I knew that the traditional “9 to 5” wasn’t really for me. I know this sounds cliché, so millennial, and entitled. However, let me first clarify, working and traveling means working double or triple what you would do at your nine to five. You are responsible for taxes, making sure you get paid, and getting new clients. You have to work fourteen hours a day sometimes to make a deadline. You have to manage difficult clients.
There is nothing without sacrifice. In a nine to five you are beholden to your boss for at least 40 hours a week. You have to show up, you have a limited number of vacation days, you are not “free”. In return, you get a steady paycheck, benefits, and a routine. When you freelance in a location independent business, you get the freedom to hop on a plane, go where you want, take a vacation day, you are “free” to a point. In return you have to hustle for your work, complete projects, and take full responsibility. You won’t know if it is for you until you actually try it, but I put together this list so you could get an idea if it is for you.
This is becoming less and less of a controversial idea and by 2035, there will be 1 BILLION digital nomads.
1. You Have A Career That Is Already Digital
Going into this, I had clients, I had relationships, and I had a portfolio I could use to get new clients. I was able to prospect with confidence knowing exactly what needed to be done and knowing how to execute with precision. I didn’t need to take any courses, or intern. I was able to transition almost perfectly into my new freelance roles. This doesn’t mean that if you aren’t there yet, you can’t do it. It just means that you should find a location independent career that you will enjoy and be good at before you can even begin to plan to leave. People do find their way but it is much more difficult after you already leave.
Udemy.com is my favorite resource for affordable and valuable classes. I have actually had phone conversations with the professors and they walked me through my problems. They also have an app where you can download lessons and watch them on the go. It helped me sharpen my skills and pass the Google tests too!
2. You Can Balance Work and Fun
When people talk about how they failed as a “digital nomad” it is often because of two reasons: they work too hard or not at all. It can be very tempting to either work 14 hours a day trying to get new clients, work on a portfolio, OR go to the beach and do nothing. This balance does take time to perfect but if you want to travel then travel, take a sabbatical, that is what I wish I did. You can’t fully enjoy it if you have to work.
3. You Have Discipline and Flexibility
You can sleep in a hostel, you don’t just spend needlessly, you can manage with just a few outfits and small carry-on bags, and you aren’t high maintenance. I have gotten to airbnb’s that were dirty and I just had to deal with it, hostels that were empty and unstaffed and I just had to push through my fears of getting murdered… Unless you are making tons of money already which is unlikely because you probably wouldn’t be reading this, you will have to sacrifice. The reward: freedom.
4. You Are Comfortable With Yourself
Sure, living on a remote beach is great, but it gets lonely. There were sometimes when I didn’t talk to people for weeks, These situations are inevitable, you will be alone sometimes and if you don’t like that then you will be miserable. On the flip side, it could be an opportunity for self growth… In addition, being comfortable with your skill level is equally as important. Being able to demand payment is essential and if you are not comfortable or confident talking about money then you will be screwed.