From the best seat of your favorite coffee shop, the snow-capped mountains of Colorado, the second floor of your local library, or the white-sand beaches of Bali, the work-from-anywhere lifestyle is taking off and appealing to more people every day. It seems idyllic, especially to all the people on the outside who see the Instagram posts and wonder how on earth you can make money as a digital nomad.
Something to note before we get started: while “Digital Nomad” sounds a lot like a carefree bearded man who clicks online a few hours a week and somehow makes six figures, that is an incorrect perception. I will burst that bubble early on because to make money as a digital nomad is hard work. It requires discipline, passion, and full-on execution.
Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it easy? That would be a no, as the best things in life typically aren’t. Here a few ways you can make money as a digital nomad:
Land a Remote Job
An estimated one-third of employees in the United States work from home and you could be one of them. A remote position at a company has all the stability and security of a regular 9 to 5, without the hassle of actually coming in to an office building.
“That sounds great,” you might be thinking. “But am I qualified for remote work? Where would I even find a remote job?” Whether you are tech-minded or not, there is a place for you in the remote workforce. Here are some of the most common remote positions:
- Writing and Editing
- Graphic Design
- Programming and Web Development
- Video Production and Editing
- Social Media Management
- Teaching and Tutoring
- Virtual Assistance
Establish a Personal Brand
If the idea of a single, full-time job just doesn’t cut it for you, you may want to consider building a personal brand from which you can offer a multitude of services.
Think of this as a diversification of your work portfolio. Under the umbrella of your brand, you have the ability to branch out and offer multiple services in your realm of expertise. You could write eBooks, offer consulting services, create Lightroom presets, start a podcast, and record self-help videos, all while serving an audience and staying true to your brand.
How to create a personal brand
Personal brands aren’t built overnight. They take time, effort, and endless persistence. If you want to take a look at some people who are doing it right, a few of my favorites include Neil Patel and Jenna Kutcher. If you take time to scroll through their home pages, you can tell they are completely different from each other – yet they are each making a killing by serving their unique audiences, and it works for them because they stick to their brands.
This is all feeling very abstract, so lets break it down with a few tangible steps you can take to create a personal brand that works for you.
- Focus in on an area of expertise. Have you traveled to every country in South America? Have you written articles for major publications? Have you had a successful career in digital marketing? If so, you might be an expert at it. Your area of expertise might not be something you’ve even considered. If you can’t figure it out, ask your friends what you are good at.
- Identify your audience. Who is listening to what you have to say? Think about the people who care about your expertise, and then speak to them when creating your content.
- Create content on your platform of choice. Most personal brands begin with one platform and expand out once they’ve mastered that one. Start a blog, a YouTube channel, a podcast or an Instagram profile. Then, start creating value-adding content focused on your area of expertise.
- Believe you can do it. Have you ever heard of “impostor syndrome”? It’s real, my friend, and it lies to you. Everyone has to start somewhere, so those I’m-not-good-enough’s can take a back seat to the show.
How to make money through your personal brand
- Create digital products, anything from online courses to eBooks and Lightroom presets. These are fantastic forms of passive income.
- Affiliate links. Through affiliate links, you can make a commission on products from other companies or brands. Amazon has a popular affiliate program to help you get started.
- Mentor or offer consultations. Coaching others in your area of expertise can be very lucrative.
- Sponsored content. Partnering with brands to create content is a fantastic way to make money. While sponsored content may make you think of Facebook or Instagram, this is also something you could do through other platforms like YouTube or a podcast.
Freelancing is one of the most popular forms of remote work. This falls somewhere in between becoming a remote employee and establishing a personal brand. A freelancer is essential a contractor, so you would provide a service to a business or brand. Freelancers usually take on several clients at a time.
As a freelancer, you have the opportunity to start working on the side of your regular 9 to 5 job. Once you have the clients you need to make it your full-time gig, then you can.
There are many job boards for freelancers, as well as opportunities if you just reach out to brands or businesses you know could use the service you are providing.
Remember not to undercharge yourself as a freelancer. You don’t have a company funding your health insurance or vacation days, so charge what you are worth with a freelance expense calculator tool like this one.
Bonus Tip: Save Money in Creative Ways
While we’re all about how to make money as a digital nomad, you want to consider the steps you’re taking to save money, too. Here are three creative ways you can save money as a digital nomad:
- Go minimalist. One of the most intriguing perks of living as a digital nomad is the ability to travel and work from wherever. Spend less on stuff you don’t need, and you’ll save money on transporting all of it in the long run, too.
- Try co-living. Co-living is a modern take on an old concept, where people live in a space where they have a private bedroom and bathroom but shared living spaces. Many digital nomads find this practice to help cut living costs, make connections, and build community.
- Revisit your entertainment choices. Take this opportunity to explore the world. Wander cities, go hiking, and let go of the subscription services that are slowly draining your bank account. Listen to podcasts and check out the free things to do before committing to another streaming service.
The digital nomad life is tough stuff, but worth it for many. Don’t be afraid to give it a go and make money as a digital nomad.
Have you dived in to the remote workforce? Let us know your favorite money-making tip in the comments below!