While your kids have taken your life by the horns and seem to be running the show, becoming a digital nomad mom (or dad) may not be the first thought to cross your mind. It almost seems like adding chaos to more chaos.
It doesn’t have to be chaotic though. Having the ability to design your lifestyle, around your own goals, is incredibly appealing.
What Is A Digital Nomad
Broadly speaking, digital nomads can be classified into entrepreneurs and freelancers. Either way the selling point is working for yourself, of course with your paying clients in mind. Entrepreneurs may run businesses selling physical products or even services online, and freelancers have paying contracts typically for their services.
Running your business through the internet, or at least have an online presence, is the minimum requirement for qualifying as a digital nomad. Businesses are typically expected to have a website, and nearly 80% of households in America shop online.
Active vs Passive
Actively earned income can be best defined by businesses where you sell your services, or essentially you are selling your time. If you have a clients, and they pay your for your time as a health coach, that money is actively made.
The holy grail of digital work is building passive income streams that effectively can generate income while you’re sleeping. These could include digital product sales like online courses, ebooks, or affiliate marketing income. Unless you’re purely an investor though, not that many types of income can be counted as purely passive. The digital nomad tries very hard to incorporate passive elements into the business.
What It’s Like To Be A Digital Nomad
Becoming a digital nomad parent doesn’t usually happen overnight. Maybe you’ve been building up experience at a traditional job for years, and finally feel comfortable about finding your own clients. Maybe you can even take old clients with you. (legally, of course) Oh and then you have a baby.
Flexibility – The #1 reason digital nomads do what they do. Often with children in the equation, flexibility becomes so important that nearly 30% of prime-age women (~ between 25-54) drop out of the workforce. In fact, women value flexibility far more than any other factor when choosing jobs.
Of course, flexibility is not just a women’s issue. Being able to schedule your time on your terms is what most kids probably dream while sitting in classrooms. Yet many still pursue the traditional path out of school.
Miss fewer milestones with your baby, fewer soccer games, and put together your own schedule like a puzzle.
Lack of Routine – Take away the structure of the workplace, and suddenly with a wide open schedule it suddenly seems to be more work to fill it up. Not because you lack things to do, but because now you actually have to put in the time to plan your day.
Or not, but a well planned day helps you make the most out of it. You can replace in person meetings with virtual ones, and clients may start to take over your time slots once you have an established business. If you are starting out on the journey, exploration mode is open ended and often meanders
Responsibility For Your Health – When you’re pulling in a salary, whether it’s a 6 figure banking salary or a minimum wage salary, your time is no longer your own. There seems to be a mental shift as well, where expedience often takes over.
If you’re pulling an all nighter to finish a project, suddenly the bowls of ramen and coffee breaks are the main driving forces keeping you alive. You know that the next day, even if you show up drained and pale, the work is done and you will still collect a paycheck. Maybe that’s not the exact thought process, but so many young college graduates throw themselves headfirst into their jobs, putting their health on the back burner.
Burnout mode is not unique to working for a company, but digital nomads soon learn that as a one woman or one man show, you don’t have excess reserves in the form of a team member or a steady salary. If you’re going to pull through you need to take care of your health.
As the main engine for your show, you will probably need to be much more in tune with what your body needs. Exercise, relaxation need to be built in to your routine.
Putting Your Family At The Center – Most families choose where they live based on their commute time from jobs. Day-to-day schedules are also a function of the work day. Imagine coming up with your own schedule. You can put your family at the center of it, deciding what work hours make sense with corresponding nap times. If your spouse is flexible, or your child’s in school or daycare, you get to become an adult again for a few hours!
Deep Bonding – The bond between parents and their children is incredible. Having the extra time associated with day to day care of young children is simply irreplaceable. It’s become cliche to say but kids really do grow up at lightning speed, and you only get so long for a front row seat.
Young kids often cling to the caregivers they spend the most time with, allowing a deeply significant and often rewarding bond. Kids will demand as much attention as they can get.
It’s a bold choice, but one that few regret. Finding a digital nomad career as a parent allows you to build the life you want and spend time with your kids on your own terms. If you are game to navigate the challenges, an entire world will open up for you.