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When I arrived in Bali about three years ago, I had never heard of digital nomad, passive income or online business.

I had been working for 15 years in dance and theater, I owned a dance company, choreographed and developed educational dance programs.

Doing What you love

Many people tell me they don’t do what they love, that they hate their job and don’t see another opportunity. I, instead, had always been doing what I loved. From theater, school to dance academy, to making dance theater performances and teaching in the Netherlands and abroad. I loved it all. Until the long hours, the irregular schedule, the dependency on subsidies and the stress that that created became too much.

That’s when I went to Asia for a holiday. After doing a Tai Chi Chuan course in Malaysia, I went to Bali. Ones I was there I realized how tired I was. I slept, took massages, ate good food and slept again. For a month. In my little guesthouse in Bali.

Digital nomad paradise

Having landed in ‘digital nomad paradise,’ I met all those people, with different backgrounds, with interesting stories who had ‘online businesses.’ The first couple I met, told me they were living in Hawaï for five years and relocated to Bali for a while to ‘save some money.’ I had never thought of being in a tropical paradise to ‘save some money’. I had to know how they did it. So I asked them all about their lives, and they told me about their flourishing online businesses, which made it possible for them to live anywhere on the globe.

It was in that month that something in me started to shift. I read a book called ‘Money Love’ by Kate Northrup, and she talked about ‘not wanting to trade hours for dollars’ and ‘intellectual property’ and ‘passive income.’ I was intrigued.

I realized that the business models of my two companies weren’t that smart… I wasn’t building anything that would make money without me being there. My dance company was even dependent on subsidies. And because I loved my work so much I would always work more then I would get paid for. It occurred to me that this could be the reason why I was so tired.

I remember Kate’s words: ‘I want to make something once and then get paid for it over and over…’. And it made me think. What of all the different things I had learned through the years, could I offer online, and turn into programs that would serve people, without me having to put the energy in every single time. So that I could start to build something that would nourish me, and allow me to keep developing my skills and share my gifts with the world?

BSchool and Course Builders Laboratory

Not long after that, I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s program BSchool and a year later in Course Builders Laboratory from Dany Iny. Both amazing programs that completely changed my ideas about how I wanted to shape my future.
(see a full article on these programs here)

Seeing opportunities

Meanwhile, I got a teaching job offered at a beautiful yoga studio in Bali, where I started to teach dance and yoga. And every minute of my free time I dedicated to studying and reading. I just felt I could translate all that I had learned in the years before into online programs where I would be able to help more people. I also felt that the way I was working (long days, low rates, dependent on subsidies) wasn’t something I’d like to continue into the future. Last but not least, I realized that I loved the freedom that I was living in that moment. I decided to build a business that would make me a ‘location independent online entrepreneur.’

Can yóu start an online business?

After two years of traveling and indeed living from my laptop (also called ‘money making thingie’) I am back in the Netherlands for a while. And I love how colleagues from different arts disciplines are reaching out to me. They share their stories that sound so similar to mine. I feel that, once we get over the myth that an artist is a looser when she teaches in addition to making art or performing, there are just so many opportunities for exactly the creative people.

What artists can bring to the world

So many people haven’t followed their hearts in the first place, they haven’t danced their way to a diploma, or made those paintings they always wanted to make. Yes, they had good jobs and secure payments. But they may have lost themselves along the way. And that is where us artists, dancers, creatives come in.

While I write this, I do realize it might sound generalizing. But it is based on my experience, of what people tell me when they come to a dance class. It is based on what I read. And it is based on what I know meeting people all over the world.

What we artists, dancers, creatives learn in our academies, in our work, is expressing who we are, teaching from the heart, and always being creative. And I think we highly underestimate the value of that in our working lives. I even see it as an obligation to pass on the skills I learned through having the privilege to study eight years of theater and dance. And I think developing online programs is an excellent way to do so.

If you are interested yourself in starting an online business, then please do check out Course Builders Laboratory and BSchool. Either program opens up only once a year. Danny Iny’s CBL Closes its doors on the 12 of February, and Marie Forleo’s BSchool will open up towards the end of February.

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