*This article is co-authored by guest blogger Leslie Campos, of Well Parents.
**Image via Unsplash
Are you tired of being stuck in a cubicle from 9 to 5? Do you dream of working from exotic locations, traveling the world, and living life on your own terms? Do you want to learn new skills while you learn new cultures? Look no further than the digital nomad lifestyle.
Read more to explore precisely how to become a digital nomad and finally live the nomadic lifestyle you've always dreamed of.
1. Find (or Create) the Right Job.
Obviously, the first step on the path to becoming a digital nomad is finding the right remote job - or creating it. Fortunately, there are many jobs that lend themselves well to remote work. You may be able to work for a company as a remote worker. Or you can start your own business and work for yourself. Becoming a freelance writer, web developer, software developer, graphic designer, or online marketer is a great place to start. These jobs are often project-based, allowing you to work from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.
If you are currently in a job that does not lend itself to remote work, consider a change in career. If it's financially possible and you are tech-savvy, consider enrolling in Western Governors University or another similar online university to gain a degree in Information Technology. If you have a history of customer service work, search for a customer service job that will allow you to work from anywhere. Love to help people complete a variety of tasks? Look for a job as a virtual assistant.
Keep in mind that not all jobs that allow you work from home will allow you work from anywhere. Some jobs, like those in health care and government, require encryptions and other security measures that necessitate staying within your home country. Be sure when applying for work-from-home jobs that you can work outside the country as well.
2. Develop Your Skillset.
To be a successful digital nomad, possessing highly sought-after skill sets and knowledge is paramount. Undertaking an online degree program is a great way to improve and expand these skills. Nowadays, numerous universities are offering online courses and degree programs that permit you to study from your desired destination. You can opt for a diverse range of programs, including Information Technology or Graphic Design. In fact, an online degree program validates IT foundational skills and greatly bolsters your expertise in the digital nomad realm.
3. Learn How to Market Yourself.
Once you have the skills and knowledge, it's time to market yourself as a digital nomad. Start by building a website that showcases your work and your skills. Use social media, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook Groups, to network with other digital nomads and potential clients. A strong online presence will open doors to new opportunities, some of which you may never have known existed.
Attend conferences and events related to your field to meet new people and learn about new opportunities. Use websites like Fiverr and Upwork to find specific projects to work on.
4. Create a Memorable Portfolio.
Building a strong portfolio is a crucial step in marketing yourself as a successful digital nomad. Your portfolio should be a collection of your finest work, which highlights your skills and expertise. It's essential to showcase a diverse range of projects and clients to demonstrate your ability to adapt and cater to different needs.
5. Register Your Freelancing Business.
Starting a business as a digital nomad can be exciting, but it's important to gain credibility and protect yourself and your assets. By establishing your business as a limited liability company (LLC), you can establish credibility with both clients and customers, which can be crucial to the success of your business. Additionally, in some situations, having an LLC can shield your personal assets in case of legal or financial trouble.
6. Choose a Destination and get your Affairs in Order.
Once you have your business established or a job that allows you to work from anywhere, the first thing you'll need to do is decide what to keep in your home country, what to take with you, and what to discard via donating to charity and throwing away. If you own your home, will you rent it out? Who will manage the rental property? Or will you sell it and put the equity into savings? What items will you need to bring with you on your travels? If you have no idea where to start, this Must Have Packing List for Moving Overseas is a good place to begin.
Next, you'll need to determine your travel visa needs. Many countries offer a digital nomad visa for those who want to stay long term. But if you intend to stay for just a short time in each country, check the maximum length of stay on a tourist visa for each of the countries you intend to visit. Then plan our your itinerary, making sure to book your accommodations and have a backup plan in place in case "Plan A" falls through.
Southeast Asian locales have long attracted digital nomads, with Chiang Mai and Bali being two of the most popular destinations. Central American countries, particularly Costa Rica, are also becoming meccas for digital nomads, as they tend to be affordable and laid back. Another good place to consider is Eastern Europe, where the cost of living is lower than other European countries, but train travel makes other countries easily accessible.
7. Create a Budget and Determine Ways to Stick to It.
One of the biggest challenges of being a digital nomad is managing your travel expenses. To save money, consider using travel rewards credit cards, setting flight alerts on Google Flights and buying when the prices drop, booking flights and accommodations in advance, and staying in hostels or shared accommodations. Use websites like Trusted Housesitters and Nomador to house-sit and save on accommodations. You can also save money by cooking your meals instead of eating out and by using public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars.
Even if you have the flexibility to travel around within the country you are temporarily living in, make sure you choose a good home base that offers inexpensive accommodations, a stable internet connection, and easy access via public transportation to neighboring cities and even neighboring countries.
8. Make Good Long-Term Choices.
Choose a good health insurance for travelers to ensure you don't end up in financial difficulties in a foreign country because of a health scare. Take care of your body - hydrate, exercise, and be mindful of your surroundings.
Make sure that your bank account in your home country is accessible abroad, or, depending on how long you intend to stay, consider getting a new bank account when you arrive at your destination. Make sure you have an international credit card - one that does not charge foreign transaction fees. It's also a good idea to get travel insurance, as you never know what can come up to thwart your best-laid plans.
Also understand that being a digital nomad takes hard work and dedication. Good time management skills are a must. Plan out your daily work schedule in advance. Do you work best first thing in the morning or are you a night owl? Plan accordingly. If you take on a project, do it thoroughly, accurately, and on time, every time. Your reputation is your livelihood.
9. Don't Be a Nuisance Tourist.
Embrace the different cultures you encounter, be mindful of language barriers, don't expect everyone to speak English for you, and recognize that digital nomadism is a privilege that relatively few can afford. Adopt an attitude of flexibility, gratitude, and humility.
10. Communicate Effectively.
Finally, it's essential to communicate effectively with your clients and customers as a digital nomad. Make sure to be responsive to emails and phone calls, and use video conferencing tools to have face-to-face meetings whenever possible. Set clear expectations and deadlines, and be transparent about your availability and schedule. Be mindful of time zone differences when dealing with clients in different locations, and be mindful of cultural differences when dealing with people from other countries. For practical advice about cultural differences as it relates to business, read Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries.
A digital nomad career presents you with a unique opportunity to merge work, travel, and personal growth. This lifestyle choice is gaining popularity as technology allows individuals to work remotely from any location. As a digital nomad, you are a full-time traveler and you gain the freedom to explore new places, meet new people, and develop a diverse range of skills. With dedication and a strong work ethic, you can turn your passion into a lifestyle that allows you to live life on your own terms. Follow the tips above to start your journey toward becoming a digital nomad today so you can enjoy location independence and a great work-life balance tomorrow.
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