How to Travel While Building a Podcast Management Agency with Anne Claessen

How to Travel While Building a Podcast Management Agency with Anne Claessen by Expat Empire
Anne Claessen

How to Travel While Building a Podcast Management Agency – In this episode of the Expat Empire Podcast, we will be hearing from Anne Claessen. Anne had always thought she would become a lawyer, but after finishing her schooling, she realized it wasn’t the path that she wanted to follow. She traveled full-time for two years while trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her career and eventually discovered the world of podcast management. She started as a freelancer and then moved to the agency model with her business The Podcast Babes.

When the pandemic hit, Anne moved back to the Netherlands and then to Germany to be with her partner. She used this time without much travel to prepare her business to scale and run itself while she plans her return to a more nomadic life.

Anne has had a lot of adventures and experienced the ups and downs of being a digital nomad and remote entrepreneur, so be sure to listen to the whole episode to hear all of her insights!

LEARN in this episode:

✔ How to leave the professional expectations that you or your family have for you and carve your own path as a location-independent entrepreneur

✔ Why you might want to change from working as a freelancer to building an agency

✔ How to manage your business while traveling without feeling like you are missing out

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How to Travel While Building a Podcast Management Agency – Intro

Welcome to the Expat Empire Podcast, the podcast where you can hear from expats around the world and learn how you can join them.

Hey guys, before we get to the interview, I want to remind you that we’re offering free 30-min consulting calls to anyone interested in moving abroad. 

Whether you’re thinking about retiring somewhere warm, starting an international career, or becoming a digital nomad, we’re ready to help you think through the next steps in your journey. 

Send us a message at to schedule your call today!

With that said, let’s start the conversation.


David McNeill [0:00:46]: Hi Anne. Thanks so much for joining us today on the Expat Empire Podcast.

Anne Claessen [0:00:50]: Hi David. Thank you for having me.

David McNeill [0:00:52]: Yeah, it’s good to connect on our show. I know I was on yours relatively recently and really enjoyed speaking with you there, but you have such an interesting background and history and travel all over the world in entrepreneurial pursuits. I definitely am excited to dig into it in our show as well.

Anne Claessen [0:01:07]: Yeah. Yeah. I’m super excited to reconnect. Like you said, you already came on Digital Nomad Stories and shared your story. So yeah, I’m happy to be here now.

David McNeill [0:01:17]: Awesome. Well, I think a good place for us to start is if you could tell us a bit about your background, where you’re originally from, where around the world you’ve lived so far and whereabouts you’re living right now.

Anne Claessen [0:01:26]: Yeah, so I’m from the Netherlands. I have lived the longest time in Australia for 10 months, but I also lived like here and there in Southeast Asia. Two months in Thailand, three months in Vietnam five months in Bali on and also on and off a little bit. I’ve traveled around quite a bit and at the moment I live in Germany.

David McNeill [0:01:50]: Okay, awesome. Yeah, a lot to dig into there, for sure. Where did your interest in living abroad or going abroad originally come from? I got the sense that you had a bit of a maybe more, I don’t know, corporate or studies-based kind of history from talking before, but I would love just to hear about how that evolved for you and of course why you took this big adventure in the first place.

Anne Claessen [0:02:12]: Yeah. Where it came from is a really good question. I’m not sure, but I always had this interest. I always told myself like one day I want to live abroad. The Netherlands was always a little, a bit too small for me. I don’t really know why. I remember that when I was really small, I had this dream that I was living in a tent on the driveway, so I don’t know where that came from, but I had that dream a few times really around then. Yeah, I think it was just always there, that adventure, nomad life, that interest in that lifestyle. Yeah, I don’t really know.

My family, we didn’t really travel a lot together as a family. We went to Italy a few times, which is like from the Netherlands it’s like one of these places that so many people go to with the family. Then when I was in high school, I made a few trips with friends. I had like my one travel buddy. I still travel a lot with her. Even two years ago at the start of the pandemic, we were actually in Thailand together. So I did a lot of trips with her, a few trips with school. Then when I was in university, I traveled every opportunity I had, I just went backpacking with or without friends. That’s basically how it started.

David McNeill [0:03:37]: Then as far as making this big leap into trying to do it full-time, did you have any thoughts coming out of university as to where you would go or what you sort of needed to do? How did you maybe adjust to other people’s expectations or expectations of yourself in your career as you thought about trying to make this big leap?

Anne Claessen [0:03:57]: That was really difficult because I definitely was very ambitious and I had a really big career goal. I told myself, okay. I learned about digital nomad life and full-time travel through a podcast. I told myself, oh, one day in the far, far future, I want to do this, but not right now of course, because now I want to start my career. That’s what I told myself. My plan was always to become a lawyer. I went to law school and business school. I had my master’s in both. Then at the end of all that I decided that I didn’t want to be a lawyer but I didn’t really have a plan B. I was looking at strategy consultancy which is basically the same table, but then sitting on the other side of the table, which sounded kind of interesting but I couldn’t really see myself doing these jobs. I don’t know. I just felt like it was not really the perfect fit, but I also had no idea what the alternative was because that was just always my goal.

Then I decided to go on a big trip. I wanted to travel after university before starting my career anyways, but my ideal scenario would be that I already had a job lined up so that I could just spend all my money and not have to worry about finding a job when I got back. That was the ideal situation that I had for myself. I decided while looking for a job, I don’t even know what I want to do. You know what? I’m just going to travel and I’ll figure this out later, this is a problem for future Anne. Yeah, that’s what I did. I started backpacking one of my best friends from law school was in Australia at the time she was doing a gap year. She’s still on a gap year and it’s four years later now. That also absolutely escalated.

She asked me, “Why don’t you come to Australia and we can travel around here together. We can do a working holiday.” I said, “Okay, but first I want to go to Southeast Asia to do some backpacking and travel around a bit there”. She was in, so yeah, we met in Cambodia. She came from Australia, I came from the Netherlands and we traveled around and then went to Australia together. That was basically the start of my nomad life, even though it was not really my plan to really build a digital nomad career from there but it was like, in the end, it turned out to be the start of this lifestyle.

David McNeill [0:06:36]: Right. We’ve also talked with other people on the podcast about their adventures as backpackers and doing that over many years and things of that nature. Ultimately you were kind of going down the same path and some of those people will, for example, work in hostels or get this kind of job at whatever local tourist place or things like that. It sounds like maybe your ambitions, as far as your career were in a different way of trying to do something more, I don’t know, maybe more online or more consistent over time, as opposed to just picking up odd jobs here and there. How did you think about that in terms of your options and then ultimately getting to the point where you’re focused on a single project and building your business?

Anne Claessen [0:07:20]: Oh yeah. Let me think back a little bit. I never worked in a hostel; I never really considered it because Southeast Asia was just so affordable to backpack there. It didn’t really make sense to me because I was planning to go to Australia anyway. In Australia, I did have some local jobs. I worked in hospitality for a while and it was actually really difficult for me to find a job, even though I have tons of experience working in hospitality. I was a bartender when I was in university as my part-time job to put myself through university. I just couldn’t find a job there, which was not what I expected. I expected to just arrive there, Hello, here I am, hire me and then that would just like work out. Right. That was not what happened. It took me quite a while and I had to go through all my savings before I finally found a job.

I did that for a while still not really having an idea of what I wanted to do in the long term, but it was just like basically surviving. I didn’t want to go home. That was the only thing I knew by then. Then my last few months in Australia, I was doing farm work. I was on a working holiday. If you do like certain jobs for at least 88 days, you can get another working holiday visa for another year. I just did that. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to stay another year or if I wanted to come back, but I wanted to keep my options open and I needed a job anyways.

So I was like, okay, I’ll just go to a farm and do this work. I worked on a strawberry farm, which was actually quite fun for a while until it was not fun anymore. That gave me the opportunity to really turn inward and just think about what I wanted to do because I was there between strawberries, I was just picking strawberries and there was no one to talk to, nothing else to do. It was just me and strawberries. I was alone with my thoughts a lot. I had all the time in the world to think about what I wanted to do and what my next step would be. I thought about teaching English in Vietnam. I really wanted to go back to Vietnam because I loved backpacking there. I thought, oh, I’ll just teach English but as a non-native English speaker, it’s actually not that easy to get a job there. I decided I didn’t want to risk it because I would have to go through schooling and going there and then not ending up getting a job would actually really suck.

I then found a blog post of someone talking about a virtual assistant course that she took and that, that really got her started working online. I never had the intention to become a virtual assistant for a long time or for my career. But I was like, sounds like this would be a way to start working online and making some basic income fast because it’s not a lot of upfront investment. I can just find a client and start earning money basically. I was like, yeah, let’s just try this and we’ll see how it goes. Right. I’ll just buy myself some more time. I can do this from Southeast Asia, which was really important to me that I could go back to Southeast Asia, and because of the low cost of living there, I also had some time to start this and some runway. I mean, I didn’t have a ton of money saved because I spent all of my savings while looking for a job in Australia. It was still not a huge runway, but a little bit of a runway because of the low cost of living.

In that course, in that virtual assistant course, there was a module about podcast management. When I saw that I was intrigued, I was like, ooh, like I want to know more, I want to learn more about this. I always listen to a lot of podcasts. I was always this girl, this very annoying girl that always said, every second sentence was, oh, I heard a really interesting podcast and they said, blah, blah, blah. I was driving my friends crazy with this. When I saw this module, I was just so intrigued that there was actually so much work going into these podcasts and all these backend tasks that you can help podcasters do. I basically went from there and that’s how I got my business idea and started freelancing.

David McNeill [0:12:09]: That’s great. How did you transition from learning about what goes into building a podcast and maintaining it to actually getting your first clients? Were there any…I mean, did you utilize your network or any other particular platforms or how did you build your reputation in the space to be able to start making money?

Anne Claessen [0:12:27]: That was not easy. I’m aware now that I didn’t really take the best route to do this. Don’t try this at home. This is definitely not the most efficient way to do this, but I used Facebook groups to get my first clients. With the course, there was a Facebook group that you could be a part of and they had some job postings there. I applied to a ton of job postings, like so many. Now that I’m on the other side of the application process and that I’m the person hiring. I now also realize that my applications were not very good.

What I was struggling with is I don’t have experience. I know I can do it but I don’t have experience. I can tell people I can do it, but then why would they believe me? If you’re looking for your first few clients now, I would advise you to really show your personality because that is how I hire people now based on personality and not necessarily on experience, especially if you don’t have experience yet. Tell me about you, tell me how you learn or what you want to learn, what your goals in life are, what your values are.

I think that is so important and I definitely did not do that. It took me a good, maybe two months before I got my first client. I remember that I got two clients around the same time and then nothing for a while, and then two clients at the same time again, but it was really that freelancer feast or famine thing that everyone talks about. That was definitely me. After a while, I also realized that I am not the perfect freelancer. Freelancing is not necessarily for me. I think it’s not necessarily what I’m good at. From there, I also changed the business model, but maybe you want to go into that later.

David McNeill [0:14:35]: No, actually I think, I think that’s a great place to go to. I mean, of course, we can track back on some things, but it’d be interesting to hear about how it developed for you because I think maybe that’s the type of realization a lot of people have is that they’re trying something, they’re making it work, but it might not be the perfect fit for them and have to reevaluate. What was your experience with doing that?

Anne Claessen [0:14:56]: Well, my experience was, yeah, not great. I had some very difficult clients, to be honest. I also had some great clients who were very easy to work with, especially one. My very first client, I worked with her for, I think almost a year. It was really easy. She knew exactly what she wanted me to do. I knew how to do it. There was never anything going on. We barely had any meetings because we just both knew what to expect and what to do and that was it. Then I also had some not-so-great clients who expected a lot, didn’t want to pay a fair rate. That was very interesting. I learned a lot from that experience but yeah, it was not sustainable for sure. I had clients who wanted me to be online all the time, a ton of meetings, and I was barely making a living from working for them.

I was just working so much, even though I was in a really cool place. I couldn’t really enjoy it. That was also not really how I imagined a digital nomad life. I knew that something had to change. I had to find different clients, but I also wanted to do different work because I love helping podcasters. I love some parts of podcast management. I love editing podcasts. That is really my thing. I also think I’m pretty good at it. I enjoy just listening to the content and going through that. I love that so much, especially when it’s a cool podcast and all my current clients have cool podcasts, so I could do that all day. Other things like creating graphics, writing, show notes, uploading the episodes; it was kind of boring to me. I know that other people…I have a person on my team now who does all the show notes. She’s my copywriter and she’s awesome at it and she loves it. That was just not how I felt about this at all. I just thought if some people love this, then they should do it, and then I can do what I want to do.

Slowly but surely I realized that an agency model actually makes a lot of sense for my business. What I have now is there is someone who does show notes for all clients who is amazing at it. Someone else does all social media things, which is also just the thing that like lights me up. I now also have an editor because it’s just becoming too much. The cool thing is that the business is way more stable now also because if one client decides to stop working with us, which happens, then that’s okay because there’s still a few other clients left, but I worked with a few clients and what happened to me at the start of the pandemic is that my biggest client actually said, one day to the other, I want to stop working with you. I cannot pay you anymore and she breached the contract so she was actually supposed to pay me and she didn’t.

Then what do you do? I mean, technically you can go to court, but that is a lot of energy and money going into that. That was just not great. I realized that was also just not a sustainable way of doing business for me, because I just couldn’t… I had a lot of stress like, oh my God, what if a client cancels on our agreement or if a client fires me. This agency model works a lot better for me. I can do a lot more of the tasks that I really want to do. I have way more time to actually connect with clients and help them. Then my team can take care of all the backend tasks that they really enjoy and that they’re really good at.

David McNeill [0:19:06]: Yeah, I think it’s great to hear that evolution of your story. You can see those pain points in your experience, whether that was not as good customers, clients, contract breach or the type of lifestyle that you really wanted to have as a digital nomad that led you to moving toward an agency model. I think it makes a lot of sense and it’s really good for our listeners to hear that as well. 

I’m curious though, given that you love really editing podcasts and you have so many other responsibilities, right? I mean, of course, you had those as well, even when you were on your own. Given that you also are hiring an editor do you find that you still get to do all the things that you really love to do with your time? I know for me as an entrepreneur as well, there are some things that, as you said, sort of, give you that energy or give you that light and that passion to move forward. There are other tasks that are better left to other people that get their passion from them. I’m wondering how you’ve been able to balance that as you’ve taken on the role of an agency owner.

Anne Claessen [0:20:04]: I’m still working on it, to be honest. It’s difficult. I feel like it also changes. I don’t think I will ever reach this point that I’m like, okay, everything is perfect now. Everyone hold your breath and don’t move because this is it. I just don’t really think that I’ll ever reach that point. I also realize, even though I love editing podcasts and I just said I could do it all day. I actually think I couldn’t do it all day because it is a lot of time staring at my computer screen. I love that for a few episodes per week, but not dozens. What I do now is that my editor edits most of the content and then a few things that I want to do, or an episode that I’m super excited about, I can edit those. Or a client that has something special with their episodes that I really enjoy editing, I can edit those, but I can really pick and choose.

I also have my own podcast, Digital Nomad Stories and I do all editing for that podcast. I do everything for that podcast. That is a conscious decision of course, because I want to see this and keep this as my passion project. I just want to do what I can for that and not outsource anything yet. Maybe at some point, this will change, but I really want to keep telling myself this is my hobby. I try to also use that to put all my creativity into that podcast. It is a balancing act. Some weeks it’s great and I have enough time to talk to my team and my clients and also take a break in between. Then some days, as I just shared before we hit record, today I have a day of back-to-back calls. I have four calls back to back. That is actually too much for me personally. I know that I’ll be super tired when I’m done working today. I mean, that’s also part of it. I’m definitely not perfect. I’m definitely still working on it.

David McNeill [0:22:18]: Yeah. That makes sense. I think it is a balancing act and we all have to kind of adjust and it never really ends like you said. I mean, I think that’s part of the evolution. To that end, I was kind of thinking about what you were talking about in your original business, where you didn’t have as much time to enjoy the locations where you were around the world. How did you kind of try to balance those things even in your life, in terms of enjoying the digital nomad life and the promise of it? I think it’s so flashy and attractive on the surface, but when you try to get into actually running a business, building a business, whatever it looks like, whether it’s an agency or you as a freelancer or anything else in between, that can kind of rub up against the promise in a way to make sure that you don’t feel like you’re maybe missing out on too many things, whether that’s work or in life. How did you think about that and maybe how did your thinking and behavior evolve over the months that you were traveling?

Anne Claessen [0:23:16]: I learned a lot about this just from the previous trip or like the start of my business. When I started the business, it was just work, work, work, and I also kind of planned for of that. It was also the most important part of my life at that time, because I did the traveling before that. I was also fine just staying at my computer and just doing a lot of work. Then at some point it got me a little bit burnt out because I was just working so much. Like you said, I didn’t really have time to enjoy the location that I was. Now I have a plan. We actually have an apartment now and we have had his apartment for a few months and we’re preparing to go on a big trip again in October. That is in more than six months. Before I just kept telling myself, okay, next month, we’ll leave on a trip again. Next month, oh, we didn’t make it. Okay, next month, next month but every time there was something.

I realized that I didn’t want to do the trip how we did it last time when I was new in business, because it was really stressful for me. I had a lot of stress from working a lot, but also just financial stress. It was all not looking fantastic. I also had to work a lot which was also not great. All these factors were making me not enjoy the location as much as I wanted. It was not just the time freedom, but also the financial freedom that I was missing. Now this time I want to also take these few months before we leave on another big trip to make sure that my business is stable, that my team knows exactly what they need to do. Then I don’t have to work full days. I also want to take a vacation because that is also something that I know many new entrepreneurs forget. I am definitely one of them. It’s really difficult to step away. For a day that’s okay. I don’t work weekends. That is a boundary that I have had for a while, but really stepping away for a week or two weeks, whew! That is difficult. The show must go on.

Now that I have a team, in theory, that should be possible. Now I also have to actually do it. Two weeks ago I took a week off and my team ran the show and it went really well. I have a few one-week vacations planned in the next few months to also kind of like test the waters so that when we leave in October, I can actually take a vacation and my team can just do what they do best and my clients will still be taken care of and I can just take some time to actually travel again, instead of also worrying about Wi-Fi speeds and Airbnb’s, do they have a table that I can work on. There are all these extra things that come with working at a location.

I’m really excited about that. That is one thing that I’m working on, but also financial stability. I just want to know what comes in every month at least a minimum. That is not what I had before. It was just going up and down so much. That is also not really sustainable. When you’re traveling, when you don’t have a home base, it’s not the most horrible thing because you don’t really have that many fixed expenses. If I had a slow month, I would go live somewhere where rent is really cheap. Then your expenses are also lower, but still, I don’t want to think about that anymore. Not that I’m planning to be super rich and go wherever I want, but just like a base income is also just really important for me so that I don’t have to stress about the financial situations so much. That is basically what I’m working on now, just to make sure that balance is a little bit more towards travel while last time the balance was more towards work.

David McNeill [0:27:37]: Right. Right. I think it’s super important. It’s great to hear your plans and also how you’ve kind of worked through some of those challenges to try to figure out solutions and build a team around you that can make it happen. It’s really exciting to hear that, and I know those struggles firsthand, so congrats on your success and progress so far. I’d actually like to ask a bit about, of course, as you’ve said, you have an apartment. It sounds like you have a more, let’s say “stable situation”, as opposed to always moving from country to country. I would love to hear just how that developed for you, why you did that? I mean, I suppose it may have something to do with the background of the pandemic, I don’t know. Also, of course, why in Germany then, and whereabouts in Germany that you ended up?

Anne Claessen [0:28:24]: Yes, the pandemic definitely had something to do with it, but I don’t know if I can just say that the pandemic was a reason. I traveled full-time for two years, in the first August of the pandemic, I think that’s August 2020, we were in Bali and the visa situation was just getting complicated. Eventually it turned out we could stay, but it was just getting so complicated. I was away from home for two years in a pandemic. I was like, you know what, I’ll just see this as a sign from the universe, we’re going home. I did with the plan like, well, we just wait out the pandemic ha ha. Said that several times, but that obviously never happened. Then we’ll just leave again. Yeah, the pandemic made it difficult and also more expensive to travel because you need to get tests and flights. Will the flights get canceled or not, so that definitely made it more difficult. It was just difficult and a lot of paperwork and extra research that you had to do to make sure that you could actually go to the country where you wanted to get in. Then in the end, everything got canceled anyway. It was just so difficult.

I also was fine spending some more time with my family than originally planned. Then my dad had some health issues. I was actually very happy that I could be there for him to help him. My dad got a new dog, which was kind of like in the same time that he still had some health issues. I was all of a sudden taking care of an eight week old puppy which was super cute. Also again, I’m super happy that I was around for that, because that was also just such a good experience.

We just didn’t really leave again. It’s just like I already said, every time, oh, next month or in a few weeks maybe we can go there. Then also some things in business. It is not all rainbows and unicorns in business. I had a really tough time at the start of 2021. End of 2020 things were not going great in business. I was not making a ton of money. I think I was even making a loss for quite a few months. That also didn’t make it easy to leave. It was actually really nice to have the opportunity to stay at my dad’s place, spend time with family while also building up my business again.

I made some changes. I’ll give you a little bit of the background. I made some changes to my business, which I’m super happy about that I did that, but I don’t know, it probably was not the best timing for it. I got a full re-branding. I got a new business name, new website, new podcast, everything new. Which is awesome. It looks really good. I’m still very happy. We’re more than a year later now and I’m still very happy that I did that, but timing wise, I wouldn’t recommend to do it when you’re not that stable in your revenue yet. It was a little bit of an all or nothing situation and it turned out to be nothing for quite a while.

I also had to take some time to build up the business again and eventually I did. My partner, he was not a digital nomad yet at least. He had to take a job and he decided to go back to his home country, Germany, he’s from Hamburg, and get a local job here. We were doing like semi-long distance. It’s not that long-distance, but it’s a six-hour drive between where his parent are living and my parents. It’s also not that you just visit each other that easily. That was actually quite tough. I didn’t like it. After a while he got a new job, which was a local job where he could also work remotely for some part of the time. It’s more like a hybrid job and I decided to move to Hamburg so that I could spend more time with him and we don’t have to do the long-distance thing anymore. Then we can travel from here.

We now have a home base and we’re planning to do some trips from here. Then in October, we want to sublet the apartment and go for at least six months and see how that goes. It was also a process just like getting an apartment again. I was very against it at first. I was like, no, I do not want to settle down. I do not want to get furniture. I live out of my backpack. That is who I am. I had this identity as a traveler and as someone who doesn’t have a home base. It was quite difficult to let go of that and just go with the flow and see how, how I like it. It turns out it’s actually really nice. I really like having an apartment and having a place to call home and my partner and like several other people really had to tell me, it doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to leave. It’s not a prison. I kind of forgot about that. That it is not a prison. Like I am still allowed leave. I just have to pay rent every month and then I can still do what I want.

It turned out to be really nice and also I think good for my business, because like we talked about before traveling and working, it’s really difficult to find a balance. For me, I think it actually has been really good to not travel for a while. Even though sometimes it felt not good and I wanted to travel so bad, but I’m glad I didn’t because that made me really focus on the business for a while. Then now next step is making my business ready to travel again. Just that time was definitely what I needed without knowing it at the time.

David McNeill [0:34:46]: Yeah. That’s a great story. I appreciate the context that you provided and I can see how your thinking on it has changed over the last months and years. Great to hear about your changes and progress there. I’m curious a bit though. I mean, of course, it’s as you said, maybe a six-hour drive, which certainly isn’t the shortest time, maybe not the longest either between your hometowns, but what I’m curious about is how it’s been for you to adjust to life in Germany. I mean, obviously, this is a unique situation as well, and luckily you have your partner there to be able to kind of show you the ropes if there are any to figure out. How have you found the experience, how would you kind of compare maybe a bit of the Dutch culture with German culture and things like that?

Anne Claessen [0:35:31]: This has been really interesting actually because it is so close and my parents, they also live closer to the German border. I grew up really close to the German border, but it’s different. Especially Hamburg, the border region is I think still very similar, but then Hamburg is like really Germany. I didn’t really expect there to be many changes or differences, but there definitely are. When I came here first I was like, oh, it’s so stupid how they do it here. Why is it so different? I just saw it as the same culture and it took me a few weeks to realize I am in a different country, even though I didn’t travel by plane it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t count. It’s still a different culture, different country. I’m a guest here. I should adapt to their culture and not the other way around, of course.

I mean, I don’t know why that was such a thing for me. When I go to Bali, I expect the culture to be so different. I’m really good, I think, at adapting to someone else’s culture, but here in Germany, it wasn’t that easy for me because I just assumed that it would be the same. There are definitely differences I also kind of like that. It is definitely living abroad, which is what I always wanted for myself. I also try to enjoy that. I really try to enjoy how close I am to my family, distance-wise that I’m close to my family. I try to visit them a lot especially because we’re planning a big trip from October on, so I probably won’t see them for at least six months from then on. For now, I just try to visit and go to the Netherlands a lot, see my friends, and also I have been building a relationship with my in-laws, which is also quite a unique situation that we’re quite close to them. It definitely has been different than living in the Netherlands, for sure.

David McNeill [0:37:41]: Yeah. As you said, I mean, even though there’s a border there, and sometimes it seems like such a, I don’t know, arbitrary thing, like they put a line here and it could have been a few kilometers one way or another. It’s just a line but, and you could drive over it.

Anne Claessen [0:37:55]: But you don’t even see it.

David McNeill [0:37:58]: Yeah. To your point it’s not like there’s anything, you have to worry about crossing over that, especially in the EU, but obviously, on a cultural level, a language level, and everything else, there are so many differences. It’s good to hear that you’re living that abroad life, even if it’s not quite as foreign or unique or different as you had maybe thought about initially. I think that kind of takes us to a good spot as far as our discussion so far. I know that you’ve shared a lot of really great insights and advice and tips, as far as the experiences that you’ve had as a digital nomad and entrepreneur. Do you have any sort of parting words or last thoughts for our listeners as they think about maybe starting their own remote businesses or to try to go abroad as a digital nomad, especially in this new environment?

Anne Claessen [0:38:43]: Yeah, I think for both online business, but also starting a new lifestyle, I think you’ve just got to do it and try it out and you’ll learn along the way for both. You don’t know what you want before you just try it out. You can read about online business for years and years. I’ve been to business school. I have my MBA, but still, I didn’t know anything about starting a business or running my own business. They just teach you how to run someone else’s business. You’ve just got to do it and you’ll figure it out. The same goes with the digital nomad lifestyle. Maybe you think you’ll like to travel fast and once you do it, you realize that you like slow travel way more.

I learned so much from traveling also. Apparently, community is really important to me, but if you would’ve told me that before I started traveling, I would’ve been like, no, I want to go off the beaten path and see things that no one has ever seen before. Especially when you work and travel, it turns out that’s not the easiest way to do things. There is a reason why there are digital nomad communities and why everyone goes to the same places. I think just do it, try it out and change the plan as you go.

David McNeill [0:40:01]: Yeah. Good advice. I think that’s what a lot of folks end up sending the message of is just give it a shot, figure it out as you go and I think that’s a great way for people to get started. Of course, as we talked about, I know you have your own podcast, so it’d be great if you could tell us a bit about that, where people can find you and just keep on track of what you’re up to.

Anne Claessen [0:40:21]: I have two podcasts. The one about digital nomad life is called Digital Nomad Stories. I was actually just working on a new website. The new website is You can find me there. There is also an Instagram account, Digital Nomad Stories Podcast. My business is called The Podcast Babes. I also have a podcast that is called The Podcast Babes and also an Instagram channel. You can also check that out. The website for that is If you are a podcaster and you’re looking for podcast management or podcast monetization advice, then you can go there and check out our content.

David McNeill [0:41:02]: Awesome. I love it. I’ll definitely make sure all those links are in our show notes. Thank you again so much for your time Anne. It’s been a pleasure to speak with you and look forward to seeing where your travels take you in the coming months.

Anne Claessen [0:41:12]: Thank you so much for having me, David. It was so good to be here and to reconnect.


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As the founder of Expat Empire, David McNeill is focused on inspiring people to move abroad and showing them how to do it. David started Expat Empire because he has a genuine passion for living abroad. He left the United States in 2014 and has since lived in Tokyo, Berlin, and Porto.