Being a digital nomad sounds cool, right? Well, why wouldn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to travel the world, live in multiple places without having to put roots down and keep a steady income at the same time?

As glamorous as the lifestyle may seem (thanks to the many social media influencers doing it) there are some hard truths that many people aren’t prepared for. But fear not, because media update’s Aisling McCarthy is here to give you the inside scoop on making your time as a digital nomad a success.

First things first – what’s a digital nomad again?

It’s a term used to describe someone who spends months on end abroad, changing their destination regularly, while still making a living working online.

This nomadic lifestyle has been driven by millennial entrepreneurs, designers, writers and developers who have realised that you don’t need to work in an office to send emails or even run a business.

Remember that a ‘digital nomad’ differs from someone who works remotely. A remote worker tends to work from one location that is not the company’s official address. A digital nomad, however, uses this freedom to work from numerous locations with a focus on exploring interesting new places.

Ready to find out some tips for success? Here they are:

Step 1: Do your homework

If you’re considering becoming a digital nomad, you’ll need to know what to expect. Not only for you, but for your employer. If you plan on keeping your job – make sure you reach out to them with a solid plan of what you want to achieve, how you plan to do it and how you will manage to keep your company happy from the other side of the world.

While you’ll need to ensure that every place you stay has a reliable – and stable – Internet connection, you’ll also need to work out the logistics for meeting with your team, communicating the work that you’re doing and putting your company at ease with you being out of the office long term.

While you’ll be enjoying the act of travelling from place to place, you’ll have to work harder than ever before to make sure your boss knows that you’re a trustworthy employee – wherever you may be!

Step 2: Know yourself – and your working style

While just about everyone would like to be able to work from the beach or the mountains, not everyone is cut out for it.

This step requires you to be really honest with yourself and ask: What is my working style?

  • Are you the kind of person who needs a manager to watch your every step?
  • Do you need a strict routine in order to get your work done?
  • Do you get easily distracted?

You have to decide whether or not you’ll be able to work from various locations without a boss looking over your shoulder and managing your routine.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to do that easily, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t cut out to be a digital nomad. All it means is that if you do decide to become nomadic, you’ll have to work that much harder..

Skipping this step, and not being truthful, can lead to disaster. If you think you are someone who is able to work without a routine – or with tons of distractions – and you suddenly discover that you cannot, you’re in for trouble.

The only way to be fair to both yourself and the company you work for is to really consider your style of work and your capabilities.

Not to mention, working abroad requires you to be as productive as always, while juggling multiple time zones. Do you think you can deal with conference calls at midnight and still be on your A-game?

Step 3: Over-deliver on promises you made to your employer

So you’ve taken that terrifying leap and asked your boss if you can head out on a workation. And … your boss said yes! Now it’s time to deliver on the promises you made – and then some.

Remember that being able to work from wherever you are is a privilege, not a right. And if at any point your boss decides that you aren’t delivering, you could be out of a job. So to avoid that happening, make sure you over-deliver on the work front.

This means being organised, eager and ensuring that the work you put out is of excellent quality.

Step 4: Find a balance between work and play

While work needs to be a big focus of your time, you also have to find a balance and make time to actually enjoy yourself (now that you’re a big, bad digital nomad).

Striking a balance between work and play can be difficult if you don’t consider what’s really important to you. Do you want to start your day by having a surfing lesson or checking out the local market? Or is the local club after dark more your scene? Figure out what it is you want to get out of you nomadic experience – and tailor your play time to that.

Obviously, work comes first, but play is a close second. It is vital that you set yourself up for success work-wise so that you can spend time travelling and enjoying the perks of the lifestyle you’ve chosen.

Are you working abroad as a digital nomad? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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Want to know more about how to make a workcation happen? Check out these Five steps to becoming a digital nomad.