Looking back at the days of the dot-com bubble, there has been a dramatic change in what it means to work in an internet-related business. Gone are the times where developers, content creators, marketeers, and consultants were pictured as desk-jockeys, sitting in an office day and night without much contact with the outside world. Nowadays, the increased availability of affordable high-speed internet access opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to use web-based technologies to their full extent.
Working remotely from home became a viable career path for those of us unwilling to spend their lives in a corporate cubicle. The next evolutionary step in the displacement of work comes in the form of portable devices with internet access, as well as the expanding signal coverage across the globe. As long as they have a device with access capabilities, individuals working online are no longer locked to one place in order to do their job.
Enter the digital nomad. By fully utilizing the power of modern web-based technologies, these enterprising individuals have come to adopt a lifestyle where working no longer implies that one must be rooted in place. Being a digital nomad ain’t easy however, despite what your favorite Instagram celebrity might lead you to believe. It takes a certain kind of person to ride alone into the new digital frontier. Only those who understand and adopt the necessary mindset are likely to succeed.
To help those among you who wish to face the challenge a nomadic lifestyle, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions that might help you on the way.
If you ask a digital nomad what drove him to live the way he does, chances are the answer is going to be a variation on: “Doing what I usually do, except I’m sitting under a palm tree on a beach, sipping coconut milk.” I’m sure some even manage to make this dream a reality, but the majority of new nomads are still a long way away from achieving this.
In fact, one of the best ways to squander your chance at success is by turning your work days into holidays. What you should be doing instead is practicing self-discipline. Set up daily, weekly and monthly routines. Don’t waste your hard earned money on tacky tourist items. Use cheap, efficient modes of transportation. Party hard once in awhile as a reward for working hard, instead of going on week-long binges. The time will come when your work-leisure balance will favor the latter, but it takes a while to get there.
Always have a plan B
If there is one motto you should always keep in mind while being a nomad, it is this. During your travels, you are inevitably going to run into all kinds of unexpected problems. Don’t let this get you down though; fortunate occurrences are equally likely to happen, and besides you wouldn’t be doing this unless you had a taste for adventure. With that being said, it still helps to have backup option for when things go wrong.
So you’ve lost your laptop somewhere? Luckily, you always carry your smartphone with you, and it has many of the same functions which allow you to work while you’re looking for your missing hardware (or earning money to buy a new one). Your biggest client has suddenly decided to seek other opportunities? Fortunately, you have managed to establish a number of contacts in the E-commerce sector while working for an SEO agency, which might have use for your skills. In other words, try to develop a habit of always planning two steps ahead, it is indispensable.
Don’t give up
This should go without saying, but if you are serious about pursuing a nomadic career, you can’t afford to give up when things get tough. And they will without a doubt. Adjusting to new environments all the time can leave you mentally exhausted, while work keeps piling up. Big life events like weddings (or funerals, on a more sobering note) might be happening at home in your absence, forcing you to think about how you’re missing out. Your newfound friends and acquaintances will eventually go their way, making you feel lonely and dejected. In times like these, you have to remember your goal, the reason you started doing this in the first place. Never before in history has the prospect of traveling around the world while doing a job you love been easier to achieve. Don’t give up, for this is an opportunity worth seizing.
Ronald Wolf is a digital marketing freelancer, Australian outdoor boy and a strong believer in digital nomading and all of its benefits, but also is aware of the hardships and troubles you might find.