FDN Life Publishing Director, Founder, Owner, Graphic Designer, Website Deisgner, Rakesh Nagda and FDN Life Author, Writer, Journalist, Editorial Director, Founder, Owner, Marie-Berdine Steyn


Our Story What An FDN Is & What We Stand For


By Marie-Berdine Steyn & Rakesh Nagda

“We are excited to welcome you to our first issue!”

I was a research analyst and virtual assistant in market research.

I quit my regular job to explore more in my career. When you become a freelancer you start working on your own terms. You search for projects, deal with clients, and you can work as many hours and on as many projects as you want. All of these helps you to grow in your career.

I like that I learn something new every day and that I can acquire experiences in a variety of fields. There is also the opportunity to work by yourself or with a team, and you earn as much as you want. I found these opportunities are not readily available in regular jobs.

The FDN lifestyle allows me to work from any place in the world, and it gives me the freedom to choose my working hours at my remote locations.

1 – That our work is not that important since we work from home or a remote location. Many people don’t always see an FDN’s work and time as valuable as someone with a regular job. The reality is that freelancers also have commitments towards their clients which they have to fulfill. We choose to work from our remote location, but that doesn’t mean we are not working.

2 – Job Security: Most people think FDN’s don’t enjoy job security. That is not true for me. Over the past 5-years, I’ve always had projects and clients that help me reach my monthly income target.

Hello and welcome to FDN Life Magazine. We are honored to have you read our first issue.

We are a couple who part-time freelanced for almost 11-years while working full-time jobs. By August 2015 we decided to retire from our cruise ship careers to become full-time freelancers. We also integrate travel into our lifestyle as we work-travel different countries several times annually to quench our thirst for adventure and travel.

From our diverse experiences in freelancing from home, starting up new businesses, managing our online entrepreneurship, and traveling while still working and completing our client’s projects, we had difficulty in explaining to others what it is we ‘exactly did for a living.’

We realized that we couldn’t place just the tag of ‘DN’ or ‘freelancer’ around our necks. We were simultaneously freelancers, digital nomads, remote workers, entrepreneurs, and online service business owners, to name but a few. As such, from that point onward and whenever asked what we did for a living, we gave the short answer, “we are FDN’s.” To us, FDN became the all-inclusive term for working remotely, being a startup owner, entrepreneur, freelancer, side hustler, home-businesses operator, and/or a location independent.

Before our freelance endeavors we worked in different and diverse careers. Most notably with world famous 5-star brands such as ESPA, the Leela Palace Kempinski, the One & Only Hotel Kerzner Group in Dubai and India; then, with Canyon Ranch (USA) onboard Celebrity Cruise Lines before we quit the 7 am – 10 pm (as is known on cruise ships :-), to become full-time freelancers.

For the past 4-years, we have developed our freelance entrepreneurship, MBS Create-Innovate-Inspire, to what is today to generate a sustainable income for ourselves, and one that affords us an independent lifestyle where we could be more in control of our earnings and grow our skill set and expertise exponentially. We loved the freedom the FDN lifestyle afforded us, but most importantly, meeting and working with clients and friends from around the world.

The FDN work-lifestyle is not for everyone; we learned that pretty quickly on in our careers as full-time freelancers. We often work more hours and put in more ‘free’ hours than we did as regular salaried employees. These days, whenever asked for advice, we don’t promote or paint a pretty picture of the FDN lifestyle, and we certainly don’t promote the FDN lifestyle to anyone interested in earning a quick buck. It’s not going to happen. Setting up an FDN business is no walk in the park and will take a lot of effort, countless hours of sacrifice and hard work.

Is it worth it?

You bet! For us it definitely is, and as we continue to learn and grow, we hope to welcome, share knowledge, and help other FDN’s expand their skills and businesses.

Over the past years, the FDN lifestyle and work-travel industry have grown exponentially. A whole new community of online business owners, entrepreneurs, startups, side hustlers and remote employees have been born that don’t fit into the ‘regular’ paradigm of the 9-5 employee. They have a different perspective on life, politics, religion, nationalism and the world we live in. They are more tolerant and have a global perspective. Therefore, the old business models and exclusive political perspectives don’t measure up to the FDN’s chosen global focused work-lifestyle.
From our own experience as FDN’s we found liberation and excitement in the fact that we could now travel the world more freely compared to the restrictions our parents and grandparents had. To top it all, we could earn while doing so.

Of course, the FDN’s lifestyle is not all gold and truffles as some exalt it to be. It takes dedication and quite the adjustment to work and travel at the same time. (Or run a freelance business from home). As the majority of FDN’s soon finds out – the lines between work and life become blurry pretty soon, with that coveted work-life-balance we all strived for when we quit our jobs, now a dream of the past. Some FDN’s report they work more hours compared to their salaried days, while others struggle to maintain friendships, a social life or their health and wellness. Over the past 4-years, we found the same struggles in our lives and had to learn to take care of our health and set proper work-life boundaries. It’s a continuous learning curve.

Some of the most troublesome aspects of the FDN work-lifestyle (in our experience) is company registration, taxes, and funding. Whenever we tried to set up a new business we ran into the problem of selecting a business model that would fit a global online type business that mostly hired contractors or freelancers. Since most company registration requires a physical office and/or business address, this was problematic. Current business types (in most countries) only support brick-and-mortar type businesses, with many other restrictions imposed on the new business owner. One such is the requirement to hire an X percentage of local employees. (Normally around 40 – 60%).

Such strict requirements and laws soon proved problematic to most FDN’s. With our digital nomad brothers and sisters traveling the world and never staying more than a couple of months in a single country, the private limited, public or corporate type business models just didn’t fit their business plan. No wonder most FDN’s choose the easier option of operating as sole proprietors; which can be a more tax intensive route. This is a pity since most registered companies enjoy tax benefits and easier access to funding.

Furthermore, we found FDN’s had fewer options for medical aid and preparing for retirement. Shockingly, in a world that has become digital and nearly wholly online, there are limited options catering to FDN’s. (Not even to mention the stricter compliance requirements.) These are all aspects we would like to help change as more and more FDN’s step into the future of working from home or the DN lifestyle.

From our own experience of living and working as FDN’s around the world, we realized the need for a support network so we could help and support one another. In essence, as FDN’s we are creating a new type of community – a global one that is international and not restricted to any one corner in the world.

As such, FDN Life Magazine was born in 2018 when we realized there is currently no magazine to connect, provide entertainment, encourage, feature FDN news, give information, tips and insight.
But as we started working on the magazine, we also realized there was a need for a central platform (the FDN Life website) where FDN’s could connect, meet, share and collaborate. If you will, an encyclopedia type central database and community center of everything FDN related. We are starting out small right now, but intend to grow with our FDN family over the next years.

FDN’s form part of a global community who work and live as either/or freelancers, digital nomads, remotes, have location independent businesses, startups, side hustles or are entrepreneurs.

We hail from all over the world and aspire to connect with like-minded individuals to share, offer helpful tips, connect and support one another; as well as offer a quality lifestyle magazine specifically for FDN’s.

At FDN Life we refer to anyone interested in the freelance, digital nomad, remote, startup, side hustle, independent location business, or entrepreneur field as an FDN.

• FDN’s can be based anywhere in the world, as is often the case with digital nomads and location independents, or work from home, such as freelancers, startups, side hustlers and entrepreneurs.
• FDN’s aspire towards greater control over their lives, and to earn their own living through freelancing or offering their products and services; mostly online.
• FDN’s often seek an independent lifestyle where they determine their own work hours and are in charge of their life, career and growth.

• Run a freelance, online, location independent, startup or entrepreneurial business – or aspire to.
• Are a location independent, entrepreneur, startup, expat or stay at home freelancer – and/or aspire to become one.
• You want to connect, share, help or find helpful information on freelancing, the DN lifestyle, location independent business, starting a business and/or entrepreneurship.
• You are a fan of FDN Life Magazine and enjoy or want to contribute to the FDN community.

FDN Life Magazine – We are on a mission to create the best, and first quality digital work-lifestyle magazine (FDN Life Magazine) for everything freelance, digital nomad, remote, location independent and entrepreneur related, to entertain, support, help and inspire fellow or aspiring FDN’s.

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