I stumbled back into the UK recently and upon hurling myself through the door of my family home fell at the foot of a 19ft mountain of mail. Now, to be clear, since I absconded from Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2006 and assumed the unassuming title ‘nomadic freelance creative’ (part of the greater order of the ‘digital nomads’), I have outsourced my mail sorting to my mother. I’m not ashamed. It has just been a failed policy.
Not to say my mother hasn’t been trying. For the past three years she’s managed to keep me informed about every single wedding invitation I’ve received. It’s just that when something does eventually slip through the crack it could be a notice of hefty penalty charges to be debited from my bank account weekly, until my mother discovers it 10 weeks later. Thanks Barclays, my former employer. Thank you mother.
Another solution is needed here…
Idea #14: Remote mail service for digital nomads
What we need is somebody – actually, you – to set up a company that will receive the mail of vagabonds such as I, scan it, and email to us so we can receive it in exotic locations. Scotland, for instance.
Actually, while you’re on, you can receive parcels as well. Nomads can just use your address as their permanent mailing address so they don’t get tangled up with their multitude of online accounts every time they change to another beachside hut.
Listen, all you need is an address and a scanner to set up this business. You can receive payments through PayPal on your website, which you can build here in 5 minutes.
You should probably offer the service for a monthly subscription of $10-$20 per month for your standard model digital nomads.
(Why not also create a ‘premium’ branded service – basically the same thing but for rich people. You’ll probably have to call it something like ‘Mail Concierge’. Set it up on a different website so it’s not obvious that it’s the same thing.)
A bit more about the cheeky little digital nomads…
You may think that marketing to a disparate bunch of global wanderers might be difficult, but you’d be surprised. Digital nomads have already begun to converge in some dark corners of the web:
DigitalNomads.com – quick-fingered Dell have grabbed the prime URL.
Location Independent Professionals is an agency that helps set people up with a location independent lifestyle.
Exile Lifestyle is Colin Wright’s experiment in being a digital nomad.
At Free Pursuits, Corbett Barr blogs about alternative lifestyle design.
Chris Guillebeau is a pioneer of non-conformity.
Further to your advantage, this is an emerging niche consumer group that more and more people will be joining as employers realise it’s a good way to cut costs and workers realise that sitting in a storm-battered, wifi-enabled caravan in Scotland is actually a surprisingly pleasant environment in which to write, albeit aimlessly, about remote postal services for themselves.
UPDATE: Just saw the exact reverse of this idea! Read about it at Springwise: http://www.springwise.com/life_hacks/sendsocial/