In recent years, more and more entrepreneurs, teleworkers and freelancers have decided to travel while running their business online. These are what we call "digital nomads". The blogger Kalagan, digital nomad since 2011, explains what digital nomad means, which jobs are concerned and gives us some advice to succeed in his travel project while working online.
What does "digital nomad" mean?
A digital nomad is a person who manages their business activities online, while being mobile enough to travel. Thanks to a Wifi or mobile connection that can now be found in every country in the world, they work while travelling, from their temporary homes abroad, hotels, cafés, coworking spaces... Managing their activities 100% online, they are free to have a nomadic lifestyle, to travel full time, or to spend part of the year in their preferred areas of the world. The digital nomad is in a way an even more mobile teleworker, on an international scale. Today, the digital nomad community numbers several tens of thousands of online workers.
What jobs can digital nomads do?
There are 3 categories of online jobs that digital nomads can do.
Freelance: Today, there are hundreds of jobs that can be done online independently.
Successful entrepreneur: many web entrepreneurs who have succeeded in having a profitable business one day ask themselves the following question: "what if I went to travel abroad for a few months, while continuing to run my business?" New encounters, new business opportunities, market opening, learning a new language, tax optimisation... Being mobile and going to live abroad can be very beneficial for a web entrepreneur. It also allows them to change their routine and add a little adventure to their career.
Teleworkers: the number of companies recruiting digital nomads is still marginal. That said, it is becoming more and more common in the United States, mainly in Silicon Valley. Companies such as Automatic, Buffer and Todoist are leading the way by hiring dozens, if not hundreds, of digital nomads around the world. Being an employee in this kind of company allows, in addition to geographical freedom, professional and personal development. In some countries, it also allows you to enjoy a better climate, a better standard of living or a lower cost of living than in large Western cities. Being able to travel while working also allows for increased foreign language learning. Companies such as Remotive.io have specialised in recruiting digital nomads.
Non-exhaustive list of jobs you can do as a digital nomad:
- Web Developer
- Mobile Application Developer
- Graphic designer
- Online marketing expert
- Advertising expert (Facebook or Google)
- Search engine optimization expert
- Community manager
- Web writer (SEO or freelance)
- Translator, transcriber
- Virtual assistant
- Online trainer or teacher
- Professional blogger
- Professional photographer
- Chartered Accountant
- Online psychologist...
5 important tips for digital nomads
As an experienced digital nomad, I help new online workers take the plunge every week. Here are the 5 most important tips I give them:
1. Don't be a tourist all year round
Travelling as a digital nomad is not easy. Don't confuse holidays with working abroad, in extraordinary conditions (climate, atmosphere, landscapes, cost of living...). Take regular holidays, of course, but don't be a tourist all year round.
2. Take care of your working environment
The working environment is one of the most important factors for being productive in your business. So make sure you choose hotels or temporary accommodation where you can work in good conditions: table or desk, space, light, internet connection... Also have one or two places outside to work (cafés, coworking space...).
3. Manage your budget and income properly
As an entrepreneur or freelancer, you will most likely have a fluctuating income. Sometimes the income is very good, sometimes it is less. Even if you are abroad and want to go on a trip every day, set yourself a budget and stick to it.
4. Don't be a globetrotter (take your time)
Prefer immersion travel to compulsive and globetrotter travel. Why not stay 3 months in one country to learn a foreign language? If you change cities every 2-3 days and only stay a few weeks in each country you visit, you will get tired and spend too much time in transport. Take your time and travel slowly.
5. Travel light!
This is advice that all frequent travellers will give you. It is even more relevant to travel light when you are a digital nomad. Because you will inevitably have to travel with your mobile office in addition to your personal belongings: laptop, headset for video conferences, notebook(s)... So go for minimalism and travel as light as possible.
To go further:
Discover the best digital nomad spots in the world on NomadList.
Also visit the blog: www.kalagan.fr/.