In 2016, Dimag Ozgum had $1,500 left in his bank account, lived with ten other nomadic entrepreneurs, and dreamed of nothing else but to travel the world and help others do the same.
He’s achieved this dream, turning VacationWolf into a six-figure business, has visited 100+ destinations over the last few years, and inspires his ‘beloved tribe’ to not only travel the globe but get paid to do it.
When I met Dimag, I was amazed to see an influencer with so much soul and sense of community. He approaches his content as art, so I was curious to hear more about his story and how our fellow nomadic entrepreneurs can get paid to travel the world and share their journey.
Dimag founded VacationWolf in 2016, as he completed his MBA: travelling through 20+ countries, experiencing new cultures, yet realizing how difficult it was to discover the best local experiences.
He hated the “standard” tourist hotspots, so decided to create an experience marketplace that would inspire and teach others to do what they love, explore as digital nomads, and live like the locals do.
‘’If you do something you love, you don’t work a day in your life,’ Dimag told me.
This sums up VacationWolf’s entire ethos.
Today, VacantionWolf is a top 0.5% Instagram Influencer in the travel community, with more than one million social media followers across their pages. Through their #VacationWolf hashtag, millions of other nomads share their own travels – as well as the VacationWolf team sharing videos, pictures, and features.
Dimag truly is a man on a mission, and despite having an MBA from University of San Francisco and studying in the USA UK, Spain, and Taiwan, he summed his entire outlook on life when he told me, “travel is the best form of education.“
As someone who’s visited 21 countries myself over the last year, and who wishes she could go back and tell her 18-year-old self NOT to go to university… Dimag and I share a lot of the same values.
I’ve learned a lot from him about how to build an engaged community, as well as how to get paid to travel so you can live your life as a successful nomadic entrepreneur.
These are six of the biggest lessons I’ve picked up from him (so far) …
1: Be Authentic, Original, & Love What You Do
Too often, we compare ourselves to others and try replicate their journey, their style, and their outlook.
Do not do this (ever!)
- Be yourself.
- Be Different.
- Be humane.
- Be YOU!
Everyone else is taken, so don’t cling on to who you think you should be…
Document YOUR journey, and keep sharing until you find your own unique voice and style.
And once you think you’ve found it… keep creating more and more content (and lots of it).
The key to this… to creating sharing and being authentic? Love What You Do!
Love what you do and spread it, because this is the only way to attract the right audience.
2: Take Action & Build a Community
The great thing about being yourself is that it’s FUN.
You meet people like you, and who like you for being yourself.
Everyone else… well, who cares.
Not everyone will like you, but those who do will love you. So as you share your journey online, and travel the world, and experience new cultures… Make friends and keep telling your unique story.
Your vibe will attract your tribe, and this vibe will continue to spread.
This is how Dimag built Vacationwolf. He embraced his story and attracted like-minded people, and when they spoke to him… he spoke back!
Move from ‘I’ to ‘We’, because social media is about helping your community.
And, like Dimag did, create your own hashtag to build your tribe.
#VacationWolf is used by so many of my nomadic friends, as they share their travels photos and engage with people just like them.
It’s a community, and it’s one I’ve made many friends through.
3: Strategy & Consistency are Key
The most successful Instagram accounts post often and every single day.
The more you post, the more reach you create, but even if you’re creating 1-2 posts a day, it’s enough.
- Consistency is key.
- Share your story, DAILY!
The massive followings don’t happen overnight, but if you continue to post beautiful content consistently for 1-2 years, you’ll create enormous influence, and build a massive (and loyal) following.
Next to consistency, outline a strategy…
You need to have a content distribution and monetization strategy in place from day one. Don’t wait until you grow an audience before you promote online products and services. It’s never too early to begin…
And don’t get discouraged if it starts small.
Dimag’s first earning was $50.
But in under two years, he started to make $50,000 per week!
All because he had a strategy in place from the offset.
4: Up Your Game
If you want others to take you seriously as a creator, you must first take yourself seriously.
- Invest in yourself (more on this next).
- Invest in your equipment and gear.
Upgrade, up your game, and treat your brand like a pro.
Don’t settle for your phone. Get a DSLR and drone so you can create beautiful content wherever you go.
Edit your content using something like Adobe Cloud, rather than settle for those standard filters.
Pay attention to the details of EVERYTHING you share, and make sure it lives up to your brand’s standards. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from Dimag because he always takes what he does seriously.
All this leads to the next big tip…
5: Invest in Yourself
I learned this lesson the hard way because, in the beginning, I invested all my money, time, and energy into building my business and brand.
This is important, don’t get me wrong.
But what meeting people like Dimag has taught me is to make sure you always invest in YOU.
Dimag told me about when he first moved to Silicon Valley, and how it acted as a tipping point.
He stopped investing only in his business and started to invest in the best books, programs, and mentors he could find.
- He connected with people ahead of him, and who challenged him to be his best self.
- He stopped doing all the work himself and began to build a world-class team.
Like I used to, Dimag focused only on his work. But once he invested in himself, he soon became the 0.5% travel influencer who today advises multi-million-dollar-brands around the world…
(as he continues to travels the globe, and gets paid to do so)
6: Your Health and Well-Being Come First
I always say to my friends, “This is the worst we will ever be. This is the ugliest, poorest and dumbest we’ll ever be.”
It will continue to get better, and right now, when I look in the mirror, I truly believe I’m uglier, unhealthier, and poorer than I’ll ever be.
Because I know it will only get better, so long as you invest in your health, wealth and wellbeing.
I learned this philosophy from hanging out with people like Dimag.
He says to take a break and breathe when you feel like doing so.
Don’t work and hustle and grind just because you trick yourself into thinking you “have to”.
The most important piece of the entrepreneur puzzle is looking after yourself first and surrounding yourself with positive people (especially when you’re a nomadic entrepreneur, always on the move).
Of course, many entrepreneurs ignore this: suffering through burnout, depression, and chaos…
When I asked Dimag about how he looks after himself, he said he regularly:
- Reads (not just business books, but novels and books on philosophy)…
- Takes long walks…
- Listens to music…
- Reads affirmations…
- Does yoga…
- Goes on spiritual retreats…
If you want to live a successful life, you must look after your health and wellbeing.
This last tip may not seem important to build your tribe and gain online influence, but it’s possibly the most important of all…
It’s easy to make money in the short term, but if you want to build something that lasts…
- a business…
- a community…
- a lifestyle…
It begins with investing in YOU, and then it continues by investing in others.
Connecting with people like Dimag taught me all this and more, and he continues to inspire countless other travellers to live the life they dream of – and get paid to do so.
If you want to be part of that journey and share your own, join the VacationWolf community now (you can thank me later).Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.