By Sophia Smith
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
A digital nomad is a fully remote worker who operates while constantly traveling. That’s not to say they spend 24 hours a day on the road. Digital nomads spend some time in a city or area, exploring it and working, then pack up and go discover a new destination.
This work format is ideal for free spirits with a taste for adventure. All you need is your equipment and a good internet connection. You can depend on venues at your destinations or carry a personal portable wifi solution.
What are the benefits and hardships? We bring you a comprehensive overview.
Challenges of the digital nomad lifestyle
Like any other form of employment, the digital nomad work model comes with its own set of hurdles to conquer. Here are some of the most common obstacles a digital nomad is likely to face.
One distinct benefit of nomad work is that one’s clientele isn’t limited by location. They can empower themselves with a much wider client pool at their fingertips.
That said, because they never stay in one place for long, they need some kind of sourcing strategies. New clients can be sourced from freelance platforms, by word-of-mouth, or social media job boards.
The work of a digital nomad cannot be assessed and charged per time spent in-office. Instead, it is heavily final-result-oriented, which could be a stumbling block for managers and employers.
While most higher-ups are fine with it so long as work is delivered on time, some can find it difficult to trust a worker they can’t directly monitor. One way a digital nomad can demonstrate their worth as a professional resource is to provide portfolios of quality work, as well as to ask for testimonials and references from past clients.
Navigating time zones
Most clients and/or employers prefer to conduct their business in their own operating hours, usually 9-5. This includes meetings and consultations, and that can be a problem for the remotely participating digital nomad. Depending on their respective locations, the traveling worker might have to get very creative with their sleep routine.
Living arrangements might not be your first association when traveling work is the topic, but nonetheless it’s an essential aspect of the digital nomad lifestyle. Hotels are always convenient, but always affordable year-round. Instead, traveling workers embrace various solutions: rented apartments, hostels, professional co-living spaces, etc.
One popular budget hack is to lodge in the general area and commute to whatever sights one wants to see. For example, a digital nomad traveling through Utah could look for apartments near Salt Lake City, explore the metropolis, and go back to their affordable accommodations at the end of the day instead of paying full City prices.
Tools and tech
Every business has its own system of work, preferred software, etc. When you add in-house tools to the mix, it can get pretty confusing. Now multiply that by the number of clients.
A successful digital nomad must therefore be flexible and always ready to learn. It also helps to pick an organization tool for their own use, to keep track of clients and projects in a format that suits their productivity style.
Instagram pictures of working on a beach or in a trendy cafe look quite appealing, but the reality is that most digital nomads do still require a dedicated working space where they can properly focus. Coworking spaces or public libraries with good wifi are popular solutions.
Benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle
Exploring new horizons
Life as a digital nomad is a great way to start a journey of self-discovery. Travel broadens our perspective on life, even when we travel purely for temporary leisure, let alone making it a long-term way of life.
Tailoring your own time
As a digital nomad, you are in full control of your office hours. Sure, sometimes you might have to adapt to a client from a different time zone. But on the whole, remote work offers far more scheduling flexibility than any hybrid model.
Expanding your business network
When your entire professional setup is remote and mobile, it offers some unique networking opportunities. You can connect with other digital nomads currently working in your area, or make a new professional friend with whom to travel to your next destination. Co-living spaces tailored for remote workers often gather people in related industries, so you can expand your circle of fellow experts and maybe even start a partnership.
To sum up, a digital nomad lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it’s on a steady rise for good reason. It offers a wealth of opportunity for personal and professional development. It also features a unique set of challenges which help build business skills and resilience. All in all, it’s a powerful avenue of discovering your potential and fostering good change, both in the international economy and in your own character.
About the author:
Sophia Smith is a lifestyle blogger, graphic designer and food enthusiast. She is very passionate about eco-friendly and green topics, sustainable fashion, eco beauty, and conscious business. Sophia’s other hobbies centre around her love for yoga, wellness rituals and living in balance with nature. She loves sharing meaningful content that inspires people and has covered topics ranging from organic beauty products and sustainability to self-care and mental health.
Sophia has contributed to a number of publications including Longevity Live, Naughty Nutrition, Herbs Mother Earth Living, Sivana Spirit, Urban Naturale, Awaken, Carousel, Literally Darling and Cause Artist.
You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter (@sophia_bri)