Nick Hasche Interview: On Being a Digital Nomad and On Being a part of Zero Grid

Monday, March 06, 2017 , 0 Comments

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: Singapore :: Nick Hasche Interview: On Being a Digital Nomad and On Being a part of Zero Grid

Being a Digital Nomad and Being a part of Zero Grid
There will always be different episodes in your life wherein you’ll dream of starting something new. Of course, the colourfully chaotic depth of this idea is determined by the experiences and exposures that inspire you to do so. In my case, for example, doing a start-up that is related to travel has always been a lurking whale of wonderment that I am interested to be part of, in any way possible.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: Singapore :: Nick Hasche Interview: On Being a Digital Nomad and On Being a part of Zero Grid

Zero Grid is the answer to my perennial pondering. Zero Grid is a start-up company that massively supports a lifestyle in which we can work from anywhere, be anywhere, and not be confined by traditional limits or norms — where we have to be "on the grid" all the time. Zero Grid aims to prompt ourselves that there are no limits to where we can go, and what we can do. I am glad I have collaborated with this one – perhaps you can also join, and find a new beginning in your departure from your grid by getting to know this grid!

Nick Hasche is the all-cool-Australian-German guy behind Zero Grid who collaborated with me on this. Not only does Nick work with the founders of Zero Grid closely, but he is also a full-time traveller and digital nomad. It truly is advantageous to work in a company that caters to a team of remote workers, because it gives you the leverage to travel all travel a lot. Nope, I am not envious, and yes, I am being sarcastic! Haha. I encourage you to go and read through his ingenious insights about this lifestyle and this start-up.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?

Nick: I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. With two German parents, I am also very lucky to have a German passport.

My life used to be quite different. Although, a more appropriate description would be ‘normal’. I worked hard during high school to make sure I got the best grades possible. I planned to study at University and so wanted to increase my chances of getting into the best courses.

I ended up doing reasonably well, and in 2007 began to study both Mining Engineering and Finance. 6 years later I graduated with both degrees and went off to work for one of the major global mining companies as a Mining Engineer. By society’s standards, I was doing great!

People were pretty shocked when I quit my job after only 11 months. My work colleagues and bosses certainly weren't all that impressed. But I had learnt something very important very fast: I would never be happy living a ‘normal’ life - that is, having a career, getting married, having kids, etc. I could already see how the next 5-10 years looked. What is more boring than that? Life is for living, not existing.

Clearly with the ‘digital nomad’ movement, I am not alone with these ideas.

The most important realization I have had was the importance of lifestyle. I used to think that I had to find a great job so that I could eventually have the financial freedom to travel. This is completely flawed. Instead, I now realize that the number one priority is lifestyle. A career should be chosen which compliments and allows for the dream lifestyle to occur.

In my case this meant earning my income online so that I was free to travel continuously. So, I taught myself SEO and Internet Marketing while I traveled. In 2016 I joined Zero Grid.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: Singapore :: Nick Hasche Interview: On Being a Digital Nomad and On Being a part of Zero Grid

What is it like working in a start-up company such as Zero Grid? The Good, The Bad, The Funny

Nick: I am very fortunate to work for Zero Grid. When I came across the company, what really struck me was how aligned the brand and my own beliefs were. We are a travel accessories brand that believes in pushing the limits and questioning the status quo.

The two Founders are long term, passionate travelers, and decided to start the company to scratch their own itch. They noticed that a lot of the travel accessories available were not designed thoughtfully for the serious traveler. The durability was generally quite low, and many of the designs were lacking. As a result, all of Zero Grid’s travel gear is incredibly durable and designed in a smart way to cater for those travelers who spend months at a time on the road.

Working for Zero Grid is fun not only because it aligns with my personal passion, but because we all work remotely, it allows me to pursue my travel aspirations. Last year I traveled to Australia, Thailand, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and France all while working a ‘normal 9-5’. This year I will be in Thailand again, travel through Europe in the summer, possibly go to Morocco and Iran, and go back to Asia towards the end of the year. Next year I plan to visit Canada, the US, Central America and South America.

Despite this level of travel, I am able to maintain a high level of work output. Being a travel company, it is encouraged to go explore the world. By using Slack and Trello, our team is able to communicate effectively, despite the fact that we are usually distributed across various countries around the world.

The only negative about this kind of distributed work force, is that we don’t experience the same social interaction. I spend my work time alone with my laptop. This can at times be a bit of a bummer. But on the other hand, my overall social life is great. Having the freedom to travel allows me to visit my friends around the world. I also travel with my girlfriend, so I always have her company.

Tell us your typical day at work.

Nick: My typical day varies. It really depends on where I am in the world and if my priority at the time is work or experiencing wherever I am. Generally though my days looks like this:

530 am - Wake up and start to work. Yes, I get up that early. I am a morning person and prefer to get as much work done as possible in the morning.

6am - 12pm - Work for Zero Grid

12-1pm - Lunch break

1-5pm - Work for my own business.

5 - 930pm - Free time, then bed.

I do about 50 hours of work per week split across Zero Grid and my own business. Weekends are mostly free for exploring wherever I am and enjoying myself.

bowdywanders.com Singapore Travel Blog Philippines Photo :: Singapore :: Nick Hasche Interview: On Being a Digital Nomad and On Being a part of Zero Grid

Apart from your day job, do you have other passion projects you are currently involved in?

Nick: Working for Zero Grid is my ‘day job’. I do around 30 hours a week, but this is flexible. The rest of the time is spent on my own business, which is building websites and monetizing the traffic via the Amazon Associates Program. In other words, Affiliate Marketing.

This is very successful for me and in fact currently generates over 80% of my total income. I am able to grow this business despite spending less time on it by systemizing activities, and outsourcing very effectively.

In the future I will transition most of my income into passive income and focus my time on humanitarian issues. As cheesy as it sounds, my main goal in life is to make a difference in the world and make some kind of long-term, measurable positive impact.

Any advice for people who would like to work in a start-up company?

Nick: The best way to find work with a Start Up is to provide value. This means you really need to have various skills to offer. The best way to develop these skills is to take action and try and build something yourself. Even if whatever you do fails, you will be exposed to all kinds of things that will be helpful for a Start Up. This is especially true with any online business. If you have ever tried to set up a business online, whether it be blogging, e-commerce, drop shipping, affiliate marketing or something else, you will have been exposed to many various skills and processes which will be useful to a Start Up. Most importantly, you’ll have the right attitude.

The other important aspect is to continuously educate yourself. Even if you don’t actually know that much about a particular industry, if you read about it every day, even for just 10 minutes, you will very quickly develop a sound general knowledge about it. The best way to do this is to use Feedly or something similar, and aggregate content around the relevant industries.

Lastly, sign up to Upwork and create a profile for yourself. Put some effort into a good profile, and there is a good chance that you will in time be invited to interview for various jobs. 

Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 60 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the edges of after-office hours and (un)limited holidays.

For collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.

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