Steps You Can Take to Become a Digital Nomad
Ah, to shun the nine-to-five! It's a dream many of us have and few of us pursue. After all, there's something reassuring about the perks of the old Rat Race, aren’t there? Regular pay packets, routine hours, secure work – the list goes on!
But apparently, it's not as rosy in the daily grind as we've all been led to believe. Stats show that more and more of us are choosing to turn our nose to the system and walk away from it all. Record numbers of people are now self-employed. And then there's that other, fabled, fantastical way of being: the life of the digital nomad!
Yep, it's even possible to fuse a life of endless travel and adventure with a fulfilling, lucrative career these days. Hundreds of people are doing it, and you know what? You can too! Shedding the shackles of the system and opting to get to work on the road has actually never been easier. Just take a look at our top tips for those looking to earn their dosh on the beaches of Thailand, or accrue those wages while lazing on the beaches of Nicaragua. And those are just two suggestions!
Start building up income streams
It's no secret that perhaps the single hardest thing about trying to become a digital nomad is finding those all-important sources of income. In a world where you can't rely on the (not-so) lovely folk over in the payroll department to deposit a check into your account each month, you've got to be ahead of the game.
That means getting out there and identifying as many potential income streams as you can. It means emailing would-be clients with pitches and proposals, and it means cultivating long-term working relationships with employers that will let you do things on the go. Of course, where you look and who you contact will depend entirely on what it is you’re doing. And that leads us neatly to point two…
Identify your niche
Are you an ace designer? A super-organized webmaster? Perhaps you've got a knack for coding? Or maybe you're a maestro wordsmith, a speech writer, or just a great public speaker? Well, one of the first steps to becoming a digital nomad is about identifying which of these niches you can make your own.
If you're lucky enough to already know what profession you want to pursue on a freelance basis, then great – you can skip this tricky point. And if you don't, then get brainstorming, think about what you're good at, and what you want to be doing, day-in, day-out on the road. It's important to get something that excites you; it's going to be your new job after all!
Get the right tech
For most digital nomad workers, the world revolves around that laptop. It's not only their means of communication with clients and employers, but also their workspace; their storage point; their source of new contracts; their gateway to the world of work. The upshot? Getting a speedy machine, suited to your professional activities, is a must! That could mean forking out for the latest in design tablets, or cranking up the price tag for good video editing software. It could mean getting the speediest processors or the niftiest graphics cards.
And tech isn't just about the laptop either. It's also about all those peripherals that go with it. Digital nomads working in social media circles might need a dedicated smartphone to keep them on top of things, for example. Photographers are sure to need a camera. Webmasters may go in for roaming internet contracts. You get the idea.
And just as you start getting yourself tech-heavy and ready to work, you've also got to make sure you stay mobile. That means avoiding huge, bulky desktop computers and lappys, in favor of small, thin, carry-friendly electronics that can quickly be packed up and moved.
No one wants to be hulking a hefty machine across the soaring peaks of the Tibetan Plateau, or hoisting backpacks of weighty cables through the rainforests of Central America now, do they? I mean, come on, you've got to put the nomad in 'digital nomad', right?
Organization is key to the running of any business. And when it comes to the lifestyle of a digital nomad, it's even more paramount. Not only will staying on top of things with calendars and to-do lists and the like mean you rarely miss those all-important deadlines, but it's also a sure way to make sure you get paid on time each month.
One way to start putting your affairs in order before you attempt to hit the road on a working adventure is to get to grips with essential on-line tools: Google Docs; Google Spreadsheets; Slack; Ryver; Basecamp – the list goes on!
Everyone knows it's cheaper to book flights, hotels, rentals and tours far in advance. And it will certainly help you plan your business activities if you have an idea of where you're going to be and when. That means sorting those travel itineraries long before departure, and getting everything in order way before you go.
Tools like Skyscanner, Hopper and Momondo can help with hitting the skies, while hotel rooms and accommodation can be heftily reduced thanks to sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com – you'll need to bookmark the whole shebang! Meanwhile, opting for a co-working space, like LBW's own Nomad Life in beautiful Nicaragua (yep, there's an infinity pool and everything!), means securing bargain monthly accommodation rates and the company of like-minding nomads. Not bad, eh?
It should come as no surprise that being disciplined is essential for all digital nomads. While office workers have set hours that they need to be in work, the freelancer has no such luxury. And while you scowl at the use of 'luxury' there, just appreciate for a moment how difficult it is to force yourself out of bed on a cold winter's morning, or to resist that night of bucket cocktails and partying when you know you don't actually have to get up the next day.
And it's not just about early rises. You'll also need to stay atop your deadlines, get work done nice and early, and maintain a healthy lifestyle as you go. It's not all adventure and exhilaration, you know!
Get on the road!
Finally, there's no better first step to becoming a full-time digital nomad than actually getting out there. So, pack your backpack, prep your laptop, wax up the walking boots, and get on the trail…Where you opt for is entirely your choice – just be sure there's a decent internet connection!
Are you ready to take the plunge and become a digital nomad? Are you looking for awesome co-working spaces like LBW's Nomad Life in Nicaragua? Are you desperate to escape the nine-to-five? Yes; yes; yes? Be sure to head over to nomad.life for more info!