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London to Bali via Tribewanted: A productivity, happiness and business turnaround

Laura Thomas

So back in February I was presented with the opportunity to leave my part-time job with a little financial boost and the full time freedom to work and grow on my passion led business — Happy Sugar Habits.

So why after one week of leaving, was I struggling?

1. Isolation with working at home

I was fully aware that my part-time work gave me more than just funds but the reality of leaving it hit harder when it happened. Suddenly I had no team, no chat, no banter. I resorted to ‘Lad Bible’ (a Facebook page of funny nonsense) breaks to laugh at ridiculous videos for enlightenment. As an extrovert who requires energy from in person contact, Lad Bible could only do so much.

2. Co-working space expense

I joined a co-working space in London but found myself paying £7 for the privilege of a crowded train to pay about £20 to sit in an office and have a small talk conversation about coffee (which I didn’t actually drink or like but engaged in for purely social need). The space was lovely and had a community but I just didn’t fit in as I’d hoped. Something wasn’t right.

Additionally, everyone else on the train was getting paid to commute. I was doing it by choice, with money my business wasn’t earning. At times I felt slightly insane with this, especially when being crushed in the face with an armpit.

3. Google as my advisor

Don’t get me wrong, Google is amazing, but I was Google searching everything and trawling painfully through business blogs for answers that usually contradicted each other. I honestly one day banged my head on my desk in despair when trying to understand how a particular software worked. More time in front of the computer, more confusion, more overwhelm — an entrepreneur’s nemesis for sure.

4. Decision paralysis

Should I go to the gym now? No, maybe after breakfast and I’ll work in Café Nero afterwards. Ah no, I need to Skype so maybe the café then home. Oh sugar I should have gone earlier. Oh damn there’s no plug socket in here. I really need to get a routine. Laura, you are useless…la la la.

Downward self-bashing spiral ensues. Too much time and too much choice can actually be a big problem it turns out.

I knew it was really bad when I started emotional eating almond butter out of the tub (ok so it wasn’t sugar but emotional eating all the same). I teach people how to overcome this for goodness sake. It was at this point I knew there was a systemic problem in this setup for me at this point in time. I had to take action.

Enter Bali and Tribewanted….

In between my Lad Bible breaks, I saw a Facebook status of a friend ‘working’ in Bali in a ‘tribe’. One week later and some mother reassuring, I had a ticket whilst also begging Ben Keene to extend his Start Up Tribewanted project beyond the end of March.

Lucky for me it happened. This time led by an incredible coach calledDanielle Marchant.

So what happened and what changed?

I was immersed in a community of likeminded people

Being a Tribewanted and Hubud member I was surrounded by people common in their fundamental beliefs about work, life and travel but wonderfully varied in terms of what they were actually doing. I met a mind-blowingly interesting person every day, which tended to make me think about a new angle in my own business and life.

It was affordable

Fresh coconut water, vegetarian buffets and green juice for as little as £1.25. Accommodation half the cost of rent in London but with a swimming pool and view. Yoga classes £3. Massages £5. Scooter transportation (which is much more fun than the tube crush) for £35 a month. I offset the ticket of my plane fare very easily thanks to London’s extortion.

I had a tribe of business support (minimal Google needed)

Each day we’d check in and were asked what help we wanted. Facebook ads? Someone ran a session the next day. Tools to automate social media? I had an honest review and summary of half a dozen within 5 minutes. Need a video guy. Introduced that hour. This was efficient (& effortless). Not to mention the satisfaction when I could help someone else out with my own knowledge and contacts.

There was structure

A regular meeting at 10am everyday gave me some structure to sort a routine out which was immensely valuable. Time out of my day gave me more time in a weird way. It forced me back to being organised and smarter with my time.

Team & accountability

I’ve realised since being self employed how much I valued being in a team. Tribewanted became my team. Our daily check in meetings involved an update on what you’d done and what you were going to do. So simple but effective in moving forward. We got to know each other and our quirks. There was banter…YES! The accountability was powerful. I finished a mammoth 77-curriculum sugar detox course by a date I didn’t think was possible because I’d simply said I would and was motivated to talk in front of 300 people. Boom!

Ok so my goals disintegrated slightly but they were still there! #wellworn

Did someone say fun? ‘Check in’ meetings in tropical hotels followed by an infinity pool swim. Rice paddy field trekking whilst discussing my community growth. Trash collecting with local children from The Green School and river wading before breakfast at a bamboo hotel. Surfing in Kuta followed by ‘man life is good’ beers in Seminyak. You get the idea.

You wouldn’t think you can do work and have this much fun, but you can and because you’re so happy, your output is better.

Friends & community

I’ve always appreciated that whatever you do or wherever you travel, the group of people you experience it with heavily influences your experience.

In travelling solo to Bali, Tribewanted gave me an instant like-minded family in my home away from home. Some joined with a business, some without. Some were just trying to work out the next steps in their life and others were dabbling with odd side projects. Whatever the goal, we were in it together, for each other. It was the community that drove change in all off us and facilitated the progress we made in our respective endeavours.

I’ve not even covered what else Ubud itself offers. Stunning scenery, mountains to climb, tropical weather, world class yoga and incredible food.

So I’m home now (in London), but my take on life and my business is different.

Tribewanted, Hubud and Ubud developed me more in 3 months than I imagined. I’m more resilient, open minded, business savvy and dare I say it — ‘conscious’. My business has grown, my message has been refined and my strategy worked through. I have healthier self-employed habits around work-life balance that will serve me for life. I have new entrepreneurial friends in London to hang out with and I have new hobbies to continue (ecstatic dance anyone?).

Tribewanted’s ‘community is change’ concept is simple but its value is profound. It changed my life, business and expanded my mind more than I expected. Big thanks to Ben, Danielle and everyone else who crossed my path. I will forever be grateful. Namaste!

Tribe Smoke Signals
Laura had such an impactful time with the Tribe that she is coming back to be the new Tribe Leader.  Join her in Bali from August 1st - apply here.
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