More than 40 nations now offer “digital nomad” visas. This means that you can work in one country for longer than the normal tourist.
Why it matters
The way we work has changed. The rise of the “online side hustle” is here.
Online side hustles were first initiated by access to the internet, then the smartphone. They were then further amplified by social media.
The rise of knowledge workers and digital and online businesses has transformed the way we work and do business. This shift marks a departure from the industrial and agrarian economy of the past, and we are still trying to understand and come to terms with this new future.
The past isn’t the future. Escaping old and habitual practices is hard.
As humans we are pattern and habit driven animals.
But there was an accelerant.
The invisible virus that emerged in 2020.
The work and way we do business has been powered forward by the pandemic. It has pushed us forward 10 years. Now remote work and entrepreneurship is acceptable and all we have to work out is the balance.
This is a moving feast but the genie has escaped the bottle and we can’t put it back in.
Most countries only provide tourist visas for 90 days and being a digital nomad will often mean you will need a bit more time. Many of these new types of visas offer 12 months or more before you have to return to the mundane of your hometown.
For the past 10 years, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work remotely from anywhere in the world. While this can be a rewarding experience, it can also be challenging at times. However, if you find the right balance, you can effectively manage and grow your online side hustle from any location with an internet connection.
My experiment (myth or reality?)
Our fantasies are often obliterated by reality. The only way to find out if your dream is worth pursuing is to test it and run a low cost trial.
Just over 3 years ago I doubled down, and embarked on a dream trip to work and explore as a digital nomad for 3 months in Europe.
Why did I choose Europe?
This corner of the world was designed for humans and horses traveling by cart thousands of years ago. As a result, the cities and villages here are intimate and built for human scale, rather than for cars.
During my digital nomad experiment I discovered two key elements that didn’t quite work.
- A moving office: The term “digital nomad” suggests constant moving. That’s a trap. It sounds romantic but it ends up being stressful and frantic. The constant hunt for a new home base which ticks the boxes is harder than you think. The AirBnB photos and reviews don’t tell you everything you need to know to find that dream digital nomad base.
My simple checklist started with 3 requirements:
- A sunny terrace to work from. I wanted to be outside overlooking a view. I have never enjoyed working from a dark cave or cubicle.
- Easy access to a village that I could walk to for food and coffee. Somewhere to go in the evening for a dinner and a glass of wine.
- Stable and high speed internet. Mobile internet access is getting better every year all around the world but a mountain location could make that a challenge.
- A messy routine: Being productive requires routine. Routine is our own creation and for me that includes several key potions. Quiet time. Exercise time. Reading time. That may sound a bit boring but there is freedom in that “R” word. That’s it. Moving all the time is a recipe for routine rupture. A digital nomad is where you experience a new world but from a stable hub that you can make home for a few months.
Here are some other elements of the trip that weren’t optimal:
- Access to an International airport so you can escape to another adjacent country for a long weekend. That’s the explore element of the digital nomad experience that shouldn’t be ignored.
- A nearby train station that can whisk you to some local highlights for a day or two. Europe’s high speed train network is often faster than plane. No need to deal with the heinous airport security requirements.
- Having friends or connections nearby.
These are optional extras but can add so much value to your adventure.
Perfecton was sought but it wasn’t necessary.
This experiment was one of the best adventures of my life.
My best tips for a digital nomad adventure
Being a digital nomad can be a rewarding and exciting way to live and work, but it can also be challenging. Here are 10 tips to help you succeed as a digital nomad.
Determine your budget
One of the first steps to becoming a digital nomad is to determine your budget. This will help you determine where you can afford to live and how long you can afford to travel. Be sure to factor in the cost of living in different locations, as well as the cost of things like transportation, healthcare, and insurance.
Choose a location wisely
As a digital nomad, you’ll have the freedom to choose where you want to live and work. Be sure to choose a location wisely, taking into account factors such as the cost of living, the availability of internet and other amenities, and the local culture and climate.
Find a reliable source of income
In order to be a successful digital nomad, you’ll need to find a reliable source of online side hustle income. This could be through freelance work, a remote job, or running your own business. Be sure to do your research and ensure that you have a steady stream of income before embarking on your digital nomad journey.
Focus on being organized
Being a digital nomad can be hectic, especially if you’re constantly on the move. It’s important to stay organized and manage your time effectively in order to stay productive and meet your deadlines. This may require things like creating a daily schedule or using productivity tools to stay on track.
Learn how to work remotely
If you’re not used to working remotely, it can be a bit of an adjustment. Be sure to learn how to communicate effectively with your team or clients, and stay on top of your work even when you’re not in the same location.
Make sure you can be connected
As a digital nomad, you’ll likely be relying on the internet for a lot of things, including communication, work, and entertainment. Be sure to find a reliable internet connection and stay connected to your team or clients.
Traveling and living in different locations can take a toll on your health, so it’s important to take care of yourself. This may include things like exercising regularly, eating healthy, and staying hydrated.
Traveling to different countries can also come with its own set of safety concerns. Be sure to research the local laws and customs, and take steps to stay safe, such as being aware of your surroundings and keeping a low profile.
Start to learn the local language
Learning the local language can be a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and make the most of your time as a digital nomad. It can also make it easier to communicate with locals and navigate unfamiliar environments.
Being a digital nomad can be a great way to expand your horizons and learn about different cultures. Be open-minded and embrace the opportunity to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone.
Wrapping it up
By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success as a digital nomad and make the most of your adventure.
Starting an online side hustle can unlock this dream and take your life from ordinary to extraordinary. Becoming a digital nomad isn’t hard but it does require you to act. An idea doesn’t count until you take action.