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So You Want To Be a Digital Nomad? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself First

Hybrid working and WFH are no longer novel.

They are part of the culture of most companies. Remote working evangelists have been vocal and times have changed.

But we are also seeing a second tide of change — the rise of WFA (working from anywhere).

And the rise of people doing this with their own online services business.

There are currently over 35 million digital nomads in the world.

This is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.

A study (1) found that the top 5 reasons most people become digital nomads are:

  • A better work-life balance (73%)

  • Freedom of the lifestyle (68%)

  • Love to travel (55%)

  • Wanting to avoid office politics (43%)

  • Desire to explore other cultures (37%)

For me, the reason I decided to experiment with this approach was because of my desire to experience other countries and cultures without having to put a complete stop to my career — something I didn’t want to do.

If you’re interested in trying out this lifestyle, it’s certainly possible.

However, from my experience it’s worth asking yourself these 5 questions first.

Do you have the freedom to do it?

The biggest factor that stops people doing this are prior commitments. Perhaps it’s a spouse who can’t move with you. Children that are in school. A mortgage that would be tricky to sustain while also paying rent abroad. These aspects make moving around the world harder, but not impossible! According to the same study cited above, 2/3rd of nomads are single and without a family. But that's not to mean you cannot do it. It just takes more thought and planning.

Are you someone who enjoys change?

As a digital nomad you must get used to the change of moving country — travelling is part of this lifestyle. This is very different to simply moving permanently abroad to one city and staying there as an expat. As soon as you start to get comfy in a city, you will likely be leaving to another. If you prefer to keep things the same and ‘settle’ in one place, the spiral of change may become too much after a while.

Are you someone who is OK working alone?

Digital nomads are often working away from any in-person team, meaning they have to motivate themselves even more. This becomes even more the case when you have your own online business. Although if you're offering a service to others, you'll naturally be interacting with them. Coworking spaces are also a great option to create an alternative ‘office feel’ with other remote workers and get to know those in your city. I had a fantastic coworking space when I was in Chiang Mai.

Could you be self-employed?

46% of digital nomads are self-employed, suggesting that while more and more organisations are allowing people to WFA, almost half of digital nomads are able to do it because they work for themselves. Online Business is great for being your own boss too! Curious about how to do it? Check out the ImagineThat Plans to see how you can get involved.

Do you enjoy meeting new people?

Part of the joy of being a digital nomad is the opportunity to meet other nomads from across the world. The community is one of the best parts. You get to meet folk from all walks of life, each with a different story to tell and often doing very interesting things. However, if meeting new people drains you and you couldn’t think of anything worse — perhaps it isn’t for you!

Closing thoughts

Being a digital nomad isn’t for everyone — and it’s often not forever, either. The rise of ‘slowmadism’ (moving cities but at a much slower pace) is something that may be better suited for some people.

But who wouldn't want the chance to work where they want when and as they wish? Remote freedom and WFA is the future.

Thinking of trying it yourself and answered yes to all the above?

Get the free ImagineThat Self-Assessment to see if Online Business is the best way for you to do it.

References and further reading

2) The Digital Nomad Handbook by Lonely Planet, Lonely Planet, 2020


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