What is a Digital Nomad
And how to find them…
What is a digital nomad? It’s people like me who work online and digitally and quite often don’t have offices. That doesn’t mean we’re homeless – far from it – it means we’re officeless. Nor does it mean we’re jobless. Many of us earn a good living from being digital nomads and haven’t – for any number of reasons – gone that next step into setting up a permanent office.
You’ll find digital nomads in cafes around the world, using free wifi and seeing how long they can get away with staying there without buying something. Often, a cup of coffee guarantees you a couple of hours of uninterrupted work, but unless you’re in a large chain – like Costas or Starbucks – you’ll be asked to buy something or leave.
The Life of a Digital Nomad
The upsides to being a Digital Nomad are plenty. Manage your own hours and work where you want and when you need to, are two obvious benefits.
A typical day for me will involve tidying up the apartment, checking emails and deciding if I want to work from home or head out. Generally, I’ll go out, unless I have a real need to stay indoors all day. Sometimes working alone by yourself can be lonely and working alongside others – even if you don’t talk to them – can make you feel less lonely.
Right now, in Chumleys in North London (Stoke Newington/Dalston) I’m at a communal table with 5 guys and 3 girls, none of which seem interested in the other, but all of us seem to be happy in this space and busy with our respective work.
What does a Digital Nomad do?
Anything online. I have a close friend in Florence who is also a Digital Nomad and writes scripts, writes for magazines and is a part-time actress. Another friend is a professional photographer with 2 kids. When the kids are at school, she’s using her car as her office and transportation. While she also does some work from home, she’s often in meetings in London and on location when needed. I know software programmers, virtual office managers, e-commerce managers project managers and many other types of professionals working digitally and remotely.
We’re creating more and more work online, which further minimises the need for a bricks and mortar office for many. We’re seeing more and more co-sharing office spaces being advertised. More Digital Nomads on the road working mornings, afternoons or early hours of the morning.
Should I try it?
Depends on what you do. If you’re considering becoming a Digital Nomad or perhaps you’re contemplating working remotely, have a hard long think about your self-motivation levels. Some people find it both rewarding and simple to self-motivate, while others find it challenging and require external or additional influencers to help motivate them. If you’re not sure, you should do a trial first. You may find that on that odd day when you ‘work’ from home you’ve done nothing work related.
I have a close friend who worked for a company that was trying to minimise costs and tried to encourage the staff to work from home more often. My friend discovered he got more washing done, spent more time with his kids and fiance, had a very clean house but reached the end of every working day scrambling to prove he’d done any work. For him, the choice was easy. He returned to working in an office, where he thrives on being surrounded by others like him and happier in a traditional office of bricks and mortar environment.
Does it Pay?
Again, this depends on what you do. If you are launching something new for the first time, it’s always smartest to start off part-time first. That way, if your venture doesn’t reward you financially right away from the beginning, you’ve only lost the extra hours you put in. But if you quit your daytime job to do it, you’ll have put enormous pressure on that new startup that gives it less of a chance to survive and put yourself at risk of financial hardship. A new venture should be treated with care and should be nourished carefully, with your careful diligence, it could grow into something big.
Start simple and watch it grow.
Some people nurture an idea or a business over time, then give up their day job when they start to see results. Others fall into it or are forced into it, and each of them are different. Without bricks and mortar costs, you can find that unlimited coffees and food are your only costs when you work as a Digital Nomad which means more profit from your digital ventures are in your pockets. Your outgoings are smaller, so therefore your incoming can only get bigger.
Don’t run before you can walk. I know far too many people who made a ton of money in their first few weeks that they thought it was all going to be like that and put nothing away. In fact, one particular acquaintance thought her new venture was off to a great start and hired a PA, leased a small office and went on a spending spree to furnish her new business. When the second month brought nothing in, she found herself with higher outgoings before the business had a chance to survive. Sadly, her business failed within 3 months because she tried to run before she could walk. Had she remained a Digital Nomad for a few more months, she would have seen that her business was only profitale one month out of every 3 and she could have worked around that.
Should I write a Book to Make Money?
If I could go back in time, I probably still would have written Monique, because it was a story that needed to be told, but I may not have bothered with the rest. Though, I’m glad I did. I’m one of very few authors who actually make sales from his books. There are many who do not sell a single copy, month after month. In fact, of all the books on Amazon, only 5% of those authors are making money from them. Think about that before you decide to add a book to it.
Don’t write a book for the money. Times have changed and everyone can easily publish a book in today’s digital world and the problem is, nearly everyone is. There are literally billions of books being published every year on the world’s largest online retailer – Amazon and hardly any of those are being read. If you have a great idea and you want to write a book, there’s your motivation and you should go ahead and do it. Just don’t do it expecting to make money, as finding readers and buyers is the biggest obstacle you will face. You’ll be surprised by how little word of mouth you’ll get from your books, even if they turn out to be really good.
Write for the love and not for the money and you won’t be disappointed, but more importantly, don’t quit your day-job to puruse a dream of working as a Digital Nomad until you’ve had a chance to see if A you’re suited for the lifestyle and B whether it’s going to make you adequate money.
If you are working as a Digital Nomad anytime soon, we may end up sharing a desk in a cafe together. You might want to keep an ear out for Circle in the Sand, written in cafes in Italy, England, Spain and Australia.