You can have your morning coffee on a beachside terrace somewhere in Brazil, snuggled in a Swedish café or on the proud steps of Vienna ’s Museumsquartier. You can begin your daily work in your pajamas, your bathing suit, or a Michelin Man costume for that matter, as long as it allows you to focus and stay productive. These and many more perks of being a digital nomad seem to outweigh the challenges, as well as the benefits of an office-based career. But leaving its growing popularity aside for a moment, this lifestyle is best suited only for a portion of the working force.
The Countless Faces of Digital Nomadism
The term encompasses so many different occupations that it’s impossible to collect them all under a single roof. But for the sake of simplification, digital nomads are people whose primarily online endeavors allow them the freedom to work from anywhere and adjust their agenda according to their travel itinerary, or vice versa.
Many of them work as bloggers, web developers, designers, translators, copywriters, virtual assistants, online teachers, marketing specialists, as there is a whole range of positions that are flexible enough to allow you the beauty of a nomadic life. All that matters is that you can freely do your job online, either as an independent entrepreneur or even as a part of a larger organization.
The freedom that comes with the digital turf is perhaps the most alluring aspect that inspires an increasing number of people to quit their day job, ask to work remotely or start their own online adventure.
Depending on your business structure and responsibilities, you have the opportunity to change your place of residence every week or every several months, while you maintain your own schedule, choose your work hours, the people you work with, events to attend and the direction of your professional development.
On the other hand, some nomads enjoy, while others struggle to cope with the level of self-inflicted responsibility that nomadism entails. Yes, you can choose your locale and your office, but you also need to make sure that everything gets done, that you set your own deadlines realistically, that your finances are in order, and that you are within your legal rights when you do business in a different country.
Numerous online teachers need to cope with adjusting to different time zones when they schedule their classes, while globetrotting freelance writers need to maintain regular communication with their scattered clientele and keep their quality of writing at the same level as if they had the peace and quiet of an office environment.
Experiencing the World
Each corner of the globe has something mesmerizing that you finally have the opportunity to experience up-close. Whether it’s petting koalas, walking the Great Wall of China or hiking through the tropical forests of South America, you can infuse your work with unparalleled inspiration that all of these destinations undoubtedly provide.
You get to meet people within completely new cultures, learn about their customs and traditions first-hand, taste their authentic dishes and fall in love with the untamed landscapes and the urban jungles. Never again will you have to settle for a week-long vacation, followed by a gloomy return to the confined walls of your office.
Tackling the Setbacks
But once again, the freedom of choosing your temporary dwelling comes with many challenges – obtaining a residential or a working visa, adapting to the cultural and social norms, finding a suitable internet connection, managing your schedule in accordance to various time-zones, to name a few.
Jet-lag won’t be the only one to affect your productivity, because it’s one thing to keep your business afloat, and another to help it grow. While it’s possible to achieve success despite all of these challenges, you will need to try your hardest to keep your business a priority.
If you need structure to finish your assignments, then perhaps the level of self-reliance needed to become a thriving nomad might not be your forte. On the other hand, the lionhearted entrepreneurs among you who cannot wait for the opportunity to tackle a task on their own will see this is an empowering chance to shine.
Your focus and dedication need to be up to par in order to resist the numerous temptations of the new city you’re visiting because you might end up endlessly postponing your tasks, which can hinder your professional development.
The beauty of a digital career that perhaps shares the spotlight with the abovementioned independence is the ability to manage your own income and ensure financial stability that would otherwise depend on an employer. Our unstable economy is reason enough to support the “every man for himself” attitude, but even more so the need to create a financial legacy that will provide even for your (future) family.
Sure, you need to monitor your expenses and allocate your income to designated aspects of your business to ensure future growth, but you are the one calling the shots and reaping all the financial rewards of such autonomy.
Every single listed aspect of digital nomadism entails a great deal of ongoing personal growth. Simply put, no matter what your expertise is and how you decide to set up your business, you will need to keep your eyes open for opportunities to gain new skills and improve existing ones, to broaden your horizons and always stay attuned to the needs of your share of the market.
The fast-paced digital realm will keep building new ways to communicate and new competition will arise, but you, and you alone are responsible for creating your chess-player strategy – you need to stay at least one step ahead of the game to not only survive but to thrive. Hence, if all else fails, including your nomadic career, you will always have invaluable skills to fall back on and build yourself from the ground up.
Ultimately, the choice is yours – each professional direction has its own ups and downs, and while the current climate is extremely open to new digital nomads, you should always ask yourself where your true passion lies before you make the final call.