With the global economy still struggling, the jobs market is as tough a place as it has ever been. Yet the 21st century digital economy offers more scope and variety for a flexible working lifestyle than ever before. So surely there is an easier way for those who have been struggling day in and day out to find work.
If you have the right focus and self-discipline, then cutting those corporate ties and forging your own path as a digital nomad could open up a whole new way of life, as well as severing your dependence on the ever-dwindling levels of state support that are offered to the unemployed.
The nomadic lifestyle
If you are just starting out in the world of work or have till now lived the life of a 9-5 office drone, then we need to start with some definitions. Quite simply, a digital nomad is someone who is able to work online and is not, therefore restricted by location.
There is a subtle difference between being a digital nomad and being location independent, in that when they start out, most nomads have financial constraints to the locations they can actually choose, and tend to gravitate towards lower cost spots in South East Asia. The ultimate goal is to make a success of it and become truly location independent. So, if you have dreams of working in New York this week and Tokyo next, then you might just have to wait a while.
A new paradigm
In some respects, the global economic crisis could not have come at a better time, coinciding as it did with technological advances that heralded what many people are calling the fourth industrial revolution. There is nothing like a good crisis to blow the seeds of change, and this is exactly what is happening here.
The range of digital and cloud-based technology that is in everyday use effectively renders the traditional 20th century business model obsolete, while at the same time almost eliminating barriers to entry for anyone who wants to set up business on their own. In times of prosperity, we might have seen little immediate change, but as it is, the age of the 21st century nomadic worker has been given a real kickstart.
Some predict that in 20 years’ time, there will be more than a billion digital nomads. Could you be one of them?