The Digital Nomad

How Digital Nomad and Founder reads her postal mail from around the world

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Causitree image

Organization

Causitree


Industry

Digital-Nomad, Self-Employed


Mission

Causitree specializes in personal customization after thoughtfully grasping the soul of the cause or business you're growing. From a simple logo to a full blown rebranding campaign, no cause is too small, no cause is too great for Causitree to grow.

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Summary

Audra McMurray spent two decades living the life of a working mom. Then, in 2018, with her children grown and out of the house, she sold her belongings and started her own business—one that would allow her to travel the world helping people. Since then, she’s lived and worked in places like Guatemala and Bulgaria as well as both coasts of the United States.

Many people dream of living the digital nomad lifestyle, but for McMurray, the vision was more about the people she could help than the places she would work. When she was first starting out, she had logistical concerns that are common for any digital nomad entrepreneur. Where should she register her business? How would she get postal mail? What if someone wanted to send her a check? Fortunately, we were able to help her address all of those concerns.

McMurray started Causitree after over a decade in marketing and communications at nonprofits and international foundations. She’d also been a committed volunteer. She saw an opportunity to bring her experience and dedication to causes throughout the world—“my heart for their cause,” she says.

Causitree is a one-stop-shop for organizations that advocate for any cause. Whether it's muscular dystrophy research or hunger relief, McMurray does whatever they need to help grow their cause. The company works with organizations on everything from logo design to rebranding campaigns.

McMurray could operate Causitree from a computer in her Oregon home. But she knew that to do her best work, she needed to have “boots on the ground.” Going to the cause so that she can “live there and feel it,” is especially important, says McMurray. “Especially with grant writing, you really need to feel the cause.” To truly commit herself to this important work, McMurray needed the administration of her business to be as hands-free as possible.

If I want something scanned and shredded or scanned and saved, it’s just all neatly put in a box that I can access 24/7. I know everything is there in a neat package when I need it. I never, ever have to worry about my mail.”

Challenges

McMurray knew she needed to spend time on the ground inside her clients' organizations. That meant she’d be traveling all over the world while starting and running a new business. She also needed to be able to do all the things a traditional business does—have meetings, send invoices, receive mail, and deposit checks, all while on the go.

Of course, she would also need to access her own personal postal mail while abroad. After all, McMurray wasn’t just a business owner. She was also an individual digital nomad. So she set out to find a solution that would allow her to read her postal mail no matter where she was.

The problem at large

According to a 2018 study by MBO Partners, nearly 5 million Americans are traveling the world as digital nomads. Over 17 million people in the United States hope to become digital nomads in the future.

Digital nomads embrace technology as a way to travel around and work from anywhere, but postal mail can present a challenge. A traveler will still receive tax documents, official letters from government entities, or other unforeseen but important pieces of postal mail. And if the digital nomad is running their own business, like McMurray, they may also receive paper checks or invoices.

Digital nomads and expats sometimes ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to handle their mail. Unfortunately, there are several limitations to this approach:

  • The person handling the postal mail has to make judgment calls.

  • Is this important enough to scan and send along, or can it go in the shredder? Answering repeated questions about whether or not to send redundant insurance statements can get annoying. On the other hand, one mistakenly shredded document could be a disaster.

  • Handling postal mail takes time. Anyone who has a stack of unopened envelopes on their counter knows that opening and sorting through postal mail can feel burdensome. Passing that task along to a friend or family member hardly seems like a gift.

  • For any number of reasons, a traveler might not want their mother or friend reading their postal mail. This is inevitable when relying on a third party.

Any traveler that wants easy, private access to their mail can use a virtual mailbox. But the benefits are even greater for an entrepreneur, who may receive paper checks or invoices in addition to personal mail.

Solutions

According to a 2018 study by MBO Partners, nearly 5 million Americans are traveling the world as digital nomads. Over 17 million people in the United States hope to become digital nomads in the future.

Digital nomads embrace technology as a way to travel around and work from anywhere, but postal mail can present a challenge. A traveler will still receive tax documents, official letters from government entities, or other unforeseen but important pieces of postal mail. And if the digital nomad is running their own business, like McMurray, they may also receive paper checks or invoices.

Digital nomads and expats sometimes ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to handle their mail. Unfortunately, there are several limitations to this approach:

  • The person handling the postal mail has to make judgment calls.

  • Is this important enough to scan and send along, or can it go in the shredder? Answering repeated questions about whether or not to send redundant insurance statements can get annoying. On the other hand, one mistakenly shredded document could be a disaster.

  • Handling postal mail takes time. Anyone who has a stack of unopened envelopes on their counter knows that opening and sorting through postal mail can feel burdensome. Passing that task along to a friend or family member hardly seems like a gift.

  • For any number of reasons, a traveler might not want their mother or friend reading their postal mail. This is inevitable when relying on a third party.

Any traveler that wants easy, private access to their mail can use a virtual mailbox. But the benefits are even greater for an entrepreneur, who may receive paper checks or invoices in addition to personal mail.

Results

Like many new entrepreneurs, McMurray was overwhelmed in the early months of starting her business. She signed up with multiple companies and services and implemented new processes. And of course, she was moving to another country at the same time.

She appreciated how simple the setup was for Earth Class Mail. “In the midst of figuring out a lot of other things in my life, it was very, very simple. I felt very comfortable,” says McMurray.

Since onboarding with Earth Class Mail, McMurray has actually thought very little about her postal mail. That’s been a significant benefit—“peace of mind knowing that someone is receiving my mail and handling it with care,” says McMurray.

“If I want something scanned and shredded or scanned and saved, it’s just all neatly put in a box that I can access 24/7,” she says. “I know everything is there in a neat package when I need it. I never, ever have to worry about my mail.”

The virtual address also allowed McMurray to register her business in Delaware, which may provide her some tax benefits. Without a virtual address, she would’ve registered her business in a state where she had a residence. That of course was possible but not preferable. Besides, she notes, the virtual address route is “so much better and easier. No one has to touch my mail—no family or friends. It stays professional.” McMurray’s also been impressed by the fast customer service. Any questions she’s ever had about her virtual mailbox or the check deposit request process have been answered with a quick email within 24 hours.

“I wouldn’t consider using or even searching for another service. There’s no reason to go elsewhere. Earth Class Mail is like the [original provider of] virtual mail.”