Hands up who wants to be a digital nomad, travelling the world while working from coffee shops and wherever there’s Wi-Fi?
Well, if you’re reaching to the sky one-handed right now there are a few things I’d advise you to consider before you go listing yourself as a digital nomad on the old LinkedIn profile.
I’ve been at it for almost two years now, trust me.
1. It’s hard to just ‘be’ a digital nomad
Specialise. ‘Being’ a digital nomad isn’t a job. I’m a travel blogger who travels full time and that makes me a digital nomad. Other people are coders, or WordPress experts, or social media consultants, or game makers, or life coaches, or kitesurf teachers, or anything you could imagine, and that’s what makes them a digital nomad.
Find a skill or trade first, get real good at it, and then do that nomadically, and digitally.
2. Set up your business before you leave the day job
If you’re not at least a little established in the business you want to pursue as a digital nomad before you leave your guaranteed pay, you’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on yourself.
For me there was a definite tipping point, where I was as good as doing two full time jobs together and could financially afford to leave the day job but was too scared. Then came the relationship catalyst that meant I really had nothing to lose, so I went for it.
3. You need a good work ethic
I’m a lot of things, but I’d never describe myself as a slacker. I accept it might look like it but that’s just because I’m efficient and get my work done so I can go out and play. I’ve always been like that. My parents’ hard graft definitely instilled a good work ethic into my brother and I, and I thank that for my ability to balance the work load on the road.
If you’re someone who finds it hard to knuckle down to work under your own steam, especially when there’s a whole lot of better options going on, you’re going to need to reassess your priorities and suitability.
4. Find other digital nomads
It’s a good idea to find your ‘tribe’. I’ve dabbled in the digital nomad space – with the people who go to meet ups like DNX and the Nomad Cruise – but it’s the travel blogger world that I feel most comfortable and myself in.
Find ‘your people’ and you’ll find people who can support you when you’re venturing into the unknown. You’ll find people on the same crazy schedules and time zones as you, and you’ll find others who can guide you and for you to guide within your industry and / or interests.
5. Stay positive and believe in yourself
Many businesses struggle to survive in the first few years, let’s not go into stats as if you’ve come this far you probably know them. The thing is, you’ll need to stay positive in hard times as a digital nomad. It’s even harder building and maintaining a business while you’re travelling than it is at home.
You don’t have the support network, your family to help, your friends to moan to, or sometimes even the language skills to order your favourite food when you’re feeling a bit down. If you’re doing this alone, and abroad, you’ve got all the pressures and unfamiliarity of travelling to add into the mix too.
You’ll need to be strong and undoubting in your resolve, but you might also need to be able to accept when it’s not quite working out too.
First and second though, you’re going to need that positive attitude, sometimes that might be all you have!
– Post in collaboration with Dell, that bit where I mention ‘laptop’. The rest? All me.