how to become a digital nomad

Can you become a digital nomad with no experience? Surprise, surprise!

Changing gears because of COVID? Thinking about building your own empire? I’ve been a digital nomad for over 10 years and here’s a step-by-step guide on how to become a digital nomad.

Reader Mail: Trisha, thank you for your digital nomad content! I am currently researching how to become a digital nomad. Do you have some tips? I’ve been following your DN lifestyle since 2013 and I think that this year, because of COVID, I will also do the same.

I have no experience but I have a background in IT and can pretty much do anything. Please help me with this, I will be forever grateful!
– Laurent, France

“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 nomads leaped 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 uses 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.

digital nomad travelwifi

How do I start a digital nomad career?

Look, the global pandemic has led many companies to close and convert their employees to remote workers. As of today, there was a 54% increase in Americans working from home. In 2029, these numbers are expected to triple.

I became a digital nomad on my own (without working for any company) and through this, I have experimented with the many possibilities I can do to work for myself.

You may also like: Countries with digital nomad visas

There are many layers on how to become a digital nomad and when you are already one, you will find that everything is possible – really, I am not giving you shit.

Read on and see how to become a digital nomad and see the rewards of working for yourself. I might warn you though – it’s doable but it’s not as easy as you think!

How much does a digital nomad make?

You name it. The good thing is that being a digital nomad who works for yourself allows you to plan how much money you want to make. Meaning, you can work more or you can work less – it’s really up to you.

If you’re working more, you can earn up to $10,000 USD per month but please don’t be enticed by this. I am not saying you will automatically earn this amount of money once you become a digital nomad.

Recommended: The best bank for digital nomads – multiple currencies in one!

What I am saying is that $10,000 USD in earnings a month requires a lot of hard work and a lot of time. It’s as if you feel like 24 hours is not even enough for a day!

Digital nomad salary is also not very consistent. You can earn $10,000 USD this month and nothing the next month. It all depends on your work dynamics so don’t be fixated on this amount. It’s not always true that you’ll earn this much as a digital nomad!

How do I become a digital nomad with no experience?

A lot of people worry about having an experience as a digital nomad but the truth is, you don’t really need one. Nobody will ask you about your experience because being a digital nomad means entrepreneurship.

You are doing a job that you are good at and that is all that matters. There is no requirement or qualifications – as long as you get the job done, you will be fine!

See also: 41 European digital nomad cities ranked from cheapest to most expensive

Additionally, confidence is key. One of the things I learned when I started the digital nomad lifestyle is that you need to be confident in what you do because it’s a really competitive industry.

As long as you know that you can fulfill the job even if you don’t have a digital nomad experience, then you are good to go. This, unfortunately, is what is lacking for beginner digital nomads.

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Is it hard to become 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 in 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.

Recommended: 15 best countries for teaching English abroad

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.

A little bit about me: what I do as a digital nomad for over 10 years

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).

Popular: Mexico digital nomad visa explained

how to be a digital nomad

When I started this blog, I only wanted to share my stories with 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 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.

See also: The best digital nomad destinations in Mexico

In the blogging world, this is called “Press/Media Trips” wherein Tourism Boards will invite Influencers and Bloggers on 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 fck.

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.

Related: Thriving in the world of men as a female digital nomad

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 for 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.

Recommended: Best European cities for digital nomads
female digital nomads

In 2018, I was invited to speak at a digital nomad convention. I was the only woman in the speaker line-up. That’s me taking my seat at the table.

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!

Private consultations

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).

You may also like: The digital nomad guide to Medellin, Colombia

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!


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How to become a digital nomad: a step-by-step guide to living your best life

Step #1: Know what you are good at. What are your skills?

Are you good with social media or do you have a passion for it? My friend Mady started her Instagram as a hobby and little did she know that people were following her because she was sharing great tips about travel in Mexico.

From there, she realized she can work as a content marketing manager for real estate and accommodations in Mexico – and she discovered all these by accident!

Read: Is Lisbon, Portugal a great place for digital nomads?

In the earlier part of this article, you were wondering how to become a digital nomad without experience – this is the best example of that!

So tell me now, what’s your background? Arts? Graphic design? Website? Digital marketing? Don’t limit yourself to these digital nomad careers – think of everything you can do and list them down.

Step #2: Create your website

When you’re looking for something online, you won’t really type “graphic designer in Warsaw” on Instagram or Facebook. We all go to Google because this is the most authoritative on the Internet.

When creating your website, you need to find focus keywords that people would search for to get to you. Think about 5 keyword variations, use them all the time and stick with them.

Recommended: How to start a professional blog

how to become a digital nomad

For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can do variations like “graphic designer for hire,” “graphic designer in Europe,” “Europe graphic designer,” etc.

Keywords can be repetitive but as long as they are sending the same message, you will do well on Google. You can also be as specific as “animator for short films,” “travel video creator,” – you name it!

Step #3: On your website, make blogs that will point clients to your services

Now with those keywords above, I am not saying you’ll rank on Google’s first page right away. You need to write about your experiences on the blog, mostly giving free information.

People like detailed information and the best way to give that FOR FREE is through writing detailed blog posts. Plan a topic list like “how to easily create designs on Canva.”

Your topic of choice must be relevant to your niche and of course, again, giving information and instructions! Video tutorials on Youtube will work as well.

See also: The ultimate digital nomad guide to Koh Phangan, Thailand

how to become a digital nomad

Some digital nomads panic when thinking of topics but think about what people would ask for. It can be as simple as “how to easily export HD videos on Final Cut Pro.”

This could just be a one-minute video but it ranks because it’s a tutorial!

Having a social media presence definitely helps but the most common mistake that digital nomads do is to focus on social media.

I have 47k following on Instagram but I honestly haven’t earned as much as I earned on this website. Focus on your blog content because it will give you more traction!

Step #4: Look for clients on your own: start with friends and family

You need to offer services to people you already know first. This way, you can give samples to big clients about what you’ve done in the past. What better way to build that portfolio than by helping your friends and family!

Of course, you also need to give discounts to your friends and family at first. I know it’s hard to gauge pricing for digital nomad services but I have a blog post about that.

Related: Is Merida the safest digital nomad destination in Mexico?

how to become a digital nomad

Pricing-wise, I always just look at my competitors and try to level it with them. There is also a digital marketing trick that I do that would entice people to book my services.

When I am doing a pricing list on my website, I usually do a 25% discount but in reality, that’s not really a discounted price. It will make people book because they actually think there’s a discount but there really isn’t.

Use pricing in this format ($250 $150). Strikethroughs are very powerful online texts so make sure to use them!

Step #5: Make a stellar profile and sell yourself

Now that you have a website, you need to create profiles on other digital nomad job boards. Sign up to as many as you can!

In the beginning, I was signed up to 100 websites but it wasn’t that hard to control. Since you are starting, you will receive maybe 1 out of 100 work requests but as you build your profile on these websites, previous clients can leave references on their experience with you.

Recommended: The best Asian cities for digital nomads

how to become a digital nomad

You’d be surprised that after just being on job boards for 6 months, you will be overwhelmed with clients! This happened to me so for now, I only stick with LinkedIn.

On LinkedIn, I constantly change my destination because I am moving a lot. This way, I can still get 1-2 projects in every area I visit. When I was in Barcelona, I was even offered a full-time job!

Step #6: Join Facebook groups and collaborate

Facebook can be really tedious but honestly, I find more successes and projects with digital nomad Facebook groups. The messages and feed will be overwhelming but I dedicate an hour a day to interact in groups.

Not only that you are building a network and putting your name out there when joining Facebook groups but you also get to learn from other digital nomads!

You may also like: Vietnam vs Thailand as a digital nomad

how to become a digital nomad

What I love about these groups are the questions. You’d be surprised what people ask and you wonder, “I’ve been meaning to ask the same!”

People love Facebook groups and everyone is super willing to give feedback, tips, and detailed information answering your questions.

Step #7: Live your life of being a digital nomad by traveling around the globe

The main driving reason that makes many people convert to being digital nomads is travel. All of us don’t want to work from home but we want to work from anywhere in the world!

Now, those pictures of people working on the beach – they’re not necessarily true. They are just for show. Honestly, I hate this kind of imagery because, for me, I only travel and stay in places long-term if there is a good wifi connection.

To tell you the truth, those beaches don’t even have that strong Wifi. I lived in many beautiful Mexican beach towns and the Internet always sucked!

Your digital nomad base can be anywhere and you’ll be frequently moving. You can be anywhere you want to be, really. But make sure you get the job done.

This is actually where you are going to test if you have a good balance between work and play!

#9: Make sure to do these steps in order

Why is it important to do these steps in order? Look, if you join digital nomad Facebook groups first, how are you going to showcase your work if you don’t have a website?

Travel comes last of course but once you already put your profile on the Internet, it will be easier for you to sell your services anywhere.

What if you travel first then you don’t have a portfolio? What are you going to show? Sure, you can travel first but only if you can support your travels and have savings!

Becoming a digital nomad is a step-by-step process so be patient and take your time. When you’re already out there, you will see how easy it is to get jobs if you have a stellar profile.

How to become a digital nomad on Pinterest: save it for later!

how to become a digital nomad

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • July 2, 2017

    Hi Trisha! I love this so much! I’m from Manila and recently shifted to being a remote employee in a Malaysian company. So far, yes, we are in the best positions to travel and fulfill our passions! ?

    reply
  • Roni
    July 2, 2017

    Wow. This is so comprehensive, Trisha. Thank youuuuu. <3

    Maybe I cannot do it now but I have to prepare myself already because I want to experience the Digital Nomad lifestyle in a few years! This will be my ultimate guide.

    reply
  • jastine
    July 3, 2017

    Wow! This is in complete details details Trisha. I did try to be a digital nomad and I can say its not all working in a beach sipping margaritas. Needs discipline and haaaaard work. Im giving it another try and will learn new skills. This is the kind of life I imagined to work remotely and still travel.

    reply
  • JP
    July 6, 2017

    Super informative guide! Wow! Thank you, Trisha! <3

    reply
  • July 23, 2017

    Wow, what a thorough and great resource! I’ve always been tempted by the idea but I’m not sure I’m ready to pull the plug on consistent income quite yet 🙂

    reply
  • July 23, 2017

    Love this post! As a graphic designer, my work is location independent. Being a digital nomad is the ultimate goal. Glad to have come across this post. Bookmarked it!

    reply
  • July 23, 2017

    So much info here that it is almost overwhelming. I am working toward being a digital nomad probably in a few years (still have some ducks that won’t line up!) Thank you for sharing all this to help with the process!

    reply
  • July 23, 2017

    What a fantastic list of resources for remote workers and freelancers! Bookmarking this one.

    reply
  • July 24, 2017

    I love how thorough this list is! I’ve heard many of the freelance sites, but not the job search sites for remote positions. Will definitely be pinning for later!

    reply
  • July 24, 2017

    Wow, quite the comprehensive list! A great resource for anyone becoming a digital nomad and for people that have been working remotely for awhile. I wasn’t familiar with all the sites out there for advertising remote jobs aside from Flexjobs and Indeed. I like to stay up to date on different opportunities, so I am eager to dive deeper into some of the sites that you highlighted. Bookmarking for future reference, thanks!

    reply
  • July 25, 2017

    holly smokes this list is insane! Bookmarking with intent to explore each link… but in reality will check out the podcasts during my commute. Thank for the great information!

    reply
  • July 25, 2017

    What an in-depth list of resources. As a fellow digital nomad, I’m familiar with some of the resources mentioned. However, your list of podcasts and books is great. I’ve already downloaded some of the podcasts to my list. Great list for all those who wonder what a digital nomad is.

    reply
  • July 26, 2017

    What a great guide! I’m spending a few weeks in Chiang Mai this fall, hoping my husband will fall in love with it and we can just move there! 😉 I’m excited to be embarking on the Digital Nomad journey in just over a month!

    reply
  • July 26, 2017

    This has been by far the most comprehensive guide for a digital nomad. I work in a full-time job and though I fret about the monotony some times I do like the certainty which comes with it. However, I have been considering the possibilities of freelancing for some time because I want to explore how the world works beyond 9-5. This post definitely threw light on all the resources available for digital nomads. There sure is a lot of infrastructure and network out there to support eh nomadic jobs. I shall go thru some of the recommendations here and see how it works. I m pretty sure I can bookmark this post as a go to guide if I need any details

    reply
  • Crissy
    June 3, 2018

    Thank you Trisha! This is very timely as I’m embarking the road for a few months to find my passion and try if long-term travel works for me. I’m always fascinated with the idea of DN.

    Take care and hope we can meet someday. ?

    reply
  • July 18, 2018

    Really good post Trisha. I dig blogging because as a digital nomad I can offer so much content, products, eBooks and services through a self-hosted, WordPress blog. Amazing how you can monetize through virtually all channels online. A few moments ago someone reached out about a sponsored post opportunity. I sell my eBook regularly. So much prospering as I circle the globe.

    Ryan

    reply
  • Salma Travel Guru
    December 13, 2018

    WOW thank you for sharing this! You saved me hours of googling by creating this list. Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve started the digital nomad life and you’re quite the inspiration!

    reply
  • September 9, 2021

    I would actually like to see the places that are off the beaten track. Your post is so motivating that I can work it out as a digital nomad while seeing the world. I am going to check those job boards.

    reply
  • September 10, 2021

    What a great guide to help people consider what it will be like to be a digital nomad. I know that many people may have considered this when the pandemic hit – especially if they got stuck somewhere. But many people probably don’t realize how hard the work is and the time required at a computer. Especially if they are in a beautiful spot that draws them away. I am sure your guide will help others.

    reply
  • September 11, 2021

    Great guide on becoming a digital nomad! For many it is a dream that will never happen, so it is great to see it laid out so clearly. I wish I had known some of these tips when first starting my blog, and there are many that are still useful as I continue to work on and expand my blog. I love that you choose not to accept all the offers you got for brand ambassadorship, I think its easy to just jump on every opportunity hoping it will get you to where you want to be, but sticking to what you personal believe and want to promote I think is better in the long run and builds trust from your readers. Thank you for this guide, very helpful!

    reply
  • September 11, 2021

    Thank you for posting this. You put it so nicely for everyone to understand and benefit. Since I too am keen on being a digital nomad, this comprehensive list would be a great help.

    reply
  • September 11, 2021

    This is such an extensive and wonderful guide for digital nomads. I have started my steps towards becoming a digital nomad. I know there are ups and downs while earning each month, but I think that is something that is part of the game. Hopefully I can start earning something to completely migrate to digital nomad.

    reply
  • Puloma Banerjee
    September 12, 2021

    Very resource ful knowledge on digital nomads jobs.Ivalso went through other links in the website that gave information I have been looking for.Thank you so much for sharing 💕

    reply
  • September 14, 2021

    The one thing that really stands out to me is that you need to be bold about creating the jobs you want. Especially at the beginning, people aren’t going to come to you. You need to believe in yourself and sell yourself and your abilities, even when you aren’t completely confidant in yourself yet!

    reply

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.

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