A digital nomad is someone whose job enables them to work anywhere they like; because all they usually need is their laptop and a connection to the internet. It’s a trend that’s becoming more popular all the time because more and more people are realising they don’t have to be based in specific place to earn money anymore.
Some are lucky enough to already have established online businesses or are able to work remotely. Therefore, the transition of moving to another location and working from there is pretty straightforward. For others who want to see more of the world and work while travelling, there’s a little more preparation involved. The digital nomad trend is growing fast, with people quitting their day jobs, finding work online, and heading off to beautiful far flung places all the time. And there’s no reason why that couldn’t be you!
Types Of Remote Working Jobs
You might wonder what on earth you could do in order to make money online, but there are a more options than you might think, and new opportunities come up all the time. It depends on your experience and skill set but for some jobs you won’t even need any prior training. So, what kind of jobs are out there?
Writing – There is a huge demand for content writing for websites as well as writing e-books and romantic novels. Even if you don’t have much writing experience, if you have a flair for it and write a few good samples, you’ll easily be able to find work.
Virtual Assistant – It’s possible to manage someone’s schedule, book appointments, arrange meetings, etc., from anywhere in the world and more and more professionals are looking for remote personal assistants to help them organise their working lives.
IT and Design – For those who have skills in IT including website design, web development, networking, technical support, graphic design, etc., there are an abundance of clients looking for help for various projects online.
Teaching – If you want the flexibility of being able to work anywhere in the world, online English teaching is a great way to go. There are loads of schools in China like Landi and VIPKids that employ native and fluent English speakers to teach English over Skype, often to children. Even if you don’t have a TEFL qualification there are some sites like iTalki where you can get paid for conversation classes, so you don’t even need to teach; just chat.
Blogging – It takes a while to build up a website and to gain enough followers to make money, but plenty of people have done it and if you’re good at writing and have something that you’re passionate about, then it could be a great option to start alongside doing some other kind of online work.
Translating – There are loads of clients looking for translation and if you can speak more than one language this is a great possibility.
Transcription and Data Entry – These are great options for those who are new to online work as you don’t need much in the way of experience. You’ll usually have to do some kind of typing/transcription test in order to be accepted. Rev is an example of a company requiring transcription work.
There are hundreds of possibilities and the above are just a few options. Some good places to search for online jobs are Upwork, Flexjobs, iFreelance, Freelancer, We Work Remotely, Working Nomads, Airtasker and Guru but there are many more. You’ll often have to complete a profile
When you get your first online job, no matter how little it’s for, it’s a huge thrill to know that you’re on the way to being location independent. However, getting work is just the start. You’re only a digital nomad if you’re actually on the road, so the next step is to decide where your newfound independence will take you.
Researching suitable locations might seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of resources available online to help you make your decision. Whether you choose one or several, it’s a good idea to stay in each place for a minimum of a month at a time. This enables you to establish a good work routine while also allowing time to discover and explore, and make some new friends.
Remote Work Base Requirements
To be able to work productively and also enjoy yourself, the following are some things to think about when choosing somewhere to base yourself:
Infrastructure – You’ll want somewhere with fairly reliable power and internet access, depending on the type of work you do and if you need a constant connection, for instance, for teaching English online.
Cost of Living – Even if you’re not earning much per hour, your money can go a long way depending on the location you choose. Renting an apartment by the month is usually a lot cheaper than paying to stay somewhere by the night or even week. But accommodation is not the only thing to be considered. Check out and compare costs of living in different places on a website like Numbeo before you go.
Safety – You’ll want somewhere you feel safe walking around, especially if you’re working in coffee shops or shared office spaces and will be carrying your laptop around with you.
Climate – Hot and sticky tropical weather is all well and good when you’re lying on a beach all day but when you’re sitting at your laptop with sweat dripping onto the keyboard it’s not quite the same so consider carefully the weather at the time of year you’re planning to travel.
Community – If you’re travelling alone you’ll want to choose somewhere that you can integrate easily into the local culture and also find other digital nomads to socialise with. And if you’re travelling to a country where English isn’t spoken you might want to take some language classes; even just being able to communicate at a basic level will make all the difference in feeling more at home.
Time Zones – Important to consider for certain digital nomads who work to a set schedule or within routine hours. Being a virtual assistant for someone the other side of the world will quickly lose its appeal when you have to take calls and send emails in the middle of the night.
Visa – Every country will allow you to stay for different periods of time and have different policies, depending on where you’re from as to whether you’ll need to apply for a visa or not. The best countries to choose are those that allow you to stay for periods of a month or longer.
Where to Find Remote Work Destinations
If you haven’t travelled much in the past and find the thought of arranging everything yourself a little intimidating, there are some great programs for digital nomads that do all the hard stuff for you. Usually you just have to book your flights and turn up. Everything from airport transfers, your accommodation, communal work space and even social activities are organised for you. This is a great way to ease yourself into the digital nomad world and meet some great like-minded people. Hacker Paradise, Remote Year, Wy_Co, Wifi Tribe and Unsettled all offer various lengths of programs (some of which you can even sign up for a year or two), and take you to many different locations.
Obviously, these services are a lot pricier than going about things yourself, so if you’re on a budget it’s better to do it independently. However, researching the programs on offer will help a lot in getting ideas for good locations to choose on your journey. They’re usually places that already have an established digital nomad base for a good reason. Whether you go for relaxed beach vibes, vibrant city life, or stunning mountain views, you can be confident that speedy internet is available, there are probably co-working spaces, plenty to see and do, and other digital nomads to hang out with. Nomad List offers some great comparisons between different locations, and you can also connect with other digital nomads who are registered with the site.
Becoming a digital nomad gives you the chance to get out there and see the world, enabling you to travel long-term without having to save a small fortune beforehand. Your new office could be a trendy co-working space, a bustling city café, an old historical library, or even a sun lounger on the beach!