Kisha Mays is an entrepreneur, author and founder of Just Fearless who runs her team from wherever in the world she chooses to be. We asked Kisha to tell us about why she started her own business, why failure is crucial to success and, of course, her favourite exotic food!
Please can you give us some background on who you are, where you’re from and what you do as a digital nomad?
I would not consider myself a “digital nomad” so to speak because I do have a team of people that work for me to keep my business operating at its peak so I don’t work alone. However, I do travel quite a bit and live in multiple countries so I guess I am a nomad of sorts.
What is a typical day like for you?
It varies depending on meetings, appointments, and projects scheduled. No one day is the same and I like the variety.
What pushed you to take the leap towards a nomadic lifestyle?
I love to travel for new experiences and memories created. As well as gaining a greater understanding of other countries and people. It is simply FREEDOM of CHOICE that I LOVE!
What is the first thing you do when you arrive in a new place?
Depends on what time I arrive as I tend go with the time zone I am currently in.
What are your inspirations?
They change as I achieve more and develop greater visions. It is the simple things that inspire me on a daily basis. Such as the smile of a child or being at an ocean or large body of water and just listening to the waves which is so calming and recharging. Simply put, life inspires me.
Please can you tell us the story behind Just Fearless? Why did you start the business and how can it help people?
We would be here for a long time if I were to go into detail. I did, however, detail it in my book From Failure to Fearless which is available on Amazon. I started my business because I was not very good at working as an employee. I do better as the boss. LOL!
Really, I wanted to find a way to work with and empower women and it led to this. Through my company, Just Fearless, my team and I help established businesses scale their products and services into new international markets.
Why do you consider going through failure to be an important part of succeeding?
I call failures lessons learned. Without the lessons learned, how could I grow as person or as a business? I don’t believe that you can grow and build without them.
The key is to learn the lesson the first time so that you don’t repeat it. You will also appreciate the successes a lot more.
If you could return to just one location you have lived in, where would it be and why?
Wow! That is a tough one. I love the various countries I have lived in for multiple reasons. It would be Malaga because it is on the southern coast of Spain. I loved the people, the weather, the food, the coastline, and beautiful beaches.
How has your lifestyle affected your relationships with people back ‘home’?
They rarely see me, so I would guess they are used to it by now.
What does the word ‘home’ mean to you?
Home is where ever the heart is.
With a business called Just Fearless, we have to ask, has anything ever scared you as a digital nomad and how did you deal with it?
Not really because in my mind, it is either a really great experience and memory or it is a valuable lesson learned. So for both scenarios, In the beautiful words of DJ Khaled, All I Do Is Win!
Why do you prefer not to stay in hotels and what is your most important advice for finding accommodation?
It is not that I don’t prefer to stay in hotels because I love them, but when you are on the road for months and months at a time you get to a point where you want the comforts of home.
So for long term stays I tend to do Airbnb and for short term stays I tend to do hotels.
Do you prefer to travel slowly or quickly and why?
I prefer nonstop flights so that I can just get there. I don’t like taking the bus or train trips unless it is a trip between NYC and DC. So I like to travel quickly and spend more time in the moment rather than in an airport or plane.
Do you think your attitude to life would have differed if you had never moved away?
It is possible, but I grew up in Houston which is a very diverse city anything is possible.
How does location independence make you more productive?
It takes extra focus to be more productive especially when you are in an amazing city Malaga, or Miami, or Paris, or Phuket, and so forth.
How exactly do you track your time and how does it help you?
I use a calendar and also use apps to keep me productive and on schedule with projects.
Can you tell us about one or more of your favourite moments as a nomad?
I am a foodie, so I love to experience different cuisines and styles of cooking in everything from street food to fine dining.
What have you found challenging about the digital nomad lifestyle?
Nothing so far because I am loving it!
How do you choose where to go next?
There are a variety of factors that go into that such as research, new opportunities, new clients, current clients (remember our business is about scaling into new markets), and for me it is the weather.
How do you connect with people when you don’t live permanently in one place?
I meet people everywhere at event, conferences, meetups, and more. When there is a connection I make it a point to stay in touch where possible. Others tend to do the same. We live in a global economy and in this age of social media, Whatsapp, etc. it is not hard to make a connection and stay in touch.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
Not hoping, but knowing that Just Fearless will be a global conglomerate in multiple industries kind of like Virgin. It is coming! Don’t believe me, just watch!
What are the main aspects of your personality that have allowed you to live as a digital nomad?
I don’t like labels, but people who know me well would “label” me an ambivert. The definition for an ambivert is a person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features. I believe that has allowed me to live this life!
Do you have any daily routines or habits that you always stick to?
I wake up every morning with gratitude and give thanks for all that transpired the previous day. I go to sleep every night visualizing for the goals and desires of my heart.
Do you take holidays? If so where and how?
Sometimes I plan specific leisure trips but it depends. I don’t have a need to escape as my life is pretty incredible.
What preconceptions do people from countries you travel to have when they first meet you and how do you find common ground?
Being an American citizen comes with positive and negative preconceptions depending on which country I am traveling to. I take it all in stride and with the understanding that you only get one first impression. So I am just me and allow my personality, my energy, and my character to shine through!
How do you stay healthy when you are on the move a lot?
You can always find a dance class, or Zumba, or Yoga class, or Pilates all over the world. Even though I am foodie, it is all about moderation because Health is Wealth!
Are there any places you would recommend against traveling to? If so where and why?
I think it is pretty much common sense on that one. Maybe you don’t want to go to Syria or Venezuela right at this very moment or any other country that has heavy turmoil, instability, and actual war.
You just have to use your common sense on that one. Be smart while traveling , especially when traveling alone, and you will be fine.
What is an issue that you feel especially passionate about?
Women’s Equality and Economic Empowerment! Need I say more…
What do you wish you had known when you started (as a nomad)?
Nothing, I called it the beautiful unknown and I loved it and still do.
What is the best food you have eaten as a digital nomad?
I can’t decide on just one thing because the foodie in me has found something I LOVE in most cuisines.
Are you fearless when it comes to trying exotic food?
I would say so. For example, if you can get past the seemingly foul and nauseating smell of Durian it has a taste slightly comparable taste to mango.
How do you define success?
Success for me is being able to have the choice to live life on my terms with complete financial freedom.
What do you do differently to the majority of people you know that has a significant impact on your life (good or bad)?
This will sound cheeky, but there is quote that I live by. “Today I will do what others won’t do so that tomorrow I can do what others can’t do”. The majority will not do that and that is why so many just exist instead of live.
Which books have had a big impact on you?
What are the creature comforts you cannot live without?
My iphone is my connection to the world. Otherwise I am flexible! LOL!