Ep. 244 Life as a digital nomad with Sara Jaoude

Sara Jaoude

In this week’s episode, Anna speaks to Sara Jaoude in the latest in her interview series.

SSara-headshotara Jaoude is a half-Asian, half-Portuguese, lawyer turned digital nomad and travel vlogger. She is Head of Operations at Jaoude Studios Ltd and LinkFree and travels (and works) with her husband Eddie.

You can connect with Sara on her website, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The Outsiders Business Academy – A self-paced course for you to work through in your own time, to learn – and implement – the foundations of building a profitable business that lets you escape the 9 to 5. onestepoutside.com/course

Digital Nomad

Anna Lundberg  

Hello, everybody and welcome back to another interview I’m here with the lovely Sara Jaoude and we actually know each other via a mutual friend, but I have been my interest has been perked as it were because I have been following you, Sara on LinkedIn and seeing all the things you’re writing about your current work and lifestyle. So that’s why I thought it’d be amazing to bring you on. And we were just talking about how great it is to see women, once they have a certain age. I don’t think we’re old enough to say that, but certainly, you know, women in their early 20s, and not just bro marketers who are able to perhaps travel and be entrepreneurial, so So without further ado, I’d love for you to introduce yourself and tell us what were you doing previously, perhaps in your career and lifestyle? And then the last few years, what have you been doing differently? Yeah,

 

Sara Jaoude  

so my name is Sara Jaoude. I am a lawyer by trade. So previously, I was a partner in our law firm of 400 people, I was heading up a team and in real estate, and I had a very sort of corporate job going into the office every day, you know, the suits and the types and the office lighting and, and all that. No working from home, no remote, very traditional pandemic hit. And together with my husband, we kind of, you know, made a reassessment of our lives. People say don’t make big decisions in a, during a pandemic, but we thought, well, let’s make a big decision, let’s become digital nomads, I stopped being a lawyer in firm doing real estate. And I joined my husband’s business, which is in the tech field, and I knew now deal with the operations in the business development side.

 

Anna Lundberg  

I love that that really is a very corporate background, I guess law is one of those most traditional pieces. So I guess one of the things I talked about in the name of this podcast is reimagining success. So if you look at that career, being a lawyer, it feels very much traditional success. Never thought about the types before being uniform, and earning a good salary and respected in society and blah, blah, blah, all these things. So I wonder, I guess, when you chose that path, was that what you were thinking about in terms of professional success? Was that something that you you focused on as coming out of university? Yes,

 

Sara Jaoude  

absolutely. You know, the idea of being a lawyer, and that very corporate side of things was something that I was dreamed of since school, it seemed like the natural progression, it was, as you say, one of those accepted professions, particularly, you know, from my background, I think my parents, particularly my father was very much you know, it’s law, medicine, engineering, architecture may be you know, so went down that path, and then it’s that whole, well, you have to keep going, you have to keep going up the career ladder. So you maybe start at a small firm, which is what I did, and then you progress to bigger and bigger, firm. And then when you get there, then you become an associate, then a senior associate, then you become an equity partner. And it does still feel like by the time you make it partner in a law firms, especially the legal sector, that’s it. If you like the firm that you’re in, then you stay there until you retire. Or maybe you moved to another firm, but you’re still a partner, it’s, you know, it’s very unusual to have that whole Well, I’m not going to be a partner anymore. And actually, I think that was the biggest shock, because it’s like, well, you’ve reached it, what

 

Sara Jaoude  

do you mean, you’re leaving to do something completely different?

 

Anna Lundberg  

That’s so interesting. So you already got to that moment of the pinnacle of success in a way on that career path? And I’m intrigued because, of course, we’ve heard so much around the great resignation and the shift and, and so on caused by the pandemic, do you do you relate to that? Do you feel that you’re part of that big movement?

 

Sara Jaoude  

I do. In a way, I didn’t think I was that aware of the movement as I was quitting. You know, certainlyDigital-nomad partners have a very big notice period. So I had to make that decision almost a year before it actually materialized. So I think I was actually very much thinking about my life moving forward and how I didn’t want to be chained to my desk anymore. That was a big thing. I you know, for someone that now works remotely, I didn’t particularly enjoy working from home, I felt very chained to my desk and very light, you know, in these four walls, but I also knew that I didn’t want to go back to an office to you know, the tights and the suits and the office lighting. So it did feel like Ah, okay, and it was only after I left actually that I began to hear stories of other people but also meeting digital nomads that had done the same thing. So it did feel a bit alien and weird to be doing it and a little bit lonely because I didn’t actually know other people that were either done it, or were doing it. So I didn’t actually have those role models, if that makes sense.

 

Anna Lundberg  

And were you clear? Then you knew what you’re leaving behind? Were you clear on? Yes, I’m going to be working with my husband, and this is what I’m going to be doing? Did you have a very clear vision for the next stage of your career?

 

Sara Jaoude  

Yes, I think I was very clear what I was leaving behind. And I’m very glad that I did it when I did it in the sense that I’m glad I went for partnership, I got it. I did it for three years. So I feel that I had an understanding of what I was leaving. And a lot of people say, Well, if you regret it, you can come back. But I felt that I knew exactly that there were I wasn’t going to have any more surprises in that side. I was very lucky in terms of finishing on a Thursday and not having to jump into a job on the Friday. And very lucky in the sense that actually I had a few months to we got organized, we decided to try the traveling side of digital nomads by starting off in Europe. So I could actually just do that at my own pace. Kind of dabbling into helping Eddie out with the business side, but not feeling like it was very formal. And then kind of exploring, just letting it sit, which I think is very important. letting it sit and going actually, what do I want to do? Do I want to become a yoga teacher? Do I want to, you know, write do I want to, you know, do something completely different. So it was nice to have that time to let it settle?

 

Anna Lundberg  

Oh, yeah, absolutely. That time to experiment and be curious. And so and I suppose you had that year as well, given that you had such a long kind of notice period. And that’s, you know, a luxury to have a bit of, of that path before you suddenly get thrown into Oh, my goodness, I’ve got to do something. If success before was the partner track and so on, and you achieved that, and you were there. What is success for you now?

 

Sara Jaoude  

Hmm. It’s, it’s funny, because, you know, I come from a background where it’s, you know, being half Asian, the idea of success is very much you know, the company car and the title, what your business card says, et cetera, and how it is presented, how you are presented to the world. The Portuguese side, I think the Mediterranean is more about, you know, the happiness, you know, and just living your life and having a quality of life. For me, I think the immediate thing that I would say is, sounds a little bit basic, but it was actually not having tension headaches, number one. And number two, not having the Sunday scaries. Whilst I had wonderful colleagues that I still keep in touch with today, and you know, their friends, it got to Sunday, and I’d be like, I really don’t want to do this tomorrow. And it would get to Friday, and I’d get so excited. Because it’s the weekend and you’re almost wishing the week away. It’s I no longer do that. So for me, happiness is not having that tension, headache, and also being in control of my time. That is a major part of, you know, for me, the day to day successes, I can craft my day. And I’m not stressed, I’m not anxious. And I don’t begrudge working in the evening or weekend. It’s a completely different outlook.

 

Anna Lundberg  

I love that I was just teaching a workshop on stress and resilience a couple of hours ago, and we talked about how autonomy is such an important piece. And I think if you feel like people just dumping work on you, you’re kind of just pushing, pushing, pushing you to have the control tied in with, as you say, the Sunday scaries and that, you know, my Facebook posts that I get my memories from, like 15 years ago, always, oh, there’s Monday again, it’s so awful. And then TGIF. On the Friday, it’s sort of, and I love my job. So even within that environment, it’s so socially acceptable, that you’re stressed about starting on Monday, he count the hours until the weekend and so on. So it’s just it’s bit of an emperor’s new clothes kind of thing. Like what are we all doing? We’re looking around and thinking that that’s normal behavior that we don’t like our work and obviously manifested for you and tension headaches for me, I get migraines as well. So it’s a physical representation of something that’s not quite right.

 

Sara Jaoude  

And I think that in so many sectors, the idea of success is also linked to whether you manage people and how many people do you manage? And whether you do that well or not. I don’t think it should be a measure of success and actually, you might do that very well but might not enjoy it. You know, I certainly thought when I started having it females like I have arrived. I have a tea via manager that. Actually, this isn’t for me, but a lot of people, unfortunately, I don’t think, feel that they can say, you know, managing a team of 225 200. It’s not for them because it is equated with success, I do think that some people may not be able to feel they can progress if they say the management side is for me,

 

Anna Lundberg  

and some people are just very skilled technicians. And it’s almost frowned upon, as you said to progress. And most companies, you do have to then manage teams, and unfortunately, you get away from the very thing that perhaps you enjoy and are good at as well. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, that same thing applies with startups and entrepreneurs, because I think there’s this idea that bigger is better. Well, I’m the founder, we’ve all got these fancy names on our business cards, and it’s only you. But actually, the ambition has to be to grow, to grow, to grow to scale up. And hopefully, there’s a bit of a movement, there’s a book called company of one. And there’s this idea of war being the kind of solopreneur or, or leaner version. And that can also be success, because otherwise we’re bringing with us those same definitions, as you say, you just have to grow at any expense. It’s all sort of revenue, top line growth, and not really thinking Hang on a second. Am I getting the lifestyle benefits? Am I doing the work that really gets me excited to jump out of bed in the morning on the Monday? Yeah. And so that sounds very sensible and very smooth. And you you’re working very well with your husband? I’m sure. So have there been any setbacks or difficulties are sort of wobbles that you’ve had? Oh, my goodness, am I making the right decision? And what have been the challenges over the last couple of years for you?

 

Sara Jaoude  

I think I’m a very risk averse person. So I think, you know, that’s one of the reasons I I went into law I need, you know, Plan A, B, C, down to ge. And actually, you know, it was that was my biggest wobble,sara-jaoud-digital-nomad- just as I was about to finish was, what if it doesn’t work. And actually, my, my biggest fear was thinking, if this doesn’t work, that I’ve got to go back into law, because that is the skill that I have. And I knew that’s not something I wanted. So, to overcome that wobble, we very much sat down, and we devised plan, a, you know, through the whole alphabet, all these different scenarios, none of which Touchwood have materialized, but it gave me that that safety net that we knew, you know, obviously, life always throws you those curveballs, but it was just having that it’s quite a bit of a safety net quite a bit of an armor, which then kind of allows you to move forward and be like, okay, yeah, this is gonna work. So I love

 

Anna Lundberg  

that. And I’m sure that resonates with people who are still quite nervous about making the jump. And I think people think, oh, my gosh, I have to take the leap. And I have to be, you know, take all these risks, and so on. And that’s part of the journey. And actually, it’s great to hear that if you want to, you can have a plan, ABCD and so on, no one’s forcing you to, you know, put your family livelihood at risk, or to take any, you know, anything that makes you feel, of course, there’s always a bit of discomfort, but you don’t have to, in any way, sort of put everything in jeopardy and throw caution to the wind and take a leap, right, there’s a more cautious way of approaching things.

 

Sara Jaoude  

Exactly. And I do think that, you know, that comes with changing careers and changing lifestyles completely, at a more mature stage in your life, when you’ve got a bit of a bit of life experience. And you know, you will stop yourself before you’re completely destitute. And, you know, eating 99 P Rahman, like on the floor of a flat with no furniture so you know, your you know, that you will stop yourself before it comes to that, which was like, you know, for me, it’s I leap from what we have to that scenario very quickly. Unfortunately, my husband brings me to react reality and, you know, it’s not like that.

 

Anna Lundberg  

But it sounds like so you’ve got your husband, obviously, you’ve got each other which which can be challenging and imagined working together. But you’ve also got each other as that lifeline support. What other support Have you had? Have you been part of communities? Have you you know, found mentors and coaches, how have you kind of created that support system around you? Yes. So

 

Sara Jaoude  

it’s, it’s some it’s interesting, because I think my greatest support is my husband still, you know, and we work together and everything and we’re doing this together. For the first time neither of us had the experience of that digital nomad life. There are communities out there, there’s, you know, quite a few on LinkedIn, of professionals who have changed careers, which is always very, you know, it’s very good to see because their stories mirror yours. You know, and you do have to rely on your friends as well and from your previous life, for that support, they might not quite understand, you know, exactly the dilemmas that you face. They might feel that you’re sitting by the pool. all day. But you need to rely on that continuous network of support, as well, as you know, our families who come from very traditional backgrounds, but have been very much like, Okay, this is interesting. Tell me, how do I tell people what you do? And then they get on board and they support you. So yeah, and

 

Anna Lundberg  

I imagine, you know, it’s often well intentioned people around you who your parents, for natural reasons are concerned. So I think when they see that you have that plan, BCD, etc. And they know you and they trust you. And then yeah, that’s really lovely to hear that they’re sort of curious and, and ready to come along the journey. I’m curious, I suppose. One easy way to take the leap is to package up your skills from a corporate and become a consultant, or what freed on that kind of thing? It sounds like you want to leave the law behind. But did you consider it less of a dramatic transition? I guess, did you consider or is there a way I can kind of just work fewer hours or, or the law somehow?

 

Sara Jaoude  

Yes, I mean, I think that that is possible for many industries, I felt so much for mine, that wouldn’t be possible, the real estate side. You know, I did think, you know, for that part of that plan, gee, you know, that is possible to do that. But it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Because quite frankly, I felt like that chapter, that particular stage of my life and practicing real estate law I didn’t want to do because I took I derive no pleasure from it. Also, I don’t think it’s particularly remote friendly. But what I knew, and this is, again, with time with the months advancing, is that I wanted to build something together with my husband. So rather than it being I’ll get into tech, it was just actually, there is this business, already, there is the potential to scale it up, I find it interesting. It could do with my skills, I’m still drafting and reviewing retainer agreements, it is a different side of the law, but still applying that kind of business logic and the strategy and the legal side. So I thought, well, I can still do the little bits that I like, in a different field. And it’s a fresh breath of fresh air really differently.

 

Anna Lundberg  

So you’re not turning it back entirely on your skill set, but you’re doing it in a much more enjoyable way for you and more flexible, remote friendly, and so on.

 

Sara Jaoude  

Absolutely. And it’s been great to actually feel like I have put into practice those skills that I acquired as an equity partner into a much, much, much smaller business, but applying it and seeing how we can grow it, but as you say, in that sustainable way, where we can still have that lifestyle, because neither of us made this jump to stay stuck in a, you know, office at home and work 24 hours a day. So I think, you know, it’s it’s about the lifestyle for us, not necessarily the work itself. If that makes sense.

 

Anna Lundberg  

That’s interesting. Do you relate to and I’d like to ask this question, the idea of a lifestyle business?

 

Sara Jaoude  

And do you mean, can you elaborate sorry,

 

Anna Lundberg  

I didn’t want to put words in your mouth. Because I think when I hear lifestyle business, I feel it’s it kind of captures the kind of business that I aspire to, and that others like you because it’s around, you want to live the lifestyle of, say a digital nomad, or alongside children or, you know, being able to pursue your hobbies, and so on. But you also to me, wanting to be fulfilled and do important work can make a difference. I think sometimes it’s used in a sort of slightly condescending way compared to a proper start up your business where again, you’ve got the VC investment, and you’re growing, and you’ve got the you know, so so I’m just always curious as to how people feel about that term. Does that feel appealing to you? Does that feel like it captures the kind of thing you’re doing?

 

Sara Jaoude  

It is it is a, I think it’s a balance, because I think it is very easy to get completely sucked into that, you know, the VC funding, etc, which is actually the funding side is something that we are dealing with at the moment until it’s very appealing. But we know that at the end of the day, we still want to be able to spend six months in Thailand, we want to have that time autonomy. So it is finding that that balance is for you to year as to whether we’ve achieved that or not, but that is that is the goal. Yeah, no, I

 

Anna Lundberg  

think that’s the nuance, isn’t it? And that’s why I struggled to find a word to describe it. Because it’s not just the freedom it’s not an It doesn’t sound like you’re like that either. We’re not just there wanting to kind of get a passive income sitting on the beach, but it’s also not growth at any cost. It’s it’s much more complex. For a lot of us. We want the freedom but we also want the security. You know, there are a lot of things that we’re juggling at the same time.

 

Sara Jaoude  

Absolutely. Yes. And you know, just to give you an example we are attending this conference in Croatia in September and we are super excited to go and you know, launch our product at thesara-jaoud-digital-nomad conference, explain to people what it’s about, get people super excited. But then when it ends, we’re also very excited to get into our rental car and go and discover Dubrovnik and split some time and, you know, just see a different culture in a different country. So it’s just trying to mash that all together. 365 days a year.

 

Anna Lundberg  

Yeah. Oh, I love that match. Sounds great. I think a lot about integration. So can you tell us a little bit more about the business? So what is the business that you have with your husband?

 

Sara Jaoude  

Yes. So I would say it’s in kind of three parts. So Eddie founded the Eddie hub community, it’s an inclusive, open source tech community, it’s for those people, you know, either starting out in tech, or seasoned professionals, so that they have, they feel that they have a space, safe space and a voice and can get more knowledge, share their knowledge, chat to like minded people. Alongside that there is you know, the YouTube channel, which is more of a learning exercise, hopefully, for that community. I would say that the income generating side is we provide developer relations as a service to, you know, could range to small startups to bigger companies, in terms of content creation, or public speaking. And then the third side was actually just a project, Eddie decided to do one Friday evening on a YouTube live stream, which is an alternative, an open source alternative to link tree, which you may be familiar with. So you know, a page where you can have, you know, all of your links in one place. So from there that developed into what is now quite a solid product and a business for us, which we’ve received some funding for. And the niche, I would say is that it appeals for people in tech who really want to share their journey, whether it is because they have excellent skills, and they want to teach people show their skills, they might be starting out at university, they might be graduates looking for their first job. And this allows them the tech control to create their profile, and then show off their content. So and participate. It’s very much about community. Because we, you know, Eddie, and I can sit here and think about a product and how it’s going to tick every box. But even together, we’re never going to figure out what a whole user base would want. So it’s very much what does the community want? What are they looking for, you know, dark mode was a major feature, and then our community really wanted for the app. And then together, they built it. So you know, it’s using that community support to move the product forward.

 

Anna Lundberg  

And as if the two of you or do you also have team freelancers? What does that look like?

 

Sara Jaoude  

And so it is the two of us from the developer relations side, plus a amazing video edge editor that we’ve got as well. And then we have for the community and for helping the products move forward, we have an amazing community of over 5000 people from everywhere in the world, it’s it’s been great to be part of something so collaborative, which I feel I didn’t have in my previous career, just due to the nature of law, it is still going to be a bit combative, even though you might get on with the other lawyer just fine. And on a Friday night, you might go out for dinner during the week, you’re you know, very much fighting. You know, for each other’s clients best interests. This is very much very organic, very collaborative. It’s been fantastic to witness that. And it’s been great to know, people who some of which had different careers and are now in tech and to build that support in that community.

 

Anna Lundberg  

Now I’m curious, one of my pillars as well as building a personal brand. So I’m curious at two levels, what and one, I guess Eddie had his business before and how and I’ve seen him being prominent, he has a YouTube and so on. So how has he built his presence and credibility in the space? And then also, because I’ve been seeing your LinkedIn, I’m curious how your, you know, thought leadership and presence fits into that. So the two sides, I would

 

Sara Jaoude  

say that you actually I was gonna say, I would say, but I know Edie would say this, too. I don’t feel that I very much kind of intentionally spend a lot of time on it. In terms of crafting, that that personal brand persona, I think maybe that’s my misconception that you have to craft something to, you know, to have a personal brand, but I’m very much sort of sharing, I’m sharing what’s happening in my journey and my thoughts, but still at the same time recognizing that I’m a complete ambivert you know, part of me is very Trouble, just, you know, being a bit of an introvert and the other part of me is very happy to, you know, be started a YouTube channel sharing our travel vlogs very happy to put myself out there. So it’s finding that balance. And in that personal brand, I think previously, you know, with the legal corporate side, you do have to be a certain way. I particularly felt I did have to be a certain way, not pressure from, you know, colleagues or seniors or anything like that. It was just the expectation that I should be a certain way because I am a lawyer. And now I just feel well, I’m just going to, you know, share what’s happening.

 

Anna Lundberg  

And then what about well, I want to first pick up actually, I suppose, yes, curating crafting, I suppose there’s an internet intentionality can bring if you have a specific objective in mind. But I think documenting it as you’re doing is really low pressure way of sharing content. And it’s the way I think people engage, right? It’s not just about now creating stuff, and there’s just so much content around I think people like to see the behind the scenes of what’s happening. And then they’re curious about your lifestyle, and especially your community, I imagine, they kind of feel like they know you personally, I think that’s really nice. And I think a lot of us struggle with that, how much do we share and we’re a bit more introverted, and so on. It’s about sort of finding that balance that feels comfortable, but also allows us to connect with people that perhaps you wouldn’t otherwise engage with. Absolutely, I

 

Sara Jaoude  

think it’s very much that, you know, my temptation, you know, maybe a week into this lifestyle was to be like, Please, everybody, quit your jobs do this, you know. So happy with it. So happy we did this, you know, people would say any regrets? And I just laugh and you know, two years in, I’m still doing the same going, Nope. Do you miss it? Not at all. Very happy to, you know, meet my lawyer friends for a coffee. But that’s it, I don’t really ever want to think about, you know, that side. So it was very much wanting to shout that from the rooftops, but then the introverted me is like, Ooh, no, you know, I always worry that comes across, I know how privileged we are. And I know how lucky we are. And I know how hard we worked to be able to get to that point where we could do this. But I, you know, there’s always that concern that that could come across as a bit braggy, which, you know, there’s still a lot of challenges. But I don’t want to come across as either. So I think that’s my biggest challenge with the personal brand side, you know, developing something that’s going too far that is feeling to braggy? Or, or actually she’s very lucky to be in Asia, by the pool, doing work. So, yeah.

 

Anna Lundberg  

Hopefully, no, it’s so tough. And it is so privileged. And I think so tough. And I think I think all of us and I see it with new clients as well, again, and again, get so enthusiastic, and that maybe they’ve gone through coaching, and now they want to be a coach, and they want to tell everyone how amazing it is. And we’re so, so full of excitement and passion. And, and, you know, we kind of bubble up and want to share it, but at the same time, yes, it’s, it’s not, I don’t think anyone wants to or can hear it in that way. Anyway, it’s like a parent telling you, and a grown up telling you as a child, you know, watch out for this stuff, you need to make those mistakes yourself. And I think you just don’t absorb it. So I think it’s really inspiring, hopefully, for people to hear these stories. But also understand that it’s really hard, you’ve worked really hard. It’s not always plain sailing. And there are many people who have found it too difficult, perhaps chosen to go back to work and so on. So I think the hopefully the range of stories, the balance of sharing the good and the bad, and in no way trying to push anyone into something, right, you’re just sharing I think as they say, it’s not bragging if you’ve done it as if your doctor if you’re sharing your experience, and you’re so you’re so authentic and lovely that please don’t worry about that. So hopefully, you can continue showing up as you are. And then what about Edie more from the business side? I suppose? Is that part of your strategy to position him? Is that a big piece of your business? And he’s sort of the face of the brand? Yes,

 

Sara Jaoude  

you know, we joke in sort of client meetings especially in the you know, that introductory kind of video call with the client, we very much joke that you know, he’s a talent and I’m the muscle and logistics, you know, which is which is, you know, it kind of breaks the ice but it is true, you know, I am I have no interest in coding. I love the business side of it. I love you know, the business development, the strategizing, etc. And the organizing, etc. But I’m never gonna get to his level. It would take me a very, very long time and I don’t think I actually have the aptitude for it. So that is exactly how we’ve positioned ourselves. You know, he is the expert in his field and I’m very much trying to back it up. up with as best as I can, the skills that I have.

 

Anna Lundberg  

I love that. And I guess coming nearer to the end of my framework is around work life integration. And one of the things I’m curious about is your dynamic because co founders, by definition have often been tricky. I’ve heard many horror stories when you were friends, and it hasn’t worked out or you met a stranger, and it has worked out. And you know, there’s been a mix of experiences. And I think I’ve always been a bit sort of independent and wanting to do my own thing. And that’s part of the appeal. Obviously, there’s a particular dynamic with you doing it with your husband. So how have you found that sort of? Do you have ways of setting boundaries that you don’t talk about work on date night or whatever? Or do you? Have you had any? Do you have any tips? I guess, for other couples who are setting up business together? How has that kind of family side of it worked for you?

 

Sara Jaoude  

I think that, you know, Eddie will say that he’s been trying to get me to work with him for, you know, years, over a decade. And I was very resistant, not only because I felt I had to achieve a certain level of my career, and then I’d be like, okay, but also, my parents work in the same field. And I was like, I don’t want that. I do not want breakfast, lunch, dinner car conversation to be about the office politics and constantly talking, you know, about work. And I, you know, is there anything else that really put me off? So, no one was more reluctant than me. And I thought, okay, you know, we’re gonna have to have a list, there’s gonna have to be boundaries, as you said, no talk of work at date night. I think, you know, fast forward two years. I probably the one that brings up stuff during dinner, and he’ll be like, no, no, no, no, we’re not talking about work. Now, let’s, let’s not talk about work, which is a very different outcome than I thought. And in terms of working together, we have incredibly different styles, I think, you know, and he certainly finds certain aspects of my work persona quite with, with other people. A little bit scary. Which makes me laugh, because I’m really not, but I appreciate I can come across that way. So yeah, he’s like, Please don’t make people cry. But we have very different styles. So I didn’t think Oh, is that going to work well together, but I actually think that the different perspectives are very complementary. From from that side, we have very different roles, you know, I will not be giving any ideas on the coding side, and he leaves it to me on the legal agreement retainer side, and together, we do the business development. And to be honest, I think that any couple who has been married for a certain length of time, the things that they have had to negotiate from, who’s going to put the bins out to where we going on holiday. And, you know, whose family are we going to spend Christmas with to many, many other challenges that I think people face in their marriage is going to prep them very well for working together. That’s, that’s my view. So I kind of have to eat my hat about my parents, you know, working together, and you know, talking a lot about a lot about work. So it doesn’t with him, it doesn’t feel like I’m talking about work, if that makes sense.

 

Anna Lundberg  

Yeah, no, that is interesting, I suppose when you Yeah, when you really enjoy it. And you’re you shared the values around the business and so on. But also when you have very separate roles in domains, I think that sounds like it’s really important, as you said, yes. If you’ve navigated the very many difficult complications of marriage and so on, then it sounds like you’re quite well equipped then to maybe deal with some of those hurdles along the way. It sounds like you are the muscle the scary muscle and I can’t imagine this at all. But I’m sure the lawyer hat comes on and, and you go in their heart.

 

Sara Jaoude  

But I think you’ve mentioned it perfectly there when you said it’s the sharing the common values, it’s having that common goal to growing that business and you know, the direction that you want it to go in that really is so vital, I think for for a good working relationship. And I suppose

 

Anna Lundberg  

What’s really amazing about that is that you’re sharing your vision with each other, you’re building that both for your personal life for you to together and for for work, because when I talk about work life integration, we so rarely think of it that way. It’s often that one person, let’s be honest, historically, the woman has has sacrificed her career for the husband or it could be the other way around. It could be more complex these days. But the idea that you can actually craft the business and then you know, oh, we want to spend six months in Thailand, we want to traverse Croatia, you do that together. And those are the conversations that are a bit harder, perhaps when you have two very different careers in different industries and companies. But I think it makes it all the more important to have this conversation that you’re building your common vision for the family and for your work as well. And thank you

 

Sara Jaoude  

absolutely. Ileana, I think that, you know, it’s it is one of those things that we very much sat down and we decided we don’t want to be two ships passing in the night anymore. You know, we might feel that we’ve reached those certain levels in our career. But, you know, it’s, we’re not spending that that quality time. And that’s for us what it was about.

 

Anna Lundberg  

And to make it all very mundane, I suppose. What does your day to day look like? And there’s big picture, you know, you don’t like the cold winters in Europe, you head off to, you know, the beautiful islands of Thailand and so on. But what about your week? Do you work a certain number of days? Are you quite flexible? What is the practicality of it?

 

Sara Jaoude  

I’m going to say two very contradictory things, which one is flexibility is key. And the other, I would say that it is extremely important for digital nomads to have a routine. That’s incredibly, I think those things might feel like polar opposites. What I would say in terms of flexibility is key is that in my previous working life, I’d be like, right, the minute I shut that computer, I don’t even want to spend one more brain cell thinking about work. And the very idea of coming home, working out making dinner, having dinner and then still having to open my laptop felt like a real chore and actual mental drain no matter what the task at hand was. Now, in terms of flexibility, we have opened our laptops, it’s odd places, you know, it’s just, I got recently kicked out from a Starbucks in Japan, because I overstayed my Starbucks, I thought I got two hours, I’m just gonna get some work in so that when you love what you do, and you enjoy what you do, and you know, that the rest of your day is very rewarding, you don’t care that you’re balancing your laptop, on that suitcase, you know, in the departures lounge, just trying to get that last email, it doesn’t feel taxing like it did do out of our stuff. So flexibility, absolutely very important. You know, my mum will say, so what are you doing this weekend? And I’m like, well, we don’t really have weekends. So to answer your question, it’s very much crafted. Our week, I would say it’s very much crafted around what meetings we have, what client commitments we have. But I would say this easier when we’re not in the UK, to also prioritize. Depending on how long we are in a place, either once or twice a week, we are doing something where we are immersing ourselves in the culture that is a non negotiable might be a Monday morning, might be a Sunday, but it’s worked into, that’s where I say the routine will come in. So I’m you know, I try I don’t know, if you’ve come across Andrew Huberman, the Stanford professor in terms of, you know, his morning routines for productivity, I haven’t quite mastered the 6am Wake up, but you know, just trying to have a productive morning so that then the afternoon can either be more work or actually just quality time and it doesn’t feel so much like work when you’re, you know, in an island in time?

 

Anna Lundberg  

Well, no, I can imagine that’s the case. I can see the difference between people here in the rainy UK having to open up their laptops again, after the kids have gone to bed or whatever versus doing also for yourself for your own business. Because you have together decided this is a business goal for us. And this is what we want to grow. So I think that’s a massive shift, isn’t it?

 

Sara Jaoude  

It is it is and it’s also respecting that you both you work together. But you both may have very different approaches to your day, Eddie is super morning person. By the time I’ve gone up is on loads of hours. You know, he’s done lots of coding got lots done. But you know what, he needs his little nap in the afternoon which is what I recover live. So it’s just it’s and it’s also respecting that actually, one day I’m you know, one of the days I’m off to the spa for the day, and the next day might go motor crossing, you know, so it’s just respecting how we’re working together. But respecting that individuality, very important thing that’s

 

Anna Lundberg  

so important anyway, I mean, they were the pandemic, we’ve all been kind of together but not quite together. So having like quality time, both apart and then also having a plan together. And I love that you’re immersing yourself in the culture because of course the danger is that we’ll just kind of yeah, go to Starbucks in different countries and you’re not actually getting to know where you’re going which of course is missing the whole point. Exactly. Yeah. I love I haven’t heard of 100 Andrew human so I’ll look that up because I’m a total productivity geek, but I’ve lost a little bit control of my days thanks to the little kids in the hall. But the morning is that time when you feel even if you’re not a morning person that you have full control of the day, right so if you do I had a day a few weeks Go when there’s one thing I wanted to do, and I kept thinking, oh, I’ll just do this other thing, I’ll just do this other thing. And before, you know the whole day is gone. And that one thing that was important is gone. So I think that’s great. And the flexible structure. I’m such a believer in that, as you said, there’s an element of routine and structure to give you the stability and to allow you to have the very freedom that you’re hoping for, because I’ve gone through phases, when I don’t want an alarm clock, I’m just going to see where the energy takes me. And then it’s very unlikely that I’m going to actually achieve anything because I’m a little bit.

 

Sara Jaoude  

Yes, and I think that’s that like misconception about digital nomads, you know, they’ll wake up, they’ll go to the beach, they’ll serve for a little bit, maybe open their laptop for 10 minutes, do a little bit of, you know, and then it’s, it’s their day is done. Yeah, it would be great if it was that way. But, you know, got a business to run. So yeah.

 

Anna Lundberg  

And likewise, I might not be in Thailand. I’ve just been for a dip in the sea and had a sauna this morning. And then I started my day. So you know that integration works. Even in the rainy UK as well, I’ll say there are different ways of

 

Sara Jaoude  

achieving that. It’s having that time or

 

Anna Lundberg  

making those choices as well as Yeah, yeah, amazing. Well, sir, I’d love chatting to you and hearing so much more of what’s happening behind the scenes. Where can we find you and Edie online?

 

Sara Jaoude  

Yes. So I would say actually, the best way to find us online is through our link free platform. So I can very happy to, you know, share the details. That’s that’s our platform. And then that’s got all of our content on there. So

 

Anna Lundberg  

thank you. Well, congratulations on the transition of working so together, so well together with your husband and living what I’m sure a lot of people will hear as a very aspirational lifestyle, it sounds, it’s always sounded very appealing to ya do different seasons of different places. And it, it feels, it feels so far removed from the way a lot of us are living. And I think it’s always really inspiring to hear sort of the practicalities of what that could look like. And then to see you know, if there are elements of that you can bring in already now and maybe aspire to doing something similar in the future. So thank you so much ready

 

Sara Jaoude  

to do a lot of planning. That’s just Yeah, that’s the big key.

 

Anna Lundberg  

A lot of planning to get the intentionality again, right. Rather than just being reactive to what’s happening. You’re actually saying, Look, if this is what we want to do, then that means that I mean, you have to be earning the income to support that. You have to be booking flights. You have to be arranging meetings and all these things, right. So imagine there’s a lot to a lot of the admin as well. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. Thank you so much their love to you and Eddie, and much for sharing your story.

 

Sara Jaoude  

Thank you

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