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Are you dreaming about how to become a digital nomad?
You might have looked at people on Instagram posing for pictures in beautiful resorts and wondered how on earth they earn money? Or you have a friend of a friend who seems to travel constantly and take their work with them?
I used to be this person, who scrolled my social media, wondering how people managed to work from remote, tropical islands.
And then I took a leap of faith in January 2019 and decided to go live the digital nomad life.
I didn’t feel ready at the time as I didn’t earn a lot of money from my freelancing writing. But I thought if I wait around till the exactly right time – I could be waiting forever!
So I took the risk and travelled before I was earning a full-time income online. Because I knew this would give me the motivation to work on building my own online business.
Plus, I knew I could live on a lot less in Asia.
And I don’t regret it. Over the last 2 years, I’ve been travelling all over SE Asia freelance writing and building new passive income streams.
Now I’m here to pass on what I’ve learned and help you to become a digital nomad.
Why Become a Digital Nomad?
Living the digital nomad life means building a life on your own terms.
You can choose a remote job or online business that aligns with your passions and skills.
Going to work can mean working on your balcony with seas views, setting yourself up in a coffee shop or even finding a co-working space in a new city.
Your works hours are your choice – work from 8am-12pm, 5pm-10pm, take Wednesdays off or have three days off a week, it’s up to you!
Having location independence is incredible. You can stay in a new destination for as long or as little as you like. If you love an area, stay and get to know it. Or if you’ve had enough, move on to the next place.
You can work certain hours of your day as a freelancer or remote employee or set up passive income streams that pay you while you sleep.
The freedom to design your life exactly how you want it to be is one of the big draws of the digital nomad life.
How Do Digital Nomads Make Money?
There are many different ways to make money as a digital nomad. It really is up to you, to have a think about where your skills and passions lie. But if you haven’t got the right skills that translate to online work – don’t panic as you can easily find cheap and free training online.
I detail at the bottom of this article, the best places to find free training that will give you the right skills for remote work.
Best Digital Nomad Jobs
When learning how to become a digital nomad, you first have to choose a path that excites you. Do you want to be a freelancer, helping other businesses with various tech and creative jobs. Will you stay working for your company remotely or apply to work for another company that allows remote employees. Or, will you start your own online business?
- Work remotely for a company
- Start an online business
Take a look below, where I break down the three options on how to become a digital nomad.
Start a Freelance Career
Many freelance careers can be started as a side hustle while you still have a full-time job. But what starts as part-time, can be transitioned into a full-time income while you travel as a digital nomad. Some great freelance jobs to get are;
- Logo or graphic designer
- Video/photo editing
- Web design/development
- Social media management
- English teacher
- SEO specialist
- Virtual assistant
Many businesses use freelancers to help out with the day to day running of operations. If you are experienced in any of the fields mentioned above, you can set yourself up as an expert and outreach to get freelance work.
If you don’t have the relevant skills, but are passionate for one freelance position, take some free or cheap training. There are many free courses online you can take advantage of.
I can recommend the Work At Home Bundle of ECourses which gives you over $1,600 worth of value for a tiny $47. You can check it out HERE. Each course was built by other super successful online business owners, digital nomads and experts.
You’ll learn how to create money-making side hustles, how to find high paying remote-jobs, how to start an online business and how to be more productive working remotely.
The Work At Home Bundle is perfect for anyone wanting to know how to become a digital nomad or how to work from home.
Work Remotely for a Company
If you currently work for a company and the bulk of your work is done on a computer, have you thought about asking them to work remotely?
While this may be a scary proposition to confront your boss, you might be surprised at how open they would be to let you go remote.
If you think about it, working remotely is actually advantageous to your company as well.
They will not have to pay for your office space, stationery, meals and any other extra costs like travel.
Maybe start by asking to work from home one or two days a week. And then as time goes on, you can work up to entirely working remotely.
And even travelling and working from another country as a digital nomad!
If you’re not sure how to start the conversation with your boss, check out this free guide.
Start an Online Business
This option will probably take the longest to start making a good income from. But, if you have the motivation to run your own business, this is by far the best long term option that can create proper financial freedom.
Here are some great online businesses to start.
A niche blog: Starting a blog is a top idea for a profitable online business. You won’t make money immediately as you need to take time building up traffic. But once you have built up readers and worked on building your website domain authority, a blog can make you a HUGE amount of money. Some ways to monetize a blog are;
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Selling courses
- Sell EBooks or printable packs
- Creating a membership area
Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing is a lucrative way to make money with a blog or without a blog. It is a partnership between you and a product owner, where you promote their product and receive a commission when someone buys through your personal link.
If you have a blog, you can choose products to promote that align with your content. So if you write a blog post about ‘’9 top destinations in France’’, you could partner with travel companies like Agoda, Booking.com, SkyScanner or AirBnB for example.
If you don’t have a blog, you can use your free social media accounts to build a niche audience and promote products to them. When you are looking at affiliate platforms, make sure you check their terms and conditions. Some may require you to have a blog and some may not.
Other factors to consider are; cookie duration, affiliate terms, commission rate and is there any affiliate support or training. Affiliate marketing can take some time to start earning commissions. But once you have systems in place, you will make passive income even while you sleep.
Recommended reading: What are the best travel blog affiliate programs? Earn money while you explore
E-Commerce Store: Learning how to become a digital nomad can take a little trial and error. While there are many online businesses you can start pretty easily, it takes time to build your brand and turn leads into sales. An E-Commerce store is exactly the same – it’s easy to set up on Shopify or WooCommerce but you need to learn how to choose the right products and market it.
With over 1.92 billion buying products online and these numbers will continue to soar, there’s never been a better time to start a store online.
Some profitable E-Commerce business ideas to try are; beauty and health products, smart watches, EBooks, online educational courses, kids toys and games, clothing and smart home products.
Print on Demand Apparel: Do you have a knack for funny slogans or eye-catching graphic design prints? If you do, starting a print on demand (POD) business could be a good option. Another good thing about this business is that you don’t have to order bulk stock and risk having leftovers if it doesn’t sell. Print on demand means your design will only get printed onto a product when an order is placed. Many POD platforms have sprung up over the years like;
The majority of these platforms let you start for free and are extremely newbie-friendly. Upload your own designs or create one on the platform, choose which products you want to put your designs on and then display your goods in your store.
Some of the POD platforms will help your market your products. But it’s always advised to market your products on social media or a blog for extra exposure. Keep track on which of your designs sell and if they don’t, delete and add another design to your products. A top, low-risk way to start an online business as a digital nomad.
Etsy Shop: Etsy customers are mainly female with the majority being between the age of 25-40. The best products to sell on Etsy are; Jewelry, party décor, digital printables and artwork, socks, bags, accessories, handmade kids clothing, t-shirts, vintage items, home décor and planner items. Starting an Etsy store is free, but you will have to pay a listing fee, a transaction fee and a payment processing fee.
Check out 7 steps to a successful start on Etsy.
Online Coaching: Do you have a particular niche skill you could help others with? Online coaching is a hugely profitable business you can set up remotely. If you have a niche blog, you can write about your expert subject and market your coaching services to help others achieve a goal or solve a problem.
For example, many bloggers will add coaching services to their income streams after they have got their blog to a certain stage. If you’ve worked in fitness or health before, you could coach people online through MyPTHub, Tarinerize, PTDistinction or True Coach.
Lead Generation: Leads are the foundation of every business online or offline. Without them, they won’t survive very long. According to statistics, 60% of UK businesses fail in the first 3 years! While there will be many factors as to why a business fails, one of the big reasons will be not knowing how to generate a consistent flow of leads.
You can start a lead generation business to help with this. One option is to start a ‘rank and rent’ business. This is where you build out a website for a particular niche, rank it on Google and contact local businesses to see if they would like to rent it off you monthly for a fee.
You win as you get a recurring monthly income from the website. And they win, as they get continual leads from their website ranking on the first page of Google. This is a lucrative digital nomad business you can start online from anywhere in the world.
Freelance Agency: If you’ve been freelancing successfully for a few years, it could be time to move onto the next level. Starting your own agency is the next logical step where you can take on some staff and build up your client base. It will take a lot more work finding good employees, managing staff, finding and keeping enough clients and dealing with all the paperwork, but if you’re ready for the next challenge this is a good way to go.
Take a look at this guide; How to start an agency after successfully freelancing.
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Other Best Digital Nomad Jobs to Make Money While Travelling
When you start your life as a digital nomad, certain careers might take time to build up to a full-time income. But the good thing is, you can take on a few remote side gigs to bump up your earnings.
Many online task sites require you to have little or no experience. This is great when you need to start making extra cash straight away. Just as long as you have good WIFI and a laptop, you can apply to different online platforms for extra work.
Here are some top ideas to make extra side hustle income;
- VIPKid English teacher
- Chegg tutoring
- Usertesting website tester
- The Social Element social media manager
- Belay virtual assistant
- TranscribeMe transcriptionist
- Amazon Mechanical Turk worker
- Digital tasks on Clickworker
- Review calls with Humantic
- Contribute at Picky Domains
- Take surveys on Survey Junkie
Recommended reading: 19 legit jobs to earn money from home (beginner friendly)
Conclusion – How to Become a Digital Nomad
As you can see, there are many ways to become a digital nomad.
Take some time to try out a few ways of making money online, while you still have a full-time job. This allows you to test things out and if it fails you have your main income to fall back on.
If you have a career that is done mainly on your computer, have that conversation with your boss about going remote. Or, have a look around online for companies similar to your current one, that actually let staff work remotely.
If you need to get extra skills so you can get a remote job, take free online courses. Here are some top online free course providers;
- LinkedIn Learning
- Hubspot Academy
- Code Academy
If you want to start a money-making blog, you can check out my FREE in-depth guide here.
To build a passive income stream, check out my free guide on ‘how to make affiliate sales in 30 days’.
For more FREE training, check out the complete guide of 60+ FREE social media and affiliate marketing courses.
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