If you want to learn how to become a digital nomad, you’re in the right place!
According to a yearly Gallup poll measuring employee satisfaction, 85% of people dislike their jobs. That means 85% of people around the world spend their entire lives doing something that makes them unhappy. Their entire lives!
Why do you think that is? Why would we choose something, day in and day out that we absolutely HATED? For our entire lives? Why not chase our dreams?
I’ll tell you why: Fear. Fear of the unknown, fear for safety, fear for so many reasons.
We often choose what we think makes more sense or what seems “safe”. A steady paycheck with benefits seems safer than the risk of sporadic, income.
Our fears are rarely rooted in reality, yet they’re strong enough to keep us doing what we hate from the time we are born until the time we die.
Imagine what you would do if you weren't ruled by fear.
Would you travel the world? Would you become a public speaker? Would you start your own non-profit? Would you start your own FOR-profit?
Our world is changing. People are rapidly embracing different dreams for themselves than what once was thought to be the norm.
Some of us are embracing a lifestyle of travel and work, with more and more people going ‘location-independent’ every day.
Most of us don’t want what our parents wanted: a 9-5 job in an office building, a house with a mortgage, a car with a payment, etc.
But… It’s not just us that are changing. The landscape of the global workforce is changing almost as rapidly as our desires are… and it’s moving online.
With more and more work being available on the internet, high speed wifi all around the globe and the appeal of a traveling lifestyle is really starting to gain traction, and it’s not hard to see why.
So, naturally, the question arises: How do I become a digital nomad? How to I transition to a location-independent income to travel the world?
Honestly, everyone's path is different – there is no one size fits all. Everyone starts at a different place and takes a different journey… But this article will tell you what you need to know so that you, too, can begin your journey to becoming a digital nomad and living life on your own terms.
THE NITTY GRITTY
If you already have a job that’s remote or is going to allow you to go remote – all you have to worry about is the logistics of traveling. If you already have that, you pretty much already know how to become a digital nomad – skip to step 4.
For everyone else, the most important part of this entire process is going to be transitioning to making your money online. You can’t learn how to become a digital nomad if you don’t learn how to make or create a location independent income, but the good news is that this is much easier than it seems at first.
There are so many different ways you can make money online.
If you do a simple google search, you will find a million people telling you why their way is the best way… But I’m going to break this down for you as simple as possible.
There are basically 4 main ways you can make money online. Most anyone who earns income remotely will fall into one of these 4 categories:
- Go remote with your current employer
- Find a new job with an employer looking for remote employees
- Learn new skills and start freelancing
- Start an online business selling physical or digital products or software
In order to learn how to become a Digital Nomad, you’re going to have to learn some new skills. It doesn’t matter who you are or what path you’re taking, everyone’s gotta learn!
A common mistake many newbies make is thinking they have to learn everything about every business model and every tactic to make money online. This is a mistake I made, myself!
If I can prevent even just 1 person from spending an entire year hopping from subject to subject, I have done my job.
Whether you are going to start freelancing, selling ebooks, marketing your crafts or info products online, or starting a service based business, you are going to need to learn new skills.
I started by learning what was in demand online and bulking up in the skills in that area.
A common misconception is that you need degrees and certifications for working online in jobs like tech and marketing – I’m here to tell you that is false.
Thanks to the internet, you can learn almost anything for free!
Unless you’re applying for a job with a company or corporation that has these specific job requirements – you don’t need them.
There is an unlimited amount of opportunities on job boards all over the internet and all they are looking for is someone who knows what they’re doing and can solve their specific problems.
My very first choice when I wanted to learn how to make money on the road was learning to code so I could start freelancing in web-development. Paired with a full-time job, learning to code became very draining and I started looking for other ways to make a remote income.
When I began freelancing, I was doing jobs related to customer service and data entry and I was only charging around $20/hr.
Then I realized I could charge more if I offered better and more in-demand services, so I started learning! I took courses in Marketing, Sales, and Design and I now charge (and earn) up to $100/hr for my work.
It’s amazing what a few weeks or months of studying and learning can do for your bottom line!
You only need to choose 1 thing to focus on to succeed. In fact, if you try and focus on more than 1 thing, you drastically lower your chances of success.
This can be blogging, freelance writing, web development, graphic design, social media management, data analyzing, data entry, coding, copywriting or otherwise.
Choose a few topics online that you want to learn about and narrow it down to something you can see yourself learning, doing and enjoying.
It can be hard choosing what it is you want to do, but I find it’s best to choose something that intersects your interests with what you’re good at. Check out this Ikigai illustration:
In Japanese, Ikigai translates into “reason for being”. This is a great series of questions to ask yourself when trying to decide what direction to go in for remote work.
- What do you LOVE to do? I.e. spending time online on social media, making pretty images and graphics, making and editing videos, writing, etc
- What are you GOOD at? I.e. web research, SEO, working with excel, etc
- What does the world (or clients) NEED? I.e. Someone to grow their Twitter following, clever blog posts written for their website, etc
- What can you get PAID for?
At the intersection of all of these questions lies YOUR Ikigai. This is a great base to start from.
Once you have your skillsets honed or are working on them, you can go out and get work!
As a freelancer, you’ll become great at job hunting. You’ll get quicker at it as time goes on, and you’ll start to get a feel for what you really like to do and what you don’t.
Read my post here about How to Get Your First Client as a Freelancer.
There are several different job boards to choose from for freelancing jobs and remote work. The skillsets sought after on each one vary a bit from place to place.
Or, click here to learn how to make money on the road.
If you want to sell products online try:
If you’re a crafter, handmaker, artist or DIY creator, Etsy is best.
In almost all cases, having a blog or a website as a home base and a place to send prospective clients or customers to so they can learn more about you is a great idea.
On a blog, you can list your products and services, write articles showcasing your talents and knowledge, and keep everything in one place. Read more about How to Start a Blog here.
This is just the tip of the iceberg – for your specific situation, there will be equally specific steps to take for the best way to get clients or customers.
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CUT THE CORD
By saying to let go of the things that are holding you back, it doesn't always mean literally. We forge connections with people, places, things and situations in our brains that we THINK we can't work around. What we perceive and what is actual truth are sometimes very different things.
Something that prevents a lot of people from learning how to become a digital nomad is the idea that there are certain things holding them back that they just can’t overcome. This could be debt, mortgages, family, belongings, or something else entirely.
The good news is – you can do this with debt. In most cases, your traveling lifestyle will be cheaper than your current lifestyle… Especially if you do your research! Many countries have a much lower cost of living, and as a freelancer or entrepreneur, you aren’t limited in how much income you will make.
Similarly, if you have a remote job, you’ll be making the same as you were at home but you can choose to go somewhere that costs way less to live! A lot of people become Digital Nomads so they can pay off their debts – with the bonus of seeing the world. How cool is that?
Other things that may make you feel stuck are relationships, material possessions and the biggest of all – fear.
Sometimes you can’t get around these things – leases have to be finished or broken which often comes with financial consequences, and relationships can mean a lot to us.
It comes down to choosing what means more to you – living your life to the fullest and doing things for yourself vs everyone else or allowing yourself to be held back. You may feel a tremendous amount of guilt around this subject – but you only get one life. Live it for you.
Fear is the worst of all, and it’s a total liar. Fear makes us worry what we’ll do about money, fear makes us believe new places and situations are dangerous, fear makes us believe we may be ruining our lives.
Something you’ll be working on constantly is monitoring your mindset and staying one step ahead of fear. Remember, most fear isn’t rooted in reality.
HIT THE ROAD
Once you are prepared to travel, you’re free! Traveling requires some adaptation and research. You want to make sure where you’re going is relatively safe, you can afford it and has an internet connection.
There is nothing more frustrating than booking several weeks in a place where you can’t get a signal. I’ve done it once and it really felt horrible!
Some things with travel you will only learn with time, such as your favorite routine and method of travel, where you like to go, how you work best and so on.
You can also do your research to find cheap countries to stay in. For example, these cheap countries in Europe could be a great place to start your digital nomad life!
The main point of it all is to explore, adventure, have fun and live your best life!
Now you know How to Become A Digital Nomad
Keep in mind that no two paths to digital nomad-ism are alike. Everyone has different desires and require different amounts of planning.
The key in learning how to become a digital nomad is finding the path that makes the most sense to you!
Carrie WilderCarrie has a passion for location independence and nomadic lifestyles. After traveling full-time in an RV and living the van life, she created Making Money and Traveling to help others make the switch to a remote lifestyle. Learn more about Carrie on the About page or connect on social media below.
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