When you're building your own business, you get to do it the way you want. You also get to do it anywhere you want which is why cafés now contain more Macbooks and sales discussions than mochas and second dates. But if you're going to take your computer and turn a cool drinking spot into your office, why stop at the Starbucks down the road? True digital nomads, whether they're one-person companies or the leaders of dispersed teams, are heading to the airport and working out of some of the most beautiful places on Earth. All they need is a passport, a plane ticket and a place to stay. And because the cost of living is often (though not always) lower than in their native cities, they also get to reduce their expenses as they work in paradise.
Here are five of the most beautiful places to build your business.
1. Hubud, Bali
If you're willing to go further than a Java joint, then just past Java is the Indonesian island of Bali. With white beaches, tropical forests, rice paddies and beautiful coral reefs, Bali has been attracting tourists looking to get away from it all for decades. The island is now a magnet for flip-flop-wearing hippy types but Hubud is a co-working space for over 250 entrepreneurs, creatives, technical workers and business people, as well as "changemakers, downshifters and truth-seekers." They stay on the island, make occasional visa runs, and spend their days typing on their Macs in the shared workspaces, meeting room and conference room. Unlimited use of the shared office costs $275 per month and the site offers a guide for people thinking of moving to the island. Living comfortably on the island will cost a couple about $2,000 a month.
2. TheoryExchange, Nassau, Bahamas
If you prefer the Caribbean then Nassau in the Bahamas has TheoryExchange. The offices are a bit more functional than Hubud's romantic wooden shack in the jungle but you're never far from the sea in the Caribbean, and the co-working space has been set up for creatives, entrepreneurs and startups to grow their businesses. At $60 a month, the office space is cheap but the sun and sand cost money. The cost of living in Nassau is said to be 27 percent more expensive than Houston, Texas, and 64 percent more expensive than Provo, Utah. But it's 14 percent cheaper than New York city... and New York doesn't have beaches like these.
3. Surf Office, Gran Canaria
One of the challenges of relocating to a beautiful location is the difficulty of finding accommodation when you're on the other side of the world. Surf Office solves the problem by including a private room in its co-working agreement. With locations in Lisbon and Gran Canaria, a Spanish island off the coast of Morocco where Christopher Columbus planned his voyage to America, members can enjoy mountains, desert, beaches, forests, a colonial city and hidden villages in year-round warm weather. Oh, and they can work too with fast Internet, a meeting room and shared office space. Fees are 65 Euros a day for a single room with shared bathrooms and kitchen.
4. KoHub, Koh Lanta, Thailand
Another island paradise, Thailand's Koh Lanta has golden beaches, azure seas, and its KoHub co-working space with comfortable desks and chairs, team/retreat rooms, and 100 MB download speeds "ideal for entrepreneurs, digital nomads, start up retreats, workstations and camp." Like SurfOffice, it also offers accommodation. Members can stay in private, air-conditioned rooms a short walk from the beach and a fifteen-minute walk from the KoHub office. The rooftop terrace has views of the ocean and the mountain jungle, and there are even packages that include two meals a day. Full board prices start at just $690 a month depending on the season. All you have to do is turn up, work, eat, sleep, swim and think of all the money you're saving as you grow your business on the beach.
It's hard to beat building a business on the beach but building a business on a boat might just crack it. Coboat takes digital nomadism to an extreme by providing a berth for up to 20 entrepreneurs on an 82-foot, solar and wind-powered catamaran sailing around the world. While business-builders can grow their networks, engage in coding sessions and work alongside other entrepreneurs, they're also warned that Coboat is not a place for workaholics. In between debugging and distance pitching, the boat's sailors will be diving, fishing and practicing Yoga. The price is 980 Euros a week for full board and shared cabins.