How to survive as a digital nomad

Combining their passion for travel with a career that allows them to work remotely, digital nomads can set up an office by the beach, in a coffee shop or at the top of a mountain.

While the journey is exciting, it can also be demanding, so Rob Knox, product manager at Sun-hat Villas & Resorts has shared his expertise on how he’s made the most of his career abroad.

Becoming a digital nomad in 2019

Start at home

As eager as you may be to jet off on an adventure around the world, remember it’s not a holiday — you need a job to pay for it all. If you haven’t already, build an online presence with a good, responsive website where visitors can find the best contact details, then start to create a buzz around your business. Whether you’re a freelance writer, digital artist, or online consultant, there are plenty of digital tools to help promote your business as you explore the world. There are hundreds of possibilities to apply your skills and knowledge into a digital nomad career.

Try to gather some key contacts, companies and clients both in the UK and abroad who you can rely on for regular income, and find out how they want you to submit work and keep in touch. Make sure to keep in regular contact with all of your clients, and where possible, try to stop by for meetings and updates.

Reliable tech

While working abroad as a digital nomad, technology is your best friend. Not only will you need a reliable laptop that is lightweight so it’s not a pain to travel with, but also a good smartphone, travel plug sockets and two hard drives for extra back up.

Staying in touch with your clients is important for repeat business, so every nomad should download apps such as Skype, Dropbox and Whatsapp. There are also apps that can help boost productivity, such as Self Control that blocks you from lingering on sites that might be distracting, like social media.

digital nomad lifestyle

Smart locations

As tempting as it may be, you can’t spend every day on the beach soaking in the sun — sand and laptops are not a good mix! To help keep your work front of mind, recreate the feeling of ‘coming into the office by finding shared workspaces that promote productivity and networking with colleagues or other digital nomads. If no spaces are available, you’d be surprised what ‘dressing the part’ can do. Even if it’s just moving from the bed to a desk, dressing for work can put you in the right mindset to focus.

Obviously, some weeks will be slower for work than others, so use this time to explore the world, see the sights, enjoy the sunshine, and have a reminder of why you became a digital nomad. The day-to-day life of travelling may change your perspective on what a holiday means when living abroad, so when extra time appears, you may want to return home for a bit of good old British rain.

Working in time

When travelling you should always factor in the time difference, especially when deadlines begin to pile up. If your clients are UK based, starting the workday a little earlier may be beneficial, as you can get a good head start on the tasks before the emails and Skype chats start to flow in.

Wherever you are in the world, keep your clients updated, so they know the best times to get in touch.

Language and culture

Even though you may be liaising with English speaking clients, it is always worth learning the language of the countries you travel to. Not only will it come in handy when ordering a morning coffee, but it can also help you make key connections with local business owners, potential clients and other digital nomads.

Travelling also gives you a great opportunity to soak up new cultures and discover new ways of thinking. You may find that a country works a certain way that is more beneficial to your mental wellbeing and stress levels, helping you be far more productive. If you’re working in Spain for example, you get to enjoy the midday shut down during Siesta. As a digital nomad, you should always be open for new experiences – they can be a great advantage when, or if, you return home.

Don’t forget why you choose to be a digital nomad

With all of this, you should always factor in time for yourself, and remember why you chose to be a digital nomad in the first place. Whether you want to explore new cultures or find an overseas partner for your start-up business, you should always give yourself free time to relax and be a tourist. It may take some time to get into the swing of things, but once you’ve found a good groove you may never want to return.

Rob Knox
Sun Hat Villas
Rob Knox, Product Manager at Sun-hat Villas and Resorts
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This advice is very good to stay focused while working as a freelancer. Personally, I find a bit distraction to work in daytime and I am super focused while working in the night time when is quiet everywhere. This is not ok for me as my health will suffer from lack of sleep.

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