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Remote Work vs. Digital Nomadism: What You Need to Know


People unversed in current trends may be wondering what the difference between remote workers and digital nomads is. While both lifestyles have many aspects in common, the differences between them are not so insignificant, either.

First of all, remote workers do not necessarily work from different countries, while digital nomads usually are, but are not necessarily changing countries all the time. Many digital nomads first establish a base and take their travels from there.  

Digital nomads enjoy traveling while working. As mentioned above, many of them first establish a stable base in one country before traveling to others. The reason is rather simple  — traveling is expensive.

It is important to distinguish that not all digital nomads rely on gigs. Many nomads run their own remote business.

Remote workers can work from anywhere and can either be company employees or freelancers.

Whichever of the two options you’re considering, there is a couple of things to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at them, briefly.


Watch Your Finances and Taxes

Many remote workers are freelancers and are responsible for filing and paying their own taxes. However, digital nomads have an entirely different taxing system to understand, including which forms to fill out . In addition, there are U.S. expat taxes to consider.

It is important to note here that no matter your net worth, you may be able to qualify for a digital nomad visa. The trend has started with some island countries with the main idea being to attract investments.


Availability of Work

Understanding how to get a remote job is the first step. In a sense, there’s not much difference between remote workers and digital nomads in this matter, except for careful planning. Gig workers may have an easier time traveling, while remote workers with, e.g., fixed working hours, may need to make certain adjustments.

It is crucial to obtain a few steady clients, especially for digital nomads, as they need more savings than remote workers who are based from home.

For people that are well off, digital nomadism shouldn’t prove difficult, but most people simply aren’t. You’ll need to think about all kinds of costs and taxes along the way, so it is a good idea to compare the rates and choose your starting destination based on that calculation.


Look to eLearning

Online courses can help remote workers pick up extra skills. Digital nomads may also want to look into cross-cultural training so that they fit well into their new surroundings.

There is a whole new level to digital learning, too. Many people have started offering online courses of their own making, offering them either on their websites or on target platforms.

If you’re stuck and don’t know where to start, consider creating an online course. The topic? Whatever you are good at. One shouldn’t think too deeply, especially since the so-called influencers have started teaching people how to make mashed potatoes. Seriously? You can do far better than that!


Stay Open to More Suitable Career Changes

If this is your first time working remotely, you may find you’re not suited for some roles. However, the good news is that there is no shortage of opportunities. If you’re a digital nomad, chances are you’ll learn about all sorts of job options. Many digital nomads work in IT, write copy or even teach online.

Don’t forget about eLearning. If you lack a skill, you can promptly learn it.


Choose the Right Tools

Choosing the right tools is absolutely essential. For starters, familiarize yourself with trending tools (Gmail, Asana, Skype, Zoom and similar) and keep up the routine.

Keep in mind that both remote workers and digital nomads rely on online communication, and we all know how important communication is. You should at least be familiar with online communication tools.

Next on, consider learning about task management and email management tools. These are always used by remote workers, so there you have it.


Look for Reliable Clients

As mentioned above, creating a stable client base is always recommended. After, you never know what tomorrow brings, as we’ve seen with the latest pandemic. If you’re an expert, you can count on competitive rates, but if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to be patient and persistent.

There are many platforms you can look up in search of clients. If you have a specific skill set, look for a specialized online marketplace rather than general ones, as those will provide you with access to well-paid jobs.


Dropshipping and Selling Online

Finally, many people run online stores, relying either on dropshipping or local arrangements. It’s a great way to run a business while you are obtaining new skills, but it’s fair to say that it’s not easy, as competition is fierce. More or less, everyone with no skills whatsoever has the idea of hitting it big without lifting a finger.

Of course, things aren’t that simple. Establishing any kind of business takes time and knowledge, so compare alternatives before deciding on the best option for you.


Ready to Set Out?

If you’re not sure whether remote work would suit you better than digital nomadism or vice versa, the matter is easily resolved. Start out as a remote worker and try working on gigs while traveling to see how it goes.

Digital nomadism calls for some resources and savings, so if you’re ready to give it a go, think well ahead. The good news is there will always be remote work opportunities no matter where you are, so take your time to transition if you’re planning to upgrade your skills to a digital nomad.




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