Apparently there is a growing tribe of digital nomads, people living and working on the move, not tied to an employer, office, or even a country(!), but able to;
…leverage technology to perform their work duties and conduct their lifestyle in a nomadic manner.’
So quotes Amy Molloy, briefly one of their number, and author of Diary of a Digital Nomad in the Sunday Times. She provides some good practical tips on the enabling technology, access to WiFi, protecting your computer, backing up work to the cloud etc. as well as more prosaic tips on personal hygiene!
Later I will share my own list of tips for a broader section of you (us) who are taking, let’s say, non-traditional routes including self-employed freelancers & contractors, portfolio careerists, micro-business owners, and piece workers. Of course these patterns are not new, pre-industrial revolution home-workers would make and sell at markets or through guilds, like the Piece Hall in Halifax – the Car Boot Sales and Farmers Markets of the time.
People as diverse as missionaries, soldiers, masons, miners & engineers by necessity moved to where the work, the people, or the erm, war, was. The difference now is that a broader swathe of occupations can now be done literally anywhere, i.e. non-geographically based. Here’s a shortish list, but I’m sure you can add more:
– Writers, journalists, teachers (and students), researchers, in fact any occupation where the end product is information-based, of course including electronic Publishing.
– Personal Assistants (‘Virtual Assistants’), call centre/support staff, anywhere where the internet and mobile technology allows connection between people without a physical presence.
– More new media and new technology roles than you can shake a stick at, including for example managing Social Media…yes companies (and high profile individuals) pay people to shadow-write their tweets & status updates.
– The producers of any artisan product that can be distributed cheaply and efficiently straight to the end Customer…although 3D printing may change that particular business model…
Having It all
Before I leave the fantastic (fantasy?) world of the beach bum billionaire, think about how many of the above follow a traditional sales and logistics model? If your product or service is electronic or automated, if the marketplace is worldwide and you don’t own the sales channel do you even need to be there? The holy grail is the so-called Passive income, i.e. making money while you sleep. It’s an exciting prospect for a wage slave and the Monday-to-Friday commuter, but it does come with challenges.
People need people
Many of the non-technical problems are related to people, i.e. the simple human contact we need, extroverts and introverts alike. There are a surprising number of things that you can and should do both to maintain your sanity and if necessary to foster your own community.
(1) Find a shared workspace, not just impersonal coffee shops, hotel receptions or airports, but anywhere that is connected, dry, quiet-ish and ideally sells caffeinated drinks!
(2) Extending (1), find your local Jelly where you can meet and maybe collaborate with other freelancers, mixing-up different sectors and right- and left-brainers can be a very fruitful and creative exercise, not always available in more rigid organizations.
(3) Find virtual communities and face-to-face groups for both work and pleasure, including meetup.com, yahoo, periscope or blab (live streaming), as well as the more familiar social media channels Google+, Facebook & Twitter etc. the variety of ways to communicate and grow your network is truly incredible
(4) Use your self-employment to take ownership of your continued professional – or creative – development. If there’s no employer to do it for you, you have to consider study (lifelong learning), joining professional groups and maintaining any accreditation.
(5) The above list not only caters for the softer side of the human equation, but it also allows ongoing nurturing of business relationships (sometimes called peer-to-peer or business-to-business) including the stuff you may need to keep everything rolling smoothly, like financial advice & accountancy, web hosting/internet service provision, insurance…all available online or using the services of fellow non-traditional workers.
A last word; I confidently predict that more jobs will go virtual, and there will be more and different ways of working enabled by technology. But we are all humans first and foremost, that is until the machines take over and the only workers on farms, in factories and offices are robots!
Enjoy your time in the sun, just because you can!
(c) 2016 IT elementary school