So you’ve decided to quit your suffocating 9-to-5 job and hit the road. Is your dream to work remotely while traveling the world or start your own company from a beach in Thailand? Do you even know, or are you unsure? Then you’ll want to take a look at this foolproof five-step guide on how to become a digital nomad.
Since you’re reading this article, you’ve probably had this one question on your mind for a while: How does one become a digital nomad? The truth is, the journey is different for everyone. For some, it happens accidentally.
They take on a remote position or start an online business and realize after a while that they might be better off spending their time in warmer weather. For others, it’s a planned process with loads of preparation. Some might be in love with the idea of traveling and eventually learn how to create an online income in order to make their dream come true.
Wherever you are on your journey, if you know you truly want to become a digital nomad, use this simple five-step guide to get one step closer to your goal!
5.) Decide How You’ll Earn Money
Do you want to be a freelancer?
A simple way to become a digital nomad is to take a skill you already have and offer it to people. It’s probably the quickest and easiest way to become location-independent, and it’s how I got started two years ago.
Offering your services as a freelancer or a virtual assistant, you can create a stable income that allows you to travel the world, living your #workanywhere dream.
Think you don’t have any skills to offer? No worries! Nowadays, there are plenty of courses on the internet that can help you to acquire the knowledge that you need for a location-independent freelance business.
Many of them are free or very affordable and teach you web development, graphic design, web design, copywriting or how to set up Facebook ads.
Do you want to work remotely for a company?
Should you want to become a digital nomad, then working remotely for a company can be a great option. You’ll have a secure job and all the perks of working remotely. If you’re the type that needs security,instead of relying on clients and living with the pressure of not having a set income every month, then finding a remote job could be the perfect way for you to become a digital nomad.
The first question to ask yourself should be whether your current employer would allow you to work remotely. You might be surprised how many companies are actually happy to keep existing employees on board, allowing them to choose where to work from and to create a more flexible work schedule.
If you’re not that lucky with your employer or would love a change, then check out the following digital nomad job boards:
Do you want to be an entrepreneur?
Another possibility is to become your own boss! As an entrepreneur, you get to create an online business in graphic design or social media marketing, just as I did, or sell a product on Shopify or Amazon. You could sell physical products like superfoods or T-shirts using existing platforms such as Amazon, or you could set up an online course and become a coach.
This option will give you the most freedom and feeling of purpose. Instead of trading time for money, you’ll be working toward your own goals. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out one of the following resources for rookie online entrepreneurs:
- Kate Bagoy’s three-month online course for ambitious creatives
- Podcasts are an amazing way to become a better entrepreneur. Check out the following podcasts to get started: Entrepreneur on Fire, Eventual Millionaire, Online Marketing Made Easy
4.) Make Your Money Work For You
Passive income is one of the smartest ways to make money on the road, as it means you’ll be receiving an automatic income every month, while you’re staying on a super-flexible traveler’s schedule, choosing to work when and where you please. Diversifying your sources of income will be a huge game changer.
I myself rely on different streams of income, from freelancing in social media marketing, setting up Facebook ads for my clients and affiliate marketing, to blogging and running an online shop.
Diversifying your income will give you a more secure setup and will have you worrying less about where rent for the next month is going to come from.
Are you ready to hear the naked truth about the digital nomad lifestyle? Then read the following article on the downsides of the digital nomad lifestyle nobody else will tell you about!
3.) Reduce and Eliminate Expenses
Before hitting the road, make sure that you’ll be able to cover all of your recurring expenses without a regular paycheck. Minimize the number of bills to pay back home or eliminate them altogether, if you can. Think of gym memberships, subscription services and any debt obligations you might have.
Do you own a car? Consider selling it. Do you own a house or apartment? Think about downsizing, renting the space out or even selling it, using the money as an investment in your new business.
While you’re on the road, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to splurge and treat yourself. Try to be smart. Learn to budget and remember that you’ll have to carry every purchase you make to the next destination and the one after that.
Read my guide on how to become a house sitter and live in amazing villas around the globe, while not spending a dollar on rent – just like I did for six months during the last year alone.
2.) Set Your Goals and Create a Plan
As a digital nomad, it’s very easy to get carried away with your lifestyle. Many people move to cheap places like Chiang Mai and Bali and find that they don’t need to work hard to live comfortably.
They arrive with ambitious goals but, sadly, soon lose their determination. That’s why you need something you can work toward and to stay focused on it. If you want to become a digital nomad, you need a plan.
Be clear about what you want from work and your private life, where you will go and how long you’ll stay there, but also what you’ll do while you’re there.
Make sure to get proper insurance and always have a Plan B. Set up a comfortable savings account before leaving home, this will bring you through the tough months, sickness or other unforeseen events.
Looking for a traveler’s insurance? Check out World Nomads insurances for people from 140 countries, with medical and evacuation cover, 24-hour emergency assistance and over 150 adventure activities.
1.) Decide on a Destination
A digital nomad has to choose his or her destination carefully, especially when money is tight in the beginning. With a little bit of research, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a home away from home that offers both a low cost of living while providing the amenities you’re looking for.
This makes it often easier for nomads to start a new business or freelance journey from abroad, as the cost of living can be much lower than in the country of origin.
As a digital nomad, you’ll develop a different travel mindset. You’ll realize, that it can be stressful and rather unproductive to move to another country every other week or month. Therefore I highly recommend staying in one spot for at least two months. In doing so, you will have enough time to both focus on work, make friends and go on adventures.
If you’re not sure how to find the perfect place to stay, check out digital nomad Facebook groups for the destination of your choice or simply book a cozy Airbnb for the first week. That will give you enough time to find a more permanent home.
No idea where your journey should start? Here is a list of this year’s digital nomad hotspots you should check out!