Since 2005, the number of people working from home has grown by over 100 percent. This is largely thanks to the increasing number of technological tools that enable companies from numerous industries to create remote work opportunities.
However, just because someone can work remotely doesn’t mean they will automatically find success. If you’re considering life as a digital nomad, here are a few tips and tricks to make sure that you get the most of your situation.
Find Your Work Rhythm
It’s easy to take your work life for granted when you’re employed at a company with strict rules, office hours, and operational procedures. When you’re a digital nomad, though, you’re in charge of your own schedule.
While that’s music to the ears of most, anyone who wants to succeed needs to take this independence seriously. That’s why it’s critical that you discover your work rhythm and create a freelance schedule. Your work rhythm is the best way that you work. How can you be the most creative, productive, or efficient?
Start by asking yourself a few questions. Then be honest about which decisions enhance your productivity and which don’t.
Where do you work the best? A bustling coffee shop? A quiet hotel room? Camping at some of the most beautiful parks in the nation?
When do you work best? Do you find you’re most focused early in the morning? Late at night?
What do you need to focus on? Do you need a white noise machine, noise-cancelling headphones, or a subscription to a music streaming service? Make sure you have what you need on hand to keep distractions at a minimum.
How much work is too much work? Often, digital nomads are responsible for creating their workload. While you don’t want to slack off, it can be just as difficult to make sure you’re not taking on too much work.
How should you dress? Some at-home workers need to dress as if they’re going to an office. Others find success in their PJs.
Whatever your unique situation is, if you want to thrive while working on the road, it’s wise to ask these kinds of questions to sort out your own work rhythm.
Play by the Rules
A digital nomad must be aware of the rules regarding their work. Now, if you think that the term “rules” sounds a bit nebulous, that’s because it is. You’ll have to figure out the systems of individual clients, your own government’s taxes, and even the work requirements of a nation you might spend time living and working in.
On the company level, make sure that both you and your client thoroughly understand your work hours, flexibility, and other expectations. For instance, just because the digital nomad life is flexible doesn’t mean you can leave a client in the dark about your progress on a project.
On the national level, make sure you understand what taxes you may owe at the end of each year as the standards can vary depending on the kind of remote work you’re engaged in.
In addition, if you’re traveling out of your country, make sure to keep your documentation up to date at all times and consider any additional rules that may exist for non-citizens. For example, if you’re a foreigner who will work in the United States for a while, you’ll need to get a work permit.
Finally, remember that communication is key. A client or a boss can’t simply walk over to your cubicle to ask you a question if you’re halfway across the globe. That’s why a truly successful digital nomad will always take steps to stay connected. This is especially true for those who are naturally introverted as they may not have a natural proclivity to initiate contact with those around them.
If you’re going to be on the road a lot, maintain your access to the internet via a smartphone. On top of that, if you’re not sure where you’ll be on any given day, try investing in a data plan that allows you to use your phone as an internet hotspot. This enables you to hop online whether you’re near a WiFi connection or not.
However you go about it, it’s critical that you stay online and connected whenever you’re working if you want to be a successful digital nomad.
Own the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
While it’s a fun experiment to try out remote work for a season, only those who set themselves up for success will be able to sustain this lifestyle for the long term. The digital nomad life, when done well, can be incredibly rewarding. However, it does take a good deal of effort to keep up.
If you want to flourish as a digital nomad, remember that you’re going to need to put in the effort. If you can accept this, the trade-off will be well worth your time.
What other suggestions do you have for the novice digital nomad? What were some aspects of the freelance lifestyle that you wished you understood earlier? Share your thoughts in the comments or online.