Being a digital nomad has many perks and advantages such as freedom of movement and reducing living costs to personal and professional growth. However, running a business while living this lifestyle has many challenges which can hamper your success if not they are not mitigated. Here are seven tips which will help ease your journey to becoming a digital nomad.
- Settle in an expat hub
One of the allures of becoming a digital nomad is the option to move around as you please. As much as it may seem like a good idea to constantly be on the go, you’ll quickly tire yourself out. Your best bet is to set up a base in an expat hub that will lower costs and be in a location that it is easier to explore from. Here are just a few of the many growing expat hubs for you to consider:
- Chang Mai, Thailand
- Medellin, Colombia
- Bali, Indonesia
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Florianopolis, Brazil
- Taghazout, Morocco
- Get adequate accommodation
One of your first instincts as a digital nomad is to keep your expenses low to have more to invest in your business. Hostels may seem like a good idea but they are not good environments for productivity or sleep.
To give you time to focus and mentally relax, renting with Airbnb is a solid option. If you can stay in a place for a month the rates are extremely affordable. When you’re looking for a suitable place to stay, make sure you are aware of your own needs. If you enjoy a bit of privacy, it’s best to search for “entire place” or “own room” and always ask about the wifi.
- Find a co-working space
As tempting as it may be to work in cafes, a good work environment is also important. Co-working spaces are available all over the world and there are several apps out there that can help you find co-working spaces in your locality such as ShareDesk and LiquidSpace.
A lot of places will let you try the space for a day for free. Make sure the co-working space has everything you need (test the wifi!), has a culture you can fit in with and has flexible lease terms.
- Manage your loneliness.
Most digital nomads travel solo and this can get quite lonely even if you are surrounded by people. Life on the road leads to transient friends which is a little exhausting when you just want some familiarity.
Leverage your network while you’re travelling. Post to Facebook or Twitter, and you might be surprised to find some friends or extended friends in some of the places you go to.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the value of small talk. You never know when a quick chat could quickly turn into a long lasting friendship.
- Get into travel hacking.
Tracking hacking is the art of using your usual spend to gain miles and points to get free flights or hotels. The sooner you get a card that will generate points the better as it can drastically reduce your outlay for getting around.
Where possible you’ll want to get cards for both personal and business expenses to really maximize your earning potential. There are also hotel and airline loyalty schemes you can join to earn points. It may seem complex but there are many guides out there on how to earn miles and points.
- Listen to podcasts
There are some great podcasts out there that also have guests where you can pick up great tips about being a digital nomad. Here are some to consider.
- Tropical MBA podcast: Dan and Ian share valuable tips on how to build your location-independent business.
- The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Natalie Sisson has been traveling the world for roughly a decade on the back of her online business.
- Fluent in 3 Months: Benny Lewis, a digital nomad, teaches others how to learn languages in a condensed time frame.
- Stay productive
When you’re a digital nomad it is very easy to get distracted. There’s always a mountain to hike, a beach to walk, a restaurant to try or a temple to visit. Here are some productivity tips to help you stay on track:
- Set yourself office hours and stick to them. Set an alarm like you would if you had to go to work. Equally, when you’ve finished a work day be sure to get some down time – if you’ve earned it.
- Your phone is a lifeline when you’re traveling but it can also serve as a major distraction. Turn it off during work hours if you can or at least turn off distracting alerts.
- When you’re on the move don’t waste those travel hours. You’d be surprised how much you can get done on a bus, plane or train. Have something prepared that can be done offline for you to do on your journey.
- Set out your to-do list the night before to minimize how much time you spend procrastinating in the morning.