8th October, 2019
They’re the people using modern technology to work and live anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection and a power supply. Could you trade it all in to become a digital nomad?
Digital nomads generate income through a broad variety of sources. Some have online stores and sell physical items via drop-shipping, whereas others are service based and offer their skills in areas like graphic design, account management, marketing or social media assistance.
A lot of people make the decision to become digital nomads after having travelled. Once they’ve been forced to work overseas, some people realise their work situation is a lot more flexible than they thought. Others need to deliberately adapt their work and life to be able to accommodate the nomadic lifestyle.
Before deciding to become a digital nomad, it’s important to understand if it’s something that will work for you.
For many, being a digital nomad can be tough, risky and quite stressful, especially when you’re struggling to make ends meet in a foreign country. For just as many though, it’s a rewarding experience that provides flexibility, adventure and an incredible sense of freedom.
However you plan to make money, you’re going to need a skill or product that is relevant, in demand and saleable. Most nomads find that service-based skills transfer better to a roaming lifestyle and this might mean that you need to undergo a little further training before ditching the nine-to-five.
Consider the current skills you possess and write those down into a list. Now, break down that list into three columns, stuff you love, stuff you’re good at and then stuff that someone will pay you to do. If any of your skills appear in all three columns, it’s likely these skills are going to become your golden ticket.
The next step is to refine your ‘golden ticket list’ down and choose one major skill as your core focus. That skill might be building websites, social media marketing, word processing, data entry or even legal research, but whatever it is, don’t try and offer everything to everyone.
Choose one major skill and then stick to it. You should even consider doing a little further education to bring your skill up to expert level.
While you don’t have to be the world’s best at something to be able to sell it, it is essential to fully understand the service or product you will be offering and then be able to explain to someone why they should pay you for it.
When you go nomad, you become the entire business – and it’s your job to ensure people want to hire you.
It’s one thing to have a skill, but it’s another thing to convince someone that they want to purchase it from you. Regardless of what skill or product you have selected, a core attribute that every digital nomad must possess is a flair for sales and marketing.
When you’re a digital nomad, you no longer have the security of a regular income, colleagues to discuss ideas with or even a local area to become known in.
Being a digital nomad means finding work for yourself on a regular basis and getting your skills in front of as many potential clients as you can, often with no leads and no previous introductions.
A great way to test your ‘sales potential’ before you head off into the horizon is to try out the nomad lifestyle at home for about six months. Try and make the switch to working fully online. Work from cafes, public libraries or even your own bedroom. Cold call companies to try and get new work, speak to potential clients only via the telephone or internet and see if this results in work coming your way.
Regularly audit how the situation is performing for you. Are clients happy to engage you without a face-to-face conversation? Are you able to get a steady flow of enquiries from ads you place or from word of mouth referrals? Are you earning enough?
Depending on what you are offering, there’s also an array of different online sites to help you reach potential clients.
Freelancer and online skill hire sites like UpWork, OzLance, Fiverr and Udemy are all over the internet and it’s a good idea to do the research to find out which one best relates to the skill, service or product you are aiming to sell.
Once you’re comfortable with how you’re progressing and you feel comfortable that you’ve got your income under control, it’s time to head out into the world.
There will likely be challenges as you start your journey, but with the right preparation and understanding of digital nomad processes, there shouldn’t be anything that you can’t handle while enjoying your new lifestyle.