This founder wants to bring together like-minded entrepreneurs to explore the world with Workaway.

Today I am happy to connect with Nikolaj Astrup Madsen the founder of Refuga (formally Workaway), an away camps and adventures specifically designed for entrepreneurs.

Workaway camp offers a unique way for entrepreneurs to collaborate, connect and create partnerships to grow their businesses while experiencing some of the best adventures around the globe.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Workaway all about?

Workaway is all about group traveling for entrepreneurs. It is a combination of meeting new people, working, getting feedback, inspiration and going on adventure.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?

I’ve been an entrepreneur for a lot of years, working with a lot of different projects. I always dreamed about doing a big company with a big office and a lot of employees, but I have realized that, that is not for me. I love my freedom and I see that is the most valuable currency.

Workaway started with a blog post on my private, Danish blog. I had just quit my job to go full time as an entrepreneur, so I wanted to grow my network. I just wrote a quick post asking if anybody wanted to go with me to Spain for a week of work, network and fun. I hoped 4-6 would join and we could rent a small apartment. 20 awesome people signed up and we had an incredible week. The concept of Workaway was born.

Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?

I work fulltime on Workaway, but within that I work on a lot of different projects. I want to do more events, so I am both working on new location, but I am also working on growing the Workaway brand, mostly on social media because it works so good for this concept. One of the things I am working more and more on, is doing a business model, where other people can easily host Workaway trips.

Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?

As mentioned I am working on doing a concept, where other people can easily host Workaway trips. Workaway will do all of the practical stuff, have the nice website and the event will be spread out network of followers, email signups etc. I am currently working with the first 3-4 people who are going to host events in the Workaway brand. This will be a test and then we will see.

Q: How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m not that clever and I’m pretty naive, so I guess I just do things 🙂

Q: What’s one trend that really excites you?

The whole digital nomad thing is really interesting. I really love that lifestyle myself. Being able to live and work from where I want is pure freedom and the thing I value the most. We are living in a great time. It’s time to break free, travel and do the project of your dreams at the same time.

Q: How do you go about marketing your business, and what has been the most successful form of marketing for you?

Workaway started small and has just been growing slowly, because it was a hobby project before. I am pretty lucky that people want to join trips again and again and that former participants are really good at getting the word spread. So that is the absolute best thing!

Besides that, social media works really good. The best has been Instagram and Twitter actually. At the first international event I did, I had participants flying to Spain from India and the States, who found it on Instagram. I think that is so awesome!

Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?

– I really like to get feedback on specific challenges. It is much, much better than having an advisory board or a mentor. The best guys in all kind of businesses are on Clarify and I can just call them. Reminds me how much I love the internet.

– I also use a lot, to hire freelancers and assistants. I couldn’t do the things I do without Elance.

– Regarding resources I really like to get inspiration and to always keep the hacker mentality.

Q: Please share some tips or advice for new startups on how to attract the press and get media attention.

  • Do something is worth writing about (90% miss that)
  • Follow relevant journalists on Twitter. Twitter is the social media platform for journalists, so write something about your project in your bio and follow them. I have had good success, when the company profile follows the journalist first and shortly after I follow them with my private profile. Then they first see the concept and then they get the direct contact person.

Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?

Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?

I’m actually not that much in to quotes.

Q: How can our community get in touch with you?

Twitter: @nikolajam and Instagram: nikolajastrup