If you're anything like me, you're a wanderlust. You seek greener pastures in far-off destinations. You live to travel. And your laptop and phone are your office. Thoughts of sugary-white-sanded beaches and shimmering turquoise waters beckon and call your name. Sure, it sounds alluring to become a digital nomad, doesn't it? But, what does it take?
Well, if you're looking to roam free as a bird, you're not alone. A recent study by the New York Times found that most industries are embracing remote work. Now, that doesn't mean you have to be self-employed. Far from the contrary. You can, in fact, become a digital nomad while working for another company.
However, most digital nomads do work for themselves. They get to the call the shots. Often, they're savvy internet marketers. They build sales funnels and run Facebook ads. They live and breathe to make money online. They're constantly growing and expanding their skillset to bolster their nomadic lifestyles.
To many, it sounds an attractive but also frightening endeavor that requires they put far too much on the line. What if you can't afford to pay your expenses? What if you run out of money while in some foreign country? What if your wallet or computer or phone is stolen? How do you avoid all the potential pitfalls associated with being a digital nomad?
The truth is that there will always be some risk associated with being a digital nomad. You can't expect to get off risk free. But, if you're one of those fly by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guys or girls, then there's nothing more exhilarating or more rewarding than traveling the world as a digital nomad.
You get to live among a diverse set of cultures around the world. To experience life in a new and exciting way. It's for those who value adventure over certainty. There's little boredom when traveling as a digital nomad. There truly is nothing better than this nomadic lifestyle.
How do you make money as a digital nomad?
Okay, so your heart is set on the nomadic lifestyle. That's great. But, how do you actually go about doing that? If you want to become a digital nomad, the path forward is simple. You need to handle two things:
Your debt and expenses: If you're in serious debt, you'll find it hard to become a digital nomad. The burden on your shoulders is too high and if you're stuck without income for a week or months, you'll struggle to keep your head above water. You need to handle your debt first. Pay it down by doubling the minimum payments on the highest interest rates loans or credit cards until they're paid off, then moving onto the next ones.
Your income: Where's your money going to come from while traveling? What happens if you can't find work to help you meet your obligations. Or, what if you get stuck in a foreign country somewhere with no backup income? Then what? Sure, most digital nomads might throw caution to the wind. But, you'll want to be prepared. You need to handle your income in order to get there.
If your debt and expenses are handled, you need to focus on your income. How's the money going to come in? The goal? Focus on passive income when you can. 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.
1. Publish an ebook.
Probably one of my favorite passive income ideas is to publish an ebook. You can use Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform to do this. You can also create a corresponding print-on-demand book from that ebook. Also on Amazon. Either directly through KDP or on their Create Space platform. Once your ebook is live, you can also convert that to an audiobook using the ACX platform to publish on Audible.com.
2. Start a blog.
Another great source of passive income is to start a blog. If you understand the mechanics of marketing online and you do this correctly, you can create a blog that will continue to produce income even if you're not doing any work. The more niche you go with your blog, the better. Search for blue oceans. Not red ones. Consider the fact that you'll eventually want to put out digital products that are in harmoney with whatever it is you're blogging about.
3. Join the gig economy.
You can always offer services in the gig economy. Depending on where you're located, that translates to things like driving for ride-share companies, delivering packages, or simply using a site like Fiverr to do small gigs that can easily be completed. We're not talking brain surgery here. And if you're in a bind, it might just help you out.
4. Provide professional services.
Have a professional skill? If you're a graphic designer, programmer, lawyer, accountant or have some other professional skill, you can monetize it using a host of sites. From Upwork to Freelancer and others, you can take advantage of the very vast internet to put your services out there for other people to buy.
5. Create online courses.
Another great passive income source is to create online courses. Depending on what your skill set is, you can create online courses in a variety of areas. You can teach pretty much anything. It all boils down to how well you structure the course and the actual sales funnel associated with it. Or, you could go with a site like Udemy where you don't have to worry too much about the sales and marketing side of things.
6. Teach English
Okay, you can always opt to teach English if you really do 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. However, don't expect to earn much. You'll be looking at local wages here. If you're in a developing country, that's not going to be much money in your pocket.
7. Social media marketing.
Everyone needs social media marketing these days. You can easily earn a substantial living by assisting people with their social media marketing efforts. That's especially true if you're traveling around in less-expensive countries where the cost-of-living is generally lower. However, you will need to know what you're doing if you're looking to help others with their social media efforts. But, finding clients shouldn't be too arduous.
8. Virtual tutoring.
Have a particular skill you can teach that would work virtually for tutoring? You can teach just about anything over Skype. This works especially well for teaching languages or subjects in school or even sometimes a musical instrument. You can search for virtual tutoring jobs on sides like Indeed and many others.