Hey lovely nomad folks!
So, YES, I think the idea’s great! TL;DR: I personally did it and loved it (in Cambodia a year ago), and I’m also considering creating a business in this fashion (but with a twist).
A lil’ back of background. I’m a sworn freelancer, 6+ years, ex academic (ghost)writer now turning copywriter for the startup/creative/DN community. Started travelling like crazy about a year and a half ago, but spent only half that time on the road.
About my experience, I was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a month in February 2015, after starting the “true” digital nomad dream with Thailand the prior 2 months. So, I find myself in this amazing backpacker hostel, where I befriend a crazy Italian countrymate volunteering there.
After a bit of mediated talks with the owner, I start doing some very basic SMM (writing posts on FB) for the hostel’s page and flyering some 2 hours/day (a great way to see the city and approach chicks, btw), in exchange for a bed and unlimited beer at the rooftop bar. Bring it on! Funny thing is, at one point, while waiting for a client to pay, I had -4 USD in the whole world, (had my bag with ~ 3000 USD of stuff inside stolen back home, just before the trip). The volunteering deal actually saved my life.
Highlight? I felt a part of the hostel’s “family,” made of great locals and super-cool Western volunteers. Best month of 2015!
Now, about the business thing, I totally agree with @reboramuriel. It’s human nature to share and to enjoy being part of a team. As a DN, I sometimes feel alienated when working alone. Coworking spaces help, but again, the people there are all onto their own thing.
So, I was thinking: what about an “office couchsurfing” variant? Companies offer you a desk for free or in exchange for technical work (e.g. write a few blog posts describing our corporate culture, or tweak our landing page design a bit, because we don’t have the time now). It’s a win-win, with the value added that both you and the team benefit from networking and new perspectives shared over a coffee.
This could also be an alternative to freelance marketplaces (e.g. upwork), now made more personal, “teamworky” and local.
Any thoughts? If it’s interesting enough, I’ll make a new thread, eventually.
One love from Russia. I love every single one of you crazy lifestyle designers <3