Social media is full of remote workers exploring and discovering the world, while still managing to rake in sizable incomes but, is being a digital nomad really all it’s cracked up to be?
Will you really be able to relax in a pool while creating websites in Bali one week, and hop over to Germany’s Oktoberfest for a well-deserved beer the next?
Is remote employment the never-ending – work hard and play harder existence that many public highlight reels would suggest?
Those questions really boil down to a simple one – is remote working actually fun?
Before I get into the details, note that remote working doesn’t mean you have to be Instagram’s poster child for some travel network. You can work remotely from your hometown, population ten, if that’s what you want.
Most remote employment opportunities just require you to have a decent computer and an internet connection. Some will ask that you come in at times, but this isn’t a general rule. The idea of freedom and working from home – or anywhere really, has opened doors for people worldwide.
For women, it provides great opportunities as now the housewife or stay-at-home mum can have a job on the side, or the ‘9-5er’ can earn extra income, without having to do much but log on and get to work.
A few truths: It can be a hassle navigating freelance sites, trying to figure out the best way forward for your remote business, which jobs to take, and how much to charge. Basically, all the small print that social media doesn’t share, as it excites to the point that many want to be as free as the people in the pictures. Witnessing the glamour can make it hard to think about the work that comes with it.
My need for work freedom came well before Instagram made it visually enticing, and it truly wasn’t always pretty. As a contract/freelance worker for over five years, after being a journalist for many years prior to that, I can tell you that as with any job, remote work has its ups and downs.
Unless you’re already established in the field you choose and can immediately get new work, or are graced by a lovely bit of luck, it’ll take a little time to build a loyal client list. Even then, depending on your field you may get mainly one-off jobs.
In these cases it’s best to try to find contract work, which means you’ll be in the money while the contract lasts. In my opinion, as a freelancer or contract worker you need to always keep looking for that next job opportunity, even if you’ve already built up a lucrative base.
Things happen: companies change, contacts move on, and clients can decide to go in another direction. Being prepared can stave off financially lean months. Bonus though? The more you get out there and provide quality work, the better your chances of being discovered and sought after for your services.
Here’s the verdict: Yes, remote working can open a new world that can be pretty fun, just expect the actual work that goes with it.