How to become a digital nomad: tips from working remote for 10 years
This post was last updated on December 19, 2020
“What if the money runs out?” This is the usual question that people ask themselves during long-term travel planning. It’s also one of the most frequent questions I get from readers of this blog.
I didn’t wake up one day and said, “I am going to be a digital nomad.” I discovered the path to location independence when I left home to travel the world. When I was starting, it was very difficult to find income streams to sustain my life on the road but in the recent boom of travel, digital nomad leapt with that boom to make traveling the world in a modern setting more feasible.
I know you’ve been dreaming of traveling the world but couldn’t find the right answers on how to sustain yourself financially. Learn how to become a digital nomad today and discover the rewards of living a free life!
What is a digital nomad?
A Digital Nomad is a person who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, having the ability to travel the world (work from anywhere). Digital Nomads typically work in foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces and even recreational vehicles. This lifestyle is the best description of a non-traditional occupation while achieving the goal of getting things done in a single, stationary workplace.
To cut overhead expenses, a lot of companies let their employees work from home so they don’t have to commute. Companies can just rent small spaces like an office without requiring everyone to come to the office. You might be a full-time employee but the schedule is flexible. Work wherever you want as long as you have a laptop and a good Internet connection.
According to Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, the number of remote workers has increased 115% within 10 years. Larger companies most likely won’t allow their employees with this kind of arrangement but small start-ups will. Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t work with big companies but if you want a remote job, find a company that is willing to adjust to your preference.
Where to find remote jobs
FlexJobs: FlexJobs is one of the top websites where you can find the best telecommuting jobs, part-time professional jobs and other flexible jobs in over 100 career categories, all hand-screened and legitimate. [Membership Fee: $14.94 per month; $29.95 per quarter; $49.95 per year]
The Muse: Your ultimate career finder and guidance destination. The Muse is an online career resource that offers a behind-the-scenes look at job opportunities with hundreds of companies, original career advice from prominent experts, and access to the best coaches to get personalized and private career help. [No membership fee]
Indeed: Search millions of jobs from thousands of job boards, newspapers, classifieds and company websites Indeed. It operates on a location-type basis so it will be easier for you to find a job in a city/place that you really like. [No membership fee]
Remote.co: Remote.co is a resource for companies that see remote work as an opportunity, from hiring to training to managing distributed teams. It aims to make companies to realise how important it is for their businesses to embrace the idea of remote employees. [No membership fee]
SkipTheDrive: SkipTheDrive is geared towards those seeking remote employment opportunities. These jobs are often referred to as telecommuting, telework, online, virtual, & work-from-home. [No membership fee]
Working Nomads: Working Nomads curate the best digital jobs for those looking to start their telecommuting career. Literally work remotely from your home or anywhere around the world. [No membership fee]
Jobspresso: Jobspresso is the easiest way to find remote jobs, careers and other remote work opportunities at interesting and innovative companies.
Europe Remotely: Slightly on a focused market, Europe Remotely is website for developers in Europe. Most of the jobs are about software and development but there are also Marketing, Sales, and Writing categories.
Outsourcely: With over 300,000 remote workers and 25,000 start-ups, Outsourcely connects startups and businesses with talented remote workers from around the world.
Jobscribe: Jobscribe is not a job search platform but if you subscribe, you will receive daily emails with the best jobs at the best tech startups.
Virtual Vocations: Virtual Vocations is a job service that provides job-seekers with hand-screened telecommuting job leads that offer real pay for real work. From account management to writing, all of the job openings we bring you to offer some form of telecommuting or virtual work.
OnlineJobs.ph: If you are from the Philippines like me, this is the best job board! Employers who post their job openings here are specifically looking for Filipino workers.
Resources for remote workers
- Are remote workers more satisfied with their situations, or more isolated and discontented? Do they feel more valued — or less? Are they more productive — or not? Read this article by Forbes.
- This article by The Wall Street Journal explains the revolution of remote work and why it can’t be stopped.
- A survey from the New York Times resulted in finding out that the percentage of remote workers erratically increased in the United States.
- More employees are working from home, and the lines can blur between their personal and professional lives. Here are expert tips to avoid burnout by Time Magazine.
- As workers move away from their cubicles and into home offices, they will need to learn a few tricks for staying productive. Here are five must-follow tips for the remote worker by Danny Wong.
- Stop wondering what it takes to be successful at remote work and find out with these tips and tricks. Here are 13 tips and tips for working remotely by Skill Crush.
Freelancing offers the same benefits and work dynamics as Remote Jobs. The only difference is that in Freelancing, you are often contracted with one-time jobs and you are not employed by anyone. This is the category where Millennials are booming: graphic design, writing, web development, app development, videos, content creation are some jobs that can be in this line of work.
Most people prefer freelancing as it is so much flexible. For example, let’s say you are a graphic designer and Company A wanted a poster for their event. They will tell you what they want, pay around $150 – $200 (depends on your pricing) and once you’re done, that’s it. No other strings attached. They get their poster. You get paid. Everybody’s happy. Freelancing projects have target dates so it will be easier for you to make room for other projects.
Freelancing projects have target dates so it will be easier for you to make room for other projects. Some freelancers I know take 5-10 projects at one time only because they can!
Where to find freelance jobs
Fiverr: If you’re new to freelancing, Fiverr is the best way to improve your portfolio. The jobs here are very easy. From Photoshop editing to transcribing a recording to boosting a Facebook ad, you will find a lot of opportunities on this website that will make you a credible freelancer for bigger gigs.
Upwork: Upwork is the world’s largest online workplace where savvy businesses and professional freelancers go to work. You can easily find time sensitive projects in this website.
Toptal: Toptal was created by engineers and entrepreneurs, all passionate about growing an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, and finance experts in the world.
Freelancer Map: FreelancerMap is a tendering platform for IT projects and presentation platform for IT freelancers and companies. Freelancermap provides an orderly category structure that makes finding matching projects and experts very easy. A script market to sell self-made scripts, a channel with IT-news as well as a discussion forum complete the offer.
Freelancer.com: Freelancer is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by a number of users and projects. There are over 24,493,379 employers and freelancers globally from over 247 countries, regions, and territories. Through Freelancer’s marketplace, employers can hire freelancers to do work in areas such as software development, writing, data entry, and design right through to engineering, the sciences, sales and marketing, accounting and legal services.
Coworks: Coworks is the #1 job search engine for creatives. Most jobs in this platform are in graphics, photography or any kind of creatives/design.
Guru: Create a profile on Guru and define the freelance services you want to offer. Employers will find you by these services when they search for freelancers to hire. Search and apply for jobs that interest you, in any category. We make it easy to showcase previous work you’ve completed to back up your proposals. We also provide Job Matches daily so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.
Great resources for freelancers
- Outsourcing and social media mean there’s never been a better time to freelance. Check out The Guardian’s top tips to see if freelancing can work for you.
- Before you quit your job, come to terms with the minimum income you need to survive. How to prepare yourself before you quit your job and go freelance by Double Your Freelancing can teach you how to methodically save money.
- This article, 24 ways on how to land your first freelance gig by Entrepreneur should give you the start you’ve been looking for.
- Pricing can be a little bit tricky when it comes to freelancing. James Chartrand’s Pricing Your Design and Writing Services will give you an idea on how to do it right and fair.
- For many non-sales professionals, the mention of salesperson is synonomous with manipulative money-grubber to be resisted at all costs. This article by Karen Swim will give you tips on how not to cringe when selling your services.
One of the hottest millennial trends, the depth of blogging as a full-time career is not yet very clear to many. Those who want to start a professional blog don’t really know what’s the financial benefits they will get if they create their own platform.
Whenever I tell people blogging is what I do full-time, they all smirk, raise their eyebrows and will slowly utter with discomfort: “How?!” They’ll look at me like I’m a joke and I’ll glance back without talking: “I know right.”
A lot of people want to build a blog but don’t really know where to start. The Internet is a very saturated place now because everyone is writing the same content. By “same,” I mean most bloggers are publishing listicles, things to do and generic guides because this is what sells on Google. It will make you instantly famous if you’ve mastered the art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
When I started this blog, I only wanted to share my stories to my friends and family. My mum couldn’t bear the idea that I am traveling the world – the thought that I am not home for years terrified her. In order to give her the benefit of the doubt, I promised to write whatever’s happening to my life on a daily basis. Poof, it became P.S. I’m On My Way, a blog that is read by many young people all over the world who wishes to pursue the life they always imagined.
It took me years to figure out how I can make blogging as an income stream. I did it all alone. No one was there to guide me and teach me the ways of the blogging Jedi but after long hours on the laptop and so much hard work, I finally got my seat on the blog of thrones.
How do I earn from this blog?
Destination Marketing: Destination Marketing is about promoting a town, city, region, or country in order to increase the number of visitors. It promotes the development and marketing of a destination, focusing on convention sales, tourism marketing, and services. In the blogging world, this is called “Press/Media Trips” wherein Tourism Boards will invite Influencers and Bloggers in an all-expense-paid trip with a daily allowance on top.
Affiliate Marketing: Some of the links in this blog are affiliate links. Meaning, if you purchase a product through those links, I may earn a commission. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. I will have a commission if you purchased a product I am endorsing through my website. Please remember that I never recommend a product just for the commission — I only recommend something I genuinely believe in and trust. The small income I make from Affiliate Marketing will help in maintaining this blog.
Brand Ambassadorship: I receive a lot of emails about this but I barely choose any of them because I want to work with someone I truly believe in. I don’t want to mislead my readers to “buy this product” if deep inside my heart, it’s a brand that is shitty as feck. Thanks to you, I am really proud to say I was able to create a close-knit community that has been supportive of what I do. I will never ever journey into something I am not sure of just because of the income it may bring. Influencers nowadays lose their value because they are always saying yes to free stuff and not asking compensation for the work that they do. This is the by-product of the suffrage of the blogging community as a whole. If you are a travel blogger who is not asking for pay for reviews, you should re-think the idea of why you did a professional blog. Big or small, YOU DESERVE TO BE COMPENSATED WITH YOUR TALENTS. Don’t just say yes to freebies.
Speaking Engagements: This is probably one of my favorites. Often (especially when I am in the Philippines), I am invited by organizations, Universities to talk about a myriad of things. The topic covers mostly travel, life and dreams but I’ve had more talks about life. I also discussed blogging once. My most recent talk is by the prestigious TEDx. You can watch the video here! Making a speech/workshop requires work, too. You don’t present anything just to say something. It should be well planned and efforts should be exerted in order to make it sensible and smooth. I did my speech for TEDx for almost 2 months!
Travel Coaching: I owe the success of this blog to my readers and followers so I vowed to myself to be always generous with information with them. Those who were curious have signed up for my Travel Coaching Programs where I talk to people one-on-one via Skype on what they want to know about (mostly on how to afford a life of travel). Each human is different so I wanted to give a personal touch to the coaching sessions. I always try my best to give what fits best on the individuality of the client as not all methods apply to everyone. When I am staying in a city/country for a long time, I also hold travel coaching sessions for groups that are held in cafes or bookstores. The idea of interacting (in person) with people who read your stuff makes me super high!
Is it hard to be a digital nomad?
Very hard. Long hours on the computer can kill your back and eyes. There will be times that you have to pass on sunset drinks by the beach because you are still working after 6. The thing with having the freedom to work whenever or wherever you want is that you always end up procrastinating just because you can. This results working three 24-hour days and doing nothing for the rest of the week. It’s very stressful!
When you work in an office, the environment is there. There are desks around you, printers blaring 9-5, keyboards ticking, etc. I know this is not the ideal view you want to see every day but it is so much easier to work in an office because of the hours. After 5, you are free to go. Remember that when you are self-employed, not only that you need to get the job done but you also have to monitor productivity. Sure, you are your own boss but you basically have to do everything by yourself. Sometimes, it makes me cringe.
Becoming a Digital Nomad is not a path for everyone but if you love it and you can swing with it, then do it! Every day, I am piled with so much work and yet I still manage to go out, drink, eat out, do things with friends etc. How can I do that? I love what I do! I think this is the only key to anyone’s success: do what you love and you wouldn’t have to work a day in your life.
Overused. I know. But there’s so much truth in it if you look at it deeply and not just read the words.