My Interview on Unmapped w/ Mike Kelly: Living Life on Your Own Terms, Relationships, Full-Time World Travel

This week’s episode is one of my favorite interviews I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest on; Unmapped with Mike Kelly. It’s a super insightful chat about how my life and business have completely changed over the past few years, my mindset as I continue to live life on my own terms, and also some relationship advice for those of you who want to travel full time but are struggling to balance dating, business, and being on the road.

Take a trip down memory lane with me as I chat with Mike Kelly on the Unmapped podcast! We take it back to the beginning and how I moved from corporate, to travel influencer, to business coach (06:20). We also chat relationships while full time travelling (32:30) and how I balance business while being on the road (43:42).

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Audio Transcript

Danielle (5s):
The Wanderlover podcast was created with a mission to enable travel and freedom through entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Danielle Hu business mentor, content creator, and founder of The Wanderlover tune in every week for episodes about travel online business, social media, and mindset that will inspire you to take massive action towards living the life of your dreams. If you’ve been enjoying the Wanderlover podcast, if you’ve been tuning in and finding inspiration and taking away value, it would mean so much to me. If you could take a second to leave us a review on apple podcasts, I continue to record these episodes for you every single week and take all of your comments and feedback to heart.

Danielle (52s):
Thank you guys so so much. Hey guys, this week’s episode is one of my favorite interviews I’ve done in my career so far on Unmapped with Mike Kelly from Sydney, Australia. It’s a super insightful look into how my life and business have completely changed over the past few years. And I also share valuable relationship advice for those of you who wants to travel full time, but are struggling to balance dating business and being on the road. I’ve been there enjoying my loves. And let me know what you think!

Mike (1m 24s):
On this episode of Unmapped we are speaking to Danielle Hu. Danielle has such an amazing story to share coming from corporate finance and particularly working on wall street and moving into a far, far, far more understandable and exciting journey, working in the travel industry as a business coach, as a social media coach, and also collaborating with some of the biggest travel brands in the world. She’s coming on and talking about a wide range of conversations ranging from how things have been with a relationship whilst traveling, how things have been working in starting a business and the things that she did, the processes she undertook to be able to successfully start that business, and then working right into giving you a little bit of a business masterclass as well.

Mike (2m 10s):
It was an absolute delight talking to her. It’s amazing. And so obvious how much positive energy she puts into everyone in her life. So without any further ado, let me give you Danielle Hu on Unmapped welcome. Enjoy!

Danielle (2m 25s):
Danielle, hello! You are the quintessential example of someone who was able to transcend the corporate game and utterly transform their life as an Ivy league grad and turn into wall street finance. Your life is now completely on a separate trajectory from that. You worked with some of the biggest travel brands in the world. You’ve done a lot of travel influencing. You have an impressive following that is a serious, serious resume when it comes to travel transformations.

Mike (2m 51s):
How did like let let’s, let’s just kick straight into that. It must’ve been hard to leave behind that, I guess, of yourself in the Ivy league and the, and this kind of wall street kind of thought process of who you are, and also like a nice salary and things like that takes a lot of balls like that. Must’ve been hard. What was some of the things that I guess were able to make you do that?

Danielle (3m 14s):
For sure. So thank you so much for having me on this show. And I am just really excited to be here. The first thing that I would say is all about mindset and I feel like travel is what enables me to step outside my comfort zone in so many ways. And that carried over and not just to leisure, traveling, but also designing a life I’m wildly obsessed with and through travel. Cause I first studied abroad in Italy. I studied abroad in Hong Kong. I backpacked and volunteered, just seeing so many ways of living around the world. You realize that there is not one set way to live and you can choose your reality.

Danielle (3m 56s):
If your current reality doesn’t make you happy, you have the power to change. That.

Mike (4m 0s):
That is a very, very good way to start the podcast. Why don’t you start by saying, Hey, how you going? Thanks for coming on the show because I think it’s a really exciting way to kick straight off into some meat, but in all seriousness, thank you for coming on the show. We should actually get back. Whereabouts in the world are you right now? Cause you’re clearly not in the same studio. It’s,

Danielle (4m 22s):
I’m actually in my makeshift studio in Hawaii. I just got here last week, but I’m originally from New York.

Mike (4m 30s):
You’re originally from New York. Nice. And so flying back into your, your kind of journey, it’s it is all I can, it is totally all about mindset and being able to choose your life. And I love that you, it sounds like you’ve found that through travel. So you’d been traveling prior to deciding to go out. And so that, that the learnings that you got from your time backpacking and your time on the road was actually what helped you make that decision in the end to say, you know what? I don’t really need this big bougie life in New York.

Danielle (5m 2s):
Exactly. Yeah. And through traveling too, I still resonate with this to this day. Like there are things in your life that, you know, things that, you know, you don’t know and things you don’t know that you don’t know. Right. And through traveling and through expanding my frame of reference in so many ways, every single day, you’re not confined with just what you think is possible in your life right now. So if there’s one inkling that you want to change, if there’s something about your business that you want to change, you can change it.

Mike (5m 34s):
There’s freedom in that. It’s, it’s a very, it’s very much a growth mindset, Danielle (5m 39s):
For sure.

Mike (5m 40s):
So when you, when you decided that you were going to leave, what I can imagine would have been a really intense, but also like great gray kind of lifestyle and role in, in New York. What, what were you feeling? What were there any, were there any parts of that that were difficult for you to make a decision? I could imagine that if I, if I got into that life or I can imagine there would be a whole heap of listeners that would think really loves to kind of live that lot, really cool travel lifestyle, but it’s just, it’s so hard to like unstick yourself from that. Was there any, was there any of that for you? Was it difficult at all? What were some of the things you were feeling when that was going on?

Danielle (6m 19s):
So first while I was like, in my cubicle, I just remember scrolling through Instagram, seeing other influencers stories, reading about, you know, digital nomads in Bali who worked from coworking spaces and just feeling so inspired by their stories. And it got to a point where I was like, well, if they can do it, then I can too. And I remember specifically like sitting in my cubicle and looking at my executives, my managers around me and being like, I don’t want to be in their position in 5, 10, 20 years. And if I were to stay on this path, that’s exactly where I would end up. Danielle (7m 0s):

And so questioning my current reality, that was also a phase. And then learning, you know, investing in myself, investing in like new ways to learn how to drop ship and make money online and influence and social media learning new things made me realize like, oh, this is possible. And I’m just not in the community. And my like, all my friends were in corporate finance or consulting. Like I’m not going to learn those things here. So I need to start executing in other areas. And then once it got to the point where I was like, okay, I can make money online. I know the path that I want to pursue and it’s not corporate. And when I quit my job, it was just like a flood of overwhelm.

Danielle (7m 42s):
I remember like crying the day I quit because I was just like, so happy. It felt like a weight being lifted off my shoulders, but also scared. But underneath it all, always knowing that it’s going to work out.

Mike (7m 55s):
I think that fear is, is really healthy. And it’s a, it’s a good thing to, if you don’t feel that it probably means you not making the right decisions. Like you should be, you should have those like scared butterflies in your stomach when you’re doing something like that. I completely completely relate and

Danielle (8m 12s):
Butterflies. I love that.

Mike (8m 14s):
What did your, when, when you said to a couple of your really close friends, Hey guys, I think, I think I might leave. I think I’m going to, I think I’m going to just go and travel the world and make money doing some crazy other things. I’m just going to get a big Instagram following and, and, and write money, working with big brands. What did they say?

Danielle (8m 33s):
My closest friends, they’re always so supportive. My family. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve done crazy things and they know there’s no talking me out of it. So they can’t do anything except be supportive. However, you know, my manager and people I worked with, they were obviously more skeptical and in a very, it’s not that they had ill intentions. It was just pure lack of knowledge of what is possible out there. Right. So it’s not like they were trying to talk me out of it, but they were just genuinely concerned whether I could make it work or not.

Mike (9m 11s):
Okay. Gotcha. And did you, I’m guessing what helped you develop that self belief is that you were spending time whilst you’re working actually developing the skills and abilities and actually building a business. So to my understanding, you really did build a drop shipping business. Like walk me through that in 60 seconds.

Danielle (9m 29s):
Yep. So I set a date on my passion planner. It’s like the journal I’ve been using for the past four years set a date of when to quit. And I was like, I need to make money online to prove that it is possible before I actually quit my job. So I was doing drop shipping. I was also building my Instagram following. I was learning how to navigate blogging and just trying so many things. I call it like my take action and make mistakes days where I was just trying anything and everything. And I think the turning point was when I had landed my first sale and like made my first sale. It was like this guy in Germany who bought my product.

Danielle (10m 10s):
And I was like, oh my God, this happened while I was not at the computer. And I had built something and essentially created something out of nothing. Right. And that spark of creativity, it’s what feels entrepreneurship. And I think that proved to me that like I had it inside of me around my nine to five, this was a side hustle and I could grow it, like imagine all the possibility if I had all the time on my hands and not just on weekends or lunch breaks.

Mike (10m 40s):
How did that feel? That, that, that moment when you saw that you’d had something that you created actually per like essentially someone saying, you know, what, what you did is valuable and I’m going to buy it like that, that little, like, how did that feel? You know, you know, I’m trying to ask

Danielle (10m 56s):
Yeah. That feeling, it’s like, it’s more exciting than I think anything that has happened in my years of finance or interviewing for jobs, like even, you know, accepting a job, offer getting that first sale or proving your business idea. That’s the best feeling in the world,

Mike (11m 14s):
Olsen, isn’t it it’s really wholesale. It just feels you feel complaint.

Danielle (11m 19s):
You really do.

Mike (11m 21s):
Yeah. And so, and so from, okay, so you’ve, you’ve, you’ve quit your job and you’ve decided the drop shipping thing is for you, obviously your next step is to start traveling. And was it a clear intention that you had to say, I’m going to build a travel brand around myself?

Danielle (11m 40s):
Yeah. So I first started off my Instagram, the Wanderlover as a features, only account. And it was modeled after a beautiful destinations where they repost other people’s amazing travel photos, like three times a day and sell shout outs. This was like four, five years ago. And in 2017, right before I had actually quit my job, I remember asking my followers, do you want to see more landscape photos or would you rather prefer to see like my life and me in the photos? And like 98% of them were like, we want to see more of you and your life.

Danielle (12m 23s):
So what started off as like a features only page where I was telling people like tag your photos with the Wanderlover to get featured on this page. It had turned into more of my travel diary and also what I was going through. And that’s when it rebranded to be about myself.

Mike (12m 38s):
You seem, you seem to me to be a very considered and, and data driven, I guess, business woman is that, am I, am I, am I, am I playing on, am I playing on a pretty accurate representation? It seems like you really like to look at the data and think about what it is your, what it is you’re doing before you kind of like dive straight in. Like you want to, you want to test, you want to iterate and make sure it’s the right thing. Can you just, can you speak to that and how, why you think you’re you’re like that?

Danielle (13m 8s):
Yeah, definitely. I love numbers. Even when I, like, I run my own ads account, I have consultants, but I love looking at the numbers, like tracking everything. I do all of my accounting. I come from a finance background. So it’s just something that, you know, I know numbers speak the truth. And when it comes with like customer engagement or audience engagement, I’m always looking at numbers as well. So I guess it flows from that point, but it’s really funny. You pointed that out. I didn’t realize I’d given that on that so early

Mike (13m 40s):
It’s I guess, I guess my, my background being in business as well, it’s just so important to be, to be data-driven. I think it’s one of the things that people sometimes miss it’s it’s people like to just try things and try things and try things and, and don’t actually look at the results or look at, okay, well, if this metric says this, maybe we can tweak that and it’ll run a little bit better. Like, this is such an important thing. Particularly when you’re running Facebook ads and, and working in a digital nomad kind of sphere, your you’re always running things through social media. There’s so much data and insights to glean, and it’s pretty crazy to not try and glean those insights out.

Danielle (14m 15s):
Yeah, for sure. And most of them are like free, you know, they’re accessible to anyone. So if anyone has a business right now, like you can totally just, you know, create a spreadsheet of all the numbers and track your growth and your progress Mike (14m 27s):
For sure. So where, where do you go to first? Where, where was your first port of call after you left? After you left your job?

Danielle (14m 36s):
Okay. So that also coincided with a breakup with my ex-boyfriends. I was also living in New York city, asked her that it had gotten to a point where I had 15 vacation days in a year. And one of the reasons why I left my job was like, I want to go to Australia. I haven’t been Australia. If I stay in this job, I can only go there for a maximum of two to three weeks. And I wouldn’t be able to take a vacation for the rest of the year. Like what kind of BS is that? So as soon as I quit, I was like, well, now’s my chance. I’m going to Australia. And I was like, why not go to Bali? Because the girls who I saw in USA today, who are featured in that coworking space, being digital nomads, they were in Bali.

Danielle (15m 23s):
I had always wanted to go there. So my first trip was to Bali and Australia.

Mike (15m 28s):
So you came here?

Danielle (15m 30s):
I did, yeah. I started in Queensland, went to like Whitsundays? And then went down to Sydney.

Mike (15m 36s):
Did you spend any time in the beautiful land of Bondai and which are currently reside?

Danielle (15m 40s):
I did. And what’s crazy is I didn’t start surfing until last year. And now I surf every single day. And now thinking back on all the locations where I didn’t serve, it’s just so much not regret, but I’m like, oh, I want to go back just so I can serve.

Mike (15m 58s):
Where’s the coolest place you surfed?

Danielle (16m 1s):
So I just started last year in Bali. I learned there, and then this year we spent most of the year quarantined in Florianopolis and Brazil and Mexico. I personally didn’t serve Mexican, like Porto, Escondido waves. I don’t know if you’re familiar, but it’s like the Mexican pipeline and so barely, but that’s one of the most intense waves I’ve seen where it just like crashes on the sand and it’s like really powerful. Lots of energy.

Mike (16m 31s):
Yeah. I is that, is, is there any surfing on the cards in Hawaii?

Danielle (16m 35s):
Oh yeah. I’ve been going to Waikiki every single day.

Mike (16m 39s):
Very nice. Very nice. I can’t say I’ve, I’ve never been, I’ve never been over to the American continent, so I can’t, I can’t say familiar. Yeah. I’ve never, I’m more of an Asia baby. I just generally like tend to find myself in Southeast Asia over in India or something like that. Just the most on like Australia places I can possibly find. I would, I would love to do south America. So have you spent a little bit of time, like moving through south America? What’s that like, but it’s pretty, pretty crazy.

Danielle (17m 9s):
Yeah. So we spent like eight months in Brazil and only because, you know, it was on lockdown. We couldn’t really go anywhere. We didn’t want to go anywhere. And they had froze tourist visa. So we basically had the freedom to stay for as long as we wanted to until quote unquote, like the pandemic was over, but didn’t really explore much of Brazil. We basically just stayed on that one island for most of it. However, like a few years ago I did volunteer in Peru and I traveled through Columbia, like Northern south America, which I love, I love the continent. I love different countries. There’s so many other ones I want to explore and didn’t get a chance to, but you know, it’s just so diverse.

Danielle (17m 55s):
It’s a huge continent.

Mike (17m 56s):
Yeah. It’s it looks, just looks so beautiful from a natural perspective. Like there’s a couple of things that I definitely want to take off on. No, this interview got nothing to do with me, but I’ll say it anyway, because I want to, I would love to, I’d love to do Patagonia down in, down in Argentina and Chile. Like, it just looks so pristine. Oh my God. Like just give me a tent and some like bowls of rice and I’m just starting, I’ll just walk around there until the rice runs out. And then I would love to go. I’d love to do Peru and particularly like kind of go for AR go for Chemonics experience, go through medicine journey down through, down through the Amazon. Like it just looks absolutely unreal.

Mike (18m 37s):
A few of my friends who have done it have said that it literally entirely changed the direction that their lives were taking. And they’re just so much happier following their kind of experiences with medicinal kind of like pups. Yeah. So I, I don’t, I don’t like, I’d never know how open I can be about talking about that. Like my podcast is a totally a no holds barred podcast on those. Is that something that, is that something you’re interested in as well? Cause we can probably talk about that in the whole.

Danielle (19m 8s):
I’ve definitely looked into like many cars in Peru and Brazil. They had so many different sensors for it. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to try, but never have committed to it.

Mike (19m 19s):
Yeah. And it takes a, takes a serious commitment to, it’s a pretty, it’s a pretty intense experience by all, by all imagination, I’ve done, I’ve done different interviews, psilocybin and, and different kind of different things like that. But I haven’t, I haven’t ever kind of stepped into the damn tail Iowa realm and it just sounds it’s, it sounds amazing though. It’s our bucket list. I think, I think that’s another, that’s another part of, of, of what I guess the Unmapped FLCs is all about. It’s not just about the, I guess trap, like all travels outside, I believe create a journey within. And I think that that kind of like psychedelics in, in, in, in a journey through a spiritual path that also a big part of that. So that’s, this is very much, very much an on-brand topic to be talking about.

Mike (20m 3s):
You’ll have to let me know if you ever get to do it and I’ll do the same. So I just, I’ve got a couple of questions just about travel more, more generally, and then we’ll get back into, I guess, the, the business and the branding side of things. I just, I wanted to ask a couple of things. So you’ve already touched on, you’ve already touched on why in saying that you, you have, like, you just had your mind open so much when you were traveling. And I just wanted to, I just wanted to ask you a lab right on that and why travel? Like if you’re going to leave a corporate lifestyle, there’s a million different types of lifestyles. You can go off the, as a, as a result of doing that, but why travel? Like what about travel really? Kind of what, what captured your heart about it?

Mike (20m 46s):
And can you remember a specific time on a travel where you just thought this is what I want to be doing?

Danielle (20m 52s):
Yeah. My main core value is freedom. I feel like that is just a recurring theme that has shown up in so many different realms of my life. Like even growing up in a relatively strict Chinese household, whenever there were rules or regulations imposed on me, I would just want to rebel and find my own definition of freedom. And so when I went into this corporate lifestyle, after it traveling where you had 24 hours, seven days a week to kind of structure how you wanted to live your day and then being forced to give up so much of your time, that was constraining and limiting.

Danielle (21m 32s):
And I guess like my first taste of freedom was when I studied abroad in Italy. And that’s when I learned, you know, other countries like France, they have so many more vacation days than the U S so that made me question, like, why am I conforming to this? And then my Danish friends would literally be getting paid by the Danish government to travel and have the same experience as me and just, you know, more liberal and socialist countries with all of those benefits. And then when I stayed at hostels, I would meet people who are like, you’re only here for a week. And at that point a week was so much time for me because I had limited vacation days.

Danielle (22m 15s):
And they were like, yeah, I’m, I’m here for like six months. And that made me question, like, how are they able to do that? If I stayed in finance, I would never be able to take six months off. So there was clearly something I was missing and they definitely had more freedom than me. And just over time, like having those things speak to me and then meeting entrepreneurs, meeting digital nomads, finding my community, empowered me to pursue this new path.

Mike (22m 46s):
Yeah. That’s a really, really, really good answer. It’s just, it’s it really opens your mind to what’s to what’s possible and seeing the way other people live is such a critical part of what travel is. Is there, is there a, is there, is there a particular story you could be on a beach in Bali, or I don’t want to put words in your head, is there a particular time or a place in the world or in your journey where you’ve kind of, and this is after you’ve made your decision to, to leave where you’ve, you’ve sat back and thought this is a I’m. So I’m so glad I made this decision. This is literally exactly where I want to be right now. Like paint me a picture of your perfect day.

Danielle (23m 27s):
Oh my God. So this actually happened very recently. So as I said, we just got to Hawaii last week, but I actually had came here for a trip in 2016 while I was still working in finance. And at that time had saved up, I think it was like five or six vacation days so that I could go to Hawaii. And I spent a total of 10 days here, including weekends. And in those 10 days I wanted to exceed both Oahu and Maui. Like two of the islands I’ve been wanting to visit, which Hawaii is far away from New York. So it took maybe like one day travel there and back.

Danielle (24m 9s):
And I spent four days in Oahu and maybe four days in the alley. And I remember having an Excel spreadsheet where I literally mapped out breakfast activities, lunch, activities, dinner, But I was saving so many days just so I could have this experience. And I had such limited time here. I wanted to experience everything. I wanted to try everything and the big foodie. So I wanted to go to all the restaurant, but it was that constraint of time because my time was so, so, so valuable.

Danielle (24m 48s):
And I didn’t know how my life could change in just a few short years. And now my second time back in Hawaii, you know, we’re staying for months. I don’t feel the pressure. It’s a whole new experience and it all happened in less than five years. So this business and this life that I’ve built for myself, where I can help people around the world realize the same dreams that I once had and, you know, being able to work from my laptop and to social media and all my online marketing from my laptop while being able to surf in Waikiki. And it’s just unreal and having it come full circle to right here, like even though I’m in my makeshift studio, it’s surreal.

Mike (25m 36s):
What does it just came to me then when you said that not only what you’re doing allows you to surf in Waikiki whenever you want and stay somewhere for months and not have to worry about vacation days. That sounds insane. I can’t imagine thinking, oh, I built up five days. When am I going to go? Like, I just can’t. I cannot, I can, I can totally imagine being flat broke and not having any money to get anywhere because that’s usually how I live my life, but I can’t imagine what it, particularly when I’m running a travel startup in the middle of the pandemic, which is terrible. But anyway, I, so I can’t imagine that I can only, And so, but what I did get from that as well, is that what you’re doing is it creates purpose in your life. Can you speak to what the concept of like living a purpose driven life means to you?

Danielle (26m 22s):
Yeah, so like I know that I’m not the only one who has once felt confined and not knowing where to look. Right. And for me, the people who inspired me the most were those travel bloggers were the influencers that I saw. And I once felt so stuck and just piecing everything together. It built this life that I have now, and now my purpose is to inspire others and also give them the concrete substance enable travel and Freedom Through online entrepreneurship. It’s still so new. So I truly believe that, like, you can’t learn this from your parents or in university. So it’s this new generation of so many opportunities online and just, you know, learning one new thing every day, finding inspiration.

Danielle (27m 10s):
It really makes such exponential changes in your life. And if you’re not happy with where you are now, you can change it.

Mike (27m 18s):
How do you find inspiration? I think this is such an important question for so many people. For me, personally, inspiration and motivation is everything. I can have a really bad day and I feel totally shit. I can get depressed, mental health law, the whole thing. The one thing that snaps me out of it every time is just, something’s sparking my inspiration. Like something going, oh, you can do that. Or, oh, that looks really cool. Or, wow. That was amazing. I can’t believe that person did that. Just inspiration for me is absolutely everything. So I was wondering like, how do you, where do you look for inspiration when you find that you need it a little bit? How do you find it? How do you muster it out of yourself? Where, where does that inspiration come from for you?

Danielle (27m 58s):
Yeah. So every time in different places, you know, you never know when it’s going to hit you, but if it’s a, if it’s a matter of like self care and regrounding yourself, I will always go for a surf. I actually have a page in my journal with like affirmations and reminders of things that make me happy. So, you know, if you’re ever in one of those moves, when you’re feeling uninspired, you’ll have that page where you’ll look at it and it will just make you smile. And then it’ll have some tips, like go get your nails done, you know, go make your favorite food. And getting back into your zone of genius will enable you to start looking at whatever sparks joy for you.

Danielle (28m 40s):
So nature, you know, activities it’s different for everyone, but really shifting your mindset back. Instead of going down that rabbit hole of being like, Ugh, this sucks. I can’t do anything. Look at all those other people, imposter syndrome there’s equal and opposite reactions and thoughts. So counter it, right.

Mike (29m 1s):
It sounds like, it sounds like you’ve really perfected the ability to one be self-aware with yourself and who you are and how to keep yourself up and then to have the strength and the courage to actually implement the things that you need to implement, to keep yourself kind of up and inspired and motivated and working every day. That’s pretty, that’s pretty impressive.

Danielle (29m 22s):
Thank you. Yeah. And books helped too.

Mike (29m 25s):
Okay. Which books have you got a couple of books that you can recommend?

Danielle (29m 28s):
Oh yes. So the one that if you’re still in a corporate job and you’re looking for inspiration to get out, one of the first books I read was four hour workweek by Tim Ferriss.

Mike (29m 39s):
He’s my favorite.

Danielle (29m 40s):
Yeah, he’s amazing. And that just lit a light bulb. And I was like, huh, Gary Vaynerchuk. I benched on when I was also in corporate, but right now, one of my favorite, like over the years just has come back to me over and over again is thinking, grow rich, those published in 1937. And it’s just incredible how like these concepts withstand time, it was before the internet, before anything that we know today and all of the concepts still hold true.

Mike (30m 13s):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s I I’ve, I really liked the seven habits of highly effective people. And it’s the same sort of thing. I think it was written in the sixties and Dale Carnegie, how to win friends and influence people that’s in the thirties as well. I think there’s some, it’s amazing. They, these, these interpersonal concepts and concepts of personal growth, they, they never go old everything.

Danielle (30m 34s):
Hey guys, chiming in here really quickly. I have a brand new FREE MASTERCLASS available for all of you. How to build a successful online business that allows you to travel the world without getting stuck in paralysis, by analysis or needing a hundred thousand followers in this exclusive 40 minute masterclass, you will learn how to build your online coaching, creative or service-based business. Choose your profitable online business idea that is unique and aligned without getting stuck in paralysis by analysis. Start the money flow in your business without needing a hundred thousand followers and grow your community and audience on autopilot without having to post on social media every day you can register in the episode description, it’s completely free packed with value.

Danielle (31m 23s):
And I will see you inside now back to today’s episode.

Mike (31m 27s):
So we’re going to get onto the business side of things in a couple of minutes. There’s a couple of things that I wanted to chat to you about before. So I’ve just got one more question that I really wanted to ask, just cause it’s a, I came up with this morning and I thought actually my friend came up and I thought that it was a shout out to Jess. Thank you. I thought it was a really good question. Can you ever think of something small that you’ve done while you’ve been traveling or in any other kind of part of your life, which created like a butterfly or a snowball effect or a sequence of events that led to something that you could never have imagined? So for instance, when I was in Nepal, I met a girl through Tinder and she turned out to be one of my closest friends in Nepal. And then because of her, I ended up, like, I ended up just doing these amazing things in MLA is like flying around helicopter with like another one of my good friends, Andrew and I just could never have imagined that attended date could have led to that.

Mike (32m 18s):
Have you ever had something like that happened?

Danielle (32m 20s):
Well, since you brought that up, so rags and I met on Tinder,

Mike (32m 28s):
It’s kind of the way you make when you traveling, right?

Danielle (32m 31s):
Yeah. And it’s, so that was actually something that shifted how I viewed my opinions because so funny story, when I was living in Bali, my Tinder profile actually said like living in Bali, please swipe left. If you’re just visiting because it’s so transient, people are always going on holiday. Didn’t want to meet anyone that wasn’t saying lo and behold rags was on a surf trip and we match and I’m like, oh my God, he’s just visiting. Why are we talking? But we hit it off. We went on trips together. And when he was leaving, I thought I would never see him again. But fast forward two years, he like was working a day job.

Danielle (33m 14s):
He also quit his job. Now we both have our own online businesses. And he like definitely helped me transition through all different phases of the Wanderlover journey. We started like a media production agency together. And just like now we’re here in Hawaii and that started off Tinder.

Mike (33m 33s):
And that all came from not only starting off on Tinder, but him rudely swiping. Right. When you said swipe, Wash, what a terrible human being. I bet. I bet there was a few guys that swipe. Right. And then probably even pretended like they were there for good. I know how men work on there, how men work.

Danielle (33m 53s):
Yeah. And I think through that, it’s like in life too, you think you might want something or you have this vision of what you want something to look like. So for me, it was like a person who was living in Bali. And even last year, you know, no one could have predicted coronavirus, but you just need to sometimes surrender to the flow and let life happen because you can never just predict what is the best for you and what you know, at that moment, again, it’s like, there are things you don’t know, you don’t know and you never know where one interaction or one thing can lead to.

Mike (34m 28s):
I love, I love the concept of you don’t you don’t know what you don’t know. There’s some things you don’t know that you don’t know. And I’ve had that experience sometimes where someone has opened my world up to something completely different. And I’ve realized that I was just sitting in the corner of a room, staring at the wall and all this cool stuff going on around me. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Danielle (34m 49s):
Totally. Yeah. All the time.

Mike (34m 51s):
And, and so I, that was actually, this is a nice little segue into my next little topic that I want to talk about. Spend a couple of minutes on this before we eat, before we get into a little mini business master class, but you’re married. So ragz is…

Danielle (35m 9s):
No, no. He’s my boyfriend.

Mike (35m 11s):
Oh, why did I think, oh my I don’t. I swear. Oh, okay. I’m not going to put him under the bus. I’m going to put that right, so sorry. Okay. So, but it’s been, it’s been a couple of years, like this is, this is a committed relationship. Oh my God. I am so, all right. So boyfriend, girlfriend, but in saying that it’s, it’s something that people, I guess, and particularly me I’m, I’m, I’m horrendously single, because I just don’t know where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing. And this whole concept of meeting someone suddenly down white picket fence is, is it’s just so far away from my current reality. And, and so it just seems, so it seems so foreign to be able to, to be able to successfully do a relationship whilst you’re living this really free life.

Mike (35m 60s):
So I wanted to talk a little bit about this. So do you guys, do you guys stick together or do you travel a part, like how does the dynamic work for you?

Danielle (36m 8s):
Yeah, so we were in a long distance relationship because he was working in England for like the first year. And then I wanted to go to south America. I had a trip planned with my girlfriend and he ended up quitting his job and committing to online entrepreneurship, like creative agency with Paul full time. And so at the time, you know, we went from like long distance, not seeing each other for two, three months at a time. Granted, like I visited an England, but after he quit his job and shortly after we started traveling together, the pandemic hit.

Danielle (36m 48s):
So we went from like long distance to seeing each other and being quarantined with each other every single day.

Mike (36m 57s):
Exactly how that feels.

Danielle (36m 59s):
Yeah. But I remember like there were years where I would just, you know, no one could match this lifestyle or this pace that my mom once sat me down and was like, you know, like, how are you ever going to meet someone? If you’re constantly traveling? Like no one is ever going to match this lifestyle, you should just like stay in one place and find someone. And I was so confident again, in my answer being like, no, like there’s so many people out there it’s impossible for me to not find someone like there’s so many, you know, like I just had this inner knowing and I guess it’s the same inner knowing that like my business is going to succeed that like, I’m not going to be homeless if I quit my job and yeah.

Danielle (37m 42s):
With learning through what you think you want versus what actually happens. So at that time I thought I wanted someone who was based in Bali, but you never, you just never know. And rags was in a full-time job. He was in a different country and somehow over time, our lives just meshed so well. And now we travel the world together.

Mike (38m 5s):
What traits do you think both you guys have as a relationship and, and yourself as a, as an individual and also rags as individual, what traits do you think have been the most important to get you through that period of long distance? And if, and if you ever had to do long distance again, or you ever had to be a party, and what are the things that you think create the nucleus of the relationship that keeps you together

Danielle (38m 32s):
Having an expiration date of the long distance? So I think if we didn’t have a time in mind where we could be together, because he always knew he wanted to quit his job sooner or later, it was just maybe in a few years. And I kind of pushed it up a few years, but if we didn’t have like an end in sight where we’re like, when is this going to end? You know, where, when can we actually spend time together? That would have been a lot harder, but because we knew there’s just some risks that had to be taken that got us through long distance and, you know, the internet and FaceTime FaceTimed almost every day catching up and communication.

Danielle (39m 17s):
I definitely, you know, spoke out when I was like, huh, what, what was happening here? Like just getting inevitably curious when you’re far away and you don’t know what they’re doing. So being very open and communicative.

Mike (39m 32s):
Yeah. I think that would be probably the number one thing. And it’s, it’s, it’s very, I think it’s very normal when you’re far away from someone to, to just like, to be, to be curious and to have like, like, is that w was that, I mean, would you describe that as like getting a little bit like of my insecurity? I don’t think that’s the right word, but it’s just not, it’s just that not knowing is that because that, that, that happened that in our long distance relationship for me, that’s, that’s happened and it’s, I it’s usually, you’d be completely secure in how you feel in that relationship, but there’s just something about distance that just like there’s tweaks out a little bit. Is that what it is that what it was like for you?

Danielle (40m 13s):
Yeah, definitely like long distances, so different than an in-person relationship. You don’t get that, you know, physical touch, love language. You don’t get a lot of things that you would normally receive in a relationship. And similar to business, your mind can jump to worst case scenarios, right. Or with anything. And it’s harder to talk yourself out of it when it’s someone you care about when there’s like emotions involved when it’s like, you’re so invested. So falling down that rabbit hole in a long distance relationship is easier, but that’s not to say like, it’s the end all be all. Like, it’s fine. If that happens, it’s natural, but just communicating it instead of, you know, going through this internal dilemma and trying to work through it yourself.

Danielle (41m 1s):
And after a few conversations, it totally goes away. Your trust comes back and trust is like the most important thing.

Mike (41m 9s):
I think that makes, I really liked the way that you’ve, that you’ve kind of explained how you’ve gone about that. So the first part is having a little bit of a chat with yourself and firstly telling yourself that it’s totally normal to feel like that, because if you don’t feel like that is it’s actually there, there’s not many people in the world who would do long distance, particularly when you’re literally talking about other sides of the planet and you wouldn’t feel like that. And then after being able to kind of rationalize how you’re feeling to then be able to have an open and honest dialogue about it in a supportive environment creates, then the, the ability to build the trust that’s required to kind of keep going with it.

Mike (41m 49s):
It’s that that’s, that sounds like a really just, it just that’s, that’s really beautiful. Like I’m, I’m, I’m actually like, I’m so happy able to not do that anymore, but yeah, that sounds like a really healthy way of doing it.

Mike (42m 10s):
Yeah. So I look, I think, I think that pretty much, I think that pretty much covers that. I think, I think trust, communication that that’s something that I, I really wanted to ask more people think about that then I’d ever really given credit to. I, I think when people say to me, don’t you just want to, like, you could meet someone if you just stay in one place where I just kind of look at them, like, I, I don’t get it. I just sort of like, what do you mean stay in one place for, I don’t, I don’t Literally, it doesn’t compute in my head. I don’t know. There’s something, something a little bit wrong with me. I think I got a few screws loose. I’m like, I’m a bit short of a six pack of beer. So let’s get into, let’s get in a little bit of a business masterclass.

Mike (42m 52s):
We’ve got probably probably five minutes to smash through a couple of questions here. So obviously something that that’s, that should be apparent by now through the chat is that you’re, you’ve done new travel influencer. You’re also business coach right now. So this is something where you’ve gone from like kind of step to step. You’ve gone, drop shipping, into travel, influencing it, to building your own brand and business and now into coaching other people how to do it. So I think just a couple of a couple of things that I wanted to ask from your experiences along the way I’ll allow you to, to, I guess, kind of roll this conversation as well. You might have some things you want to say that might provide value that I’m not thinking about because I’m not a business coach, but the first thing I wanted to say or ask was what have been the most important factors for you in building your brand and followers as a travel influencer and to, to that what’s something that you got, right.

Mike (43m 40s):
That not many other people get. Right.

Danielle (43m 43s):
Okay. So most important with anything is consistency and continue with whatever it is that you’re doing. Even if everything in front of you says like failure or like, you know, roadblock, you have to push through. And I think this is why I’ve had so many iterations of the Wanderlover, which I told you, like started as reposting and then to my brand and then to business coaching and just, it has evolved as my life has evolved. And that is so important when things like Corona virus hits, right. Or when technology new platforms come up, you have to be really open and receptive and keep going at it and be really consistent with whatever it is that you’re doing.

Mike (44m 29s):
I can hear the word like adaptive got to be able to adapt to different circumstances. So not you, you’ve almost got to know when to push through a roadblock and when to say, okay, way, I’m not going to stop, but maybe I need to turn left and then go down this side street and kind of, you know, I guess what we speak about it is like a pivot. So you’ve kind of gone from, okay, well maybe travel influencing is, is something that’s not going to work so much now. So I’m going to take what I’ve learned and, and rebrand, or like kind of add another product or a niche to what I do, which is the business coaching sort of thing. So consistency and effort, and also the knowledge of knowing when to, when to, when to adapt and also when to push through.

Danielle (45m 8s):

Mike (45m 9s):
What was the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?

Danielle (45m 12s):
Biggest mistake. I think it was sometimes not getting help when I needed it. I am very, very stubborn. And I remember when I was launching my first digital product, I had a friend in Bali who was like trying to help me with my sales funnels and also upsells. And I just like would not take his advice. And now thinking back on the times where I didn’t reach out for help and now like knowing everything that I do know, and being like, oh my God, had, I just listened. Had I just implemented this earlier? I probably, I’m not going to say I regret it, but I probably would have realized success in whatever it is.

Danielle (45m 56s):
I was pursuing a lot sooner. And that was purely because I wasn’t open to asking questions or receiving help.

Mike (46m 5s):
Yeah. That’s something that actually came up in an episode that I did yesterday. We spoke about, you know, you sound like you pretty much can do anything yourself, which is amazing. Cause not many people do, but you get to always get to a point where it’s going to be, it helps to have advice or someone there who can kind of bounce ideas off. Like very rarely do we ever get anywhere completely by ourselves.

Danielle (46m 30s):
Exactly. Yeah. And same thing, like knowing like things you don’t know, you don’t know. Right. You’re doing things in your way, but like you’re not at the level you want to be at yet. So what is to say that you can reach that level with only the things, you know now though, having like a coach or an expert and actually following their advice, which I didn’t do at the learning lesson.

Mike (46m 53s):
Did, did you, did you find that? So, so, so did you actually have coaches at the start that you just didn’t listen to? Or did you have people that you were kind of like, did you actually hire people to say, tell me what to do and then

Danielle (47m 6s):
Not it wasn’t people I hired, it was friends in the industry. So maybe that was like, you know, I wasn’t invested in it, but it was really good advice. It was like advice I should have followed.

Mike (47m 18s):
I think everyone, like that’s, that’s a pretty, that’s pretty good. That’s pretty good mistake to make. And a pretty good thing to, to like, if that’s still a mistake you’re making, then it’s a way bigger problem than

Mike (47m 30s):
You’ve ind of made it, realize it was a mistake and then kind of on back it’s it’s so helpful to it’s. I think it’s really helpful to reflect on the things that we’ve done. We’ve done wrong as more than the things that we’ve, that we’ve kind of done. Right? So one thing, the next thing I wanted to chat about. So having, having done the travel influencing, like a part of that is working with, with brands and doing like creating content. I’m assuming that’s what you were doing with bigger brands, creating content for them. Tell me a story about one of the way that you landed. One of the bigger branded clients you’ve got. So not, not a client who just, who just came into like one that you kind of had to chase and one that you had to maybe show a little bit of persistence to get, like, tell me a story about how you landed one of these guys that you yeah.

Mike (48m 15s):
That took a little bit of effort and, and kind of the strategies or what you did to kind of land them.

Danielle (48m 20s):
It was a lot of chasing. So when I first started, I went out like 200%. Networking in New York, sending out emails, like trying to get my foot through the door, you know, like being like, Hey, I’m here. I can do this and trying to build my portfolio. And I feel like so many people think it’s easy. Think it just comes to you. When in reality, you know, I was sending like 30, 40 emails every day to different brands. And at the same time, you know, DM-ing people and comments and being like, Hey, tag your photos with The Wanderlover like I was so extra. And I think that’s what got me to where I am today, where I have like more of a luxury to be like, okay, my work is out there.

Danielle (49m 6s):
You know what I can do. And as I am working with people, a lot of them don’t want to put themselves out there or they don’t know what happens behind the scenes. So I don’t want to mislead and be like, I have to chase sometimes because in the beginning it was a lot, a lot of chasing.

Mike (49m 26s):
You have to do all of the chat. Yeah. It’s it’s, it’s never brands. Don’t start. Yeah. It’s, it’s all chasing at the start. Is there, is there one particular, is there one particular big brand that you got? The, what, what, what was your first bit like, what was the first big brand that you kind of got to do a collab with where you went, oh wow. Like that’s epic.

Danielle (49m 45s):
So the first hotel collaboration, it wasn’t paid, but I had a trip to Rome plan and I was like, let me just email, like all the hotels in this area that I could find and literally pitched every single one. And over-delivered, I was like, I’m going to create a video. I’m going to create so many photos for you. I’ll post like every day on my socials. And I just like had this package that I put together. And I was like in exchange, I’m looking for a three nights stay and they accepted. And at that point I was like, holy shit, this is amazing. And I’m so excited. Cause I, you know, I love taking photos. I love posing. I love like learning about videography.

Danielle (50m 26s):
I was such a beginner at that time, but I was just really invested and excited about it. And it turned out really well. And having that again, it’s your first one ever, right? Like with drop-ship thing, it was the first sale with this. It was the first hotel collab that kind of proves that you have what it takes with pure grit, just pure inner knowing that you can do it and you have to hustle to get it. And over time, my first press trip was in Indonesia where I was flown around the islands to create content for that. And that came to me. And that was after years of posting on Instagram every single day, you know, building my portfolio, getting my name out there.

Danielle (51m 11s):
And that was when it got to the point where I didn’t have to chase anymore.

Mike (51m 16s):
When you said before, over-deliver that struck a chord with me because something that I feel as though influencers are doing a little bit too early these days is trying to set, set rates, everything they’re doing and try and be really controlling over what they give for what price. And sometimes I think that can hold people back a little bit sometimes at the start, particularly at the start, you have to completely over-deliver in order to make people happy. That’s what builds your own personal brand. And you might lose financial value, but what you gain is so much more important.

Danielle (51m 52s):
It’s such a bad idea. If like, you know, you don’t have the experience. I was open. Like I was honest with myself, never done a video, you know, it’s my first time. And I almost like didn’t feel like I deserve to be charging at that point, but I knew it was a big project for me and I really wanted it and I would be willing to give so many photos, just, it was helpful to me to, at that point to learn how it all worked, to challenge myself, to deliver all of these quality photos. So yeah, definitely. Over-delivered in the beginning.

Mike (52m 24s):
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Before we wrap up, I want to give you the floor. So if you have anything that you want to say and this, all this will be particularly I’m. So I guess part of what part of what I’m expecting here is telling people a little bit about what they can expect if they come onto your website and what they might find, if they sign up to your masterclass, what they might find, what are some of the things that you, if you have a little bit more time with someone through coaching or through your masterclasses, what are some of the things that they’re going to learn? And obviously all of the links and things like that will be in the show notes so that anyone that’s listening to this before we wrap up and think I’d love to get in contact with Danielle and see what she’s doing and see how she could possibly help me.

Mike (53m 8s):
It’s all going to be in the show notes, but Danielle, just to sort of take us out. Do you want to, do you want to just give yourself a little bit of a chance to talk through with everyone? What is going to, what they’re going to get if they, if they start kind of getting into your world a little bit.

Danielle (53m 22s):
So I love helping people who were once in my position, you know, working a job, you’re not completely happy with exploring side hustling, looking at influencers and social media and being like, oh my God, other people can do this. So I’m basically here to help you every step of the way. And my main thing is to turn your passion and your creativity into a profitable online business, through all of my business ventures. Online business is the one that has given me the most freedom. If you value freedom, if you value creativity and adventure, you can find all of that on my website and socials.

Mike (54m 3s):
Beautiful. Danielle, thank you so much for coming on the show. It has been really enlightening for me to chat with you about some of these things. So hopefully the listeners have gotten something about it. I said, we’d be here for 35 minutes or so typical, typical Michael fashion. There’s a definite, there’s a definite trend. I’m trying to, I just don’t want to end up at two hours, but this, you know what I think, I think, I think the guys, I think the guys in the production team, you’re going to get a bit annoyed at me, but thank you so much for coming on the show. I really, really appreciate it. Hopefully we are able to cross paths one day when all this is over, stay in touch and yeah.

Mike (54m 48s):
Thanks for becoming a part of the unmet family.

Danielle (54m 51s):
Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Mike (54m 54s):
Peace out everyone have a lovely day.


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, it would mean so much if you could leave a review on Apple Podcasts. This helps us spread The Wanderlover mission to those who need a dose of inspiration today.

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

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