How to Become a Digital Nomad, Pt. 2 [Steps, Resources and More]
by Apekshita Varshney
The digital nomad lifestyle has many perks but you also need to master many skills, skim through numerous resources, and make difficult decisions before you can commit to the big change. Find out how in Part 2 of our two-part series on how to become a digital nomad.
Haven’t read Part 1 yet? Start here: How to Become a Digital Nomad, Part 1
How to start planning, continued…
5. Learn skills that could help you make the move
Many professionals find it impossible to become a digital nomad for a variety of reasons—uncertainty, an unwilling boss, or simply, lack of marketable skills. There are a few jobs that are more remote-work friendly than others. From language translation, teaching, coding to digital marketing— lookup areas with thriving remote work and then spend time acquiring those skills.
6. Move your business online
If you already work independently and have a physical store, office, or an idea for one—why not move it online? There are lots of online resources that can help you monitor and manage your business from logistics to accounts online while you’re on the road. Online businesses can be competitive, but using technology can help you streamline processes, bring in more efficiency, and also reach a wider audience to expand your offerings.
7. Start working part-time online till you carve a niche
Before startups founders launch a business, they may work on their idea in a garage, often while keeping full-time day jobs. If you’re unsure about cracking the digital nomad code, find a part-time remote job to test the waters. Can you tutor online? Can you write product descriptions? Can you edit research papers? Will you even enjoy doing any of it? Taking up a part-time remote job will not only be a side-gig that earns you extra money, but it can also potentially convert into full-time work that will free you from your current lifestyle.
8. Learn how to demonstrate that you’re good for business
Apart from the necessary skills, digital nomads require an extraordinary ability to communicate, build and sustain relationships, and commitment. And even more than this, they need to know how to communicate it to the right employer. Digital nomads work untethered and it’s why they have to constantly prove themselves.
9. Recalibrate: Are you good at this? What do you need?
Before you get into the groove of remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle, pause; and evaluate. Think ahead to know where you slack and where you’d need to sharpen your abilities. Are you easily self-motivated or will you slack if there are no colleagues to compete with? Will you turn into an undisciplined procrastinator without a fixed schedule? Know your shortcomings and work on them even before you decide to sever yourself from the job into full-time traveling.
10. Working Alone v Coworking
Many digital nomads love their address-free lives but they still don’t love working alone. Are you one of them? Can you work in a cafe around strangers or are you most keen on a community of people who can keep you motivated with your work? If it’s the latter, you will have to choose a destination that has options for co-working and where at least a handful of people frequent.
11. Figure a housing plan
Like coworking, figure out your housing plan. Not all destinations offer affordable short to mid-term rentals. Think about your budget, your most comfortable living situation, and how can you replicate that while on the road. It’s often a lot of hard work to find accommodation that ticks all the right boxes.
Pro tip: You can always use a website like Anyplace, built specifically for digital nomads looking for affordable, temporary housing.
13. Create an online presence
As a digital nomad, you will always be scouring for work and making connections. Why not make it easier by others to find you? Most digital nomads have some kind of online presence; not only because it makes it easier for them to market their skills to people but also to forge connections with the many others eager to learn more, and take inspiration from, about this lifestyle.
14. Make a financial plan
If financial plans are crucial in your everyday life, they are paramount when on the road as you’re prone to overspending. Apart from costs like flights and Visas, think about all the other ways you will spend while either at a new place or while moving between places. Make a financial plan/budget and stick to it throughout your month.
15. Train yourself to be alone but try to stay connected
Being a digital nomad, as we’ve repeatedly warned you, can be tough. It doesn’t give you the comfort of returning to your apartment every evening; nor will you frequently meet friends you’ve grown up with. If you want to become a digital nomad and travel solo, you have to train yourself to be alone, without the ready and accessible physical support of your friends and family.
You will have plenty of days filled with adventure, but you must prepare yourself for the day when loneliness grips you and you miss comfort and familiarity. It’s key to not lose your community back home while traveling so figure out ways to stay in touch through timely video calls.
16. Learn how to take care of your health
Working as a digital nomad is not like being on a vacation; so you must also look after your physical and mental health. Consider this while planning your destination and housing. Is there a gym nearby? Or space to do yoga? Is it safe enough to run early in the morning or late at night? What about food? Can you cook for yourself? Or are there affordable and healthy food options available? Many professionals tend to overlook health when it comes to planning to work from the road, but if you ignore your health, you won’t be able to travel for too long—it will catch up with you.
17. Chart out what you want to achieve
Being a digital nomad doesn’t mean you’re divorced from your career ambitions or goals. Many people choose this lifestyle because they want to be away from the rat race, to think in peace and to live wholesomely. But you still need a plan or a philosophy on what you would like this experience to do for you. Are you keen on immersing yourself in this lifestyle to work on your mental health or to find your calling? Maybe a bit of both? Be honest about what you achieve before committing yourself to it.
18. Finally and most importantly, develop the mindset
The autonomy, freedom and adventure of the digital nomad life is unparalleled but only if you develop the right expectations and perspective for it. You must learn how to be a resourceful traveler—balancing both your desire for fun and adventure with the need to keep your finances afloat. On some days, it may not just be about fun but also about purpose and belonging. Arm yourself with the right mindset to make the most of it!
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
Apekshita is a journalist, creative writer and content strategist. She is passionate about cities, urban life and remote work. On the move since 2018, Apekshita has explored 15+ cities in India while working as a digital nomad.