Chiang Mai video by ya boi Johnny, that so many of us found. And long story short we found thru Johnn’y blog out about Anton’s DSL conference happening October 2014 -- so it was perfect, that was our excuse to get back - and we put it on our calendars and booked our 1-way tickets about 6 months in advance.


.. Because we understood as ‘entrepreneur minds’ that you are the average of the 5 people you associate yourself with most - (to quote Jesus again, I mean Tim Ferriss) a MAJOR key - so we knew that by getting around other online entrepreneurs, we had a higher chance of becoming one.

[Me driving door-to-door in the cold in 2014, trying to record a podcast]

So funny story, in order to make money at that time i was a DOOR TO DOOR salesman, which is hilarious in hindsight now that i’m selling online - 1 MILLION times better, right:)

I knocked on thousands of doors and spoke to thousands of Grandmas lol. Funny story I remember vividly - I would actually be to the Travel Like A Boss podcast cruising around neighborhoods in my ford taurus knocking doors, So we were definitely brainwashing ourselves with this vision of working online and traveling.

And Parker actually, had a few different jobs, a restuarant, hotel, but the funniest one was delivering packages for UPS during the holidays - true story - which is awesome b/c he went from delivering other people’s packages everyday - to now everyday UPS is delivering OUR packages.

[Monthly target income sheet, by Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek -]


Chiang Mai – Building your business, giving you enough freedom of time and money to travel.

Long story short, came out the the conferences 2 years ago, tried out Amazon FBA because a friend there was crushing it, and we never looked back.

Of course there will be STRUGGLES along the way and your FIRST product or business bay not succeed.

IN FACT, for our first test order got SCRAPPED because of a patent issue - t- the supplier sent a pic of the inventory cut in half with a knife - they had to dispose of them.

And this was right before Chinese New Year so we had to scramble to pick another product – and went with a new prototype test order that ended up selling well.

But all can do is, to quote Tim Ferriss, in The 4 Hour Workweek: ‘Pay acute attention to what is already working, and adapt it’.

Also, it’s worth noting that our entrepreneurial DREAM started about 4 years ago. So it can take years to figure something out, keep trying and find that thing that works for you. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months and months and years.


So a little bit more on what it’s been like - just to motivate people, to show people . Cuz like I mentioned we were HIGHLY motivated by other youtubers sharing the journey.

Needless to say, "it's been awesome to have the OPTION to travel around - when we want to."

And I know bouncing around is for not for everyone, you know, a lot of us would rather spend most of the time staying in Chiang Mai, grinding and building our businesses to the six figure mark or whatever – and don’t get me wrong, that was us starting out for the first year pretty much.

We’ve done months and months grinding in Punspace working full days starting everything up, and we still do have our grind months where we’ll do a month at Punspace. But now that we have a little passive income set up, we can take more trips when we want to.

So here are some of the places we've been able to go this past year and things we did, without a huge budget, just for an example: africa, vietnam, etc etc.

Saigon Vietnam for 6 months - the NYC of Vietnam - craziness but we love it. Also including motorbike trips thru the mountains and riding ostriches.

New Years Eve in Singapore.  [ 🇸🇬 ]

3 Months in the Philippines -  Including attending a cockfighting derby [my most viewed video;] and meeting Manny Pacquiao at his mansion in his hometown. [full vlog on channel as well] [ 🇵🇭]

Also 1 Month Backpacking Cambodia in 2015

A short 1-week Eurotrip - including Smoking Weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshops (the 2nd most viewed video btw) .. just a short trip, but at least by being able to save money here and having time freedom / a ‘flexible job’ we were able to join our friend for that trip. [ 🇳🇱 ]

And most recently just this past November, a 1-month road trip around Kenya with our other best friend that we grew up with Blake who does business down there. One of the most amazing trips ever. Incredible stuff. [ Full 20+ vlog series on my channel.] [ 🇰🇪 ]

Safaris, lions, tropical beaches, visiting a real nomadic tribe [the original nomads lol], the whole shebang, [ya turns out i guess we didn’t invent this nomad thing idk lol.. Ya turns out i guess they’ve been doing it for like… forever?… lol ya idk, jp guys]

Anyway guys, point is, had we been back at our corporate jobs, we most likely wouldn’t have been able to take a month off and do that trip. So having that freedom in invaluable. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Africa, and no one can take those memories away from us. It’s priceless..

That’s what it’s all about. Racking up awesome memories. YOLO! It’s true. Living your life to the fullest. I think that’s what we’re all about. Livin THAT Life - whatever that means to you.

5 minutes: Sharing the journey and blowing up your youtube subs, how sharing the journey has helped you level up

Which brings me to the next part of the story, which was being able to share all of these awesome times with people from all over the worlds. God bless Youtube!

So I’ve always been a creative person.

So after a year of basically vlogging our first year out here in Chiang Mai thru snapchat basically, and doing some iphone videos, after our visit back home in the summer I decided to invest in the infamous Canon Powershot G7X and step my camera came up.

I had no specific plan or strategy or method with building a youtube channel or anything – I just wanted to make videos that I wanted to see. Just document anything I thought was interesting. ‘Scratching your own itch’ as Tim Ferriss says on his podcast, then people will probably like it too

So most of the initial viewers and subscribers came from a little niche. [a MAJOR KEY]  It was the Saigon niche, people interested in Saigon, a lot of American-Vietnamese and people planning trips to Vietnam. [ 🇻🇳 ]

And from that I met a couple other youtubers in Saigon and did some collab videos - [another MAJOR KEY] and just kept filming anything I thought was interesting. Doing about 1 video per week consistently.

So over time, if the videos are consistently good, more subscribers will come. Make good videos! Lol. Just keep scratching your own itch, making videos that you want to see, be your unique self and don’t hold back, and just have fun with it.


Here are my YouTube tips:

1. Be yourself. Be real. Keep it 100. TV is for censoring. Youtube is for real life, the raw and uncut realness. Display your authentic personality. ( not everyone will resonate with you, but the ones that do will love you for it ) [

2. Collaboration - my collabs helped me get to the first 1000 subs - the hardest part. (talk about it what you did and the results you got from it)

3. Consistency. People want to follow you like a TV show. Gotta be consistent, obviously. Like any type of content building any type of audience.
Bing Bang Boom!

So in summary, here are the major keys that in hindsight allowed us to get here. The keys that took a DREAM, and turned it into our daily life. Every day we wake up. And it’s still kinda surreal.

1 - Having a TEAM - a partner in crime or mastermind team to put your minds together and hold each other accountable to stay focused on the dream. If you don’t have someone with you to live with, there are online communities, facebook groups and masterminds too.

2 - Watch YouTube - Not TV- watching only YouTube and keep filling your brain with visions of where you want to be - and learning a lot at the same time. You are what you eat. Surround yourself with where you’re trying to go.

3 - Attending a conference - Not only for making friends when moving to a new city but meeting people who are doing all sorts of business models, in order to find something you want to try and potentially get someone to help you.

4 - Find someone to get help from - who has done or is doing what you are trying to do or something similar, and find out how they did it and adapt their strategy, and maybe ask for help. Thru the conference that came thru it we were able to meet someone who was having success on Amazon who was able to help guide us thru it.

5 - Wanting it REAL bad. Being EXTREMELY sick of your job. Keep in mind that we wanted this REALLY bad.

It’s still kind of SURREAL that I’m doing this right now on johnny’s stage after brainwashing ourselves with his podcast 2 years ago.

It just seemed like yesterday I was sleeping on the couch eating cereal. With posters of Phi Phi island on our tiny apartment wall. Just DREAMING of making some passive income so we could quit our jobs and just live the easy life in Thailand. Now it’s true.

So in the end, it’s possible guys. HUGE props to everyone that came out this year. And I hope to see MORE of you watching at home here next year.

Thank u.


by Riley

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