When starting a new business, there are many initial decisions to make. One of them is to plan the new company’s location. Or, in some cases, whether to have an actual location or not.
Many entrepreneurs are now opting for location independent options.
According to OpenColleges’s complete guide to digital nomads, “remote working trends are growing worldwide, and taking the faster internet connections and growing millennial workforce, who value travel, into account, it is safe to say that digital nomadism is here to stay.”
Although most digital nomads are freelancers, contractors or remote workers, some globetrotters are also creating and running startups while enjoying a dream lifestyle. At first, it may sound tricky, but once you dig deeper into it, location independent setups can have more benefits than being based in a costly startup ecosystem.
There is a clear financial advantage.
To find out more about the financial advantages, we have talked to Sarah Hum, digital nomad and co-founder of Canny. We have asked her to share her advice with other entrepreneurs planning to start a location independent company, and she has kindly given us some helpful tips.
Sarah Hum and Andrew Rasmussen (co-founder of Canny) decided to quit their jobs at Facebook to pursue their double dream: to start a company and travel the world. Sarah and Andrew launched Canny a year ago, and so far, they have lived and worked from 14 cities in 10 different countries.
They are bootstrapping their SaaS startup, which goes from strength-to-strength, achieving profitability within the first year.
Here are 5 first-hand tips from Sarah Hum to help build a startup as a digital nomad:
1. Cut in half San Francisco’s living expenses.
“Back when we had our ‘real jobs,’ we lived in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the world. Soon after we decided to work on Canny full-time, we moved out to become nomads. We cut our personal expenses in half. The lifestyle change was a big factor in us reaching ramen profitability less than a year in.”
2. Meet other digital nomads.
“I think loneliness is really common. We left our friends when we left home. But we realized there are many people also living the nomad lifestyle. Go out and meet them! The most memorable cities are ones where we made lasting friendships.”
3. Adapt to the time difference.
“Most of our customers are in North America. Being in Taiwan means a 12+ hour time difference. In order for us to continue providing stellar support, we’ve had to adjust our schedules. We’re now on a biphasic sleep schedule, we nap in the middle of the day.”
4. Make use of remote hiring platforms.
“During our time on the road, we decided to put out our first job listing. We posted it to an open community and several job boards for remote work picked it up. Within the week, we had hundreds of applicants. Way more than we expected. It turns out, a lot of people are looking for remote positions.”
5. Learn to communicate effectively.
“We have made our first hire. We’re now a distributed team. This brings a whole slew of new challenges: onboarding our first teammate, navigating the time difference, organizing work, and more. The best way for us to tackle all these is to first learn to communicate effectively.”
If you are planning to start your own company, you may want to consider the option of becoming a digital nomad. The community of digital nomads is growing globally and you will find other founders willing to share their valuable advice with you.
Image credit: Steven Zwerink on Flickr.