What is Digital Nomads?
Over the last few years, technology has made it possible for almost anyone to work online and lead a life as a digital nomad. More and more people want to travel around the world, make money as they go, and build their own business. Now that the concept of remote work is more common and the number of digital nomads is rising, it’s starting to get a better reputation but that hasn’t always been the case.
Nearly 5 years ago, we turned our lives upside down and became digital nomads. At the beginning, we got a lot of strange looks when we talked about what we do to make a living. That’s because people are quick to judge when they are confronted with this type of lifestyle and assume many things that are simply not true. “You don’t have a real job”, “all you do is lay in the sun all day”, or “you must have rich parents that support you” - we’ve heard it all, believe me. But most of these things couldn’t be further from the truth.
In today's blog post we want to look at the most common myths about digital nomads and see what they are really about!
You cannot build a successful career as digital nomads
The first myth that people say about the digital nomad life is that they won’t be able to have a successful career or see any progress in their work life. But that’s not true at all! Remote workers and digital nomads can have the same successful career as a “typical” employee. You can still gain a great reputation in your industry by doing freelance work or running your own business. You can have an incredible career and build your own empire. It might not be the typical career path, but that doesn’t mean you will be less successful or qualified. In actual fact being your own boss means that the sky is the limit and there are certainly more doors opening for someone who is taking their own path rather than the traditional route.
Only techies can be digital nomads
Another one of the very popular myths about digital nomads is that you need to work in the tech sector. Even though there are a lot of location-independent professionals who work in jobs such as web design or programming, there are also plenty of jobs that don’t require any IT skills. Just because you work from your laptop doesn’t mean you can’t do creative work either. There are so many remote job opportunities - just think of popular online jobs like virtual assistance, copywriter, translating, social media management or teaching. There is absolutely no need to be a techie!
Digital nomad is only for people in their early 20s
Many people assume that being a digital nomad is like a self-discovery trip. Or something that people do before they start with university, then, once they’ve had enough, they go back to a conventional life. But no, that’s not the case. Being a digital nomad is not a phase. It’s a way of living, and there is no age range that you need to be in if you want to live that way. Marie, Jake and Miguel are now all in their 30's and they don’t intend on stopping! We all love what we do so much and we don’t think age should be criteria for exclusion. The only question you need to ask yourself to qualify for a digital nomad life is - do you want more freedom?
Digital nomads are always on holiday
Alright, now I do see why people say that we must always be on vacation - we travel a lot, get to stay at beautiful hotels, and discover the world. So while that part is true, there is definitely more to it. Since we started working online we’ve been working so much more than we ever have before. Long days and long nights is what our day-to-day work life looks like. We barely take time off during the weekends, and we usually don’t even take sick days or go on a real vacation. As a matter of fact, we only recently started to take one day off a week, but before that, we basically worked 24/7 minus sleep. And that’s the case for most remote workers or freelancers, especially at the beginning. Finding clients is hard work, keeping them takes even more effort, throw on top of that the management of your socials for marketing and setting up a business, you can imagine you will definitely be kept on your toes. So no, being a digital nomad does not mean you’ll be on a non-stop vacation but it does give you the opportunity to choose where you want to work from - and if you choose wisely, it’ll feel like a constant vacation. And besides, if you truly love what you do, you don’t even need to take a vacation, and you won't mind working a bit extra on the weekends.
Being productive is the biggest struggle for digital nomads
Let’s move on to the next myth that we often hear: “if you are working online it’s impossible to be productive and to stay focused.” Personally, I think this is more of a personality thing, rather than it being related to where you work. Just because you don’t work from an office, doesn’t mean you won’t get work done. On the contrary! Since you will be able to create your own working schedule, you can make sure you divide it so that it increases your productivity. You can choose to work at your most productive times, and you can take creative breaks whenever you need them. If you're struggling with creating a healthy work-life balance, be sure to check out our blog post about it here!
You must be super-rich to become a digital nomad
Many people think you must be super rich or come from an ultra-wealthy family to become a digital nomad. However, this is not true. The four of us come from very normal families and we never got any financial support from our parents. I actually worked during my studies to earn a bit of money just so I could go on weekend trips. Since you are able to choose where you want to work from, you can also find a place to stay that is affordable. Look at us - in Bali, we can survive with as little as 20€ a day and still live an amazing life. Although the decision to become a digital nomad is not one to be taken lightly, and does require quite a bit of investment in time, money and energy, it doesn’t mean that you need to come from a wealthy background.
Being a digital nomad is easy
Now, whoever said this clearly has never worked online or built their own business. Being a digital nomad and being your own boss comes with a LOT of responsibilities. They might be different from those in a conventional job, but that doesn’t make them any easier. You will have to learn how to take care of so many things - register a company, pay your taxes, negotiate deals, find clients or suppliers - and the list goes on. And on top of that, you’re the one who’ll face the consequences if you don’t stay on top of it. But we think that that’s actually a great thing! Starting our own business has been the best way to learn new skills. We have to wear many hats, but that really allows us to expand our skill set and become super independent! So, no, it’s not easy, but it’ll teach you so much and it’s incredibly rewarding if it works out in the end! (And if it doesn’t, I can guarantee you that you’ll still learn something from it).
Digital nomads are living the dream
Are we living the dream? I don’t know, but we are certainly living a life that we love, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course, there are a few things we definitely don’t love about the digital nomad lifestyle, including being away from our families and friends, rarely taking a day off, and the usual uncertainties that come with working online. But, all in all, I can say that we truly love what we do, each and every day.
But just because it’s our dream, it doesn’t mean it’s THE dream. This isn’t a lifestyle for everyone and that’s ok. As much as it’s fun, exciting, and full of adventure, it can also be terrifying, stressful and things do go wrong. So if this is a life you always dreamed of having, make sure that you are ready for it.
As you can see, there are plenty of myths about digital nomads around. Most of them are clearly not true. But I can understand how some came to exist. I hope that this blog could clear any doubts you might have had about working online!
Club Life Design is one of the great digital nomads community in the World, let's follow us on Instagram @clublifedesign to be a part of our big family.
Talk to you soon,