Do you long to travel the world uninhibited by the trappings of domestic life? If the 9 to 5 grind surrounded by four walls isn’t for you, you might consider a career where you can take your work with you.
These days it’s more accessible than ever to work as a digital nomad because modern technology has enabled many laptop lifestyles to flourish from almost every corner of the globe – wifi permitting!
What is a Digital Nomad?
Digital nomads use modern technologies that enable them to embrace a nomadic work-life, conducting their business from any place and anywhere in the world. A digital nomad can work in foreign countries, libraries, parks, coffee shops, or co-working spaces.
The Reality of Working as a Digital Nomad
Australian digital nomad, Ellie Shedden, started her nomadic work-life business after a promotion in project management took her from Sydney to Prague.
Unfortunately, the office in Prague didn’t have flexible working hours and Ms Shedden resented being stuck at a desk for eight hours a day.
“In my position in Australia, I was responsible for project management for office construction and relocations, which involved a lot of travel and high-risk decision making.
“When I moved to Prague, I was promoted to a management role where I was stuck at a desk all day. I enjoyed the coaching aspect of the role, but I missed the travel and interaction with different teams.”
It was also a culture shock, said Ms Shedden, as in Sydney it was about being productive rather than just putting in hours.
“In Sydney, we worked hard to get work done, and then went home to relax, whereas in Prague people would sit at their desk and waste hours on end to make it look like they were working.
“This was extremely frustrating, as I have better things to do than pretend to work! I knew I wanted to stay in Europe, but I also knew I would go mad working in that environment.”
The realisation that flexibility in work hours and having control over her environment were significant led Ms Shedden to start her own business in SEO and WordPress training services.
“When I started my business, I knew that these two things were important to me, so I was able to incorporate them right from the beginning with international clients.”
Advice for Future Digital Nomads.
Don’t be in a hurry to quit your day job, said Ms Shedden, as it’s important to take time to plan your business first.
“The more you can set up rules and procedures before you quit your day job, the more time you will have to spend on sales and marketing once the business is up and running”.
What Skills Do You Need as a Digital Nomad?
Resilience and networking are the two most essential skills you need to succeed as a digital nomad, according to Ms Shedden.
“Resilience is important as you are far from home and need to be able to overcome obstacles quickly. Networking is particularly important for digital nomads who are business owners as it helps them grow their business quickly, and it also helps stave off loneliness.”
Could You Be a Digital Nomad?
If the following is important to you, you might be a digital nomad in the making.
- Flexibility in Work Hours
If the 9-to-5 work week doesn’t suit you, it’s a sign you’re ready for a move into a virtual work world. As a digital nomad, you can set your work hours for when you’re most alert or around events, adventures or people that are important to you.
- The Ocean Office
If you long to trade the four walls of an office for an ocean view, you’ll love being a digital nomad. We’ve all seen those smug shots on Instagram #myoffice with the most exquisite scenery in the background and sighed, but if these posts unleash the green-eyed monster, you need to trade your office for an overseas adventure.
- Rewarding Work
If work’s boring you to tears more than 20 per cent of the time, it’s time to toss in the towel! When you become a digital nomad, you choose tasks and projects that inspire and motivate you.
- Give Your Boss the Boot
Dealing with the boss from Hell? Or do you struggle with authority figures? Joking, but on a serious note, we’re not all cut-out to follow orders. This is particularly the case when you identify as a born leader. If you want to decide when, where, how and why you work, and have greater control over your life, it’s time to start your career as a digital nomad.
- Sky’s the Limit Salary
When was the last time you received a pay rise? When you become a digital nomad, you decide what you’re worth. It’s heartening to know that the harder you work, the more you’ll make, which isn’t often the case when you work for the boss.
5 Steps to Become a Digital Nomad
- Eliminate Expenses (or at Least Minimise Them).
So, you want to lead the globe-trotting lifestyle and make money while you’re at it? First, you need to consider if you can afford to take off and that you’re not leaving a mountain of debt in your wake – trust me, that’s not the kind of mountain you want to climb.
Start by making a list of all your financial commitments and figure out if you can eliminate or at least minimise them while you set up your business. It might be worthwhile consulting with your accountant or a financial planner to map out how you can make this dream a reality without going bankrupt.
- Acquire Skills to Work as a Digital Nomad
You need to discover what your freelancing superpower is to discover what skills you need to work as a digital nomad. Do you have a way with words? Perhaps you could offer writing services as a blogger, content writer, copywriter or freelance journalist.
Or do you have a strong design background? Maybe you could offer graphic design services to international clients.
You don’t necessarily have to be the creative type, though a lot of digital businesses seem to capitalise on this skill, even an accountant can become a digital nomad through cloud-based management systems.
There are a few skills that will help you no matter your line of work. If you work online, it’s essential to have at least a basic understanding of digital and social media marketing, such as keyword research, SEO and basic WordPress. All these digital tech skills help you to promote your services online to an international market.
A great way to upskill quickly is with online courses that give you the flexibility to study online when and where you want – the digital nomad’s best friend is online courses!
- Decide on Your Destinations (The Fun Part)!
Have you always wanted to go to Paris, New York, Ethiopia? There are plenty of amazing places in the world, but do they provide a good base as a work station? The jungles of Africa might be enticing but will you have access to wifi? Okay, so this is an extreme (and obvious) example, but you’d be surprised how many places have unreliable internet connections!
For your safety, make sure your country of choice isn’t on a ‘no-travel’ list and do your research into whether it’s a safe, secure and stable place to work and explore. Choose your itinerary carefully!
- Set Goals & Plan
Goal setting and planning are instrumental to a digital nomad’s success. You don’t have a boss breathing deadlines down your neck so you’ll have to do your own motivating, and carefully setting goals (using the SMART method) will ensure you never let a client down.
- Pack Your Bags (The Adventure Begins)
Never underestimate the importance of a properly packed bag. You will need to ensure you have everything you need, both personal and professional when you embark on your overseas work adventure. This is where list-making comes in handy.
Launch a Digital Nomad Work-Life with Online Courses
The following online courses are by no means an exhaustive list of all the skills that will be important to your digital nomad work-style, but they make a great starting point.
Australian Online Courses
If you’re looking for an online training provider that offers quality content, reasonable course fees and superior student support, choose Australian Online Courses for your professional development.
Visit online to discover hundreds of industry-approved, flexible, online courses covering almost every industry sector. Or you can contact one of our friendly Learning Consultants today on 1300 762 221.