Digital Nomads – what are they? They are people who are location independent and work remotely, using technology to perform their job. The term does vary hugely and can be applied to millions of remote workers all over the world. A recent study showed that 30% of us are currently working as freelancers, with the number looking to rapidly increase over the next few years. In fact, it has been predicted that by the year 2035, there will be over 1 billion digital nomads.
With the growth of opportunities opening up online, wifi expanding to almost every corner of the earth and increasingly faster internet speeds, it’s no wonder more and more people are breaking the routine of 9-5 office work and becoming digital nomads. This new way of working is vastly impacting the way we are living and is giving more people the freedom to combine working with travelling. We spoke to some digital nomads that are currently working from abroad to find out about their life, careers and experiences.
After graduating in June 2016 with a degree in English Literature, I decided to embark on an 8 month trip around the world. After a few weeks, I had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of genuinely helpful and informative online guides for travel. So I decided to turn, what was then just my hobby, into something that was to become beneficial for fellow travellers.
I sent out my articles to numerous blogs and after a few rejections I had my articles published on their websites. As I’d caught the writing bug, I decided to try and turn my writing into a way of financially sustaining my travels. I began juggling a number of jobs from then on and my work varied hugely from short blog posts, to guides, to news articles and even to copywriting. As a copywriter, my roles vary from composing blog posts to product descriptions to designing weekly emails and newsletters for online companies. Earning some extra cash every month really helped me to keep going with my travels and it enabled me to experience even more beautiful places.
What I love about being a freelance writer is that I am able to work from wherever I want. To me, my biggest fear in life is being stuck in a mundane routine, working the same hours everyday from the comfort of a twirly chair on the 14th floor of a tower block. I believe that as a writer or for anybody who’s in a creative industry, you have to be in an atmosphere where you’re comfortable, happy and somewhere that’s inspiring. Otherwise, really, you aren’t going to be producing work that’s your best.
My advice for anybody who is considering becoming a digital nomad and working remotely is to just go for it. There are so many helpful online job sites like Travel Gig that will help you in your search for work. All you have to do is find that perfect spot, whether it’s for a few weeks or a few months, sit down and apply. I promise you that by becoming a digital nomad, you will find a much happier balance between working and enjoying life.
Graphic Designer and Web Developer
They say that travelling changes your perspective on life and for me this is certainly true, but not in the cliche way you might be thinking. It was during my first trip to the Philippines in 2012 that I became exposed to a new type of traveler, one which was self-sustaining but free of the mundane 9-5 which governs most peoples lives. These people worked where and whenever they wanted, still finding time to surf twice a day! Working remotely in skilled professions like software development and consulting, these guys were highly paid and living in a place where your daily expenditure rarely exceeds $20/day. I had just met my first digital nomads. They were living the high life and I wanted a piece of the pie!
Inspired by this new lifestyle I had experienced, I was looking for a way in. It was during my next trip that a friend introduced me to affiliate marketing. The basic jist of it is that you work to drive traffic to a particular site or page, and then link to a companies products or services. If visitors buy what the company is selling, you get paid a commission. So I started a niche site and became a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. This is by far the most widely used affiliate scheme around, and considered the best by most. However, there are tons of other schemes that might offer a better deal for your particular niche so shop around!
With the help of awesome plugins like Visual Composer and Yoast SEO, I was able to build my own site and rank on Google for several competitive keywords. I was pretty amazed when I got my first check from Amazon. With no prior experience I had built my own site and started earning revenue, it’s really never been easier! I’m now working on my second site and aiming to be self sufficient within the next 6 months. There are literally thousands of niches out there waiting to be exploited, so don’t wait around! If you are in need of a nudge in the right direction, check out this article.
Experience in Co-Working Spaces
In 2016, I spent four months working at Dojo, a co-working space in Canggu, Bali. Situated a few minutes walk from Echo Beach (a popular surfing spot), it is ideally located within Canggu with dozens of cafes and restaurants only five minutes away by scooter. The workspace itself has a relaxed and friendly community feel, with events and talks nearly every day about everything from internet marketing to learning Indonesian.
During my time there I met people from all over the world working on a range of different web based projects. There were many freelance web developers, travel bloggers and online marketers as well as more unusual pursuits like professional online poker players. Every day you could join a new group for lunch or dinner – the open plan design of the workspace (with a swimming pool right in the middle) made it a sociable place when you wanted it to be. And when you want to work hard there’s several air conditioned rooms with a quieter atmosphere.
This year I’ve spent one month working at Work In Company, a co-working space in Seville, Spain. Whilst the ‘digital nomad’ scene isn’t nearly as big in Seville as it is in Bali (a lot of people in the Seville workspace are locals who are based there longer term), it’s a cool office space situated right in the centre of town. A lot more professional and conventional in terms of the office style than in Bali, there’s still an interesting mix of people working on their own projects. It’s just not quite as relaxed and community driven as Dojo Bali.
As someone who works independently on web projects, co-working spaces provide the opportunity to meet like-minded people and get inspired. On top of that, they’re a great base for when you arrive in a new place and don’t know anyone.