Mindset & Confidence

Digital Nomad 101: The Pros And Cons

BY Kay Makishi

“Work hard, save money, retire, travel the world.” This is an old mentality. Why wait for retirement to travel the world? A digital nomad's lifestyle integrates both work and travel.

What is a Digital Nomad?

Investopedia defines digital nomads as people who are location independent and use technology to perform their job. This article explores the pros and cons of being a digital nomad and some practical tips if you're thinking about becoming one.

The PROS of being a Digital Nomad

Traveling, obviously. Learn a different language. Explore different cultures and frameworks of living. It opens your mind to new ideas which can fuel your business. The world is small and beautiful!

Become a self-discipline expert. I find structure paramount to productivity. Being a Digital Nomad forced me to create my own structure while I traveled. No one is managing what time you start or stop. Building this self-discipline muscle has helped me now as an entrepreneur.

Meeting new people. Establish international friendships. Here's some advice on that. There's a bunch of interesting folks doing interesting things. Exchange stories. Be inspired and grow from others' experiences. Life is fun when you can call up a friend wherever you go in the world.

The CONS of being a Digital Nomad

Lack of physically being with a team. It can be nice to be physically surrounded by teammates. You're working remotely as a digital nomad. Nothing replaces the positive energy created from in-person interactions.

Rebuilding community again and again. Communities can seem ephemeral. Just as you start to feel like you're building a community with locals and other digital nomads, someone leaves. Or you leave. It can be exhausting starting from scratch over and over again.

Wifi issues. This is the worst! Depends on the place. Figuring out which local cafes or wifi spots can be an issue. And wifi is the lifeblood for a digital nomad.

Tips for Digital Nomads

A New York Times survey finds 43 percent of employed Americans working remotely. Unsure where to begin? There are tons of resources like Remote Year, Hacker Paradise, and Nomad List. You can also start here:

  1. Create a list of countries you'd like to explore. Being a digital nomad means being location independent. Take advantage of this and explore our world! Make a dream list of countries you'd love to travel to. First step in making any dream come true? Put it on your conscious radar. Put it on paper. Make your dream list!
  2. Start with freelancing. Upwork is a great resource to start freelance work and segue into being a digital nomad. Make a list of your hard skills. Need help brainstorming? Grab a piece of paper. Write “my strengths” on the top left and “my weaknesses” on the right. List all your strengths and weaknesses. Look only at your strengths. Circle the ones that are hard skills. Offer those skills as services. Start pitching Upwork projects looking for your skill set. 

  3. Choose a “Home Base” wisely. Weekly or monthly long rentals typically offer discounted rates. Check out AirBnB, Flatio, and Nomad House to name a few resources. You can even house swap with other digital nomads. Coworking spaces may offer accommodation too like this one in Spain.
  4. Find digital nomad groups on social media. Exchange ideas and build community with fellow digital nomads. Join co-working groups in your local area. Be social! Going at it alone is tough. Your digital nomad group can help hold you accountable.

Are you a digital nomad? What are some of your favorite resources or tips? How did you get started?


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