Confession time. I quit my job to explore the world. But, let’s be honest here, in this age of digital connectivity, it’s not exactly a bold or original move anymore. Almost every other week, someone is quitting their job and announcing their plans for world domination (in the Best possible way, of course). Still, the question remains – how exactly are these people funding their #travelforever lifestyle?
Yes, there is always work Involved – the choice you make, however, can make a whole lotta difference. Whether you’re saving up for a gap year or figuring out how to earn on the move, there are ways to make it all happen if you’re up for it.
Here’s where I come In, folks. I’ve made all the rookie mistakes possible (trust me, there were many). So, if you’re looking for some real talk on the life of a successful digital nomad, keep reading.
1. Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself, Skills-wise
Let’s dive in. Truth is, most of us don’t have a clue what we want to do with our lives at some point, right? Not me. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer. So after high school, I studied my socks off for 6.5 years and finally became a qualified lawyer. My mom was thrilled. But things took a turn when I told her I was walking away from my law career – which, before you wonder, was nothing like Suits – to become a travel blogger.
The biggest hurdle during my transition from lawyer to blogger was my lack of transferable skills. Legal writing is the opposite of creative writing, and my law background wasn’t doing me any favors. I’d essentially hit reset, starting from scratch. I taught myself my writing voice, how to design websites, how to run social media accounts and how to build a business.
I also sharpened my photography and videography skills. I never stop learning and expanding my horizons. In the process, I discovered there’s a wide range of options for successful digital nomad careers, not just blogging.
So if you’re still figuring out your life’s path or aspire to be a digital nomad, choose courses and skills that open doors and leave you with a broad range of opportunities to thrive.If you’re unsure of what you want to do and feel pressured to pick something, look at online courses (there are a lot of cheap or free courses on sites like Udemy) and try your hand at coding, design or social media management. You can also look at TESL certificate courses to teach English abroad or online!
2. Don’t Rush The Process and Launch Too Early
We know that patience is virtuous (insert eye-roll) but what do you do if you’re super excited to just get into it and start seeing that cash roll in? Well, you don’t rush it and you definitely don’t want to launch your blog or business before it’s ready. This is my biggest regret with my blog, LVV Travel.
When I launched my blog, I initially intended it to be a platform for me to share my travel experiences with family and friends. I was eager to get it up and running and admittedly, did not plan to turn it into a business. However, I missed several critical components related to branding, marketing, and content, which were crucial to its success.
My website today is vastly different from what it was two years ago. At that time, I could have achieved the same result, but I was impatient and rushed the process. I hoped to go live despite not having content ready. As a result, I’m still paying for that mistake today because I often find myself struggling to produce timely, consistent content.
If you’re looking to launch a blog or provide services such as virtual assistance or social media management, give yourself sufficient time to refine your skills. This way, you won’t be burdened with immense pressure to do a million things at once. Not only will this make your blog or business more appealing and attractive, but you’ll also enjoy the experience a lot more!
3. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Social media and its focus on success rather than failure can fuel a sense of envy. Comparing ourselves to others can lead to feelings of disappointment, regardless of however much we may be achieving ourselves.
I may have uttered those thoughts myself one too many times: “How did they achieve so much success in such a short amount of time with their blog?” And it’s not wrong to feel this way. However, it’s all dependent on how we choose to view our triumphs and the victories of others.
It dawned on me that I was only holding myself back by constantly comparing. There was no added benefit other than added stress, worry and in turn, feeling like I was failing myself. It was time to think differently. I defined what success meant to me; I took every opportunity, regardless of pay or stature, to learn and grow. I made micro goals for myself according to my unique skill set, time and plans to enhance any lacking expertise.
Don’t forget to keep things simple, realistic and remember that everyone has their own path. Your voice matters, and we all bring something different to the table. Don’t see others as a competition to beat, but as colleagues in the same market. So stay authentic and true to yourself – just do you!
4. Don’t Take On Every Task Yourself
It’s not a contradiction to the first point. Every digital nomad knows that taking on every task yourself is a recipe for disaster. While trying everything is good, striking a balance between task duration and outsourcing expense is key. It was tough for me as a control freak and penny-pincher to admit that I needed help. This caused a waste of time that could have been spent on crucial tasks like content creation, which only I could do.
The solution? Know your strengths and weaknesses. Categorize tasks that you alone can do and others that can be outsourced. Consider trading skills if you can’t afford to pay someone, or visit sites like Fiverr for cost-friendly digital and website services. Evaluate what’s worth your money and align it with your budget. Just recently, I found my website lagging. The daunting task of speeding it up would take hours, forcing me to turn to a reliable freelancer. For only $50, the job was done right and fast, freeing up my time to focus on higher value tasks.
5. Don’t Forget To Balance Work with LIFE
If you want to be a successful digital nomad with flexibility and freedom, please know that it’s not always easy (check out this recent post on the Downsides of a Digital Nomad Lifestyle). The demand for your time and energy is huge and it may not always pay off (for many people it doesn’t). It’s crucial, though, for your mental health and for your business, that you don’t forget to maintain a work-life balance.
Remember why you wanted the digital nomad life in the first place and don’t let the work consume you. I promise you, your to-do list will keep growing, and there will always be work to do. However, the opportunity to go diving in the Red Sea with your bestie or spend a week in Bali with your family may be a now-or-never scenario. And, besides: Work will always be there when you return from your adventure!
Work is a means to end and shouldn’t become your entire life. Don’t forget to keep living and traveling and enjoy your life as a successful digital nomad. That is, after all, the reason you got into it in the first place, right?
What are your thoughts on the DN life? Did you make the same mistakes when launching into your life as a digital nomad? Or are you a newbie who’s found this article helpful? Share your experience with us and comment below.