Digital Nomads in Thailand: Out of the Box and Across the Globe
Working in the Age of Information
Written in 2016 and updated in 2021 by Sebastian H. Brousseau.
With the ever-increasing capabilities of technology, more and more people are finding new and exciting ways to make a living outside their nations of birth. By making use of the advances in digital communication a growing number of self-starters and entrepreneurs are opting to set up their new ventures where the cost of living is lower, the climate is warmer, and the pace of life is a little slower.
The wireless workplace, an evolving concept, is staffed with digital nomads, online entrepreneurs, cyber start-ups, and crowd-sourced correspondents. The diversity and development of digital nomads and the like are doing away with the 9 to 5 rat-race of office cubicles and punching timecards, and in their wake are creating the Digital Nomads in Thailand environment for work in the 21st century.
When you’re a digital nomad, there is no office, no morning traffic, no commute, no annoying water-cooler gossip, nor dress code. Just a laptop, an active mind, and a stable internet connection. The only real remnants from old ways of working are the deadlines. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be able to finish that article on women’s fashion trends while watching the sunset from the veranda of a little bungalow facing the Andaman Sea? Or how about helping get all the programming bugs out of a new website, but not having to wake up until after 10 in the morning to do so? Better still, a teleconference call with a potential client during a breakfast of delicious banana pancakes and a fresh mango-pineapple smoothie?
Fifteen years ago this just couldn’t be done.
But technology, especially those based on cloud storage and wireless data transmission (more importantly secured transmissions), has made those situations just mentioned, real and very often profitable possibilities. Just as technology has transformed the main sectors of employment that made up humanity’s past (the advent of refrigeration, airplanes, and the printing press), so too are the innovations of today ushering in a new kind of work. The Age of Information, as it has been called, is creating demand not only for physical products but also a demand for content. And with the demand for content comes the need for content producers.
Enter the Digital Nomad
Businesses worldwide are shifting their customer service approaches to online content, in order to reach more people and provide faster and more effective services and products. And the easiest way to readily generate the kind of content a business wants and needs is to source it from digital nomads in Thailand. So who are these pioneers of the new normal?
Generally speaking, a digital nomad is under 40 years old with a high level of computer savvy, usually do not have children, possess the ability to self-promote and network, are worldly well-informed, and have absolutely no desire to be stuck in one place doing the same thing day in and day out. Typically from native English-speaking countries as well as Europeans with a strong command of the English language, these people are at their core adventurous and creative.
There’s a big reason why many different businesses are looking to find digital nomads to do the work that otherwise would need to be found “in-house”. It’s because they are nomads. They don’t get stuck in a rut. They have insight and ideas from all the travelling they have done. They produce high quality work because they stake their reputation and the prospects for future employment on their products, as opposed to someone who is getting an hourly salary and is just there for the paycheck. By being highly mobile, dedicated to quality assurance, knowledgeable, and free from the kinds of stress most “typical” employees deal with, these up and coming game-changers are also a boon to businesses for another reason; increased competition. Competition tends to drive down costs, and increase quality production. The more digital nomads there are in competition to generate content-based mediums and ideas, the more likely a business will find exactly what they are looking for, and at lower price.
Life as a Digital Nomad
It’s a big world out there, and saving up the sick leave days for just a week in paradise is getting harder and harder. Digital nomads go where they want and when they want. Well, for the most part. There are certain realities to deal with. Flight cancelations, visa restrictions, a laptop going for a swim, and exotic illnesses are par for the course. But the upside; trying new foods, learning new traditions and customs, seeing with your own eyes what most will only get the chance to see by watching “Parts Unknown” (think he’s not really a digital nomad?), the choice is not a difficult one to make. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun, but 90% of the time, it is. Where digital nomads can find themselves in sticky situations is when it comes to local laws and property protection. For all their worldly insight and creativity, digital nomads will at times need some assistance. And it will probably need to come in the form of a lawyer. More than likely, it will be something simple like travel insurance or a rental agreement. So, as these young ambitious types with a disdain for cubicle-life are charting new waters in the Information Age, the old established professions beginning to adapt as well.
International law firms, especially those staffed with English-speakers, are looking to catch up with the digital nomads using their own technological innovations. On-line consultations using Skype or similar software, to reach out to the wireless workforce and provide services in a manner they are most accustomed to, is still in its infancy. But some legal teams are already pushing ahead with the idea.
Law firms that charge hourly rates for everything are normally expensive, but they are not the kind of legal representation anyone should be stuck having. At Isaan Lawyers that is how we have structured our services, providing a flat fee upfront that is based on exactly what you need to be accomplished. We do not try to sell our clients on something they don’t need, just to run up the hourly bill. That’s not how you build confidence, clients, and communities. The fees you pay for the services of a law firm should be for their expertise, as well as their commitment to protecting your rights and ensuring your interests are met. Not for the privilege of their time.
Remember that retaining the services of a legitimate law firm will end up saving you money and time. We can provide you reasonable fees and great services for many reasons:
• Being in Isaan is less expensive for us than having an office in Bangkok;
• We opened in 2006 and have developed an expertise. We can work quickly;
• The way we structure our business helps us to save fees and be efficient;
• We have a network that can provide translation, notary services, accounting, legal representation, contract drafting, etc. We use these people in your best interests;
• We work with technology to save us time. Cloud system accessible for our staff, appointments online synchronized automatically, files sharing system for our clients and others. We manage our time wisely.
We understand that our clients have chosen to live in Thailand, and that means they will be building and becoming part of a new community, and we wish to provide experienced and dedicated legal services in helping shape that community for success and stability into the future. Isaan Lawyers is first and foremost a part of this community of expats, foreign entrepreneurs, businesses, and long-term travelers in Thailand.
We offer services directed at strengthening our community and our fees reflect this. The only hourly rate we ever charge is for initial consultations in person, or over the phone. And should that consultation result in our services being retained we will deduct the consultation cost. The team at Isaan lawyers has over 50 cumulative years of experience in the practice of law in Thailand. We have been in any situation you can imagine. Whatever you need to be done, be it a prenuptial agreement or registration for a new company, our staff will take the time needed to guide you through every step in the process, to protect you, your family, and your assets until you are satisfied. We can make sure the law works for you, by having a committed staff with the right expertise, at a reasonable price, and by taking the time to get it done right. Learn more about our team.
To serve you better, we also have created online services, which are cheaper than traditional full legal services with a lawyer that accompany you. They include several levels of services, from simple contracts or templates that you can fill yourself with instructions (see www.thaicontracts.com) or full online services. For these services, the clients contact us online, we exchange information and we make their documents and provide instructions and advice. It is easy for you to complete the documents with only signatures and registration if necessary (see for example www.thailawonline.com). These documents are drafted by professionals to protect your rights, follow your intentions, and are designed to save money or potential troubles. If you are in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiangmai, Nong Khai, Pattaya, these online services can help you anywhere in Thailand. All agreements are done in Thai and English, prepared by Thai registered attorneys.
Should you wish our team to send a Thai attorney to help you out, this is obviously another service that we can provide.
Isaan Lawyers is ready to give you the kind of legal representation in Thailand that you deserve, not just the kind you pay for. It is not easy for Digital nomads to work in Thailand. There are rules about work permits and companies. However, Thailand introduced a smart visa through the BOI which is probably the best way to work legally in Thailand for digital nomads. You will find information on <strong>this official link</strong>.
Some other clients of us decide to set up a Thai limited company. That option is normally more complex, involves minimum 3 shareholders, a registered capital, yearly accounting, and Thai employees. But this option is also possible. Others, decide to work with iglu.net.
Isaan Lawyers, based in Thailand, has begun to offer this kind of service directed at digital nomads. Having realized there are more and more people who are breaking out of the traditional employment mould, and who are traveling to place like Thailand (low cost of living, exceptional food, and beaches) to ply their hand at working on their own terms, the team at Isaan Lawyers is launching 1 hour Skype consultations for 2000 Thai Baht, which is right around 55 USD. Appointments are made, obviously, online.
Will this idea succeed? More than likely yes, because the wireless world of instant communication is a reality and digital nomads will only be increasing in numbers. In fact, the likelihood that other “established professions” will have to look for ways to attract digital nomads and cater to this new reality, is all but assured.