Personal,  Travel Hacks

Cons of being a digital nomad – and how to overcome them

Work from anywhere, anytime, completely independent and on your own terms – sounds pretty nice right? Instagram definitely makes it look like all your dreams can come true if you choose to become a digital nomad. There are quite a few obstacles and struggles that accompany being a digital nomad that should be carefully thought about before deciding whether this is a suitable lifestyle for you. This guide will show you all the cons of becoming a digital nomad including solutions on how to fix them.

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Entrepreneurial risk – biggest con of being a digital nomad

Owning a business can bring you wealth, pleasure, freedom, and a sense of accomplishment, but it also comes with great responsibility and tons of work. While you are employed by someone else, you can (usually) trust that you will receive a paycheck at the end of the month.

As a business owner, some months might be a little slower and you might not be able to find work or your clients might default in payment. Your monthly costs however will still be there. So thinking about some worst-case scenarios before starting your own business is absolutely necessary.

Luckily, with smart planning, you can avoid suddenly being broke at the end of the month. Before starting your business full-time, I recommend writing down your expenses to get a good idea of how much you are going to need to earn every month in order to make your payments.

Realistically think, if you can easily attract enough clients to make this number. Furthermore, I strongly recommend having healthy savings stashed away somewhere. I suggest saving at least 6 months’ worth of expenses before making your way as an entrepreneur.

Another solution to minimize the entrepreneurial risk is to slowly dip into the pool of self-employment. Start your business as a side hustle on the weekend. And as you are able to grow a steady stream of income from reliable customers take the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship.

Fiscal and financial responsibilities

Hand in hand with the risk of owning your own business come a bunch of other responsibilities that usually your employer would take care of. Insurances, taxes, bookkeeping, and retirement saving are only a few examples.

The most important thing to think about before quitting your job is health insurance coverage. Hospital bills can be insanely high and bankrupt you quickly if you have an accident or suddenly get sick. By choosing an entrepreneur-friendly country as your base you can get relatively cheap health insurance for a small monthly sum.

Another important responsibility you are taking on as an entrepreneur is retirement insurance. Do not be fooled by people on social media quitting their jobs and moving to Bali spontaneously and living a great life there. Since living costs there are very low you can probably afford a great lifestyle for very little money.

Here lies the risk of getting lazy and living day by day. Keep in mind that you will get old at some point and may need some sort of stability later on in life. To avoid nasty awakening years down the line I strongly recommend making retirement saving a strict part of your monthly costs. It does not matter if you sign up for a private pension fund, retirement insurance or build up savings in stocks and bonds as long as you do plan ahead of time.

Lastly, a (usually) underestimated challenge of becoming a digital nomad is filing your taxes and keeping books. Before you start your business you need to get a very good picture of what kind of obligations you have towards the tax office. And keeping a strict tab on them as you go.

Otherwise, you might wake up one day to late payment fees and penalties from the tax office. Another common mistake young entrepreneurs make is spending their entire salary as it comes in. At the beginning of the next year, most states will require you to pay income tax. Make sure to put some money on the side for that.

Underestimating the workload

Having to put in the hours is another thing most people do not fully grasp before becoming a digital nomad. Instagram might paint you a pretty picture of people lying on the beach all day while making a great income. I can tell you for a fact that you will have to put in countless hours of work to build up your business from the ground. Then you get to enjoy the many freedoms the digital nomad life has to offer you. For some people this is a huge con of being a digital nomad.

To mitigate this problem a bit I can recommend working smart – not hard. Try to put your time and efforts into something that has the possibility of earning you passive income while you do not work. This is more sustainable instead of a being paid by the the-hour job.

Especially in the beginning, you will probably not be able to avoid taking on paid by-the-hour jobs, but try to make sure to work on something more lasting with bigger earning potential in your spare time. These projects might not feel like an easy win at first and will most likely not make you money instantly but they will make your life easier in the long run.

A great example of passive income is affiliate marketing. Promote something that you are very passionate about and earn money on every person that buys through your recommendation. This is a win win situation – you can be a trusted source for your community and make money while you sleep. For everyone passionate about travel I suggest joining the Travelpayouts community – you can learn everything about affiliate marketing and get the tools to become successful yourself.

a collage of laptops on a beach and in an office with the text downsides of becoming a digital nomad, and how to fix them

Working without a routine

Not having a routine and a sense of familiarity can shake you up. Randomly going places as you feel sounds fun and adventurous, but it can also take a huge toll on our mental and physical health. Humans are creatures of habit who enjoy having familiar things and rituals around. Do not underestimate the emotional complications of leaving everything behind and diving into the unfamiliar. For me this was one of the biggest cons of being a digital nomad.

This might mean redefining the term digital nomad according to your own needs. The good news is – you don’t have to leave everything behind and live out of your backpack or a van if you don’t want to.

Being a digital nomad means having the freedom to design the life you want and not living by preset societal standards. You can still have meaningful travel experiences without staying in hostels or sleeping in buses. You can still see the world while maintaining your base at a place where you feel at home at.

Even if you don’t spend a single day traveling after becoming a digital nomad you already won at life. You got to choose where you want to be and live by your own rules and that’s the true sense of becoming a digital nomad in my opinion.

Prejudice and negative stigma

Lastly, the profession digital nomad is still not fully recognized by society. You will most likely have to face a negative stigma once in a while. This is sadly still a huge con of being a digital nomad. Plenty of people will make fun of your dreams and call you lazy, crazy, and stupid for giving up your safe job and your safe environment. The good news is that you can simply choose to surround yourself with like-minded people! Good vibes only!

Conclusion – cons of being a digital nomad

There are definitely cons to being a digital nomad . But nothing really that can not be overcome with a little preparation and a great work ethic. In my opinion, the upsides of becoming a digital nomad outweigh the possible downsides in tenfold. Make sure to read my article about the upsides of becoming a digital nomad. Do this to further make up your mind before taking the plunge!

downsides of becoming a digital nomad and how to fix them, ocean, laptop

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