About four years ago, I was on a month-long trip through Thailand. I was running my Amazon business remotely while traveling. Life was good and I was proud. When people asked me what I did for a living, I would tell them, “I’m a Digital Nomad”. This term seemed appropriate, as I traveled around and ran my business from wherever I traveled. Plus, I thought it made me sound pretty rad.
When I told people this, I often got responses like…
“Digital Nomad… Thats cool, I’ve never heard that term before!”.
“Wow, I wish I could work while traveling!”.
I went on calling myself a Digital Nomad for a couple of years. I even moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, the Digital Nomad capital of the world.
I came in with high hopes of meeting other like-minded individuals, who are making a name for themselves online, adding value to people’s lives, and pursuing what they love most in life.
I was surprised. I did in fact meet these people, but I met another category of people. I call them Digital Drifters (DD’s). DD’s are very ambitious people. Many DD’s consider themselves “Serial Entrepreneurs” and will tell you about their current online business. Typically, a DD will tell you their story of how they got fed up with the 9-5, heard about digital nomad heaven (Chiang Mai or another place with a low cost of living), booked a one-way ticket and now live a care-free lifestyle of travel. When you dig a little deeper though, this is more of their desired lifestyle, not their current lifestyle. This is how the term “Digital Nomad” started becoming a less credible way of explaining what you do for a living.
Disclaimer: I’m not against DD’s as people. They are usually very positive and kind. Moving half-way across the world to pursue your dreams is a noble thing in my opinion. Heck, I teach people how to become location independent and work for themselves. We’re all trying to make it in this world. But I have to be crystal clear on something. I am absolutely opposed to anyone who claims to do the same thing as myself, while not having a high standard of integrity while providing real value.
A problem arises when those who are still aspiring, market themselves as experts in a field they are very new to and/or may not be qualified to teach in. It becomes a really big problem when these people try to monetize off of unsuspecting consumers online. (See digital nomad scam in Chiang Mai).
If you ever pretend to be something you are not, you lack direction. You are in the dangerous habit of drifting. If you are determined not to pretend, but work hard to achieve something specific, you have ambition.
If you had the opportunity to become an AP history teacher but knew absolutely nothing about history, you wouldn’t take the job, would you? If you have no idea how to earn an income online, you shouldn’t teach it (even if it pays well). Moral of the story: Don’t teach what you don’t know.
A good portion of these DD’s don’t know much about history but they are excellent at being buddy-buddy with the teachers who know what they’re talking about.
One day, I sat down with a person who had been hounding me and I told them just a little bit about how I earn money on Amazon. Less than three months later, they were live-streaming, saying they could help people earn $10,000/month and that they’ve “worked with Andy Dew”, and they were “crushing it” with FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). They even copied my landing page down to the color scheme. Not cool, for two reasons, but kind of cool for one.
1) Promising people they can make $10,000/month with their “system” is total bullshit. Don’t be naïve enough to believe promises like that, even if the person making the claim appears to be earning that much themselves.
2) Using my name may trick unsuspecting people into thinking I endorse this person. This is why I am extremely careful before I endorse anything or anyone. I don’t want my name associated with someone who is dishonest or making ridiculous claims. It’s terrible for my brand.
Kind of cool) “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. People have only copied me that blatantly a few times. I try to always take it as a compliment.
You might say, “Andy, come on, if someone gets scammed online nowadays, it’s their own damn fault”.
Sure, I get doing your research before forking over cash to someone online, But did you know I was able to open up a PayPal account when I was 15 years old? Not only that, I actually purchased an informational product from a “guru” online when I was only 15. I was severely disappointed in the product and I never got my money back.
There are many people who are new to making money online that don’t fully understand everything involved and how many different opportunities there are. Their online education level, may be on par with someone in middle school. There’s no real regulation on the market (especially with informational products), so often times, people will believe popular opinion or the blogger (or vlogger) who seems to be living the dream.
Am I saying all digital nomads are scammers out to get you? Not at all. I certainly don’t get offended when someone calls me a digital nomad. I have friends who still call themselves digital nomads. It’s just easier for me to say “Location Independent Entrepreneur” than “Digital Nomad” and then throw up a little bit in my mouth (just kidding. Sort of). My hope is that as DD’s discredit the term Digital Nomad, I’m already being associated with a more neutral term (Location Independent Entrepreneur).
So why should you care that I am no longer calling myself a digital nomad? Because you’re going to see many other people doing the same thing for the same reasons. Quality control. There’s many of us that work too hard, to get lumped into a group that doesn’t accurately represent who we are. When I look back four years ago, I had a great time throwing around the term Digital Nomad. It’s time to move on. Who know’s? Perhaps Location Independent Entrepreneur is going to somehow be overtaken by another group of people. In that case I may just start calling myself a drug dealer and see how people respond.
I did a video on this that contains more details, way more tangents, and hundreds of comments from people interested in the topic. You can check it out below.
— andydew (@AndyDew) December 7, 2016