Entrepreneurship is appealing to millions of people. Unfortunately, it often requires you to stay put and manage a business without the freedom to move around. But if you want to travel and see the world, there’s still hope. Digital nomads, as they’ve become known, are able to run businesses while traveling the world – and it’s thanks in large part to evolving technology.
The Rise of Digital Nomads
Digital nomads are no longer the anomalies that they were just a decade ago. According to the recent MOB Partners State of Independence Research Brief, 4.8 million Americans are self-proclaimed digital nomads. Of traditional U.S. employees, 27 percent say they “might” become a digital nomad within the next 24 to 36 months. Another 11 percent say they definitely plan to.
“Wandering the globe while doing internet-enabled work is now a common fantasy among traditional workers and one that more are acting on,” entrepreneur Elaine Pofeldt mentions, “thanks to a cottage industry of supportive services, such as #vanlife blogs, co-living communities like Roam, tour services such as Nomad Cruise, and even marketplaces typified by Jobbatical, a site in Estonia that matches workers with both short-term and long-term global job opportunities, the research found.”
Though the typical image of a digital nomad is of an entrepreneur bouncing around from country to country and continent to continent, the reality isn’t always quite so magnificent. In many cases, digital nomads stay in a single country and spend months at a time in one place. Not all are freelancer or entrepreneurs, either. Many are employees who work remotely. But nevertheless, the trend is growing and continues to appeal to millions more.
3 Ways Technology Makes Digital Nomadism Possible
Digital nomadism isn’t always as glamorous or easy as it seems on Instagram pages and blogs. There’s a lot of friction and challenges that must be overcome. Thankfully, technology is making it easier to reduce risk, promote, efficiency, and maximize enjoyment. Here are some specific ways this plays out:
1. Helpful Online Services
When you’re a digital nomad, you don’t always have the ability to sit down and speak with a business attorney, copyright lawyer, or other expert in the field. Thankfully, the availability of online services means you no longer have to be physically present to take care of the legalities related to opening and managing a business.
IncFile, for example, lets you open up an LLC in just a few short steps. (By the way, LLCs are often ideal for digital nomads who want a combination of low administrative overhead and good liability protection.) Then there’s Copyrighted.com, which makes it easy to register, protect, and monitor original works. (This is particularly useful for digital nomads in the creative space.)
2. Access to Productivity Tools
Distractions are a significant time-suck for digital nomads. Self-discipline obviously has to be cultivated, but digital nomads can now empower themselves by using various productivity tools.
There are a variety of productivity tools for digital nomads. They include apps like Compass and Workfrom, which help people find nearby work-friendly cafes and coworking spaces. There’s Evernote for collecting and organizing information across a variety of devices. Sqwiggle is designed to facilitate smooth meetings and video calls. The options are limitless!
3. Practice Safety
Safety isn’t something to take lightly. When you’re in another country, you always have to be alert of your surroundings and aware of how the culture operates. If something feels strange or irregular, don’t automatically chalk it up as a normal part of the travel experience. Scams, theft, bribery, and crime are alive and well throughout the world.
On the cyber security front, VPNs make it easier than ever to establish a secure internet connection regardless of where you’re located. There are also a variety of other security tools and solutions that can provide additional layers of protection.
The Best of Both Worlds
The beauty of digital nomadism is that you can have a career and travel the world. You don’t have to trade one for the other. It’s a best-of-both-worlds situation that previous generations never had the opportunity to enjoy. Take full advantage of it by utilizing the tools you have available at your disposal.