If you’re young and penniless you have by far the best chance of anyone else to become a happy and successful digital nomad. As a young person you have no obligations to anyone or anything other than yourself and becoming the competent individual society as a whole wants and needs you to be.
It only gets more difficult as you get older and more established, so it is best to get started before you get too deep into a career path, a relationship and consumerism. To where you’re a slave to a fake persona, having to upkeep it to maintain appearances.
What is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad in my opinion is someone who works online and lives abroad on their terms. Getting a job in a foreign country does not count as being a digital nomad in my opinion. Sure you can bartend, teach English, work on a yacht or become a travel guide but you’re not really a digital nomad. You can’t just pickup and decide that you’re going to go live somewhere new for example.
Which is the nomad part of digital nomad is all about. You’re free to roam about as you please. You can’t do that with a job!
I can live and work abroad with ease. In fact as I write this I’m planning on moving to Saigon Vietnam for 6-12 months with a few friends. I’ve never lived there and Americans can get a 1 year visa. So i’ll give it a go and see if I like it.
Travel is a luxury.
Travel is something I deeply wanted when I was in my 20’s and working for PricewaterhouseCoopers for 60 hours a week. Hoping and wishing for things to change.
I used to think how wonderful it would be if I could just make enough from my own business, even if it was just $3,000 a month online, I would take that any day over my career path at PWC.
Fast forward to today and I actually do make $3,000- 4,000 a month like I had always dreamed. My peers now are all senior managers in various roles with 6 figure salaries while I’m making the same amount I was making back almost 10 years ago.
They pity me to be honest. They think I’ve fallen off the proverbial ship. That because I’m not at the same career level they are at that I have somehow failed.
Yet, what they simply don’t realize is this: I DON’T WANT THEIR LIFE.
I’m extremely grateful to be where I’m at now. I’ve had a great few years of travel, women and fun. These are the things that have been a have been a priority for me. Now, it’s time to work hard and build wealth.
Remember boys and girls, if you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice. That’s be the reality for me. No regrets though!
I’ve gotten travel out of my system so now I’m focused on building real assets. Udemy courses, ebooks, courses for my other websites, that I can promote here on edgeofdavid.com and simply to keep producing content as this blog has been growing slowly and steadily.
How To Really Go Nomad Mode
Now let’s talk about how YOU can become a digital nomad. All that stuff I just mentioned, ebooks, courses and what not are all fine and dandy projects to work on but first you need to actually make money from a skill.
(dramatic drum roll please)
dun dun duuuunnnn
Active Income and Passive Income
To become a digital nomad goal #1 is to figure out a way to trade your hours for dollars that does not involve you having to be in any particular place at any particular time.
There is not one answer to this question but forget passive income for the time being. Passive income is for idiots who don’t want to work generally speaking.
“Passive income” is really business income and it’s what you do after you are serving a market and have figured out what problem to solve. The real work comes with first with developing a skill.
As I said, you have to sacrifice for what you want so that mean you’re going to have to give things up. The main things being video games, weekends out with friends drinking beer and social media.
Ready? Let’s do this.
Picking a Skill
You need a skill. No way around it. Yea yea, I know there are stories of this person starting a blog and began traveling or that person doing Amazon FBA. It can work, don’t get me wrong. But for most people your best bet would be to develop a skill where you can work remotely.
What I do is SEO audits, user testing, creating websites and I teach English online too. This forms my “reliable” income. The income I can count on each and every month. I could live strictly off my passive income but I’m a bit older now and I need money for investments and retirement planning. My goal is to have over half a million dollars invested by the time I’m 40 and be making enough from dividend payments.
I can’t get there if all I did was be lazy and coast on my passive income.
What skills can you do remotely as a nomad?
You should jump on Upwork and Fiverr and take a look at what is selling. Whatever is selling means that’s where the money is. In general, your skill is going to be doing some sort of service that business needs and is willing to pay forP
- Content Writer
- Translating text
- Creating Websites
- SEO for Clients
- Facebook Advertising
- Freelance Travel Writer
- Graphic Designer
- Virtual Assistant
- Teach English Online
A content writer is someone who is paid to write blog posts in a nut shell. This is an in demand position because people who build websites simply don’t have the time to write a hundred blog posts and it’s much easier for them to simply outsource the bulk of the writing.
This is where you come in. From press releases, to SEO blog posts, writing is what you’ll be doing. It could be a profitable gig too. This girl make 6 figures a year as a content writer.
If you are fluent in two languages this is a fantastic opportunity for you. You can get paid anywhere from $20 to $70 an hour to translate text from one language to another.
This woman is a digital nomad and full time translator.
This is what I do, I create websites. Web design can range from something as simple as a $200 WordPress website all the way up to an agency that can charge big brands thousands of dollars.
Creating WordPress websites for individuals is a fairly easy way to make $1000 a month online. If you charge $250 a website, you only need 1 client per week to meet that goal.
SEO For Clients
Creating websites and doing SEO for your own content may seem simple enough after you’ve been doing it for a year or two but so many business have no clue how to optimize their website for Google.
This is where you come in. You can provide SEO services in the form of either on page optimization or you can manage their link building efforts so their content ranks organically in the search engines.
Facebook Advertising and Social Media
Social media is a pain in the butt for most small business. They want to focus on business, not posting stuff on Facebook and running ad campaigns.
What you could do is simply mange the social media profiles for companies. Put them on a retainer where they pay you a few hundred dollars every month for you to do something specific like publish blog posts and post to social media.
Freelance Travel Writing
The toughest one to break into on the list. You typically can’t just jump into this one without having traveled before. This one is a good option for travel bloggers who have a small audience and a track record.
If this is you, as you continue to grow your own website, reach out to other publications with a well developed media kit explaining why they should hire you as a freelance writer.
Jodi over at Legal Nomads got her start making money online this way and has since continued to grow her online presence.
A good graphic designer can easily charge $90 an hour or more. My sister is a freelance graphic designer and was making thousands of dollars from her own clients before accepting a job. She got married and wanted security.
But if you got talent for graphics, that is one skill that is always in high demand. Sure, individuals can’t afford you because they think you’re just drawing a picture why should they pay that amount of money for something that will take you 30 minutes to do, but business know the marketing value of getting your branding right.
Damn, if you can program or have a talent for learning this, I envy you. Programmers can get paid a high hourly rate and not have to work that much. I meet so many digital nomads who worked 15 hours a week and got paid $2,500 a month to code.
To get started leaning how to code you should check out Chris the Freelancer. He’s a guy who taught himself how to code, then got a job and then went nomad. Building his own brand along the way as to not have to rely so much on freelance work.
A virtual assistant is someone who manages tasks and schedules on the behalf of a client. A virtual assistant usually works for a successful individual who needs help managing his or her busy life. Tasks like making appointments, following up on emails being the gatekeeper to your clients attention are typical expectation of a virtual assistant.
Learn more here about the day in the life of a virtual assistant.
Teach English Online
Teach English online – it’s a great way to earn an income online that can supplement another income stream all together. To get started you will need some sort of experience working with kids as well as a bachelors degree and the completion of a TEFL certificate at some point.
Expect to make $20-$25 an hour teaching English online.
Passive Income as a Nomad
Once you have a skill in place and a ready to live and work abroad the next thing you should be working on is building passive income for yourself.
The best forms of passive income to get started are to create courses and ebooks on what you know. As you have experience doing something specific based on your skill, it’s a good idea to turn that knowledge into a blog where you can build an audience and sell products to or a YouTube channel.
At a minimum, if you’re not the technical sort at least publish a few books for Amazon Kindle and create a handful of courses for Udemy.
These two places are marketplaces for products that don’t require you to have a built in audience already. Once you have passive income and your active income set and are making money THEN you can begin to invest and explore other business opportunities.
Some ideas to of where to use your money:
Buy websites that are making money and improve them.
Create content website and outsource the content
Create some sort of software for a video game or a WordPress plugin. I once meet a girl who was making 3k a month from selling outfits a paid download in a video game
There are so many ways to become a digital nomad. The first step is figuring out a way to get paid so you can break free from cubicle life.