Want to travel the world? Meet new people and live the life of a minimalist? If so, then you may be the perfect candidate for the digital nomadic lifestyle. Chances are excellent that you know someone who is doing this and you may have heard it’s easy or you may have heard it’s hard. Well, both answers are correct. Without a smart strategy, you can quickly get yourself in severe financial trouble.
Digital nomads are on the rise
Over the last five years, the notion of working somewhere other than in a cubicle has piqued the interest of quite a few college graduates and others. According to Google, the search term “digital nomad” is on the rise.
Studies conducted in 2014 revealed over 53 million Americans, or 34% of the workforce, call themselves “freelancers.”
Chance are you have heard of those who have “struck it rich” in Thailand, Bali, Germany, Vietnam or Barcelona. Many have. But just as many launched their digital nomad life without a strategy and have given up.
Don’t let that be you.
A smart strategy to ensure you are successful
Contrary to popular belief, creating a startup business and running off to some exotic location to run it isn’t the only way to get started. It also isn’t the smartest way to get started. Here are other options you must consider first.
1. Work as an employee for a company first but on your own terms
If you fear you may not have the skills you need to work independently, your best bet is to find a traditional ob, preferably one that allows you to work remotely, that will teach you the skills you need.
These may be hard skills such as digital marketing or copywriting, or they may be soft skills such as time management and goal setting.
Also, a traditional job usually comes with benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, education reimbursement, and a 401K. As a digital nomad, you will have to foot the bill for all this.
“I want to get started now!” Ok, I get it. But, a job with a real company that allows you to work remotely is not a bad alternative, at least for now. Here are 100 companies that offer remote work opportunities.
2. Start with a job abroad
With this option, you work as an employee for a real company, but in another country. This often requires work visas and the like, but it is an excellent way to learn whether you are cut out for the nomadic life while again, getting all those benefits mentioned above.
A Google search will provide you with a list of organizations, such as GoAboard. Many of the companies I listed above are overseas. If you speak the language, almost certainly a requirement to get a job in a non-English speaking country, and you have a unique skill, this may be a good option for you.
I recommend you find the companies you would like to work for in a particular country and contact their HR departments and search their job listings.
3. Freelance in your spare time
You probably know by now that freelancing is ubiquitous. There are so many sites that allow you to set up shop and you can do this often while holding down a real job. Not easy, but it can be done.
And, there is no reason you need to sell your services on just one freelance site. In fact, if freelancing is something you want to do, I suggest that you use several.
Some of the sites you may want to use are: [insert links] bulleted list
- 99 Designs
Ah, but you say, “You can’t make any money on those sites.” Although it may appear that freelancers are working for $5 a job, it isn’t true. Those $5 offers are just lead magnets to entice customers into buying additional services.
One thing you need to keep in mind though, you have to do good work. If you don’t, the rating systems will prevent you from getting future customers.
4. Convince your current boss to allow you to work remotely
In my blog, “Ditch the Commute: Make your case for teleworking” I help you make the case for teleworking.
Do you know that as of June 2017, “3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time? Furthermore, “Forty percent more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago.”
In that article, I discuss 5 steps for approaching and convincing your boss to allow you work remotely some or all of the time. Those five steps are:
- Sit down with your supervisor and have the talk
- Offer to be a test dummy if this would be new to the company
- Offer to start gradually
- Solve the communication concerns most bosses have
- Explain the need for different types of time such as quiet time for writing or quiet time for analysis
Great jobs for Digital Nomads
Here is a list of jobs that are terrific candidates for remote work:
- Computer Programming
- Website Design
- Digital Marketing
- Graphic Design
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Coaching & Consulting
- Virtual Assistance
If you are in a highly technical field such as computer programming or network security, chances are good you could find just one solid customer, or maybe two, and stand up your own online business. But, if you have skills that are not in high demand, the path I lay out above might be less risky for you. That said, you can always be working to develop your skills, network and client base to the point where you can start your own business. By “easing” into remote working, and creating a foundation for becoming a digital nomad, you are more likely to succeed.
Get started by joining these Digital Nomad communities
There are quite a few amazing websites and blogs written by those who are making a living as digital nomads. You should check these out and get a feel for the lifestyle, pros and cons, and strategies for taking your dream to the next level. My favorite is Wifi Tribe which has an all-inclusive package for those who want to experience this with others.
Take care till next week,
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