Becoming a digital nomad: expectations v reality

Becoming a digital nomad: expectations v reality

Taking advantage of technology to work and therefore work from anywhere you like is one of the best sensations.

Office work is not for everyone. Every day, more and more people decide to leave the traditional office aside to work remotely around the world. Something that a few years ago was unfeasible.

Generally, it is thought that digital nomads are lucky people who do not have problems regarding money. Travelling is expensive, isn’t it? By no means. Going on vacation is expensive, but traveling is not. Being able to live with about 400/500 euros per month it is just a matter of knowing who to search online.

Hard to believe, right? Sara Lopez, a Spaniard who moved to Denmark to study her university studies last year, and as a result, being only 19 years old, she found a job as a freelancer. She shares with us her experience and some mistakes we should avoid when we become freelancers.

A month after my arrival to Denmark, I found a flyer saying “Spanish students required.” It was totally unexpected, I would never have imagined I could work using my mother tongue in Denmark.

The job consisted of doing digital marketing for a Danish men’s accessories company, Trendhim. Basically I had to help with translations and marketing for both the Spanish and the English market working as a country marketing manager.

Being a country marketing manager brings a great number of benefits, such as being a digital nomad. Having a job that requires nothing but a computer and a good Wi-Fi connection implies that it can be done from anywhere in the world, and being travelling one of my favorite hobbies I decided to start this adventure.

It is not necessary to travel the world to be a digital nomad, the fact of not feeling tied to an office makes you a freelancer. Of course, before starting such an adventure, it is important to avoid the following mistakes:

Mistake # 1: Beginning Without Plans

If you are one of those who love to travel and you are thinking of being a freelancer, my advice would be to be as prepared as possible before making such an important decision. Before going abroad you have to take into account many factors, for example: time, if you really need a change in your life, the ease of finding apartments and the quality of life.

You can always undertake this adventure without having any idea of ​​what is going on and learn over time. However, it is much easier to have a foothold until your business as a freelancer begins to work successfully.

Mistake # 2: Setting unrealistic goals

Working as a freelancer implies being responsible and making important decisions such as where and when to work. This means that you have to be aware of your own objectives and limits. If you want something to happen, no one is going to do it for you. You decide when you work, how much you work and with whom.

Programming your activities is essential, but you have to program them consciously. It is worthless to make unrealistic plans and pretend they could be fulfilled when it is elusive. It may be possible, but it is not advisable. Scheduling too many activities in one day can leave you exhausted or even frustrated for not finishing everything you had planned.

Organize your agenda so that it can be adapted to unexpected events, and in case you have extra free time you can prepare some optional activities. In this way you will ensure your day is productive and you will be focused on priorities.

Mistake # 3: Not everything is as nice as in Instagram

With all those amazing photos representing the digital nomad lifestyle, it is unlikely that someone wouldn’t want such a life! It may seem like an easy and entertaining lifestyle,  but digital nomads do not spend time drinking fresh coconuts lying in a hammock among the palm trees of a paradisiacal beach as the images show. They work, really hard!

Like any other job, it has its negative side and digital nomads are forced to face multiple challenges pictures fail to show:

Loneliness: This may be one of the biggest challenges. Digital nomads have a minimalist lifestyle, which means they need the basics to travel. And as you all will understand, this does not include taking your loved ones. Living an experience as unique as working remotely means that many people will not understand what you are doing.

Maintaining your previous lifestyle: Traveling means moving from one place to another, which means not seeing your family or friends that often. This can damage relationships, making it difficult to maintain  balance between work, travel, new and old friends, all while exploring a new country.

Overloading activities: Sometimes it can be overwhelming to adapt to new countries in such short periods of time. New people, new languages, cultures, food and new friends. It may seem like your mind does not have time to relax.

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Mistake # 4: Plan everything in advance

Before we have talked about not planning anything, well, when it is time to start your first trip is normal that you want to plan the hotel, find places to eat and work, because you are nervous and you want everything to be easy. But a mistake many nomads do on their first trips is to buy plane tickets before time, not knowing how long they want to stay or whether they will like the place or not. Thus by doing this you are limiting your stay. Usually this is a decision everyone regrets as the date of the flight approaches. You never know what you are going to find, how long the job will last, how many work opportunities you will find or if you will like the place. That is why it is important to resist and not to plan everything ahead of time.

Mistake # 5: Do not progress at work

You are not the one who invented remote work. Trying to learn from others can save you a lot of time and effort. One of the main advantages of this job is the ability to grow both personally and professionally. At first it can be hard, but with the support of other freelancers everything will be much easier.

In short, you could say that being a digital nomad is like living in a dream with your eyes opened, working doing what you love, travelling, but not everything is as good as it looks. If you want to get more information or know me a little more, do not hesitate to read my blog or contact me.

Author: Sara Lopez – Contact: slopezalaguero[at]gmail[dot]com

Country Marketing Manager Spain/UK at Trendhim

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