Become a Digital Nomad: A Step-By-Step Guide
Have you ever dreamed of travelling the world for a living? Imagine starting the month in Bangkok and exploring the city for a week. You then find a comfortable base in Chiang Mai in the north and visit an Elephant sanctuary. After this, your travels take you to Mandalay in Myanmar and finally into Bangladesh and India. During these adventures, you are building your digital nomad business and earning cash to fund your exhilarating lifestyle. This is actually possible!
There are many individuals and couples who already live the nomadic lifestyle. It requires dedication and hard work, but if you are successful, the rewards are almost unimaginable. For those who love to travel this is the ultimate job. So what does it take to make it a reality? How can you travel and work at the same time and live comfortably? In this article, we provide a 7 step guide that will help you on your way to freedom!
Step 1 – Find your niche and choose an industry
Before you start your nomadic lifestyle you must have a business idea. There is no reason to head to a strange new country without any fixed business plan in place if you need to generate income. You could travel overseas to study. You could become a nomad and simply work in bars or find other temporary jobs whilst you build your digital business. The best way is to get your idea up and running beforehand, as this is when you’ll be in a better position to be able to do so. The following are some examples of digital nomad business ideas:
- Travel blogging
- Travel consultation
- Content creation
- Video blogging
- eCommerce management
- Web development- Social media management/marketing
There are so many possibilities! The important thing is to choose your niche and have clear in your mind what you actually want to do.
Step 2 – Start your own freelance business
Once you have created an idea, you must set to and start your digital business. This might sound daunting but there are several tasks you can do to set the ball rolling:
- Create a business website
- Create a blog
- Create and manage social media accounts
Once you have done this, you have the basic infrastructure to build your business from. If you decided to become a travel blogger, for example, you would create your travel blog and start writing content for it. You would also create accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and build up your following. Once you have achieved this you can look a monetising your business, through paid advertisements and other means.
Step 3 – Build your business into a profitable venture
After establishing your business, you must build it and make it succeed. This could take time and you must be prepared to stick at it and work hard. Build your social media profiles, gather followers and promote your business. The idea here is that you become successful and profitable BEFORE changing your lifestyle. If your digital business is already thriving, you can then look to make plans to give up your old life and start your nomadic lifestyle.
Step 4 – Reduce your current bills and reliance on your physical location
Part of becoming a digital nomad is changing your existing lifestyle, which could involve making some sacrifices. If you have a home, a car, furniture and other belongings, all of this must be given consideration. Furthermore, if you have bills to pay, you must try and reduce them, with the ultimate aim of giving you a clean slate to start your nomadic lifestyle with.
If you have belongings, you can either sell them or keep them in storage. This all depends on your long-term goals. By selling your belongings, you can have more cash to fund the initial months of your new adventure. Any bills and finance you have should be paid off in full and reduced where possible. For example, if you own a house, and pay for broadband then you should look to terminate the contract and refrain from committing to any new long-term deals.
Step 5 – Create a plan of how you wish to live and work as a Digital Nomad
Some people choose to start their nomadic lifestyle without a clear plan. Whilst this is possible, it is not ideal. To improve your chances of success, and ensure you enter this lifestyle in the right way, you should plan out what you want to do beforehand. The following are some things you should strive to plan for:
Aims & Goals
- What do you ultimately want from this venture?
- What do you want to achieve in X years time?
- What places do you want to travel to?
- What type of accommodation would you prefer to stay in?
- What is your budget for accommodation?
- Would you consider a house-share?
- Do you want to mingle with the locals?
- Is a foreign language an issue?
- What do you want to do in your free time?
- How many hours do you wish to work?
- Do you want your own office or will you use a co-working space?
As you can see there is a lot to consider - and the above is designed as a general overview. Be prepared and set out an ideal plan for your new venture. This will also include booking flights and looking at accommodation and visas.
Step 6 – Research and choose a destination
The nomadic lifestyle is all about adventure and exploration. The idea is that you are not tied down to one place. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't research your destinations beforehand. Some countries are better suited to the lifestyle of a digital nomad. It is always prudent to research beforehand and settle on your ideal first location. Consider the following when picking a location:
- Existing expat community
- Support for foreign workers
- Visa requirements and option for long-term work/stays
- Typical weather and climate
- Spoken language and any potential language barriers - The average cost of living
- Cost of accommodation
- Available accommodation
- Existing digital nomad community for support
* Excellent WiFi availability*
Once you have gathered your research you can then head out there, find accommodation and start your nomadic lifestyle! Cities such as Chiang Mai and Ko Samui in Thailand, Tallinn in Estonia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam are all known as popular places for digital nomads to live. The weather, cost of living and ability to travel to surrounding countries make each destination attractive.
Excellent Wi-Fi is a necessity for digital nomads
Step 7 – Take the plunge
The last step is to do it. Take the plunge and start your new life of work and travel. The first few months can be really daunting. You may question if you are insane, or if you have made the right decision. This is (should be) only temporary. As your business flourishes and you start to get used to the nomadic lifestyle your mindset and fortunes will soon change. We hope you will look back in several years’ time - sitting in a beach bar in some far off location, and wonder why you ever doubted yourself.
There is no denying that creating a nomadic lifestyle is not something that can be achieved overnight - despite the common advertisement of ‘Get-Rich-Quick-Schemes’. You must be willing to put in hard work and effort. If your heart is in the right place, and you persevere, you too can live out your dreams and become a digital nomad.