Louise Croft is a journalist and Co-founder of JournoRequests. In this article she sheds some light on the reality of being a real life digital nomad and how those click-funnel, list building, people selling ‘6 figure secrets’ aren’t the reality of working on the move…
“Having been a digital nomad now for two years I’ve seen a huge range of information online – from overly positive, to overly negative, and thought I’d give an honest insiders look. Here goes!”
What is a digital nomad?
Simply – someone who can do all their work online. They might be employed full time with a company and “working from home”, or running their own business that doesn’t require physical client meetings. Any job that can be done over Skype, email, websites etc, is perfect nomad material. Normally this “location independence” means nomads travel a lot, or live in exotic countries. That’s not an essential part but it’s a pretty natural progression once you discover the freedom of working online.
At JournoRequests we are a team of four who all live and work remotely across the world. We created software that finds press opportunities from journalists on Twitter, and shares them with relevant people in our subscriber base. It helps them bag incredible coverage in publications like Times, Daily Mail and Huffington Post. Everything we do is online and phone based so we have the freedom to live abroad!
How is it different to a holiday?
Of course most people check, and reply to, work emails while they’re on holiday, so really we all have our moments of Digital Nomad-ism. However, choosing it as a lifestyle is really quite different. Everyone is different, but typically we work about 12 hours a day, either in a co-working space or our apartment living room, keep in touch via Skype and Slack, and draw full time salaries from the businesses we run. Our Instagram feeds make it look like a holiday but really we are extremely dedicated to our work, and basically chained to our laptops!
What are the benefits?
Naturally, being able to live anywhere in the world comes with plenty of amazing benefits, like being able to travel, beautiful weather, and exciting food to try, but there are also lots of financial benefits too. We tend to live in each city for 2-3 months and get a short term apartment lease. This keeps living expenses nice and low and means we are actually managing to save a big chunk of our income.
Typically speaking, living a reasonably luxurious lifestyle (eating out twice a day, nice gym membership, apartment complex with a pool) in popular nomad countries like Bali or Thailand will cost you £1000 a month. That includes flights if you only fly every few months like we do. So, if you’re making a £30k salary you’ll be banking over half your income! Quite an improvement from when we were living in London….
Of course there are also loads of exciting and interesting people to meet, and all the benefits of working for yourself to consider too.
What are the downsides?
Being away from your “home” country base certainly isn’t always ideal. The distance means you’ll miss weddings, funerals, and big events, and you’re opting out of your old social groups. Of course it’s up to you how often you come home, and which occasions you plan your visits around, but realistically you are choosing a different path to most people. We come home for about a month three times a year. This gives us a chance to see friends and family, and re-plan our next trip.
On top of that you should consider the downsides of working for yourself – like longer hours, more responsibility, future uncertainty etc. However, in my book all of these are debatable if you love your work and create a sustainable business that no one can fire you from!
How do I start?
If you want to continue in your existing full time job then try asking your boss if you can start doing a few days a week from home, then slowly work up to being fully remote. Or, start looking for freelancing work using your current skills. Finally, you could look at starting a business or selling products online – really whatever you’re passionate about! There are lots of great blogs online to check out, and feel free to get in touch with us too: louise@Journorequests.com
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