Many people are only now hearing these buzz words: ‘digital nomad’ and ‘remote worker’. But for others, they have been living this lifestyle for years, long before others jumped on the bandwagon.
What’s the difference between a digital nomad and a remote worker?
There isn’t a big difference. Generally a remote worker works from home – or perhaps a coffee shop when they want a change of scenery. A digital nomad does the same, except that they often don’t have a permanent home, but spend their lives travelling and working from wherever they are at the time.
Most of the time, a digital nomad is a freelancer, working for themselves. Thanks to digital freelancing agencies like Upwork and Fiverr, and article platforms like Medium, writers can work from anywhere in the world, with clients from across the globe.
If digital nomads work in the writing industry, they tend to do copy-editing and proofreading, copy and content writing, article writing and other writing jobs that are not location dependent.
A remote worker could perhaps work for a big organisation, but their boss has allowed them to work from home. Or, they could work for themselves in any writing field, such as freelance writing, digital journalism, copywriting, editing, or they could be writing their own novel.
Being a digital nomad and a freelancer from home both have their ups and downs.
Pros of being a freelance writer from home:
- Working from home gives you a somewhat flexible schedule – depending on whether you work for yourself or someone else.
- Think of all those hours sitting in traffic travelling to and from work… you have none of that working from home!
- You can write off some of your home expenses as office expenses for your tax returns.
- You are likely to have many different clients, making your work exciting and diverse.
- If you are a night owl or an early bird, you may be able to schedule your day according to when you function best.
Cons of freelancing from home:
- Working from home can have distractions. Think barking dogs, kids coming into your office, or unexpected visitors who don’t think that you are really working when you work from home.
- Working from home can also get lonely at times – there’s none of that ‘chatter around the water cooler’ that you get in an office environment. Read how to overcome ‘freelance loneliness’ here.
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Pros of being a digital nomad:
- This lifestyle sounds glamorous, and it can be! But it’s not all just travel – you will need to balance out your time while travelling to do work, or you won’t be able to finance your travel.
- Working in a different location every week or month can be very inspiring, especially if you work in a creative field. This could be ideal for someone writing travel and lifestyle pieces, or someone writing creatively.
- You get to meet many like-minded, interesting people. There is a huge digital nomad community. (Read how to network with other digital nomads here.)
Cons of being a digital nomad:
- Being a digital nomad does have its cons too. It can become a lonely existence, as your meetings with others are fleeting, so you struggle to form deep connections.
- Visas and work permits can be an issue depending on where you are working from. It’s hard to stay longer than a certain time in each country without a work permit. Subject to your own passport, you can encounter even more limitations.
- Depending on who your clients are, you may have to take time zones into account.
- It can be as expensive or as cheap a lifestyle as you want it to be. The money you save on rental or a mortgage and paying off a car pays for airfare and travel accommodation. You may end up in backpacker accommodation – but that can be half of the fun.
- Digital nomads have been far more affected by Covid-19 with travel restrictions, than remote workers have been, who can continue working from home.
Whichever lifestyle you prefer, doing a course at The Writers College can be a gateway to becoming a digital nomad or a remote worker.
If you’re still stuck in lockdowns and unable to travel, make the most of lockdown to gain a new skill, allowing you to change your lifestyle.