Why We Chose Workaway Over Paid Gigs

We started our digital nomad journeys with a lack of work experience, a weak portfolio, and a small network. We tried Upwork and Freelancer to no avail. So we reluctantly decided to hold off on searching for paid gigs and pivoted our energy to building experience and a strong portfolio. Our game plan? Work-exchange.

We had a vague idea of Workaway and other work exchange websites like Yoga Trade, Worldpackers, and WWOOF but were unsure if they were legitimate and safe. The sites annual $30-$50 annual feeds made us hesitate at the thought of commitment without results. After considering our options, we decided to bite the bullet, pay the $48 fee, and sign up for Workaway.

The platform has tons of positive reviews from verified bloggers so we were semi confident we could land a legit gig, work, lower our budget, and enhance our portfolio. We noticed that Workaway is chalk full of digital opportunities in South East Asia. We found ads for web development, social media management, and writing in exchange for accommodation, food, and activities. After messaging over 15 different gigs in Southern Thailand all there was to do was wait and hope for a response.

How We Landed the Gig

Continuous determination. Every day we messaged more hosts stubbornly looking for a work exchange.

We read through entire posts to make sure we understood exactly what the host wanter. We wrote brand new unique pitches for each ad in an effort to personally connect with the host in an authentic way. After many failed requests and and unread messages, we finally committed to our first work-exchange. Asalanta Eco-friendly Sustainable Lodging.

Where We Had Our First Workaway Experience – Asalanta

Asalanta is a sustainable, eco-friendly space in a bamboo jungle where people can stay for a few nights in their bamboo huts, enjoy the delicious teas and vegan snacks, and take workshops to teach you how to be more sustainable. Anke and Aoi have been creating Asalanta for nine years, and it is incredible how much they have accomplished.

At first, we were unsure of the commitment we made because the minibus dropped us off on a dirt path in a bamboo forest away from the beautiful beaches. We had an idea of the accommodations and living situation, but we were still unsure of the space and how we would mesh with our hosts. However, after a five minute walk we arrived at Asalanta and were immediately excited for our stay. We fell in love with our host family and the primitive bamboo and clay hut that would be our home for the next week. For some people the outdoor bathroom and open air hut would have been a huge turn off, but both of us love camping and the outdoors and wanted the experience of staying in the jungle.

What We Did For Asalanta

We redesigned Asalanta’s entire website to become more visually appealing and mobile friendly. Their site functioned fine but did not visually draw people into the experiences they offer. Our hosts wanted to bring in more traffic via a modern web design.

We also improved their copy in fluent english and rewrote the pages in SEO copy. With our SEO improvements Asalanta now ranks #3 for “Eco-friendly sustainable lodging on Koh Lanta.

The workload was significant for the amount of time we had to stay there since we also wanted time to explore the island and lounge on the beaches. But we loved Asalanta and the family so much that we worked as hard as we could until the job was completed to boost their online presence and our portfolio. .

In Conclusion:

We are pleased with our choice to join Workaway. The opportunities we receive enhance our skills and build our portfolio to boost our business’ success. The relationships we cultivate with the hosts make the work exchanges even more gratifying, and it is always hard to travel to the next destination.

If you are looking to kick off your digital nomad career, but lack experience, a strong portfolio, or a network then consider joining a platform such as Workaway or exchange your time to make yourself more desirable in your field. Many small businesses around the world don’t have the funds to pay people for services but are willing to exchange accommodation, food, or experiences

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