The term “digital nomad” is probably one of the fastest growing lifestyles of the last decade. Living the digital nomad lifestyle means relying on the internet to financially sustain a modern nomadic life. This trend allows you to become location independent and able to constantly move between cities in different countries while working remotely.
For this article, we interviewed Olga Job, a digital nomad native from Curaçao, who works as a Business Consultant and Transformational Coach, about her positive and challenging experiences while traveling the world as an entrepreneur. We also spoke to Richards Martina, representative of JCI IOBA Curaçao, who focuses on this style of doing business by organizing different seminars instructing upcoming digital nomads on the island. We also discussed Curaçao as a digital nomad destination. The world can definitely be transformed into your office!
There is no longer a reason to only work in one place. The digital nomad lifestyle is made possible through a number of innovations, including low-cost internet access, smartphones and voice over messages to keep in contact with clients and employers. “With the dawn of the internet, technological advancement and innovation, the popularity of self and remote employment has been increasing. The digital nomad tribe is growing fast and industries around the globe are beginning to adapt”, says Olga Job at the beginning of the interview.
Olga, who had been working for a long, intense period in the corporate world in the United States, was longing for a perfect work-life balance through a nomadic lifestyle by having the freedom to travel while maintaining a steady stream of income. “In 2016, I moved from Miami to Curaçao and started planning my online strategy as a Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Corporate Wellness Consultant. It was definitely a challenging process. Mistakes and failed attempts were part of the exploration of fine-tuning my business. Without them, I wouldn’t know the limits and possibilities of what I could achieve. Nobody wins playing on the sidelines, right?” she continues. During her digital nomad journey, she mentions that she traveled for six months in Europe and backpacked for five months in Asia. In between these travels, she visited Curaçao to connect with family and friends, while preparing mentally for the next adventure.
When discussing the challenges she faced during her entrepreneurial and digital nomad journey, she replied that the digital nomad lifestyle certainly has a lot to offer. “There are a few common things that can become stumbling blocks down the road if you’re not careful. First of all, consistency. As a digital nomad you want to travel, to learn and to get in touch with other cultures, but reality hits when you have to juggle between your business assignments and travel spirit. You have to be disciplined enough to create, achieve and maintain a healthy work/life balance. When your clients are located in a different time zone, you quickly learn how to make adjustments to your life in order to make the relationship work. Additionally, constant travel can often be a lonely endeavor. Loneliness is one of the top, most-cited downsides to being a digital nomad. On the other hand, it’s also possible to experience moments of euphoria and wholeness while traveling alone as a digital nomad. It’s all about creating a balance”, she adds.
“An important point I need to tackle is a misconception about digital nomads. No matter how their Instagram looks (and it looks fantastic!), digital nomads are not on vacation while abroad. They still have work to uphold and clients to manage. It’s important to instruct and educate entrepreneurs on the island about different ways of doing business, how to offer their services around the world and the positive and challenging sides of becoming a digital nomad” says Richards Martina, of JCI IOBA.
JCI is a nonprofit organization of young active citizens ages 18 to 40 who are engaged and committed to create positive change in their communities. “As a highly active organization, we organized several seminars about the rise of digital nomad inviting prominent figures of the industry. This August, we invited Spencer Jentzsch, CEO of Hacker Paradise to join local remote-work industry leaders at the ‘Remote Work Works’ event: ‘Running your business on the GO’. It was a great opportunity to show him Curaçao and all the positive elements our island has to offer as a great digital nomad destination. Hacker Paradise is a company that designs community around trips, with an ambitious program of location-based events, professional learning and personal development, combined with amazing work, travel and living experiences. And yes, Curaçao fits perfectly on the list of a great digital nomad destination. It’s a touristic island with an ideal climate, receptive inhabitants, good internet connection and the rise of open-minded companies renting co-working spaces and entrepreneur friendly cafes” he stated.
Being a digital nomad is about more than just travel; it’s about freedom and creation of your own platform. Remote work isn’t as simple as sitting by the pool with a computer on your lap while you work on your tan. It requires hard work to get the right income stream going, and even more dedication and discipline to keep it going.
If you can develop the ability to understand the market while combining your skills to meet a particular niche in a digital way, your options for online work are truly limitless. Do you have what it takes to become a digital nomad?
HOW CAN ONE BECOME A DIGITAL NOMAD?
• Find a job that is location independent. Popular roles that allow you to work remotely are: copywriting and writing, social media managing, affiliate marketing, translation, illustrating and graphic design, programming, virtual assistant, blogging, tour guide, transcribing, coaching and the list goes on.
• Strong, reliable Wifi is critical to succeed as a digital nomad. It is a necessity to get work done.
• Locate a co-working space that provides a place to work. Are you a digital nomad visiting Curaçao? Visit different co-working spaces available on the island, for example ~Curaçao Coworking Pietermaai (www.curacaocoworking.com) ~Workspot Curaçao (www.workspotcuracao.com) ~coWorld Coworking Community Curaçao (https://coworld.community)
• While PayPal is internationally known and used by many companies and services, it may not always be the best payment option, especially when multiple currencies are involved. Check out alternatives for online payment methods such as TransferWise, Skrill, Payoneer, Revolut and Bitcoin.
• How to avoid a tax trap? It is recommended to seek the professional guidance of an accountant or tax preparer with expertise in the tax regulations for your country of residence.
• Use available applications to help maintain and organize your business such as the tool FreshBooks to track invoices, or scan/e-mail receipts to Evernote. At the end of the year, information will be properly recorded to fill in your tax return or available to send to your accountant.
• Research methods to earn a decent income and possibly a full-time salary such as Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com and Toptal.
• Avoid loneliness and join a remote working program. These programs bring digital nomads together and spend every month in a different city/country, working and exploring together. Most importantly, they provide a community for example Hacker Paradise. Facebook groups are a good place to start. Just type the city name and “expat” or “nomad” into the search bar.
• Appreciate each place you visit and enjoy your flexibility!