It’s no secret: being your own boss has a lot of perks. For some it’s the freedom to work from home in pajamas; for others it’s the ability to answer the call of the open road.
More and more, we’re seeing online store owners take their flexible schedules and use them to appease their wanderlust. Their business cards may read “entrepreneur,” but at least for a while, they assume another important title: digital nomad.
Caught the travel bug? Running an ecommerce store while exploring the world may be the perfect cure. Read on to learn more and discover some tools and services to help you see the world while earning a living.
Defining Digital Nomads
When you have the ability to work remotely, you can set up an "office" anywhere there’s WiFi. Professionals who capitalize on this technology to conduct business in different, self-selected parts of the world are known as digital nomads. They may migrate to a new city or county from week-to-week or month-to-month, using the profits earned from their companies to fund their travels.
Digital nomads get to experience a slew of benefits. They have free schedules and the ability to create days that look exactly like they want them, too. However, this lifestyle is unique, and it's not necessarily suited for everyone.
Digital nomads must be okay with a lack of stability and security. Because they often wake up in a different place every week (or every day), it can be hard to get into a routine or set schedule. For this reason, those considering this lifestyle need to be laid back and able to go with the flow.
Additionally, digital nomads must be self-motivated. With no bosses or colleagues around to keep you accountable, digital nomads need to be able to force themselves to work and get their jobs done, even when they know that nobody else is watching.
Finally, digital nomads must be adventurous. People who get the most out of the experience want to check out new places and cultures and make friends with people who are different from them. If you're looking to gather a wealth of experiences and aren't afraid to get out of your comfort zone, being a digital nomad is probably the right lifestyle for you.
Make you want to hit the road? Let’s look at how ecommerce makes it possible.
Becoming an Ecommerce Digital Nomad
Positions with remote work possibilities are becoming the new normal in just about every industry across the board. Still, most digital nomads are independent contractors or small business owners. Content marketing, web design, and translation services are another handful of professions that make it easy to pack up your work and take it abroad. But you don’t have to be skilled in any of these fields to run a business from anywhere. Owning your own ecommerce store frees you up to manage all aspects of your business from any corner of the globe right from your fingertips.
Below are just a few of the ways store owners can enjoy the delicious taste of freedom:
Create stores that professionalize your passions. The more personally invested you are in the products or services you sell, the more rewarding your work will be. Start your online store by finding the cross section of what you like doing and what you’re good at doing. Couple that with something the marketplace actually needs and bring it to the masses online.
Use your travels to grow your social media following. Travel makes for highly enviable and shareable content. Bring along some of your wares on the road and stage cultured iPhone product shots of your top sellers—no extra camera equipment needed. You might also consider hosting contests that somehow connect to where you are in the world. No matter how you choose to highlight your travels, be sure to let your followers follow along as you journey.
Make SEO updates to improve your rankings. Appeasing the search engines is a necessary evil of online marketing. Unfortunately, the algorithms change so frequently that it can be difficult to keep up. As soon as you learn a rule, it’s very likely to change—all the more reason you need an ecommerce store powered with built-in SEO management.
Use a dropshipping system to meet orders all over. Automating your order fulfillment is the final link in the chain. Methods like droppshipping leave your suitcase free for souvenirs, not products. Other automated fulfillment options can help you focus on the unique qualities of your brand and enjoy your experiences abroad. Our advice? Make sure your policies are clear, and leave the shipping and receiving process to a trusted fulfillment company.
The Best Travel Services for Digital Nomads
Just because you’re ready to go your own way doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. In some ways, digital nomadism is the new 9-5, and travel services are popping up all over to help sojourners scratch their itchy feet.
Whether you want someone else to plan your stays, need to find the best coworking spots in town, or are simply looking to connect with other professional transients, these digital nomad traveling services can help.
Globekick is an Austin-based company that started out organizing three-month long trips for entrepreneurs looking to try their hand at the digital nomad lifestyle. In 2017, they evolved to a membership system and rebranded to GlobeKick Connect. They still coordinate housing, outings, and networking for trip participants, only now the international excursions are much shorter. For just $1,200 a year plus airfare, a five-day immersive trip is offered three times a year, allowing members to attend the excursions of their choice based on their individual schedules.
Remote Year takes the pressure of choosing your own locale out of the equation, offering participants the ability to see a new part of the world each month. After 30 days, you will travel to a different city and visit four continents in total. The $27K price tag covers your lodging, airfare, workspace access, and more for an entire year. The four-month plan is less than half the price, but includes the same amenities as the full 12-month stretch.
Hoffice is a service some might call the Airbnb of workspaces—the sharing-economy’s solution to coworking remotely. This coworking directory allows homeowners all over the world to turn their studio spaces and home offices into short-term rentals. As digital nomads wander through town, they can secure themselves a workspace home base and meet locals in the process.
Hacker Paradise, like the name suggests, caters primarily to the tech industry. It’s one of the OG international digital nomad travel services, and is perfect for IT pros including developers, engineers, and designers. Trips can be booked in month-long stints in countries from Asia to Africa. Each location has its own set price with an average monthly cost of about $2,100, and you can extend your stays and continue your travels as long as you like. That is, once you get through the application and interview process. The policy acts as a filtration system, ensuring nomads only share the road with other considerate and like-minded techies.
NomadPass allows you to create or find your digital nomad tribe by recommending fellow travelers who share similar personal or business interests. You live together, you travel together, and you may even couple up together. If you’re a single digital nomad looking for love, dating sites like Nomad Soulmates and Date a Nomad are here to help you get struck by cupid’s arrow. Friendship more your speed? Organizations and networks like Nomadbase connect you with male- or female-only communities.
The Best Tools for Working Remotely
Living abroad is all fun and games—until it’s time to actually work. These digital nomad tools will help you stay productive and tackle some of the challenges of living in another country.
WiFi locators help digital nomads find the one thing they can’t work without: an internet connection. WiFi Map is crowdsourcing at its finest. This is a community of WiFi seekers who dish about 100 million free hotspots the world over, and they provide free passwords to boot. Download in advance for offline access and info about the establishments themselves in case you require coffee and a muffin with your connection.
Virtual Assistant Softwares like Assist.to provide virtual meeting schedulers that make it easy for your business affiliates to set up meetings. It’s free and eliminates irritating back-and-forth or accidental double-bookings.
Video Conference services are a must while you’re globetrotting. Sure, you can Facetime, but what happens when you need to share a document or walk someone through a process? Enter Zoom, which lets you do all of the above and even integrates with social media sites like Facebook so that you can broadcast your webinars, all for about $15 a month.
Time difference calculators are a great way to help you keep tabs on things at home. Figure it Out is a highly visual way to track time all over the world. The Chrome extension detects your location automatically, helps you calculate the time in other zones, and even shows you national holidays in your area.
Translation apps like Google Translate will help you verbally communicate in a pinch by speaking into your phone. But if you’re going to be living in a place for any length of time, it’s a good idea to study its native tongue. Free apps like Duolingo pack grammar basics into short lessons that get cumulatively more advanced as you progress.
Final Tips for a Successful Experience
Life as a digital nomad is fun and exciting, but it can also be a challenge. Here are some final tips for surviving and thriving on the road:
Try to stick to some semblance of a schedule. Even if every day looks different, humans thrive on routine, so try to stick to a certain schedule when it comes to your sleeping, waking, meals, and work.
Keep in touch with friends. If you're traveling alone, you may feel isolated. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends so that you have some form of social contact.
Budget carefully. You never want to be on the road and find out you don't have enough money for food or shelter. Make sure you budget carefully, in advance, based on your income. Keep track of your budget regularly so you always know where you stand.
And with that, we bid you entrepreneurs-turned-adventurers bon voyage! Open up your sales (pun intended) and send us a postcard letting us know where the trade winds take you and your ecommerce store.
If you could be a digital nomad, where would you travel? Let us know in the comments!