Digital Marketing Career on the Road Interview
Bryan Shelmon is a digital marketer who travels to different locations to serve clients all over the world. He spends time at the location researching the target market and works on specific campaigns this way while exploring the region.
What is your name and where are you originally from?
My name is Bryan Shelmon and I’m originally from Detroit, MI.
Where do you currently live?
Depending on my current project, I usually spend a couple weeks to a month in a location. Most recently I’ve been living in Lima, Peru for a month.
What is your current / past jobs that you have done that allowed you to travel? Where are these located?
My expertise is in global branding and marketing. I work with clients around the world helping with various branding campaigns, digital marketing, and consulting. Being location independent allows me to conduct market research in various locations to assist with business development. Recently, I have been traveling throughout Latin America, learning Spanish along the way to be able to grow my business network and international relationships.
Why did you choose these locations? Did you needed a visa to stay?
I actually didn’t really understand Visas too much before traveling and never applied for Visas before being in a country. Visiting Southeast Asia was the biggest need for a Visa for long term stay but I was flexible enough to move around to stay within the allowable tourist visa restrictions which was received upon entering the country.
I usually choose destinations based on opportunities. It’s a huge advantage to collaborate with companies that require someone to be in a specific location such as for market research or to outsource products. Even after I complete the project, I continue to maintain these strong relationships and continue to work with them after leaving the city.
Why did you choose this nomad lifestyle? Was there a turning point that led to the decision?
I have always been constantly travelling, thanks to my company Anthem Culture. This initially began as going on music tours or promotional campaigns for our merchandise collection around the United States. Then, I started seeing the benefit of being location independent and the opportunities we may not be able to access directly through the internet. Although the internet has been very instrumental in organizing future projects, some tasks are still better accomplished in person. Having a nomadic global lifestyle has helped me grow my network for current and future projects.
What experience do you need to do your job? How did you get started?
A significant part of my early work came in the form of small freelance gigs including content development, travel writing, and graphic design. I relied on these skills heavily to get a taste of actually earning money on my own as I developed a portfolio to be able to transition into more engaging projects that people seek me out specifically to complete. I met a lot of people that start out and continue to build on these skills. In order to have long term success, after learning a skill, you need to figure out ways to set yourself apart in the global workspace.
Best and Worst Aspects
What is your favourite thing about the job?
My favorite part about the job is the personal development that I go through. Digital nomadism is a growing trend and there are a lot of companies that allow working remotely. Whether you’re employed or working with a range of clients on your own, it still requires a large form of self discipline to be able to accomplish what’s necessary for a job. It’s definitely exciting to always be in new, sometimes exotic location but you start to realize that if you plan to maintain the lifestyle, there’s an element of work that you have to account for. This discipline sticks with you throughout your life and helps you accomplish anything you set your mind to.
What is the least favourable thing about the job?
I am a big fan of having a global lifestyle but one part that’s overlooked is your personal relationships. As a digital nomad, you start to see life literally become digital from online messaging to video chats. Since most of my success is from moving from one place to another, I’ve never stayed in a certain location long enough to establish a community or a strong network in person. Therefore, I need to maintain my relationships with people using online or mobile means.
The cool part about my job is that I now get invited to events constantly around the world! My experience is definitely acquired but fits well with my “on-the-go” personality so it’s a personal preference of what suits you best.
What does a typical day in your job looks like? A sample schedule?
I’ve been involved with several projects while in Lima including networking, and other creative projects. The past few weeks has been waking up and going through emails/follow ups. Then I’d work on music for a couple hours for a project I’ve been completing here. After that, I’d spend time exploring the city, networking with various shop owners, and getting a sense of the city and culture for research purposes. I also attend several events throughout the week ranging from art exhibitions, film festivals, fashion shows, and dance showcases. In a way, my lifestyle is not set and there is a lot of variety every day.
What is your advice for someone who wants to do something similar?
My advice is to get a big scope of what you want to do, either over the next couple months or even years. From there, decide how travel and/or being location independent can compliment that vision. There’s so many opportunities once you step into the global arena so having personal goals is a big help to make the entire experience more enjoyable.
Bryan Shelmon, founder of Anthem Culture, is a global branding expert helping to develop brands around the world in various industries including music, fashion, hospitality, and B2B. You can also find him online on Facebook and Twitter.
The Jobs on the Road is an original series that focuses on how real people make money on the road while traveling. This series is meant to inspire and to show you how real people can maintain the best of both worlds: traveling and building a career. If you are interested in participating or to learn more about the project, please view here.