Of 10 people I asked, at least 6 would tell me that their dream is to be a digital nomad, travelling the world and working at the same time. How can one be a digital nomad then? What are the digital nomad jobs? In fact, what are the top 10 digital nomad jobs that someone can do?
Digital nomad is the new key term Instagrammers and backpackers are using. Define digital nomad: a digital nomad is someone who is location independent and uses technology to perform their job. Digital nomads work remotely, telecommuting rather than being physically present at a company’s headquarters or office (according to Investopedia). This brings us to the next big question, what are the digital nomad jobs?
Disclaimer: this survey was given to a large group of digital nomads around the world and this was the top 10 digital nomad jobs that came up in the digital nomad community.
Digital nomad jobs #1: Own Your Own Business
Of course, the top of the digital nomad jobs list is to own your own business. This is very vague since your own business can be from a multibillion-dollar global business to a freelancer, small-time business owner. That being said, starting your own business is the top choice for digital nomads.
With your own business, you can be flexible with your timings. You are your own boss and report to yourself. Hence, it gives you unlimited freedom. One book I highly recommend for business owners and digital nomad is Tom Ferris’ 4-Hour Work Week. There are many great times to learn from this book and to apply it in your life as a digital nomad.
What business to start as a digital nomad?
There are so many businesses you can start, but you can consider the industries or jobs of the other 9 top digital nomad jobs and carve your niche in that area.
Digital Nomad Jobs #2: Front End Developer And Designer
This is the next most popular digital nomad jobs. As I travelled, I met many digital nomads, who have been on the road for 3-5 years. When asked what they do, they are front end developers and designers. This could range from UI design, developing online shops or front-end websites. Designers and developers are very popular around the world, and you can work from any desk with Wifi! My friend was all over Asia, South America and Australia just by working on his niche as a front-end designer.
How To Get Started as a Front End Developer/Designer
Start small. Fix cosmetic and UX defects on websites and then start growing your business and projects. You can start in your neighbourhood, fixing local websites and outdated front ends. Then expand your service on freelance websites like Fiverr. When you are established enough, you can start on larger freelance developer websites. My friends work 1 week per month, and spend the rest of the time travelling.
#3: Traditional Remote-Working
#3 on the digital nomad jobs list is another common yet “safe” jobs. It is not a new concept and has gotten more popular recently. Traditional remote-working means to “work from home”. You are still working for a corporation/business, but you have the freedom to work on your own time and schedules. This is common for people who live far from their office and opt for “work from home” schedule.
In general, you just have to achieve the KPI that is set to you and you can be anywhere in the world. If your work requires strong internet, please make sure that your country of destination has strong wifi. I do not recommend the Philippines islands.
#4: Multiple Sources Of Income
- This means a combination of many of options here. i.e. own a business and also consult other businesses
- With the cryptocurrency boom, many people are also investing in cryptocurrencies to support yourself.
- Invest in other revenue streams like stocks or the Forex, if you have expertise in that
- Host your house with Airbnb. Learn to be a Superhost on Airbnb in 4 months.
- Freelance in many aspects: photography, videography, editing, website UX design
Consulting is simply helping others to become better or to be an expert like you. This is different from freelancing, as freelancing is usually one project (i.e. wedding photography for a couple) while consulting drives into the details on a higher level like how to improve your wedding photography business in the online market or targeting a new segment in the market. It involves more marketing and strategy, management and optimization of business operations. You can almost say that consulting is more B2B-oriented while freelancing could include B2C too.
How to get started as a consultant?
If you have a niche or skill to be very good at one specific thing, bingo, you got it. Alternatively, there are many digital consultants out there, helping businesses move to the online platform: Facebook pages, Instagram pages, sharing their company to the online market.
After you know what you skills you have a niche in, start by finding the top 100 businesses that you can help. Contact them by calling, emailing or even visiting them if they are close by. Constantly keep in touch and start building your professional relationships.
Be prepared to come up with brilliant, original and creative ideas that separate you from the rest. It is easy to go to an “established” business so make sure you provide tons of value and give the very best you can.
Get your work done, get testimonials, share them and move on to the next customer! Referrals are great!
#6: Teaching English
If I get a penny for how many English teachers I met in the digital nomad space and how many I have met on my travels, I never have to work again. Teaching English is one of the easiest digital nomad jobs hands down. It is high paying, less working hours and the freedom of allowing you to be abroad. There are tons of fresh graduates teaching English online or in countries like Vietnam and China. They are really paying very well!
If that’s the case, why isn’t everyone teaching English?
- This job is very specific to the type of job applicants. Countries like China and Vietnam want English teachers holding Western passports like USA, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Even better if you have an accent like the “posh British accent”. You can definitely negotiate for a high salary. That being said, if you come from an English speaking country but is not one of the above, i.e. Singapore, it is difficult for you to get that same rates or job even. Unpopular bonus: if you have a Caucasian skin tone, even easier to get a job there.
- Teaching is not for everyone. Imagine taking 1-2 years of your life just teaching English with no advancement in other aspects. Not many people are willing to do it.
- Limited location. If you are teaching English in China, you are pretty much stuck in China. Yes, China is a large and beautiful country to explore, but some people want to travel as much of the world as possible, and not remain stuck in one country. Note, the more rural you go in China, the higher your pay. There are plenty of English teachers who teach English in rural China for years. I met them when I was travelling Guilin, China. Alternatively, you can teach English online, but the pay is much lower.
Writing is the next on the digital nomad jobs. It includes travel writing, journalism, content creation, book writing, etc. You can start being a writer through the various platforms above, or start your own niche and write away. If you are into entrepreneurship, you can write about it and sell your services. If you are passionate about a niche topic, say pet care, you can focus on that and deliver quality content to potential readers.
Translators exist because Google Translate is not good enough (at all). If you are a native speaker or professional speaker in a language, this is for you. This is especially for those people with an Arts Degree in linguistics, literature or even culture. There are surprisingly many jobs out there. One quick way is to join Facebook groups on translation services. You have to weed out the spam. You can translate anything and everything, from official documents like reports to website content and small specific translation projects.
This is slightly different from starting your own business. Ecommercer basically does work online. It could be drop shipping, doing import/export, sourcing materials in China, have your own ecommerce business, etc. Drop shipping business is actually a great business to start.
From Shopify: Drop shipping is a retail fulfilment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.
With Amazon, you can use the dropshipping model. In short, sell your products online (i.e. beach towels) and get Amazon or a third party to fulfil the demand for you. You don’t need as much capital to get started and easy to get started. Best of all, you can be anywhere with wifi and work on your business!
Note: I am talking about a legal business and not some dingy MLM business. I absolutely hate MLM and start your own business instead of joining some sketchy MLM, please.
#10: Freelancer (SEO, Photog)
Throughout the entire post, I kept emphasizing on freelancing. Popular digital nomad freelancing jobs include:
- SEO freelancer
- Media: photography, videography, editing
- Website/App developers
- Writing and content
- Data entry or data analysis (coding skills needed)
So there, top 10 digital nomad jobs for you, who are starting to become a digital nomad. Know what you are good at, be expert at it and have the discipline to get your work done. Imagine sipping a Cuba Libre in your accommodation by the sea in Costa Rica. Or visit the gorgeous Angkor Wat, while your friends are slogging away in the cubical world. You have the freedom to enjoy life at its finest living every day to the fullest.
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