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Digital Nomad or Self-Employed Expat: Who are You, Entrepreneur?

Unraveling the Intricacies and Differences between Digital Nomadism and Self-Employment Abroad

Digital Nomad

Hey there, globetrotting entrepreneurs! Let's dive right into a topic that's close to our hearts – should we embrace the life of a digital nomad or the lifestyle of a self-employed expat?


To be honest, it’s not a matter of right or wrong, but more about which way fits your entrepreneurial spirit like a glove.


Digital Nomads: Freedom, Flexibility, and Frappuccinos

As a digital nomad, you're the epitome of freedom and flexibility. You're that tech-savvy individual who can work from anywhere – a beach in Bali, a café in Copenhagen, or even a yurt in Mongolia.


Let's take an example – Pieter Levels, the founder of Nomad List. He's made a living and a name for himself by hopping from one location to another while managing his successful venture. It's like he’s on a permanent workation (work + vacation, get it?). Isn’t that something?


According to MBO Partners, there were an estimated 10.9 million digital nomads in the U.S. in 2020. That's a considerable leap from 7.3 million in 2019. This massive growth is a clear indication that digital nomadism is more than just a passing trend.


But, here's the kicker: being a digital nomad isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Ever tried explaining to a client that you missed their email because the Wi-Fi was spotty on your hike up Machu Picchu? Yup, not fun!


Self-Employed Expats: Stability, Structure, and Sauerkraut

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the self-employed expats. They're entrepreneurs who have made a conscious decision to base their business in a foreign country. Think of it as planting your business flag on uncharted land and saying, "This is where I grow!"


Take James Dyson, the British billionaire inventor, who moved his business to Singapore. He didn’t just shift his operations but embraced the life, culture, and regulations of his new home.


As per a survey by InterNations, around 19% of expats globally are self-employed. And these expats aren't just surviving; they're thriving!


However, being a self-employed expat comes with its own set of challenges. Ever grappled with tax laws in a foreign language? Or tried to get a business permit abroad? It's like trying to solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded!


So, Who Are You, Entrepreneur?

Here's the oversimplified version of the story: If you value freedom, flexibility, and a sense of adventure, then being a digital nomad might be your calling.


If you crave stability, structure, and deep cultural immersion, then you might be more inclined towards being a self-employed expat.


Remember, both paths have their perks and pitfalls. The choice ultimately boils down to your personal preferences, business model, and, above all, your entrepreneurial spirit.


So, take a leap of faith, my fellow entrepreneurs, and let's conquer the world one venture at a time!

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