Do You Think You’re Ready to Become a Digital Nomad?
Life on the road may be a bit harder than you expect…
Browse instagram for the term ‘digital nomad’ and you may come across pictures depicting an envious lifestyle filled with white sand beaches, snow-tipped mountains, and adventure filled activities.
My own account, @traveldeveloper, shows this and more of what life as a remote worker can look like.
After browsing through various photos and accounts you may naturally think…
“Of course I want to live this perpetual vacation you call work!”
But something you won’t get from all the pictures and videos of the world’s most exotic locations is the day-to-day grind it takes to work remotely.
Did you know that most Digital Nomads spend 8–10 hours per day working on their computer? So if you wanted to become a digital nomad to break free of slaving away on a keyboard — you better try another lifepath.
Did you also know digital nomads often make much less than the jobs they left to live a life on the road? If you were hoping for financial security — welp…this might not be the best choice for you.
Let’s face it — the images and videos may depict one lifestyle; however, often times the real lifestyle of a digital nomad is far from Insta-famous people like Dan Bilzerian.
If you’re REEEEALLY thinking about diving into a nomadic lifestyle here are some of the criteria I’ve noticed in successful digital nomads…
So you want to work and travel — the average digital nomad trip isn’t an all expense paid vacation to a nice resort where you’re picked up at the airport with a nice bellboy handling all your luggage. Nope you’re usually sweaty, stinky, lost and confused as to how you're going to get to your next location.
You’ll often go through these travel days at least a couple times per month so if you don’t have a strong sense of adventure you’ll easily become frustrated and completely over it. Now — this isn’t to say that you should never have your moments — I would say it’s actually encouraged to go through these frustrating, unbearable days as it helps build some ‘travel character’.
But if you’re not ready for uncertainty, you’ll surely become more anxious and stressed out than excited from your travels. And with work being a top priority during most days of your travel, you have to be willing to sacrifice in some areas of your life to ensure you have a strong wifi connection.
A genuine wanderlust for the road won’t get you by long-term as a digital nomad. Maybe you’ve spent your childhood adventuring around your own country/state/or even local neighborhood. And that’s definitely a prerequisite to begin traveling the world…
But do you have the passion for your work to keep your traveling life in balance?
Ahhh, right, I need to WORK! Many people can travel on a budget and acclimate in different cities, but very few have acquired the skills to know when to stop and dedicate time for working when their programmed mind thinks they're on vacation.
You have to be able to motivate yourself easily and keep procrastination at bay.
You have to set your own schedules and be flexible but determined.
If an opportunity to go skydiving in the French Alps comes up, or an epic swell hits the coast 2 hours away — you’ll want to drop everything and go. That’s probably why you’re thinking about living this lifestyle in the first place. For the spontaneous adventure.
But your fuel is your finances. If you don’t keep your finances in check, you'll quickly find yourself running on empty and be packing your bags heading back to your parent's couch.
Which brings me to my next point — you must have…
3. Financial Intelligence
Have you ever read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad? If not, I highly suggest it.
Throughout the book, Robert T. Kiyosaki reiterates the concept that intelligence and financial intelligence are quite different. He points out countless cases of friends and acquaintances being MUCH smarter than himself, but who also happen to be MUCH poorer.
One of the first steps you should take to increase your financial intelligence is to up your accounting skills. Learn how to create a Profit & Loss Statement. Then track all of your monthly expenses and ensure that you make more monthly income. Simple as that.
Once your at this level, you can use your excess income to build systems to create assets that generate income with very little to no work. When these assets cover your monthly expenses — you’re effectively financially free.
However, when most people generate extra income, they simply increase their expenses — this keeps them constantly running on the wheel we call the Rat Race.
A successful digital nomad will understand that your financial intelligence is even MORE IMPORTANT than how skilled you are at your job.
4. Natural Marketer
Living as a digital nomad is not much different than being a freelancer — you’re simply traveling while you run your freelance business.
And how do you become a successful freelancer?
By communicating and marketing yourself effectively.
I know most ‘skilled workers’ despise the word — salesman. Ehhhh, what an ugly profession. You may have even started your own company to avoid having to take an entry-level position as a salesperson. Well — you’re not avoiding it as a digital nomad.
You need to embrace and even LOVE doing sales and marketing.
Then, once you get new clients, you have to be an effective communicator — both to satisfy the client AND make sure the client doesn’t run all over you. Since person-to-person meetings will be rare, you need to create systems to keep clients updated, share resources, and make your customer feel as though they’re getting a top notch service.
A great rule of thumb is to communicate with your clients the way you’d explain things to your grandmother (*note: no need to yell — they’ll hear you).
5 . Hustler
Finally, life on the road is just that — life on the ROAD. The road will beat you up and spit you out sometimes. You’ll hit potholes (figuratively and literally) and get thrown to the ropes…and worst of all — sometimes you’ll be in a foreign country with no one near to care or help you out.
Again this is something you’ve got to really want to thrive in.
It can be some of the toughest times of your life — but you’ll learn things about the world and yourself no school, online course, or mentor could EVER teach you.
Sometimes you’ll have to crash on couches, take low paying jobs as a bartender/laborer, and other times you’ll be learning to sail across the Pacific for free because you bumped into the right person.
It’s just the way of a nomadic lifestyle. Ups and downs. Nobody said it was easy. But if you know how to hustle day in and day out, whether you ‘succeed’ or ‘fail’ one thing for sure — you’ll end up with the best experiences of your life.
Call To Action
If you want to learn how to become a digital nomad and escape the rat race, check out my free guide called: “Digital Nomad Guide to Working Anywhere in the World (2017 Edition)”.