The life of an online entrepreneur or digital nomad seems flashy, exotic and mysterious to most “normies”. The reality is yes, in many ways, it is exactly that sometimes.
I’ve been working online for about 7 years now, in which time I’ve lived all over the USA, Asia and Europe. But it’s not all glamor and glitz.
In many ways which the intrigued and unknowing public either fails to recognize or seems to forget, it is a lifestyle that requires constant work and long hours on a laptop computer, working from anywhere you can to accomplish successful e-commerce and manage online income streams.
That means a daily grind all its own that demands your focus and concentration, often leaving little room for error. In addition to this, it requires being financially savvy or even shrewdly budgetary with consideration to the ever-changing world travel situation.
The Digital Worker’s Survival Guide
What most of us have discovered viscerally when opting to work completely online is that you have to be your own Chief Financial Officer. That means thinking of all of your assets including your gear as a long-term investment, and liability.
#1: Protect and Extend the Life of Your Laptop Computer
Your computer should be viewed the same as your car or your house. Without your laptop computer to manage your online work and business, it would be difficult if not impossible to maintain a digital nomad lifestyle.
Pro Tip: Prevent your laptop from overheating
While it may not seem like more than just a nuisance, running your laptop hot for even 15 minutes or more puts it at serious risk of slowing down, ruining the battery, or causing other irreversible damage.
Considering the average price of a mid-range laptop computer is about $500, a replacement could seriously set you back and affect your monthly operating expenses, including your rent or hotel room when you travel.
Factor in buying a computer in a foreign country, and you’ll understand why I unexpectedly have Russian letters on my keyboard as well as traditional English characters as I currently type this. And no, buying a computer in Moscow was no walk in the park.
When working from home or even traveling, you can avoid resting your laptop on your lap and causing it to overheat by using some type of ventilated stand or portable laptop desk.
While carrying my laptop computer around places with me, I usually keep it in my front backpack and then cushion the bottom and the corners of the device with some workout shorts or t-shirts in case my bag gets dinged.
And yes, of course clean your laptop regularly with water and a paper towel. These things will get gross after a while without wiping down the keyboard, screen and mouse sensor area occasionally.
#2: Cut Down on Expenses While Increasing Productivity
While we’re on the subject of saving money, it’s important to understand for people who travel that you may not always have access to a quiet, cozy place to work or a nice desk or table and a comfortable chair. This might seem like a non-event at first, but consider this:
Budget hotel or hostel rooms often do not include a desk and a chair, so you might be working on your bed at times. Also, if you don’t have a proper work station in your room, you may be tempted to go to the local cafe to work.
This often results in spending an extra $5 / day or more just to use a local establishment’s WiFi and a comfy seat. That comes out to $150 / month just by visiting the cafe everyday. It may cost even more if they serve beer and you’re easily tempted too 🙁
#3: Reduce Reliance on Travel Booking Apps Like Hotels.com and Airbnb
In my opinion, online hotel reservation apps like Expedia, Booking, and Airbnb offer a traveler a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the offerings for places to stay for any given location.
For convenience and to keep your travel transaction on your debit or credit card since many locals demand cash only, you might use an app to get to your destination.
Airbnb often charges a service fee of $2 or more per day during a stay. You’re paying $60 just for the courtesy of using the Airbnb app.
And worse, a local would probably be willing to cut you a much better deal in cash for a longer term stay.
#4: Don’t Forget to Manage Your Health, Mood and Well-Being
Hate to sound cliche, but since you’re pretty free and independent when you work remotely, from home, or abroad, that means you have to be your own life manager. When you have a pretty flexible schedule, it’s easy to lose discipline in our own personal lives when we digital professionals must maintain that crucial balance between work, travel and “me” time.
For myself, I know I do a lot better when I exercise regularly and eat lean proteins, complex carbs, fresh vegetables and fruits.
When traveling, you don’t always have access to a kitchen, or sometimes you do and they don’t have everything. That’s why it’s great to keep a knife handy to cut cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and anything else you enjoy to ensure you’re getting those much needed vitamins and minerals.
It’s so easy when you’re self-directed and focused on all your online work to disregard healthy eating habits, which results in weight gain, feeling sluggish or lethargic, getting sick more often, and again- raises your daily operating costs.
Positive Energy = Digital Work and Life Success
Another massive thing is ergonomics. Since you’re constantly working on your computer, you can tend to let your posture go over time as well, resulting in aches and pains, reduced personal productivity and health issues, and slumping or slouching tendencies which negatively affect your personal appearance and energy levels.
Energy must flow freely through your body in order to function at its most optimal state.
Make sure you are practicing healthy seated and standing posture habits throughout the day, and that you are exercising at least 3 days a week. This will ensure that you can breathe properly and have a healthy circulatory system, which will improve your mental and cognitive abilities while increasing your immune system.
Meditate, do breathing exercises, and take breaks! For the love of life man don’t over-do it 🙂
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