*Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commission if you purchase through one of the links in this email. However, we only promote partners whose products and services we find of value.*
Digital nomads are self-employed freelancers or remote employees who have escaped the constraints of small offices and turned the whole world into their workplace. They travel from place to place, working virtually from various locations, and at a schedule that suits them (and their many leisure activities).
Digital nomadism was once an inaccessible lifestyle for many, but today, technologies and a growing gig-based economy have made the dream possible for the everyday worker. There are 10 million more digital nomads in the US this year than there were in 2019!
So, buckle up and get ready for adventure — today we’ll delve into the benefits of being a digital nomad, the different types of jobs available, and what it takes to break free and make the transition to the globetrotting lifestyle.
The Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad
Breaking free from the traditional office workplace comes with plenty of perks, many of which can drastically improve your emotional well-being and allow you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Freedom to Be a Globetrotter
One of the biggest draws to the digital nomad life is the freedom to work from anywhere (as long as there’s a reliable internet connection).
With your time in your hands, you have the opportunity to travel the world and explore rich and diverse cultures — experiencing new cuisines, learning different languages, and engaging in unique traditions and activities.
Not only does exploring across your borders offer an enriching, fulfilling experience of the world, but it also allows you to learn more about yourself.
Digital nomadism leaves out the constraints of the rigid 9-5, allowing you to create a schedule that works around you. You’ll find that allocating time for your hobbies and interests is easy — just choose to work when you’re most productive, and take breaks whenever you need them.
Save on Living Expenses
Many popular, digital nomad-friendly destinations such as Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand have a significantly lower cost of living than the United States. So, basing yourself in one of these countries means you can save on rent and other living expenses, and allocate money toward investments, and spend more time doing things that fulfill you instead.
If you’re a small business owner, you can even use the money you’re saving to help grow your business!
No More Commuting
Long commutes aren’t just exhausting, they also take a huge chunk of time out of your day — time you could allocate to being productive at work or managing other life commitments.
But as a digital nomad? The only commute you’ll be doing is to the coffee shop down the road or a local co-working space. You won’t have to waste time dealing with the hustle and bustle of traffic, nor will you have to pay extortionate travel fees. You can work whenever and wherever, and you can pick a work spot that’s convenient for you (yes, even your own bed).
Requirements for Becoming a Digital Nomad
Becoming a globetrotter isn’t just a (ahem – lucrative) career move. It’s a lifestyle choice that allows you to explore the map and your interests in equal measure.
And though the transition might seem daunting, anyone can become a digital nomad with the right mindset and equipment.
The only major requirements to be one are:
- Reliable internet connection
- High-quality laptop
- Travel documents (like a valid passport)
Reliable Internet Connection
Remote work relies heavily on a stable, fast internet — connection that won’t let you down when you’re about to hit that “save” button.
Not all countries have well-developed digital infrastructure, so it’s important to research the internet connection speed available at your dream location before you book your flight. You can usually find out how reliable an area is by using virtual live speed test software.
Additionally, prioritize accommodations that provide fast Wi-Fi, get a local SIM card for your phone, and consider upgrading your smartphone data package to an international plan. That way, you’ll have a critical connection just in case that coffee shop happens to be closed.
Digital nomads pack light indeed, and the crucial items to always take with you no matter what are a laptop, a smartphone, and their chargers.
You’ll be carrying the laptop practically everywhere, so opt for a model that’s high-quality, lightweight, and has excellent battery life. The MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are both fantastic options for digital nomads.
Other necessities include a durable backpack, travel adapters, and an external hard drive to back up your work and personal files.
As you’ll be traveling to several different countries and likely using public Wi-Fi, it’s important to also have a VPN set up to protect your privacy online. This is especially the case if your job involves working with confidential or sensitive data.
Becoming a digital nomad does allow you to break free from the 9-5 grind… but sadly, you can’t break free from travel regulations!
You’ll need a valid passport and the visas or permits required by the countries you plan to travel to. You’ll also need documentation for your travel and health insurance, and vaccination certificates (depending on the country).
Remember to renew your passport if it’s close to expiring. Most countries require a passport to have at least six months of validity.
Types of Digital Nomads
The types of digital nomads are as diverse as the countries and cultures they explore; any person with a job role that can be performed remotely can embark on the globetrotting journey. That said, most digital nomads are either self-employed freelancers or remote employees.
Freelancers and Remote Workers
Freelancers and remote workers both have location independence and can work from anywhere — a quality that makes traveling the world (and pursuing digital nomadism) effortless.
Remote workers are hired through established companies and receive additional benefits such as pension plans and sick leave. Freelancers work independently for a range of clients across the globe, and while they don’t receive company perks, they can be a lot more flexible than the typical employee, often setting their own hours and day-to-day schedules.
A whole range of freelance and remote jobs can suit digital nomadism, including marketing roles, administrative jobs, and creative jobs like proofreading and content writing. The most popular digital nomad jobs for beginners include social media management and roles as virtual assistants, both of which we’ll delve into more deeply below.
“A Virtual Assistant takes on the tasks that a client doesn’t have the time, desire, or means to do themselves while juggling every other aspect of their business.”
A virtual assistant or “VA” performs administrative tasks for a client or company remotely from the comfort of their own home (or wherever their wanderlust takes them).
Some tasks virtual assistants perform are bookkeeping, answering emails, and formatting blog posts, but the work can vary depending on what exactly their clients need. Basically, they take on any task that can be done online.
VAs are given complete location freedom. However, they typically need to be available based on their clients’ time zones — so, your globetrotting will be limited to countries that share a similar time zone unless you’re happy to be a night owl. (Who are we to judge if 3 AM is your peak productivity hour?)
Social Media Managers
Spend hours binge-watching shorts on Instagram or checking out the latest trends on Twitter (aka X)? Then becoming a social media manager will likely be right up your alley, and it’ll allow you to backpack around the world, too!
Social media managers are responsible for creating, managing, and publishing the content of a brand’s social media accounts. While this sounds fairly simple, a lot more goes into it than hitting that upload button or scheduling a post. You’ll be expected to analyze trends, run data-driven campaigns, and engage with users in a way that advocates the brand’s values and voice.
Unsurprisingly, practically every social media-related task can be performed remotely, making it the perfect job for a digital nomad.
What Kinds of Jobs Can You Do As a Digital Nomad?
Social media managers and VAs are just two possible job options that cater to the digital nomad lifestyle. We’ll briefly touch on a few more to give you an idea of the many opportunities out there. You’re sure to find a role that suits your strengths, interests, and experience. (The sky’s the limit!)
Proofreaders act as the final line of defense in the editing process — they catch and correct grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, and typos. Anyone can become a proofreader regardless of their educational background, and you can expect an average salary of around $53,733 per year.
Check out our FREE workshop to learn more about proofreading and whether it fits you.
Copywriters create persuasive, engaging content that encourages readers to perform a particular action, usually to buy a product or subscribe to a service.
Copywriting requires a knack for storytelling and a strong grasp of digital marketing techniques. And, while these skills take time to master, the role pays off with an extremely high earning potential and, of course, the ability to work remotely!
Software developers build, design, and test software applications. Put simply, they’re tech whizzes.
As a software developer, you’ll need to be familiar with a wide range of coding languages and testing procedures. Most remote, full-time roles will also require a background in computer science. Software developers can expect to earn at least $66,000 annually as a starting salary.
Online tutors can teach a range of subjects or specialize in a particular area. They tutor one-on-one remotely, usually through video conferencing applications like Zoom.
Most online tutors earn between $49,342 and $72,077 per year, though the exact income can vary depending on subject area, experience, and clientele.
Graphic designers produce eye-catching, engaging visual materials that convey their clients’ messages and values. They have an artistic flair and use various graphic design programs to perform their role, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Remote graphic designers can expect to earn around $51,000 to $75,000 per year in the United States.
How to Become a Digital Nomad
Earning while traveling is increasingly more accessible, and the lifestyle comes with the opportunity to explore both the world and your passions. You don’t need a degree or decades of experience under your belt to be a digital nomad — all you need is a commitment to learning the skills for freelancing and working remotely.
There are plenty of online, beginner-friendly courses that can teach you the skills needed to build a remote career and even prepare you for life on the road.
As veteran freelancers, we also have plenty of useful resources for you to explore, including our dedicated Freelancer Resources page. Our blog also covers a whole range of handy topics, like on how to become a proofreader, and side hustles that pay weekly.
Digital Nomad Summit
Ready to cave in to your wanderlust? Then make sure to sign up for the Digital Nomad Summit, a virtual, free event from December 3rd through the 15th. You’ll get to hear from digital nomad experts on how they began their journeys and established their remote careers, on top of tons of tips, advice, and tools from our sage nomads, here to help you kickstart your own globetrotting journey.
There’ll be a range of seminars and workshops to help you polish up your remote work skills, and you’ll even find networking opportunities to connect with fellow travel enthusiasts from around the world. Even Proofread Anywhere’s founder, Caitlin Pyle, will be speaking and sharing her secrets!
The event runs from December 3rd to 15th, 2023. Sign up for your FREE ticket here.
Hope to see you there!