Digital nomad isn’t a job title but rather a lifestyle choice and an option now more available than ever due to the ever changing impact that Covid-19 imprinted in our lives.
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who chooses to embrace remote work as a lifestyle choice, using technology to make a living that enables themselves to be as mobile as they want to be whilst leveraging remote work to fund and follow through on their desires to work from anywhere.
There’s no prerequisite where you need to stay in a certain number of countries for a certain amount of time in order to qualify as a digital nomad. It’s simply a choice you have as a remote worker or entrepreneur who can make a living that doesn’t necessarily have to keep them in one place.
It’s also a choice that has become easier to make for many thanks to changes brought about by Covid-19.
Technology changed how we work
Thanks to technological innovations, a laptop and the cloud offer us all the tools we need to work better both independently and collaboratively.
Technology has made it so work can get done over a great distance and it’s really what makes being a digital nomad possible. The rest depends on your how you choose to make a living.
How to become a digital nomad?
There are no specific skills that you need to be a digital nomad. You just need to be good at what you do and be able to sell your services or product or whatever it is, entirely online.
In order to make the transition to a digital nomad lifestyle, you need three things:
An income stream that you can maintain completely and remotely.
A laptop and a good internet connection wherever you plan to work.
A solid grasp of personal finance and cashflow management to live within your means.
Best jobs for digital nomads
The only prerequisite to embrace a nomadic lifestyle is whether you can work completely from a remote location from your laptop and phone to fund your adventures.
Ecommerce entrepreneurs are often able to free themselves to work as they travel by finding a way to hand off the one aspect of running an online store that could keep a business grounded through shipping and fulfillment.
Some overcome the hurdle by using dropshipping. Some are able to find suppliers that they can trust to ship orders to customers. Others get creative with digital products that don’t require any physical inventory to manage at all.
With a solution in place, they’re able to run the rest of their business, from marketing to customer support, while on the road, outsourcing as they grow in order to free up their time.
Developer or Designer
Developers and designers are some of the most common remote positions you’ll find when you look at any job board. You can even create your own products and turn them into a source of income as well.
Customer support jobs were among the first to go remote since they’ve work entirely over the phone, email or chat anyway.
Support is also an ideal position for remote work because companies need teams around the globe in order to offer 24/7 support.
Writer or Translator
Almost any job that deals with words can be done remotely. Whether it’s content creation, book editing, interviewing someone for a story, or writing website copy, you can execute for a client without being in the same room as them.
Either you can find an employer that embraces remote work, or you can create your own business and brand as an independent freelancer or agency.
Nearly all the tools a marketer needs are accessible from their laptop. And since most digital marketing is measurable, it’s easy for clients and employers to keep marketers accountable even when they're working from the other side of the world.
The above are the usual remote working gigs. But more and more, professions are embracing technology as a way to interact with customers and clients without the need to be in the same room. There are even new careers being creating specifically around remote work, like a full time virtual assistant.
The Best Places for Digital Nomads to work
Naturally, some countries will be more suited to your lifestyle and income as a digital nomad than others.
According to Nomad List, an online community and database of cities for digital nomads, the top 5 cities overall for remote work, based on feedback from users, include:
Chiang Mai, Thailand
But the world is a much bigger place than that and every city has its own nuances beyond the obvious cost of living.
What are the downsides of being a digital nomad?
Life as a digital nomad isn’t all adventures, especially if you’re used to the comfort of heading into an office for a normal 9-to-5 or even working from home.
You need to be smart and you need to find ways to make sure that you have a certain income coming in every month. One of the best and most efficient ways of doing that is creating sources of passive income.
If you’re an independent entrepreneur or freelancer, the importance of generating an income you can rely on for months in advance and diversify, allowing you to not rely entirely on one source of income.
Sometimes, the unexpected happens and you’re not able to work for extended periods of time, which can be tough if you haven’t saved up enough money for such unexpectedness.
Remember not to put all of your eggs in one basket. When you're a freelancer, you always need to have a backup plan.
The other thing to be aware of is time zone differences that could have you working odd hours to meet clients and deadlines. You need to factor that in when you’re thinking about where you want to spend the next few months or longer.
Being a digital nomad is an exciting opportunity that’s only going to become more common as work solutions are adapted due to the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic.
The shift in the way we work from the comforts of our own homes also allows avid travellers the opportunity to work as they explore new locations instead of having to pick between the two.
If you love to travel and you are tired of waiting for vacation days to see the world, it might be worth looking into how you can embrace remote work to make traveling less of an escape and more of a lifestyle.