Work remotely, enjoy freedom and travel the world at the same time
Travel and earn money on the side? At first this might sound like an empty advertising promise, but in an age of constantly growing technologies and global networking, this work model has increasingly become a real perspective. I would like to give you a little insight into the world of the so-called digital nomads. How do you become a digital nomad and what does it take? Is it really that easy to travel and make money on the side?
What exactly is a digital nomad?
Transportable and mobile technologies nowadays allow people to work from nearly anywhere. Digital nomads have made use of these mobile technologies and thus combine location-independent work, earn money online and the love for traveling.
For many, digital nomadism is more than just traveling and working, it is a way of life that entails a lot of independence but also a lot of personal responsibility.
We refer to people as digital nomads if they mostly work as freelancers, self-employed entrepreneurs or in some cases also as employees and earn money on the Internet. The professional fields can be very different: I personally know digital nomads who work as sports photographers, as managers of online shops, as content creators or as copywriters. The possibilities are astonishingly wide.
Digital nomads are the interface between leisure, travel and work.
What makes you a digital nomad is, above all, being independent of location, or being on the move while working. The whereabouts no longer matter. Often these types of jobs are also referred to as “remote”. Traveling and working, that is the basic concept of a digital nomad. Whether from home or from the Praia da Figueira in Portugal with both feet in the sand, the digital nomad can set up his office wherever the internet connection is right.
How do I find a job as a digital nomad?
There are very different ways to get a job that makes money online. Some travellers I’ve met while on the go actually work in a job they’ve learned. Those include artists and journalists, among others. But what is at least as often the case are lateral entrants who offer their services on freelancer platforms. The amount of bloggers and influencers who earn money by being present online and thus granting an insight into their lives is also steadily growing.
Who can become a digital nomad?
Basically everyone is free to choose life as a digital nomad. Once you have found a job that you can and want to pursue as a digital nomad, there are three ways you can make money with the internet.
Digital nomad but employed
Permanent employees can also live as digital nomads. Different companies offer you this option of flexible work hours. The big advantage of this agreement is definitely the fixed monthly salary, which you don’t have to worry about much. On the other hand, you are of course less independent and limited in your decisions.
Digital nomad as a freelancer
You work independent of location and mostly on project basis. You build up your own customer base and decide for yourself when you want to work and with whom. Your independence is great, but you also need to keep acquiring new customers. This can be very exhausting and frustrating in the long run.
Digital nomad as a self-employed person
Last but not least, you can also lead a life as a digital nomad with an independent job. You’re starting your own small business. If you already own a company that can easily be operated on the go, this is a wonderful solution. If you want to start your own business as a digital nomad, you need a lot of start-up capital and perseverance. The big plus point here is complete freedom, you are your own boss in all matters.
Digital nomad = minimalist?
The constant travel in the life of a digital nomad requires a fairly minimalist lifestyle. The indispensability of everything to be easily transportable forces the digital nomads to carry only the most necessary equipment with them. There is no room for unnecessary ballast and it is even more difficult to transport from A to B.
Are all digital nomads freelancers?
In fact, many of the digital nomads take the route of commissioned work on the go and become so-called freelancers. There are very different options for what the work can look like. You can work alone or in a team, on a project basis or on a permanent basis for an employer. Digital nomads can often be found in the areas of design, marketing, content creation, consulting and development. But it is not absolutely necessary to be self-employed as a digital nomad. “Remote work” is also occasionally offered to company employees. In particular, globally functioning projects can be implemented well as remote jobs. Some companies only have certain times to be present now and then, for example for joint meetings.
Fields of work of the digital nomads
The professions that can be considered for a digital nomad are very different. Money can be made on the Internet with a whole range of bandwidths. To give you a better insight, here is a small selection of jobs that can be used to make money online.
You develop and maintain websites, create different software programs and update them regularly. Adapting websites for mobile devices is particularly important today. A good basis for a career as a programmer is, for example, previous training as a media designer or technician, in the best case even an IT degree.
Social media manager
More and more companies are discovering the importance of social media and are investing in expanding their own channels. Often, external experts are called in for this, who are only commissioned to look after and design these channels. It is important to have a good feel for trends and market developments. An economic or creative training can be helpful.
YouTube, Instagram or your own blog, the platforms can all act as a source of income. But be warned, the market is full of aspiring hobby videographers and bloggers. Turning an account or blog into a profitable source of income takes time, patience and skill. The demands of the audience and readership have increased immensely in recent years. But once you’ve arrived at a place that pays off, you can earn money with your passion on the side.
Experts in certain areas can also give coaching via Skype, email or telephone. They help executives in their conversation and develop, for example, team building measures. Life coaches, fitness trainers or meditation teachers can also earn money remotely working on the Internet.
5 tips for living as a Digital Nomad
A stable internet connection is the basic requirement for life as a digital nomad. If you want to make money on the internet, the connection has to be a good one. Depending on where you are, find out about cheap internet providers that offer the best coverage in the respective country. It makes sense to buy a mobile router that usually gets a new SIM card when crossing a border, which can then be topped up online or in the nearest supermarket without any problems. The offers vary immensely between some countries. So do a little research beforehand to see what your travel destination has to offer.
Talk to a lot of people about your work. The more you talk about your service, the higher the chance that the next job will be waiting for you just around the corner. I have often received new jobs from either new acquaintances or old friends. Just because I told about how I travel the world and earn money on the side. If the conversation does not result in a new source of income, it will always be a very interesting conversation.
Get help from other digital nomads. You are not alone, others have already faced the big questions that you are now asking yourself and have also come to a solution. Network with your colleagues. There’s a whole community of people out there who travel and work at the same time. Exchange ideas, get help and if you are a real professional in earning money online, you can pass on your knowledge to the next who want to embark on the adventure of the digital nomads.
More successful with budgets. It always makes sense to set a budget. You should always keep an eye on living costs, travel expenses and occasional leisure activities to avoid unpleasant surprises. Friends of mine have a particularly great budget concept: One of their accounts is affectionately known as “F ** k you Budget”. There they occasionally pay in a certain sum in order to be able to tell unpleasant or simply not suitable customers that they do not want to work with them. The account then compensates for this financial loss.
Well insured, go on an adventure. Especially if you plan to leave Germany, it is important to get good insurance. In the unplanned hospitalisation abroad, it is reassuring to know that you have good insurance by your side. Are you traveling by car? Then that too should be well insured. Which insurance is suitable for you is very individual. Inform yourself well in advance and exchange ideas with the community. Then nothing stands in the way of the “digital nomad” adventure!
Even more inspiration
Still not enough? Then check out these 5 fantastic documentaries about digital nomads: