App Building in SouthEast Asia
When he isn’t dominating the pitch in semi-professional footzy (foosball), Christian Woerz spends his time traveling and building various software applications. Born in Germany, he has extensive experience in crafting a lifestyle around technology and travel. This has allowed him to live and work all over the world.
I met Christian at Haven Backpacker’s hostel in Manila while he was traveling through the Philippines. We discussed his digital nomad experience over a foosball match where I personally played below average :P
How long have you been working remotely and traveling?
1 year and 5 months
Why did you start traveling?
I started traveling because I had a desire to break away from the routine lifestyle I had at home. After studying physics in college, I worked as a Thermohydrolic Engineer for 3 years in Paris at Areva (a French energy conglomerate). My job there was developing simulation software for accidental scenarios in a nuclear power plant. It was a very interesting job and a good opportunity to develop my skill set in a corporate environment but I did not see a good professional long term perspective in nuclear energy.
Deciding I wanted to do something new and fancy, I started doing app development together with my brother, who has a masters degree in IT. Our first project was building an app for a friend who already had a very successful e-commerce business. After that, we established ourselves as freelance app developers for the next 5 years. We found our clients mainly through online marketplaces for freelancers, such as freelance.de.
Those years of experience gave me the skills and development knowledge needed in order for me to start building my own projects. I really enjoyed doing freelance work since it was very versatile and well paid, but I still craved more time to work on specific projects of my own (and have the freedom to work on my own schedule).
So, I started working exclusively on developing my own apps and making that a way to fund my travels. It’s nice to know that I always have freelance work as a fallback; however, I much prefer being my own boss and developing my own ideas.
What is your brand? How do you make money?
I don’t really have a central brand. I am currently developing several different apps but most of my attention right now is focused on a barcode/ QR code scanning app. The majority of my apps make money through standard app monetization (Ads, In-App-Purchases, Affiliate marketing). It’s really exciting to be able to build an idea from scratch and see it grow into residual income. Of course, user adoption can be an initial challenge but if you develop the right idea and market it to the right audience, you’d be surprised how quickly you can start making money. At first it may only be a few cents a week, but eventually, it can grow into real full-time income.
Do you have a website? Portfolio?
QR Bot (qrbot.net): My QR Code scanning app
NameKeeper (namekeeper.info): An app I developed for being able to remember all the different names of people I meet during my travels (especially in hostels)
What’s your biggest point of focus when developing apps?
Right now: revenue streams. It is critical for me to prioritize the potential money making aspects of an app when I am developing it. A very functional, beautifully crafted and designed app doesn’t have much use to me if it can’t make any money. Since I naturally love coding and technology, I constantly try to focus on the business side of development (customer acquisition, marketing, monetization) because I know it’s essential for growth.
What's the best way to get started with remote work?
Save enough money to travel for 1-2 years and just jump in! Set aside money from every paycheck so that you can make long-term travel a reality. I don’t think it's efficient trying to start a business while keeping your normal job. There are too many distractions and excuses.
1) Start thinking about what skills you have and how you can make money from them
2) create a business plan
3) go for it!
It doesn’t have to be the same income you are used to at your day job depending on where you want to travel.
How did you get your start as a digital nomad?
I just quit my job, got long-term travelers insurance, and bought a one-way ticket to Chile. It was easier for me since I was already used to remote freelance work. I still had to learn how to work efficiently while on the road though.
What excites you the most about traveling?
Being away from a daily routine and being able to go wherever and whenever I want. I love not knowing what new adventures I’ll do next!
What are your 1 and 3 year plans?
Within the next year, my goal is to make enough passive income for a really decent lifestyle while traveling. I am sufficiently funding my travels right now, but it would nice to travel to more expensive countries on a more flexible budget.
Within 3 years, I hope to find a nice girl that I can share my travels with and eventually start a family :)
What’s your favorite country you’ve traveled to?
Advice for other digital nomads?
Keep focused and diligent on your work. Also, don’t rush in your travels. If you find a place you really like, spend some time there. It will be better for your productivity and for appreciating the local culture.
Christian Woerz is an app developer currently traveling in Eastern Europe. If you are interested in learning more about his digital nomad journey or have a project you think he would be a good fit for, email him at email@example.com