20 years ago, working a flexible schedule from home, not having to deal with the daily commute and being able to choose your own hours was thought impossible.
However, since then the location independent community has grown exponentially, with more and more people choosing to work remotely and live a lifestyle free of the usual daily constraints. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics says that since 2005, digital nomadism has increased by 140%.
But why have so many people decided to make this change? And how does it change their lives?
How the LIM (Location Independent Movement) has become possible
The biggest reason for the increase in location independent workers is technological advances in computing and internet connection. Going back just 20 years, it would have been hard to imagine that we would be able to not only have a conversation with somebody on the other side of the world for free, but to also be able to see their face, on a device that fits into our pocket.
In such a short space of time we have gone from having dial-up internet requiring a cable and needing to wait for web pages to download to having wireless devices we can carry around with us and being able to receive emails, documents, photos and video calls in an instant wherever we are, be that in a cafe, bus or even walking down the street. Technological advances like this have made it both possible and super easy to work remotely.
These advances have obviously had an effect, not just on how we communicate with one another and the ease of gaining information, but also on how business itself is conducted.
Take retail, for example. The high street is no longer the go-to to meet people’s retail needs. Online shopping has become a huge business, enabling retailers to cut down on overhead costs and bring down prices of products. But it is not just the selling of products that has changed.
A number of apps have been created to help entrepreneurs sell both products and services over the internet, meaning it is easier than ever to start your own business selling whatever it is you want to provide.
And as the world is now smaller because of our ability to connect with someone in a completely different country just with the click of a button, it is so simple for these business people to find clients everywhere.
However, retail is not the only industry that has caught onto the remote working trend. Lots of industries are waking up to the fact that they do not need people to come into the office any more, that it is just as easy for employees to carry out their tasks from home, meaning that it is not just freelancers who are becoming location independent; those with stable, secure monthly salaries are too.
Saying that, many people are choosing to start their own businesses. Some do this by setting up a blog that makes money, selling courses on sites like Udemy, advertising their skills on sites such as Fiverr, or even renting out their property back home out on Airbnb.
There are so many ways that people have come up with to make money while on the road, it is impossible to name them all here, but as you can see, it is not as difficult as some people think to become a digital nomad.
Why are people choosing to become location independent
There are many reasons why someone chooses to become location independent. Here are some of the most important ones.
Possibly this is the main reason for becoming a digital nomad. Why sit in a stuffy office all day in a grey, wet city when you can be lounging on a beach somewhere like Thailand or Indonesia, laptop on your knee, sipping on a delicious, fresh drink with the sun beating down on you?
Being location independent gives people the opportunity to go to all those places they had always dreamed of going, but did not have the money or chance to take the time off work to go. Instead, they can book a flight, go where they want to go and still be able to work along the way.
This is the other big reason; the ability to be able to design your work and leisure time how you wish.
Want to spend the morning checking out the new city you have just arrived in or at the beach surfing before getting down to some work in the afternoon? Absolutely fine. Feel that you work better in the early mornings or late at night and want to manage your work schedule around these times? No problem.
When you are a remote worker and have the chance to design your schedule how you like, everything is possible.
Disenchantment with the rat race
Once, the corporate world, or even just having a job which gave you a sense of financial security, was a sign of status. However, in recent times, people have become rather disenchanted with the whole system. What is the point in slugging your guts out day after day, making money but not having the time to enjoy it?
As a society, we have become far more aware of how having a good work-life balance is important for both our physical and mental health and, what with increasing housing prices and general cost of living, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to live in some western countries, even on a half-decent salary. For these reasons, more people are seeing the massive advantages of leaving the rat race and achieve a better quality of life.
Of course, being able to travel wherever you like and having the ability to make your own work schedule both give you freedom. But having this extra time and flexibility means remote workers get the freedom to make certain choices about their lives.
They can choose where they want to work, be that in the accommodation where they are staying, a cafe or in a co-working space. Always wanted to learn a new language or skill but never had the opportunity? Location independent workers have the time to do these things, as well as being able to move to a country where they are better able to learn these skills.
Earn better money
While it may seem that freelancers would be less likely to earn more money than someone with a fixed salary and that there is definitely some truth in the phrase ‘feast or famine’, it is actually said that digital nomads manage to save up to $7,000 per year.
Obviously, this largely depends on the lifestyle and salary of each person, but there are many ways in which remote workers can save. The biggest cuts come from things like not having to spend money on commuting and work clothes, and being able to choose where you live; a lot of digital nomads choose to live in places where the cost of living in generally low while earning a western standard salary.
For those who are freelancers, having the flexibility to take on extra work as and when you feel like it also helps to save that little bit extra money.
There is absolutely no doubt that the location independent movement is gaining traction, with more and more people deciding to make the change; it is estimated that 50% of the American workforce will be working remotely by the year 2020. With technology ever changing and a lot of the world becoming more and more accessible with the aid of a bigger choice of flight destinations and cheaper tickets, there is no reason why you cannot make the change, whatever your profession.
Thanks for reading!
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