Posted On 15 Jul 2019
It’s the 14th of July, 2019 today.
Do you know what was one of the biggest headlines – globally – just a few days ago?
All told, globally, there were 18,000 jobs lost. And due to a variety of reasons, I believe that most of these are permanent cuts.
That’s how a whole lot of today’s desk jobs, or 9 to 5 jobs are going to be like in the very, very near future.
The jobs market is changing. And this change is structural, which means that it’s here to stay.
One trend that has strengthened as a result of this is the digital nomad lifestyle.
Digital nomads are people whose work is location independent, which means that they depend a lot on telecom technologies for their work and that their work might easily span across multiple geographies.
Is it another name for freelancing?
Freelance work is employer-independent work, which means a freelancer is not tied to any one employer for any extended period of time.
While a digital nomad is a person who does not have a physical workplace; they work at their computer and transmit their work over the internet.
For example, consider the blog of this Chicago escape room. A digital nomad could create all the content and upload the posts as and when required onto the website. What would they need?
- To keep in touch with the management of the escape room, to be able to keep abreast of any news, offers etc that would need to be included in the blog.
- An internet connection for research.
- A breathtaking view to get the creative juices flowing.
Why do people adopt such a lifestyle?
- They can stay at a place with a low cost of living, giving them more money to invest into their business
- They can collaborate with other nomads
- They just love travelling
What qualities would one need to become a successful digital nomad?
1. Planning ahead.
As you can probably guess, being a nomad comes with its own set of risks, the most notable one being cut off from any income.
As they say, sh*t happens.
You could fall ill. The network signal might fail or your phone get blocked, so you can’t transmit your work. You could just get stuck somewhere.
So, focus on planning ahead.
- Have some money set aside that you can access in an emergency.
- Always keep abreast of the way to keep your phone working, with different sim cards or however. If you travel across international boundaries, plan ahead for switching carriers from nation to nation.
- Get yourself insured against any sudden adverse shocks, especially for illnesses.
- There might be times when you’re faced with a connection that could give good ol’ dial up a run for their money (I mean a slow-to-non-existent connection). Always ensure that you have a contingency plan in place for that, whether by completing work ahead of schedule or whatever.
Even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. You’ll need to keep adapting to situations as you meet them to make the best out of the nomad lifestyle.
Remember, you want to be a nomad, not go mad with frustration.
3. Be ready to learn new skills.
You might find out that your chosen niche has turned to the slow-growth lane or is just not relevant any more.
If you’re setting up a business, you could even be faced with a situation where your products are seeing a slowdown in demand.
Whatever it be, you need to take a hand-on approach and change course till you see a path to success. This will almost certainly need the learning of new skills, which you need to be able to do.
Pro tip: Remember, if you’re relocating to another country, the way of life could be completely different to what you’ve grown up with. Learning to inculcate that into your work is also a skill and one that you need to learn…fast.
4. Keep a strict watch on your finances.
Spend only what you need to
Food, any medication you may need, rent for your accommodation, phone and internet bills, any staff salaries – all these are expenses that are mandatory, absolutely mandatory and need to be on time.
Next comes money that needs to be invested into growing your business and learning new skills.
Go through your bank statements/any other financial statements with a fine tooth comb. Check every debit made. For every debit that’s not food, medication etc-related or business-related, think about whether you really need to incur it.
Don’t put off on a decision on whether to continue with that expense or not. Decide then and there.
Pro tip: If you’re in a different country, always remember to think in terms of the local currency. What may be a small monthly debit in the United States, for example, could be a viable payment to an Indonesian freelancer you contract out some work to.
5. Network and collaborate.
One of the most exciting aspects of digital nomadism is the prospect of meeting people from all over the world, with various kinds of skills and viewpoints.
To make the most out of this, sharpen your networking skills and make sure that you can collaborate effectively with people.
6. Having a good time.
That’s half the reason a lot of folks go for digital nomadism. Have a wonderful experience while you build your career and your future.
Mark Twain said that ‘Those who can do. Those who can’t, teach.’
I think it’s quite clear from this blog which of those categories I fall into.
So, I’ll conclude it here, and carry on with my life as a couch potato. My hope is that you don’t do the same.