Santa Teresa Beach

Q&A with Brandon O’Malley, Founder of EPM Collaborative

I’ve met Brandon and his wife, Laurie, in March of 2020 at the coworking space I own in Puerto Viejo, Puerto&Co. Super friendly digital nomads. It’s been great having them around!

Brandon O'Malley

Q: How long have you been a digital nomad?

A: 1 year

Q: Why did you decide to adopt the lifestyle? Was there one event that made you change drastically or what is a more gradual transition?

A: I had been in and out of the corporate world working on different start-ups. One had recently come to a head and the typical process would be to head back to a corporate job and work start-ups on the side until funding and timing were in the “right” place. Laurie (wife) and I had been wanting to be in a warmer climate for the winters and we both have not traveled much and were interested in traveling. So we decided to cut the cord and go for it.  We had some equity in our house and with the experience and network I had built over the years, I felt the time was now to make a big move and get to experience new things at once. 

Q: How do you make a living online? What are your income streams?

A: We have been in constant iteration of services that we offer. One in particular is lead generation and B2B sales consulting which Laurie and I manage for several clients. I have created a strong network of talented freelancers/partners in different services such as SEO, design, and development and have launched which is an online marketing agency.

On top of this we have a couple other recurring revenue projects that we have been working on with developer partners and partners in the hospitality industry. These projects are taking longer but eventually, the goal is to cover at least our base living expenses with passive income businesses by the end of 2021

Q: How do you manage your work schedule? Do you plan your week ahead or do you have more of an schedule? 

A: We try to have all of our weekly recurring client calls on Monday and Tuesday. During these meetings tasks are generated and scheduled throughout the week. This leaves Wed, Thursday and Friday open to complete tasks, grow our own business and enjoy our time wherever we are. We have been setting annual and quarterly goals and then our weekly schedule is driven by them. 

Q: What are the tools and/or apps you can’t live without?

A: Right now: Google Drive, Whatsapp, Hubspot, LinkedIn, Trello

Q: So far, what have your favorite places been? And why?

A: We spent all of last year in Costa Rica because of Covid. Our favorite places in Costa Rica are Santa Teresa, and Puerto Viejo. We spent a lot of time in San Jose specifically Barrio Escalante and San Pedro neighborhoods and love being there. Heading to Mexico this year 🙂 Then hopefully Israel and into Europe next (Covid permitting).

Q: What advice would you like to give to someone wanting to become a digital nomad?

A: Don’t wait, just do it.  If you have the means to do so and a plan to start then take the plunge. And by means, I would say 3-6 months expenses. Think about the worst thing that can happen (don’t make any money or not enough money), come to grips with that happening then do it and do your best not to let it happen.  If it happens, then you can just go get a “real” job. If you wait, you may never do it – What is scarier? 

Q: Any struggles you have encountered with the lifestyle?

A: I find that creating and maintaining routines can be difficult. We try to stay places for at least 1 month and sometimes when we move to a new location for whatever reason our good habits we created in our previous environment go away. On a positive note, I think it is also easier to start new habits when switching locations/environments. 

Q: What are your plans for the future given the current situation?

A: Mexico is open for business as of right now (knock on wood). There are some really cool cities and towns throughout the country we would like to visit, starting with San Cristobal de las Casas. Our plan is to spend time in Mexico 2-4 months and or come back to Costa Rica to visit our friends and see how the situation is playing out in June/July. If things are getting back to normal we will venture into Israel and then Europe.

Q: Anything we missed that you would like to share with our readers?

A: We tend to look for places on AirBnB if it is the first time visiting a new location. We typically search for month-long stays and try to find places with large discounts for monthly stays.  Sometimes you can get a place for 1 month at 50-60% off the nightly rate. Once getting feet on the ground if we want to stay, you can typically find better deals by paying cash but since you are there, you can see the places and meet the owners/landlords.  

Q: Where can people follow you or get in touch with you?

Instagram: @eatplantsman

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