Lavinia Iosub: Work Style Personality Types, Remote Team Management & Being a Successful Digital Nomad

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Lavinia Iosub: Work Style Personality Types, Remote Team Management & Being a Successful Digital Nomad
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Lavinia Iosub Podcast CoverLavinia Iosub is a fellow expat entrepreneur who originally hails from Romania and now runs a unique combo of a business incubator, remote team management, coworking space, and consultancy service here in Bali called Livit.  

(Basically, if you’re looking to build a remote team, scale your existing remote team, learn how to properly be a digital nomad, or just get a cool, calm place to work from in Bali so you can actually get some things done whilst you’re here – then Lavinia and Livit are going to be interesting for you.)

We talk about hiring in Indonesia vs. the Western democracies, synchronous vs. asynchronous communication, how to scale successfully, the different work style personality types, her take on the future of remote work and being a long-term, successful digital nomad, finding and maintaining a healthy work/life balance, an obscure Dutch social scientist who classified why people from certain cultures act the way they do, what holacracy is all about (a new term to me), and more.

Favorite Quote:

“Rewards can have very different natures, they can be tangible or intangible…Somebody who works in our welcoming and hospitality part just recently said to me, ‘This is the first company I’ve ever been employed at where I can save money and have vacation time to visit other countries.’ To me, I live for things like that. I want people to travel, I want people to develop themselves, they’ll come back as better contributors.”

Lavinia’s Links:

Other Relevant Links:

Transcript:

Brian Crane 0:30
Cool. So today I’m sitting here with Lavinia Iosub. She is the managing partner at Livit International, which is this really beautiful co-working, startup incubator, hub down in Sanur, about an hour from Ubud in in Bali, Indonesia and Livit is a place that runs events like project getaway, it also hosts and builds remote teams and highly functional teams here for various companies throughout Asia and elsewhere in the world. I’m watching her roll her eyes as I go through my introduction here, I’m going to try to speed it up. She’s talented kind of across a number of areas, whether it’s from scaling remote teams, operations for those remote teams, ensuring compliance, ensuring that the people who do come to Bali to work have a phenomenal time. She’s prior to this experience at Livit and prior to building limit, she lived in 8 different countries on four continents. She has had a world outside of startups in co-working, where she experimented with banking, NGOs, event management, and definitely worked with a lot of celebrities, some of whom I didn’t know and now I do like Mila Jovovich and she built herself as a recovering perfectionist and a hopeless jazz fan. So she’s here in Bali for two thirds of the year, outside of that one third she is location independent, ie a digital nomad. And originally from Romania, I happen to be sitting here face to face. I know your parents are as well from… or they have a place in the Carpathian Mountains. Yeah? And it was cool. Yeah. Thank you.

Lavinia Iosub 2:19
Thank you for having me.

Brian Crane 2:21
Cool. So after that long winded intro, I’ll just say that having walked through the facilities here, walk it walk through the co-working space, you got four floors. There’s a cafeteria down at the ground floor. The second and third floor – not really a cafeteria, cafe, that slash co working space. The second and third floor are air conditioned offices. The fourth floor is like an outdoor kind of deck overlooking Bali. All very picturesque, all very Instagram worthy. What’s the story behind this building? What did it used to be before y’all took it over and started to create this?

Lavinia Iosub 3:01
So this building used to be a factory, a clothing factory, they were actually exporting to New York. And they were producing the kind of stuff that you would expect to see. I don’t know, Prince or somebody wear. Lots of glittery things, and so on. But the building was basically kind of a glorified sweatshop. And we only kept the shell of the building and sort of like blew up everything else and built it back together to fit our needs. So it used to be a collection of just giant holes, giant rooms. And then of course, we put in like kitchens and bathrooms and showers and private rooms and Skype rooms and quiet room for naps and prayer and other things and so on and so forth. So yeah, it was a transformative process, I guess.

Brian Crane 3:53
For sure. Yeah, take a take a building that was used for something, let’s say not so savory. Make it repositioned for something that is quite a bit more palpable, yeah?

Lavinia Iosub 4:05
Yeah. And something that we feel is actually, so our community is majority local, actually, we have a lot of experts, but it’s majority local as well. And we feel like what we’re doing here gives more chances and more opportunity for great careers, for making impact at the global scale. Beyond just making glittery shorts and stuff.

Brian Crane 4:33
Yeah, I mean, that that’s one of the things that I wanted to talk with you about because it was… like having been in Bali for a couple years. When you started telling me about Livit when when you and I met in the fall, the impression that I’ve had in Bali is that it’s obviously very tourism based. It’s very service based and so there’s not a lot of tech being built in Bali. I think elsewhere in Indonesia, there’s definitely more hubs of tech and remote work, but at least in Bali, my perception prior to meeting you was that it was effectively a lot of Westerners building lifestyle businesses and then supported by the Balinese in terms of like, they could just rent a villa or get a massage or get food delivered. And so Livit is one of the few places, maybe the only one in the island, where there’s actual Indonesian teams here that are building and they’re in front of big monitors and they have proper, you know, it’s like a proper workspace, right, like they’ve got, you know, ergonomic keyboards and it looks like they’re on like a sprint methodology with whiteboards and whatnot. So is that perception correct? Is this one of the few that… Yeah, on the island that that’s the case?

Lavinia Iosub 5:47
Yeah, I think so. I think, I mean, Bali is an amazing hub for entrepreneurship, solopreneurship, digital nomad, freelancers. There are lots of siblings in that family, right? For a lot of foreigners, I think that’s majority Westerners, but there’s other nationalities and parts of the world as well coming in together. But a lot of it is lifestyle businesses, which are great. And I think it’s, yeah, they serve a great purpose, and a lot of them are great. Some of them are taking advantage of the, like, sort of West’s versus developing country sort of gaps and like building on that, which of course, everybody, you know, feels in different ways about that. But I think that’s what’s mostly found in Bali. I think in terms of tech, Indonesia has a lot of great talent. It’s mainly stationed in Jakarta and in Bandung, so actually, when we do recruitment, we hire a lot of people from Bandung, down from Surabaya as well.

Brian Crane 6:58
And move them over here?

Lavinia Iosub 6:59
Some move over here, some prefer to work remotely, which is totally fine because the teams we’ve built are perfectly capable of working remotely, and then maybe coming together once or twice a year with the whole team having a great sprint of work and bonding together as a team as well. So that’s one of the things that we do. But yeah, so I would say there’s a lot of good tech talent being educated in Indonesia. Bali unfortunately, educates mostly hospitality people and some management, a little bit of culture and art as well- actually, a lot of culture and arts, too. So usually, even if you got Balinese people that want to get a degree in tech, they go somewhere else.

Brian Crane 7:47
They leave Bali, they go to…

Lavinia Iosub 7:48
They leave Bali, sometimes they come back, sometimes they don’t, so yeah, there’s not a lot of tech happening in Bali for us. It was a decision based on on on lifestyle and on our firm belief in remote, distributed work. We just didn’t feel like you absolutely need to be in one of the big hubs to make this happen.

Brian Crane 8:11
So, yeah, when you when you speak about not necessarily needing to be in one of the big hubs to make this happen… I’d mentioned before we talked that. We’ve worked for six, seven years with a software team in Warsaw, Poland. And that team has grown from when we started, I think they were at, I don’t know, eight to 10 people now they’re up to 140. But the moral of the story, the point of story is that I would go and I still go to Warsaw every year to work with them face to face for a period of time. And I think that for entrepreneurs or people who are, who are listening to this who are interested in wanting to have a team in a place that they actually really want to go visit like I like Warsaw. It’s a fascinating place, but I wouldn’t go there if it weren’t for the team being there. And so if you wanted to build a team actually in Bali, which would be really nice, because you can live here, and then you can also work with your team, Livit would be maybe the only people to talk to on the island to do so. Is that fair?

Lavinia Iosub 9:19
Um, I don’t know. I guess, to my knowledge, yes. We are definitely one solid provider for that. So, but there might be other spaces that I might not be aware of, or service providers. So I don’t want to leave anybody out.

Brian Crane 9:38
That’s a very politically soft way of saying yes, probably the only one I’ll say, maybe there are, yeah, but they’re not as well branded or well known as as Livit. So, to kind of give some context to what Lavinia does and Livit across the board. So you have you have co-working like we talked about before and you have you have a co-working space. You kind of an incubator. Both incubator in the sense of an existing company comes to you and says, Hey, we need additional help, and that you can help expand. And also an incubator in the sense of you have, like people who apply to something like Project Getaway, and they want to build their own business or they want to… Sometimes it’s just like, kind of launch a new career, right, in a way, yeah?

Lavinia Iosub 10:26
Pivot or accelerate.

Brian Crane 10:27
Pivot or accelerate. And then you also have big teams here in the space, two to three of them, that they have grown. Almost like Amazon Web Services for engineering teams, right. Is that fair? Yeah. And then and then you sit amongst all of this and keep, essentially keep the trains running. Is that…?

Lavinia Iosub 10:50
Yeah, correct. I think the best way I would describe us as a support ecosystem for entrepreneurs and for startups, right? So we do a lot of things, we almost have, say a wide sack of services that basically go into the same direction, which is allowing entrepreneurs and their teams to do great work, to build amazing companies with a global impact, because those are the companies we help the most. And grow sort of high performance, remote-capable teams that get a lot done and enjoy life. Those two things were traditionally seen as opposites, right?

Brian Crane 11:36
Contradictory, not complimentary.

Lavinia Iosub 11:38
Exactly. And the, you know, hustle porn and just grinding and working really long hours and everything. I’m very, very happy to see that in the startup world. There are some big names sort of starting to talk about this not needing to be, you know, yeah, just completely forget about this five years of your life. It’s work non-stop. And at least in corporate, you have the assurance of a good paycheck at the end, pension and everything. In startups, you don’t have that, you could lose everything, right, as the startup goes down the drain. So it never made sense for me, right? It makes sense for me that you can learn how to do better work, more organized, streamline work, and enjoy your life as well. So the voices that I was talking about are, for example, the founders of Basecamp, who wrote Rework, they also recently put out a book called It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. I really recommend it for people that want to build startups but don’t want to give up on life entirely as well. And also do wrist or twist or other, like another founder that is very vocal about this and we’re very, very happy to see that, that it is increasingly presented as something that you can do because you have a very enhanced sense of mission and what you want to do in the world and you’re scratching an itch. And you’re not only killing yourself to chase the next $1 billion exit, so I’m very happy to see that and what you see here is, even the physical space is a manifestation of how we think about life and work and, you know, you’ve got restroom, like rooms where you can like sort of rest and recharge and meditate, whatever it is you want to do. You’ve got slides and hammocks and the rooftop with a beautiful view. So you either take your time to relax or you actually have that as a background of doing work. And yeah, so everything that’s in the building is not coincidental. It was very thought through.

Brian Crane 13:54
Well, I think when you talk about what was thought through in the building, one thing I noticed is I think at one end to the extreme, you can have people who identify as digital nomads, but they have really bad… Like, they don’t really have a workspace. So they’re in cafes, they’re in restaurants, this type of thing. And here, you’re trying to strike a balance between saying like this a particular lifestyle I want but you also still need ergonomic chairs, you also still need an air conditioned room, you need a space that’s separate from where you live, which is a lot of times, I see people who where like they they work from their kitchen counter and this sort of stuff. And that’s useful for, you know, a short period of time, but it’s certainly not, I think conducive to long term mental health and long term stability. So, can you talk about that a little bit as far as… I think there’s a lot of misconceptions around remote work, one of them being that remote work, you almost need to create an atelier Or a space where you go to work that has the things in it that support you so that you can actually live the life that you want to from a lifestyle perspective. So if for instance, if you’re hunched over your laptop and your back hurts, and you’re not getting nearly as much done as you would be in an office, that’s not really a win in the grand scheme, right?

Lavinia Iosub 15:25
Absolutely. I think a good workspace needs to be healthy and sustainable, right, as you’re saying, you need to be comfortable if you’re going to sit down and do deep work for a few hours. And then it also needs to be conducive of the habits that put you in flow or in however you want to call productivity and so on. And I think, again, without sounding disrespectful or anything, I think there are some types of work that can be done from cafes and restaurants. If you’re…

Brian Crane 15:59
You can disagree with me whenever you want to. It’s okay.

Lavinia Iosub 16:02
No, no, no, no, not with you, with generally what’s very trendy now, right? So I think you can write blog posts and you can do… can create a social media feed of good content and you can do all these things from a restaurant or from a cafe. But you might not be able to develop a very good strategy for scale or do some complicated sort of problem solving or code for 12 hours from a restaurant or from a cafe. I still have to meet somebody that’s able to do that from a wooden uncomfortable bench or chair and you know, drenching in sweat, and having people talk and approach you and everything. So what we have in here it has two bits to it. The first one is fully geared towards productivity. I think of it as a plug and play environment where you’ve literally got like plugs everywhere, you’ve got good chairs, you’ve got AC, you’ve got quiet areas, you’ve got plenty of space, so you’re not like, sort of crowded next to somebody else that might be doing a very different type of work. You’ve got standing tables, you’ve got beanbags, if at some point you want to alternate the way you you sit and so on. So from an ergonomic and health point of view, you’ve got what you need. You will also have like a tennis table and you’ve got yoga and dance classes and swimming, not far from here, that we organized for groups that want to do that. So all of that is optional, but there are options for you to take a break that helps you go back to be recharged and inspired and not just go for hours on end, because we know that once your resources are depleted, the more you try to pedal, the less productive you actually get, right? So there’s that aspect to it. And then there’s the aspect of like, a playful environment that also gives you, you know, it’s beautiful, it’s not only productive and sterile, right? It is also beautiful, it’s inspiring, it gives you the opportunity to do other things that might not be super work related, if you wish to. Right, like good food and all of those things.

Brian Crane 18:26
Now you didn’t leave Des Moines, Iowa and come to Bali so that you could sit in a cubicle, effectively.

Lavinia Iosub 18:33
Exactly which I think if you if you start a company that starts being very successful and you happen to be in Bali, it’s a big trap that you can fall into. I know at least a few people who are working way too much for being in Bali.

Brian Crane 18:51
Okay.

Lavinia Iosub 18:52
Yeah. It just doesn’t really make sense. I’m sometimes guilty of that, although I’m really good with separating things. But I sometimes, when I get very excited about a project or something that’s going on, I…

Brian Crane 19:08
You dive in, yeah, you’re immersed in it.

Lavinia Iosub 19:11
But you need to compensate, right? So I think… they say there are two types of people. There are even tests for this online. So they say there are, in terms of work-life balance, there are people who like to compartmentalize and people who like to integrate, right. So people who don’t mind jumping from, I don’t know making a payment for a personal issue to a work tab and doing something there and going back to it and not having very well defined work hours, and just like sort of having a synergy, right, between work and play. And I think…

Brian Crane 19:45
That’s the integrative type? Okay.

Lavinia Iosub 19:47
And then the compartmentalizers are people who just really like to know this chunk of the day is there for work. I often don’t actually have my phone in the same room with me. I sometimes think of like, oh, if something really bad happens, I wouldn’t even know until a few hours later. But it works for me and it works for other people as well, that you just like dive deep, do what you need to do, are more productive than if you switch from tab to tab or at least for myself. And then you kind of move on, go out. Do what you need to do. Do a workout, go to a movie. Disconnect completely. So I often have a cut-off time at around 8pm I don’t even see my emails after that time until the morning.

Brian Crane 20:33
Yeah.

Lavinia Iosub 20:34
So…

Brian Crane 20:34
I’m in that camp. I’m in the compartmentalize camp. I mean, there’s… which it sounds like you are as well. Yeah. And there’s a phenomenon in Ubud that is… I have friends who invite me to things that it’ll be Wednesday at one o’clock in the afternoon or whatnot. And it’s just a non starter because of my compartmentalization. And I think… I don’t know what these people are here working, supposedly and maybe for them, it’s easier to move things around. But for me I’m like, yeah, I need… I’ve kind of protected that time.

Lavinia Iosub 21:03
Yeah, same for me. Same here. And I think, I genuinely honestly think it can work for some people. But that also means that they don’t have a cut off time and their work spills into the evening. And they’re always connected, which again, is really good for some types of work and for some types of people. So absolutely whatever floats everybody’s boat, right? You should do whatever makes you feel productive, makes you feel like you’re getting a lot done. It makes you feel happy as well.

Brian Crane 21:32
Do you really believe that? Or do you think that someone should get tested first to then find out which one of the two camps they fall into? And the reason being is that if you follow that last piece of advice, and you don’t know which one of the two camps you fall into, then if you are really somebody who compartmentalizes but yet you don’t adhere to any kind of framework around your work, and you wind up checking email at 11-10 o’clock at night. It’s not actually conducive to… like you should know which one of the two you are beforehand, effectively.

Lavinia Iosub 22:05
I mean, when you say in a test is still what you believe is best for you, right? So the result of the test is still going to be biased if you think that’s good for you, because the questions are gonna be like, Do you prefer this or that? And if you really prefer that, then the result is going to be that… I would say that we’re all adults. And if it doesn’t work for somebody, you’d know, right? If it doesn’t work for you, you’d know, at some point. You’d have signs of a burnout or you’d be like sick and tired of work, or you’d be, you know, and I think that bit is more important. Inderstanding our bodies and our minds and understanding when things are starting to kind of tug at our sleeve and tell us like hey, that’s not really… Hello, you know, that’s not great for me. I think that’s the bit that we should do, right? Cuz you can compartmentalize and still work too much and still get burned out. Right? It’s not a silver bullet, right?

Brian Crane 23:02
Because even inside of that compartmentalization, when you’re inside your box, you’re working too much, effectively? Yeah.

Lavinia Iosub 23:08
Or you can, you know, you can, maybe your ideal balances, I don’t know, 50% of work 50% life and you’re compartmentalizing and you’re working 80% and only leaving 20% for life. So it’s not, you know what I mean? It’s not, that doesn’t mean that you will just get it right if you do one thing, I believe all of this frameworks and all of this tests and everything that we read, needs to be connected with other things that we know about ourselves with…

Brian Crane 23:42
Run through a filter of “does this work for you?”

Lavinia Iosub 23:44
Exactly, run it through a filter, think of your experience so far. And then also get good at listening to your body and to your mind because I think specifically when I go to Europe, specifically in big cities, I think that’s the thing that strikes me the most. It feels like a lot of people haven’t even had a conversation with themselves in a long time. And they’re just chasing the next train: the next promotion, the next title, the next raise. And it’s gotten to the point where it feels like they’re almost scared to have that conversation with themselves. And I think leaving that space, and that room in your life and making it a point, to just sit down with yourself for 10 to 15 minutes a day, however you call that; you can call it sitting doing nothing, decluttering, meditation, prayer, yoga, whatever you want to call that, and just give…

Brian Crane 24:46
Not on a screen. No screen time.

Lavinia Iosub 24:48
No screen time, no to-do list to think of, just be with yourself for 10-15 minutes and your body and your mind is gonna give you some hints. It sounds very woowoo. But it’s not, it’s very simple. And actually science is saying that more and more and as countries that are listening are even starting to integrate that in their educational systems. So Finland and so on, so…

Brian Crane 25:16
Interesting. Okay, so let’s let’s shift just for a minute into the more holistic or the health side, because when you and I spoke in the fall, you talked about some things like binaural beats, that you use some of the apps that you use when you wake up, I don’t remember what it was.

Lavinia Iosub 25:34
Um, one of the things I use is delta wave music.

Brian Crane 25:39
Okay.

Lavinia Iosub 25:41
And I also, there are a few apps that are really good like Headspace, that are good to use, but again, there are quite a few on the market so people might have other options that work for them. There’s one called MindFi that is very good because it does, um, it has some options for like, calming music and meditation and these things but it also has… it can sort of do a deep, deep work sort of Pomodoro Technique almost, for you. And if we’re on the topic, there’s also a really cool app called Forest, which plants a tree and the trees growing for 45 minutes or whatever you set it to. And if you touch your phone and try to do something with it during that time, the tree dies. So, and then it can also play some really nice like forest sounds or so on. There are lots of tools that can be used to set yourself up for good, productive work.

Brian Crane 26:46
For success, yeah. And so- Go ahead.

Lavinia Iosub 26:48
But the most important one is, disable those notifications. And if possible, put away any screens that are not helping you for whatever it is that you’re gonna do.

Brian Crane 27:00
Yeah, I think that’s… So what you’re touching on is the threat of some form of self discipline when it’s not checking the phone, putting the phone in the other room, whatever. Like if you put the phone in the other room, it’s creating a situation where, you know, maybe you don’t have enough self discipline not to check your phone, so you intentionally put it somewhere that you can’t get to it. And there is one of my personal axes to grind with a lot of the stuff in the digital nomad world is that they don’t tell people how much self discipline it actually takes when you don’t have the structure around you. That is, let’s say, imposed by a company or by a boss. And so there’s an old story about baseball players in the Dominican Republic who, they have to – I’ll keep this very short – but basically they they learned to hit any kind of pitch. Are you familiar with baseball?

Lavinia Iosub 28:00
Yeah.

Brian Crane 28:00
At least a little bit? Okay, so they learn to hit any kind of pitch in order to get off the island. And so they hit it at their head at their feet, whatever it is, doesn’t matter. And then when they get off the island, they get into the major leagues, the hitting coaches have to actually train them not to swing at every pitch, and only swing it the ones that are in their strike zone. And it’s like a whole new muscle for them, and a lot of them don’t make it. And there’s the moral of the story is…

Lavinia Iosub 28:22
It’s like rewiring.

Brian Crane 28:23
Yeah, is that you have to almost learn. It’s like you learned how to do one thing to get off the island, which was you got your freedom, let’s say you started to make some money online, you made it to Bali, but then when you get here, it’s a whole different set of skills that you really have to adopt, which is to essentially make it sustainable so that you don’t burn out, that you have some kind of balance. And it takes a lot of self discipline. It’s probably the thing I’ve seen with people who aren’t able to make it stick is they they just don’t put structures around them that facilitate that, or they don’t say no to the things that are the distractions is that what you see?

Lavinia Iosub 29:00
Absolutely, absolutely. We see that a lot too. I think part of it overlaps with, I mean, obviously being an entrepreneur and being, yeah, location independent entrepreneur is a whole different level of self discipline that is needed. But a part of it is… Also for remote workers, even if you’ve got a job, but you can work from anywhere, you can work presumably at various times because of the timezone difference and everything, you still have to be able to organize and motivate yourself to get those things done, right. So we see that a lot in these new emerging ways of work, be it remote work, location independence, trying to get a business off the ground, trying to keep a business going or get it to the next level while on the go. There’s so much distraction, there’s so much distraction and there’s especially if you’re moving around. Like a typical digital nomad, there’s no guarantee you’re going to find good internet, a productive space, all of the things.

Brian Crane 29:05
Or that you even sleep well where you’re staying. I mean… Yeah…

Lavinia Iosub 30:04
Yeah, hundred percent, hundred percent, hundred percent. And that’s one of the things I actually love about what our clients at Livit say, the fact that they come to live at hub and they say like they’ve had the most productive week in a long time, really well to do so much just because we didn’t have this distractions, and we could just, you know, plow through a big amount of work, I think is very… Self discipline is super important. One interesting tool because we were talking earlier about self awareness and tests and stuff like that. There’s a framework called the four tendencies that have been… sort of pioneered by Gretchen Rubin, an American woman, and she talks about expectations and how we respond to them and the four tendencies are basically different combinations of how we respond to those expectations. So for example, somebody who responds well to an outside external expectation and internal expectations is an upholder. So that person’s more likely to be disciplined and to be really going after what they want to do. A person who responds really well to inner expectations but very poorly to outer expectations is a questioner. A person who doesn’t respond well to either of them is a rebel, for example, and so on, right? So it…

Brian Crane 31:37
Can these be changed or is it effectively like a personality trait?

Lavinia Iosub 31:41
I think both tendencies can probably change a little bit and again, like this test should not be like yeah, I got categorized as this, this is it, but it’s a good and interesting, even thought process to go through, right, to be like, how did I react, did I meet the deadline? Or did I meet the expectations last five times that somebody, you know, sort of given me a task or expected something of me? How about when I expected it from myself, right? Because there are tools that you can employ for that. So for example, if you’re really bad at responding to inner expectations, probably great to have an accountability buddy, right? That keeps, like, sort of nudging you and, and so on. Right? If you’re somebody who responds very poorly to outside expectations, you probably should try to craft your own journey, right, then not have a boss because you’re probably never gonna get along with that person. Right? So it’s an interesting one to go through. But, um, but I think Yeah, there are definitely there are personalities and tempers that are more likely to do really well with having a whole world of opportunities and possibilities of spending your time because Bali really is like that. I’ve been here for Five years, I can still do something new every weekend. Right? And being able to say no to that, because you see the longer term, like, sort of reward. Right? And there’s so much written about it, right, online and said about it and everything. You just have to kind of be dedicated to finding whatever works for you. Because I think for different people, different things work.

Brian Crane 33:27
Yeah, the tendency, I don’t know which one of the four tendencies I would identify as, but the the thing that has been very useful for me is to create negative bets. As a bit of like, I have to the most recent one was I would have to donate $1,000 to a politician I really dislike and do a public post supporting that person. And that got me, and it was amongst a group of friends, that got me to really power through some things that I wanted to get through and I was delaying on and…

Lavinia Iosub 33:59
Well, I would say that a typical example of you being able to uphold everybody’s expectation of you of not supporting I don’t know, Trump or whoever, you know, which is a very, I guess, legitimate expectation of your friends, maybe, but not naturally trusting yourself to be able to do that expectation yourself. Right, for yourself. So I would say that’s a typical case of being responding better to outside expectations than to inner ones, right? Because somebody else might be like, Yeah, I don’t care that what my friends are gonna think, you know, I’m gonna do what I want to do anyway. So…

Brian Crane 34:36
I’ll just take it on the chin and make the donation and not…

Lavinia Iosub 34:39
They probably wouldn’t even get to that point! Because you got to that point to do that because you knew that was gonna work for you, right?

Brian Crane 34:45
There were social pressures with a couple friends and we all had bets like this. And two of the three made…

Lavinia Iosub 34:52
Those were very interesting ones, for sure.

Brian Crane 34:54
Yeah, yeah, one, yeah, there was… It’s a good one with friends because if you know what will really get under your friend’s skin and they’re susceptible to it, it’s a really good motivator. Yeah, because you pick something. One of my friends is really big on climate change. So he was gonna have to have a climate change denier on his podcast.

Lavinia Iosub 35:13
Painful.

Brian Crane 35:14
Yeah, things that you don’t want to do. Right?

Lavinia Iosub 35:17
Exactly. So funny how if you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer or you have a side gig, or you often look at your sort of running away from the nine to five, to the 5am to 9pm, or you’re running away from a boss, but now you have to employ your friends to be your boss to keep you accountable for certain things. So it’s funny how we reject these very traditional structures. And then we kind of look for that, you know, pressure or certainty or coercion or however we want to call those things, right? And then fall back into technically replicating the old structures anyway in a different way.

Brian Crane 35:58
Yeah, trading one master for another, in a way.

Lavinia Iosub 36:01
Exactly.

Brian Crane 36:01
But maybe it’s a master of your choosing in the second one.

Lavinia Iosub 36:04
Which is very important, right? Cuz you’d rather be in an awful situation because you chose to and you take full responsibility for it, than…

Brian Crane 36:13
That’s the key. Yeah, yeah, I have a friend who has a business, which the goal is to go to war on procrastination and he… it’s called Commit Action and basically they, what do they do? They say, Okay, cool. We’re going to create accountability groups cost $79 a month, but they only hire personal trainers for the calls because the personal trainers are so good at basically being like, “Lavinia. What did you agree to this week? What are you getting to next week?” and just keep people on point and it’s a similar- I mean, I have a lot of friends. Another one is paying, I think, close to $8,000 a month to be in a mastermind, and he’s paying it because it forces him to take action on things. Yeah. Yeah. So…

Lavinia Iosub 37:00
But that’s a very viable tool, right? If that’s what you need, and you reach the conclusion, that’s what you need…

Brian Crane 37:06
Then you need to, it’s like, yeah, you know, trade one master for the other, but know what the master is that you’re, you know, signing up for. Yeah?

Lavinia Iosub 37:12
Yep!

Brian Crane 37:13
Yeah. Okay, so you had also mentioned prior to the podcast, some tools that I want to ask you about as far as remote work goes, and what are best practices and what you’re using when you recommend to these different… because you you also do kind of consulting work as well, right? When somebody says our operations – and when I mean operations, I mean just getting things out the door, not necessarily HR and payroll and these sort of things – but that our operations aren’t really optimal. So what do you recommend? We’re talking like, ClickUp, are we talking GitLab… What’s like a specific…? Yeah. What’s the set of tools that you recommend?

Lavinia Iosub 37:53
I would say that we don’t rush into recommending a set of tools that are standard for everybody. Uh, we take the time to look at the company and what the company needs, what they’re experienced with, maybe there’s something they’re already using, but it’s not used, you know, streamlined or by the whole team or in the right way and so on. For example, there’s a team we’re looking at working with right now, they’re using… a part of their team is using Asana, for recruitment and a part of their team’s using Trello for web development. So probably when we get to sit down with them, one of those would work for the entire team for more purposes than just what it’s being used for. Right? So we don’t go in being like, we know the tool that is gonna change your life and everything, we listen and we try to see what the team needs. That being said, obviously, there are some tools out there that are, you know, good or like very credible, very solid. For project management, I would say Asana covers a wide array of types of work. And it can go very deep and detailed. It’s got a lot of ways of creating workflows of creating recurring tasks, creating templates for, as I was saying, for example, for hire, right, like, what do you need to do every time you hire somebody, onboarding, for offboarding. We use it a lot for these things. I would say in the world of team communication, there’s a big debate right now between synchronous and asynchronous communication, arguments on both sides, very good arguments. Again, whatever floats everybody’s boat, right? It’s a strategic decision that you have to make. Do you want people to be able to do more deep work and not feel the pressure to reply to things right away? Which basically is the asynchronous type of communication and do you want them to, you know, have more time to come up with better answers and everything. But at the same time work will be slower, right? Or do you want them to, at least for a part of the day, feel compelled to reply right away when something happens, where it will be faster, but sometimes the quality of work might not be as high, right? What do you want to combine? Or do you want to say, this window, which can be smaller or bigger, we’re all online and we’re replying to each other and for the rest of the time we’re asynchronous, or anything in between. I think if you’re going for synchronous communication, Slack is a consecrated one already, like everybody uses it. If you’re looking at asynchronous communication, Twist is a good one, which organizes threads really well and allows you to notify only the people who are relevant for that conversation.

Brian Crane 40:54
Almost like a ticket system?

Lavinia Iosub 40:56
Um… I’d say so, maybe more like, let’s say, maybe like a forum. It’s not very much unlike Slack, but it’s just, it’s just built with the idea of asynchronous in mind. And with the idea that you should only notify, everything should be transparent for pretty much everybody, but you should only notify people who are relevant for the conversation. So if I’m not part of that conversation, and I want to check the conversation, I still can, but I’m not going to get pinged every time something’s being said. So, um, this is a perfect example of how people want to, you know, choose their company to look like or work like and then you go different ways, right?

Brian Crane 41:36
Let me speak to that just for a moment because one of the things that we’ve noticed in one of my companies is I would almost call it like legacy decisions where you choose a platform, let’s call it Twist in ours, well, we use Confluence and like the, the legacy decision of having chosen use Confluence, which is a wiki platform, then to migrate off of that, a year or two years down the road. There’s like such a, there’s a very big switching cost number one, but number two is that… I don’t know how teams in the… It’s almost like a philosophical question of like, if you’re moving ahead, and then you almost need to stop moving ahead and kind of re-engineer the engine. If you’re going to switch from one communication platform to another so that the engine can then function down the road, then how do you advise people or teams…? Does that make sense? My question of like, if you need to switch and then to stop things for a period of time in order to switch from Asana to whatever, I don’t know, Trello, let’s say or vice versa, right?

Lavinia Iosub 42:49
Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think it’s only about communication. I think it’s about, I don’t know, something like project management, switching from Asana to Monday or to Trello or to Basecamp. I think all of these tools and the decisions that stand behind them are ultimately actually shaping the culture. So when you take a decision, if it’s, let’s say, if it’s something simple like, your password vault, right, you can make that switch is not going to be like, it’s going to be a bit of an admin pain for the person that actually migrates the whole thing. But it’s not going to be like this massive shift, right? But if you change the way you manage projects, which tools is a big part of that, right, or the way you communicate, it is a shift in culture. And I think decisions to change systems and tools can come from at least two different reasons. The first one is because you took a strategic decision that you don’t want to do synchronous communication anymore, and you’re looking for a tool that serves that better, or because you feel like maybe the tool you’ve been using, let’s say for project management… It hasn’t developed the features that you want, and you find that in something else, right? So it’s like sort of competitor situation.

Brian Crane 44:01
So at the top of the pyramid, you got asynchronous versus synchronous. And then once you’re defined into which bucket you’re into, then you’re looking at a…

Lavinia Iosub 44:10
No, no, I’m just talking about two types of reasons you would change a tool or system, one of them being that you want to actually change the strategy behind it, the culture, yeah, which would be this example with synchronous versus asynchronous. But there are many other examples as well. Such as, oh, you want to go remote, you know, fully remote or whatever. That’s a big strategic decision that impacts the culture and everything else, right? And then the other type of reason you would make that decision, which is you simply feel there’s a competitor for that tool for the tool you’re already using that does a better job at the very same thing that you’re doing, right? And those two are very different because the one that comes with a culture of strategic change… I think if you take that decision you will have, basically, you will have to change your system. Maybe not the entire system or platform but you will have to change a lot of things around it. And so policies, whatever you want to call it, right? Your company, talent, handbook, culture, deck and so on all the things that are happening now, right? So, if you’re about to undergo a change like that, you should be very, very sort of aware of the time it will steal from the team. And you should make that decision because you feel your team after this whole change will be so much better off because of that, or you’ll be able to work better, produce better, and results and so on, right? If you’re simply changing because the competitor is better, let’s say Asana and Basecamp are fairly similar, right? And you just, you know, there’s a few features that you just like better in the other one, I think…

Brian Crane 45:53
Or there’s somebody on the team who really likes one and really pushes forward and everyone else is kind of 50/50.

Lavinia Iosub 46:00
Yeah, my advice would be that other competitor has to be so much better.

Brian Crane 46:05
To justify the cost.

Lavinia Iosub 46:06
To justify the pain of switching. You have to think very carefully about it. Cuz, um, especially if you’re three people, if you’re two co founders and one web designer or something, that’s a different story. But if you’re a team of 10, and above, even… 10 is not a big team, but it’s still sizable, right? There are going to be like two people who hate it, don’t want to work in it, two people who like it, but they take a long time to get used to it. There’s going to be things lost in the migration of the information, not to mention company memory and knowledge, you’re gonna have to go back into a different tool. It’s a whole mess, right? I looked into, for example, Notion, which is a concept I really like, and I was kind of flirting with the idea of of doing that at some point. But then I realized I went step by step through what it would mean to offboard everybody from Asana and go to the other one, and I was like, it’s just not worth it. I think I’ll just use it for personal purposes if I need to, right.

Brian Crane 47:11
And now when you’ve done that, when you’ve used it for personal purposes, have you found that actually it may or might not have been as sexy or as… what you thought it was or…? And I kind of cut you off there but, or did you find like now that you’ve started to use Notion that you’re like, actually, we really do need to move off of Asana, that the sizzle matched up with the steak, let’s say.

Lavinia Iosub 47:33
I think it was the right decision. Because I feel like it’s if you could magically offboard, everybody and then the very next minute onboard, everybody to a fully formed board that has everything they need in there. Sure that would be great. They would be so much more productive and clear about what they have to do and everything. But you’re disregarding potentially six months to a year of less productive time. So I think it was the right decision because it is a fairly complex tool, Notion, right? And it is highly, highly customized. And I think when you have a larger team that does very different types of work, simplicity is much better than giving a lot of customization potential, but potentially having people feeling lost and not knowing what they’re doing with themselves.

Brian Crane 48:21
Or where to go find the information they’re looking for. Yeah, yeah.

Lavinia Iosub 48:24
Exactly.

Brian Crane 48:25
Interesting. Okay, so let’s pivot right there and just start- you had introduced me to a term called holacracy, which is a management style, explain it to me again, I just remember the word thinking it was pretty fascinating. What is it?

Lavinia Iosub 48:42
It’s actually an anti-management style. It’s a self-managed system. So the whole idea is that you don’t actually manage people, that you hire people, onboard them on very well defined roles. Ideally, hire people who are better and more knowledgeable than you at what they’re doing. So instead of you telling them, “don’t post on Facebook post on Instagram” to your marketing manager or social media manager, he knows better than you and self-manages that, and also has the authority to affect the change that he needs to remove obstacles from his way in the pursuit of doing work, right. It sounds like a mouthful.

Brian Crane 49:29
Sounds amazing. Sounds like heaven.

Lavinia Iosub 49:31
But there’s a book written on it. We’ve been a holacratic organization or holacracy for three and a half years now. It’s working really well for us, I would say.

Brian Crane 49:44
And let me interject right there, because it’s just as a testament to working with Indonesians, by and large is notoriously difficult. And I mean that in the sense that they’re very pleasant to work with, but it’s very difficult to get a lot of self management. That’s one of the critiques of working with Indonesians and you’ve actually proven that critique wrong. And you’ve said that to me when I brought it up initially in October as well, right?

Lavinia Iosub 50:14
Um, yeah, I think I’m a fan. I love to geek out on this stuff. I think… So there’s a model for… a culture understanding model called, Hofstede was a Dutch scientist, and, or, very good observers. So, and he talks about six different dimensions that define a culture and some of those dimensions, we’re not going to go full into it. Some of those dimensions are distance to power, how likely are people to accept that somebody is sitting way, way, way above, an intangible distance from them, has a very, very different set of benefits and privileges in life. And you’re down here just doing your little menial job and getting paid what you get paid and so on. There are countries that have a very high distance, a very big gap between between those things. And Indonesia is one of the highest, some that have a very low gap, which would be Scandinavian countries, for example, right? There’s also a different dimension that is called avoidance of conflict, or generally uncertainty, right? So you look at it and you’re like, how willing are people to take a risk for a high reward and one of those risks is a conflict for example, right? And again, Indonesia is very, very high on that.

Brian Crane 51:49
On avoidance of conflict?

Lavinia Iosub 51:50
Avoidance of uncertainty generally, right. And conflict comes with it. And there are other countries that are where people are willing to absolutely give it to you, right? There’s also direct and indirect or like low context and high context communication. Whereas like, there are cultures that are very direct in what they say, if I think your work is not good enough, I’m just gonna be like, yeah, that’s gonna need a lot more work to get what I want it to be, right. And then there are countries where you’re going to be like, this is a really good start, this and this was good, but maybe there’s something that we can, this and that. And again, Indonesia is on the very high scale in there together with places like Iran. Yeah, of needing a lot of context to understand what is being said, and things, again, because of the avoidance of uncertainty, you don’t want to be very confrontational and all those things. I think when you understand these things, you also understand why your typical Indonesian behaves in a certain way. And how culture programs all of us, none of us are different. We all reflect a part of the cultures that we come from or lived in and adopted as their own, right. So now, coming back to holacracy: Yes, I would say it is a challenge to make holacracy happen anywhere because it requires people to take a huge degree of responsibility, to be motivated by autonomy, by mastery, by purpose and all of the things and to take risks, you know, of making the wrong decision and all of those things. So it’s not it’s not something easy to implement, wherever you are in the world. There are definitely places that are easier. And people there will be more comfortable with that and people that will find it more difficult. I would say that in Indonesia, we are… we’re a very different employer in the way we do things. We give a very high degree of freedom. We give a very high amount of rewards of all types. And, yeah, a great amount of autonomy, flexibility, and so on. So it’s not easy to find people that will fit with that culture, because you choose the people and people choose the company as well. Right? So it needs to be from both sides. Yeah.

Brian Crane 54:17
So when you say that you give a high amount of freedom, and that you give a high amount of reward for effectively, like for performing well. juxtapose that or contrast that against like, the typical Indonesian is in a role, where how much are they paid? And how like, what is their… like? They have vacation days, and for people who don’t really know how the Indonesian labor market works, and then contrast that to how you actually do things here.

Lavinia Iosub 54:47
Um, yeah, so Indonesia has 12 vacation days, minimum per law per year. A lot of people work six days a week. And work very often overtime and are not paid for that overtime. A lot of people are told exactly what to do. And they’re absolutely terrified of doing anything that is even one inch to the left or right of that, even if they disagree with that decision, because they just probably in the past were punished for doing things differently or, yeah.

Brian Crane 55:27
Or is that rooted in the avoidance of conflict?

Lavinia Iosub 55:30
I think so. I think they’re all interrelated.

Brian Crane 55:32
Okay.

Lavinia Iosub 55:33
In many ways, right? Um, so and then, sadly, very sadly, there are a lot of people that are not… whose potential and humanity is not respected and um… furthered in their jobs here. Let’s put it that way. Right. Like there’s a lot out there. A lot of abusive employers of both foreign origins and local nature. I think, I mean, I think a certain degree of that happens everywhere right? But Indonesia being a massive market that people are very interested in, Bali being such an attractive place so dominated by tourism that never stops, there’s no days off, there’s no you know, when everybody’s got days off and vacation, it’s peak time for sure. Right? It shapes the whole thing, right? I could talk more about it but those are the those would be the rough lines. I think what we do… I don’t want to say what we do is exceptional. I think it should be the normal in many ways. We’re interested in work getting done and we’re interested in people self-managing as much as possible. I personally have a very close to zero interest to count vacation days, to chase people to do things they haven’t done, to check if they haven’t cheated on how many days off they took or if they were really sick when they said they were sick and all of those things. So what we did is that we kind of took all of that off and turned Livit into an environment where people who want to take responsibility, who are self driven and want to do great things and are motivated and engaged at work thrive. And people who need to be told what to do, and need to be chased and tracked and punished and whatever, either don’t come through or don’t last, right?

Brian Crane 57:50
So in that, let me ask then, when you combine that… let’s call it personality type. Well, it’s not a personality type… when you when you combine that archetype- Yeah, the type of person that would work here, then and you couple that with the systems that you’re using, whether it’s Asana, are they… Are they also responsible for self policing in the systems in a way? So for instance, like, are they responsible for creating in Asana their their weekly to do list or does that still come in like the… who’s dictating those sorts of things? Right?

Lavinia Iosub 58:27
Most tasks that are assigned in Asana and our team are self assigned. Yeah. So there, there will be a situation where I see something could be done and I send a task and ask, can you help out with this? Obviously, right, we collaborate and where I’ll get a lot of tasks assigned to me, right? So there isn’t like this idea that there’s this top bottom thing where the boss sits down the whole day and assigns things to people and chases people, right. We also have this concept in Livit of leadership because obviously you have to have some sort of direction and leadership. None of us actually just manages or just leads. We have our own projects, we have our own work, right, and leading or helping set people up for success is a part of our day, but it’s not… nobody just sits on a chair and leads. Exactly. And people who have tried to do so have not stayed very well. Um, so. So yeah, so I mean, in terms of rewards, rewards can have very different natures, right. They can be tangible, intangible. We pay well above the market for many positions, well above the market. Indonesia tends to have coupled with the distance, the power tends to have huge gaps, so to have quite good salaries at the upper level, and then really poor salaries at the lower level. Somebody who works in our… Let’s say in our welcoming and hospitality part of the company, actually just recently said to me, this is the first company, she was employed in similar jobs before and she said, “this is the first company I’ve ever employed at, where I can save money and I have actual vacation to go visit other countries.” And to me, I live for things like that, because I want people to… I want people to travel I want people to develop themselves, they’ll come back better contributors, to our team and overall happier and everything. So I’d say, so we do very generous vacation days, 20 and up. We also respect the public holidays that we have here. We literally don’t make our team work on public holidays, even if members are in. We have minimal staff like security and so on, but we don’t make everybody come to work. Just because somebody might want to work on a day off. We have motivating learning and development budgets. We have meals, free meals, healthy meals served here, they have access to up to three meals a day. They have access to…

Brian Crane 1:00:59
Because you had talked about in the past with the meals or with the diet in Indonesia, that it’s calorie rich and nutrient poor. And you noticed this as a result of some of your workers, or I shouldn’t say some of your workers, some of the people working here that what they ate made them basically spike.

Lavinia Iosub 1:01:37
Yeah, it’s a very… there’s a lot of carbs, right, that are quickly turned into sugar. And there’s spikes right and then you need a snack and then you need another meal and then… so there isn’t a lot of I guess there isn’t a lot of thought put into what really nourishes your brain and body and makes you productive. Other things that we do… So we do meals, we have a lot of free laundry service, we have free wellness events, we also allow and encourage, especially encourage, everybody to spend 10% of their time at work on their personal development or wellness. And we also pay for those things so not only do they get paid for the time they’re doing that but they also get paid for their expenses that they have if they take up a class or a course for something. We… Yeah, so we do we have some new, actually, things that are coming up this year. I don’t know when your podcast is going to come out but I don’t want to reveal them before my team will know them.

Brian Crane 1:02:43
Yeah. The next week to two weeks.

Lavinia Iosub 1:02:45
Yeah, we have we’re looking at we’re looking at introducing some other cool perks such as sabbaticals and… Yep, travel budgets and other things. Wow. Because we just like to… We think people come back better off doing that. So we’re incentivized to do more of that. So yeah, people have… most roles are remote capable. So unless you’re on a front desk shift, right, or you need to cover a part of the building maintenance or something that obviously needs to be covered. You are able to conduct your work remotely because you’ve got all the systems, there’s nothing stopping you from that. Our talent management lead for example, recently decided to move to Europe and she did so with very little disruption to our continuity of work. Um, even if you work in a shift, you have flexibility, you arrange for things to be covered and work to get done and then we don’t really care if you came to work a couple hours late because you had to do something or arranged a personal development activity that happened to happen during the day or something. So, I would summarize the way we look at management if you wish. As in we… most organizations treat people like kids. They tell them what to do. They track them, they punish them. They have a chat with them and back to square one, right? We believe- I believe people are adults, right? People that we hire are adults who want the best for themselves and want the best for the organization because the organization has proved that when we’re doing well, they’re doing well too. Right? So um, so we treat them as such. We don’t count and track every little thing. We allow people to organize work around their lives and lives around their work and it all works. This flexibility is one of the things that people love the most. And even sometimes when they feel… sometimes people might feel like, “Oh, I might be done with this role.” They still don’t want to leave because they know they won’t find that in many other places. Right? Yeah. So I think those are some of the things that we do, but I really don’t like to think of them as exceptional. I think they’re…

Brian Crane 1:05:19
Why not?

Lavinia Iosub 1:05:20
Because I think human-centric organizations, value-based organizations shouldn’t be such a rare thing.

Brian Crane 1:05:29
The exception. Yeah.

Lavinia Iosub 1:05:31
Yeah, exactly. Shouldn’t be the exception.

Brian Crane 1:05:34
I can say, as an outside observer, it does seem to be the exception in Bali. Very, very small sample size, but it does seem to be the exception whether or not in an ideal world it would be, like at the moment, it definitely seems like that’s the case. So congratulations.

Lavinia Iosub 1:05:53
Thank you.

Brian Crane 1:05:54
On being exceptional without trying to be exceptional, I guess is the way to put it. So the last thing I want to chat with you about… What was it… we had talked, I’m trying to go back and remember, we had talked about Project Getaway and you had shared a little bit about who comes to that. Who it’s really suited for. And yeah, can you give an overview and who does well, and who thrives in that?

Lavinia Iosub 1:06:22
Yeah, absolutely. So um, we actually have two services or products for Project Getaway right now. We launched the second one of them last year. So traditionally, Project Getaway was a… Let’s put it this way, an acceleration retreat for people who wanted to bring their mindset and their business to the next level, right? Be it that you’ve just got an idea and you want to bring it to implementation, or you want to grow to a few different other countries, or you are not inspired and you’re stuck in your day to day and you want to get some new ideas and unblock your creativity and innovation. So what we have done for the past 10 years… we have been doing this since before it was cool.

Brian Crane 1:07:14
It’s a great name by the way.

Lavinia Iosub 1:07:16
Thank you!

Brian Crane 1:07:16
Yeah, I think it’s such a great name, please.

Lavinia Iosub 1:07:19
So yeah, so what we’ve done is we’ve put out signups, usually get a lot of signups from all over the world. And then we curate a group that we feel can best help each other. So we literally talk to every person and ask them where they are. Very important, what can they offer, what they need, right, and try to match that with the rest of the group. Um…

Brian Crane 1:07:43
There’s some types that you specifically say, like no life coaching, I think, right? There’s some people that…

Lavinia Iosub 1:07:48
Um, I think… we’ve had coaches, we think there are coaches that provide a lot of value and… but I think what we have not been very good for is, for example, passive income people, right, like so people who want to create these product lines that just like run in the back and we are a service for people that find meaning and purpose in their work and want to feel fulfilled, right?

Brian Crane 1:08:22
What’s so interesting is you probably market it to people who have read the four hour workweek and are looking for passive income businesses.

Lavinia Iosub 1:08:33
Mm hmm.

Brian Crane 1:08:34
But that they secretly are actually very purpose driven in the businesses that… they’re not just looking for a lifestyle business maybe. Right. Is that a fair assessment?

Lavinia Iosub 1:08:43
Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with passive incomes. I think, you know, a lot of people have I don’t know property or, or things that produce passive income or line of products or whatever. I just think that Project Getaway and what happens there is great for people that want to… sounds very cheesy, but it’s true, want to make the world a better place, right? Like don’t just want to get rich, want to put something out in the world that is work worth doing. Right? So this is what, at the very least in the last five years, this is what Project Getaway… those are the people that Project Getaway’s been very relevant for.

Brian Crane 1:09:22
Okay, I think I think I misunderstood you when you were talking about passive income, you actually mean like they literally have a real estate portfolio? Is that what- when you say somebody who’s interested in passive income, what do you mean…

Lavinia Iosub 1:09:32
When somebody just wants to- their goal is to literally not do work. And, for example, live off the income and disparity of selling products in the West that are made by children in a sweatshop in China.

Brian Crane 1:09:52
Like dropshipping.

Lavinia Iosub 1:09:54
Not all dropshipping is like that, but some is, right? So I think when that’s your goal, to make that happened, there are definitely other events and other conferences and other training and masterminds that can help you so much better with that, right? What we do is…

Brian Crane 1:10:13
When are you gonna run for political office?

Lavinia Iosub 1:10:18
What we do is help people get to their next level, and often is in tandem, like personal development and like their business, right, is like a reflection of what’s going on. Right? So we’ve had various types of businesses, lots of tech, of course, because those were the first things that became remote friendly, right? Designers, UX designers, nutritionists, even, people who had brick and mortar shops or clinics or whatever and wanted to go more towards digital or online and diversify in that way. People who… counsel on different types of things, for example, a career, you know, career counselors, career planning, and… what else?

Web development, web designers, really like such a wide variety of people that we have seen come through. And we generally don’t really have anybody that we just by default, say no to. I think who we would say by default no to is somebody who can’t express themselves in English almost at all because there’s no point in you know, putting the person in a multicultural environment. Somebody who has the all inclusive mentality and the all receiving mentality and doesn’t want to put back into the group. That would, for example, not make a great fit, just coming here and being like, yeah, I want to get everything. Everything needs to come to me and I don’t want to bother to contribute with whatever it is I can contribute. Right? So I think, yeah, we’ve had- and every group is different. We’ve had really interesting dynamics over time. We have very interesting community alumni. Actually one of them who went to Project Getaway Mauritius that we did a few years ago is coming next week, talking about… She is a repeated several times founder, best selling author, an acclaimed global digital strategist. She’s coming to do a sharing session, actually, next week, on Wednesday. So…

Brian Crane 1:12:40
So is there a group of Project Getaway going on right now?

Lavinia Iosub 1:12:43
No, there isn’t. There’s one coming up, starting up on March 15. Yeah, for three weeks. So, so we’ve got all of that and what happened is that over the years, some of these people have founded or grown or built, very successful businesses that now have teams that can also benefit from a similar experience, right? A lot of them are remote teams, so- or, at least partially distributed teams. So we now offer this Project Getaway team package where you can have a similar experience, but for a team. So basically people work from here. But we arrange all kinds of things for them from accommodation. It’s like a chore-free environment. So we basically tried to sort of take care of as much as possible so people can gain a lot of, save a lot of hours they would have normally spent on being like, “oh, where do I get a SIM card? Scooter?” And you know, all of the things.

Brian Crane 1:13:44
Yeah. So the plumbing of Bali, basically. Yeah.

Lavinia Iosub 1:13:48
Exactly. So yeah, so now we offer this for teams as well. And we’ve seen a couple teams come through since we launched and I’m looking forward to promoting it more actively.

Brian Crane 1:14:00
What does it cost in general and when do they- like you do the application six months out from when you actually do it? Do you want to name names, give numbers? I will just talk for the moment.

Lavinia Iosub 1:14:16
Um, the prices for teams are actually super convenient. They started roughly 400 per person, dollars per person per week. All-inclusive: of space, of accommodation, of activities, of meals, and all of that.

Brian Crane 1:14:35
Massages…

Lavinia Iosub 1:14:37
And go up to around $1,000 per person per week, which includes access to our consultancy and training resources and everything. So you kind of, two in one, right, like you do a team retreat or workation but you also potentially learn and streamline a few things. So that’s for teams. For Project Getaway entrepreneurs, very conveniently priced as well. We are around, depending on the package you choose, but it’s also all-inclusive. So accommodation, meals, workspace excursions, laundry, massages, and all kinds of other things, not including the air ticket, of course, because people come from different places. We are between $3000 and $4,000. For the whole time.

Brian Crane 1:15:31
How big the cohort?

Lavinia Iosub 1:15:32
Sorry?

Brian Crane 1:15:33
How big is the team? How big is the cohort, the group?

Lavinia Iosub 1:15:35
We used to do, when we didn’t have the hub before we used to set up a separate Villa and create a coworking space basically there and everything, which was not very easy to do, so we used to have bigger groups because of that reason. Now we are looking at groups of 5-10 or so because we want them to integrate into what have already going on at the hub.

Brian Crane 1:15:51
That’s cool. Okay. And how far out is the application process? Like if you… this March one, these people were applying what? In November, December, October?

Lavinia Iosub 1:16:11
No, because we stay open until about a month before. So because we found an option for accomodation that is very scalable so we can scale up and down.

Brian Crane 1:16:23
So that means if you’re listening to this you could possibly get into the March 15 one because they haven’t closed. Is that fair?

Lavinia Iosub 1:16:29
Correct. Correct. And we have some very interesting people confirmed. People working with content and leading teams of 30. And in-house and 500 Freelancers all over the world, from Ulta to people starting with as bakers as a side hustle in the US and then that turning into something else, like super interesting profiles, so if you’re listening to this, I can’t wait to hear from you.

Brian Crane 1:17:02
Okay, that’s a good note to actually end on. So how do people get in contact with you? How do they either follow you online or actually contact you directly if you want them to contact you, and where do they find out more about you?

Lavinia Iosub 1:17:14
Um… about Livit or about myself?

Brian Crane 1:17:16
Either one, whatever you’re comfortable sharing.

Lavinia Iosub 1:17:18
Um, www.liv.it is our website, super simple. You could just put liv.it into your web browser and it will bring you right to us. projectgetaway.com for Project Getaway. I’m on LinkedIn. I guess you’ll have my name in the the blurb. I’m happy to get in touch with people. We’re on social media if you look for Livit or Livit hub as well. So yeah, and come by and see us.

Brian Crane 1:17:50
Beautiful. It’s a beautiful space and it’s impressive the scope of both the space and also the offerings, I think, so…

Lavinia Iosub 1:18:02
Thank you so much!

Brian Crane 1:18:03
Congratulations on building an exceptional, exceptional organization.

Lavinia Iosub 1:18:08
Thank you.Brian Crane 1:18:10

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