If you’ve had enough of office politics, your home town or just the same ol’ same ol’, it’s never been easier to get out there and be a remote worker.
But before you cast off those ties and burn those bridges, it’s handy to know how to set yourself up for success. After all, the life of a digital nomad looks glamorous, but if you don’t prepare right, it can be a proper pain in the ass.
There’s a lot of books out there which tell you about how to live the digital nomad life. The 4 hour work week, Crush It!, Rich Dad Poor Dad… There’s tons of them. Now, having read a few of them, I can tell you they all say much the same thing. But with lots of extra words. So I’m going to tell you how to be a remote worker without your having to read a whole book.
This checklist is designed as a rough guide to get you ready to live that dream digital nomad lifestyle. Reading up is recommended too…
Lets assume you already have a skill, which is why you’re planning to be a freelance remote worker. Whatever you’re already skilled at, add some new skills. Honestly, it’ll come in so handy cos there is always someone else with your same skillset +1. Or worse still, +5.
If you’re a designer: learn some WordPress, video editing or photography skills. If you’re a writer: learn SEO, marketing, social media strategy or how to proofread. Whatever it is you already do, learning a little something extra takes just a few hours of your time. Trust me, it’ll make a huge difference.
Already work with some clients in house? Try and secure some sort of contract that means they’ll give you more work when you’re out there being a freelance digital nomad. Tell them what you’re planning, maybe you can even offer them a deal. Seeing as you won’t be paying ridiculous rent out there in the real world, perhaps you can tempt them with 10% off?
If you’re not already working with some clients then start hustling for at least a couple. The thing with clients though, is they always drop off the radar when you need them…
Bank some cash
Is it brave or stupid to strap on that backpack with no money in the bank? Well, kinda both. Yes, you can head out there and make your way in the world with nothing but a bus fare and a passport. But, having a couple of months of reserves is going to be an essential safety net when starting your digital nomad dream.
If you’re going somewhere cheap like Vietnam or Colombia, you’ll likely only need a couple of grand to tick you over. But the more you can save, the more time you’ll have before you need to start calling in favours.
Research your destination
There’s no excuse for this one. Knowing the average prices, the cheapest places to stay and how to get around on the cheap is going to save you so much money when you arrive. Don’t be that noob who spends all their savings on a primo apartment and when they could have had a perfectly decent pad for half the price.
How to research? Reddit, Facebook, Expat Forums… There are so many channels where you can find out advice before you arrive. Which will save you time, money and hassle. There are some great places to be a digital nomad where your money really will go far…
Remember to focus on work
The whole point in being a digital nomad is that you get to explore the world, meet new people and have a fucking great time. But…. You need to make money. Schedule time in the day or week when you do your work. You don’t have to work every day. Well, that’s why you’re running off to be a remote worker isn’t it? But you do need to get work done and make money.
You’ll also need to remember that if you work with clients in another time zone that you’ll need to adapt. Skype meetings at 4am are the pits, so try and work out how best to do your communications when you’re working remotely.
If you’re not wise on the benefits of Linkedin for whatever you do then you’re not paying attention. It’s where the world of work networks. Make your profile nice and tidy, and start networking. Seriously, put Snapchat down and get on LI. You’ll find plenty of businesses looking for people just like you and the more active you are, the more it’ll work for you.
Make time to enjoy yourself
So we mentioned the key factor, that is work. But… You need to make sure you enjoy yourself too. Otherwise, whats the point in flying halfway round the world to Bali or Budapest? Go sightseeing, meet people, go to parties, hang out in jungles or castles or whatever. Soak it up, enjoy it. It’s the whole point in being a digital nomad!
Honestly, the amount of people who are glued to their laptops for the whole duration of their trips. This seems to be especially true for anyone who says their a YouTuber or an Instagrammer. They spend so much time editing, looking for the perfect shot or working on their social media that they don’t really get to enjoy the vibe.
To dropship or not to dropship?
You’re gonna meet a lot of dropshippers out there. They’ll tell you how great it is and how much money they make. Here’s my short take on dropshipping.
It can be a real hassle, especially if you never see the product. Bad quality, returns and stuff like that is a paiiiiiin. Also, you need to spend a lot of time building a brand, promoting and paying for advertising.
I’m not a fan. I think you probably have a better skill that you can use that will be less of a nightmare to manage. Focus on that. If you can write, edit video, translate, transcribe, take photos, sing, DJ, cook… Whatever. Use a skill that you have control over and you’ll spend less time stressing over the shit quality of goods you’ve shipped halfway around the world.
There are plenty of things to do for the digital nomad looking to escape the rat race. Follow these tips and you’ll do just fine…
Got your own tips for working as a digital nomad? If you’re a remote worker, drop us a comment below and let us know what you’re up to. Don’t forget to share.