digital nomad

Let’s face it, owning a house is out of reach for many millennial nowadays, so the thought of working remotely from a Balinese beach and earning money at the same time is pretty appealing, so more and more people are making the leap and becoming a digital nomad. Recent figures suggest that around four million Brits work from home, so taking the next step and working from an AirBnB in Barcelona isn’t necessarily a huge stretch.

Fully connected virtual offices and huge leaps in remote technology means that anyone can work from anywhere nowadays, but before you take the leap and book that round-the world ticket, starting with the yoga retreat with super fast WiFi in Koh Phagnam, there are a few things to consider…

Whether you want to put your stuff in storage, sell your car and embark on a fully fledged digital nomadic lifestyle, or you just fancy taking a few working holidays to get away from the grey winter skies, here are our top ten tips for taking the leap to becoming a fully fledged digital nomad in 2018.

1. Go fully digital – if you haven’t already, you’ll need to take your business fully online and get rid of any paper products or filing systems you may have in your home office or setup. Make sure you have Cloud storage, get yourself a decent VPN (Virtual Private Network) and research solutions that can help you ditch any tangible stuff that may hold you back. Apps such as Basecamp for to-do lists, planning and keeping clients up to date, Dropbox for file storage and Toggl for time management are all worth looking into.

2. Engage your clients – It goes without saying that you’ll need to have your clients onboard if you decide to leave the country for a few weeks, months or even permanently! The digital nomadic lifestyle is still considered to be pretty extreme by more traditional business people, so you may have to convince them that Skype updates and Basecamp will be just as efficient as face-to-face meetings once a month, printable agendas and paper reports.

3. Invest in your equipment – If you are travelling and working, you are only as good as your kit will allow you to be, so it is well worth investing some money into some seriously hardy equipment.

Every freelancer’s needs are different, but chances are you’ll need a decent unlocked mobile phone that will work in any country and on any network, with a variety of SIM cards if necessary. You’ll also need a great laptop with a decent length of time between charges, a Skype headset to interact with clients, customers and team members, a tablet, extra chargers and plug adapters for every country on your dream list. If you plan to work on the beach (which isn’t always as idyllic as it sounds!) then look into waterproof/sandproof covers and cases for all of your tech.

4. Plan plan plan – It sounds romantic and pretty exciting to jet off into the sunset armed with only a dream and a copy of Eat, Pray, Love, but it’s probably better to do some serious planning if you want to maintain a professional service on the move.

Join Facebook groups and read books and articles to get a good feel for your new lifestyle, and make sure you research you accommodation well to make sure it is well connected and has fast, reliable WiFi. Buy travel insurance that will cover all your equipment in case anything happens, and make sure that you have your work life planned out so you can meet deadlines easily and join in with any pre-arranged conference calls and virtual meetings. Don’t forget to take the time difference info account for each country you plan to visit!

5. It’s all about the money… It may be boring, but it’s worth investing a little time to understand the financial side of your new lifestyle. Being a digital nomad may allow you to be location-independent, but you will still have to pay your taxes and manage your money like everyone else.

If you plan to remain to be a UK resident, you’ll have to pay your taxes via self-assessment as always, but if you plan to spend more time out of the country then you’ll have to do some serious research into each country’s tax laws and regulations. Chances are you won’t have to pay double taxes (as the UK has a double taxation treaty with many countries) but some places do insist that you pay tax on anything you earn while living there. Each case is different, but don’t forget to do your homework – or check with your accountant!

It also goes without saying that you’ll have to do all of your banking online, so make sure you’re all set up and inform your bank of your travel plans before you embark on your journey.

There are many solutions for carrying and spending your money on the go, but investing in a travel money card that acts as a MasterCard while abroad is a simple yet safe solution. Many such cards let you lock them by SMS and move funds back into your bank account should it be stolen or misplaced.

6. Research co-working spaces

Co-working spaces for digital nomads are cropping up all over the world, and if you want to make friends, join a community or just talk to other humans while you’re typing away, these spaces are for you.

One useful tip is to download the “Work Hard Anywhere” app, which uses your location to find the nearest co-working spaces, libraries and coffee shops with good WiFi where you can crack on.

Well established co-working spaces you may want check out include MANA in Chang Mai, which offers waiter service, free fast WiFi and even free coffee if you pay the day rate, and HUBUD in Bali, an amazing community in the capital that offers co-working, co-learning, advice on where to live and loads of events to get stuck into.

7. Stay productive.

Remember, this is not a holiday. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A HOLIDAY! Make sure you plan you life and give yourself targets so you can get stuff done event day, and stay productive. You may want to leave your evenings free to explore, or you might want to take a nap at the hottest time of the day. Heck, you might even want to incorporate ski lessons. Just make sure you plan well, stick to your goals, remember the time differences and – if you struggle with motivation – get up, get dressed and walk to a co-work space for some buzzy inspiration from your new nomadic buddies! You get to design your life, just remember to stay motivated.

8. Keep learning

Just because you’ve chosen a more unconventional lifestyle doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels and stop learning. Pay for online courses, keep reading, stay abreast of the media if needs be and don’t stop yearning to know more. It’s easy now to read articles on the go, and if you’re in the media industry, apps like Readly will allow you to read all your favourite glossy mags as you sunbathe or enjoy your G&T on the balcony.

9. Travel slowly

Moving from place to place can be fun, but it’s also time consuming and exhausting, so forget about trying to cram things in and travel slowly. Digital nomadism allows you to take your time and get to know a place, and if you need to meet deadlines or establish leads or sales, give yourself a break and take your time.

Slower travel also allows you to negotiate better rates for accommodation, make lasting friendships and business connections and really get to know a place, inside out.

10. Party smart

Hand in hand with slow travel is partying smart! It can be tempting to throw yourself into the party lifestyle and cram in a few full moon parties, but true digital nomads understand the repercussions of a party lifestyle and keep the all-nighters to a minimum.

Take your business seriously and put your best foot forward. Have fun, make friends and attend the odd party, just aim to get the balance right and do it smartly.

You can find our top 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable guide HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, join HERE

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

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