If you’re reading this page, you’ve probably been dreaming about becoming a digital nomad for quite a while. I used to be in your shoes and today I’m gonna tell you the exact steps you will need to follow to become a successful digital nomad.
Today we’re going to discuss:
- Digital nomad expectations & mindset
- Jobs to get started with as a digital nomad
- Registering yourself as a freelancer
- Finding your first digital nomad job
Many years ago, I was dreaming about becoming a digital nomad as well. Unfortunately there were many factors that stopped me, such as:
- It were the early days of digital nomadism and there wasn’t a lot of information on the internet
- I didn’t personally know any digital nomad to ask for advice
- My friends and family were warning me for all the instability I might face
- And this list could go on and on..
However, I have always been the biggest risk-taker compared to anyone I knew and just one year ago I decided to take a leap of faith. That’s when I simply quit my job and started earning a great living online as a digital nomad.
You’re reading this, because you want to know the steps you need to take in order to become a digital nomad. I’m happy to say that I am more than willing to share all the steps I took, without asking you for any money.
Get your mindset right
The most important thing you will need to learn before you start your life as a digital nomad, are your own expectations and changing your mindset.
Life is not always going to be easy as a digital nomad, you won’t have the same stability as opposed to working in the corporate world, your friendships will be short, finding a long term relationship will be quite difficult, and you most definitely will have days where money is low – especially in the beginning.
If you want to start travelling before you found the more stable online jobs, you might need to stay in hostels and accept a life with less luxury.
That’s how far my demotivational speech goes, now let’s move on to the fun part.
You’ll be travelling from one exotic country to the next and it won’t be anything like a 1- or 2-week holiday. You’ll have so much more time to explore the areas, get involved in local communities and meet other like-minded digital nomads.
It’s entirely up to you if all of the beauty that comes with a digital nomad lifestyle is worth everything you’ve left behind.
The only thing I can say is that for me, it has changed my entire view on the world, it made me a hundred times happier. For you it may be the same, but also entirely different.
How much do you need to earn?
No digital nomad is the same, we all have different sources of income and most of us have completely different kinds of work. Some start a business, some work for a business in their own country and others work for businesses that are entirely runned online.
This being said, it’s difficult to tell you how much you can earn, but I can tell you how much you need to earn to live a comortable life as a digital nomad.
My personal opinion is that you’d need to earn 1500 euros a month to live a decent life as a digital nomad in lower-cost countries. Half of that amount could go into fun activities, while the other half would go into housing, flights and coworking spaces.
Before I get into my personal situation, I want to tell you about some jobs that are usually in high demand and require almost no skills at all (just the skills that you will learn on your training):
This is possibly the easiest job a digital nomad could do. You usually get a great training from your new online employer and you just have to answer questions from customers by email (and sometimes by phone).
Unfortunately. the salary is highly depending on where you are from. While my mother tongue is Dutch, a language foreigners don’t want to burn their tongue on, I could easily land a job between 10-20 euros an hour – and you can live comfortably in most exotic destinations with any salary in that given range.
However, if your only language is English, you might have a hard time landing a job above or even close to 10$ an hour. With any other Western-European language you shouldn’t face any issues finding a well-paid job in customer service.
If your native language or even English language level is C1 or higher, you are good with words and love to be creative – copywriting may be something for you. From writing emails to blog posts like these, being a copywriter is a challenging and rewarding position that wouldn’t get boring.
Just one year ago, I was scared for writing long blog posts myself. It just seemed impossible to keep people engaged and write quality content on a regular basis. The good news is that once you get the hang of it, you’ll learn that it’s just a process you have to go through. In my upcoming course I’ll dive deeper into the process, so that you can become the best digital nomad copywriter the world has ever seen.
You’re of course wondering about the salaries for this position, but they vary highly on your skills and ability to sell. I know copywriters that make over 100 euros an hour and I know copywriters that make under 5 euros an hour. Working together with me as your digital nomad coach, I’ll teach you everything there is to create a value proposition for your customers that will make them pay you what you deserve.
There are too many jobs to dive into in just one blog post, but these would be the easiest jobs to get started with, while maintaining a proper salary. In future blog posts I will dive deeper into the different jobs you can do, but you can think about:
- Video Editing
- Virtual Assistance
- Graphic Design
- Search Engine Optimization
- And so much more…
Now, let’s move on to the next topic where I’ll explain you how you can register a European company within 10 minutes so you can start applying for jobs!
Registering yourself as a freelance digital nomad
When you work a regular job, your employer usually gives you a contract and puts you under their payroll and making you their employee. When you work online, it usually works entirely different.
In short, that means you will need to register a business. You won’t be an employee anymore, but you’ll be an entrepreneur on paper and you will have to invoice your clients, do your own taxes and sometimes you’ll need to create the contracts yourself.
Registering a job in your home country would be a great option. However, I also know that in some countries this comes at a great expense you may or may not be willing to make. Maybe you first want to see if working online is something for you, or maybe you simply don’t have the money yet.
Don’t worry about any of those things. The first digital nation of the world, Estonia, offers you a chance to register your business completely online, without ever having to visit Estonia.
There are two ways to go about this, but today I’ll just speak about the easiest and most convenient option for most aspiring digital nomads.
Register a company with Xolo Go
Starting a business couldn’t be easier with Xolo Go. No start-up costs, no monthly costs, you just pay 5% of your revenue and Xolo will take care of everything else. You’ll get free invoicing software, your own business bank account and they take care of all your taxes.
You can register your business using the following link:
I would highly appreciate you using my link. It won’t come at an additional cost for you, but it will help me to keep providing you guys with interesting articles and my services at a low rate.
If you want to start your own business instead, I recommend you to read the following article to learn what E-Residency is all about and how you can start building your own brand.
You may be wondering about tax-regulations, and I have good news for you. I’ve written an entire blog post about this specific topic, so we can keep this one a bit more readable.
Getting your first digital nomad job
Once you’ve got your business set up, it’s time to find your first digital nomad job. You should know that this may be a demotivating process as you may never get a response on most of your applications. There are lots of people dreaming of an online job and that means you get a lot of competition. Good news is that I’m going to share all of my secrets.
In my opinion, there are two very effective ways to find your first online job in a matter of weeks:
- Facebook groups
- Freelance websites
Let’s discuss both of them in detail:
Finding a job on Facebook groups
There are a lot of Facebook groups for digital nomads and remote workers, such as the following:
- Digital Nomad Jobs – Remote Work From Anywhere (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DigitalNomadJobs/)
- Digital Nomads Around the World (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DigitalNomadsAroundTheWorld/)
- Global Digital Nomad Network (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1428340887415620/)
These are just three of the biggest one, with each of them having over 100K members and the groups are very active. I’m sure you can also find local versions of these groups, where you could find jobs in your local language (if different than English).
Next to that, companies in the eCommerce and mainly the Dropshipping industry is always on the lookout for new team members. The great thing about dropshipping – 99% of them has online teams and rely heavily on remote workers. Jobs you can expect to find there are mainly in customer service, copywriting, webdesign, virtual assitance, advertising and even high-level management positions.
Therefore, it would be a great idea to join Dropshipping Facebook groups, such as the following:
- eCom Dropshipping For Entrepreneurs (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ecomdropshipping/)
- Dropshipping (https://www.facebook.com/groups/173915386131929/)
- Dropshipping for Beginners (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DropshippingBeginners/)
Although these are by far the biggest one, I would recommend you to look for a local group. Using the search function in Facebook, just search for “Dropshipping *country*” and you should be able to find a couple of local groups, depending on your location.
Facebook application strategy
Now you know what groups to look for, let’s discuss your strategy. As there are a lot of people applying for online jobs, you need to stand out of the crowd. Now, I’m gonna share some of my secrets.
Before you even think of applying, make sure you know what sets you apart from other people (compare yourself with your friends and coworkers, for example). It may be your work-experience, communication skills, creativity and this list goes on and on.
Once you know your strengths, you’ll need to learn to sell them. Potential employers will usually ask you for examples that show you possess that skill. While most people are surprised by these questions, you should be prepared and actually beat your potential employer to it.
Now you know how to sell yourself, it’s time to apply. You can go a couple of ways about this:
- Send a cover letter
- Send a voice message as your cover letter
- Send a video as your cover letter
Most of you are reading this and are probably scared of sending a video and some of you might even be scared for sending a voice message. If you’re one of those people, ask yourself what’s more important to you: sending a video to a stranger you might never meet or following your dream to become a digital nomad?
I’m sure that most of your competition wouldn’t send a voice or video message as well. That’s exactly why you have to do it, if you want to find an online job quickly. A voice or video message shows so much more character than a copy-paste cover letter, making it much more difficult to ignore for your potential employer.
Before we move on to the next topic, you should always read the entire job post and ensure you follow the requirements of your potential employer. If they request a CV or an answer to specific questions – always include these in your application. If they require a cover letter, you should
Finding a job on freelancing websites
There are quite a lot of online platforms where you can find a wide variety of remote jobs for an even bigger variety of companies. The most popular platforms are:
Personally, I only have experience searching for jobs on Upwork, but the platforms are very similar. Most of the advice I gave on Facebook groups, also apply on these freelancing platforms. The biggest difference is the amount of competition you will face on these freelancing platforms, especially compared to local Facebook groups.
Although you can’t send voice messages on these platforms, you are able to send video applications on most of them. If it’s not possible to upload one on the platform, you can upload your video to Dropbox or Google Drive from your phone and share the link in your proposal.
On all the freelancing platforms I wrote down above, employers can usually see a few things before deciding to open your application:
- Your name
- Your location
- Your pricing
- The first sentence of your cover letter
- Earnings on the platform
- Amount of completed jobs on the platform
Although most of those things are not editable by yourself, you are able to set your own price and the first sentence of your cover letter.
As far as price goes, you need to make the decision yourself. I don’t recommend bidding higher or lower than what the client put on the job post, you can play around with the price.
The most important factor is of course the first sentence of your cover letter. Make it something that attracts the attention of the reader, be creative. I landed my first job with the following sentence:
- I’ll personally make sure you don’t have to worry about your customer service ever again.
This was an application for a customer service representative. In my cover letter I included a video of myself explaining why I’m the right person for the job and answered the questions they required me to answer in the job post. You can also try things such as:
- Stop searching for a *position* today, you’ve already found me!
- I am the rockstar *position* you’re looking for, let’s hop on a call!
Hopefully you’ll be able to write some creative letters yourself. Key is to stand out of the crowd and you can achieve that with using capital letters emojis and your words. Just be creative and see where it brings you!
Freelancing platform rules
Freelancing platforms usually take a percentage of your income, it’s their business. Therefore they are pretty scared for you to share your personal contact details with potential employers. A lot of employers don’t know this and may ask you for your email address, putting you in a difficult position.
Should this happen, just tell your potential employer that you’re not allowed to do that.
There are ways around this issue though. You can share your email in your video application, in a Google Docs file or even as a notepad file that you can attach to a message on Upwork. Just be sure to always write down that you’re not allowed to share your email – the freelancing platforms will love you.
After reading this entire article, you should have a good base to get started with. You’ve learned how important your mindset is, what kind of jobs you could be doing as a digital nomad, how to register a company in under 10 minutes and where and how to find your first job.
However, if it was really as easy as 1-2-3, I wouldn’t have launched this platform. Should you still face difficulties finding your first job, feel free to plan a free strategy call with me personally to see how I can help you out.