Earn A Living While Sitting On A Beach!
How To Become A Digital Nomad
You might have seen the term digital nomad on various travel websites and money blogs, accompanied by a long article about someone who has ditched the nine to five and set off to explore the world. These posts are usually accompanied by a picture of the author sunning themselves on a beach, explaining how they made their travel dreams come true. The question is, how exactly do they make their money? Is it hoax? Is there more to the digital nomad lifestyle that meets the eye? Or is it a realistic way of earning a living?
What Are Digital Nomads?
Firstly, what exactly is a digital nomad? It's one of those slightly vague terms that seem to crop up more and more these days. A digital nomad is someone who makes money online, while moving from location to location, basically the dream for anyone who loves travel.
By setting up streams of income that can be generated online from remote locations, the digital nomad is free to go wherever they want.
The principle is simple, becoming one is a little bit trickier…
How Do They Make Money?
The million-pound question - luckily there are a number of ways to generate income that neatly compliment the nomadic lifestyle.
Blogging, particularly travel blogging has given thousands of aspiring digital nomads the keys to their desired lifestyle, as they've been able to get a healthy income by journaling their adventures, and earning money through ad revenue generated by their websites.
More entrepreneurial webmasters often seek to purchase other related sites, which they build up and then use for further ad revenue. Making money this way is described as a passive income, because it doesn't involve you actively doing anything to generate an income. Think of it like money earned from a rented property, or an investment.
There have been numerous stories of successful bloggers building up a highly lucrative network of websites, and generating enough income to live off without lifting a finger! Although, spoiler alert, that's pretty rare and they're a lucky few.
Many travel bloggers also write product reviews in return for money, and supplement their income with freelance writing gigs, and other roles such as tour guides, English teaching and the gap-year staples of bar work and fruit picking.
The eternal gap year might appeal if you're in your early twenties, but for the more mature aspirational nomad it will likely as not sound fairly horrifying.
For those with a strong skill set, earning good money freelancing can be the golden ticket. There are dozens of websites that allow freelancers to advertise their skills and get matched up with the right clients. Web developers, copywriters and video makers can make a tidy salary in this way, and won't have to pull pints in the evening to keep their dreams alive.
For the entrepreneurial, setting up a web-based company is a great way of freeing yourself from the 9-5, although if your company revolves around selling physical stock things might get tricky. Lugging around crates full of your handmade jewellery and clothing can hamper the nomadic dream.
Where To Live
Choosing where to travel to, and where to live is a huge question for all digital nomads. Many opt to spend the majority of time in Latin America, Eastern Europe or Asia, because the cost of living is so much cheaper.
In some of these places you can live for under £500 a month, and live well. In Western Europe or America that kind of money would probably cover your grocery bills and the cost of a tent.
What Are The Challenges?
I have some bad news, there are millions of travel blogs out there and the market is very saturated, meaning you'll need to spend a lot of thankless hours chipping away to forge a niche in this market, and even then it's unlikely that you'll ever make big money out of it.
That doesn't mean it's time to flush your travel blogging dreams down the drain, just don't expect to launch myfirsttravelblog.com and book a one-way ticket to paradise.
Instead it's better to focus your writing skills on more lucrative stuff, like SEO, marketing or even social media. If you're bilingual then translating copy is always a valuable skill.
Aside from the financial challenge, there are a lot of unglamorous issues that globe trotters are faced with. If you're on the move a lot you're going to need to ensure you've insured both yourself and your handful of possessions.
Nothing will put the brakes on your nomadic lifestyle like a hefty hospital bill in a strange land, or finding someone has rudely relieved you of your laptop, tablet and smartphone while you're sleeping off that jetlag.
Replacing your work tools is vital as they're your sole source of income, but the bill can set you back hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.
Another difficulty can be tracking down that all important internet connection. Even in 2016 many of us have spent forlorn hours next to our wireless router, desperately starting and restarting it in the hope that it'll be generous and gift you a few megabytes of Wi-Fi.
That's the sort of problem we face in our comfy homes and offices, now imagine being in a dilapidated cyber café off the beaten track…
Any experience freelancer will know that clients can be…. Demanding shall we say? If you've got a tight deadline to keep, your Wi-Fi is down and you're in a whole different time zone the whole thing is going to feel like more trouble than it is worth.
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