Every year, more and more people are trading in their 9 to 5 office job for a digital nomad lifestyle. Companies are becoming increasingly more flexible in allowing their employees to work from home, especially since the pandemic hit and they were sometimes forced to.
While it may seem like a dream working remotely from home or wherever you decide to set yourself up, there are a few things to consider before ditching the cubicle.
There are all kinds of careers these days which allow you to become a digital nomad. You can be a website developer, online yoga instructor, or e-commerce wizard selling products on Ebay, Amazon, and Etsy.
Being a digital nomad often means you get to set your own hours and work schedule. You can conduct business from the comfort of your couch or while enjoying a view of the beach. So long as you have a computer and an internet signal, you can begin to capitalize on modern technology and potentially earn a lot of money.
If you’re an independent thinker and think you have the drive and commitment to work for yourself from home or simply want to search for an online job offered by a company that allows you to work remotely, there are a number of tips that can help you get started and succeed.
If you’ve ever wanted to relocate to somewhere warm and tropical like Florida as I did, check out my top tips for becoming a digital nomad in Florida.
Tips for Digital Nomads in Florida
Choosing a Workplace Destination
One of the biggest reasons why many people hate going to work is that their office or workplace is depressingly boring or distressing. If your workplace lacks windows, it can almost seem like a prison that holds you captive for upwards of 40 hours or more every week.
As a digital nomad, you get to choose where you conduct business from. You can choose to contact movers and relocate to the relaxing Gulf Coast of Florida as I once did, or continually travel around the world as you conduct business online remotely.
The key is to select a setting that puts you in a positive and productive mood. Give yourself a home office with a view and maybe one which allows you to enjoy a pleasant and relaxing lunch break.
Consider the living expenses, visa availability, accommodation, and politics when choosing a destination. Choosing the right destination is important because the wrong one can impact your productivity or ability to conduct business.
You want to avoid countries that are experiencing civil unrest or are at high risk for natural disasters which could affect electricity and your essential internet connection. Another thing to consider is whether you will be required to conduct business according to your home country’s time zone.
You don’t want to select a country to live as a digital nomad that forces you to be awake and working throughout the early AM hours unless that’s what you prefer.
Getting Started as a Digital Nomad
Online businesses aren’t always easy and it takes patience and perseverance to succeed. It also requires you to be self-disciplined. It’s important to understand the many challenges associated with transitioning from a traditional work environment to working remotely.
If you’re able to work from home but are still employed by a company, you may still be required to structure your day as a normal 9 to 5, just from the comfort of your own home or hotel room.
Your job may involve daily Zoom meetings or phoning clients for example which have to be conducted at specific times laid out by your boss or fellow colleagues.
Working for yourself, you will often have much more flexibility when it comes to hours and what tasks you attempt to complete each day. If you are just getting started as digital nomad working for yourself, understand that it often takes a considerable amount of time before you start earning enough money to be able to live on.
You may have to supplement your income with a part-time job elsewhere or build up savings you can fall back on until your online business takes off.
Florida is a great place to be in this sense, as come tourist season (November – April), there are always tourism and hospitality casual work you can pick up (I worked as a cocktail waitress at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour while I was building up my blog).
Selecting the Right Accommodation
Having the right home or accommodation is key to working from home. Ideally, you should have at least one space that is a devoted office space. You don’t necessarily need to conduct all your work from this space on a daily basis, but it allows you to keep all your work related files and such in one organized space.
It’s about finding the right balance between having somewhere that is inviting and enjoyable to work in, yet won’t continually distract you or keep you from being productive.
Lack of privacy can be an issue. Living in a busy apartment complex with thin walls for example may have you trying to deal with loud music or continual disruptions while you are trying to work each day.
As important as finding a nice place to work from home is, you also don’t want to go beyond your means. If you’re just starting out as a digital nomad, start with cheaper accommodation or rentals and upgrade as your business grows.
If you plan to be a digital nomad constantly traveling around the world, stick with private rooms as opposed to shared accommodation like hostels, as sharing your space with strangers can greatly impact both your security and productivity.
How to Stay Productive Working Remotely in Florida
Having the freedom to work from home or wherever you wish, while also getting set your own work schedule sounds great, but if you’re not careful you can fall into the trap of getting too relaxed or lazy and not getting much accomplished.
We’ve all seen photos of bloggers and other digital nomads typing away on their laptops while sitting beneath a palm tree on the beach. While this seems idyllic, you have to ask yourself if you actually believe you will be able to get real work done, instead of simply falling asleep or working on your tan.
You want to put yourself in a productive environment that won’t inhibit your work. While working digitally outdoors may seem nice, especially in Florida, you need to think about computer screen glare from the sun, the weather, biting insects, public noises, etc.
Oh, and there’s also that thing called electricity to worry about unless your laptop’s battery is ridiculously superior. The goal is to find somewhere peaceful that won’t disturb you and has all you need to get work done.
While you may no longer be working for a boss or at least not have one constantly looking over your shoulder as a digital nomad, you still have yourself to please. You don’t want to let yourself down, so learn your weaknesses in terms of what tends to distract you from your work and remove these from the equation if possible.
When you find yourself getting a lot done each day, make a note of how your day is structured and stick with that routine. Although routine may be boring, it does help us almost go on autopilot and become more productive.
You also want to get in the habit of planning out each day and making a physical or mental checklist of all the tasks you wish to complete.
Set a Work Schedule that Works in Your Favor
A huge perk of working from home is the ability to often set your own schedule. Many digital nomads get to choose when they begin and end their work day.
You would think that you would be more willing to reduce your working hours each day since there isn’t anybody telling you that you need to stay until a certain time. After all, many of us when in traditional jobs constantly watch the clock awaiting the end of our shift which will give us our freedom.
What often happens however is very different. I often fall into the trap of working 12-15 hour days. The same people that aren’t there telling you when you are allowed to leave are also not there to tell you it’s time to go home.
Nobody will “lock the doors” so to speak on your workplace so you need to be aware of how much time you are actually working each day.
It’s psychological that we don’t like to be forced to do something. Working for yourself as a digital nomad, you don’t feel forced to do work so you often end up working far more than you would in a traditional job. However, you definitely don’t want to overwork yourself and burn yourself out.
Use your ability to set your own working hours to get the most enjoyment out of your days. You can choose to work longer days and then enjoy a 3-day weekend each week or work fewer hours each day every day of the week.
If you love being outdoors and enjoy surfing, biking, or hiking, you can choose to schedule your working hours in the evening. If you enjoy walking the beach at night to catch the sunset and then settling into a good movie, structure your work day in the morning.
Choose a work schedule that allows you to fully enjoy your time off and maximize the benefits of where you are working from.
You May Need to Stock Up Your Fridge More
One thing I quickly found when living as a digital nomad in Florida, is how much more quickly your fridge gets depleted when you work from home.
No longer are you grabbing lunch at work or going somewhere on your lunch break. You of course also eliminate after-work gatherings with colleagues at the local bar or restaurant, though the heat in Florida also means you’ll drink a lot more.
I even found myself going out to dinner less since I ended up working late into most evenings and it was easier to simply just cook something up myself at home.
The gist is that you will deplete both your fridge and pantry much more quickly each week. Make sure you plan out all your weekly meals and stock up in order to limit your grocery shop visits.
The extra benefits of eating from home include getting to cook healthy meals and often saving a lot of money.
Stay in Touch With Employers and Family
Not all online jobs that allow you to work from home will allow you to jet-set to anywhere you wish. Although many companies may allow you to work from home, they sometimes require you to pop into an actual office once a week or so.
You need to take this into consideration and not make it a hassle for yourself to visit the office by having to endure a long drive or possibly even a flight to check in with the boss or team when required.
Some digital nomads travel so frequently that they end up not seeing their close friends and family very often. It’s important to not neglect these relationships as they can keep you grounded and offer a great deal of support when you need it the most.
Working as a digital nomad can be lonely, so make sure you put yourself in a position that still allows you to check in with family and friends.
Remember to Engage with Others In-Person
Online work can be a lonely business. While you may be talking with clients and colleagues over the internet via emails and video calls, this is no replacement for actual physical contact with people.
Be sure to engage with your community whether that means going out to a café or simply taking a walk in a local park. If you are a digital nomad working abroad and are without your base of good friends, join a club or something like a yoga class in order to meet others and hopefully make new friendships.
It’s important for us to physically engage with others in order to grow and feel a sense of belonging to a community. Virtual communication definitely has its limits and avoiding actually physical contact with others can severely impact your social skills over time.
Meeting and interacting with others in person has also been proven to be good for inspiring ideas and strengthening team bonds. That is why many businesses still prefer meetings in person as opposed to virtual meetings.
Be Aware of Local Dangers
This tip is for digital nomads constantly on the move. If you plan on jumping from state to state or country to country, you need to always be aware of the local dangers that may be present wherever you are planning to work from.
You may need to get immunization shots for diseases like Yellow Fever or take tablets to prevent malaria. You should also be aware of foodborne and waterborne illnesses that may be common. Not all countries have safe drinking water or safe produce (Florida does though).
In Florida specifically, you’ll have to learn how to be hurricane ready when the season hits each year, and need to make sure to always stay hydrated in the constant heat and humidity.
There are also venomous snakes and poisonous insects to watch out for.
Learn what the dangerous sections of your city are so you can avoid them and learn local laws and customs so you don’t attract negative attention or find yourself getting fined or even imprisoned.
Take Advantage of Your Situation
And finally, make sure to take advantage of being able to work from home or travel wherever you want and still be able to conduct business.
The digital nomad life is enticing because it gives us the freedom to choose a life we want for ourselves. It’s important to not fall back into the trap of thinking you need to work, work, work.
Choose a destination to work from that you really want to experience and then actually experience it. Stay productive and make your online business grow, but make time to embrace the local culture and enjoy the attractions that lured you to set up in Florida in the first place.
Florida attracts well over 100 million visitors every year, and these people don’t come to work. It’s home to exciting theme parks, adventurous outdoor recreation, beautiful beaches, loads of entertainment, and endless dining.
Make sure to take time off work to enjoy it!
Encourage yourself to take more vacation time. No longer are you restricted by a set number of days you can take off or when you are allowed to request time off. You can schedule vacations whenever you wish and take all holidays off so long as you aren’t letting your business suffer.
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