The number of countries offering freelancer visas is growing, as more countries look at attracting digital nomads, to work and stay longer in their country. This strategy has, in part, been driven by a decline in tourism. The theory is to get individuals to rent housing and spend money locally, without jeopardising local employment because digital nomads derive revenue globally. Basically, digital nomads use technology to allow a location-independent lifestyle. Some of the countries offering some form of freelance visas are Estonia, Germany, Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, and a few others.
Skills Needed by Digital Nomads
The lifestyle of travelling and seeing the world whilst making money is great, however, there are some key skills that are required by digital nomads to make this choice work for you:
Discipline and Productivity
It is sometimes easy to get caught up in the lifestyle where you are living. It’s hard not to go to the beach on a 30-degree day, when you’re in Thailand, for example. But you would still need to work, as you have an obligation to your clients, who are paying you to get a job done. It goes without saying, without paying customers, it’s a matter of time before you run out of money, and your lifestyle dream becomes a nightmare. Along with discipline, you need to be productive and to be productive, you require a place to work with all the relevant infrastructure and tools. Finding your workspace with the basics, such as reliable electricity, WiFi and minimal distractions will be key to whether your experience is successful or not. Shared workspaces like Co.Unity are ideal productivity spaces.
What country or city do you work from? Where would be the best place to stay and eat out? What is the best way to travel to fit in with your budget? These are important decisions for travellers and digital nomads – decisions that probably are not as critical when you are living in your own home, in your own country. When combined with business decisions that need to be made, such as marketing, budgeting and the fact digital nomads are not always able to meet up with suppliers or customers in face to face strategy meetings, decision-making becomes an essential skill to have.
Getting out, seeing the world, experiencing different cultures, learning about the country’s history… these are all reasons to be a remote worker. You have the ability to see the world whilst making a living. This is a skill, as to be curious, you need to have confidence, and to have the confidence to try different things, you have to believe in yourself. It is easy when you are in the comfort of your own home, to do the same things over, with the same people and in familiar surroundings, so upskill yourself on your new surroundings, and get out and experience what the new environment has to offer.
You going to have to communicate effectively with your co-workers, customers, and suppliers, so they know where you are in terms of projects, or what services you are offering. Making time to carry out these communications is going to be essential, and choosing the means on how you communicate will determine where you work. You might need some private space for video calls, like the Co.Unity Zoom Room. If the WiFi is not good, will you communicate via email? If so, what will the delays be, and how will these be managed? File sharing, and managing the file sharing, so you don’t end up with folders and files in different locations and making it easy for people to find the most relevant up to date document, is also a part of communication skills.
As a digital nomad, you have to learn to market your skills and learn to market these online. There are many platforms that can be used such as Upwork, however, these can be really crowded and there is a lot of competition for jobs. Getting a good understanding of how to market your skills online and through social media is essential – this will be your sales force and your businesses personality, an essential skill.
Once you have decided to detach yourself from your existing comforts to work and travel the world, it can be extremely exciting. The opportunity to work and travel has potentially never been better or easier because of the digital economy. With the advent of services such as shared office spaces, you can basically find nodes to set up and work in every corner of the globe. Uber has simplified the way we get around, and AirBnB accommodates the movement, too. If you are a little apprehensive, then you might want to start with a “Workcaction”, which is a shorter stay and work in a foreign town or country. We will chat more on this in the next blog.
For remote workers wanting to experience one of South Africa’s most laid-back, lifestyles with beaches, community and a growing local economy, Co.Unity offers the ideal co-working space for digital nomads in Hermanus.