5 Reasons Why Most Digital Nomads Fail

Are you looking forward to a new career away from the office, free from time calculators, desktops, and the boring 9-5 routine time schedule?

If so, you might be curious to learn more about the location independent lifestyle or digital nomad lifestyle.

Digital Nomad is an exciting lifestyle where you take advantage of the modern Internet and telecommunication to travel the world and perform your tasks from anywhere.

These two powerful tools are the only inputs person requires in order to generate a sustainable income.

Why Would Someone Start a Digital Nomad Lifestyle?

There are many reasons, why someone would consider starting a digital nomad lifestyle. Below, I’ve listed some of the most common reasons why most people want it:

Eye-opening Learning

The benefit of living the digital nomad lifestyle is not only the freedom and adventure but also they understand the culture of the places they visit.

The behaviors and things that are taken for granted in some societies are far from self-evident in other parts of the world – for instance, education, non-corruption, electricity, clock and calendar, orderly traffic behavior, business ethics, and many more.

Digital nomads have characteristics that distinguish them from other people; an open mind, a talent to remain true to a core values yet able to accept reality, a talent for reasonable adaptation, and strong integrity.

Freedom of Time

Different people are more productive at various times of the day. A digital nomad usually also means time independence. Maybe you are a morning person. You can decide to get up at the break of dawn and get your hardest workout of the way.

Or perhaps you prefer to work after the rest of the world has gone to bed. You have that option. More importantly, you have flexibility. Maybe you have some essential tasks you need to do at 2:00 in the afternoon — for example, a doctor’s appointment or a surfing lesson. You can go ahead and do it. And then work later in the day if you want.

Freedom of Place

Doesn’t the thought of staring at the same office clock for the rest of your career make you sick? Often, the office is the least creative place. Digital nomad have mastered the art of combining work and travel therefore, the same job tasks are still completed, and the same working methods are applied without being tied down to the office location.

It is simply that instead of working from a single office in one corner of the globe, the digital nomad instead chooses to utilize the entire planet as their office space. With the help of technology, it is now feasible for many jobs that were traditionally done in a stuffy office to be done better elsewhere.

You could just as easily be working out of Tokyo or Cairo as you could be from Santiago or Cancun.

Freedom of Dress

Unlike the office where you are expected to dress in proper office wear, with a digital nomad career, you can go to work in your housecoat. If you so desire, you can have an online meeting in your underwear as long as you are wearing a shirt and tie above the waist where the webcam can see you.

Why Do Digital Nomad Fail?

Here are 5 common reasons why most digital nomads fail pursuing their dream of work and travel living:

1. Lack of Initial Money

No doubt, money is needed for survival also for a Digital Nomad. Food, internet fees, accommodation, traveling, phone cards, SW licenses, Skype credit, to mention a few, required to be paid. Besides, money certainly does not arrive by magic.

A majority of nomads earn their money by being involved in different remote jobs or doing freelance jobs; however, they have to be looking for new clients constantly. An irregular workflow results in irregular money flow.

2. Unclear Goals

Just like every business, you will have to go through several ups and downs to be able to reach your goals and dreams. It is just normal that there would be problems faced along the way of making your career as a digital nomad uncertain.

The moment you are not prepared to meet these, it would not take long before you give up on your work online. Just like every business, you have to set your goals and keep in mind that your digital nomad career takes time to stabilize. You need to put in a big amount of time, sacrifice, and effort so you can build a good reputation as a professional.

3. Inflexibility

Digital nomad career has busy schedules and is involves in jobs that require them to just sit down with little body movement and unconscious exercises such as long walks. Sitting on a computer a day-long or behind a desk ultimately limits exercises and overall body health and firm physiques.

Lack of exercise and excess weight is a recipe for major health issues. Note that not taking part in exercise or physical activity contributes to a lower quality of life and makes it more difficult for you to control both your weight and blood sugar.

4. Lack of Friends

The digital nomad works 90% of the cases alone. They can always associate with others, and gather with them, but never get to have a real associate. This way, your worries, problems, stress stays with you.

5. Sickness

There are no medical insurance benefits given to the digital nomad. Even though there are contracts sent to contractors over the Internet, there is no guarantee that the contract stands.

You have to be the one purchasing your own insurance and paying your taxes if you get sick. Furthermore, in case you get sick, unfortunately for some, there is no pay.

How to Succeed as a Digital Nomad?

Here are some really good tips that will help you succeed as a digital nomad:

Time Management

Track how you are spending your time. You can use a calendar or excel spreadsheet to track how your activities. Figure out what your wasting time on and start doing activities that help you achieve your goals.

Create a vision of how you would ideally spend your time for a day, week, or month. Have fun with this exercise by writing it down and be as detailed as possible.

Get an Insurance

This is not the most fun part when planning for your career, but it is worth mentioning. What happens if you get sick? What if you have a fatal accident?

What if you lose all your valuable belongings, including credit cards, money, passport, and laptop? Not very uplifting things to consider, however, if this happens, you will be far better off with proper insurance.

Set clear goals with a deadline

Just setting a goal puts you ahead of the crowd. Write down your passions, what you like to do, and what you are good at. How you achieve your goals may change over time, that’s life. Insurance: medical, traveling, lost/stolen property, etc should be part of your goals.

Data backup and account management

This is very important for digital nomads. Note that a laptop thrown around by a constant traveler has a higher probability of a failure than it’s a colleague in an office or home environment. Constant traveling also makes for higher risk of theft.

Therefore, make sure you backup crucial data regularly to multiple media, and to save different backup media in various places such as a small portable disk drive in your backpack. There is also the possibility of cloud storage.

Responsive to clients

This is valid for any business. Communication is essential, especially if you want to retain your clients. You can do this by email or use out-of-office messages when outside the internet coverage.  Give an estimate for when you will be reading an email, and don’t forget to take note of the different timezone. You can also use Skype and other internet voice services for communication too.

Track your expenses

Write down all the things you spend money on for a month. Create a budget after tracking your expenses for a month figure out where you can cut back on your spending. Create a budget for your monthly living needs, long and short term saving, and money to buy doo-dads and splurge every once and awhile.

Living expenses should be 50-60% of net; all other categories should be at least 10% of the net each.


After all, life is short, so it may be worth considering. Of course, the digital nomad does not benefit from employers’ provisions in a retirement fund.

Therefore, you must start a private savings or any other appropriate way to create assets that will produce enough and recurring income as soon as possible.


Becoming a digital nomad is not as hard as many people make it out to be. All it takes is a step by step game plan. Once you create a plan, you then have to take action until you succeed.

However, it is worth noting that it does require a lot of work, especially in the transitioning stages. It also involves a lot of discipline since you no longer will have a boss to motivate you to get your work done. If you truly believe that living the life of a digital nomad is your calling, then go for it.

Leave a Comment