June 15, 2017
Forget the 9 to 5 job. Today there are a lot of people out there using telecommunications technology to earn a living and more generally conduct their living in a digital nomad manner. And yes, they tend to travel while they continue to work with their clients’ or employers. According to Forbes, virtual companies have grown drastically since 2014, from 26 companies in 2014, to about 125 in 2016. All they need is a good internet connection, a mobile device, and they can work from anywhere in the world.
In a bid to unravel this goldmine, I caught up with one of the established digital nomads. The 23 year old, Jacob Laukaitis, who has been to over 45 countries in the last three years, running an online business.
In my interview, Jacob bared his mind on how he began his journey as a digital nomad, what he does presently for a living, how he is able to manage the challenges facing digital nomads and he revealed what the future of digital nomads portends for the global economy.
How do you make a living?
I’m a cofounder of a fast-growing online coupons company in the United States (Chameleonjohn.com) with employees from all over the world. We work with thousands of retailers to get the best promo codes and shopping deals for our customers. However, since all of my work is online, I can work from anywhere as long as I have my computer and a Wi-Fi connection. So I simply travel 10-11 months a year.
How did this all begin?
It all began 2.5 years ago where I and two other partners decided to create this company, because we felt as if there was a big opportunity to help people save money on their online purchases. We have employees from a few different countries around the world, but I personally am not based anywhere. I am currently on a 11-12 month-long all around Asia and I change my location every week or a few.
What is a typical day in the life of a digital nomad?
There’s no routine, ever. If I’m in Asia, I’ll generally try to explore till late afternoon and then start working, because my colleagues in Europe will be coming to the office. However, sometimes I work in the morning, or sometimes late at night. If I’m in the USA, I’ll be working very early in the morning and explore in the afternoon. I try to have a good work-life balance wherever I am, but I always put my work tasks first (because that’s the reason I can travel indefinitely in the first place).
What are the steps to becoming a digital nomad?
- Finding a way to make money online. It can be web design, programming, logo design, translations, teaching languages, running an online business or many other things;
- Selling most of what you own and putting everything you need into a small travel backpack;
- Going anywhere you wish, anytime you wish for as long as you wish. You can travel anywhere or you can settle down anywhere if you like that place. You’re free to choose wherever it is you want to spend your time.
Talk about your experience visiting more than 45 countries
To me it got really normal. Going on a trip or traveling is not really traveling. It’s just my daily life. If you get bored of one place, you buy a flight ticket and leave. If you want to go stay in some mountains for a while, you pack up and leave. The time of the day and the day of the week have lost meaning.
What are some challenges you face as a digital nomad
I haven’t faced many challenges, but a lot of people say they feel lonely at times. However I try to always push myself out of my comfort zone and make new friends on the go.
Talk about the future of digital nomads
I think there will be a lot more people living the digital nomad lifestyle (whether they call it this way or not). People who will quit the 9 to 5 and live anywhere while working online. I couldn’t imagine living any other way and a lot of other digital nomads feel the same way.
I’d say the most important thing is to be able to focus on your work and not get distracted by all the interesting things happening around you. If you are able to do that, you’ll literally be able to travel indefinitely.
Millennials will adopt to this business lifestyle because it gives them the freedom they desire, and an opportunity to explore different parts of the world. Though some analysts have projected that, there will be 1 billion digital nomads by 2035. Jacob opined that more people will adopt the lifestyle. Have digital nomads finally come to stay. Only time will tell!
Read more about life of a digital nomad at Tech.Co
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