“Becoming a digital nomad is within your grasp, if you truly want it.” (Suitcase Entrepreneur)
Some of you are happy traveling when you can get off from work or during weekends and holidays. If that’s the case that’s absolutely fine, but then this book review might not interest you.
However, if you want more flexibility in your life, specifically to travel whenever and wherever you want to, this might be one of the first books you should read.
With The Suitcase Entrepreneur Natalie Sisson has written an introduction to the location independent lifestyle that pays attention to both the business and the travel side of things.
Who is Natalie Sisson?
Originally from New Zealand, Natalie has citizenship in the UK, permanent residence in Canada and had lived on five continents. She worked in the corporate world for eight years before co-founding a technology company in Vancouver in 2008. After that she literally took off, running her online business from every corner in the world while living out of a suitcase, hence the name for her blog and this book: The Suitcase Entrepreneur.
How to become a digital nomad
The Suitcase Entrepreneur is divided into three acts:
- Act 1: Welcome to the new world of digital nomads
- Act 2: How to build an online business you can take anywhere
- Act 3: How one earth does one become a Suitcase Entrepreneur?
In Act 1 Natalie first shares her own story of how she went from working a traditional job in the corporate world to launching her online business and become The Suitcase Entrepreneur. What’s great about this brief autobiography is that Natalie spices it with practical lessons that you can immediately apply to your own situation.
She then goes on to list the only four things that you need to be free and shares stories of other people (singles, couples, parents) who left their traditional job behind to become digital nomads and create a location independent lifestyle for themselves.
Act 2 is dedicated to the business part of becoming a digital nomad. Natalie first explains why now is the time to start your own business and shows you how to take advantage of certain trends to become successful.
She then focuses on setting up an online business, as that’s the kind of business that will allow you to travel while generating an income. Topics addressed are the costs of setting up an online business and finding your “sweet spot”.
What I really liked is that Natalie also dedicates an entire chapter to the implications of setting up an international online business in regards to (tax) laws, liability, privacy, citizenship and residency.
Once you’re location independent business is set up, you’ll need to run it. For that Natalie provides a list of systems and tools she uses to run her online business from anywhere in the world. What’s interesting is that she doesn’t just list them, but organizes them by the department that would use them in a traditional company.
Now that you’re business is up and running (and you’ve become a digital nomad!), The Suitcase Entrepreneur shows you how to promote it through social media, but also via outreach and on your blog.
Given that you’ve set up your business in a smart way and you’re promoting it effectively, it might become so successful that you’ll need a hand running it. That’s why the last chapter of Act 2 is dedicated to building a remote team. A team of virtual assistants and freelance partners if you will.
This last act is all about the nomad part of becoming a digital nomad. First of all, it makes you test whether or not homelessness is something for you. If the answer to that question is positive, The Suitcase Entrepreneur gives tips on how to be productive and keeping your life in balance while working from the road. Balance between work and play, but also emotionally and socially by meeting new people, maintaining relationships and traveling solo.
Apart from that the book also gives you tips on how to decide where to travel to and how to pack just one suitcase for every destination in the world.
It concludes with a chapter on travel hacking tips and tools that can save you time and money when booking a trip.
The Suitcase Entrepreneur is a great first guide for anyone interested in becoming a digital nomad and leading a location independent lifestyle. It’s full of great resources, which are also grouped together in the back of the book.
Another plus is that Natalie doesn’t want us to blindly follow her. The book is supported by quotes of successful entrepreneurs and other travelers that back up her tips and lessons. She often references other people’s work as well.
Finally, what I liked most about The Suitcase Entrepreneur is that every chapter ends with some sort of homework assignment. These assignments are highlighted in a box and consists of several actions you should take to set up your business and become a successful digital nomad. If you’re really motivated you can do these each time you’ve finished a chapter, or you can also first read the book as a whole and then go back to the assignments to get started with your lifestyle redesign.