Ep.18: The Digital Homebody

We’ve all heard about digital nomads. It’s this extremely popular concept among younger millennials and Gen Z people that essentially means you’re traveling the world and earning money from your laptop.

While I’m definitely not a digital nomad, I AM a digital homebody. If this sounds a lot like you, let’s talk.

The term “homebody” means different things to different people. Some see it as a negative thing, defining it as someone who is “antisocial” and a “recluse” who shuts themselves out from the world. The Oxford dictionary definition even refers to a homebody as someone who is “unadventurous.”

I don’t agree with this at all. My definition of a homebody is, “someone who prefers spending more of their time at home than out traveling or wandering. Someone who likes having a home base, and who feels settled and rooted in their community.”

You can definitely still be adventurous while being a homebody because even those who go on weekend endeavors are considered homebodies if they work at home throughout the week. The kicker is that homebodies miss their home. They can’t just spend weeks traveling and be happy.

Further, when homebodies do travel, their family comes with them. It’s not just about the physical house or being a family man or woman, it’s about making the home a central value.

The next thing that homebodies like is to feel settled in one neighborhood, one community, one house and so forth. They’ll visit other places, but they want one central location for living.

Another important factor here is that homebodies like to socialize within their communities. Community is important to homebodies. As a result, it’s unfair to deem homebodies as “anti-social.”

Homebodies also care more about their home’s design and comfort level. Joanna Gaines has a book called “Homebody,” and it talks about how to invest in your space. It teaches you to make your physical home so comfortable that you’ll never want to leave.

As Joanna says, I’m going to take my personal definition even further by explaining how I live as a homebody person. First off, I work at home by running my own online business. This takes it a step further, because truthfully, people can still be homebodies when they work outside their home.

Second, my kids are homeschooled, which also takes my homebody lifestyle a step further. Finally, my wife doesn’t work and she’s home every day as well. Home is our workplace, our school, and the place we grow as a family.

Digital homebody plays off of the term “digital nomad.” These are freelancers who genuinely enjoy working from anywhere, and they’re not just doing it because of the pandemic. It’s typically composed of younger folks who like to travel and who don’t like working in person.

They’re more attracted to this lifestyle because they don’t have to really answer to anyone or be tied down to anything. Digital nomads see working in one place all day as “boring,” and they’ll often delay or even completely avoid having children.

Digital homebodies, on the other hand, prioritize meaning over fun. It’s a long-term investment over short-term pleasure sort of title. For example, having children is a long-term commitment despite its short-term joys. Similarly, building a home is a long-term investment.

There are plenty of short-term rewards from being a parent and a digital homebody, but there are also stresses and challenges. However, it’s all worth it to me, especially when the future joys outweigh the current challenges.

I love the idea of getting to pass on all I know to someone else and of having grandchildren come visit me when I’m old. Some days are mundane, repetitive, frustrating, and even slow, but it’s fulfilling.

After so much time, it gets to the point where you don’t miss the single life anymore. It roots inside of you. I’ve grown in many ways just by having a family. It forces you to learn new skills and to truly grow up.

My life isn’t perfect by any means. I face family and personal problems just as anyone else does. But I like being here to quickly solve those problems.

Let’s say you are a homebody, but you work 40+ hours per week outside the home. You don’t have much flexibility this way, and when you ARE home, you’re stuck catching up on housework. It’s harder to address small problems before they grow into larger ones. So that’s part of why I like being a digital homebody.

While the proposal writing and business aspects are all the same whether you’re a parent home-based freelancer or not, there are unique challenges that come with parenting while freelancing.

The main thing here is learning how to balance work and family. You must approach your schedule differently and certain other things differently when you’re a digital homebody. Plus, you have different motivations for building success and earning money. It’s not just so you can have fun, it’s so you can invest in your family.

In short, being a digital homebody means it’s not just about you. I had to take more calculated risks as I was growing my business, but I still had to take risks to grow it. They were just more temperate than risks that a digital nomad could take.

Digital homebodies also have to be more patient with their business’s growth. They can’t just ping-pong all over the place. There are interruptions from children and marital concerns to address as a digital homebody.

While I do have a schedule to stick to, I’ve also trained my brain to be productive in a different way. Even amidst interruptions, I’ve learned how to make it work even when my schedule is thrown off.

However, I do structure my schedule around my family. I make sure I’m in bed by 10:30 or 11 so I can be up a little bit before my kids. This gives me quiet time to record my podcast episodes and so on.

One major business-related perk of being a digital homebody is that I can write off my personal expenses as business expenses. This includes rent, utilities, and internet office supplies. Homebodies get those tax deductions, whereas nomads don’t get to write off certain expenses like these.

Another perk to being a homebody over being a nomad is that people see homebodies as more structured. That’s not to say that there aren’t digital nomads who take their work seriously. However, client perceptions see homebodies as more dependable and relatable in most cases.

Again, this is only a perception. I say this because digital nomads will have to work a little harder to fight against this assumption about their productivity.

Something I learned a few years into my freelancer journey is that being a parent and being a homebody in that way, being a family-first person became my main passion, and video marketing became second. After that switch, being a digital homebody became far less frustrating.

This is something that you can look forward to if you don’t feel like you’re quite there yet. Maybe you haven’t recognized it yet, but it’s important to think about what your top passion is. Funnily enough, in my case, my business grew faster when I put my family as my top priority.

Does this sound like you now, or at least where you want to be? Or do you still want the life of bouncing from place to place and not being tied down to anything? What you need to do is figure out what is most important to you.

If you feel more like being a digital homebody is your thing, stay tuned to this show where we dive into the principals of how to make your home the center of your universe. I also want to validate that you’re making a good decision if the digital homebody lifestyle appeals to you.

It’s normal to have doubts but building a family and a home as your life’s center is okay. It’s great, even. Self-employment comes with benefits that will better your life. As an employee, you don’t get as much power as you do with the free market.

If you enjoyed this and would like to see more content, subscribe to the podcast, check out my YouTube channel, and I look forward to seeing you in our next early morning conversation.

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