The changing face of work as we enter the 4th industrial revolution has created an opening for digital nomads.

“What is digital nomadism,” you may ask.

It is the freedom to work remotely and flexibly without going into an office. In many cases, people simply work from home, but with newly acquired freedom in retirement, many boomers are considering incorporating work into their travel plans.

It Is a Growing Market

Statistics show that about 40% of Americans are now working remotely. The fact that this figure is steadily growing indicates that this is the way of the future.

For many, it is not so much about the money, as the flexibility and freedom to work from wherever you are. The millennials choose it because life balance and work environment are a high priority for them.

In some instances, it is simply a case of setting up a passive income that can be monitored via the Internet – for example, publishing a book or putting up a course online.

As a retirement coach, I spend time helping my clients reinvent themselves so that they can continue working in retirement. Often, this means offering something different from what they did in their corporate life.

For those who have always wanted to live abroad for part of the year – or permanently – digital nomadism certainly opens the door on opportunity.

What Could You Offer?

Here are some popular examples of what you can do to get some income in your retirement:

  • Publish a book: Many of you have probably read the unforgettable Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
  • A monetized blog: It can be about your travels, or something else you feel the world wants to read.
  • Tap into the gig economy by offering services on a platform like Fiverr.
  • Offer professional services such as copy editing through sites like Upwork.
  • Create an online course and put it on a platform such as Thinkific or Udemy.
  • Teach English to those for whom it is a second language.
  • Help people with social media marketing.
  • Become a virtual tutor.

What Basics Do You Need in Your Toolbox?

Of course, you would need a laptop or top of the range smartphone to get you started. You will also need to know how to access online and video chat apps. A sense of curiosity will help, particularly if you are not familiar with the many offerings of the Internet!

Decide whether you want to work full time or part-time. Another configuration could be to block off time, for example working full time on a project for a month and then taking a break to travel and explore before your next project.

It Is Not All Sipping Margaritas on the Beach

Bear in mind that digital nomadism, despite what the pictures show, does not revolve around sitting in a beach café working while you sip margaritas, overlooking blue oceans for inspiration.

Depending on where you decide to travel, there are some down-sides, such as erratic internet connections in third world countries and, if you experience problems with your hardware, the assistance offered may not be in English.

You might be inconvenienced by delayed flights or meetings across time zones. I was overjoyed to acquire a coaching client in LA, till I realised I had to get out of bed at 4 am in winter to be ready to coach at 5 am my time!

Participating in meetings in the US from Asia would require the same flexibility.

Some Useful Tips

But, if travel is what you want to do in your retirement, digital nomadism offers the opportunity to supplement your retirement income as you go. A couple of useful pointers:

  • Routines and boundaries are essential. A daily routine will provide structure and certainty.
  • You will need to be a ‘pro’ with time management, as there will be many temptations such as beautiful beaches, exciting adventures, and lovely scenery. Deadlines will still need to be kept if you want to be successful.
  • Communication skills will acquire a different focus. No longer will you be able to have a casual chat with a colleague in the tea room or at their desk, so goals, instructions, and deadlines need to be decisively laid down.
  • Adaptability will become your new BFF (Best Female Friend) in this world of different time zones, language barriers, unstable internet connections and delayed flights! She needs to go everywhere with you in order to enable you to keep your sense of humour and enjoy your travels!

What is your experience with working for yourself? What about working remotely? Does digital nomadism sound like something you’d like to pursue in retirement? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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