You don’t have to search far and wide for the answers to all those pressing digital nomads questions that keep appearing in discussion groups: all the hard work has been done and it’s tastefully presented here! This article is in partnership with language experts Day Translations (see specific section for a limited time offer).
First and Foremost: How Do You Become a Digital Nomad?
Of all the questions people ask about digital nomads, the most popular is related to how to become one.
The lifestyle of a digital nomad is based on the ability to work and travel at the same time. Therefore, you need to pay particular attention to what type of work you can do (or which type of online business you can run remotely), where you will stay and, most importantly, if you can afford it.
Financials aside, do you have what it takes to be a digital nomad? Do you have the mental and physical skills of resilience, discipline, self-motivation and sense of initiative required to be a successful digital nomad? Anyone can go on holiday and check their emails on their laptop; not everybody can get up in the morning, structure their day to ensure they complete all their work-related tasks including liaising with their clients, then have enough time to take care of their health, fitness, travel and social life.
How To Become a Digital Nomad?
As this is the most searched question for aspiring digital nomads, let’s look at it in more detail.
There is plenty of information available, mostly packaged as handy numbered lists. However, the reality is that you have to take so many more factors into account, as well as the risks involved, primarily with regards to your attitude and your health.
While we may not want to think about worst case scenarios, when travelling and possibly having errating eating and sleeping patterns (which is very likely to happen when moving from one place to the next), you are exposing yourself to potential health risks such as contracting a virus, experiencing fatigue or having an injury.
Therefore, even before thinking about what job you’d like to do while travelling and which destination to choose to live in, research available health insurance plans to find the best policy to suit your needs (see related article).
Give yourself the best start by planning how you will keep yourself as healthy as possible: think about how you will exercise on a daily basis and where you will source fresh produce in local markets.
If you haven’t done so already, learn how to cook healthy meals from scratch while also keeping an eye on your food budget (see related article on meals while travelling).
Which Location To Choose for Digital Nomads?
We often assume that everywhere we go in the world we can communicate in English with the locals and any other international travellers we meet.
As a broad generalisation, English-speaking countries don’t tend to have generous visa rules for international travellers, digital nomads and remote workers. Being able to speak a second language is a distinct advantage to be able to travel to more affordable places that are also tendentially more nomad-friendly, such as Portugal and Croatia.
What Accommodation To Choose for Digital Nomads?
Choosing the right accommodation is a strategic decision because it is linked to productivity and, ultimately, to your ability to earn money. Unreliable WiFi connections, the stress of packing your belongings at short notice, noisy neighbours etc., all contribute to slowing you and your business down.
It is recommended to write a list of your accommodation requirements including negotiables and non-negotiables, together with your budget. While the usual way to book accommodation is through websites such as Airbnb, there are alternatives that are available that can be within budget or at least not break the bank.
In online forums a suggestion is to look at off-peak and off-season facilities in places that are normally busy in high season. Bearing in mind that some resorts and hotels may close in winter, others may keep their premises open and offer rooms at reduced rates. Resorts in Portugal and Madeira, for example, can have a monthly cost comparable to renting an apartment in a city but they can offer top tier amenities such as swimming pools and gyms. Bansko in Bulgaria, a famous ski resort, also has great off-season deals that are worth looking into.
Hotels that offer long stays to digital nomads have the opportunity to cover their running costs all year round so it’s a win-win for both sides.
How To Earn as a Digital Nomad?
Another important decision is choosing the right career and the remote work modality that best suits your needs.
Do a skills audit to define what marketable skills you can offer to potential clients or employers. You can get advice on how to maximise your online profile on LinkedIn and your CV, or simply watch several video tutorials (TikTok is a remarkably useful source of information on remote working, CV preparation and optimising LinkedIn profiles).
Look at what companies are looking for and tailor your online offering accordingly. Are you a programmer? Digital marketer? Virtual assistant? Ensure these search terms are embedded in all your social media profiles (See also related article on job sites).
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of networking, both before you leave your home country and when you have reached your desired destination. In person networking events are a goldmine of potential business opportunities, allowing you to meet with a pool of clients in a short timeframe.
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