How to Become a Digital Nomad

If you’d like to make the world your office then you will want to sit down and plan out how to make your dream, a reality.

Finding a job that enables you to work from a beachfront or even from your home is quite a romantic ideology. No more clocking in, no answering to a boss and no need to be stuck at a desk in an office with no windows.

For me, working for myself has always been something that I have aspired to do. I was never great at taking instruction in school and I have never enjoyed regimented work rules and unnecessary procedures especially those merely enforced to solely exercise power. Although ‘working for yourself’ can often be glamorised, I really do love all that it has to offer. If I jump into bed on the night and feel like I have over-exerted myself for weeks on end then I can easily take the next day off. With that said, it is key to note that it isn’t all this flexible, there’s a lot of discipline and other obstacles that can make freelancing for yourself difficult- this is highlighted in this article.

If you enjoy freedom and would like to escape to a hotter climate and work in view of the the beach, then that can most certainly be done. We live in an age of technological advances that make communicating with others seamless, regardless of anybody’s location. For that reason there are now 70% of workers worldwide that work remote at least once a week.

Lets get into the jobs that allow you to work anywhere in the world and how you can go about getting a remote occupation for yourself.

What Job Can I Do Anywhere in the World?

Before offering tips, advice and some snippets of my experience- lets take a look at some of the common jobs that can be carried out from anywhere in the world.

  • Writer/Journalist/Blogger
  • Online Personal Trainer/Fitness Coach
  • Graphic Designer
  • Video or Audio Editor
  • Interviewers
  • Event Planner
  • SEO Guru/Consultant/Website Owner
  • Marketer
  • Salesperson
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Social Media Marketer
  • Web Designer
  • Programmer
  • Online Teacher
  • Trader
  • Affiliate Marketer
  • Data Enterer
  • Lifestyle Coach
  • Lead Generator
  • Social Media Influencer

Many of the above are intertwined as some of the roles may affect one of the others on the list and vice-versa. You’ll also see that some of the roles could be classed as the same thing. The titles can be pretty vague and if you want to know more about jobs that allow you to work anywhere in the world then read my article. Ultimately the above jobs give you an idea of a percentage of the remote jobs out there.

1. Build Up Your Portfolio

Seems like quite the obvious thing to do right? That is because it is and it can become quite tiresome as you are constantly offered voluntary roles free of payment. A lot of employers ask for experience, something that seems like a vicious cycle that cannot be broken. That is where you’re wrong, there are plenty of opportunities in this day and age, and it makes building up portfolios a lot more fun and also offers plenty of scope.

You can steadily add to your portfolio, if you are a writer then keep blogging and if you are photographer then keep snapping those photos. This can be done in a far more creative way than simply just building up your body of work, you can now take the initiative. Why write for somebody else? Start your own website and write for yourself, you don’t even need to do it in your own name, it could be in a niche or you could even start up your income stream from your blog and add to your portfolio simultaneously.

It is also great to get experience and do some free work. If you are photographer then reach out to aspiring models and you both get shots to add to your portfolio.

This is something that has to be done for those hoping to travel with work, you won’t just land a job with the ability to work away from home. Potential employers or sub-contractors will require your CV and a look over past work.

2. Find Dream Job Positions Through Sites

Fortunately there are websites that specialise in connecting freelancers together with those that are seeking remote workers. You can now apply and bid for positions. As well as doing your own hard work chasing up potential clients or at least updating your profiles and letting people know that you are available for work- you should first and foremost apply for work.

Websites that you can use include UpWork, Freelancer, Fiverr and if you are in the UK then even Gumtree pops up with occasional jobs worth exploring. Each of these sites work differently, Fiverr is based around a notion of providing a portion of your work for £5 ($5) but it has since grown and you can now choose your price. The others mentioned sometimes have you compete for a job, you can apply for a single job whether it will take an hour, a day or a week to complete. This means that they will then pick their freelancer from the application and the price that you have quoted.

3. Network, Network then Network Some More

The word “network” has adopted that millennial feel and that is because it is one of those overused phrases. Popping to your Grandma’s for tea is classed as networking to some people nowadays. Despite that, there really is a thing called networking and if it is done properly then it is more valuable than anything else you will do when it comes to gaining work.

You hear friends going to a network meeting, dinner or talk and it sounds appealing but networking doesn’t need to be that complicated, at least not at first. You could simply fire over an e-mail to potential clients, speak to people you know who do similar and ask for advice, and stay open to meeting new people in your industry.

If you are a writer then you should stay in communication with web designers, marketers and SEO experts- they often have work or at least come across clients that need articles. It’s always worth thinking about a profession that could be of use to you, sometimes other freelancers or workers come across leads for your job and by teaming up with them you could offer a complete package or at very least ask them to direct those potential clients your way.

In my experience, word of mouth has put more food on my table than any advertisements or applications that I have sent out. Even though you can do endless amounts of networking with potential clients and continue to get your name out there you need to keep existing clients happy too. If you don’t do the job right the first time then you could be losing out on some great clients in the future.

Since getting my first remote writing job, I have found almost everything else through referrals. If you meet a friend through work then it is important to exchange details and stay in contact, if you have similar goals then you will prove to be very useful to one another. Working online with so many prospects is pretty exciting and the competitive nature doesn’t always need to be upheld, you will usually find that somebody in a similar position could eventually help you.

4. Be Flexible & Open Minded

As a writer I have noticed that my style has changed somewhat since starting out. I began as a journalist seeking that big office job for my local newspaper. After getting work experience there and also publishing a number of articles for local and national newspapers I soon discovered that it wasn’t going to be something that I would want to pursue.

That has to be disappointing for somebody coming off the back of a BA (Hons) degree in journalism?

In-fact, no!

I spotted a variety of different opportunities and although I have had many set goals, I have also been open to the flow of the present-day. Seeing what offers itself and continuing to learn as I go. During the birth of the Internet, writers were notoriously stubborn when it came to adapting their work. Usually conducting a professional piece that was reflective of book style writing. Guess what, that doesn’t work- Google wants work that appeals to more readers and your readers want something that they can digest.

I feel it’s key to be open to opportunities and flexible to client’s expectations and criteria.

5. Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket

Relying on one client is a little tricky and is not something that I would advise. It’s quite rich coming from myself as I left my reliable job based on nothing but a promise.

Before committing to my first remote writing job, I had already been working part time for a client. After months, he asked if I could be part of their expansion- all I asked for was a spreadsheet of work that was enough to last me for a couple of months. He also promised me a constant stream and due to the trust he had already built-up months prior to this I took a leap of faith and worked for his company for 2-years.

I then began to build-up my experience and also do other jobs for various clients, ultimately helping me gain contacts. This helped me find the reliable clients that I work with today.

Working for just one client leaves your life in the hands of one person, if something goes wrong then you are in a bad situation. Between 80-90% of my work comes from one client and his websites, but after building trust I know I can rely on a constant stream of work. I continue to make new contacts and do other bits of work to ensure I always have opportunities when required.

Here are some tips:

  • During the preliminary stages with a client, make sure there isn’t too much money outstanding until you build up trust and get contracts put in place
  • Don’t limit yourself to one client, even if you are only doing small bits with others. Communication with other people will keep you relevant and will also provide you a foot in the door at another company if you are to need it.

Being freelance means you are able to spread your wings and enjoy the field that you are in, as long as there is no conflict of interest.


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