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10 tips to becoming a successful digital nomad

How to become a successful digital nomad

It sounds idyllic, but there are traps for the unwary, warn nomads who have learned the hard way.

  1. There are several ways to become a digital nomad. One is to take your current job on the road if your boss is happy for you to work remotely; another is to find a job with companies employing remote workers such as jobspresso.co, weworkremotely.com and workingnomads.co/jobs. The third – and most popular among nomads – is to work freelance.
  2. Freelancing provides flexibility and freedom to work when, with whom and where you want. You need to identify your skill, market it online, find clients through networking (former colleagues, past clients and other nomads can be useful contacts) and build an income based on steady work.
  3. Find a niche and establish yourself as an expert. The best clients don’t search for generic freelancers with generic skills.
  4. Take time to build your online presence. Set up a professional website with an online portfolio that showcases your skills and experience. Join a freelance network such as Upwork.
  5. Don’t have the digital skills to take on the road? Don’t worry. Invest in new skills that will get you work. There are several reputable (and some non-reputable) online courses that teach skills useful for budding nomads. Some recommended are: Udemy; Skillshare; CreativeLive and Coursera, which has partnered with universities and organisations to offer more than 1000 free courses; also Udacity, born out of a Stanford University experiment. Alternatively, throw yourself into a digital nomad hub like Chiang Mai and learn from those already working as nomads. Or try a boot camp like Destination Dev based in Medellín, Colombia, which will teach you how to code in eight weeks.
  6. Choose your destinations wisely. Cheap cost of living is useful; high-speed internet is essential. Check out NomadList to see how countries and cities rate in a range of criteria.
  7. Do the maths. Work out your income and expenses and allow for savings in case work dries up for a while.
  8. Have a plan for what you want to achieve. Set goals and deadlines, and be realistic with your budget.
  9. Stay focused. The goal is not to travel but to make a sustainable income that will help you travel.
  10. Just do it.

For further tips, visit fulltimenomad.com.

This list was first published in the North & South article, The rise of the digital nomad: When the office is anywhere.