Are you sick of the 9 to 5 office cubicle and thinking of becoming a digital nomad? Maybe you want to take your existing skills on the road and work your way around the world or create a business out of your travelling addiction, well you are not alone.
According to Wikipedia, a digital nomad is a person who uses technologies to earn a living and conduct their life in a nomadic manner. They move quickly and fluidly from place to place, setting up a temporary office either out of a coffee shop, library or the back of a caravan as they continue to work away. It’s hard to put a number on how many digital nomads there are kicking around the globe at any one time, we only really know of the ones we hear about Nomadic Matt or ytravel ( to name a couple) but if the frequency within which newly discovered digital nomads are appearing in the newspaper travel sections or business pages is any indication, then the ones we know about are just the tip of the iceberg.
We recently made the decision to join this digital nomad movement, and along the way test the whole working from home movement by working out of a home that moves – literally. Working remotely is not a new thing for us, our business has been home based for the last couple of years in what could be called a regional (or country) town travelling to our clients as needed. This year, however, we are going one step further and taking the business on the road using our caravan as a portable office. Why, quite simply because we want to move outside of our comfort zone and open our business up to new experiences, clients and people.
To help us (and you) make the nomadic business and lifestyle transition a success (and to keep us on track) we did quite a lot of research and planning, including speaking to our existing clients and new business leads to help identify what we could do to ensure a strong, effective and efficient working relationships from the get-go here are 5 key tips we have pulled together.
5 tips to help you (and us) succeed as a digital nomad
Technology is reliant on the infrastructure of the country you are in and unfortunately, Australia has one major obstacle working against it when it comes to this; its sheer size. This means there are major mobile phone and internet coverage issues, sometimes mere minutes away from where you just had four bars on your phone. Seriously, there are small towns in Indonesia that have faster, more reliable internet than towns less than an hour outside a major capital city in Australia – and don’t get me started on the cost of Wi-Fi. As a result, you need to be realistic in how you stay connected and the cost to do so. Get the best possible mobile phone/data plan you can lay your hands on and try to use free Wi-Fi wherever possible.
A little bit of planning goes a very long way. If you know you are going to be off the grid for a couple of days, turn on your email notifications and change the voice message on your mobile phone to make sure you manage expectations accordingly. Got a major deadline looming? Make sure you deliver before you venture off, deadlines are stressful for everyone, so don’t add to the stress factor by dropping off the grid.
Clear and open communication is the key to successful working relationships whether you share the same office or work thousands of kilometers away. Being a digital nomad (or self-employed) doesn’t mean you don’t have a boss or are not accountable to anyone. Take a look at your client list, that’s how many bosses you have, so make sure you keep the lines of communication open by telling them your availability and movements.
You need to be open to changing your course of travel should opportunities arise or your client needs you. From invitations to networking functions two towns away to being asked to work with a company in another city altogether, there will be times when you need to go where the work is – however, don’t forget to weigh this up against the benefits you will receive in return, be they financial or business growth. Sometimes, as in any work situation, it’s better to say no to an opportunity that doesn’t suit you or your timing.
The only way to be trusted is to earn it, so if you commit to delivering on a project, deliver it, if you don’t agree with the direction of a project, then say it – show you have the client’s best interests at heart (be customer centric). Consistently deliver upfront and this will allow you a few times throughout your relationship where you can swing things into your favour, such as negotiating project timelines to suit your travel plans or being able to conduct a meeting the client wants face-to-face over the phone. People work with people they trust, so spend time up front securing this by getting some runs on the board.
If you are working as a digital nomad or thinking of doing so we’d love to hear from you, and if you are interested in following our travel adventure, we are blogging as The Zesty Travellers and you can find us over here.