If you’ve become tired of the 9-5 grind and have always been a bit of a free spirit, you should seriously consider a switch from a corporate career to a career as a digital nomad. Generally speaking, a digital nomad is a person who works remotely, often while visiting new places. Becoming a digital nomad is a great way to see the world while still making money, but it’ll require a bit of preparation. If you’re planning on making the big move, try the following tips:
First, you’ll need to ensure you have your finances in order. Working as a digital nomad often means living from week to week, especially if you’re freelancing. To this end, save a reasonable amount of money to use as a safety net before you quit your 9-5.
Once you’re confident that digital nomadism is a lifestyle you can afford to begin, identify what kind of work you’ll be doing. There are plenty of options for the aspiring digital nomad, but if something catches your eye that you’re not quite skilled enough for, upgrade your skill set before you make any rash decisions.
Before you begin, you’ll need to understand the differences between a corporate job and a job working as a digital nomad. Yes, you won’t have to deal with a commute – but if you’re a true digital nomad moving from place to place, you may have to deal with homesickness as well as the anxiety of not having a stable place to call home, among other issues. To this end, plan carefully – the last thing you want is to be in a café somewhere in Thailand, one week after your departure from home, realising this isn’t the lifestyle for you. Do your research, learn as best as you can what your new life will entail, and while you’re getting started, give yourself time to adjust. Design a schedule that works for you and try your best to stick to it.
Having a reliable internet connection is a must. If you can’t manage installing an internet connection in your home, ensure you have access to cafés, libraries, or coworking spaces with strong connections – you’ll need them.
Avoid burnout: don’t spend all your time working. Working remotely means that it can be all too easy to procrastinate and end up spending your whole day at your desk, wherever that might be. Don’t be afraid to take a short nap, do some light, enjoyable exercise, or spend a few minutes outside – these activities do wonders for your wellbeing.
It’s also important to join some kind of community, especially if you’re abroad. Take advantage of technology and try your best to stay in touch with old friends. Make new ones, too – try forums for people in your situation, or make an effort to meet new people in coworking spaces.
If you’re freelancing, always strive to deliver great results to your customers. They’re your bread and butter, so you need to keep them coming back. Word of mouth is also a great way for new clients to find you, so value your existing clients and make a great impression on them!
Lastly, once you’ve settled into the digital nomad lifestyle, try to avoid feeling discouraged and comparing yourself to your successful corporate friends back home. Remember that you chose this lifestyle for a reason, and if you enjoy it most days, you’re doing okay. Things might be tough when you start out, but with any luck, they’ll improve as you settle into the lifestyle and build a client base (if you’re freelancing).
Becoming a digital nomad can be one of the best choices you ever make. As long as you’re well-prepared and committed to making your new lifestyle work, you’ll have the time of your life!
Allison is a Wellington-based freelance writer whose work has been published in various sites. In addition to writing, she also enjoys yoga and traveling. To learn more about her, visit allisonhail.tumblr.com.