What I mean by this, is that an aura of mysticism has been created around the life of the Digital Nomad, plenty of information which is worth unraveling. Some people believe this life is for the loose and carefree, others see us as wandering travelers with a detachment to their roots, while others don't understand what we remote workers really do, and believe it's a "permanent vacation" that we're on.
For this reason, we've decided to bring you, the DN's, as well as the people who don't understand a thing about us, an article in which we will discover all of the myths and facts about the Digital Nomad life, as well as describing the perks of this location-independent existence that has changed the lives of so many. Ready? Let's begin!
This myth is born from one of the main premises of every freelancer: to have control of your time. On the one hand, it is completely true that you can organize your schedule and tasks in the way that best suits you, but on the other hand, you must always comply with the deadlines set for each project in which you are involved.
In this sense, it may happen that you have a contract with a client that is on the other side of the world, so the time zone of that place will be very different from that of your country. Likewise, a work meeting may arise (possibly, through Skype) with this client and you have to be connected at a time that is inconvenient for you. This is something that you must learn to deal with.
In addition, you may have to work on holidays, when you have a family problem and even after a medical emergency. You can't afford to stop working from one moment to the next. You don't have any replacement. You may not even have sick days. So, if you really want to take a vacation or a break, you will have to plan your steps very well and have saved enough money not to have to work during the time you want to take for yourself.
The fact that you are able to monetize almost any profession or trade doesn’t mean that you can really make money from everything you want. This is, you must be good at whatever you work, 100% responsible and committed, in addition to being consistent enough.
If you want to be hired as a writer, for example, your writing and spelling must be excellent, because it is not enough that you produce good content: you must offer the complete package. You will also gain more value if you know how to operate certain programs and tools, such as Wordpress, which have been built with the intention of helping carry out the tasks related to this trade.
On the other hand, if you feel that you are not skilled or capable enough in the activity you perform, then you are simply looking for trouble! Train yourself, look for tutorials or courses on YouTube and Udemy/Skillshare, stay updated with new trends and... evolve! It is essential that you don't remain stuck in what you already know, keep learning, continue practicing and you will not stop growing.
Although it is very true that knowledge is power, if you don't use it in your favor, it doesn't help. In practical terms, it is better to know a lot about a single issue than very little about several issues. Know your strengths and realize your own value as a freelancer.
This myth has at least something true because, as I said before, you will be able to organize your own schedules and the way in which you fulfill your work commitments. However, you will ALWAYS need your client to give you the precise guidelines so you can get what you want because each person has their way of working and the idea of the final result they want to receive.
Although on the other hand, there will be many other clients that will give you a few guidelines to follow and, for the most part, you will be free to develop your idea. This works well only when the client has clear ideas (they know exactly what they want and express it to you with enough precision) and when the communication between both you and the client is excellent (this point is indispensable).
In some opportunities, work proposals will come to you which are related to the information that you show on your profile while, in others, you will propose yourself as a freelancer for the projects that seem most attractive to you. Also, you most likely will have to work for several people at the same time, depending on your ambitions, your availability, the characteristics of each job... The idea is that you must be able to count on good contracts, for the long term.
Yeah okay, who doesn't want this? Everyone wants to find the silver bullet to their problems... but it is a matter of being realistic. In fact, at the beginning, clients may pay you much less than you expect, especially if you have no experience or a good reputation in the platforms where you're offering your services. However, and before you get discouraged, I must clarify that this situation shouldn't last too long either. Everything depends on you and the effort you put in the right direction.
Currently, there are many people around the world who are dedicated to being full-time freelancers, and this allows them to become Digital Nomads if they wish. This means that they can travel to almost anywhere in the world (provided they have a good internet connection) and live quite well, thanks to their income as a remote online employee.
So, if you are organized and you know how to plan your projects, besides having responsible and intelligent management of your funds, you can get enough income to save and even increase your profits more and more. That is to say, yes it is possible that in a couple of years you happen to generate thousands of dollars from a starting point of zero. This is not preposterous or absurd - on the contrary, it is entirely possible if you do it well.
The idea that people who dedicate themselves to freelancing, do it because we can't find a "real" job, has become very widespread. As if the arduous hours of work that we spent on our devices, or the income that we perceive thanks to it, were fictional. The truth is that many of us are professionals in different areas, without this implying that we haven't worked in an organization or we can't do it if we wanted to.
In this sense, there is a belief that we are unstable people, that we can't keep a traditional job or that we are rebels, dreamers who don't want to follow the rules. Nothing is further from reality! Those who choose to lead this lifestyle (and continue to choose it every day), are aware of the advantages and disadvantages that this entails.
Some of us work more than 40 hours a week (sometimes a LOT more), eating while we work and losing the perks of our social life, without neglecting our daily responsibilities. In addition, everywhere in the world, there are fathers and mothers who have a traditional job but have decided to enter the world of remote work, to end up realizing their true potential.
This depends on many things, starting with answering a very simple question: how much do you enjoy your current job? If you are already a digital nomad and your answer is "a lot", or something similar, I can tell you that you are on the right path. Although, this doesn't mean that the life of a digital nomad is easier than that of a person with a traditional job, even though he or she may be traveling around the world.
It is very stressful that, often, we are not able to make a difference between our work time and the time that we dedicate to other activities. When we work from a café or a coworking site, it can be a bit easier to divide our time well, because we have less freedom than in our homes or rented spaces to do what we need or should.
However, the fact that we can have multiple projects at the same time, with different clients, different requirements and delivery times, implies that we can suffer more pressure and stress than a person who works traditionally. Besides that, we must work even while we travel, which becomes a nightmare if our destination lacks a good internet connection.
If you think that, being a digital nomad, you will suffer stagnation in your work life, you may find that everything really depends on you. In any type of work, it happens that your value (from an employer's point of view) increases as you gain more experience and knowledge. In this sense, people who have more professional training are "more valuable" than those who lack it.
The good news is that, nowadays, there are many tools that allow you to acquire new skills and improve those you already have. It is always a brilliant idea to learn a new language, in addition to being up to date with the new programs or applications that continue to develop in each field. In fact, our brain works in such a way that you can continue to learn as many things as you want, even if they have nothing to do with the tasks you perform. Don’t underestimate it!
It is also true that, although for some time you may be saturated with work, there will be days or weeks (hopefully not months) that you will be more "unoccupied", without achieving the projects you want. It is, at this moment, when it is convenient to diversify a bit and not "put all the eggs in one basket".
Avoiding meeting other people and isolating yourself when working is always an election; so, if you know a digital nomad who never leaves his place of lodging or only goes to the coworking site, it is because he has chosen to live like this (although, sometimes, his reason may be that he has not managed to organize his time enough as to socialize).
When you work outside of your residential area, you will inevitably have contact with the people around you. Whether you have your own vehicle or move on public transport, different things will always happen, you will have contact with different people, you can be exposed to common day-to-day events. Even so, it may be that it costs you a bit to leave your comfort zone and make new friends (as it happens with me, admittedly).
In this sense, you might feel a little lonely, even if you are on the other side of the world and surrounded by people. However, this also depends on you. For this reason, I recommend that you don't lose touch with your loved ones, even if you are far away from them. And if you prefer to see it in a practical way, the more you socialize, you can have greater reach, impact and recognition.
Although in practical terms, this way you would avoid "damaging" your clothes and you could even achieve a real saving of money, the truth is that freelancers must leave home like any other entrepreneur. As comfortable as this idea may seem, there are many things that make us leave home, like any other mortal. Especially independent photographers and those people who do part of their work in external spaces.
In addition, even if we are in our pajamas and working from the comfort of our departments, we will always have to dress appropriately if we have to meet with a client (even if it happens through a video call). You should also dress appropriately if you have to record a video, attend an event or any of the many options that really happen in the life of a digital nomad.
Thanks to all the myths that have been generated around freelancers, there are those who have the firm conviction that we are lazy and are always in our rooms, sleeping until noon or tapping the screens of our digital devices, wasting time watching memes and laughing at silly videos. Nothing further from reality!
What I will say about this myth is: I wish! If it really were this way, we wouldn't have to stay up late to finish a project on time or having to postpone some important tasks in order to reach our monthly quota. Some people think that we already know how to do any task that our clients ask us and that, working a few hours a week, we can easily pay our bills.
The reality is that the world has not yet adapted to this "new" mode of work. So, it is often cumbersome for digital nomads to get a visa, especially if they need to stay and live in certain countries for several months. Likewise, we must pay taxes and comply with the legal requirements of any traveler, adding the difficulty of not having the "credibility" of a traditional job.
Unless you have a significant source of passive income (like the ones we mentioned in the article An Introduction to Passive Income) you have to work to make a profit, but you can't take sick days off and there is no law that protects your rights and/or benefits; however, I recommend that you advise on the laws in force in your country of origin or the destination where you are going to travel.
I must say that there are still some misgivings about taking freelance work seriously, but despite this, the doors for digital nomads around the world are opening more and more. This is a whole world of possibilities, don't limit yourself!
And that's how we say goodbye to this article, but first, tell us...
Have you ever heard any of these myths before?
What has been the most incredible thing you've heard about freelancers or digital nomads?
Leave us your comment and don't forget to
Co-Founder. Lead Content Creator (Spanish). Licensed in Chemistry. Scientist by profession. Curious from birth. Traveler by passion. Writer by calling. In love with the very essence of existence and thrilled with the idea of helping others reach their dreams and fulfill their life's desires.