Creating an Online Business to Travel the World with Chelsea Giles

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On this episode of the Wild Success Podcast, I talk with Chelsea Giles, a website designer, brand storyteller and organic and digital strategist, helping businesses all over the world, create an online presence. What started as an Instagram handle, documenting her backpacking trips, Chelsea has since grown @travellerbytrade into a lifestyle brand career and successful online business. We discuss hustling, shadow work and what it means to take a day off and live the nomadic life.


Facebook: @travellerbytrade
Instagram: @travellerbytrade


Facebook: @lizziegmoult
Instagram: @lizzie_moult


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On the podcast today I am talking with Chelsea Giles, a website designer, brand storyteller and organic and digital strategist, helping businesses all over the world, create an online presence. What started as an Instagram handle, documenting her backpacking trips, Chelsea has since grown @travellerbytrade into a lifestyle brand career and successful online business. I have been watching Chelsea for the last two years, and she has gone from strength to strength in her business. Not only has she a digital nomad, she is now a CEO and has multiple staff working underneath her. If you’re looking for inspiration for your business next year, and wondering where to start with your business. Chelsea shares learning experiences from her time in the last couple of years in setting up her own business.


 So let’s dive into today’s episode.


 Hey Chelsea, thank you so much for joining me on the show today


Hi thank you for having me.


I’m so excited to have you here. I have loved watching your journey over the last couple of years. How about you share what it is you do and how you ended up doing what you do? 


Such a fun story. I do website design and organic digital marketing and digital strategy for small businesses. I work primarily with different types of coaches and more like outdoor adventure style brands. For those who know me, that makes the most sense. Anything that’s like outdoor boho, earthy hippie, I don’t know earth eco-conscious I guess I would say kind of brands. 

Yes. It’s like the Northern rivers in a nutshell. 

Pretty much. Yep. So funny. And now the West end of Brisbane. So yeah, I started the business. I mean, I guess it’s of a long-winded story, but it just, basically, in a nutshell, I was like a backpacker and I met a boy cause there’s always a boy who took me on my first backpacking trip in between my second and third year of uni. And I never went back. Didn’t go back to uni. Didn’t go back to Ontario in Canada. Long-winded travels ended up in Byron after living in WA in Australia for a bit. It’s really funny how I went from Fremantle to Byron, to Mullum and now West End, because I feel like they are all, they’re all similar things, except one’s in WA one’s in New South Wales and one’s in Queensland, but they have a similar vibe. 

Yeah. Of those places, I haven’t been to Fremantle, but I can vouch for all the other ones. I’m like, cause we just were talking before we hit record about how similar West End was to the Northern Rivers. 

Yeah. Yeah. Fremantle, when I was over there, everyone used to say that Frio is like the Byron of WA. When I moved over and I saw a buyer and I was like, Oh, I get it. I get it. One thing that West End needs is a beach at the end of the street. And then I’d be set 


South bank. 


That’s not like a man-made beach though. 


Yeah. It’s still a beach, I guess, embrace it for what it is.

I Went down there last week and I was like, I just need to put my toes in the sand. I was like, wait, South bank is there. I went there and I just stood. I probably look so strange to these people. I just walked in and I stood with my toes in the sand and just this like ongoing sense of calm came over me. There were people looking at me like, what is she doing? I just stood there for a second, closing my eyes, the biggest smile on my face. I was like, okay, I feel better. I need it. 

Instead of looking out to the, nothing of the ocean, you’ve got the horizon of Brisbane city, 

Which it is really cool. 

It’s pretty cool. And it was grounding, right? Yeah. 

Very much so. Yeah it did. It works for so well, I loved it, but yeah, I guess through my travels, I started an Instagram @travellerbytrade, which has since grown into this crazy big business. Now I have a career just pretty crazy, but yeah, it just started from my love of photos all through high school. Grew my own Instagram taking photos. I tried to build out a drop shipping store because I was obsessed. I was like, I need to find a way to work online because I don’t want to stop my travels because of work. Like I’ve got to find something I can do on the road. Once down like the YouTube rabbit hole, because then we had YouTube and not take talk like how to start an online business and drop shipping kept coming up. I tried it and I built out my own drop shipping store and I absolutely hated drop shipping. 

It just wasn’t for me. I found my love for website design and I had someone messaged me when they saw my drop shipping store and they’re like, Oh, who built that for? You? Was like, I did it like, Oh, can you build me one? I was like, yeah, sure. I was like, okay, I need to explore this. Luckily enough, I ended up getting a scholarship to what everyone calls nerd camp. It’s called the Institute of Code. It’s a website coding bootcamp in Bali. I applied for their scholarships to go there over a span of like eight months to the point where one of the owners sent me an email and she was like, you’ve got it. You’ve been waitlisted like three different times for different sponsorships or for scholarships. Sorry you’ve got this one. You’re coming to Bali. Like we’re giving you this and this. 

I was like, Oh my God, thank you so much. I just cried. I was living in Byron when this happened. So I flew to Bali. When I came back, my job wasn’t waiting for me. I was supposed to be in Bali for 10 days and I stayed for 30 because I just loved Bali. There was something there that just, when I went to go leave for the airport, I was like, I just can’t do it. I was bawling. I was freaking out. The option came for me to stay for another 20 days at this point. I was like, yep, I’m doing it. And then I came home. My boss is like, listen, like, I’m sorry, but we’ve had to hire someone. I was like, I did not expect you to wait and like, hold my job for me. It’s fine. From that point I was just like, all right, I’m either going to keep doing these side freelance jobs or I’m going to take everything I’ve learned. 

I ended up sticking with Traveler by Trade as the business name as well, because I felt it just really suited. It just fit. It was almost instantly like I had done some SEO and a few website designs and the social media manager for a small business in Byron, just kind of one off while I was working. When I actually turned it into a business, I think I was just so excited that I just ran around telling everyone. So now I started a business. I’m doing the thing, it started a business. I’m doing this. I worked for myself. I never owned. Like are you psycho? Like go get a job. How do you feed yourself? What do you mean? How are you going to pay rent? I was like, I’m just going to do it. I’m just going to do it. I like no savings at the time too. 

My younger brother back home is like, go get a job. Like what are you doing? And I was like, no, I’m doing this. It’s a thing I’m going in on time and head first. The, I mean, I don’t want to call it luck cause it wasn’t luck. Sure. Just very determined. Yeah, I think it’s, I just love what I do. It shows right on my face telling this story. I love telling this story because it’s so funny. Like I lived in a tent when I started this business and the arts factory jungle for 10 months with a car battery and a power inverter to charge my laptop. That is how I edited photos and built websites and an eight man tent fee. 


It just goes to show anything is possible. Like here you are now in like an amazing apartment from backpacker to where you are now. Fully fledged business owner.


 I know. Right. It’s so funny. It’s so crazy. Like, it was just my brother, the younger brother that was like getting a real job, come on. It was just his birthday. Not that long ago. I had a FaceTime call with him back home and he was like, listen, just take the moment and say, I told you, so I was like, I want to, but I don’t want to. He was like, well, like here’s like a boss now. He’s like, you employ people. I was like, yeah, I’ve just hired on my third staff member. Obviously not full time, but I’ve hired on my third like kind of contractor out that I work with. He was like, how much money did he make? So make more money. I was like, I don’t know how much money do you make? And he was like, you tell me first. 

I’m like, no, tell me what your last paycheck was and I’ll compare it. And he said it. I was like, I love you, but I make more money than you. Was like, Oh, I’m so proud of you. Like, I’m glad you didn’t listen to me. It’s like, yeah, you and me both little brother, 

You are one of the most determined people I’ve ever met, like I see myself in you so much –  you just go for it. There’s nothing holding you back. It doesn’t matter if it was a tent, a car battery, the lack of internet, you just walked around it and made it happen. When did your passion become, I guess like your business, like officially, 

I honestly think I had like that switch kind of when I was in Bali, like I felt it where I was like, okay, I’ve got all of these things I want to do. Then, I mean, when I was in Bali, it was not the easiest of times. I went through some serious ups and downs and a couple of panic attacks and crying days. Once I landed back in Brisbane, when I drove from Brisbane back to buyer and after I landed back from Bali and I touched ground and I was like, this is it. You have to take all of what you’ve just learned in the past 30 days while you were in Bali. You’re now about to drive back home to Byron and back to your tent, you know that you don’t have a job waiting for you. It’s Byron, it’s not the easiest to get jobs. 

You’ve just signed up on a student visa, which is going to cost you $20,000. So you can stay in Australia. You either need to make this work or you’re going to be back in Canada, this winter freezing your butt off. Absolutely miserable. You just got to do it. I think that just like, there was just this fire in me and call back to Byron and it was like two 30 in the morning. It’s a two and a half hour drive from the Brisbane airport. No one was there. So like, I just got home. I’m like riding this high. I’m like, Oh, I just want to tell all my friends and all these people when everyone’s asleep. Cause it was like a Tuesday at two 30 in the morning. No one’s awake. I just had to sit there with myself and be like, all right, you’re feeling this high, but you need to ride it out. 

The next day I literally went right down to the camera shop. I pretty much spent the last of my savings, bought myself a professional camera, went to the computer store, and brought in my laptop at the time. I was like, I need a new battery. I need your memory. I needed a hard drive, an external hard drive. I’m literally just going for it. That was it. Like I was emptying my bank accounts at this point. I think that’s where I talked to my best friend, Kevin, I had a call with him a couple of weeks ago and he was just like having a catch-up and he was like, I remember like when you got back from Bali, it’s like, there was no fear in your eyes whatsoever. I think that’s the point, like hearing him say that it was just like, Oh, okay. Like I knew right then when I got back, I didn’t care that I was scared. 

I didn’t care that I had no job. I didn’t care. I live in a tent. I just was like, Nope, this is. 

Interesting that there’s two ways that we are driven as human beings. One is by the worst thing that could happen. Your worst thing that could happen was that you had to go back and freeze your butt off in Canada, right? Like that for you is the way that you operate. It’s like, Oh my God, I didn’t want to go back and be cold. Like minus 30 days in winter, other things I wouldn’t be signing up for that either. All the other way that people are really, makes them work is that they want the reward and yours is like teamed up because here you are now in Australia, still really cool tomorrow. Woo. That’s exciting. Yeah. Having that drive that driving force, like what makes you do the things that you do? So I kind of really love that. What has been your biggest learning experience over the last couple of years in your business? 

I think a lot of it came down to just learning about mindset and triggers and just the way that I grew up back home. I never learned how to deal with emotions and triggers and anger and things like that properly. That just manifested into me playing the victim card. That’s really hard for someone to admit, but I will look back now and say, I played that victim card like left right.. This was my childhood. This is what I went through. Over the past, it’s going to be two years in March since I had legally registered the business over the past definite year. Like even in the beginning, it was still really hard to kind of get over those things because when you first start a business, you’re like, why don’t people want to work with me? 

Why can’t I find clients you see online now? Like these success stories? Oh, I went from zero to a hundred thousand followers on Instagram in a month. Oh I hit my first hundred thousand or 500,000 revenue in six months. That can, first of all, like just crush you because that’s very intimidating. That’s terrifying. Cause then you hold yourself up to these standards and then like your mind plays tricks on you. You go back through imposter syndrome and then you come back through to the victim card and Oh, this wasn’t good enough. Or they had this that helped them. Or they knew this that helped them. I think through the course of the past, like year and a half, I’ve learned how to like just internally digest my own thoughts and feelings and issues more so than trying to compare myself. If I have anger, envy or these things that have come up, I’ve really learned, like I’ve pushed mindset and like self-care and healing on myself. 

Like literally hammered it into my brain in the past year and a half. 

It’s a lot of shadow work. It’s a lot of like, not fun moments, but I am very thankful for that because I had a lot of shadows that I needed to deal with, whether that be for the business or whether it be for my own life, like growing into an adult. If and when the day comes that I’m a parent or a wife or any of these things, I couldn’t just be playing the victim card and go, well, my kid did this and Oh my trauma and this and Oh, he did this. Like you can’t do that. I don’t know. I guess the business helped me in a way because I am the success of the business, which means I need to be a success. This means I need to think and know that I can, which is all internal. It’s all mindset. It’s all shadow work. 

It’s all dealing with your trauma so that you’re not manifesting that in like pushing that outwards into everything that you’re doing. 

Full self-acceptance. Yeah. It’s terrifying. 


Yeah it is. I had a moment. Let me see. It’s the same thing. Cause like, how do you deal with it? in an instance like how you choose, that’s amazing advice for anyone listening, like how powerful mindset really is and just yeah. Taking ownership of our past and knowing that it doesn’t have to write our features. 


Yeah. So good. So you’re a nomadic traveler. I’m going to use those words because the lady who’s lived everywhere, just not well in different places. How do you manage them, your life and business? Because obviously this is now crucial for you. You’ve been in the first couple of years of your business. It’s pretty much hustle in those first couple of years. How have you managed life and business?

I guess. Harmony, it’s not easy. It’s really funny to be asking this question right now as well. Because this time, last month I was literally homeless living out of my SUV because of the state border lockdowns, I came up into Queensland and then couldn’t get back to New South Wales because of visa restrictions and things like that. So I technically got stuck here. I came up to Queensland with my laptop, my hard drive, my phone and enough clothes for like four or five days. And I got stuck here. It was like, that’s when they closed the borders again. Wasn’t that? Yeah. Again it was like seven weeks before I was able to do everything. I owned my camera, all my clothes, literally everything was in my tiny house back in Malone and I could not get across the border to get anything. It was so hectic, but I mean, I started it in a tent. 

I lived  the van life in between literally I think it was three and a half weeks of being homeless and just bouncing around and then couch hopping and more couch hopping, a couple of Airbnbs in between. I think it all just comes down to like time management, I guess is a big one, but I guess it’s more so just having the self control to be like, no, I need to lock myself in a room and I need to do this between that. Being able to outsource and delegate accordingly. I’ve got like a little mini traveler by trade team as we select to call ourselves and learn how to outsource and learn how to delegate, which is so hard in the first little bit of your business, because your business is your baby. This business is like my child and I love it. And it was really hard at first. 

The first couple of times I’d outsourced and just asking for help in general is very hard. At the end of the day, I mean, if you love what you do, you’re going to choose your business over, going to the pub. You’re going to choose your business over, sitting on the beach. You’re going to want to build it. You’re going to want to grow it. You’re going to want to brainstorm last weekend. Well I guess it didn’t last. I think it was like two weekends ago. When I first moved into the apartment, I went and bought this massive whiteboard and four different colored markers. And I locked myself in. I like Saturday and Sunday music, a ball, the red wine and my whiteboard. I’m brainstorming. I’ve got sticky, tack notes all over this wall. That’s like game planning the next three months. It’s just what I love to do. 

I love to connect with my clients. I’d love to see my business grow and have a game plan to watch it grow. I guess it makes it a bit easier. I mean, firsthand that I had slash have a bit of an issue with the whole work-life balance thing, because I love to work. I am a work horse. I will work straight through without taking days off. I’ll work from 5:00 AM to 11 o’clock at night. I just love it. It’s much for me at some points, but I don’t know. The balance has never been too hard for me. I love what I do so much. Like I just have such a passion for it that if anything, the life side of the balance is kind of teetering in comparison to the work side. Now I’ve adjusted things slightly. Saturday nights I always have off Sundays. 

I always have the entire day off. I don’t check in with clients. I don’t check my emails, nothing Monday night being tonight. There’s a bar called cobbler. They do $10 margarita is this little dingy whiskey bar. Me and Dean go in every Monday night, we just sit down and we’ll like, bring a book or just have a chat. Talk about our weekends game plan out for the week. We just go in and have one or two margaritas walk to the Coles or Woolies, grab some food, come home, make dinner, making dinner is another huge thing like just working into my life. I love to cook and I love fresh veggies and having big, nice meals. It’s one thing that if I’m working all day, once I get to that certain point, which generally like six 30, I’m like, Nope, you’re going to go make a salad. 

You’re going to make dinner. After that, it’s all right, you can get more work done at that point. I try and do the creative side of things like editing photos or chatting on Instagram or things like that. With the diffuser on whatever flavor I need that evening. 

It’s been now that I have like a night routine, it makes things a lot easier. I know I’m going to cook myself dinner every night. I know I’m going to put my diffuser on and I’ve got that hour to an hour and a half away from my laptop at the end of the night. Generally I try and stay off my phone as well, but just like cutting off all work aspects so that I’ve got that time for my brain to process. I’m not going to sleep thinking of work. 

That’s the thing, I guess, when you love your business so much, like I think a lot of people can relate to this because I know for me, like, it’s the same thing that I dream. I’m like, Oh my God, it’s a brilliant idea. Like what’s the night book, my husband’s like, what are you doing? I’m like, I have to write this down quickly, in the middle of the night, like how brains is constantly busy, but having a bit of downtime. It does come back to time management, as you say, like how you operate through the day and when we are creative, you’re just set like two days to create the plan of your business. Like that’s super fun. When you have that vision, like, of course you want to work in it, I’m putting those extra hours. Like you can’t help yourself because you’re so excited by it. 

Knowing that, as you said, your taking days off and timeout still to be with humans and interact and also disconnecting to the world. Because I think so many of us forget that, one day off social media is not going to hurt us. 

I used to, I’ve had a big kind of mindset shift, I guess, in the same way as like, and I think you used to always say this as well, but people always say to me like, Oh, it’s Chelsea, she’s always busy. Chelsea. She’s always busy. She’s always busy. I’ve kind of had a shift on that where it’s like, I’m not always busy. I’m just not always available. Sometimes I will go a day or two without answering my DMS. I do not check my emails on Sundays. I won’t even look at them. I don’t even refresh it. Like there’s just no way. If you send me a voice note, I mean, if it’s a client and it’s something that needs to be addressed right away, that’s a different story. Even my mom knows at this point, like if you text me, it might take me a day or two to text you back and you might see me on an Instagram story having margarita Monday and be like, why aren’t you responding to my DM priorities? 

Because I’m unavailable right now. I have boundaries, which I used to have this stressed feeling that every single morning I needed to answer all of my DMS. I needed to answer all my emails right away. I needed to be on top of it. So I was always on my phone. My friends always thought I was busy, but through, I don’t know if it’s maybe growth or just setting boundaries is the best way to explain it. I love listening to podcasts and I love reading books, especially business books. The number one thing that they’re always chatting about is boundaries because they’re so easily forgotten when passion starts coming into play and you’re like, Oh, I just want to do this and this. It’s like, no, I’m not always busy. I’m just not always available. Think of work as like a nine to five. Yes. I’m lucky enough that I can work anytime. 

I want. Sometimes I get really creative at five o’clock in the morning and I jump on and like to do a whole game plan for one of my clients or come up with a website mockup. That doesn’t mean, yeah, maybe online or you see the little green dot one of my socials, but like I’m not available. It’s a harsh realization, especially to explain to people, but it’s so much nicer now because I was just in Mullumbimby yesterday and went to one of the tree lakes, brought my camera, had a little blanket, and hung out with my friend. Didn’t check my phone once a couple months ago, it would’ve been like, Oh, I need to answer in DME. I have to check my emails and I have to do this now. It’s like, no, it can wait. First of all, it’s Sunday. Second of all, I’m with you for chatting, for taking pictures, like doing whatever. 

Yes it is. It’s like it’s priorities, boundaries, and time management made together. Cause that’s the thing it’s like prioritizing the things that are important. I hang with your friends and do your best for them and then setting the boundaries on yourself. Also, the others, like when you’re available and the times, like you can’t do that unless, your time management of how you operate as a business.. 

Okay. Two more questions. How do you define success? 

I love this question. I also hate this question. It’s really funny. When I was growing up, I remember being in high school and stuff, me and my friends going out for meals. We love to try and go out for dinner or lunch or something like that. Once in a while, just as a way to get out of the house, my best friend back home also hates cooking. So it was always a nice thing. We’d like to go out for lunch or go sit on a patio, especially Canada in the summer. You need to appreciate that because that doesn’t last very long. The rest of the year you’re locked in the house. We used to always joke around and say that we cannot wait to go out at one point in our lives where we just go and sit at a restaurant and we just order things without looking at the price on the menu. 

To do now where, I mean, I’m not going to these big uppity fancy places, but I’ve kind of allowed myself because I love cooking at home. And I love doing these things. Whereas when I go out, it’s like, if I want it, I’m just going to eat it. I’m not gonna be like, Oh, but this one’s $4 cheaper. It’s like, Nope, I work hard. I’ve gotten myself to this point and to be able to just go out with mates and I’m just like, Nope, I got it. I’m like, wait, what do you want me to transfer? Like send me your bank details. Or my two really good girlfriends in Milan. One’s the manager of a restaurant and the other works like doing different bar work and stuff like that. And it’s hard working in hospitality. It’s hard working on an hourly rate. Like I was there. 

I went through that, especially through COVID where hours are getting cut, left, right. And center. I love to be able to just be like, no, I’ve got it meals on me. They’re like, wait, what do you mean? And I’m like, you’re basically my therapist. Like if I have a meltdown, I call you, I don’t pay you for that. Like let me buy you lunch. Like it’s kind of in a funny way. I mean also like the freedom to work and things like that, which for me is harder, which is why I wouldn’t necessarily define that as success because I do have some pretty crazy visa restrictions and other things that I need to get done to get my permanent residency sorted. Even though I’m not working crazy hours, like within the business, I’m still working crazy hours because I have this whole other realm. I hope one day I’ll be able to define success in a way to say that the success of my business got me permanent residency in Australia. It paid those thousands and thousands of dollars for visas and lawyer fees. For right now, just to be able to be in that spot after growing up and just a horrible money mindset and just like not being well off, counting pennies, just being money, savvy, things like that. 

Growing up, it’s just what I grew up around. Now I can be like, Nope, I’m buying lunch. Nope. I’m doing this. Nope. Let’s go to the Publix. Just go sit on the patio and have a drink. Let’s just go grab a bottle of wine and sit here and have a chat. Like I get to do that now. It feels so good. I remember the first time I did that, I’m like, okay, was that the whole money mindset was like, I’m not going to look at the price on a menu. I’m going to choose what I want to eat. Not like how much it costs. That was such a huge feeling for me. Like it took such a long time to shift that and yeah. Being able to just go and know I’m going to get that and it doesn’t matter what the price is. 

Yeah. All right. One quick, last one. Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?


 It’s a piece of advice that you gave me to actually – take days off. It is such a magical experience. Yes. You love your business. Yes. You want to work all the time. Yes. You’re so passionate and Oh my goodness. It’s the hustle. I have to work 16 hours a day every day of the week and never take time off and create, build, build, but burnout is such an ass kicker. Like it will ruin you and you take a day off and you have a bath and you go for a walk and you drink a $10 spicy margarita on a Monday night taking that time for you. Just like, you’re still going to think about your business. Come on. Even though it’s your day off, there’s going to be some type of game plan or strategy going on in your head, but save it till the next day, write it down, deal with it tomorrow. 

Like it’s such a game changer. I didn’t learn for the first like eight months of being in business. It was like, what’s a day off. I don’t like those. No, I need to hustle. I need to grind. I met you and you’re like, take a day off. I was like, I’m trying, I took two hours off yesterday. Like not good enough. Oh my goodness. 


The best piece of advice is from me. I’m proud and she actually takes days off. Now did everyone like to listen to this whole episode, like acknowledge that boundaries have been set in place, priorities understood. And time management is of the essence. I love it. Chelsea. Thank you so much for being on the show with me today. We’re going to put all of your links and things in the show notes. Thank you so much. Thank you. 


If you are struggling with the need to please having a professional to help you identify your habits will fast-track you to rewrite the behaviours that have kept you stuck in the past. As a cognitive behavioural therapist who has spend the past decade dedicated to this work. I would love to support you on your healing journey. Contact me today!

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