In my last article, I discussed the rise of the remote workforce in the American economy. This week, let’s talk about an emerging type of entrepreneur and remote worker in a category all their own and something very near and dear to my heart – the Digital Nomad.
Digital Nomad (noun) – “individuals who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Typically working remotely – from home, coffee shops, public libraries, and even recreational vehicles – to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace.”
While most employers still view remote work as a Millennial invention, the digital nomad industry is in its infancy but steadily growing in popularity. Through the rise of social support systems such as Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook Groups, it has never been easier to reach out to others for help or tips to becoming a remote worker or even a digital nomad.
By keeping personal expenses extremely low, you can finance travel and living expenses quite easily through remote or contract work. For Millennials, this type of lifestyle has become wildly appealing through the goggles of social media travelers and entrepreneurs.
Millennials, also known as Gen Y (those born between 1982 and 1993), are statistically shown to value access and flexible schedules over money. In fact, a recent Cisco study of over 2,800 young professionals and college students under 30 years old from 14 countries showed that 45% would gladly accept a lower-paying job with more device choice, flexibility, social media access, and mobility than a higher salary with less flexibility.
More startling is the fact that by the year 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Gen Y, according to a study by The Business & Professionals Women’s Foundation. What will the future markets look like with a huge increase in younger workers that are willing to be paid less if it affords them more freedom and independence?
The digital nomad answers these questions in resounding form! By mixing the joys of outsourcing and entrepreneurship, nomads are able to do a wide array of jobs from anywhere in the world.
In fact, I am actually writing this article from a hotel room in downtown San Francisco after working this afternoon from the top floor patio in the gentle California sun. I am not saying this to be arrogant but to give a brief example of the practical actions of being a digital nomad.
Remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle are entirely creations of the internet age but have gained popularity and legitimacy in recent years. The first international conference for digital nomads (DNX GLOBAL) took place in 2015 in Berlin, Germany.
Just as remote work is not a one-size-fits-all solution to productivity, the digital nomad lifestyle presents an entirely different spectrum of problems. This sort of lifestyle presents challenges such as getting international health insurance, different local laws, work visas, and long-distance relationships with family and friends.
Original publication: The Cowley Courier Traveler Newspaper