The complete beginners guide to becoming a digital nomad.
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Have you ever wondered how you can work and live from anywhere as a digital nomad? It may seem like a constant vacation for someone looking in, especially with all the beautiful photos you see on social media, but the lifestyle is not always ideal.
It is easy to underestimate how much work actually goes into being a remote worker or consider the constant challenge of balancing work and travel.
Becoming a nomadic freelancer is not easy, but if you are willing to do the work it can give you the freedom and independence that you have always wanted.
You’ll have the ability to create your own hours, live in any location you want and not be stuck in a desk job that can make you have the worst cabin fever.
Before leaving my 9-5 I was always restless and even had a few panic attacks. I thought it was because I needed to travel and leave a job that I didn’t find fulfilling. But, I realized that it was also because I was not living the life that I truly wanted to live.
I knew that I wanted to become a “lazy entrepreneur” and craved to be fully independent. So, I began to research the different ways to fulfill my dreams to have an independent lifestyle.
What is a digital nomad?
Before we go any further, let’s talk about what a digital nomad actually is and how you can work from anywhere.
They are typically workers who travel to different locations. They work in co-working spaces, coffee shops, and any place where they can have access to wifi and internet hotspots.
Since they have the flexibility of being able to work from a laptop, a location independent entrepreneur has the freedom to work from anywhere and will have the opportunity to travel to different cities or choose to stay in a long term home base when you are a remote worker.
Who is the ideal digital nomad?
Let’s be realistic. This lifestyle is not for everyone. I have seen so many wanna be remote workers crash and burn, not because they did not have the right skills to become successful but because they did not anticipate the discipline that’s required to have a steady stream of income.
So, before you dive into becoming a nomadic worker ask you self these questions:
Am I self-motivated?
Being a nomadic freelancer requires you to be in charge of your own schedule. Your boss will not be in the same space so, monitoring how you spend your time is crucial to your success.
If you are prone to get distracted and your time management skills are poor, it will be extremely hard for you to succeed in this field. But don’t worry, we all struggle with distractions and being self-motivated. Lucky for you, there are a lot of techniques you can use to beat these distractions.
Using productivity tools like the forest app can keep you accountable by helping you stay away from your smartphone and stay focused on your tasks.
You can also use the Pomodoro technique which is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work intervals. The work intervals usually lasts for 25 minutes with a 5 minute break.
Another way to stay productive is to create set hours and boundaries for your self as well as your business. These boundaries will help you form and maintain a healthy work/life balance that will be beneficial for you in the future since it will allow you to avoid burnout.
Am I able to adapt to different situations and be open to failure?
There will be a lot of roadblocks- from communication issues, visa hurdles, unpaid invoices, difficult clients and so much more hardships. So, being flexible and not letting the “little things” ruin your day can play a huge role in your happiness.
Instead of stressing out on the small issues, think of the bigger picture and focus your energy on the projects that really matter. And if that doesn’t work, remember – being angry and stressed out will not solve the problem.
Look at each set back as a learning opportunity and figure out different ways to solve them. It is OK to be upset, but do not let it ruin your flow and motivation.
I often find that the people who have failed the most are also the most successful. They have decided to learn from each setback to create a better product or service. So remember, you are not failing– you are learning.
Now that you’re familiar with the digital nomad lifestyle, let’s take a look at the 11 things you should consider before becoming a location independent entrepreneur.
- 5 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR THE LAPTOP LIFESTYLE.
- 9 LESSONS I LEARNED FAILING SPECTACULARLY AS A FREELANCER AND HOW IT IS HELPING ME SUCCEED TODAY.
- AVOID BECOMING A HERMIT AS A REMOTE WORKER.
Set realistic expectations.
Before you take the leap to leave your 9-5, ask yourself why you want to hit the road. Are you doing it for the right reasons or do you have unrealistic expectations that it will all be a constant vacation?
If you have romanticized this lifestyle, then you are in for a big surprise. Most of your days will consist of working in your pj’s- indoors and not in front of the beach. Because let’s face it, you’ll be too busy to go to the beach and being under the heat of the sun with your laptop will not be an ideal working space.
On the other hand, if you have done enough research and understand that you will work as hard or even harder as a digital nomad than in your 9-5, then you will be more prepared for this lifestyle.
It is important to learn what you’re getting yourself into before taking the leap. Once you consider all these outcomes you will understand that it can also be extremely rewarding and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start sooner!
Have enough savings for the lean times.
The main thing that most of us worry about even with a steady day job is making enough money to pay our bills. As a remote worker, you will experience a lot of lean times before you create a steady income.
So, before leaving your stable job, make sure that you have paid off all of your debt (or as much as you can) and have enough savings that will last you for at least 6 or more months.
This will alleviate the stress of paying your bills and stop you from making poor decisions that will force you to do projects that do not align with your goals.
Use your personal skills to land that digital nomad job.
There’s a misconception that you need to be extremely tech-savvy or have a ton of experience in order to become a remote worker. Fortunately, that is untrue and you be a location independent with the skills you already have.
I have interviewed so many people on The Offbeat Life Podcast who left their day job to follow their dreams or had to work online after being laid off from their 9-5 and used the skills they already had from their previous work.
LISTEN TO THESE RELATED EPISODES:
- HOW TO USE YOUR CURRENT SKILLS TO BECOME A TRAVELING FREELANCER
- HOW TO USE THE RIGHT SKILLS TO MARKET AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT.
- HOW TO BECOME A FREELANCE LOCATION INDEPENDENT WRITER
- HOW TO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD AS TRAVEL BLOGGERS.
- HOW TO CREATE A MILLION DOLLAR BLOG WHILE FULL TIME RVING.
Take a look at your current skills and brainstorm how you can use them to help other people. For example, are you organized, resourceful and a great problem solver? Then you would be a great candidate to become a virtual assistant.
I have hired several virtual assistants who had very little experience but were extremely resourceful and trainable who became integral to the success of my business.
Know your best assets, and start marketing them to potential clients. You will be surprised how many people will need your skills and hire you to do something that you are good at and accomplish tasks that you already enjoy!
Learn how to communicate efficiently as a remote worker.
What can make or break your success as a digital nomad is how well you communicate with your clients. It is hard enough to communicate properly when you are sitting face to face with your client, but having to communicate through a screen can make tasks even more difficult.
In order to be an effective communicator, you have to be flexible and adaptable with each of your clients because everyone communicates differently.
Make sure that your team clearly understands when you will be available and provide them with the best platform to reach you when a problem arises.
Being prepared for the worst-case scenario can help you deal with bigger issues that may come later. Always have backup plans whether it is with your backup-drives or the availability of an internet connection.
It can get lonely.
Being a digital nomad has a lot of perks, but the biggest is being able to work from anywhere. But when you are constantly moving around or working from home it can be hard to connect with others when you no longer have co-workers.
Working from home can feel freeing and it is easy to become a hermit when all your work is within your reach. There is no need to commute, which means you don’t have to leave home unless you have to.
I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t leave the house for several days while working from home. Realizing that I was becoming a hermit, I began to create daily routines that allowed me to leave the house to exercise, see friends or just go for a walk to enjoy the sun.
Being a part of a community where you can form bonds and friendships outside of work is also important when you are working remotely.
Try joining a co-working space so you can work in a new environment and network with other people in a similar lifestyle. They will most likely understand your wins and struggles. Who knows, you may even get more clients by putting yourself out there!
Get a travel insurance.
Having insurance is important on the road as it is at home. In fact, you’ll need it more since there will be a lot of unpredictable situations that you may encounter when you are traveling. That’s why having digital nomad insurance is important to purchase when you are planning to start your life on the road.
Having traveled tremendously for work and leisure, I recommend World Nomads travel Insurance or With their insurance, you can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home.
Travel insurance from World Nomads is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and of course remote workers.
Living and working abroad can be unpredictable. If there are any change of plans you can buy more cover or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads travel insurance if you’re already traveling.
I want to make sure you get the most from WorldNomads.com. You can find out more about why travel insurance is important for your trip. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact WorldNomads.com directly.
You do not have to travel full-time.
The biggest appeal of being a remote freelancer is the ability to become nomadic. But traveling full-time is not always ideal if you are also working on the road, especially since having a reliable internet source is crucial to your business.
It may be wiser to choose an affordable home-base so that you can focus on your work but also have the convenience of traveling in your spare time.
Personally, I’ve chosen to have a home-base since I found that the constant traveling made me
Get reliable internet
The biggest concern for most digital nomads is the internet speeds when they are traveling in different destinations.
It can make or break your remote lifestyle because after all if you can’t work you can’t earn.
One of the best inventions for remote workers is WiFi hotspots like Skyroam. Skyroam allows you to be able to travel to different locations around the world with access to the internet.
With Skyroam you can get global wifi at your fingertips! Exciting right?
Research visa and work policies abroad.
The location independent lifestyle is still a fairly new concept, especially in how visas are applied and issued by a specific country.
Digital nomad visas are often based on tourism and not work. Obtaining a tourist visa as a remote worker can be a legal gray area since you are not technically taking a job locally.
However, it is wise to let the country know that you are a digital nomad while there with a tourist visa to avoid future complications.
Make sure to do thorough research on the city you want to visit, especially if you want to prolong your stay. Every country has its own rules, so get all the information before you get on the road.
Optimize your time.
Having a steady schedule can be difficult since you are combining adventures with work. Being on the road and being in different timezones can really stop you from having a solid workflow.
That’s why developing a consistent daily routine even when you are on the go is crucial to your productivity.
Keep in mind that what works well for one person may not necessarily work for another. So, if you haven’t decided on a routine yet, try many different ones until you figure out what’s best for you and your digital nomad lifestyle.
Goal setting is also a great way to optimize your time. Writing down your schedule for the next day and planning ahead in order to set specific and actionable goals will be a game-changer in your productivity.
Being specific with your goals and writing them down will help with accomplishing your goals because they become more real.
The key is to create daily habits that will help you become more productive and balanced even when you are always on the go.
Create different streams of income.
If you think that you can dive into the digital nomad lifestyle with only one stream of income- think again. Unless you are working for a company that will give you enough income to fully support your living expenses, you will need to find different ways to diversify your income.
I found different sources of income months before I left my job. Knowing that I could create income gave me the confidence to leave my 9-5.
I continue to find more ways to diversify my income and I would suggest never relying on one revenue stream. Prepare for the worst and work smart to get the best outcome.
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It can be the best decision you have ever made.
If you’ve read this far, it means you’ve considered all the different obstacles that may come your way and haven’t been scared off!
Good for you!
To reward you for your continued interest, let me tell you a little secret. Being a digital nomad and a location independent entrepreneur can be the best decision you will ever make.
Yes, you will face a lot of difficulties but it can also lead you to living a life of freedom and adventure. So make sure that you are diving into this lifestyle with your eyes wide-open but also be ready for the best time of your life.
You will be meeting many incredible individuals who will share your passions and understand the struggles you may face throughout your incredible journey.
Reach out to other digital nomads before you take the leap and create meaningful connections with these individuals, because they can help you grow and succeed.
You will also have opportunities to explore and experience the world that would never have been possible if you did not have the freedom to live in your own terms.
Be prepared, because this is going to be a wild and amazing ride!
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