Right now I’m working from a hammock in Costa Rica, about 50 feet from the beach.
What a cliche!
But it’s true…
For the last 6 months I’ve been able to make a full-time living as business blogger on my $300 Dell laptop — with an hourly rate more than double what I was making as a healthcare analyst.
I’ve been able to match my corporate paycheck working about 4-6 hours a day. This has allowed my wife and I to pack up our possessions, move out of our apartment in the US, and spend the summer at Airbnbs in Costa Rica – for about half the cost of living back home.
It’s been an epic adventure – and I love knowing that I never need to worry about having a job again. Even if I decide to work for a company in the future, I’ll never have to take a job simply because I need a paycheck. I’ll be able to work because I value the organization and love what I do, not because I’m dependent on the salary.
Although I still have to work incredibly hard, I love the freedom that comes with controlling my own schedule. I’ve traded my boss for clients, and my suit for board shorts – both of which are far easier and less stressful to replace.
So that’s me in a nutshell…and now, let’s talk about making YOU a digital nomad!
After the awesome response I got with the article How to Quit Your Job and Become a Digital Nomad: 35 Experts Share, I discovered that a lot of people are eager to learn more about going out on their own. And, when I shared this article on the Reddit Digital Nomad sub, one area where people constantly wanted more information was regarding the “How?”.
Although the 35 experts article had shared ways that people worked as digital nomads, it didn’t provide a concrete, step-by-step guide to becoming a digital nomad.
So that’s what this blog post (or series of 14 blog posts) will be all about. Over the next 3 months I will provide you with a weekly step-by-step transition plan to go from employee (or unemployed) to self-employed digital nomad in 90 days. We’ll discuss setting up a freelance consulting business, making the most of travel deals and credit card rewards, and preparing for a 100% remote career.
Ready to learn more?
What is a digital nomad and do you qualify?
A digital nomad is simply someone whose job allows them to work remotely, on their own schedule — from anywhere in the world.
Although the stereotypical digital nomad is someone sitting on the beach in Jamaica or working from a Bangkok coffee shop, that’s not a requirement. In fact, you can essentially be a digital nomad if you’re a work-from-home mom, a retiree making additional income online, or a college student selling gigs on Fiverr or posting YouTube videos between classes. All that’s required is you have the ability to work on your own terms.
While a portion of the content I share will be focused on planning your life and work as a traveling digital nomad, the majority of my tips will benefit anyone looking to become self-employed.
Thus, these articles will help you transition from your current job to a fully remote and independent lifestyle – regardless of whether that means working from Cambodia, or your Minnesota living room.
Who will benefit from this course?
There are three ways to become a digital nomad.
- Get a remote job as a traditional employee.
- Become a self-employed freelancer or consultant.
- Create your own startup, blog, or other business.
This course will help you with option #2: establishing yourself as a self-employed freelancer/consultant. While the other two groups will find some value in this content, it’s largely for those looking to provide a service independent of any business organization.
If you want a remote job, then you don’t need to spend 90 days preparing for the transition. Although you may appreciate the travel advice, you won’t need to hone your skill set, find clients, and manage the many business responsibilities that the other two groups have – because you’ll be an employee. To become a digital nomad by finding a remote job, simply visit WeWorkRemotely and Angel.co for great remote opportunities with established companies.
Meanwhile, if you’re trying to launch a “real” startup (or a blog, photography business, etc.), you should not become a digital nomad. Why? Because there’s a lot of risk and effort involved in developing and marketing an app, product, or software. Although you can become a digital nomad after launching a successful business, you really need to focus your initial energy on the business – not on traveling.
Which leaves us with freelancers and consultants! This is the perfect middle-ground. You have full flexibility of your schedule (unlike an employee) and you have a guaranteed source of income (unlike a startup). This perfect combination allows you to make a living doing something you enjoy, right now, from anywhere in the world.
So, if you’re ready to make a stable living on your own schedule – and see the world in the process – then you’ve come to the right place!
What can you expect from this 13 week FREE digital nomad course?
My goal is to help you replace your current paycheck using nothing more than your computer and an internet connection.
If you have a college education, you should be able to earn $25-100/hr by the time you’re done with this course. If you don’t have a degree, or want to develop a new skill set, it may take a bit longer. But earning this much is still possible!
The digital nomad course outline
For the next 13 weeks I will take you through the entire process of deciding on a freelance skill set, establishing a client base, managing the business elements of being self-employed, preparing for a nomadic/traveling lifestyle, and making sure that you are financially secure for the future.
Each week will consist of a day-by-day list of things to accomplish on your journey to digital nomad. Although the tasks will vary, each week will have a central focus, as follows (These items will become hyperlinks once that week’s post has been published):
- Week 1: Discover your digital nomad “why” and “how”
- Week 2: Prepare your finances for self-employment and the digital nomad lifestyle
- Week 3: Create and optimize your freelance profiles
- Week 4: Compile a winning freelance portfolio and references
- Week 5: Get serious about your business
- Week 6: Master client satisfaction and referrals to grow your business
- Week 7: Develop a digital nomad backup plan
- Week 8: Prepare for departure
- Week 9: Announce your departure and give 30 days notice
- Week 10: Become an industry thought leader
- Week 11: Activate your network for more business
- Week 12: Balance the transition from employee to digital nomad
- Week 13: Embrace the digital nomad lifestyle!
By the end of this 13 week series, provided you put in the time and energy, you will be a digital nomad!
To ensure that you stay on top of this course, consider subscribing to the Money Nomad newsletter. I’ll send each article on Wednesday – giving you a few days to prepare for the next week’s activities.
What’s the time commitment to succeed in this course?
This course assumes that you can commit two hours a day, six days a week, to establishing yourself as a digital nomad. Totaling 12 hours a week.
When you’re working full-time this can seem like a lot. But the reality of it is, if you can’t juggle setting up your own business while working full-time, you probably won’t be able to manage your business while traveling.
Everyone wants to make a full-time living working 4 or less hours a day, but few people are serious about putting in the work. You’ll never succeed as a daydreamer – you have to take action.
I’m going to show you exactly how to succeed for free – but it’s going to require a substantial time investment from you. Reading these articles isn’t enough. You have to implement.
Consider this a test run to determine if you have what it takes to be a self-employed digital nomad. If you are able to maintain discipline and focus during the next 90 days, you can quit your job confident that you will be able to succeed as a digital nomad.
Why I decided against charging for this course
When I began preparing for my transition from employee to digital nomad I did a lot of reading. I wanted to know how to make money, where to make money, and exactly what I needed to do to succeed.
But here’s the bad news – the majority of the courses and programs I found cost anywhere from $200-$2,000! Some even required an ongoing membership fee of $25-50/month.
While I value education (and may sell my own course in the future), I was skeptical of most of these programs. After all, if you already know how to make money online, why do you need to sell that information?
To me, many of these individuals seemed to be mediocre at what they were doing, and simply trying to find an alternative way to make money by selling their how-to strategy. Of course, this isn’t the case with everyone – and for the right people, paying for a course, consultant, or some other structure can be smart.
But for me, I wanted a practical and free process to follow.
I never found it.
Which is why I decided to launch this blog series….
Now that I’ve had a bit of success as a consultant/freelancer myself, a lot of people ask me how to do it.
It was tempting to put this advice in a course and sell it for $500 like everyone else does. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it!
I know what it’s like to be in a position where you feel trapped by your job or circumstances. To feel like you’re missing out on your full-potential. To anxiously realize that you aren’t enjoying the life you’re living – afraid you’ll never achieve what 8 year old (or 18 year old) you dreamed of.
For me, one of the greatest discoveries was learning that I could become self-employed and fully replace my corporate income. I can make a living (and a good one) on my own terms, from anywhere in the world.
This is something that I want others to be able to experience and enjoy – which is why I decided against charging for this content.
So, I hope you enjoy this free course on how to make a living remotely. If I can help you establish your dream job (or simply an enjoyable transition job) as a freelancer or consultant, than I will consider this 13 week series a 100% success.
Side note: Instead of charging for this course, I periodically include affiliate links for products I use and value in my blog posts and on my Recommendations page. These brands provide me a commission when you subscribe through my links. Because I only recommend services/products that I support and usually use myself (such as AirBnB and Ebates), you can be assured that I will only mention products that I believe can benefit you in your digital nomad endeavors.
How to prepare for this course
My goal is to make becoming a self-employed digital nomad accessible to anyone who is willing to put in the time!
If you can commit to 12+ hours of work a week for the next 13 weeks, I will show you how to develop yourself into a freelance/consultant on virtually any area that interests you – whether that’s writing, graphic design, social media management, photo editing, etc.
To get started:
- Subscribe to MoneyNomad.com so you can receive each week’s projects and tips.
- Schedule two hours a day (or 12 a week) into your calendar to commit to becoming a digital nomad.
- Begin exploring what freelance skill set you would like to develop by examining the jobs and opportunities available on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. This will help you discover what people are willing to pay for.
- Ask me questions! Leave comments or contact me directly anytime you might need further clarification or advice. I’ll either answer directly or share an article that can help you resolve your questions.
That’s it for now! Next Wednesday I’ll send you week one’s activities that will help you determine your “why” and “how” of becoming a digital nomad. We’ll explore your motivation, financial needs, and skill sets. By the end of next week you should have a solid understanding of how you’ll grow your freelance business.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. – Vince Lombardi
For the comments: What questions do you have about becoming a digital nomad or remote freelancer? Is there anything that you feel like is really holding you up? Share your thoughts on the DN lifestyle below and the rest of us can offer our insights, or be inspired by your success!