Do you like the idea of working from anywhere in the world, creating your own schedule?
Of course you do, everyone does!
It’s entirely possible to develop a mobile business which allows you to travel, either constantly or periodically, and earn cash on the go. It sounds idyllic, that’s true, but it’s also something you need to go into with your eyes wide open.
You see, becoming a digital nomad requires planning, time, and a good amount of nerve.
If you’re not up on the lingo, a digital nomad is someone who works online, either as a business owner or a freelancer, and does their work from anywhere in the world. They can work from home for a period of time and then take off on a backpacking adventure if they want to, provided they have their laptop, any specific equipment they need, and a reliable Internet connection.
From that description, you can certainly see the attraction.
There are countless jobs you could do as a digital nomad, including writing, proofreading, translation, web design, SEO management, design roles, counselling, language teaching, blogging, the list goes on. Due to the fact that technology has advanced in huge amounts over the last few years, Internet connections are not hard to come by, and even the most off the beaten track destinations have some kind of link.
So, if this all sounds rather wonderful to you, what should you think about before taking the great leap into the unknown?
How are you going to keep your business going?
How are you going to promote your services to ensure that you can continue to earn a living over the long-term? It’s no good if your business suddenly dries up whilst you’re halfway across the world! Consider joining a freelancing platform which allows you to find a steady stream of work, or make sure that you have firm contracts in place before you leave.
Do you have any savings as a back-up?
If you ask most digital nomads, they will either tell you they have savings or they don’t. The ones that don’t tend to have a business which runs itself, or a steady income which they receive monthly. You need to have some kind of safety net. remember, you’re not working a regular job here, and you’re not guaranteed your pay check at the end of the month. Savings will give you a comfort cushion to see you through any hard times.
What if your laptop dies?
The worst-case scenario business-wise! If your laptop dies, how are you going to work? Do you have enough saved up cash to buy a new one? Do you have insurance, and if so, how long will it take to fix your prized possession? In the short-term you may be able to work from a co-working space, until your laptop is fixed, but this may still cost money. Make sure you have a back-up plan in place.
Is your business sustainable over the long-term
Aside from knowing how you’re going to keep your business going, is your business actually sustainable over the long-term? Make sure you don’t choose a fad niche, something which is going to go out of fashion quite quickly and render you zero contracts in place. If you do have a specific niche, make sure that it is transferable, e.g. you can move sideways into another niche if the worst does happen.
Can you deal with the isolation?
You might think that travelling the world and working online is the perfect life and that you’ll have a ball the entire way through. You probably will, but there are also going to be times when you feel the isolation very keenly. If you’re used to working in a large office environment or a large retail store, you’re going to find the quietness of working alone quite strange at first and you might even find yourself becoming lonely. Get around this by working from co-working spaces and meeting new people.
If you can answer these five questions with confidence and put any plan B into place, you’re well on your way to starting your digital nomad adventure!