Are you consistently seeing photos on your Instagram feed of people working on their laptop while on beaches, in a cafe in Paris, or in an airport getting ready to jet to their next location? These remote workers are known as digital nomads. They’re making money, traveling, and living out their dreams at the same time. Wondering how you can do it, too?
Becoming a digital nomad isn’t as simple as deciding you’re going to finally start working on your blog while sitting on the beach. It takes hard work and dedication to start generating a reliable revenue stream. It’s even harder to want to continue to work on your business when you could be exploring whatever destination you’re at. In order to consistently make money and keep up with deadlines, you’ll need to be disciplined and focused.
Being a digital nomad also takes some level of thriftiness. If the region you’re working in is remote or doesn’t have a great internet infrastructure, you’ll have to come up with solutions to keep your business going when traveling in these areas. At some point during your travels, you’ll need to find the lone internet cafe tucked away in the city.
If being location independent is your goal, there are many different ways you can accomplish this. Passive income streams or freelancing are common ways to support yourself as a digital nomad. Depending on where you’ll be traveling, the amount of income you’ll need to survive can vary greatly. $10,000 a year will let you live comfortably in Thailand, but you won’t get far in Paris or London.
So, how can you get started becoming a digital nomad? There isn’t one right way to get started, but here are some tips and tricks that can help you get started towards the life you’ve dreamed of.
1. Join a Community
Find a group like-minded individuals, or a community of mentors who are already living their life as a digital nomad. An online or in-person community lets you get advice and feedback from others. You’ll instantly have a support group and access to first hand experience and knowledge.
2. Begin Cutting the Stuff Tying You Down
Do you have a lease or vehicle? What about a gym membership? Begin taking inventory of all the things that are holding you to your current location and start removing them. Not only will you free up some money, you’ll be able to pick up and leave easily when you’re ready to start your journeys. If something isn’t serving a purpose in your life, start eliminating it. This includes all the clutter in your apartment!
Eliminating all the “stuff” should also include paying off debt. If you have debt, start paying it off or set up payment plans with your lenders or creditors. Pay off high interest rate credit cards first and focus on your student loan debt if you have any. If you do own a vehicle, consider selling it. If you’re not upside-down in your car loan, you can use money from the sale of the car to pay off other debt or add to your savings.
You’ll also want to open a bank account with a bank that works well with a travel lifestyle.
3. Figure out your skills you can monetize
Take inventory of what skills you have to offer that can be monetized online while you travel. Are you skilled in web design, writing, or marketing? Are you able to teach English or another language online? Many digital nomads begin with remote or freelance positions until they can create a steady stream of income through their skills.
Full-time freelancing is also an option. Many digital nomads work as photographers, bookkeepers, consultants, transcriptionists, or virtual assistants. Remote customer service and support jobs are also easy freelance positions to find online.
4. Work Abroad Instead
If you’re not ready to be tied to your laptop, working abroad might be a better fit for you, especially if you are planning on staying in one place for a while. This option can be trickier since you’ll need visas or residential permits.
Happy at your current job? If you feel that you’re able to be as effective in your current position remotely and in different time zones, you can try to convince your boss to let you become a remote worker.
5. Plan Other Logistics
Once you know how you’ll be making an income, you should also figure out other concerns. You’ll need insurance, access to affordable healthcare, and to be sure you’re in compliance with U.S. and local laws surrounding your travel and work status.
Becoming a digital nomad takes lots of preparation and hard work. Building your business and preparing for your journeys will take some time. If traveling as a lifestyle is your goal, you should start planning and taking action as soon as you can.