Note: Written for purely for selfish reasons: The more digital nomads are out there, the more new buddies we have to meet in every country! The bigger the community of nomads and the greater the movement becomes! 🙂
So what do digital nomad jobs entail?
Thinking about digital nomad jobs, you may be tempted to limit yourself to only considering roles based around web design and writing online content. This is the part where we have to remind you of something, we are in 2013!
This is the most exciting time in the history of digital nomadism, because it really is possible for anybody who has the will to learn and who has an excitement in being able to freely experiment in different ways of earning their way through life. Sound like you?? Good then you may read on..
Two ways of going about this
You will find a lot of people who are quite tech savvy using their skills to earn money and many of them do quite well. We’re going to assume that if you already know how to create an app, develop a WordPress theme or create websites that earn you money through affiliate sales, you already know what you are doing. In which case, all you need to do is move out of your parents basement and get on a one-way flight and bang – you’re a digital nomad! Hooray!
For those coming into the scene backwards – i.e you want to become digital nomads, perhaps you have already set off but now need a way of funding your nomadic life, we have some information for you – we did the same!
Everything that we know now, we didn’t know when we set off. We saved for six months as a buffer for when it all went wrong and had trust in ourselves that we would be able to survive. All we needed were three things…
- Time to learn new skills
- To live in a place with very little living costs
- The freedom to experiment with different projects, with no fear of failure
None of these we had when we were working full time.
We appreciate that for some people, it would seem way too risky to set off without knowing where the money will come from. Chris Guillabeau once said that the best time to start a new business is while you are still working full time as there is minimum risk. This is pretty much the only advice from Chris that we haven’t agreed with, but this is just a personal choice. For us we needed time, not financial security.
In our non-stop searching online for ways of funding our new nomadic life, we did come up with quite a few options and this is what we want to share with you now. As was said before, it is 2013. There are very little places now that you will go to that doesn’t have some kind of internet connection. This gives you the freedom of living anywhere you want if you just have a way of keeping the money coming in.
Lets look at some of the options..
Online teaching and tutoring can be done over Skype, MSN or any video calling platform. It may take time to find your client base, but it can be worth it as you don’t need to share your profits. There are also companies such as Verbling.com, which can help you. The only commitment needed for Verbling is a minimum 5 hours a week and you will need to set your own teaching schedule.
Another company you can work for are KukuSpeak where you teach English for 20 hours a week.
If teaching English isn’t your thing, there is always the opportunity to tutor students in a range of subjects through TutorVista.com . Most of the students are from the UK or US, so expect to be teaching during the evening for these time zones.
Here is a great article from an online teacher giving advice for wannabe online teachers.
If you have administrative experience from your old job, then you can likely make a location independent career out of it. With websites like Elance or Odesk you can bid for work and build an online reputation for yourself. An easier option is to contact old work colleagues and see if they might hire your services. This will ensure a higher pay rate as the trust factor is already there. The idea is to try and earn dollars while spending baht.
Here is a post written by a VA with tips for other potential VAs in the making.
If you work in a role where you provide a service, but don’t always need to have face to face customer contact then you should be able to do it from anywhere. This works really well for Graphic Designers, Telemarketers, Marketing and PR Consultants, Translators, Photographers, Illustrators and the list goes on.
Check out PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Guru.com. These sites are all good places to get ideas of what freelance work people are offering and what they are paying for. As soon as you are living in cheaper locations you will be able to offer quite competitive rates, ensuring return business.
Here’s a comprehensive article that outlines all the steps that you need to consider when becoming a freelancer.
The digital nomad jobs listed above are really all about providing a service to clients. The list of services you could be offering is endless. We have only mentioned the more popular ideas in order to get you excited about the possibilites, but there is a pattern to be seen throughout all of them.
- Become an expert at something very specific
- Offer a service, delivered remotely online
- Sell that service for a good price
To get more ideas on services, if you haven’t already, check out Fiverr.com. This is proof that the list is endless and it is really down to you to scope out where you can fit amongst all of it and what you can offer the world. Some of the services provided are downright bizarre and require little time or talent such as these human billboard offers.
More automation please?
If you’re like us and are always time-hungry, you might prefer going in a different direction. We always tend to gravitate towards projects that may be a lot of work in the beginning, but which we know will eventually run automatically by themselves.
For example, you could change the teaching methods above. Instead of doing it live over and over. You could record a series of teachings and then sell the videos and some instructions as a complete package. It would be a lot of work at first, but work you would only need to do once. Having more customers now wouldn’t equate to having to do more work. It wouldn’t make a difference if one person bought it one day or if one hundred people bought it. You would earn more money, but you wouldn’t need to work harder.
This makes your business very scalable and passive and frees up your time to do other things.
Creating digital products such as a training video, ebook, artwork, wordpress designs, etc is our favourite way of earning while we travel. Here is why..
- Once the work is done we don’t have to keep thinking about it.
- We have as much time as we like to work on projects. No deadlines or strict hours of work.
- The better job we do, the more we will be paid in the long run.
- It is more fun and interesting to keep starting new projects rather than doing the same each day.
We have come to believe that it is not really about what skills you possess to decide how successful you will be in funding your nomadic life. It is about the frame of mind you are in and how open you are to new possibilities and how open you are to learning whatever it is that you need to learn. You have to be 100% ready to change everything if that is what it takes.
You will come across a number of opportunities with people you meet, inspiration you get from blogs and training videos and from a variety of resources that you will discover by yourself. Everybody has their own path. There are thousands of digital nomads about with thousands of different ways that they earn their money and a different story to tell.
Digital Nomad Hangouts
When it comes to finding great places to visit as a digital nomad and to get further inspiration, we have done a lot of the hard work for you. Aren’t we nice! We have travelled to quite a few digital nomad hotspots within the last two years and have constructed a list of places that offer a great standard of life, lots of cheap internet, many digital nomad buddies to connect with and a world of opportunity to be explored. There are digital nomad meetup groups all over the world.
We try to be as transparent as possible when it comes to how we earn money as we know reader’s will appreciate this. We have written our current two main sources of income, which allow us to travel indefinitely and start new projects without fear of failure. It is important to realise that a lot of digital nomads do have some kind of backup income, whether it be from renting property, from savings or from passive online businesses. We believe this to be an important step in achieving complete autonomy and something everybody should try to achieve in some way. If your food and rent is already paid for, you have much more time to think about moving forward and less time worrying about the little things.