When Karolina and Patryk realized that they wanted to spend their lives traveling, they agreed that there was only one way for them to do it: start an online business and earn money online.
They were so confident in their plan that Patryk dropped out of college to pursue it. And it worked! They’re now digital nomads traveling the world as they run their Internet business.
More details in this interview!
What made you want to travel as digital nomads?
Our decision to become digital nomads (we didn’t even know this name that time!) was made spontaneously in 2012 during a weekend vacation in Warsaw, Poland. We were both students and our relationship was really new. We were very excited about having booked a room in the very best hotel in Poland at a cheap price.
We were 21 years old, in love, and full of dreams. We knew that we didn’t want to spend our lives like most people. We hated the idea of everyday routine. We knew we wanted to discover the world and live in luxury. The only way is to do so was to have a lot of money. And to be able to travel you had to work online. For us the only choice was to start an online business.
After making that decision to travel the world, Patryk went to a college exam only to walk out without finishing it. What was going through your mind (Patryk) at the time?
I made this decision only because I knew Karolina will accept it. I knew she wanted something more from her life, she wanted to be free and wealthy just like me.
I had only 1 year left to finish college but I knew that being a chemical engineer wouldn’t let me travel the world and have a lot of money. I calculated that the most I can earn in Poland is $14,000 a year. And one night stay in this luxury hotel was $100. That’s $36,000 a year! Not to mention food, clothes and all other things we’ll need.
We knew we had to reorganize our lives and learn completely new skills. We didn’t know anything about business, blogging and so on. We learnt everything from scratch. From the very beginning we had only our dreams.
The plan then was to start an online business and travel the world. Can you tell me more about the Internet business?
Like many digital nomads, we work with a drop-shipping model. That’s the most convenient way of doing business for us. We don’t need to worry about warehouses and shipping. Our supplier is doing it for us. He sends packed products directly to our customers, so our business is 100% online.
What was the hardest part of starting your own online business?
Constant change. We had to learn a lot about online marketing and we still have to learn new skills every day to keep our business profitable. The Internet is changing so fast that the things that were awesome and innovative 1 year ago, right now are old and useless.
We had some ups and downs during these 3 years. We almost went bankrupt twice. For a short period of time we even had to live for $500 a month for two of us! And our monthly accommodation cost was $450…
How long did it take for you to start making money on the Internet? If you don’t mind, how much do you earn online?
We had no money to live, so we had to start earning money very fast. We saw our first profits two months after we started the online business.
We didn’t have and we still don’t have income target. We earn a different amount every month.
There are many things that are independent of us: weather, season, currency rates, politics — they all influence our customers. There are some months when they’re buying like crazy (usually in the summertime). And then some months are bad and we don’t earn much. This is business — it fluctuates all the time and you can’t predict what will happen.
Did you have a backup plan when you started your own online business?
No, we didn’t. Everything we did was very spontaneous. We knew we needed to earn money and we didn’t even think that we would fail. We were so focused on success that failure wasn’t an option.
What were you going to do if your Internet business didn’t make money, considering you wouldn’t have a degree to fall back on?
Back then, we already saw that the world was changing very fast and a degree was no longer what you’d need to earn money. We met many people with only high school education who were earning more than people who had university degrees.
Tell me more about the time you almost went bankrupt.
We had to leave our flat and move in with our parents. They were wonderfully supportive of us, they helped us get back on our feet. They didn’t give us money (because they didn’t have it) but mental support was more important to us.
We had to reduce all our expenses and we spent money only on food — cheap food. We had nothing, so we worked day and night.
Fortunately, we had enough savings to last for two or three months and it was enough for us to start making money again.
It was a very hard time for us. But we knew that it was only temporary and that we were meant to be successful. We are grateful for this lesson, it only made us stronger.
What kept you going?
We knew that every business had its ups and downs. It’s impossible to do something and be successful all the time.
We read the success stories of millionaires and they all said one thing: you have to fail few times to succeed. It was our first failure — that was it. We were 100% sure that if we changed our business and started doing something else, the same thing would happen to us.
This is how the world works. If you want to succeed you will have to endure all the failures and adversities. We don’t know any person who has an endless series of successes!
Do you have any other source of income aside from your online business?
We had many ideas about how we could earn money, but the online business and the blog were the only two that got us excited! Our business income is much higher now but we are working hard to make our blog just as profitable.
Are there still some restrictions when it comes to where you can travel?
Yes! Internet connection is the only restriction for us. We can’t travel to countries with poor WiFi. For example we are now in Southeast Asia and we can’t go to Laos because most travelers say that the Internet is very bad there.
And the other thing is that we love working in cafes. There are none of them on desert islands!
How do you decide where to travel to next?
Well… It happens spontaneously. Usually cheap plane tickets are our motivators. We want to visit every country on the world and it really doesn’t matter for us in which order :).
Karolina and Patryk are a young European couple who is making their dreams come true. They are traveling the world, making money online and living the life of digital nomads.