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Difference Between Digital Nomad and Freelance

Working remotely has become ingrained in society such that it is now a normal work routine. Companies now do not have to get physical addresses where employees report to work daily. And with the widespread coronavirus pandemic, it is now safer when more people are working remotely to avoid overcrowding. With the gig economy, especially, most workers prefer to work from home or even a close café. But what is the difference between a digital nomad and a freelancer? Let’s take a look. 

What is Digital nomad?

Digital nomads are location-independent people who depend on technology to carry out their work. As such, they can work from any location provided they are technologically equipped. For instance, most digital nomads only require a computer or a smartphone and an internet connection to deliver their work. The digital nomad has been enabled by recent technological advancements. In the recent past, video conferencing has become an important part of work. People can now hold live meetings from all over the world, eliminating the unnecessary need for frequent travel. 

Digital nomads can work from home, cafes, shared offices and even libraries. These types of workers barely stay in one place for long periods. They prefer to traverse the world while also meeting the needs of their work. Due to the nature of their work, digital nomads are mostly found in the knowledge economy including design, writing, marketing, content creation, IT, consulting and media. 

Digital nomads often end up becoming full-time freelancers. They, however, have the advantage of settling in places far away from home and can leverage the cost of living and currency. 

While digital nomads enjoy the flexibility of working in any location, the work has less stability. 

What is Freelance?

A freelancer is an independent worker who offers services to other people at a fee. Most often, freelancers have several jobs with multiple clients. Freelancers are not limited to their working locations as they can work from the home, office and even cafes. 

Most freelancer work is often short-term based. As such, freelancers depend on contracts and work gigs. Most freelancers are in website development, photography, content creation, writing and graphic design, just to mention a few. 

Advantages of being a freelancer include work schedule flexibility, variety and choice of the work one can undertake and control of the direction of their businesses. 

However, freelancers often have fewer benefits as compared to full-time employees. For instance, in most contracts, freelancers may not be entitled to medical benefits and even paid off days. Also, freelancers do not enjoy the stability that comes with full-time employment. 

Similarities between Digital nomad and Freelance

  • Both can work from any location
  • Both work plans have less stability compared to full-time employment. 
  • Both have flexible work schedules

Differences between Digital nomad and Freelance

Definition

Digital nomads refer to location-independent people who depend on technology to carry out their work. On the other hand, freelancers refer to independent workers who offer services to other people at a fee, usually short-term contracts or gigs. 

Workspaces

Digital nomads work from any location they travel to from hotel rooms and even on the road. On the other hand, freelancers can work from the office, at home and even at local cafes. 

Limited tools

Since digital nomads work from travel destinations, they have limited working tools due to strict luggage requirements. On the other hand, freelancers have all the tools they need as they mostly work from home. 

Online work

Digital nomads work online. On the other hand, a freelancer does not have to base their work online. 

Digital nomad vs. Freelance: Comparison Table 

Summary of Digital nomad vs. Freelance

Digital nomads refer to location-independent people who depend on technology to carry out their work. They work from any location they travel to such as hotel rooms and even on the road. On the other hand, freelancers refer to independent workers who offer services to other people at a fee, usually short-term contracts or gigs. They can work from the office, at home and even at local cafes. Both, however, have flexible working schedules. 


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    References :


    [0]Litchfield R & Woldoff R. Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community, and Meaningful Work in the New Economy. Oxford University Press, 2021. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=XT0HEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA123&dq=Difference+between+digital+nomad+and+freelance&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjohMX01qDvAhVBUcAKHW25BuUQ6AEwAHoECAAQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20digital%20nomad%20and%20freelance&f=false

    [1]J.D. Rockefeller. How to Be a Digital Nomad and Valid Reasons Why You Should. J.D. Rockefeller, 2017.https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=Fxs4DwAAQBAJ&pg=PP4&dq=Difference+between+digital+nomad+and+freelance&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjohMX01qDvAhVBUcAKHW25BuUQ6AEwBnoECAkQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20digital%20nomad%20and%20freelance&f=false

    [2]Adam Sinicki. Thriving in the Gig Economy: Freelancing Online for Tech Professionals and Entrepreneurs. Apress, 2018.https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=TuN3DwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Difference+between+digital+nomad+and+freelance&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjohMX01qDvAhVBUcAKHW25BuUQ6AEwCXoECAEQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20digital%20nomad%20and%20freelance&f=false

    [3]Image credit: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48331588732_0c37bb457c_b.jpg

    [4]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/digital-nomad-digital-work-4445835/

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