How One Digital Nomad Was Inspired to Make Life Easier for Everyone
While traveling, it was hard for Mischa Armada to find great places to stay. Mischa wants to fix that for fellow digital nomads.
After living, working, and traveling through Asia, Mischa was inspired to start StayAwhile, a startup that helps you find and stay in stylish hotel around the world for a flat fee. Mischa cofounded StayAwhile to help people like her. With the rise of remote workers traveling the globe, Mischa’s definitely onto something special.
In addition to her newly founded company, Mischa is a strategic marketing and growth advisor. Mischa helps early-stage startups succeed and grow at scale through research, successful customer journeys, and effective campaigns.
We sat down with Mischa to discuss her inspiration for StayAwhile, her experience as a marketer, and get some inside tips on how to use storytelling to advance your business. Read on to learn more about Mischa or check out her portfolio through her page.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re currently living.
My name is Mischa Armada and I’m the co-founder of StayAwhile, a startup for travelers providing unlimited stays at stylish hotels around the world at a flat monthly rate. I recently arrived back after a year living, working, and traveling throughout Asia. Some call it being digital nomad, some call it a sabbatical, I call it necessary and something that truly opened my eyes to this venture.
My time is spent living between L.A., New York and Manila.
How long have you been a digital nomad and what do you love about working while traveling?
‘Digital nomad’ is a very loose definition for me. It can encompass the couchsurfer living out of their backpack with a laptop to the consultant advising for companies in NYC, L.A, Hong Kong.
What I love about working while traveling is the ability to have a different point of view and perspective — literally. It’s incredible to be perched on top of a cafe overlooking the jungle, temples in the distance, motorbikes buzzing, eating something you could never find anywhere else, at this little pocket of the world you just happen to be in that has no semblance of home. Nothing feels better than being out of your comfort zone and first experiences.
What’s been your favorite place to visit while working?
My favorite place to visit is anywhere near the beach and anywhere they don’t speak English. I love discovery and figuring it out for myself.
What are your three favorite digital nomad resources?
StayAwhile (obviously), T-mobile (because my phone connects globally without having to change sim cards), and Slack (for team collaboration).
What is your top tip for someone who is looking to take the leap and become a digital nomad?
As Hunter S. Thompson said, “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
The best way to get going, is to get started. Your mind finds creative ways to make it work when you want something bad enough.
What are you currently working on at Imonggo?
I’m still advising for Imonggo, which is fantastic. I’m still in awe being in New York and working with Manila.
However, my energies and efforts are on StayAwhile. There’s a shift happening in the world that makes us necessary, one that I’ve personally experienced for myself and have seen in a thriving community of others who encompass this live, work, wander lifestyle. More work is shifting to the cloud, hyperconnectivity opens more opportunities, and transportation is evolving. Why live in one place, when you can live in several?
I love the idea of sampling new cities, getting out of your comfort zones, and having more firsts.
You played a big part in launching Tinder back in 2012. What was it like to see that app grow as it did?
We knew Tinder was special from the get go. I think it’s really important to have a small nimble team in the early stage that allows you to be creative, but also have the same goals in mind. We did a soft launch that generated 12,000 downloads. The following month was 450,000 downloads. And now Tinder is part of culture. First they’ll want it, then they’ll need it, then it becomes culture. I don’t love anything more.
What three tips would you give to a founder who is looking to use marketing to increase their growth?
- Focus on owning one specific niche. Understand your customer’s needs, their motivations, and what drives them. Shape your product for them and solving their problems. Their problems are your problems.
- Test, Test, Test. You won’t know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t test. In reality, your product will never be finished. So done is better than perfect. And the only way to figure out your next move is to test and learn.
- Team, Market, Product. Do one of these exceedingly well.
How do you think a new business can use storytelling to help them grow?
There are so many channels you can utilize to reach your target audience, but consumers are smart. When you have a microsecond to capture their attention, the content you put out better be worth it and of value for them. Channels help you with that, it’s mostly about what kind of narrative are you trying to tell and why others should care about it.