What is a Digital Nomad?

In this blog I’ll be exploring the interesting lifestyle of the Digital Nomad.

We live in a time where we’re anxious about feeling unfulfilled and stuck in life. These feelings can be the result of lack of career satisfaction and not tapping into our full potential due to feeling stuck in a toxic 9 to 5 job that has limited growth potential unless we go into debt to acquire more education credentials. Even with more credentials career growth and even job security aren’t always guaranteed.

There has been an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and freelancers as a result of layoffs due corporate downsizing, the desire to be our own boss, the desire to have a flexible schedule the allow us to work anywhere due to improved technologies and also to fill in the gaps created by the lack of fulfillment.

When all of these factors are put together we get the Digital Nomad.

What is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is usually a self-employed person who uses telecommunication technologies to earn a living and lives in a nomadic way. 

What is The Difference Between a Digital Nomad and a Freelancer?


Both types of employment are about being location independent and working remotely, however they’re not the same. Being a Digital Nomad requires that you quickly adapt to working in another region or part of the world with people from different cultures and traditions vs. Being a Freelancer that doesn’t require you to travel.

A digital nomad is a worker that works remotely in:

Foreign Countries: Popular foreign locations for digital nomads including:

  • Thailand
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Bali
  • Canary Islands

Coffee Shops: Digital Nomads and freelancers in general tend to work a lot in coffee shops. They enjoy the relaxing and cozy vibe along with free Wi-Fi. Many freelancers, also use coffee shops to connect and network with potential clients.

Public Libraries: The public library is among the quietest and cheapest locations for Digital Nomads to work.

Co-Working Spaces: Co-working spaces are basically shared offices for Digital Nomads that offer amentities found in an office such as meeting rooms, hot-rooms, wi-Fi connections and kitchen areas.

Recreational Vehicles: Digital Nomads don’t necessarily have to go abroad. There are some in the United States that are location independent thanks to living out of Recreational Vehicles (RVs).

How Many Digital Nomads Are There?

It is estimated that almost 5 million people worldwide are Digital Nomads and there are many more aspiring to become nomadic in the coming years.

What Do You Need To Become a Digital Nomad?

According to locationindie.com these are some of the things you need to do to become a Digital Nomad.

Here’s how to become a Digital Nomad:

Begin With Severing Local Ties: I’m not referring to severing ties with friends, instead I’m discussing the things in your life that are tying you down to a location.

Including:

  • Long-Term Apartment Lease
  • Vehicle Lease
  • Gym Membership
  • Subscription Services
  • Unneeded Junk
  • Any Debt

Become Part of a Digital Nomad Community: When you’re starting out as a Digital Nomad it helps to start networking with as many like-minded people as possible. This can be achieved by joining social media groups and forums in order to get advice from other people. There’s a popular digital nomad community called Location Indie that will help you and provide you with a wealth of knowledge that will help you along the way.

Identify your Marketable Skills: This is a big one, because Digital Nomads make their living by monetizing their skills online.

Become a Freelancer: When you become a Freelancer you’re essentially location independent although travel is not required. Platforms such as UpWork or RemoteOK post jobs that are remote or location independent and they can help you get started in finding work in whatever field you work in. Once you get good at working remotely at home or a public place then it’s time to take the next step and become a Digital Nomad.

Create a Plan: When you create a plan to become a Digital Nomad this can include:

  • Making Sure Your Finances are in Order
  • Having a Plan on How To Acquire Clients
  • Decide on What Lifestyle You Want
  • Decide Where Your First Destination Will Be

What Work Do Digital Nomads Do?

Most common digital nomad careers:

  • Web or App Development
  • eCommerce Entrepreneurship
  • Online Marketing
  • Infopreneurship, Blogging and Affiliate Marketing
  • Copywriting/Content Writing
  • Web, UI and Graphic Design
  • Coaching & Consulting
  • Software Entrepreneurship

How Much Do Digital Nomads Earn?

According to www.techrepublic.com Almost ⅕ of Digital Nomads can command a high salary of at least $100,000 per year and another 1/4 command a salary from $50,000 to $99,999 per year which is above the median salary of your average 9 to 5 worker.

Is it Legal to be a Digital Nomad?

Yes! It is legal to be a Digital Nomad. It is a requirement in other countries to periodically leave and come back in order to apply for a new visa.

What are the Pros of Being a Digital Nomad?

The pros of being a Digital Nomad:

Flexible Office Space: Have you ever that trapped feeling of having to work in the same sterile office cubicle every day? Digital Nomads can choose their own working environments. Due to the improvements made to Wi-Fi and internet access all over the world it’s possible to pick the type of work environment you want. Whether it’s at a hostel in Thailand, a coffee shop in Colombia or a beach in Bali. Being a Digital Nomad can give you that kind of freedom. 

Set Your Own Hours and Workloads While Seeing The World: The 9 to 5 is not for everyone. Digital nomads can set their own work hours. Also, just like with freelancing digital nomads can mange their own workloads. Digital Nomads can see the world while working remotely.

Less Stressful Work Environment: Have you ever been in a work environment that was stressful. Work stressors can include long hours, heavy work load and conflicts with co-workers and bosses. These problems can result in work related depression, anxiety and sleep problems.

No Commuting or Dressing Up: Since Digital Nomads are workplace independent they don’t have to endure the long tiring commutes that most 9 to 5 workers have to endure. Digital nomads can dress any way they like. If you want to work on the beach in a bathing suit or dress casual while working in a shared work space you can do that.

What are The Cons of Being a Digital Nomad?

The cons of being a digital nomad:

Bureaucracy and Other Travel Related Problems: There are some countries where it’s hard to get a work visa due to bureaucracy and red tape. If you know how to work around this you’ll stay out of trouble abroad.

Other travel related problems can include:

  • Being Taken Advantage Of
  • Travel Related Stress and Anxiety
  • Fear of The Unknown

Regardless of where your destination is it’s important to plan ahead for any potential problem in order to minimize the amount of stress and anxiety that can result from the unexpected.

No Guaranteed Income or Health Benefits: Your income is hardly ever guaranteed if you’re a freelancer or a digital nomad. When you’re first starting out you may have potential clients lined up and after that you may not have any, so it’s important that you have good acquisition and networking skills in order to keep up. Since Digital Nomads are self-employed there’s no employer provided health benefits, so there are many that rely on travel insurance instead.

Must be Used To Hard Work and Must Be Self-Motivated: Despite not working a 9 to 5 job; it’s not necessarily easier than working for someone. When you’re starting out you have to work harder to get yourself off the ground and even after that it’s usually a seven day work week and no holidays. Many digital nomads develop a work-life balance that can make every day feel like a holiday. I used to be self employed and it’s harder than it looks. There are so many distractions that can interfere with your productivity so it’s important to be self-motivated.

Communication Can Be Difficult: There are many places around the world that have to deal with frequent power and internet outages. Another challenge is finding out that your device is not compatible with the local network frequencies, so it’s important to find out what you need to do before you head for a particular destination.

Can Be Lonely: When you’re a digital nomad you meet all kinds of interesting people all over the world, but you don’t always form long term connections with other people. It’s especially hard when you only socialize with other Digital Nomads. It also gets lonely when you are missing family and friends from back home. However, with the rise of of platforms such as Skype and Face Time it’s easier than ever before to communicate with loved ones remotely.

Burnout: Constantly moving from place to place comes with its own set of problems that become increasingly annoying with time. For many people being a digital nomad is a lifestyle that allows for the freedom of being able to be your own boss while seeing the world, but it can be exhausting. A typical digital nomad will hang out in a city or country for a few weeks before moving on to the next. You’re finishing up one assignment one day and then the next you must get up and move again to another one. Many people enjoy this life, but for others it gets old after awhile. 

Being Questioned by Other People: The advantages and disadvantages of the Digital Nomad lifestyle is not always apparent to everyone. It’s common to be in situations in which you’ll be asked some potentially irritating questions.

Questions include:

  • When are you going to settle down?
  • When are you going to get a “real” job?
  • Is it dangerous to travel?

These type of questions can be irritating, but they do help do discover your values and question whether being a Digital Nomad is right for you.

Conclusion

The purpose of this blog is to give you an inside look into the alternative lifestyle of being a Digital Nomad.

It is being driven by a combination of factors such as:

  • Freelancing and Entrepreneurship
  • Anxiety Driven by a Lack of Career and Life Satisfaction
  • Most Importantly a Love for Traveling

Do You Know Anyone Who is a Digital Nomad?

Please Like and Comment!

4 thoughts on “What is a Digital Nomad?

  1. This is a great article! Becoming a digital nomad sounds like an ideal way to live. I am already part-minimalist (it’s a long journey) and would love to get rid of additional junk and clutter, both physical and mental/emotional clutter, that is holding me down.

      1. When I have more time, I’ll check out more of your blog posts. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close