6 Pros + Cons of Being a Digital Nomad Who Makes Her Living from Her Laptop
Content all me; brought to you by Rohto.
I can’t lie, making the choices to build a career where I earn the majority of my income from my computer has led me on a pretty awesome road.
Growing my college hobby of building websites into a side hustle…
and then into a business…
which also set me on the path to working with Like A Boss Girls…
has been so rewarding as I navigate and design a choiceful and meaningful life.
But I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I left out the parts that are a drag.
So I thought I’d outline three of my favorite things about being a digital nomad and three of the things that really grind my gears.
3 AWESOME BENEFITS OF MAKING A LIVING AS A DIGITAL NOMAD
This spring, I got to call Budapest and Prague home for a month each. I mean, how damn cool is that?! A midwestern Missouri girl getting to experience two brand new cultures, meet fascinating people (who I now can’t imagine my life being as rich without!), see stunning architecture, and learn about her strengths whilst traveling solo?! All while making money from a coffee shop?!
Seriously, the whole thing is pretty badass.
The Lack of Office Drama
I currently am writing this on a trip to visit my sister in DC (you can do things like that when you’re location independent!). She even got me a guest pass to work from the fancy schmancy marketing firm she works for (let me tell you, walking off the elevator and into the smell of fresh bagels laid out for everyone by the receptionist, it really does wonders for the spirit on a rainy day!).
But as I was spreading my walnut cream cheese on that aforementioned bagel, I overheard a woman complaining to a coworker and pointing fingers. Something along the lines of “if they had just done their job, then this wouldn’t have become mine.” Now I don’t know what actually happened or who’s to blame… and I don’t care.
What I DO care about, is stepping into complainy, low-vibe, gossip territory and it’s not even 8:17am.
Freedom to Craft My Time
Now that I’ve built a portfolio of work and have an increasinly steady stream of projects and retainer clients, I am able to more confidently set my own hours and can take on clients (or turn away clients) based on what’s going on in my life or what I want to work on.
For example, I’ve now made Fridays my Deep Work Day. This is a day where I solely work on a project that piques my curiosity and feeds my spiritual flame. I’ve let all my clients know about this important boundary and that on Fridays I’m simply not available. It feels awesome to be able to honor both my ambitions and my self-care practices.
So between the location independence, the lack of office politics, and freedom to craft my own time, we digital nomads are on to something with this laptop lifestyle.
But–as with most things worth pursuing in life–there are also drawbacks.
3 Cons of Earning Your Income Solely from Your Laptop
Monthly Bummer: Being Your Own Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable Department
Case in point: I didn’t even know what those things meant when I started my own business. So thank goodness for Google, Quickbooks, Expensify, and my accountant who have made my book-keeping so much more orderly.
But the fact that I even have to stay on top of this stuff every dang quarter is definitely not one of my fav parts of the self-employed, laptop lifestyle.
Day-To-Day downer: Dry Eyes
Anybody who stares at a screen all day–digital nomad or otherwise–knows the struggle is REAL when it comes to eye fatigue and dry eyes.
Muscle spasms and dry eyes are pretty much an occupational hazard when hustling from the keyboard.
Through good ole Pinterest I’ve learned about two things that can help with that.
The first is taking a 20 second staring break every 20 minutes. I literally set an alarm. All you have to do is focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. I’ll admit I don’t always do this if I’m on a roll and am like Be quiet alarm! I’m in the flow! But hey I’m tryin’.
The second major dry eye helper has been eye drops. Specifically Rohto Dry Aid.
I pop a drop or two in right around 4pm and feel like I have my real eyeballs back within 10 seconds.
Confession time: I know it seems silly, but I also love that this one is purple and cool shaped! It’s just so much more chic than what typically comes to mind when you hear “eye drops”!)
General Con: You Don’t Physically get to leave work
Not having a conventional workplace to drive to and leave from every day means I tend to not shut off my work brain and can let work infiltrate other sacred family or friend or Lucy time.
The choice to get more work done is just a laptop lid away.
I find myself adding “just this last” design tweak to a website (…which has somehow turned into a series of tweaks) when I’d rather be consciously enjoying hang-time with my boyfriend. I find that while I’m going to yoga on a Saturday, I’m also checking emails on my phone.
Over the years, I’ve definitely gotten better about creating work-life boundaries (and then honoring them… because what’s the point of creating boundaries if you don’t honor them!) but I am still a work-in-progress.
Ultimately it comes down to me choosing to make the extra effor to honor those boundaries. It means sitting down every Sunday for 40 minutes and strategically mapping out my week. It means putting systems in place (like Do Not Disturb mode in Slack) or pre-defined appointment times in Acuity Scheduling so that Lucy Time remains Lucy Time.
So that’s 3 of my fav and least fav things, my friends. For all the aspiring digital nomads out there, I really do think it’s worth it. But be sure you’ve got a great accountant and some eye drops at the ready 😉
Anyone here been thinking about transitioning into full laptop lifestyle? I hope this was a little bit enlightening!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Rohto. The opinions and text are all mine.