I recently came across an article while searching online for resources about working from home and the internet. So I have found that they refer to people that work on the internet and traveling as digital nomads. It’s funny because I’ve been working from my laptop at home and at time travel to different countries for the last 2 years and didn’t even know the term for it.
When people ask me what I do, I just say internet marketing or I work online, then I would spend another 15 minutes explaining what exactly that I do. Working online is very general and to make a living online as a digital nomad you could be doing many different things like affiliate marketing, coaching, blogging, website building, online network marketing, or just marketing for other companies.
These are only a few options that anyone can do once they decide to work online. So I was curious about any other options that would be available for anyone that wanted to be a digital nomad. While I was searching I did find an interesting article that listed a few interesting options.
Option 1: Do what you do now, just remotely.
Consult. If you can get a job consulting in the States, you can get one working remotely. Consultants by definition (although perhaps not in practice, if you’ve ever hired one) are experts in their field. Companies hire consultants when the work they need done doesn’t justify hiring a full time person. Or if they don’t have the resources to hire and train someone. Or if they need it done Right Now. How to tell if you’re consulting material? Here’s a simple test. Put your resume on Monster. If you get emails in the first week, from headhunters looking for consultants, well then you have a very easily marketable skill.
Freelance. Where consultants typically work for an agency (and usually ones that have established relationships) freelancers are on their own. There can be some overlap, but most freelancing jobs have a set deliverables. Edit this book. Make this website. Create this logo. (Consultants on the other hand, are often there to lend their expertise and determine what work needs to be done). A way to check if your skills fall into the “independent freelancer” realm is to check out places like elance.com (just for reference), to see if you’d be a match for any of those jobs. The key is to find out if there already is a market for your skill set.
Work Remotely: it’s easier to convince someone to let you work remotely before you get hired then after. If you live 30 minutes from the office and they’ve gotten used to your daily presence over the last few years, suddenly requesting to work from home is going to give some heartburn to your manager. You can quickly evaluate your company with these three questions: Is anyone else doing it? Do I have a good relationship with my manager? Am I already a high producer?
Option 2: Change your career path to fit a remote lifestyle
Go down an ancillary path. If you’re struggling to find Consulting/Freelance/Remote work in your current field, can you make a 20 degree adjustment to something else? For example, if you’re in HR, can you freelance writing policy manuals? Or if you’re social worker, can you consult with non-profits looking for grant money? Or if you work for a big corporate entity, can you help small business get off the ground? The good news is that these types of changes (in the short term) are less jarring than big employment gaps, if you decide to pick up where you left off.
Demote yourself. Give up the title and get the freedom. If you’re a manager or supervisor, but you used to be a staffer, you might find more opportunities at that lower level. There are definitely remote opportunities for management level folks (my old boss lived in another state), but most companies are still squirmish about having a manager that no one ever sees and that is only available for meetings via teleconference. So if you still have those programming/writing/PR/finance/accounting/etc skills that got you promoted in the first place, then you might have a skill that easily translates to a remote lifestyle.
Option 3: Create your own job
Start an Online Business: This is probably the most popular option and the most risky. Building a business is tough, and building it online doesn’t make it any easier. With 50% of small business failing in the first year and 95% failing in the first 5 years, the prospects aren’t any better just because it’s online. But many people are making it work with less– spreading out their risk with multiple websites, creating ebooks, leveraging large brands (like amazon) to do the heavy lifting and using social media to promote your product. Gut check: Are you willing to work really hard for little pay in the beginning? Do you like networking, making connections with people, and communicating? Do you have a passion for what you’re selling or creating?
Once you pick your path:
1. Don’t forget that living overseas is often much cheaper than living in the States. While it might take $60,000 to live comfortably in Connecticut, a mere $20,000 somewhere else could be sufficient. If you take into account that freelancers make more per hour, plus the reduced cost of living, you could be looking for 10 hours of freelance a week, to replace your full time job. A single three month project could fund your travels for the year, so take this into account when researching.
2. Give yourself time. You’re boss may take a while to convince, with several test runs. Or you may find it takes a while to build up enough freelance work. Or if you start an online business, it could take a year just to earn a living wage. By insisting on working remotely, you’ve just narrowed the field, so adjust accordingly. Depending on your industry, if it takes 3 months to find a new job, give yourself at least twice as much to find remote work. It’s out there.
3. Plan to travel slower. You’ll be working during the day, running around at night and time passes so much quicker when you try to combine travel and work. You’ll want to plan your travel days on weekends, or around your work schedule. Depending on where you are, you also have to try out a few cafes to find the strongest wifi signal. If you make calls for your job, you’ll have to find somewhere quiet with a good signal (or internet connection for Skype). It takes a bit to get settled in (when you have to be productive at the same time), so think of your travel in terms of months instead of days.
4. Remember it’s still work. The flip side to all of this is that once you pull it off, you might find yourself sitting on a beautiful beach and instead of playing all day, you’re stuck on your laptop trying to finish an assignment. While everyone at home is thinking I’m laying on the beach, I’m actually slapping flies away and trying to upload something with a painfully slow internet connection. But you know what? For me, it’s worth it. If you want it, you’ll find a way to make it work.
This was a great article illustrating the different options that one may take to work remotely and the possible difficulties that one may face in their journey. For me, I view the journey as a learning experience very much like college. Most people invest 4-6 years and from $30,000-$100,000 to go to college and then to graduate and work for a dead end job. Especially in this down economy you may not even find a job, and if you did…you would be enslaved to it.
I understand it’s necessary to work to pay for the necessities in your life, but never be satisfied until you have the freedom in your life to spend more time with your family and to do the things that you want in life. Always try to grow and learn something new everyday. It’s okay to fail…failing is good, because that means that you are learning and growing. Once you have this mindset then you will not be afraid to learn new things and are not afraid of failing.
Most of the options to be a digital nomad in the article above are good options, even though I have not taken most of those options because I didn’t have a 9-5 job and didn’t like working for anyone. Through my years of working from home I have came across many different home base business opportunities and seen many creative ways that other digital nomads has been successful with. Below is one of my favorite option that I believe is good for anyone to start out in this industry.
Create Your Passion (website)
One good option is to create your own website, this is my favorite option and this is what I do. Most of my residual income has been from creating resource websites that is still running on autopilot. If you have a passion or interest in a particular subject or hobby, you can create a website providing resources about that niche. For example I am passionate about personal development so that is why I was inspired to create Embellished Minds. When creating a website you can write your own content or just curate content from the web, like videos and free resources that brings VALUE to your users.
Like this website, I have gathered many resources thru out the web to make it convenient for users and I have also added my own contents for added value. The key is to provide VALUE and that you should have a high interest on the topic of your website. Monetizing from your website will come later on once you have created enough value for people to come back often. Most successful websites follow this process:
Content -> Traffic -> Presell -> Monetize
Most people make the mistake of finding ways to monetize first before providing any valuable content. Once you have created a website with valuable contents, you then can monetize through many of the following ways; promoting related affiliate products, Google Adsense, selling ad spaces, product creation and sales are some of the most popular ways of making money from your website.
Though this is a good option, but be prepare to learn new things and be patient with the process. This option is not a get rich quick scheme…even though it has an unlimited earning potential. It will take at least 3-6 months and an on going effort to grow your traffic until you can implement automation. That is why it’s important for you to be PASSIONATE about the subject relating to your website, because this is going to be part of your life!
Creating a website Pro’s & Con’s:
Pros: Flexibility in what ever you want to add on your website, many different methods of marketing, monetizing, and full control of your project. Have the ability to leverage the internet and systems for automation. Branding yourself and the ability to compound and grow your business.
Cons: May take some time in the beginning to set up, technical difficulties for some. May require dedication and patience.
In the last few years many people have contacted me, and asking me how to make an income generating website. In the beginning I would try to help them but there are just too much information for me to coach over emails and phone conversations. There are many different ways in creating a website, you can Google or Youtube many of the free online resources to show you anywhere from hosting, buying a domain name, to driving traffic to your website. The resources are all available for free online but the challenge will be researching and sorting out information to make sense of the process.
The other option is to buy a website builder, there are many out there providing different services, but the one that I have used and in my opinion the best services out there is from Site Build It! (you can read my full review of Site Build It! here) This is a great service because they show you step by step from setting up your website, driving traffic, and how to monetize from your website through video tutorials. If you are comfortable with hosting, ftp uploads, keyword research, traffic generation, and market research then you probably don’t need a website builder service, but if you are new or would like the system to do most of the hard SEO work for you so you can just focus on providing valuable content then I would recommend you to take a look at Site Build It.
– Full Review of Site Build It!
Don T. Mai