The Digital Nomads
By TRISOFT team
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about work? Is it a cubical-office downtown or a beach in Thailand? Is it the comfort of your home or a fancy cafe in Paris?
If you are the kind looking to roam free as a bird, you’re not alone. According to a Gallup poll, 37% of respondents have already worked virtually. Also, a recent study by the New York Times found that most industries are embracing remote work. Which doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be self-employed. Many companies nowadays offer the option of remote-working, so you can be the employee of such a company and still be at home when doing your job.
However, the digital nomad „movement” refers to something more than being at home for work. Digital nomads move from country to country and from one continent to the other with nothing but a computer and a bag of personals and they combine work with the exploration of new worlds and cultures. They often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles.
What does it take to become a digital nomad?
So if you seek sugary-white-sanded beaches and the turquoise waters beckon and call your name, if you live to travel and your laptop and phone are your office, you might be a good candidate for the digital nomad lifestyle. And since we now have cheap internet access, smartphones and voice over internet protocol to keep in contact with clients and employers, it appears like the technology has aligned with our very needs.
In general, digital nomads tend to be young people and can be found working in most industries in the knowledge economy: marketing, design, IT, writing, media, tutoring and consulting, among others.
But how do you actually make money as a digital nomad?
So if your heart is set on the nomadic lifestyle, you need to handle two things: your dream destinations and your debts and expenses. It’s important to handle your debts and have everything in order financially speaking, before embarking on the nomadic lifestyle journey. That is because things won’t be easy for you for starters and you need to have a buffer, ideally some money that you’ve saved.
If your debt and expenses are handled, you need to focus on your income. How’s the money going to come in? The goal? Passive income is a great idea. But, you also need to diversify. You can’t rely on a single source of income. You need multiple streams. To do that, you need to find the right money-generating activities that you can turn to day-in and day-out.
Here’s a few ideas:
1. Publish an ebook.
If you have explored the possibility in the past and you do have the ideas to do this, publishing an ebook is a great source of passive income. And the resources are available to anyone easily — you can use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform or you can make an audio book of it, using the ACX platform to publish on Audible.com.
2. Start a blog.
The second good way of earning passive income is writing an interesting blog. Of course, you have to own the know-how of effective online marketing, but with a little research you should be able to produce income through your blog in no time. Our advise: try to find a topic for your blog that is as niche as possible.
3. Provide a professional service.
Whatever professional skill you have, you can post it online on various remote working platforms and make the most of it. Whether you’re a graphic designer or programmer, lawyer, accountant or have some other professional skill, you can monetise it using a host of freelancing sites. The Internet offers you the vast possibility to put your services out there for other people to buy.
4. Create online courses.
And since you have a professional skill that is worth sharing, you can easily use it to make online courses and passive income that will keep you going as a digital nomad. Depending on what your skill set is, you can create online courses in a variety of areas. You can teach pretty much anything.
5. Teach a foreign language
Speaking about teaching, foreign languages are a neat idea of things to teach. You can use this one as an emergency asset, in case you get stuck somewhere during your travels and you’re in a true bind to make ends meet. This is less straightforward since you’ll have to get out there and contact local schools where you can offer your services and you can’t expect to earn much but adapt to the local wages and incomes for the job.
Does it have a downside?
There’s a lot of buzz around the digital nomad lifestyle and the main preoccupation of people criticising it is the financial aspect.
For starters, successful digital nomads typically have a financial cushion. The best way to make being a digital nomad a reality is to have a stream of passive income, which will remove some of the financial pressure so that you don’t spend your entire time abroad staring at your screen. Another is to keep your expenses modest and look for innovative ways to save through accommodation sharing, homestays and so on.
Some risk will always be implied with this lifestyle, but a good organisation with safe planning of incomes and expenses can save you a lot of trouble. One thing is for sure: going at it blindly is not the best idea.
Do you have the chance to ever settle down as a digital nomad?
But at the end of the day anyone needs to have a place they can call home, don’t they? When the wandering is over, a digital nomad can pick where they want to settle down. This is one of the big advantages of the nomadic lifestyle getting to choose your „final location” after visiting so many places that can eventually become „home”. The criteria can be whatever you consider important for yourself: near the beach or in the mountains, downtown or uptown, where the cost living is low or the money you earn are worth more, reducing the amount you need to work.
Clearly, not all jobs translate into online work. You cannot be a doctor or a mechanic other than being with the clients at all times, in a specific environment. So if your goal is to travel and work, you might want to pick a career that is independent of a work location and face-to-face interaction with the employers and clients. Or make a change of direction in your career in order to be able to take it anywhere in the world.
As a digital nomad, you will be fortunate to build and design your life with higher degrees of freedom while also being subjected to the disadvantages and challenges of a nomadic life, so be prepared for both and choose wisely.
At TRISOFT, many of us are working remotely and we are enjoying the rewards of such a business choice — happy, productive professionals that can add value from whatever location they choose. If that’s what you’re looking for too, join us here.