When was the last time you took a trip? Chances are if you’re like most small business owners you struggle to take time off. However, some entrepreneurs have figured out how to mix wanderlust and business. These so-called digital nomads center their work lives around traveling, instead of the other way around. Thanks to technology, they can set up shop anywhere there is a fast, reliable internet connection.
“Rather than rent in one given city, I choose to travel and do short-term, temporary stays around the world, and my travel decisions are literally based on what makes the most sense financially for me,” said Janet Brent, an ebook designer.
In addition to an increasingly tech-connected world, the rapid rise of the gig economy is fueling the digital nomad trend. Currently, 57.3 million Americans work as freelancers or contract workers, representing 36% of the workforce, according to a 2017 study. By the year 2027, a majority of workers will be freelancers.
“I’m much more efficient as a digital nomad because there’s no time to waste when you’re somewhere spectacular for a short period of time,” said Nicole Faith, owner of 10-Carat Creations, a website and branding company. “I want to get my work done in the most productive way possible, which has led me to systemizing and automating.”
Digital nomads also can be remote employees, offering a wider talent pool for small businesses. You aren’t limited to potential hires in your own backyard and also don’t need to pay for relocation. Alternately, the opportunity to work remotely could give you a competitive edge over the bigger companies in your area.
“Maybe vacations completely unconnected are not feasible anymore; maybe people won’t take traditional vacations,” said Liz Elam, founder of Link Coworking. “But they can go to work in paradise for two months.”
Tech, creative, and marketing professions lend themselves more readily to working from the road. However, accountants, business consultants, and administrative support roles may also be able to work remotely.
“Try before you buy,” said Michael Young, a graphic designer. “Not everyone is suited to the digital nomad lifestyle, and sometimes you don’t find that out until you’re suddenly juggling time zones with clients and trying to make new friends. Why not try it for a month first?”