For this interview I am talking with Maren Kate the COO of Roam.
Roam is a global co-living company focused on helping people make their life a wonderful adventure. The way we do this is by allowing our members to live around the world: London, Tokyo, Bali, Miami, for a weekly or monthly “lease” with no strings attached. Roam locations offer hotel quality lodging, so a beautiful bedroom and private bathroom, a shared chef’s kitchen and coworking spaces along with battle-tested wifi. Basically Roam offers Comfort, Co-working and Community all wrapped into one.
Q1 – What first sparked the Idea of Roam?
Our founder, Bruno Haid, was living between multiple cities a couple of years ago and experienced first hand how incredibly complicated moving around all the time is. But also realized that it doesn’t have to be.
Q2- The task of setting up co-living spaces around the world seems mind boggling to me. What are some of the toughest challenges you faced when creating Roam?
The challenges, like anything, are finding productive ways to work with people across multiple time zones and dealing with physical properties. But like with anything, both can be overcome with some hard work and focusing on creating an environment that encourages open communication.
Q3- How did you work through them? Also, what did it teach you about working online?
Working in a distributed company is fascinating, some people consider it harder than a brick-and-mortar but I completely disagree.
Q4- Who typically stay at Roam? Entrepreneur, long-term travelers?
We have a mix of people, from solo-preneurs who work from their computer to baby boomers who gave up their mortgage in the burbs and decided to travel the world instead with Roam. We focus on being an inclusive community that has more than just millenials, we love curating a mix of people from many walks of life who can learn from and enjoy each other.
Q5- Why would someone choose Roam instead of a hotel or hostel?
The quality of the lodging is equal to a hotel, but with the feel of home, we also give you access to a amazing kitchens and coworking spaces. Our community managers focus on building a sense of belonging on the property and also help new members get to know the local landscape.
Q6- What is some of the feedback you are getting from of the people using Roam? Are they getting more work done, bouncing ideas off another entrepreneur?
The collaboration is amazing. People meet each other and help ideate on projects, decide to travel together and just generally make great friends and strong connections. Traveling is already inspiring, then being able to share your experiences with a variety of people from all over the world makes the whole experience even better and we see ideas percolating like crazy.
Q7- I assume You love to travel yourself. What are some of your favorite places and why?
I adore New York City. I think it’s because I only first visited when I was 27, it was just a magical experience walking the streets of NYC after growing up in the flat expanses of Texas and Nevada. Ubud, Bali, which I visited when I first joined Roam is amazing,
I absolutely love our place there and the community in general. Tokyo is always a big favoriate—the food, the culture, the cleanliness, it’s rad.
Q8 – What are three Items you can’t travel without?
I’m a huge fan of books, but they get very heavy to lug around, so I use my Kindle. It’s a game changer. I also have bought lots of little zip bags when I was in Asia + I use them to keep all of my stuff organized. Lastly, I never go anywhere without my waterproof notebook and a pencil to jot down ideas and notes.
Q9- What advice would you have for people who want to start an online business.
It’s really important to figure out your “why” first—why are you doing what you want to do? If it’s just for money, it may be easier to find good employment as a freelancer.
If it’s because you really enjoying starting things, specifically businesses, then spend a year reading everything you can get your hands on from people who have done what you want to do—that would be my first suggestion. Then just start.
Q10- What are some of the lessons you have learned traveling?
The biggest lesson I have learned is when you rely on the media to inform you of what a people, culture or country is like you end up having extremely backwards, close-minded views of the world.
I also have been pleasantly surprised to realize that I am the most productive when traveling, vs when working in a traditional office. I can get more done in a few hours of cafes and trains in France than I could in two full workdays in a corporate office. Travel is just inspiring to me, both personally and professionally.
Q 11- Give us your favorite travel trips from Roaming the world.
You need fewer things than we have been led to believe we need. All of my worldly possessions live in three suitcases, one large than I take with me for longer trips and two small ones that I swap out clothes in based on where in the world I am going.
Turn you data roaming off before you leave the country.
Learn how to say “chefs choice” in all languages.
Check out more about Roam here.