Do you love to travel? Have you ever wished you could explore the world while you worked? People all across the planet have adopted this adventurous and rewarding lifestyle – the lifestyle of a digital nomad. If you’re wondering how to become a digital nomad, you’re in luck. We’ve got 10 simple steps to help you get started living your dream life today.
In this article we’ll discuss:
What is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who works remotely, traveling to different locations around the world all while working online. Digital nomads rely on technology to help them work remotely, requiring only a laptop and wireless connection to conduct their business.
Digital nomads enjoy the freedom they experience with the ability to create their own schedules and to work anywhere in the world. This provides a great work-life balance and the added bonus of no daily commute!
Many digital nomads take an income and salary cut in order to travel the world. Ultimately, the goal of a digital nomad is to have the complete freedom to be able to work whenever and wherever your travels may take you.
Depending on the field of work and your specialization, this may be a difficult transition if you’re just looking to branch out.
Common Digital Nomad Jobs
Nowadays there are many jobs that can be done completely online – some you may not even have thought of!
Some of the most common jobs for digital nomads include:
- Writer / blogger
- Social media marketer
- Developer / programmer
- Graphic designer
- Educator (e.g. English teacher, tutor)
- Customer service representative
Keep in mind that this is just to name a few! With the enormous technological advancements that have been made in recent years, many jobs that may have typically been considered on-site jobs can now be moved completely online.
How To Be A Digital Nomad: 10 Steps
1. Identify / build your skills
What skills and job experience do you have that will allow you to work online while you’re out travelling the world? Consider your hobbies and passions as well. For example, photography, although it may only be a pastime, can be monetized online! If you don’t have the skills you think you’ll need, consider learning something new or improving on the skills you already have!
If you don’t want to go back to school to learn these new skills have no fear – there are many online resources that can help you with this. Lynda.com, for example, is a great online resource that can help you learn the skills you’ll need to work remotely.
2. Study Online
Think you need more education to get you started in a field that will allow you to work online? Develop your skills while living abroad by studying online! By completing your schooling online, you can work, travel and study – living the nomad lifestyle while gaining knowledge and experience.
3. Become a Freelancer
Utilize your current skills and become a freelancer in order to support your lifestyle abroad. Websites like Upwork and Freelancer can help you find clients to pay the bills – just create a profile and start applying!
Freelancers aren’t tied down to a specific company or business. Instead, they work on a contractual basis where they’re paid for the work they complete on a per-project and per-assignment basis.
Working as a freelancer has its pros and cons. For starters, you don’t have to commute (or telecommute) to an office or have a superior to report to. On the flip side, you lose out on the benefits that a full-time job provides. Additionally, freelance work isn’t always steady and you may find yourself looking for work that is simply not available. Clients may also be another hurdle, as some may be difficult to work with and may not pay you what you deserve.
Remember not to give up! It may take a few applications before you find your first client and even more before you build a proper freelance portfolio but once you do you’ll be on your way to living a nomadic lifestyle.
4. Start An Online Business
Do you already have the skills and clientele to start an online business. Or, alternatively, do you own a business that could be moved online? With the help of technology, many businesses are able to be run online.
Consider why your physical presence is necessary with your current business and identify any possible solutions that could help you do the same thing remotely.
All you need is a CMS, a good business plan and some patience and dedication.
5. Get a Job That Allows You To Work Remotely
If you don’t have the skills or experience required to become an online freelancer or business owner right away, seek out a job that will allow you to learn skills that you can use down the road.
There are many jobs that can be done online – a quick Google search will help you find these jobs. Just search and apply. You never know what opportunities you’ll come across.
6. Cut Your Costs
Saving up to start your travels will take some consideration, planning and effort. Start by cutting costs where you can and minimizing any unnecessary purchases.
Once you’ve saved up enough to buy your first plane ticket, consider taking the leap and heading off to a more cost-effective location. Thailand, for example, is a great place to begin, as the cost of living is low and therefore you should be able to continue to save while working on your funds.
7. Decide On Your Destination
The two most important things to consider when deciding on a location are the cost of living and reliability of internet access.
When it comes to these 2 factors, the cheaper the better for digital nomads.
In fact, in some places you may not need to make nearly as much money as you would at home in order to live a wonderful lifestyle. Internet access is also very important. The internet will need to be stable and readily available if you are to conduct your work online so make sure the location you choose will provide a reliable connection. This shouldn’t be too difficult given that most places in the world have internet widely available.
8. Research The Requirements and Documentation That You’ll Need
Will you need a work or travel visa while visiting the country you choose? What about health or travel insurance? If you have specific medical and/or psychological needs, it’s best to setup a contingency plan in case you won’t have access to medical facilities.
This is especially important if you’re heading to a less-developed country.
Take a look into all of the requirements and documentation that will be necessary for you to stay and work in your new home and make sure to secure these documents before you go.
9. Get Everything In Order At Home
Make sure you tie up all your loose ends at home before heading out. For example, ensure your banking is in order, that you have the debit and credit cards you’ll need, that you’re carrying some local currency, etc.
Consider selling as many possessions as possible, getting rid of your apartment or home or renting/leasing it out while you’re gone.
10. Take the Leap
Sometimes the hardest part to living the life of a nomad is simply taking the plunge. The best thing to do in this case – just do it. Buy that place ticket, take a leap of faith and head out on a journey of a lifetime
With that being said, there are definitely some caveats that you should consider before taking the plunge.
Is Becoming a Digital Nomad Right For You?
Despite the allure of working while travelling and exploring the world, the digital nomad life does have its downsides.
In an interview with Advesa’s own Senior Digital Marketer Mark Galvao, he writes about the more nuanced challenges of working remotely as he lived the digital nomad life for 4 months. Loneliness, travel fatigue and longing for settling down are all challenges that Mark has faced on his journey around the world.
While remote work and advances in telecommunications technology has made digital nomad life more accessible than ever before, it’s important to think about the reasons why you want to be a digital nomad and why you’re looking for a change.
As Mark writes on his own experiences:
“The truth is if you don’t take the proper measures to be happy content right where you are, the eternal want of more will always follow you.”
Key Takeaways On How To Be A Digital Nomad
If you’ve always wanted to travel the world and work while doing it, then the digital nomad life is for you! There are many ways to become a digital nomad and many professions that will allow you to work while travelling, including marketing, accounting, writing, editing and even customer service.
Ready to become a digital nomad but not sure exactly how to get started? You can live the life you’ve always dreamed of by following these 10 simple steps:
- Identify the skills you already have and build on the skills you’ll need to work online
- Study at an online university
- Become a freelancer and find contract work with the help of platforms like Upwork
- Start an online business or move your brick and mortar business online
- Get a job with a company that will allow you to work remotely
- Cut your costs, minimize your possessions and cut financial ties to home as much as possible
- Pick your first destination. Keep in mind the cost of living and access to WiFi
- Ensure you’re aware of the requirements and documentation you’ll need to live and work in your foreign destination
- Get your documentation, finances and other responsibilities in order
- Take the plunge – buy your airline ticket and go!
If you’re ready to become a digital nomad then make the commitment and take the leap – just be sure to think things through before you do.