Did a friend, co-worker, neighbor quit their job to travel around the world, work remotely, and make money online?
If your answer is yes, this is no coincidence. The digital nomad community is rapidly growing and redefining what it means to be employed. Finding work that is location independent seems to be everyone’s top priority.
Since you are reading this article, chances are you are not happy with your current job and you want to figure out how you can earn money online yourself. You are in luck! This is the perfect place to start your digital nomad journey.
This is the ultimate guide to how to make money online and travel around the world. In this article, we will walk you through all the ins and outs of becoming a digital nomad. This is not a list of options to earn money online. We are compiling such a list and will publish it soon.
After reading this article you will learn the following:
- What is a digital nomad
- Characteristics of digital nomads
- The benefits of becoming a digital nomad
- What to consider before becoming a remote worker
- The various skills to make money online
- Different options to earn money online
- Using passive income as a cushion
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What is a digital nomad
We want to be sure that we are all on the same page before we dig deeper into how digital nomads make money online.
Investopedia defines digital nomads as people who “work remotely, telecommuting rather than being physically present at a company’s headquarters or office.” Thereby, they are location independent and can perform their work tasks from anywhere that there is internet access. In essence, digital nomads earn money through remote work, using the internet and their laptops or phones to connect to employers or clients. Inherently, they are their own boss, as they decide on their working hours.
Characteristics of digital nomads
The term digital nomad is used quite loosely these days, as is the case with many hyped-up terms.
So when can you call yourself a digital nomad? Here are the attributes that make a digital nomad:
- Location independence – you are not bound to any one location in order to perform your work.
- Online work – you use the internet to perform work for clients or employers.
These are the two characteristics that make up a digital nomad. It is actually in the name. Digital stands for online work, and nomad stands for location independence.
Digital nomad is the road to freedom
As a digital nomad, you will earn your income by performing remote work for specific employees or clients. By remote, we mean you will be able to work from anywhere you desire as long as you have a stable internet connection.
Here are the main benefits of choosing to earn your income online.
This is the ultimate benefit that people seek when pursuing the digital nomad dream. Remote work means that you don’t need to be at an office or client site to do your job. You can be in a cafe on the beach, or on a faraway farm in the countryside.
Travel around the world
Digital nomads can travel the world and keep their jobs while doing so. You can see new places, learn about different cultures, and experience what it is like to live anywhere in the world. If you have been bitten by the travel bug, remote work is the ultimate remedy. Nonetheless, be aware that traveling and earning money online at the same time is a very different experience than regular travel. We have written extensively about this topic in our article about the Most Common Ways to Finance a World Trip.
Choose your own work hours
Say goodbye to the 9-5! Working on projects remotely means that you do not have to be in and out of the office at certain hours. You will probably have some deadlines to hand in work, yet essentially you can choose when you want to work.
Things to consider before becoming a digital nomad
As exciting as the digital nomad lifestyle sounds before you hand in your resignation letter consider the following points.
Can you be your own boss?
Being your own boss requires you to really act like a boss. This means that you need to enforce discipline on yourself. With no one watching over your shoulder and telling you what to do, it is in your hands to make sure that work is being done.
If self-discipline is not your strength, start training that muscle before you quit your job.
It can be lonesome
If you are currently working in a company, be it a large corporation or a small startup, you have co-workers that you interact with on a daily basis. Being a digital nomad, in most cases, means that you are working alone on projects of employers or clients.
You might have some online interactions with other people working on the same project or the client and employers. However, these will be different than the chit-chat at the coffee machine. There are plenty of ways to overcome the digital nomad loneliness, which we will talk about in another article coming soon.
Skills development will be in your own hands
Most employers offer their employees some sort of skills development package. After all, keeping your skills actual and learning new relevant skills is vital to being competitive. When choosing to work remotely, you will be responsible for standing out in the growing crowd of digital nomads.
While there is a lot of free information out there for learning new skills, either on Youtube or various blogs, there are certain skills and certifications that you will need to pay for. Make sure to set aside a budget for skills development.
What skills do you need to make money online?
There are several skills that are more dominant in the digital nomad community than others, but these days you could do nearly anything to earn money online. The must-have skill you need is, of course, the ability to use a laptop and a smartphone. If you are a millennial, you’re probably not only proficient in using those devices, but your life would be also empty without them.
Here is a list of the most popular nomad skills:
- Programming and coding
- Graphic and design
- Digital marketing
- Writing and translation
- Video editing and animation
While the list above includes the most popular skills that are requested for online work, it is also where most people position themselves. With today’s technology, almost any task can be done remotely. You just have to be creative on how you can deliver your skills remotely.
How do Digital Nomads earn money online?
There are numerous ways that digital nomads make money online as they travel around the world. Broadly speaking, people fall into one of two categories: remote employees or online entrepreneurs. Below, we’ll discuss several options in more detail. The first two options fall under the category of remote employees, and the rest are online entrepreneur options.
Working remotely for a company is possible!
One option that is becoming more available in recent years is remote work. With the growing demand of people for location independence, companies have adjusted their Human Resources strategy. It is getting easier to have an employment contract at a company with a clause that allows you to work remotely most of the time.
Doing remote work for a company will allow you to keep all the usual employee benefits (building a pension, paid vacation days, etc), while not having to come into the office to do your work. Make sure to check the exact policies of the contract, as the employer may require you to be at least registered in the same country that you are employed in.
Remote Freelancing is the most popular option for digital nomads
Many people choose to freelance in order to be more flexible with their time. With the available technologies and the changing perspective of companies, doing freelance work remotely is a popular option.
Freelance work or contract work is when you offer your services to a company for a flexible period of time. The company pays the freelancer by the hour or per deliverable and can choose to fire the freelancer at any time unless otherwise stated in a contract. Contract work for digital nomads is usually project-based, and you then get to choose your working hours as long as you deliver your work on time.
Run your own blog and earn money with it
This option is popular too. The costs of setting up a blog are minimal, and the options are endless. That being said, it also means that almost everyone tries to make it blogging. Therefore, if pursuing this option, make sure you have a clear niche that you want to address in a different way than what is currently being done by others.
The blogging playground is extremely busy, yet if your blog stands out there are various ways you can earn money with it. You can run ads of various services such as Google Adsense that pays per click. You could also opt for affiliate options or sell ad space on your blog. Most companies have an option for you to become their affiliate.
Try your luck as a social media influencer
With the rise of social media, a new job title has emerged: Social Media Influencer. You can become an influencer on any social media platform, be it Youtube, Instagram, or Twitter.
Essentially you create content on social media, and if that content is being viewed and liked by the hordes of people online, companies will want to work with you. If companies believe that your audience is their target group and you could convince them to use certain products or services, they will pay you to promote their stuff.
Most often, brands offer a collaboration opportunity, where they would provide you products free of charge in exchange for you to advertise them to your audience. Yet, if you are big enough, companies will also want to pay you for displaying their product. That being said, we managed to get companies to work with us with less than 2000 followers using our @generationnomads account.
Create your own online business
Feeling entrepreneurial? You can create a business that runs completely online, without any physical location. With the opportunities to create websites cheaply and hire employees remotely, you can create a business that runs solely online.
You could sell your own products online or resell other people’s products. You may also provide certain services to customers or businesses. The options are endless for creating an online business.
Why a digital nomad needs a passive income
Becoming a digital nomad comes with a risk in most cases. If you do not have a stable employer with a fixed contract, you will need to make sure that money keeps coming in one way or another.
Therefore having several sources of income is essential for digital nomads. We highly recommend looking into different options of passive income in order to have a cushion to fall back on during hard times. We have created a list of 8 resources to create passive income that we have personally used.
Know what it is like to be a digital nomad
The digital nomad lifestyle sounds great, yet it is important that you are aware of the drawbacks mentioned above. Make sure you know what it is like to be a digital nomad before setting off. Talk to nomads to learn about their experiences, read up online on what people say, and most importantly have a plan of what you are going to do.
Becoming a digital nomad is not a straight forward path, therefore you should have a plan of how you are going to achieve this lifestyle before actually quitting your job. We don’t want to discourage you, but we want to make sure you know the risks you are taking too.
Lastly, make sure you enjoy the journey.
If you have any questions to us, post them in the comments below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.