Want to know a fun fact?
If you Google the term “how to become a digital nomad” today, you will get over 6 million results.
That’s no surprise.
There has been a boom in the number of remote workers in recent years, which isn’t unrelated to the changes in technology and communication.
And now, following the covid-19 storm and the adjustments that businesses have had to make, the number of ‘remote workforce’ is bound to increase.
If you narrow down your search to how to become a digital nomad with no skills, guess how many results you’d get then?
Only about half as many.
If the question is whether you can become a successful digital nomad, then the answer is yes – it is relatively easy to monetize your experience and skills while traveling the world.
The real challenge is starting with zero skill.
It’s hard, but not impossible. All your need is the willingness to learn. As long as you can type and use the internet, then you are off to a good start.
Since you need the right skill before you can work from any location, I will let you in on some of the top skills you can learn and the best practices to help you become a successful digital nomad.
Let’s dive in.
If you don’t have many skills yet but are eager to learn how to become a digital nomad, then freelancing may be the easiest for you to start with on the internet.
You will be exchanging your time for money, so if you are not working, you are not making money.
It requires skills that may take time to learn, but once you learn them, they are a great way to make money online.
There are many possible ways you can get into freelancing:
1.1: Freelancing Websites
For any skill you possess, there is at least one website where you can get work for them.
The pay for these types of sites is pretty much entry-level.
Most gigs pay anywhere from $2 – $30 per hour, but it’s not impossible to get a better bargain.
Copywriting means writing any kind of copy for businesses.
If you consider yourself a decent writer, then consider copywriting one of the best ways to make money online.
Since most of your clients will be corporate that pay big bucks, expect to get paid as much as $10-$70 per hour just for writing.
You can be flexible with your rates and charge per word, project, or opt for a monthly retainer.
For example, this travel blogger talks about how she makes $1 per word, whereas some. Clients may be willing to pay only $50 per article.
1.3: Graphics Design
There is no shortage of jobs in the graphics design industry because it cuts across other industries.
Website designers, logo makers, UI experts, and many more first need graphics to project their ideas.
If you are any good at it, getting constant gigs will not be difficult to come by.
The pay varies depending on where you pick up the job from, but from my experience, beginners charge from $15-$30 per hour.
1.4: Programming And Development
Programming is a complex subject to many, including myself, which is why if I attempt to talk too much about it, my head might fall off.
But, if you’re here, then you probably know a lot more about it than I do, and I salute you for that.
In fact, it is its complexity that makes it so lucrative for those that know what they are doing.
Some programmers I know charge as much as $300 per hour.
One of the best stories I’ve heard is the one of Spence Foreman, who went from flat broke to being a six-figure earner in only a few weeks.
In learning how to become a digital nomad, SEO is a real gold mine that you know just how to crack.
All businesses need it, but they rarely understand it.
SEO has different layers, such as site analysis, traffic generation, and even copywriting.
Think about the services that agencies provide for businesses, break them into individual services, pick one, and you’ve got yourself a full-blown SEO service.
SEO is a real money-maker industry, so even entry-level SEOs can command as high as $30 per hour with no trouble and grow from there once you have a portfolio.
Mike Ramsey of Nifty Marketing charges around $30 when he just started out, but now he runs an agency that is worth more than a million.
Freelancing Best Practices
That’s not nearly all the good stuff.
You can also build online careers in consultancy, teaching and coaching, translation, and voice-over work and earn cool income as a digital nomad.
However, keep in mind that you can suddenly find yourself in a bad situation if you don’t know what you are doing.
So here’s what you must do to avoid that:
- Define Your Terms And Conditions.: Before you fully commit to anything, ensure that terms about your rates, working hours, and follow-ups are clearly heard and understood.
- Learn The Invoicing System For Places You Travel To.: If you are from the US but find yourself working in the UK, you’ll come to find out that their invoices have some variations.
- Avoid Commission-based Payments.: It’s fine if it comes as a bonus to what you charge, but turn down jobs that suggest product-profit as the only method of payment.
Freelancing Pros And Cons
You may find freelancing very rewarding as a traveler, but before you seal the deal, here are some considerations for you:
- You will have the unique ability to choose which clients to work with.
- Your workload is dependent on how much you are willing to carry.
- Freelancing exposes you to a variety of job offers. You will get opportunities to work on all sorts of projects.
- Taxes can be a nightmare even for freelancers in countries such as the US.
- It’s not always easy to find steady work. Clients can begin and shelve a product out of the blue.
- Freelancers often find themselves isolated, so unless you have travel buddies, you will almost always find yourself working alone.
Blogging is different from copywriting since it essentially means that you will be running your own business.
As a blogger, you can earn anywhere from $10-$100,000 every month, depending on how much effort you put into it.
I know what you are thinking:
How can you make money from your blog?
Well, here are some of the best ways:
If you have an audience and a burning issue that deserves more than a blog post, you can write an online book about it to sell.
Your ebook can come in any form, such as how-to tutorials, recipes, travel guides, etc.
To get an idea of what your ebook can look like, simply search for ‘the topic + “ebook”‘ on Google.
How much you earn from your ebook also depends on what platform you use and your marketing efforts.
Truth is that you can make money from writing ebooks alone without a blog, but having a blog means you already have a number of potential buyers and referrals.
Last year, I came across the story of Arman Assadi, who makes around $2700 of passive income every month from selling ebooks on Amazon.
2.2: Online Courses
If you run a blog long enough, you just may become somewhat of an authority in your niche.
A blog with around 2000-3000 email subscribers will easily do the trick.
It gives the perfect leverage to create and sell online courses to your audience.
This guy, Sergey Kasimov started making and selling courses to his audience and managed to rake in $20,000 in only his first year.
He used the Udemy platform, but there are a couple of other friendly platforms online where you can easily host your courses.
2.3: Sponsored Posts
Sponsored content is becoming an increasingly popular method of advertising.
Let me explain what sponsored content is.
If you run a health and nutrition blog, your natural audience will be people looking to improve their health and fitness.
So your blog will be perfect for a company that sells food supplements to reach their target audience.
In that case, you’ll be required to write an article that will work for your audience while introducing the product to them.
This WSJ post is a Netflix-sponsored one.
This is different from native advertising, but it’s still a win-win for both sides since they make money, and you do too.
Depending on how much research you do on the piece, you can go ahead to charge anything from $200 per post.
This blogger found a creator that charges $238 per sponsored post.
2.4: Paid links
This is somewhat similar to sponsored posts, but in this case, the client is only interested in getting a link back to their website.
You will rarely see case studies of bloggers buying and selling links to make money because they link to keep it under their hats.
Some might even argue that it may lead to getting a strike from Google, but trust me, as long as what you link back to is in the context of your content, you will be fine.
I’ve gotten as much as $500 offered to me for a link to a site.
If you don’t have people lining up on your emails to ask for a link, you can find clients on sites like Backlinks.
Blogging Best Practices
- Pick a niche and stick with it: You will be tempted to change niches whenever you come across a new interesting topic, but there will always be new topics, so if you ever want to be considered an expert in a niche, then stick to one.
- Post Frequently: Your readers want new content, and they want it fast, so don’t leave them hanging for several weeks because it can be pretty easy for them to move on.
- Promote! Promote!! Promote!!!: If you ask me what’s the one strategy for a great blog, I’d say promote the fudge out of it. The best content is the one that meets an audience.
Blogging Pros And Cons
The list of ways to monetize blogging is long, but what are the pros and cons?
- Starting a blog is almost as easy as sending an email. You can use a template site like WordPress, write some posts, and you are set.
- You will have a full community to share your travel encounters with, which is great.
- Who knows who might come across your blog? You might land your next big client from there.
- While starting a blog may be easy, sustaining frequent updates and marketing can take its toll.
- Technical issues can make you go bonkers, especially if you are not the ‘techy’ type.
3. Social Media
In your quest on how to become a digital nomad, chances are high that you are already active on social media.
So why not get paid for it?
Here’re the best ways to make money from social media:
You can make money from YouTube whether you decide to sit in front of a camera or behind a computer.
For example, The Yes Theory is a group on YouTube that travels around the world and Vlogs about experiencing different foreign cultures.
Their videos have raked in over 650 million views, and they are estimated to be worth $3 million.
You can make money like this by optimizing your channel for monetization and becoming a YouTube partner.
If your channel is good enough, then brand deals are also on the table.
There are other ways to make money on YouTube. Another one is to watch specific videos and take certain actions.
Swagbucks put out some of these, and you can make up to $40 a month from doing them.
If I’m being honest, it’s unlikely that you will make as much money on Twitter as on YouTube, but a couple of extra bucks cannot hurt.
If you have a big follower base, you can make as much as $50 or more per tweet.
Not bad for only 140 characters, right?
Some influencers generate enough from Twitter.
For example, Audrina Patridge makes around $2,600 from each sponsored tweet.
So if you have enough followers, it can even suffice as your only source of income.
3.3: Instagram Ads
Instagram has over 1 billion active users, which is insane.
What is even more insane is that people are cashing out on it.
One of the ways I know how is through sponsored updates like this one:
If you can build a decent follower base in your niche, then you too can be making up to $1,500 per advert, just like Justin.
Social Media Best Practices
- Research Your Customers: Finding out what your target customers want will help you reshape your content to attract them sooner.
- Maintain A Brand Voice: Establish a voice and stick to it by laying out some guidelines for yourself based on how you want your customers to interact with you.
- Find The Right Time To Post: Timing is everything on social media. Quit guessing and leverage analytics tools to understand your audience pattern.
Social Media Pros And Cons
With 45% of the world’s population on social media, it does have its advantages and disadvantages.
- It’s relatively cheap to start. Creating pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is not rocket science.
- It is a large platform for making powerful connections.
- Social media is filled with all demographics and ages, so you can trust to find your customer there.
- Making posts frequently and spending time monitoring comments can be time-consuming.
- If you are faint-hearted, you might want to avoid this one as you face the risk of backlash at any misunderstanding.
- ROI on social media is often delayed, and you might get tackled by clients for this.
4. Selling Other People’s Products
There’s no law that says that you must be the brain behind the entire operation to make money online.
You can also make a living by selling other people’s products.
Check out how:
4.1: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most sought-after online businesses at the moment.
A snapshot of Pat Flynn’s income report should give you an idea of why.
That’s huge, right?
So imagine making thousands of dollars every month from promoting other people’s products and making a commission per sale.
Having a blog or YouTube channel will give you an edge, but there are other ways to promote the products.
To get in the action, there are dedicated sites for affiliate products that you can sign up for.
You can also find products that you want to promote and see if they are eligible for affiliate marketing.
For this to work, you must already have a platform with a decent audience.
If you do, then there is always room to make money.
There are different classes under this form of advertising:
Pay Per Click – In this case, your ad partners provide you with adverts based on the content of your site and only pay you per click.
Action Per Cost – Rewards you when your user takes specific actions like clicking a button or signing up for a form.
This income report from January will give you some insights on what to expect as a beginner and in your prime.
Selling Other People’s Products’ Best Practices
- Focus On Value: Create and provide value for your audience, and the clicks will flood down.
- Promote High-Quality Products: Low-quality products will get you in trouble with your audience.
- Use Call To Action: Power words will always draw attention and enable more people to engage with your app.
Selling Other People’s Products Pros And Cons
- It’s an easy way to monetize your platform without having your own product.
- Ad income is relatively consistent.
- It’s not a serious time waster, so you can comfortably run another business
- Ads may take visitors away from your platform.
- They can make your platform look spammy and unattractive.
- You cannot control the product’s product.
- There’s no guarantee of revenue with this business model
5. Selling Your Own Products
You can comfortably sell your own stuff on the internet too
We talked about making and selling your own ebooks and online courses on platforms such as Amazon and Udemy.
But that’s not all you can sell. You can also set up and sell websites on platforms like Flippa.
One online marketer, Greg Nunan, revealed that he made more than $16,000 from flipping a single website.
You can also take photos and sell like Michael Jay, who makes $200 per month selling on Shutterstock.
Tips To Help You Succeed As A Digital Nomad
- Find a Work-Life Balance
While working from a treehouse close to the beach is way better than grinding it out from inside a cubicle, work is still working.
Spending more hours in front of your laptop regardless of where you are is not only unhealthy it also defeats the whole purpose of becoming a digital nomad.
The best way to ensure a good work-life balance is to define the tasks you’ll need to complete in a day and stick to them. No more, no less.
- Prepare against Logistics Problems
There are a lot of logistics considerations that go Into remote work.
For example, it’s unlikely that you will find internet access everywhere you go, so it makes sense to check beforehand to avoid finding that the closest place to get internet is 10 miles away, 2 minutes before a big meeting.
- Use ATMs Instead Of Currency Exchange At The Airport
Unless you want to incur unnecessary charges, then always opt for drawing cash from the ATMs in the airport rather than passing through the currency foreign exchange desk.
- Join A Digital Nomad Community
There are many other digital nomads out there, and they are easy to find too.
You’ll find them on Facebook, SubReddit, and blogs where other digital nomads share advice and their experiences.
Trust me, it’s easier to walk along the path when there’s someone who has been through the same road to guide you.
Alas, you see that learning how to become a digital nomad isn’t exactly out of the ordinary.
It’s time for you to pick up that plane ticket and live that lifestyle that you’ve always wanted.
But before you do:
- Make sure you already know what you want to do.
- If you don’t already have the skills, get them.
- Find out more about your destination.
- Make a plan with a timeline and commit to it.
- Once all is set, begin your adventure
Let us know what your goals are once you become a digital nomad in the comments below!