It’s the ultimate dream, and for a growing number of entrepreneurs, or ‘digital nomads’, making a decent living wherever there’s Wi-Fi has become a reality.
I’m one of these digital nomads. Since the birth of my son two years ago, I now operate a location-independent, “in the clouds” business. The idea behind the move from corporate to footloose and fancy-free solopreneur, was to do meaningful work and to create the coveted work/life balance.
Sounds lovely right? I bet you’d have thought that the office would be long forgotten by now. Uh-uh. There are certain aspects about working as a digital nomad, that may surprise you. Like these three:
1. Not having an IT department sucks
Twenty years in corporate has it’s luxuries. I know this now. I’m not talking about the cakes at morning tea, or drinks on the company card. Would it shock you to know, that it’s actually the IT department that I miss the most?
I look back and fondly recall when a simple issue such as, a forgotten password, configuring a new laptop, retrieving an achieved document, or even sorting out a testy printer, would after a press of a button call to the IT department, fix itself. Okay there were often times when IT may have helped me sort out my iTunes too.
God forbid if any IT related issue wasn’t sorted within an hour! How veerrrrrry frustrating. “Why is IT taking so long? “, I would grumble.
But my click of the fingers expectation, was really not that surprising when you consider that like other corporate junkies, I had never known anything different.
But ex-corporate types, do.
When you are operating an “in the clouds” business and you’re working remotely from anywhere – and it’s just you – what happens if you don’t have a techie person on hand, and you’re not techie yourself?
You spend hours doing various crash courses at YouTube university, that’s what!
While I now dream of the good old days of having an IT department at arm’s length, here are some of my favourite substitutes – and they’re quite easy to put on speed dial too:
Teacup Techies Technology training – at home, at work, individual or small group.
I hate my pc Your computer’s guardian angel or your computer coach helping you with what needs to be done.
2. Work, life, balance – bahahahah!
Balancing is for ballerinas and not so much for solopreneurs in their first year of business.
The thing is like so many others who run their businesses from home, I work from my dining room table. On the one hand this is fantastic because I can work at times when I’m most productive, and around my family’s schedule.
It’s wonderful to have a lovely big “desk”. However along with my workspace which now consumes the whole dining table, so too have the hours I work, spilled into “non work” time. Time that was meant to be for the work/life balance thingy.
So yes on the other hand, theboundaries between work and life have become blurred. Boundaries are goal posts that are easily moved. This isn’t helped by the fact that I’m doing work which I enjoy, which means it’s difficult to stop doing it.
But it’s the productivity that’s the potential killer. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to be productive at home. This could be a whole post on its own, so I’ll leave this topic for now.
3. You get lonely
There is a solution to this and I plan on trying it out. Coworking spaces encourage like-minded entrepreneurs and other professionals to come together, kindle new network connections, and perform business in a professional setting. The best thing though is that coworking spaces create fellowship.
The coworking space, Hub Sydney will be launching in Sydney in May and I have joined as one of their founding members. You can still purchase membership for 50% off. Check out the details here
Should you start your own business?
I DO want to help you pursue your own exciting entrepreneurial career and liberate you from thinking traditionally about work. However now that I’m doing it myself, I believe that it’s useful to have some idea of the lifestyle you’re entering.
One useful resource I’ve come across recently, is the new book Learn Small Business Start-UP in 7 Days, by Heather Smith. Heather has worked with hundreds of business owners during the start-up phase of their business and in this book, shares everything she has learned along the way from their successes and mistakes.
Most importantly the book is an easy to read practical guide to setting up your business. It gives you the 2013 blueprint of what you need to know, to transition to the start-up lifestyle. If you’re thinking of starting a business, don’t not read this book. I can guarantee it will save you a lot of time and money.
I have a copy of Learn Small Business Start-UP in 7 Days to give away. All you need to do is to leave a comment below.
Heather is also online to answer any questions you may have so feel free to leave a comment and ask Heather any questions you might have.