digital nomads

“It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” those who devote themselves to it know. These are people who have chosen to lead an itinerant life, eager to see the world, so they travel constantly while doing their job from anywhere, yes, with an internet connection.

Professions and businesses related to the digital environment, such as marketing, communication, graphic design or web programming, are most conducive to practicing this lifestyle, but there are many other activities that can be practiced abroad such as: E.g. translators, remote psychologists, coaches, sales representatives etc. “The question is to achieve this geographical and temporal freedom that a traditional job does not offer,” he says. Antonio G RomeroCEO and Founder of travel intelligence.

However, before embarking on this adventure, every nomadic entrepreneur must consider a series of practical issues in order to be able to practice his profession efficiently and safely and to meet his bureaucratic and fiscal obligations.

First, a financial cushion

Most seasoned digital nomads recommend starting with a financial cushion, savings that allow for at least the first few months to carry out the travel and work with financial support that takes the pressure off of getting started right away.

“A lot of people get confused when they think it’s easy to make a living from an online business,” they muse Ivan Clemens Y Erika Campdepadroscreator of live all over the world, because you think that the investment is less than in a traditional shop. But “one thing is that you can start with a modest budget and another thing is to make your project a career” so requires a lot of time and money. In addition, in the case of entrepreneurs, an initial investment in the project is essential, be it in material resources, hiring services or acquiring technological tools.

Continuous education

A few years ago there was a belief that to be a digital nomad and start an online business, it was enough to have a laptop and an internet connection and to buy a domain and hosting. However, the rise of this way of life has created “tough competition”, which is why it is important to “know how to stand out”, which requires investment in education, “to be very well prepared and to have the right knowledge not to.” go blind aimlessly. In this sense, online schools are recommended, in which a community develops among the students, “where there are always opportunities for networking”.

“It’s important to be up to date and adapt to changes as everything on the internet is evolving very quickly,” the experts concede.

For Antonio G. Romero, ongoing training is the best investment you can make. In this way, Anna Panniaguafounder of the traveler, It also recommends building a relationship with groups of digital nomads in different countries who can provide new contacts: “Help them sessions It’s a good way to create synergies,” he admits.

relationship with customers

Clemente and Campdepadrós reiterate that although you don’t have a direct supervisor, you have to have professional responsibility not to lengthen delivery times and to satisfy those who pay. “It’s not the customer’s fault that you’re a digital nomad. So if you are slow or do not comply, it is understandable that he ends up entrusting the project to someone else who is “less traveling” and available 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday, Friday”, they concern.

You must be disciplined in time management, account for travel and multiple country moves to manage appointments with clients, as well as have good information about the quality of the online connection in each region.

network of professionals

“Before you decide to become a digital nomad, you have to be aware that it has its risks (like everything in life),” Anna Paniagua points out, since you are the head of your company and you don’t have a support network like it is the case with traditional entrepreneurs. And since this kind of life not only depends on a good professional development, but also has a multitude of variables, I would advise anyone who wants to devote himself to it to “focus and specialize on what is good and work on what which is not good to seek help”. . In short, know how to delegate matters such as bookkeeping, communication relationships or technological advice.

In addition to this support network of professionals, every digital nomad must have travel and medical insurance to cover against any eventuality abroad, even considering that healthcare costs can skyrocket in certain countries. And it would be interesting to have an insurance broker to advise you before, during and after the trips, since the conditions of each may vary your needs that must be well covered, as well as the well defined coverage (we must not forget that some insurance companies in certain countries do not cover assistance).

The tax problem

In order to carry out a correct taxation, given the peculiarities of this lifestyle, it can be interesting to enlist the help of an experienced professional. In addition, as Ivan Clemente and Erika Campdepadrós warn, there are many tax aspects of the digital world that need to be considered, which is why they recommend hiring managers who are familiar with this type of activity and understand the tax ins and outs of digital businesses.

The tax residency that we have determines where we have to pay taxes. Although the definition of this concept differs in each country, members of the OECD have signed bilateral agreements among themselves to avoid double taxation. In Spain, those who live at least 183 days, have their “centre of economic interests” (the majority of customers or income) or have spouses and minor children living in the country have to pay taxes.

If you change your tax residence outside of Spain, you must notify the tax authority using form 030 and attach the tax residence certificate issued by the foreign state. In these cases, you will need to speak to the bank to change the bank account to an expatriate account by submitting the Change of Tax Residence Form 030 to obtain a non-resident account. Otherwise, the company will apply the bank taxes and withholding taxes of a Spanish resident company.

Technology, an important topic

A laptop and a good WiFi connection are essential to be able to work, upload content or communicate with clients. You will also need: an external hard drive to store additional content and to serve as a backup of all files records; a different power supply depending on where you go; a plug with multiple sockets, because there are places that only have one; and, if the job requires it, a still camera or video equipment.

Besides these physical tools, the nomads who are self-employed and make a living from an online business need to invest in a good website that requires the hiring of domain services, hosting, plugins, email lists, data storage services in the cloud, etc . , as stated by the CEO of Travel Intelligence.

And in this type of work it is very useful to have project management and time management programs to coordinate the team you are working with, the variety of deals that can be carried out and the deadlines required. They also allow monitoring remote work, maintaining direct contact with employees and applying maximum security in case of possible incidents.

A success story: Anna Paniagua, founder of La Travelista

“I wanted a job that would give me the freedom to work from anywhere,” he admits. Anna Paniagua. Since 2015, he’s been fulfilling his dream, although he acknowledges that not everyone is made to be a digital nomad.

She is a strong proponent of this lifestyle once you have enough savings (“Being a cautious person, I had savings before starting the adventure to survive the first year with no income”). The first few months were the most complicated, until he was able to monetize his travel blog, which wasn’t so much focused on telling about his trips but more on advising travelers and potential digital nomads. “You have to know the conditions in each country: whether you need a visa, how long you can stay, whether vaccinations are compulsory…” he says.

nomadic entrepreneurs