The remotely working lifestyle is not the sole preserve of a specific type of people anymore. And at the same time it is still limited to a priviliged group. A few weeks ago, I came across the word ‘jobbatical’, when Kaidi Ruusalepp was mentioning her friend Karoli Hindriks, founder & CEO of a company with that name. The new generation global workers wants to be ‘meaningful above acquiring and accumulating “stuff”’. Jobbatical helps people to find a ‘tech, business or creative job anywhere in the world’. Taking a sabbatical without wanting to spend all my time snorkeling or sunbathing at the beach, was exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t know it was a trend.
I’ve lived the life of a ‘digital nomad’ for ten days in Bali. When you hear the word digital nomad you either think of Bali right away or never heart of the term before. The Indonesian island is where lots of these ‘location independent freelancers’ spend their time. What I observed is that they work mostly in marketingjobs; as a (social media) editor, blogger, video – or photographer or influencer. And the reason why they choose this lifestyle, seems to be the simple fact that it is possible. Why would you stay at home and live the ‘boring life’ when you’re able to work with your laptop and mobile phone from any location on the planet? Earning lots of money seems not that important to this group of people. They just want to earn enough to live a remotely life or to be able to travel. And when the maximum amount of days for a stay in a country like Indonesia has passed, a ‘visarun’ for a night or two to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore helps to extend the stay.
Since I’m a location independent entrepreneur myself, or digital nomad, or remotely working journalist, itinerant consultant, whatever you name it, I discovered there are a lot of different types of people. I’d like to categorize at least four: the digital nomad, as described above, the maker, the (location independent) entrepreneur and the start-up. As a digital nomad or maker most of the time you are your own brand. The difference between the two is that a maker is someone who really contributes with his or her unique talent. Like a designer who has a specific talent in creating beautiful things, or a coach who sells a self-developed method. A digital nomad or maker is someone who works remotely as a freelancer. The entrepreneurs and start-ups run businesses with people working for them. Those companies are not about them, they’re about selling a product. Whereas the start-up distinguishes itself from the entrepreneur in the ambition to scale his company, the entrepreneur can run his business for years without growing. Both of them discovered the location independent way of running a company.
Why not move your whole business to the other side of the world, maybe just for a period of time. This is happening increasingly often. If your company needs to work on an important project with a harsh deadline, using the method of a pressure-cooker and bringing your team to a nice villa in a tropical location seems to really work. More and more start-ups from European countries seize the opportunity.
The digital nomad was maybe the first to explore a remotely living lifestyle, with strong wifi everywhere and food, clothes and services like back home. The maker now brings the digital nomad to the next level by professionalising the skills and create the opportunity to jump from freelancer to entrepreneur. And start-ups discover the art of location independent living and move offices around the world.
Although it is literally not for everybody though. The Iranian software developer I met in Singapore is limited in his travels because of the country where he is born. And the local Indonesians I asked in Bali didn’t even have a passport. I’m not sure if the global workers are fully aware of this privilege. Life is a lottery and if we’re heading towards big shifts in people working across borders, it would be good if the people who have the advantage of doing so, use their power to enable others in less fortunate circumstances to do the same.