10 Things to keep in mind when becoming a digital nomad
When becoming a digital nomad, there are many things to consider before taking the leap into remote work. This list will cover the ins and outs of insurance, accommodations, flights, travel cards and working spaces.
As a digital nomad there are many things to consider before taking the leap into remote work. This list will cover the ins and outs of insurance, accommodations, flights, travel cards and working spaces. I will also cover packing, marketing yourself, nomadic communities and mental health.
Define Digital Nomad:
Digital nomads are people who are location independent and use technology to perform their job. As remote workers, digital nomads spend a lot of their time traveling, they often times work in coffee shops, co working spaces or where they are residing.
As a digital nomad there are many things to consider before taking the leap into remote work. This list will cover the ins and outs of insurance, accommodations, flights, travel cards and working spaces. I will also cover packing, marketing yourself, nomadic communities and mental health.
1. Nomad Insurance
Insurance is probably one of the most important necessities not only in travel but in life. Travel insurance is going to be your best friend if you are considering becoming a digital nomad and hopping around countries.
Why do you need it
A lot of people I have met traveling tell me they do not have insurance, some I meet have told me horror stories of having to pay extreme amounts of money because they did not have insurance. Do not be that mistake.
One of my friends was at a party one night in Thailand, let’s just say she was having lots of fun dancing of the beach with a few to many buckets. Anyways, she tripped and fell on the beach, put her arms behind her and broke her arm so badly she had to get surgery. She ended up owing 270 thousand baht which is around 8,400 USD!!! I know, totally insane. She learned the hard way that insurance is important because accidents happen at any moment.
Another friend of mine, also living in Thailand ended up getting sand in his eye and didn’t take care of it because he didn’t have insurance, it ended up turning into an eye infection, he had to go to the hospital and stayed for a week to make sure he didn’t lose his eyesight. He ended up owing 200 thousand baht, that’s around 6,200 USD!
It isn’t just you that you have to worry about either, being aboard often times means learning how to drive a scooter in many countries because that’s the easiest way we get around. You may be the best driver on the planet but that doesn’t mean all the people around you are. You have to be aware of your surroundings and so does everyone else on the road, accidents happen, and it may not be your fault if it does, but it is important to have insurance for those just in case moments.
Moral of the story is, get insurance! You will be glad you paid however much a month on your plan if something does happen while living abroad. You may never get into an accident, hurt yourself or need to go to the doctor for some reason but in the case that it ever does happen you will be so happy you bought insurance before you left because from what I hear not having it has been a huge regret.
As a digital nomad I have found World Nomad to be one of the best options. With insane amounts of coverage over a wide range of areas, I feel very safe having them as my insurance provider. Many of my nomadic friends also use World Nomad’s for their coverage.
A great plus to having them as your provider, while abroad you can extend or buy policies while on the road anywhere. They also have 24/7 online and over the phone assistance. World Nomad has safety experts working for them around the clock to give you tips and advice during your travels.
What they can cover
Emergency’s overseas medical
Stolen credit cards
Activities (150+ activities covered)
24/7 emergency assistance
What is not covered
Expenses related to pre-existing medical conditions
Non-emergency medical expenses such as eyeglass or contact lenses, routine medical checkups, or cosmetic procedures
Items left unsupervised in a public space
Gear damage while in use
What about my electronics?
Digital nomads care about travel and because of that we love to show our pictures and videos from our epic adventures abroad. Sometimes we even take our electronics to dangerous places to get that perfect shot whether that’s into the water or high up on a rocky mountain. Knowing our electronics are safe is a big deal to us.
What World Nomad’s offers is insurance for electronics too! Being a digital nomad, we are constantly on our devices. World Nomads offers coverage for iPhone, iPads or laptops, kindle’s, notebook’s cameras and lenses. knowing that our electronics are protected will help any digital nomad sleep at night.
I know I am bad at saving receipts for things I buy, definitely a New Year’s resolution I plan to work on, but it is important to make sure you save your receipts or credit card statements for your electronic purchases in case you need to make a claim and show the value of your device.
What what travel insurance can cover
iPhone’s and iPad’s
It is stolen while you are carrying it or where it is supervised and within your reach and view.
It is stolen from a locked safety box or compartment which is out of public view and public access and where there is visible sign of forced entry.
It is accidentally damaged by fire or natural disaster while you’re travelling.
Camera and Lenses
Covering cameras and lenses from all different varieties, it is a good idea to add these electronics as high value items if your devices are expensive.
They are stolen while you are carrying it or where it is supervised and within your reach and view.
They are stolen from a locked safety box or compartment which is out of public view and public access and where there is visible sign of forced entry.
They are accidentally damaged by fire or natural disaster while you’re travelling.
Laptops and notebooks
Laptop Computers have become much cheaper in recent years and are sometimes covered by the standard level of cover. However, if you are carrying a higher end laptop you might want to consider adding it as a high value item.
In my opinion, World Nomads and Safety Wing are reasonably priced for what they offer. Depending on where you are from and what coverage you need will depend on what your payment plan will be. Just remember, your life is more important than paying a bit of money every month to make sure you are in good care while abroad! Check out the World Nomads and Safety Wing website and get your quote today.
2. Nomad Accommodations
As a digital nomad deciding on where to stay can be tricky. You want to be in a place that always has good WIFI and oftentimes we don’t love to stay in hostels when we are working. Depending on whether you will be staying in places long term or short term may decide what type of accommodation you are looking for.
What does a nomad look for in accommodation?
High speed internet and access to plugs
This is a given. We can’t get our work done without it!
Once you have decided on a destination you have to think about where exactly you want to be. Research is key. Do you want to be in a place where there are other digital nomads, or do you want to be secluded? Do you want to be inside and city or outside? Do you want to be near a co working space, yoga studio or coffee shop? For me I love to live by the beach so I am always looking for accommodation that is on or walking distance so on my breaks I can enjoy the sunshine and waves. Creating a list of the things you want in your location and then doing research is going to help you to finding your perfect accommodation.
Lots of nomads like to stay in places that have everything included. It is nice to make a one-time payment and not have to worry about anything else such as electricity, WIFI or water bills as extras.
Being a part of a community always makes being a nomad more fun. You are picking up your life and traveling places all the time so making friends on the spot isn’t always the easiest but being a part of a community makes making friends a no brainer, especially when they are working online just like you! Having co-working meet-ups, dinners and planned activities make for a much more fun time while living abroad. A lot of communities will be found on Facebook one you know what location you want to be in.
Types of accommodation
Airbnb is my go-to when looking for a place to stay that serves everything, I want all in one location. Airbnb is what I use when I know I am going to be staying in a place short term. They usually only offer month stays and can be on the pricier side, everything is included and they often times have discounts for long stays.
Coliving means- shared housing designed to support purpose driven life. Coliving spaces are becoming the up and coming trend for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. Coliving brings together like minded individuals who want to create an environment that inspires and is for people who like to feel like a part of a community. Residents who stay at coliving spaces often have their own rooms but share a common area and kitchen, as well as a co space for a place to work.
I have stayed in coliving places in Thailand and have loved them! It is definitely going to be my top choice in accommodation if it is around my budget friendly price. I recommend coliving as an option because it has everything you are looking for under one roof. A workspace, friendly and open atmosphere, accommodation with my own room and friendships. Coliving has given me some of the friends I have today and has been great for gaining ideas in the work field.
I only use hostels as holiday accommodation. They are cheap and a great way to meet new people, but they do not offer any good qualities for working online. I would not recommend staying in hostels as a working digital nomad, they are going to be loud, uncomfortable and will not have good internet for what you need.
A more expensive option then a hostel, hotels will offer you all the essentials but will usually lack a good working space and most times high speed internet. I only ever consider staying in hotels when I first arrive somewhere and am trying to figure out what my plan will be or if I am on holiday and will be working little or not at all. If I decided to use hotels as a nomad, I always do my work in cafes close by.
For long term stay furnished apartments are always a great option. You can usually find budget friendly ones that offer a lot of the essentials. Most apartments will include WIFI, water and electricity in their lease. If you do not know how long you plan to stay, I would look for short rental lease agreements.
How to find accommodation
Use the Airbnb app to find places to stay in the destination you are looking to live. What I like about Airbnb is that you can message the host and ask any questions you want. I always message them to make sure the internet is high speed and I have them send me a picture of a speed test, so I know I’ll be able to work with a great connection. I have also messaged to ask owners personally for discounts for extended stays and some have offered them to me!
Facebook has been my best friend since becoming a traveler and nomad. Wherever you are looking to stay there is almost always Facebook groups that you can post in. Look up rentals, housing, accommodation in the group name or even join digital nomad pages for your destination to get perspectives on other people and where they stay. Make a post about what you are looking for in accommodation, how long you are planning to stay, and you will surely get messages in your inbox of people offering you options.
This is a platform to use that has made finding laptop friendly accommodation easy for digital nomads. You can explore monthly rentals, find contact details, pictures and WIFI speed information from all around the world. There is usually a link to the best sites to book through too.
3. Cheap Flights
Now a days, as travelers we are blessed with apps that can find us the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world. Digital nomads live for finding great deals on flights since we travel so much.
What do you look for in flights?
As a digital nomad and traveler, I am always looking for the best prices. If I can save 100 plus dollars on a flight but have to suffer through a long layover, sign me up. I will gladly work, sleep or explore wherever my long layover is just to save some money on my flights.
Long layovers can be nice because it gives you an opportunity to see the city you are stuck in. I once had a layover for 12 hours in Singapore because I wanted to save 170 dollars on my flight, it was awesome! I had never been to Singapore and I was able to walk about and see a bit of the country while I waited for my next long flight.
Unfortunately, even if you find that cheap flight, a lot of times you will only be allowed a carry-on bag. Those of us that like to travel heavy will be paying to check our bags on most flights. This can add up quickly and be a total pain in the ass. It is always easier to travel with a carry on only.
Every country has different rules for allowing people to enter. Some countries you can enter without a visa, some you can get your visa on arrival and some you have to apply for a visa ahead of time. Depending on where you are from will depend on your visa application process. It is important to research the country you plan to visit and see what your visa options are.
I had a friend from America, that did not check the visa rules for entering Vietnam. She ended up booking a flight, flying into Hanoi and being held at the border because she did not book her visa 3 days prior of arrival. Her options were to either stay in holding at the border or pay for an urgent visa which cost her 190 dollars and an entire 24 hours at the airport. Let me say, the visa for Americans cost 25 dollars if purchased ahead of time so she ended up paying way more for something she could have easily fixed with a bit of research.
Do your research on visas at least a week before you land in your new destination! You do not want to be stuck in customs because you didn’t know you needed certain documentation or didn’t have your visa already in hand on arrival.
I am not picky about where I sit on short flights but on the long haul ones I love to have a window seat. To be able to sleep against the window or put my leg up to change positions 4 hours into my flights is a game changer on how my flight experience is. Let’s be honest, nobody likes a middle seat. Checking ahead of time to see of you are able to pick your seat on long flights can be a make or break when buying the ticket.
Apps to book flights with
Use it as an app on your phone or a website on your computer, specializing in low-cost airfare, JetRadar is a great app for nomads to use. JetRadar is a multilingual app where you can search in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
I have booked many flights abroad with Skyscanner, also available in over 30 languages it has been a search engine used constantly by travelers. I find a lot of cheap flights using Skyscanner but often times the layovers are long and tickets have 1 or 2 stops before getting to your destination of choice but if you are looking to save a buck then its great.
Hopper is a popular app to book flights with because it tells you the best time to buy your flight. They will predict whether or not the price for your dates will drop or not. Another great feature is being able to “watch the trip” which will send you alerts if the price changes.
It is not a bad idea to download all three of the apps and plug in your details for your next destination. Compare the prices between all thee and see what flights best match what you’re looking for!
4. Minimalist Packing
The best way to pack as a digital nomad is light. Due to being avid travelers it is important to be able to pack all of your things into a carry-on bag. Without being able to do this you will have to pay extra and oftentimes expensive fees to check your bag.
The first time I went abroad I used a huge backpacking pack that was only able to be used as a checked bag. So, every time I caught a flight in and around Asia especially if domestic, I was paying anywhere from 80-150 USD each flight to get my belongings to my next destination. That is insane and an easy way to break your budget! Finding a spacious backpack and learning to travel lighter will save you so much money in the long run.
Having your life on your back can make you feel like you NEED to pack everything and believe me that’s not the case. You don’t need all of your electronic devices! Before packing all of them into your bags and then having to look foolish at the airport for taking them all out when going through security and also having them gain another 5 pounds to your bag when you could have packed something more important…..
How essential are my electronics?
Why do you need it?
Is there another device I have that does the same job?
Are you even using it regularly?
Do you absolutely need it for work?
What you need to pack (cabin luggage only!)
Bathing suits (Ladies, I know it’s a struggle, but you DO NOT need to bring all 25, pick your top 3 or 4)
Socks and under garments
1 or 2 pairs of jeans
1 long and 1 short sleeve shirt
A dress or two for you women- I also really like to wear leggings so I pack those too
A fleece or sweatshirt
A lightweight rain coat
Sandals, flip flops, running sneaker
Microfiber travel towel
Almost all of your toiletries can be bought at your destination. The biggest one to make sure you pack is any Medications you are taking or may need. I always bring Benadryl for my allergies with me because it is hard to find abroad. I also like to pack a couple bandaids and a sewing needle for just in case moments and a mini medical kit
Handy to have
Thermal water bottle
Head torch or flashlight
Electronics and work necessities
Camera- If taking pictures is going to help you as a digital nomad, if your phone takes good quality pictures then that’s totally fine.
Plugs, adaptors, chargers
Documents (Make copies)
Passport and copies of it!
Copies of resumes and portfolios
Degree or certifications you may want
What you don’t need to pack
Hiking boots- you may like to hike but I guarantee you will do it way less than you think. A simple running shoe with suffice
To many devices- we talked about that above!
Items you won’t use at least once a week
Maps and guidebooks- You will not use them. Each place you go has plenty of locals, travel agencies and oh yeah google!
Books you have been meaning to read- if you haven’t read them yet, you won’t read them abroad either! Pick one, you can buy them on your travels if you want to read more.
A pair of shoes for every occasion- you only need a running pair and a walking pair. 3 pairs max! Again, another thing you can buy abroad.
5. Travel Cards
Having a travel card has given me many free flights in the past 3 years of owning one.
Credit Cards nomads use
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
Known for being one of the better choices for travel credit cards Wells Fargo offers a travel card with a lot of benefits. Perhaps one of the greatest perks to this card is its annual fee for zero dollars. A bunch of my friends have chosen this card because of its many bonuses.
Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
Earn 1X points on other purchases
Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first
No foreign transaction fees
Cell phone protection of up to $600, minus a $25 deductible, for damage to or theft of your phone (when you use the card to pay your monthly cell phone bill).
Travel accident insurance and lost luggage insurance.
Auto protections and insurances including roadside assistance and car rental coverage.
Purchase protections including return protection and extended warranty.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
This is the credit card I have, and I love it. It is annoying having to pay 95 a year for the card but totally worth it. Since I travel so much and am constantly booking accommodation and flights, I am able to easily rack up points by charging all of my travel purchases to this credit card.
After having this card for nearly 3 years, I have been able to gain enough points to fly for free or book accommodation for free. In total my points have earned me over 1700 dollars in free travel options. You also have the option to use your points as cash back, it’s not worth as much as travel is but it’s nice to be able to pick if you want the money or to use it for flights and accommodation.
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
No foreign transaction fees
First year free, 95 a year after that
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
Auto rental collision damage waiver
Travel and emergency assistance services
Luckily Americans will be able to have this card as a travel option soon, for our readers who are from Europe, N26 seems to be one of the best deals for a travel card. N 26 is actually a debit card you can use abroad and signing up to get a bank account only takes 8 minutes! It doesn’t earn you points for things such as flights and accommodation, but it is a great card to use for traveling purposes.
While the account is in euros only, everything is converted at the real exchange rate, with no conversion fee. This means it’s just like using your card in your home currency.
It’s just like a regular debit Mastercard, so wherever Mastercard is accepted, your N26 card is accepted.
Free ATM withdrawals all throughout Europe is awesome and perfect for travelers. And €2 and 1.7% for other international withdrawals is pretty good. Usually I pay up to $6 and/or 2.5% on my New Zealand cards, so N26 is definitely an improvement.
You can easily block/unblock the card and activate other options from within your app. And since everything is done in the app, there’s no need to worry about getting flagged when logging in to internet banking from overseas like you do with regular banks.
Support is great. They are on all social media platforms so if you don’t want to call and be on hold you can just contact them through their social pages
It’s free! Most travel debit cards drown you in fees and loaded rates, including a monthly fee just to keep the card open. With N26 it’s completely free, so even if you never use it you’ve got nothing to worry about
You can top-up your N 26 card with your regular bank account through money transfer and it only takes 2 working days
N26 bank works with TransferWise, a platform supporting international money transfers.
You can set spending limits
While having a travel card is not mandatory and neither is having a credit card while being abroad, it is a nice bonus to consider if you want to spend less in fees and would like incentive on flights accommodation. Knowing I am getting points for flights when using my card makes it much easier for me to be okay with swiping and spending money.
6. Shared Working Spaces
Shared Working spaces (or coworking) are starting to pop up all over the world for digital nomads and entrepreneurs to use. A work pace is a place you can rent out daily, weekly, or monthly that offers high speed internet, a comfy place to work and extension cords with tons of needed plugs. Nomads are starting to pay for these instead of using cafes because most times they offer a kitchen you can use and bring your food too, some even offer meals included in a certain price for the working space. Working spaces are a great way to meet other like-minded digital nomads.
I met one of my good friends in a co working space, we bonded over the digital nomad life and she actually helped me branch out into what I wanted to do for work and helped get me clients I never thought I would have today. Life is funny that way, you meet people in the most unexpected ways and maybe a co working space will give you your next best friend!
What nomads look for in working spaces
This one is always important. If you don’t have people around you that are nice and want to get to know you then working in a co working space can be lonely. Even just the casual hi, how are you goes a long way. It is also nice to meet people in co working spaces that are doing similar work to you, they can offer another set of eyes on a project, feedback or advice on something you are working on.
Comfy work space and views
Having a couch or padded chairs to work on is always a plus. Sitting at the same spot for hours at a time can get uncomfortable and boring. Being able to switch up your location or spot in your working space can help your brain power. Some nomads prefer bright colors over grey walls and some like to look at paintings, or motivational quotes all over their work space. Of course, if you are in a location where the beach is, finding a working space that allows you to look out onto the ocean is a bonus find.
Great internet and excess of plugs
Again, a given for any nomad and I highly doubt you will find a work space that doesn’t offer high speed internet and insane amounts of plugs.
Good coffee and food or a kitchen
I really enjoy having a kitchen at a co working space. If I am paying for the co working space I want to be able to cook my own food while I am there. At a coffee shop I would usually buy a not only a coffee but food too. I wouldn’t want to have to leave my co working space that I am already paying for to have to go and pay for food. It makes sense for me to find places that offer food already or have a kitchen to use.
Example: Nomadic 6
I live on an island off of Thailand in Koh Phangan. There are 3 options for co working spaces on the island. Nomadic 6, Beach Hub and Ko Space. All have different qualities, atmospheres and prices.
I have found nomadic 6 to be the best co working space for a lot of reasons. They are located right on the beach, so the views are constantly incredible. If I ever feel like I want to take a break, I can go for a walk on the beach or go for a swim. The staff are so helpful and really want to get to know you when you come to work. I have also found their prices much better than other co working spaces on the island. They offer payment models daily, weekly or monthly. 200 baht per day, 1000 a week and 3000 baht a month. A cool perk to Nomadic 6 is they have a food model where you can pay 300 baht per day and get selections of delicious food options.
Difference between working in a café vs co working spaces
Most digital nomads choose between working in co working spaces or coffee shops. Both have pros and cons to them. As a digital nomad I like to use both and switch it up from time to time but overall, I really enjoy co working spaces.
Co working space
Networking with other digital nomads which can lead to new ideas, collaborations, and friendships.
Co working spaces give off a working vibe. You see people working around you all the time it makes you more motivated to get your work done
You don’t feel like you have to fit in. Digital nomads are all different but alike at the same time.
A lot of co working spaces offer meeting rooms so you can take personal client calls or have a group meeting on a project
Cheaper than renting an office and still offer the same perks with printers, scanners and meeting rooms
It does not have to be long term. You can pay daily, or you can get a membership. There is no lease to it!
Easily to get distracted because of the social atmosphere
You have to pay to use the space
If your work is very phone call based, then working space won’t be suitable as it will be distracting to others working around you
Limited time frames. Some spaces may be open 24/7 but others are not, so if you work best at late hours then it won’t be as easy to find a working space that fits your needs.
You will always be able to get another cup of coffee
High paced environments can boost productivity
There are cafes everywhere, you can change the café you work in everyday and finding one you love to work in is very easy.
Lots of coffee shops over great décor and comfortable seating with couches and outdoor seating
The WIFI won’t always be good
Can be made to feel awkward when working at shops for hours on end
You should be purchasing drinks or food at regular intervals, not just when you arrive. This can become expensive after awhile
The hours are always limited. Coffee shops are not open 24/7 and a lot of them close around 5 or 6 which makes it hard to work late
Not everyone at a coffee shop is friendly. People who go to coffee shops often times aren’t digital nomads, so it is not uncommon for people to stare at you or make comments when you sit their long term.
7. Building yourself and finding remote jobs
Figuring out what kind of digital nomad you want to be can be daunting. Know that you probably already have skills that you can perfect to get yourself to nomad status! You need to ask yourself these questions in order to find what your remote job or jobs will be.
Do you want to work for other people or work for yourself?
What are your skills and interests?
What can you offer clients or businesses?
Are you adaptable?
Are you willing to make sacrifices?
Pros of remote work:
Your own schedule
Can work from anywhere
More travel options
Can spend more time with family and friends
Personal and professional growth
No office politics
Broadens history and geography
Cons of remote work:
Limited team social activities
Can be lonely
Dating is harder
Time management can be difficult
Feel like you always need to be working
Missing milestones back home
People not understanding your work (especially older generations)
Find your trade
Knowing exactly what kind of digital nomad you want to be may take time to figure out. Some lucky ones already have the skills and know exactly what to do to get a job and make remote work happen. Other have to dig deep and really find something they are good at or skills they know they can learn in a certain area of digital work.
I went to school for addiction therapy, that didn’t give me much skills to go off of for being a nomad. I could not use my bachelors abroad and be a therapist. Although that field of work gave me many skills that are helping me in my digital nomad dreams, it took hard and is continuing to be a learning process every day.
Having been on the road for two years now, I have met a lot of digital nomads that all do a bunch of different things. Here is a list of digital nomad jobs that can potentially be something you persuade one day.
This is the selling of products online! It can be on your own website or through big website companies such as eBay, Amazon and a whole scope of other options. You can take orders and accept payments without ever having to meet the customer face to face.
Create content for other brands. You essentially will be trading time for money. There are many businesses that offer writing gig such as copy writing, blog posts and content writing.
Put simply, digital artists. Design work is popular among digital nomads. This could be designing and creating logos, brands, websites, social media content and more. I have a lot of friends that work with clients to make Pinterest and Instagram content
Marketing is a broad term but there are digital nomads in the fields of email, social media and affiliate marketing. These seem to be most popular. They are creating and maintaining brands for the businesses public face.
Pick your niche and become an expert. Strategist are people who have learned how to perfect how to run a certain business. For example, people look to hire social media strategist to gain insight and run their social media accounts.
These nomads write and debug source codes and develop software for websites and applications. They also may specialize in database or security of websites. Most programmers have a background in this field. Although it is popular it isn’t something you can just jump into. You need extensive knowledge in area
Combining experience and knowledge in a certain area of expertise, these nomads will give communication strategies and advice businesses to achieve a desired goal or result.
Not an easy digital nomad gig for most since finding clients in all the places you go may be difficult but if photography is your passion and you can find clients, or a great job then go for it!
Customer support is probably one of the first ever digital nomad jobs. Many businesses are open 24 hours so having people all over the world to help run their company is helpful. Customer support can be anything from answering phone calls and emails to scheduling meeting
Defining your services
Once you have figured out your trade or niche it’s time to define your services. Should you be taking classes to become an expert in your field of choice? Sometimes investing in classes is exactly what you need to be a successful digital nomad. Do your research on the skills you want to perfect and the services you want to give your clients.
Since I wanted to be a blogger and virtual assistant, I needed to define my skills by taking some classes. I take as many free blogging classes that I can get my hands on. Eventually I plan to invest in a blogging course to help me grow long term. I also paid for a virtual assistant course to really figure out and perfect what skills will offer my clients.
Defining your services may also involve getting internships! If you are new to your skill, then ask people for internships to help grow your portfolio or resume. If you are feeling confident, then what are you waiting for, start applying to jobs!
The best sites for finding remote work
Offering full time and part time gigs, companies post jobs for free but you as job hunters have to pay 14.99 a month. When looking for work that seems like a small price to pay if you end up finding clients you like and can eventually find long term positions.
Very popular among digital nomads Upwork is global and a great place where businesses and nomads can connect and collaborate remotely. Upwork offers a free and paid plan, depending on what you are looking for in work may depend on if you want to pay or not.
Hubstaff is unique because you can tailor your search to what kind of job you want. If you are looking for freelance contracts, full time remote jobs or fixed income positions this is a great resource to use. Hubstaff offers roles in many fields which makes it a great website that can cater to everyone’s needs.
Remote.com is always posting new jobs every day. If your profiles match the job requirements you can apply for free if not it’s a 19-dollar monthly payment for the premium option.
Highly used because it has no application free, WeWorkRemotley focuses mainly on jobs in software engineering and design but they offer a lot of other nomad jobs too so checking this sight since its free won’t hurt you!
8. Marketing Yourself
Digital nomads will base their lifestyle off working online and how much money they are able to make during the process. Whether your income comes from a remote job, freelance work, blogging, digital products or a business, your ability to market yourself could make or break your dream job.
The internet has now become the world’s greatest tool for marketing, learning and understanding how to use the internet is probably one of the most important “must haves” as a digital nomad. Internet marketing is a must! Let me repeat that, if you plan to work online and live a “free” lifestyle, you need to work to master internet marketing. Being able to use search engines to market your skills is a challenge nomad face every day. As nomads we need to know how search engines work, how they are used and how to make ourselves appear in search results.
Let’s get excited about marketing! The more passionate you are about getting started and making marketing happen the more successful you will become. It doesn’t happen overnight, and if you can’t get excited about marketing or learning about it then it’s likely being a digital nomad isn’t for you.
I will be the first to admit that I knew nothing about marketing when I started my journey as a digital nomad, but I knew I wanted to be a blogger, so I put my right foot forward and went after what I wanted. This involved education on the subject and to be fair, I didn’t become good at it or passionate about it right away.
Types of marketing
This is a type of internet marketing that uses social networking and websites as their marketing tool. The goal is to increase brand exposure and reach customers by social networks sharing content.
Another way to promote brands and increase sales is by using email marketing. Using a well-crafted message and automated systems email marketing can help your business thrive.
Relationships marketing is all about connecting with customers. Creating long term loyalty and strong connections will help keep business arrangements going. It is a lot of word of mouth and can be face to face.
Using diversity to connect with different individuals in the market. Diversity marketing is a way of communicating that appeals to and includes diverse groups based on cultural differences.
This form is all about increasing number of individual sales by maximizing the efficiency of the sales rather than making relationships.
What can help
There are so many tools now a days that nomads are using to market themselves. apps, websites, social media, communities and relationships. Mastering and finding what strategies and tools work best for you when the time comes will be important in growing your digital nomad career.
Google has advanced so much with apps, sheets and forms you can use. Using google docs and drive will be easy to send whatever you need to clients, work on shared projects and is over all easier for connecting with people you need too. Google sheets and forms are also ways to use excel and take surveys that can be helpful later down the line in nomad life.
This is a great place to start when you become a nomad and need to send mass emails or newsletters. Mailchimp is free and helps control customer lists as well as promoting your business needs.
An all in one marketing software that helps with calls to action, marketing automation, emails, analytics, website, SEO and blogging. With everything you need in one place once you are up and running as a digital nomad this will be a software to consider.
Since social media is such a huge part of being a digital nomad eventually investing in something that’s going to make your media life way easier is the way to go. Hootsuite will allow you to schedule your social media posts ahead of time.
This is the place to find out what topics are already performing well which can help inspire new ideas on things you want to write about. BuzzSumo shows popular content by topic and industry and can help you figure out which platforms are best to target your audience.
9. Nomad Communities
Being a part of a digital nomad community is essential! Meeting and hanging out with people who are doing exactly what you are or similar is so important! This is how you make your greatest friends while abroad. Being a part of a community offers like-minded people to hang out with. You will get invites to events, co working meetups and just all around have people you can rely on. You also learn from these people, maybe find ways of collaborating and business opportunities.
I met a friend through a social media community and not only are we great friends now, but she helped me get two of my very first internships for what I wanted to do as a digital nomad. She also referred me to a couple writing gigs to write blogs for. This is a form of networking guys! Being a part of a digital nomad community is a way to market yourself!
Where to find communities
Seriously, my best friend! Facebook is overall a great resource to use to find other digital nomads. There are so many Fb pages that are focused on certain areas, each location has their own set of ones.
For example, when I was living in Vietnam I would search. Vietnam digital nomads and 5 pages popped up with groups to possibly join. Or right now, as I write this, I am living on an island in Thailand called Koh Phangan, I joined a nomad Facebook group (Koh PHangan Coffees & Co-working) and ended up getting this job. So, dreams do come true and using Facebook to find a community can not only be helpful to your social life but also your business!
Even joining broad Facebook groups and not just location based is helpful. You can ask and answer questions, post about your worries or struggles and get feedback, advice and positive vibes sent your way from people just like you all over the world! Here are some to join when you are ready…
– Digital Nomads Around the World
– Global Digital Nomad Network
– Digital Nomad Entrepreneurs
Co working spaces
Joining co working spaces in each place you travel is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and gain, like minded individuals who are booming in their digital nomad business or new beginners. Either way you will find a lot of great brains to bounce ideas off of and I’m sure you will find a new friend too!
Find A Nomad
It isn’t your traditional community group, but this app will show you where digital nomads are hanging out right now. Nomads have a profile and you can reach out to them when you find someone you want to meet up with. You are able to show what future travel plans are which makes finding people heading to the same place as you possible.
This app uses Slack, a huge application among digital nomads, it is a great one to get to know when you start your digital nomad process. Slack breaks up conversations into channels that gives you specific question and answers to a lot of great stuff. They have channels for destinations for nomads, housing, jobs, lifestyle, blogging and so much more. It does coast a one-time fee of 65 dollars but if you are serious about being a digital nomad then it is definitely something to consider!
10. Mental Health and keeping a positive mindset
I am not going to lie to you, being a digital nomad isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes serious discipline as well as hard work. In the beginning it may feel like you are constantly working and aren’t getting anywhere, you may second guess yourself and wonder why you thought this was possible in the first place.
Negative impacts as a nomad
Your life is perfect, how can you be struggling?
Lack of routine can be unsettling
Lack of support
These can all bring you down pretty quick if you don’t do something about it from the start. Being a nomad is still a job and just because it’s different than most jobs doesn’t mean we don’t face struggles too. People at home often times do not understand our lifestyle or why we want to be a nomad in the first place. It can hurt, be extremely stressful and bring you down which won’t be good for your mental health!
What can you do?
I am in love with my digital nomad lifestyle, did it take hard work to get here, yes and am I still learning every day to keep my future nomad dreams a reality? YUP! I would never want to discourage or tell people not to go after this life change but those of you that do need to understand that mental health will be something that requires attention and care.
Make self-care a priority
Whatever makes you happy you need to keep it in your life at all times! You deserve self-care and it’s the most important thing when being a digital nomad! Go for walks, listen to music, take a bubble bath, clear your head. Is yoga your thing? Have you ever considered meditation? These are all great things to help control self-care with better your mental health.
I am huge on self-care, every single week I make sure to get a full body massage, I do a bit of stretching and some gymnastics because that’s what makes me happy. When I am working on a blog post and feel like “I just can’t” then I go for a walk, put some Eminem on and reorganize my thoughts. I listen to podcasts, I go out for drinks, I have a nice meal.
Self-care can come in so many different ways, just make sure you are actively participating in the everyday things that make you happy! Your mental health depends on it.
If you aren’t getting proper sleep, your mental health is going to be the thing that suffers. Make a pact with yourself that you aren’t going to work past a certain hour. Staying up all night partying isn’t going to get you clients. It’s totally okay to have a fun night out on the town, believe me I love that but it’s important to make sure you aren’t doing it ALL THE TIME. It will add up and having that lifestyle makes good sleep impossible. Use sleeping apps to help you regulate your sleep if you have trouble sleeping.
Rushing around doing tons of activities and seeing as much as you can while on the road can take a toll on your mental health because its lack of self-care and moving from place to place is just plain overwhelming!
You don’t have to see the world in one year. Take your time. It’s okay to stay in places for extended months at a time, if your happy where you are at why not stay? The good thing about being a digital nomad is you have the option to choose and if this is a long-term career goal then you have all the time in the world to hop from place to place.
Create a routine
Having a routine for yourself everyday is o helpful. I start every morning with a walk and motivational podcast then I get right to work on the tasks I need to complete off my list. I take breaks for meals, bike rides to clear my head and sometimes to take naps. Every day I have a similar routine to the day before and it has helped me get my work done as well as made me feel better about y mental health.
Don’t compare yourself to other nomads
This one is so hard to master. Every digital nomad is on their own journey, your is specific to you and that’s exactly how it should be. Just because someone else is making more money then you don’t mean you are doing a bad job! Like I have said many times in this post, being a digital nomad takes time and hard work. There isn’t a single nomad that has had the life they worked for handed to them. Instead of comparing yourself to other digital nomads, look at what they are doing and see how you can positively incorporate that into your work.
Make time for your relationships at home
As digital nomads, we miss a lot at home and our FOMO can be seriously overwhelming. Be active in your relationships back home, they miss you just as much as you miss them! Send postcards or letters home, text your parents at least once a week, facetime your best friend randomly just to say hi. Make an effort because without our back-home relationships life can feel lonelier, at last if you keep in contact you can still feel like you are a part of life back home.
While I have been away my sister had a baby, for the first time I became an Aunt and missing her birth was one of the hardest things for me. She is going to be 1 next week and since being abroad I try and facetime her once a week, so she still gets to know me even if it’s over the phone. We laugh together, she shows me her toys and the books she likes. Facetiming makes me feel like I am not missing out on her life even though I am across the world. Making the effort goes a lot way and I promise you it will help keep your mental health in check.
If you ever feel like you are struggling with your mental health, talk to someone about it. Mental health does not discriminate, everyone on the planet struggles with mental health at one time or another in their life. Take care of yourself and the rest will fall into the place.
You always have to remember that there is a reason you went after this dream in the first place, what was it? Keep reminding yourself of that. It does get easier as time goes on, you start to learn more, master skills and meet people along the way that will help you out.
One great blogger (hobo laptop) wrote- becoming a digital nomad is like assembling IKEA furniture. I have never heard something more relatable, if you have ever tried to assemble IKEA furniture you know what I am talking about, if you haven’t it’s like cracking a code and takes a long ass time.
If you want to become a digital nomad you need to use your mindset to push you forward, you have to take life by the horns and commit to working towards your digital nomad dreams. It is possible and it is worth it.
Do not give up. You can do this!