by Viola Capotosti
Some people think that a digital nomad only needs a laptop and a good Internet connection to work well.
But we are not like them and do not believe in weird urban legends, do we? We go beyond the obvious and are able to understand that the choice of getting rid of geographical boundaries to carry out one’s work also implies a series of problems to deal with as well as various needs to address.
Let me give you a few examples:
How can you always be sure to find locations with a good connection?
How to find new customers? (a question I’ve already answered)
What taxes are you supposed to pay and how? What kind of contributory scheme should I choose or applies to me? When can I choose?
What time is it in the country my customer lives in? At what time should I call to find my customer at the office?
Then, a number of small but important questions related to managing stress, unstable working hours etc.
While waiting for psychology to devote a special section to the new travelling workers 2.0, technology comes in handy along with the creativity of young start-up companies.
It’s exactly the Apps for digital nomads (and the start-up companies that created them) what I want to talk about today.
An all-Italian App to manage
(and understand) taxes and fees
ph. by Viola Capotosti
My Instagram followers (good people) know that I’ve just got back from a takeover (longer than the story) for “Heroes, meet in Maratea – 2018”, a very important Euro-Mediterranean conference about start-up companies, innovation and business (I strongly suggest you attend the next edition if you’re a digital worker or startupper).
Besides mentorship moments and the training and motivational talks given by digital marketing and business world gurus, the conference also hosted a startup competition, as usual during every edition.
Out of the 5 start-up companies that made it to the the final this year, the one that placed first introduced an App and a very useful computer system for many remote workers, especially those who haven’t long been part of the “magic world” of Vat registrations.
It’s called EasyTax, and it’s a system able to help you understand what and how many taxes you’re paying, without missing any due date or update. Moreover, EasyTax allows you to know in advance the tax savings based on your expenses and to maximize your savings.
If you think you don’t need it… you’ve probably never had to decide whether to pass from the flat-rate scheme to the ordinary contributory scheme, thus feeling a lot more confused after spending long hours at your accountant.
Not to mention that if you’re on a project in Beijing and your accountant is at the other end of the world, even his not always illuminating advice could turn out to be logistically difficult to get.
Note: The App is really useful for all freelancers and Vat registered workers, and not just for nomads.
The Tinder system used for work relationships and limited to the events.
When digital nomads are working on a project anywhere in the world, they have to be there for a limited period of time after all and try to “capitalize” on the experience as much as possible, both on the money side and in human terms.
Here’s when an App like turnLeft, a kind of “Tinder” of the business world, comes in handy. It allows users to find out who’s the (geographically) closest professional, helping them look for project partners who match their requirements.
This App proves extremely useful for major trade fairs and industry events, allowing us to save on business cards and hand them out to those who actually need our services.
The App is not only for trade fairs though; it is also perfect for small events organized by coworking spaces all over the world, replacing the by now old-fashioned and overrated “business speed date”.
Grassroots mapping of the best coworking spaces
As I’ve already said, an Internet connection and a desk are not enough for digital nomads to work.
What they need is actually a peaceful atmosphere, not too loud noises, proper lighting and the possibility to feel at ease. And, why not, even comfortable chairs and sofas, pace the pallet sofas and eight meters high stands that become fashionable every once in a while.
To sum up, they need “freelance friendly” locations.
Work Hard Anywhere is an App that shows the best spaces around for online workers, in over 1,000 cities in 70 different countries.
It’s a kind of grassroots mapping made by the users and therefore constantly updated.
The problem with time zones…
When you have a lot of customers and collaborators located in different time zones, knowing when it’s the right time to send messages or have a Skype call is one more aspect to consider in an already stressful day at work.
Every Time Zone comes in handy because it allows users to check the different times and time zones around the world at a glance and through very clear graphs.
Help for your sleep and circadian rhythms
Let’s delve into the aspects related to a worker’s physical health and to the mental health of remote freelance professionals.
Whereas all employees are supported by different bodies or institutions that are legally bound to protect their health, freelance workers have to do everything on their own to make sure their work will not jeopardize their physical and mental health. Clearly, we never do it.
This is why I suggest all my digital nomad colleagues take advantage of small but pretty useful Apps and services like f.lux, a system able to adapt the light of our screens and devices based on the time of the day; in this way, the App actually protects our eyes and circadian rhythms that are often threatened by the lights in our phones and laptops.
The early bird catches the worm…but the bird that sleeps well does it even better.
Jet leg, working for customers on the other hemisphere or at different latitudes, irregular times and unsuitable mobile lights: let me stress that the unappopriate management of these aspects can lead to serious sleeping issues, resulting in health issues. Pzizz is an App for relaxation, and it actually soothes the nerves and helps you naturally fall asleep.
You might also enjoy reading “The life of a digital nomad: how to find/recover a good sleeping rhythm and why”
Just like any other article of mine, this one too is subject to updating based on your experience and comments: do you know any other precious App for digital nomads that you would like to suggest? Have you ever tried any of those mentioned and would you like to talk about it?
Go ahead, have your say in the comments!
Note: there’s no sponsorship agreement between In My Suitcase and the suggested Apps mentioned in this post.