I’m A Digital Entrepreneur From NYC, Living In The Dominican Republic: Here’s What I’ve Learned
I moved to Cabarete, a small beach town in the Dominican Republic, from bustling New York City as a recent college grad.
Suddenly, I was out of the familiar comfort of my closet-sized Alphabet City apartment and discovering a totally new lifestyle in a town that had just one (!) traffic light.
After graduating from college in the middle of a global pandemic, I basically had two choices:
Start looking for an entry-level job in Corporate America with ~0.05% odds of success.
Go back to school.
Neither of these options really spoke to me.
I knew there was something out there that would allow me to use my writing skills (I was an English major), live a fulfilling life that didn’t involve a cubicle, and have a flexible lifestyle where I could prioritize my wellness.
I started digging deeper and discovered a path that seemed so perfect I was mad at myself for not thinking about it before – becoming a remote digital entrepreneuer!
Working as a Digital Entrepreneur in Copywriting
Using my research and writing skills every day? Check. Working remotely with clients all over the world? Check. Having a lifestyle that aligns with my values? Also check!
Fast-forward to two years later, I now run Deeper than Copy, a copywriting studio for creative entrepreneurs and small businesses. And I get to do it from a place that is everything I’ve ever wanted my home base to be — and more.
Of course, it’s not all tropical fruits and sunshine. I had to learn lessons along the way that forever changed the way I think about life, running a digital business, and all the things in between.
Lesson #1: Western perception of time is skewed
I learned this one the hard way.
After living in NYC for almost five years, I had this subconscious expectation of everything being fast, almost instant.
Ordering a coffee? I have to get it in under a minute. Sending some paperwork to the US? It has to arrive the next business day. Going to a party? I need to get there five minutes early.
If you’ve ever been to the Dominican Republic, you know that some of the most used words here are “tranquilo” (calm, chill) and “mañana,” (tomorrow), so it’s no wonder that things often don’t happen on time…just because!
At first, I’d get super frustrated when a simple task like getting someone to come check out what’s wrong with my WiFi connection would take literal days.
Over time, I’ve learned to embrace it. Now it’s one of my absolute favorite things about living here.
I expect my life to move at a slower pace and it’s been a game changer for my mental and physical health!
I love that people are not just going to choose work over life to get something done fast when it can get done tomorrow and literally nothing bad will happen. The world will still be there.
Or that I don’t have to stress about being an hour late to a social thing because I got caught up in my novel. #IntrovertProblems
People just show up on their own time and have fun.
There is a joy in things taking their time.
My day-to-day is much more intentional now. And the minor inconveniences? I just plan around them!
Lesson #2: Healthy living can be simple
This one may be a little controversial and different people have different experiences, so this is simply my story!
When I was living in NYC, I was practically on a vegan diet and regularly bought substitutes, such as plant-based meats and cheeses.
During my first months in the DR, I spent a ton of time trying to maintain my eating habits, driving to the next town over with a bigger supermarket to stock up on imported foods I was used to.
Over time, I realized that I was doing it backwards.
Instead of buying expensive + imported plant-based alternatives, I started eating local and supporting small businesses over big foreign corporations.
Instead of plant-based burgers, I now buy meat and eggs from a small local farm. Fish from local fishermen. Fruits and veggies from street vendors.
I’m not a nutritionist, but for me this way of eating has proved to be much more natural, simple, and supportive of my health AND local communities!
Lesson #3: You need much less than you think
I’m a true Taurus and love my stuff. Give me all the candles, soft blankets, and cozy loungewear.
But living in the DR these last two years showed me that I actually need fewer things than I thought I did to be happy.
I’m renting an apartment and it’s far from the perfect, neutral aesthetic houses I see on Instagram. But it’s just a couple of minutes away from the beach and has everything I need (even though I do run out of counter space sometimes!).
I started valuing human connections over stuff. Experiences. Memories. Small moments.
I’m pretty minimalist with my possessions now, which has been great both for my mental health and my bank account.
It’s interesting to think how many things that I thought of as absolute must-haves are actually not necessities at all. They just have clever marketing!
My day as a digital entrepreneur in the Dominican Republic
I typically wake up around 6:30-7AM and go for a beach walk with my dog Luna.
Cabarete is famous for its kitesurfing scene and one of the reasons for that are the consistent, year-round wind conditions. Mornings are usually the only time when it’s not windy, so it’s nice to get a walk in before the wind picks up!
After my walk, I refuel with a big breakfast and go through my morning routine. It changes depending on my mood, but it’s usually either reading, journaling, or doing light yoga.
Mornings are the most productive and creative time for my brain, so I jump into client work and focus for a few hours on writing copy or doing brand messaging research.
Then I make a quick lunch, tie up any loose ends with client work, and spend the afternoon on business tasks, marketing, client communication, lead generation, and anything else on my list for that day.
Sometimes I work from a coffee shop in town. In this case, I always stop by a cute Belgian bakery on the way back to pick up a pastry…or a couple!
I usually wrap up work around 5 PM, take my dog for another walk (yup, my life DOES revolve around her), and spend the rest of my evening relaxing or doing something creative.
It’s a slow and simple life. I seriously love it!
Should you become a digital entrepreneur?
Running a digital copywriting studio is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
I get to dig into emotions and human psychology and meet people from all over the world. I’ve had clients from the U.S., Canada, Australia, the Netherlands — you name it!
I also write for a living, something everyone and their mother told me was NOT possible when I decided to get a degree in English.
However, being a global entrepreneur comes with its own set of challenges, such as finding clients, legal business setups, bank accounts, and more. It can certainly be tough, but there are amazing global business solutions out there that make it 100% possible.
The bottom line is: you can figure it all out.
You just have to take the first, imperfect, messy first step.
If you have any questions about starting your own digital business, feel skeptical about the whole thing, or want to chat about living in the Dominican Republic, simply send me a message on Instagram and I’d be super happy to share more about my experience!
Your turn – Would you become a digital entrepreneur in Dominican Republic? Or where would you want to work remotely?