Imagine this: you have the freedom to travel wherever and whenever you want. To support yourself, you work remotely from your laptop or tablet, working on Internet-based projects that pay your salary and support your choice of lifestyle. This lifestyle is the life of a digital nomad entrepreneur.
So how difficult is it, really, to be a digital nomad? Is it as glitzy and glamorous as it seems or is it a more challenging life to maintain? Being a digital nomad entrepreneur isn’t particularly difficult. To succeed, one has to have good money sense, a reliable and steady income from their Internet business, a fast and reliable internet connection that works where and when they need it to work, and a focus on long-term goals.
Are you considering becoming a digital nomad entrepreneur yourself? If so, then you may have some questions, like what are the challenges associated with this lifestyle and how do you overcome them? We’ll tell you that and more in this article, so read on!
WHAT IS A DIGITAL NOMAD ENTREPRENEUR?
First, we thought we’d clarify what a digital nomad entrepreneur is. Let’s break it down more simply.
Someone who’s nomadic is always on the go. While they may have a home somewhere, they spend little time there. Instead, they’re traveling during most of the year if not all of it.
A digital nomad is a little different. To do their job, they need technology. As an entrepreneur, they rely on the Internet to run a business. It often means having an eCommerce store over one that’s bricks and mortar in a set location.
An entrepreneur like this has a website for their business and typically a strong social media presence as well. They likely use the cloud for uploading and securely keeping files. When it comes to communicating with employees and clients, a digital nomad entrepreneur often favors video chats and emails. They also likely reach out via phone calls, instant message chats, and texts. They’re up on the latest software and tech.
When you combine all three concepts, here’s what you get. A digital nomad entrepreneur is someone who relies on the money they make from running an online business to fuel their travels.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS LIFESTYLE?
When you tell someone you work from home, they often think you sit around in your pajamas all day. By adding the luxury of travel on top of working remotely, people have a whole incorrect notion in their heads. They probably imagine someone like you sprawled out poolside or on a tropical beach. Sure, your computer is nearby, but you’re relaxing and catching some rays while watching the shoreline more than your inbox.
While it’s a reality that digital nomad entrepreneurs can enjoy time at the beach (or anywhere else of their choosing), it’s not all fun all the time. There are many challenges associated with entering this challenging field of work. We’ll delve into these now.
SAVING VS SPENDING
Are you a good budgeter? You’ll have to be if you want to become a digital nomad entrepreneur.
With time, your business will start to make money. You’ll then take some of those funds and spend them on your next travel adventures. Living in this way continues for as long as you can sustain it.
If you misspend and mismanage your money, then you’ll find yourself in the red quickly. You either won’t be able to pay for the expenses of your business, or you won’t be able to keep traveling, and both are sticky situations with harsh consequences.
RELIABLE INTERNET CONNECTION
The Internet is the lifeblood of your lifestyle. If you can’t get online, then you’re in trouble. How else can you respond to emails or check your website? You can’t.
Going online without Wi-Fi chews up your data quickly, which means you’re spending way more money on your phone bill. However, when you travel to new and exotic lands, Internet connectivity isn’t always as reliable as you had been hoping.
A spotty connection that cuts in and out makes it hard to get work done. That could lead to long nights for you. Also, those hours you spend on flights without the Internet can set you back if you travel often and long enough.
WORK-LIFE BALANCE GETS FUZZY
As any remote worker knows, when you work in the same place you live, maintaining a work-life balance is hard. You need to shut down the computer at some point, yet you often find yourself working late anyway.
The pressure is on even more as a digital nomad entrepreneur. You need to make a certain amount of money each month (depends on your budget!) to keep your business afloat and plan more travels. That means you might work nights, weekends, or whenever you can to make ends meet.
ISOLATION AND LONELINESS
If you’re the sole owner and worker of your business, the novelty will eventually wear off. Then you’ll get lonely, missing your friends and family back home. The longer you travel, the more your isolation can wear on you.
LONG HOURS IN THE BEGINNING
Finally, you can’t enter this lifestyle and expect to work a few hours daily and then spend the rest of the day on the beach. That’s not how it works, at least not at first. You need to put the time and effort into it.
It can take years before you see results. That kind of commitment can be daunting to someone who wants immediate results from a digital nomad entrepreneur life.
OVERCOMING THESE DIFFICULTIES
While the challenges we covered above are significant, they’re not insurmountable. By following these tips, it’s possible to enjoy a digital nomadic entrepreneur lifestyle
- Save, save, save. Don’t quit your current job until you have at least three months of income saved up.
- Get used to budgeting. Yes, you’re living a glamorous lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean five-star hotels and Michelin-rated restaurants all the time. You need to have some money to your name to keep traveling.
- Make sure you have a new(er) computer which will enable it to run faster, reducing work frustrations.
- On that note, invest in a Wi-Fi signal booster or related technology, so you’re never a slave to the connectivity bars.
- Be prepared to put in full days of work once you start your new life as a digital nomad entrepreneur. However, do not work all day and all night. Your productivity will tank. HR resource Spoke says that working more than eight hours leads to more mistakes and less alertness.
- Strive to have some form of a work-life balance. After an eight-hour day, shut your computer down and resist the urge to check emails. Try to spend a few hours exploring the new place you’re visiting.
- Exercise, eat a good meal, or kick back and relax. It’s your free time, so spend it as you want!
- To combat loneliness and isolation, invite loved ones to travel with you at times. If you can’t swing that, then call them or video-chat with them regularly.
TAKING THE FIRST STEPS TO BECOME A DIGITAL NOMAD ENTREPRENEUR
Now you understand more about the challenges of being a digital nomad entrepreneur. We’ve also discussed ways to overcome those challenges.
By this point, if you think this life is for you, the question in your head may be how do you get started? In this section, we’ll explain how to kickstart your life as a digital nomad entrepreneur.
SAVE UP THE MONEY
We mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again. You have to have some starting money and an emergency fund. As you build your business, you won’t make money immediately.
Financial experts recommend saving up three months of paychecks, but six months is best if you can manage it.
BEGIN ON YOUR HOME TURF
Once you have your money saved, you can start your business. Doing it in your home country is best. This way, you can take care of getting your company registered, validated, and up and running with you at the helm.
CONSIDER CO-FOUNDING A COMPANY
Companies need employees. If you have a friend or loved one who’s as passionate about entrepreneurship as you, then cofound the company together. This way, the two of you can split costs. Also, while one of you is traveling, the other is on home turf.
GROW, GROW, GROW
With all the pieces in place, your company should begin experiencing growth. It will not be an overnight achievement by any stretch of the imagination. It will take time, patience, dedication, and a lot of work to get to this pinnacle.
BEGIN YOUR TRAVELS
Once your company has stayed in the green consistently and is considered stable, you can begin
CHECK IN ON YOUR BUSINESS
Just because you have a co-founder partner, it doesn’t mean you should leave all the responsibilities to them. You must still care for your business, even when you’re not there to oversee it. While we don’t advise you to work 24/7, you should put some work into your company nearly daily.
You also have to consider that if you are traveling every month or two, you have to add those travel costs to your monthly cost of living. Depending on how far you want to go each time you are on the move, you may find that transportation and moving costs from one place to another is equal to your entire monthly budget.
So when you balance work and adventure, consider immersing yourself in a particular area for a substantial amount of time before you move on. Or find a central city in between several points that you would like to see so you can take day trips from time to time to other areas.
DOES IT EVER GET EASY?
It does get easier over time, mostly because you get better at the basics of working remotely, being an entrepreneur and establishing routines for your time and money. However, it takes a lot of self-discipline and staying focused on what you have decided.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES?
Some people can adjust faster than others to new lifestyles and ways of working. In my experience, the first six months are crucial to finding ways that will work for your unique lifestyle, but they also go by the fastest. If you are moving to a new country every three months, it can be challenging to overcome simple routine difficulties like exercising and time management. Keep track of what works and then make it go faster.
I’m the owner of Digital Nomad Explorer. I’ve traveled to over 50 countries and been an expat in Scotland, Finland, and China. I was a digital nomad while having my own robotics company and traveled throughout Europe and China working remotely. Currently, I’m location independent with a home base in Kirkkonummi, Finland.