Thinking about becoming a digital nomad but not sure how to get started? This is a guide for you. Being a digital nomad is more than just working on a beach (that rarely happens) - most of the time, we are either working out of our hostel/hotel/airbnb room, at a coworking space, or at a cafe with fast wifi and hopefully some plugs.
The first thing you’ll need is a source of income. If you are still in your home country and already have a job, speak to your manager to see if your role can be converted to a remote one (you don’t have to tell them that you’ll be off traveling!).
There are many ways of earning an income as a digital nomad, and here are a few popular jobs that digital nomads typically do:
Customer Support Agent
There are many companies out there that have remote workers as customer support agents, such as Fiverr or Apple. You might be required to work set hours, depending on the company.
Freelance Copy Writer
Some use freelancing sites like Upwork to find copy writing jobs, others cold-email magazines or online sites to see if they are looking to pay for articles or if there are available editorial positions. Have some writing samples with you ready when you are looking to become a copy writer.
Small businesses typically look for small accounting firms or freelance accountants to help them with their accounting. If you are already a registered accountant, you can look for clients who need help with the Xero/FreshBooks accounts for instance.
Freelancer marketing or SEO consultants
If you have a marketing background or know how to optimize SEO for websites, you can start looking for clients who need help with their marketing or improving their website’s organic search results.
Become a graphic designer if you know your way around Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and the likes.
Startup Founders and Business Owners
Running a startup or a small business is another favorite option for digital nomads. Some ideas for small businesses include running an e-commerce store, drop shipping or an online subscription site.
Applying for jobs on freelancer sites can often be frustrating, as you will find yourself competing against hundreds of people who have profiles like yours and who are willing to work for ridiculously low rates, since they are from developing countries and their cost of living is significantly lower. It may take some time to build your profile before you can start charging more.
What if I don’t have the skills needed to look for any of the above jobs?
If you feel like you don’t have the skills needed to find a job online, start by taking courses from sites like Udemy, Skillshare or even from watching YouTube videos. Some jobs don’t require special online skills, such as being a customer service agent!
How much money do I need to earn every month to survive as a digital nomad?
Not as much as you think you need! It all depends on the lifestyle you want to lead and the countries you will be living in, but you don’t need to be rich to become a digital nomad. South East Asia and South America are popular digital nomad hotspots because of the lower cost of living. If you are earning in US dollars, Australian dollars, Euros or Pounds, your money will go a long way in these places.
If you are not sure whether you are going to like being a digital nomad, then do a test run first. Visit a city or another country near you for a couple of weeks, and evaluate if you enjoy working and traveling at the same time.