At the Web Summit in Portugal I had the opportunity to interview different people about their companies. Today’s blog post is about an interview I had with Julia who is the owner of WiFi Tribe.
“What is WiFi Tribe?” I hear you ask. It is an organisation that helps remote working travellers or nomads to find a place to live and work during their travels, (where they of course have good wifi connection). Every month, the travellers choose a different city to call home. WiFi Tribe invites a mix of passionate, wild and free, likeminded people from all corners of the world to join their journey of remote work travel.
Here is our interview with Julia.
Where did the idea for WiFi Tribe come from and what do you do?
With all the mode technology we have today, instead of connecting people together, people have become more disconnected from each other. WiFi Tribe, (founded by Julia en Diego) was set up in 2016 with the sole purpose to create better human connections. We do this by building a community of remote professionals.
We came up with the idea, while we were both traveling and working remotely as freelancers. We realised that it can get lonely on the road. While sitting in different hostels or Air BnB’s you meet other travellers, but none of them understanding that you are also working and not just traveling. It was hard for Jus to find likeminded people with the same lifestyle.
The whole business started with the fact that my co-founders (Diego) parents had a house in Bolivia. They offered us the opportunity to stay there for free, we wanted to try it and in doing so we invited some friends to join us. They shared it on Facebook and their friends saw it and said, “hey cool, where are you going next?” And we were like “we’re not going anywhere” and that’s the point where we started to think about the business. Through this we saw that there’s a need and problem. We realised this service didn’t exist yet, so we put together a plan and started the first experiment in Nicaragua. Got a first house there and since then we kept going. It happened by accident.
WiFi Tribe offers people for a month a co-living experience all around the world. They offer 40-50 locations that people can choose from. The concept is that people work during the week and go and explore during the weekend. WiFi Tribe is a safe place to exchange business ideas with the people you are co-living with, to brainstorm and to just create experiences and be together.
WiFi Tribe arranges apartments or houses with an open workspace, desk to work on and a private space. Each house is for a group of 15-20 people.
At the moment we have multiple locations running at the same time. So, for example, right now there is one group in Barcelona, one group is in Cape Town, one is in Buenos Aires.
How do you become a part of the WiFi Tribe?
Through the website, people apply to be a member. Once they have done that, they go through an interview process and a personality test. After that they will see if they get invited to the community. Once they have been accepted, they will need to pay a join fee. After that people can choose a “chapter plan”. A chapter is a month that you stay with WiFi Tribe. By choosing a chapter plan, you can choose as many months as you would like, to use WiFi Tribe in a year. At the moment we have 700 members and they are 60+ different nationalities.
Not every application is accepted.
No. We have core values that we would like our community to have and, in our perspective, people have to be a great fit for the community.
What are those values?
Kindness is a big one.
We don’t need any egos in our community. For example, if you’re asking how many seven-figure people are in our community, that’s just a no go for us.
We don’t want any comparison; we don’t want any judgement.
Humility is also a big one.
We find being curious, willingness to learn and personal development also to be important.
We appreciate people who are willing to share and to give more than they take.
Do the people living together also work together?
They don’t work together. Everyone brings their own work. You can come with a friend if you want to, but you don’t need to know anyone in your co-living space.
One of the great things about our community is that people actually get along so well that they make super long-lasting friendships. They start to travel together after our experience is finished and arrange the next ones and get together.
What kind of remote professionals are you looking for?
There are different kinds of remote professionals. There are freelancers, they can be self-employed, a remote employee working for a big company. The most important thing is that they have a job. We don’t want the situationwhere you’re traveling alone and just sitting there, not working.
To keep your community running, do you employ people to help you?
So, we have our contractors and they are a part of the team. We have 13 people at the moment. Last week we had our first team meet up.
Is someone from your team on the location, arranging everything?
Yes, one team member is always there. A team member always goes one week ahead of the experience. To make sure the housing setup is right, the wifi works 100%, there’s private and shared rooms. They check if the bathroom, kitchen, the pool and everything that comes with it is in order.
So, it’s like organised living. So, if you’re a remote worker, and you’re already traveling with your laptop, what’s the biggest problem? Trying to find good wifi, so you can work.
Is that what makes working with WiFi Tribe so attractive?
Exactly, and when you’re traveling with us to for example to Cape Town, everything is figured out for you. The house you’re in, has perfect wifi. One of the other attractions to working with us is; when you are staying somewhere alone, you have a hard time connecting with other people. With us, you almost have a guarantee you will get along with people you are living with. Due to the fact that we have pre-interviewed them and pick people who are likeminded. When doing it this way you have the opportunity to exchange thoughts, everyone will have something different to share. There are different professions like, marketing gurus, someone knows SEO, someone’s a programmer, someone’s a photographer, next one is maybe a life coach. As everyone has a different professional background, you can learn from each other.
Do you use social media to get more visibility?
Yes, we get a lot attention through social media. We use Facebook and Instagram, but we mainly relay on word of mouth. We have also created a lot of blog articles.
You have a Facebook page, but you don’t have a Facebook group? Or something like that.
We don’t have a Facebook group; we’ve been thinking about it. We don’t want to split our communication with our members. So, we use the tool Slack for our community. In there they can talk to each other, exchange ideas and arrange what they need.
We also use a communication channel called “where’s my tribe?”, people post every day in here with things like “here I am, who’s in town?” And then people meet up who never met before. As they know they are part of the same community, this connects them.
How do you see your future for yourself and the wifi tribe?
The community is in a basic form right now. With this amazing community of people, that have this massive knowledge from all these different kinds of niches, it’s fascinating to see what other kind of products we can pull out of it.
One of the products will be buying our own houses instead of renting them. This way we will create our own co-living houses in different parts of the world. We have also been thinking about organising conferences and festivals. At the moment we’re working on an online shop and we recently launched a podcast.
What is the podcast about?
It’s about the community as well. This way people can actually get to know and hear from our members. They talk about where they come from, what they do and why they become a remote professional/nomad. Our members also get to share their own experiences. The idea is to explain why people would go remote and we as WiFi Tribe give them the opportunity to do just that.
Is there a quote that fits with your company? Or something that your company stands for?
“Your vibe attracts a tribe.” Depending on what vibe you give to other is they type of people you attract. WiFi Tribe stands for freedom of lifestyle, we help you design your life.