Return to site

How to Become a Digital Nomad

and enjoy a work-life balance

· Work and Travel,Entrepreneurship

It’s friday evening - only two more hours until you can leave the office, crawl home through rush hour traffic and then enjoy yourself for 48 hours before monday creeps back around again. On the plus side, there are only 45 years left until you can retire.

Less work more balance. How to find a job and become a digital nomad

Over the top? Sorry. The 9-5 office job life isn’t for everyone, it certainly isn’t for me (if you hadn’t guessed). These are the most common questions concerning digital nomads that I hear regularly.

  • Are there any real jobs online? How would I make money online?
  • I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
  • Do digital nomads even have a real job or are they just on a glorified holiday?
  • I’m too afraid to leave my job/move to a new country. I’m comfortable with how things are here, even if I’m not happy. Everything is familiar and I like that.

    There are four different ways to become a Digital Nomad

    1. Work for your existing company in a remote position.
    2. Work for a new company in a remote position.
    3. Work for yourself as a freelancer.
    4. Set up your own business. 
    Less work more balance. How to find a job and become a digital nomad.

    Working for your existing company in a remote position

    This is both the easiest and the hardest option. You will have an idea whether or not your company is one that employs people in remote locations. If you love what you do but don’t like the routine and constant sameness that it entails, this option is for you. Organise a meeting with your boss and ask him if there is an opportunity for you to work remotely.

    Why your company will want you to work remotely

    Employees who work from home are happier and healthier, and can maintain a work-life balance. Happy workers are productive workers. It is argued that employees are often more productive when working from home. There are less distractions and workers can do the same amount of work in much a shorter time.

    Companies that use video chats and conference calls, and have VPN networks and wireless internet can conduct all team business virtually and team members can constantly stay connected. This is why remote workers are so popular in the tech industry, where the companies are equipped to deal with digital nomads.

    Companies can save time and money by hiring remote workers. There are less overheads for companies who hire remote workers as employees are using their own utilities and accommodation. There is more time in the day for companies, whose employees don’t have to commute to and from work.

    Use some of these arguments if your boss needs some convincing!

    Why your company won’t want you to work remotely

    The management team has difficulties in coordinating schedules due to time differences or does not have the necessary communication skills to efficiently manage a remote team.
     
    Sometimes a company simply can not go remote. This is not an option for employees who need to have a lot of face-to-face customer interaction (sales and direct marketing) and for those who need to use expensive immovable resources in their line of work. Sorry.
     
    Often the reason a company will not go remote is due to prior negative experiences with remote workers or they are not willing to change their company’s organisational structure.

    Say No? Let’s Go!

    Be prepared to leave if your company can’t offer you a remote position. If you are not happy in your job, it’s time to change.

    Less work more balance. How to find a job and become a digital nomad. My Travel Tribe

    Working for a new company in a remote position

    Resources to help find an online job

    There are so many companies out there that hire remotely. So how do you find the right one?
    Jobbatical is a great website to find long term employment opportunities, for when you want to stay in one place for a long time. There are also lots of websites that use a membership system, as well as a huge number of remote specific job boards. You can check out this handy guide to help find a job.

    Working for a start-up

    Working for a start up company has huge benefits. Especially for those starting out it can be a great opportunity to gain some hands on experience. You will get a much larger share of responsibility than you would by working for a more established firm. Sure, it might be more work but you will learn a hell of a lot more and acquire loads of essential skills. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to try your hand at lots of different things and in a startup there’s often a one-person-fits-all-tasks kind of position available. Plus, there’s also the chance your startup will become huge. AngelList is the best place to find remote startup jobs. You can also join Facebook groups for Digital Nomads, where there are so many people looking for employees for their startups. Try this one for starters.

    What to put on your Resume when applying to these companies

    Firstly, the most important thing to do is to read the candidate’s traits section on the job description and then change your resume accordingly. Read the section, interpret the keywords and include them on your resume. For example if the candidate traits section reads:
     

    • You enjoy helping people during stressful times
    • You thrive in a fast paced virtual environment with a focus on quality and attention to detail
    • You are enthusiastic and empathetic and love creating an enjoyable experience
    • You live for a challenge, are goal oriented, are willing to learn different systems, and easily navigate between multiple screens
    • You can work independently delivering practical solutions and you thrive in a collaborative team environment

    Then the keywords they are looking for are: virtual environment, attention to detail, goal oriented, work independently, and team environment. Include these somewhere in your resume. Make sure to include both soft skills (interpersonal skills etc…) and hard skills such as certs and physical abilities. Employers need to be assured that you can make yourself a valuable resource when working from home, that you can accomplish the same things at home which you would in an office and that your physical absence will not be felt.

    Skills make the world go around

    The seven most important things remote employers look for are: Digital communication skills, time management skills, self-motivation, proactiveness, being able to prioritise, team players and … tech skills. The first six you might be able to fake but tech skills are a little bit more difficult. Employers look for HTML and CSS, JavaScript, Wordpress and PHP, UX Design, and Data Analysis. I recommend doing some online courses on Lynda for Data Analysis, SEO and Wordpress. You could also just download Wordpress and practice building a website for free. The codecademy is also an excellent website if you want to learn to code, and again it’s free. Yay!

    Less work more balance. How to find a job and become a digital nomad. My Travel Tribe

    Working for yourself as a freelancer

    Working as a freelancer might suit you if you want to choose your own hours and if you like being your own boss. Here are a list of resources for finding freelance jobs online.

    • Freelancer
    • Toptal
    • Upwork
    • Forget the commute
    • Remote work hub
    • People per hour
    • Fiverr
    • Craigslist 

    Before you do anything else...

    My Travel Tribe's 3 step guide to location independence

    ... make sure you download our free 3 step guide to location independence. With 30+ pages of practical info, access to all the best skills courses and job boards as well as a free workbook, you'll be living a location independent lifestyle in no time. But for now let's get back to it...

    Setting up your own website

    If you’re looking to be a serious freelancer, then a website is a must. It’s so easy to set up a website and having one instantly gives you more credibility. The most common platform is Wordpress but there are so many others such as Strikingly and Squarespace. Having your own website means you don’t have to pay a fee to freelance sites (damn you Upwork) and you can set your own rates for jobs. Let the people come to you! Make sure you state on your website that you’re for hire. So many freelancers forget this vital piece of information.

    Choosing a platform

    Strikingly is the easiest platform to use and it creates lovely dynamic websites. The only problem is that it comes with a .strikingly tag at the end of your domain name unless you pay for premium. This only costs $192 a year though and you can get 3 months for free if you have a student email address. It is still fairly new and so doesn't have as many plugin options as Wordpress. But if you're a beginner and looking to set up a website quickly, strikingly might just be for you. Get it here.

    Wordpress has so many different options and themes available, and is fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you’re not familiar with Wordpress there are loads of online tutorials you can watch on Youtube or you can take an online course from Lynda.

    Choosing a host

    Hosting your website is very inexpensive these days. Look for a host with excellent customer support as you will definitely need it at some stage. Most hosting sites will offer a cheaper rate when you purchase a plan for a long time ie 2 years. I recommend Siteground. They work out as the cheapest at only $3.95 a month (paying only for 1 year) and they have excellent 24 hour customer support.

    Getting noticed

    Don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into creating a website. In order to increase traffic to your website to your website, link your blog to other sites such as Medium, Pinterest, Triberr, Stumbleupon, Visual.ly, BizSugar, Scoop.it, Blog Engage, and Reddit as well as other popular social media sites depending on what your content is. You can also post in Linkedin Groups and Google + communities. If you make your blog into a slideshow you can post it onto the site Slideshare which is less crowded. If you don’t understand SEO, take a course from Lynda, set up a Google Analytics account and use an SEO tool such as Moz to understand which keywords you should use.

    Facebook groups

    It is so important as a freelancer that you join the Facebook groups for Digital Nomads. There are so many. These groups are so helpful for getting jobs as well as helping you with everyday nomad problems. Members often post into these groups asking for help with projects as well as links to new job opportunities. Digital Nomads around the world is the largest and arguably one of the best groups. Look also for groups specific to the country where you live. My Travel Tribe | Female Digital Nomads is a great group aimed specifically at female digital nomads and remote workers.

    Less work more balance. How to find a job and become a digital nomad. My Travel Tribe

    Setting up your own business

    Passion and Purpose

    Firstly, you need to ask yourself is if you’re solving a problem and secondly, if you’re passionate about your business idea. If you’re not passionate about it, you won’t stick with it when the hard times come. In order to ensure that you are actually solving a problem, you must validate your business with customers. This means surveying online and in person, interviewing potential customers, listening to your target market on social media and observing their real-life behaviour. Creepy but all in name of entrepreneurship!

    Be in the right head space

    Questions, questions, questions! Take half a day and answer the following 13 questions. You need to be in the right place both personally and professionally in order to start a business.

    1. Why do you want to get into business – is it freedom, money or to be your own boss?
    2. What industry experience do you have?
    3. What problem are you solving?
    4. How much time per week can you devote to my business? What other commitments do you have right now? What will your weekly time schedule look like?
    5. What resources do you have? These can be skills, inside knowledge, personality traits, contacts, determination or money.
    6. What are the closest businesses in the market to your idea/existing product, which are successful?
    7. Which concepts closest to your idea are not working and why?
    8. Do you have a team or are you going it alone? What are the advantages or disadvantages?
    9. What skills do you need for your startup to operate? What skills are you lacking and how will you find them?
    10. Are you in the best mental health to deal with the stress of setting up your own business?
    11. If you had one thing that you would love to do for the rest of your life, what would that be?
    12. Have you made a business plan?
    13. Where do you want this business to be in 5-10 years?

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

    Make a business plan. So many startups don’t do this. The business model canvas makes it so easy. Spend a whole day filling it out - but then also update it on a regular basis. A business plan constantly changes. You can download a template of the business model canvas here.

    Attend a Startup weekend

    Our company, My Travel Tribe, was founded in 2017 at Startup Weekend Bali. A Startup Weekend is 54 intense hours of brainstorming and working on a business idea. You are surrounded by like-minded motivated entrepreneurs. You realise that there is a whole community of entrepreneurs who are also struggling but trying new things regardless. It’s also a kick in the ass to start working on your business idea - but you won’t mind as you’ll be surrounded by so much buzzing creative energy. A Startup Weekend offers you amazing validation - not only was your idea chosen after you pitched it, but experienced mentors and judges will also give you their two cents. Over the weekend you can even squeeze in a session or two from a business coach or a public speaking expert. Oh, and it’s actually fun! If you want to learn more about Bali Startup weekend or organise your own in your local city, click here.

    "The enemy of a great life is a good life"

    To answer your questions from the start

    Yes there are plenty of real jobs online. Hopefully, now you know how to go about getting one. Digital nomads do have real jobs. They just know how to enjoy themselves too. Work-life balanced!

    If you’re comfortable where you are maybe the Digital Nomad lifestyle isn’t for you. Different strokes for different folks. But if you're unhappy, then something has to change. Book your flight and then figure out how to make it work.

    Less work more balance. How to find a job and become a digital nomad. My Travel Tribe

    "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

    If you loved this article then you're going to LOVE our free guide: "Digital Nomad: A 3 Step Guide to Location Independence". Take control of your future and download a copy now.

    Laura is co-founder of My Travel Tribe, a start-up that runs month long programmes combining co-working, co-living and lifestyle activities, ultimately helping female digital nomads to find their own community while travelling. The first retreat will be taking place in Bali in April.

    All Posts
    ×

    Almost done…

    We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

    OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly

    Osprey 46 backpack