Is it time to sell everything you own, become a digital nomad, and travel the world while working from your laptop?
A couple of decades ago, it might have sounded like a crazy idea, but today you can join the legion of location independent workers that are doing exactly this.
Digital nomads come from many countries and endless professional backgrounds, but they all have at least one thing in common:
They value freedom and flexibility over security and comfort.
There are plenty of sacrifices to be made along the way, and you’ll probably get homesick, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it.
In my opinion, the upsides of becoming a digital nomad greatly outweigh the risks.
Honestly, if you want to get on the fast track to financial success while living a great life, there’s few lifestyles that even compare.
Becoming a digital nomad isn’t for everyone, but for the right person it’s an incredible opportunity.
Strap on your seatbelt and get revved-up for an exciting idea: you could spend the next few years bouncing around the globe.
It’s a beautiful reality, and it’s not as far-fetched as you think.
Without further ado, here’s the ultimate guide to becoming a digital nomad in 2019:
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Download my FREE Virtual Summit Mastery Cheat Sheet PDF to learn more about how the specific method that helped me become a digital nomad and travel the world full-time.
It’s so powerful that it helped me and my students generate 100,000’s of email subscribers and millions of dollars in sales with our virtual summits in just the past year alone.
Note: This in-depth guide on how to become a digital nomad is several thousand words long, so you can check the table of contents below to jump to the section you’d like to dive in to more.
What Is A Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who can work from anywhere in the world that has a solid internet connection and can travel as often or as little as they want.
Some digital nomads never stay in one place longer than a few weeks.
Others rent a villa in Bali for a whole year.
One common misconception is that all digital nomads are entrepreneurs, but this isn’t necessarily true.
Many digital nomads are remote corporate workers whose companies allow them to “work from home,” wherever that may be.
Others wrangle freelance gigs, write articles, code websites, or do graphic design.
And sure, some carve their own path by starting an online lifestyle business.
The bottom line is, if you want to become a digital nomad, there’s a path for you.
My Digital Nomad Definition
My personal definition of a digital nomad is someone who leverages online work to improve their quality of life while living from anywhere.
I think that adventure, fun, and excitement are even more valuable than a paycheck, but that’s just my opinion.
I prefer to work smarter, not harder, and to have more time to do the things I love.
As a digital nomad, your passion project can become your life project, and you can make a lot of money in the process (if that’s something you’re into).
Here’s a short, but very good Digital Nomad Documentary shot during Nomad Summit in Las Vegas 2018.
Now in the next section let’s dive into some of the top benefits of becoming a digital nomad.
Benefits Of Becoming A Digital Nomad
When you lay it all out on the table, becoming a digital nomad has more than a few perks.
1. Low Cost of Living
Sure, you can live in an expensive city if you want, but why not save a ton of money and pour it into a business instead?
You can do this by living in one of the many affordable cities around the world.
2. Fulfilling Experiences
RED ALERT! You will have more fun than you ever have. I chose to live the nomadic lifestyle because I valued awesome experiences just as much as financial success.
Plus, whenever I get tired of moving around, I can always head home to London or visit my family in Sweden.
3. Lifelong Friendships
You’ll probably make some of the deepest connections of your life on your journey.
The road less traveled is full of beautiful people, and they tend to be more outgoing and open minded than folks at home.
4. Learn New Skills
Traveling forces you to learn new skills ̶ you have to in order to adapt and survive! Prepare to become the Swiss Army knife of humans.
5. Flexible Schedule
Your daily schedule is about to get flexible. “Surf when you want, work when you want” will be your new motto.
If you aren’t into surfing, replace it with something else ̶ it’s you location independent life!
6. Pivot When You Want
When you’re caught up in a standard 9-5 grind, changing professions can be a cumbersome process. As a digital nomad, making big life decisions is a whole lot simpler.
Think of it like breaking up with your girlfriend compared to getting a divorce.
Is The Digital Nomad Lifestyle For You? 3 Common Myths That are Stopping You From Making Traveling The World Your Full-Time Job
Becoming a digital nomad could be right for you if…
…you love constantly adapting to new situations and being at the helm of your own destiny.
It might seem like there’s a million obstacles in your way to making the transition into a digital nomad lifestyle, but I can assure you, most of them are in your head.
Here are a few common myths about becoming a digital nomad:
- It’s expensive: Sure, it can be if you choose to ball out at the nicest hotels and restaurants and be constantly on the move, or you can pick a cheap destination and have a great life for only $1,500-2,000 month. The choice is yours.
- It’s unproductive: Again, you can slack as much as you want, and there are certainly a lot of distractions that come with long-term travel. But you can avoid most of these traps by setting up shop in one place for a few months and establishing a routine.
- It’s too hard to build a business while traveling: Some of the best places to build an online business are in digital nomad hubs where you’re surrounded by like-minded people who are working on digital projects.
How to Become a Digital Nomad In 10 Steps
Are you ready to take your proverbial first steps towards becoming a digital nomad?
There’s a heavy focus on budgeting, saving up, researching, and of course, figuring out how to make money online.
Ultimately, some sort of “passive income” is the key to unlocking the ultimate digital nomad lifestyle.
Without it, you can still have a blast, but to live the best life possible you’ll want build a revenue machine that makes money while you sleep.
To succeed as a digital nomad, you’ll need at least four things:
- Disciplined cash flow management
- Location independent income stream
- Solid internet
Aside from these essentials, your skills and resourcefulness are your only limitations.
Here are ten simple steps to becoming a digital nomad:
Step #1: Identify Your Skills
Don’t be modest, you know you have skills.
Never underestimate the power of leveraging what you already know!
“Fake” It Until You Make It Mindset
You’ve been on this earth for X-number of years, and in that time, you’ve gotten pretty knowledgeable about a thing or two.
When you look at the people who succeed as digital nomads and the ones who don’t, it isn’t a phenomenal skillset or massive expertise that separates the winners from the losers, it’s the boldness to market themselves…hard.
You don’t have to be the best in the world, but you do have to position yourself with the best.
This is one of the main reasons why hosting my first virtual summit made my business a success.
Instant authority is one of the biggest benefits you get from virtual summits. By hosting a virtual summit, your audience instantly sees you as an expert among experts.
Rappers call this “clout,” but lifestyle entrepreneurs like myself just call it an incredible strategy for rapid growth.
As you brainstorm your skills, think of what you know you’re capable of, not just what you have a ton of experience with.
It’s this mindset that’ll carry you to digital nomad greatness.
And remember, you can always use virtual summits like I did to rapidly boost your growth.
Brainstorm Your Skills
What hidden (and not-so-hidden) skills do you have?
- Copywriting / Writing
- Email marketing
- Sale funnels
- Social media marketing / advertising
- Data entry
- Website development
- Graphic design
- Video & Photography
It doesn’t matter what skills you have as long as you use them to solve significant problems for your audience.
When I started my personal brand blog in June 2013, I only a had few of the skills listed above, but I knew that I could learn, and outsource the rest when I had the need (and money) for it.
In fact, English is my second language, but I’ve managed to polish it as I’ve built my blog and doing 100’s of interviews with expert influencers over the years (for my podcast and several virtual summits).
Can Your Skills Provide Value to an Audience?
Here are some of the main factors to consider when choosing your skill:
- Can you offer significant value with your skill?
- Do you enjoy the work? Are you creative, introverted, or outgoing? You can only go against the grain of who you are for so long before you implode. Your path should match your personality.
- Are there online resources for developing your skills so that you can grow your business and earn more faster?
- Can you leverage powerful strategies like virtual summits to get faster results?
- Do you have a clear idea of the people who will benefit from your skills?
- Can you package your skills in a way that will solve your customer’s biggest problems?
Will Your Path Improve Your Quality of Life?
Before you decide what type of lifestyle business you want to build, you’ll have to pick an industry that match your strengths and personality.
After all, you’re becoming a digital nomad because you want to improve your overall quality of life, not just have the freedom to live in exciting places.
If writing articles will drive you certifiably insane, then you might want to avoid starting a blog.
If you hate talking, then learning how to make money podcasting is out of the question.
Both of these options deliver slow returns anyway, which is something I found out the hard way.
On the other hand, maybe you can tolerate writing for a short time as you develop another skill.
At one point, I wrote over 40k words in a single month while I was building my blog. Now look at me…
Side Note: It’s okay to use your skills to find a temporary freelance job if you need to ̶ it’s not okay to distract yourself for too long from building your lifestyle business.
Find a healthy balance between short-term survival and climbing the digital nomad ladder to greatness.
Step #2: Develop Skills and Start Your Lifestyle Business
Before you quit your current job and start designing your perfect lifestyle, it’s always a good idea to get one foot out the door.
If you start developing your skills and get a location independent income stream going at home, then making the digital nomad jump won’t feel so daunting.
Take High-Level Courses
You never know where your new skills will take you, so be prepared for big things.
There’s tons of premium online courses out there that give you detailed step-by-step advice for how to break into different industries.
These courses can save you massive amount of stress, time, energy, and will give you the best shot at succeeding with your first project.
The DIY route is noble, but unnecessary.
Other lifestyle entrepreneurs have made the major mistakes for you so that you don’t have to.
You might as well learn from them and get on the fast track to winning.
There are also plenty of cheaper resources for learning digital skills like:
These sites are packed with courses on how to improve your writing skills, how to leverage Instagram to build a personal brand, and how to run Facebook ads, but they usually aren’t very in-depth.
I usually like sites like Skillshare for learning skills such as editing, photography, and other more technical skills.
If you’d like in-depth, more premium online courses that you’re more likely to get results from, you should consider following influencers you connect with, for example I have a program called Virtual Summit Mastery (and other ones on Affiliate Marketing and Influencer Marketing in the works as well). You can visit my products page here to see what I offer.
Collect Customer Testimonials
When your first getting started online, testimonials and case studies are even more important than a paycheck.
Hit it out of that park for your new online audience and treat them like royalty.
The first launch of my Virtual Summit Mastery course was successful for two main reasons:
- The exposure I got from hosting virtual summits.
- The incredible customer testimonials I earned during the pre-launch.
No matter what your strategy, you should always aim to get feedback from your customers.
Even negative / constructive feedback is better than no feedback because it will help you perfect your product.
Step #3: Grow Your Online Business
Congrats! You’re getting closer to galavanting around the world while having the time of your life.
I’m stoked for you!
It’s time to live an epic lifestyle while building an incredible online lifestyle business.
My Online Business Success Story
I waited to hit the road until after my personal brand website took off following my virtual summit.
Believe me, I had been ready to go location independent for a long time, but I wanted to wait until I had a little money in the bank.
The $20K+ I generated from the summit was enough to leave for the beaches of Mexico.
In January 2015, the month right after my summit, I pulled in another $40K and became Ramit Sethi’s #1 affiliate.
I hosted a few more summits and did so well that people wanted to know how I did it, so I started teaching others how to crush it online with virtual events.
Today, my Virtual Summit Mastery 3.0 course is the world’s leader in virtual summit instruction.
I’ve done multiple six-figure summit launches and teach others how to do the same.
Use Virtual Summits to Explode Your Growth
Most of my students have very little experience working online when they host their first virtual summits, and guess what? They still work! And they work in any industry.
Mitch Asser was a personal trainer with no previous experience working online when he started his intermittent fasting website.
Over the course of six summits, he generated multiple six-figures in revenue and grew his email list from zero to 35K subscribers.
Today, virtual summits and his membership site continue to be Mitch’s core business model.
Virtual summits do a few incredible things to boost the growth of your brand:
- Generate revenue: sell all-access passes to your event and turn your virtual summit into your first digital product.
- Collect quality emails: build an email list incredibly fast by giving free access to the original airing of your event.
- Build rapid authority: when you position yourself as the curator of an epic event with industry leaders, your audience sees you as being on the same level.
Leveraging “Respect Based Marketing”
If you feel like your market is saturated and that an online business won’t work for you, think again.
Plenty of online markets are saturated all right, but most of the content is garbage.
You can always set yourself apart by making a genuine connection with your target audience and earning their respect (as my friend Bastian of Wild Audience would say).
Virtual summits are one of the best ways to cut to the chase and offer real value to your audience, and influencer marketing is one of the best marketing strategies to increase sales in a non-pushy way.
Step #4: Calculate Costs and Start Saving Money
Before you have a chance to talk yourself out of it, I’m going to show you how financially feasible becoming a digital nomad actually is.
You’ll be so excited to live in paradise on the cheap that saving money at home will feel easy.
You’ll Be Shocked At How Much You Can Save
Southeast Asia is the home of affordable luxury, but you can find inexpensive places in most parts of the world.
In Chiang Mai, Thailand or Bali, Indonesia, you can live comfortably for $1,500/month, but if you really need to bootstrap, you can cut those costs down to $1,000.
Although there are extra costs like plane tickets and Visa fees, when it all shakes out, you still save money.
I’ve spent some time in Mexico, mostly in Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, which aren’t known to be the cheapest options for digital nomads, but I can say from personal experience that there are plenty of ways to cut costs.
And if you really want to save a lot of money, consider starting in Chiang Mai which has the biggest digital nomad community in the world. I’m actually looking forward to spend some time there at some point soon as well.
Considering what most people pay for rent, car insurance, gym memberships, and eating out in their home countries, it isn’t hard to see how easy it can be to save money abroad.
In many digital nomad destinations, the food is so cheap that most foreigners only eat out.
I personally prefer to mix it up a bit so my girlfriend and I tend to do some cooking at home. That way we can have a super healthy diet, and we know exactly what we’re eating too.
Sometimes, the food is actually more expensive when you buy ingredients at the grocery store and cook home, so it’s worth double checking depending on the budget you’re working with.
I know it sounds like an absurd claim, but when you break it down, it can pay to eat out if you’re on a budget.
The Importance of Budgeting
In step #5, I talk about picking the perfect first destination so you can fine-tune your costs, but before we get there, it’s time to commit to a budget that’ll allow you to save money faster and leave sooner.
When I was still working part-time for a bank in Sweden and struggling to get my blog off the ground, my income was inconsistent at best. This forced me to budget because I needed to put any extra money into my business.
I’m just grateful that I came across virtual summits because it’s the ONE THING that finally let me escape from the grind.
Reduce Expenses at Home
Do you really need that gym membership or can you get by with some good ol’fashioned calisthenics and yoga?
What about eating out?
You’ll be able to dine like a king while you’re living abroad, so you might as well cook at home and grow your savings.
Learning to do without unnecessary luxuries is good training for when you’re on the road.
Depending on what your income stream is going to look like, you might end up going for weeks or even months without income.
Will you be frugal enough to survive?
How Much Money Should You Leave With?
Honestly, I’m a big believer that once you’re living in a foreign country, survival instinct will kick in and you’ll find a way to thrive no matter how low your bank account gets.
With that said, there’s no reason to torture yourself by leaving before you’re financially prepared.
At least for native english speakers, there are so many options for making money online that when push comes to shove you’ll be able to make it work.
With that said, the conservative amongst you will want enough money saved up to last at least a few months.
If you’re going to Southeast Asia, that’s around $5k, but I’ve met more than a few newbie digital nomads that started with much less and still managed to succeed.
Justin Fowler-Lindner left Seattle for Chiang Mai with only $2k, and at one point he had close to zero dollars in his bank account. Yikes!
Two months later, he had a pile of freelance work and was making over $30/hour while building a website in the health and nutrition niche.
No excuses! If he can do it, so can you.
I Waited Until After My First Summit
My digital nomad journey actually started in my home country of Sweden, and this is how I suggest most people do it.
It’s easier to build momentum in a familiar environment where there’s less distractions.
I became “location independent” in the comfort of my own home (although I still had my part-time job until I quit a few weeks into my hosting my first summit), then moved to Cabo san Lucas with my girlfriend after I got paid from my first virtual summit.
I had about $10,000-$15,000 saved up when I quit my part-time job, primarily coming from the virtual summit I hosted in November-December 2014… and I had quite a lot more coming in after that so I knew I’d be fine for some time.
I first went to Thailand for a well needed holiday with my family, then decided to make the move to Cabo San Lucas and Cancun in Mexico beginning of 2015 to start my own digital nomad journey.
Cabo and Cancun aren’t known to be the cheapest options out there (it’s cheaper than some places in US and Europe for food and rent though), but I still had a blast and don’t regret choosing it over South East Asia.
The most efficient route is to focus on the ONE THING that can make a massive impact on your growth.
Once your lifestyle business has some early traction, it’ll be the perfect time to hit the road.
Sell Everything That Doesn’t Fit Into a Couple Suitcases
Take most of what you own and sell it over the next few months… (or like me, sell and give most of your stuff away in a week or two before I moved abroad… I donated most of the stuff I couldn’t sell, and left some of the things with my parents).
The extra money from the things you sell will bring you that much closer to your savings goals, and it’ll be good training for living without luxuries.
The digital nomad life is more complicated in many ways, but in terms of material possessions, it couldn’t be simpler.
Anything that you can’t sell can go into storage.
Next, we’re going to choose your first digital nomad destination so that you can fine-tune your budget.
Step #5: Pick a Digital Nomad City that Fits Your Budget and Lifestyle
Drum roll please…it’s time to get pumped about moving to the most fun, most affordable places on Earth.
Best Digital Nomad Cities
A few of the best cities for meeting other digital nomads are:
- Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Playa Del Carmen / Tulum, Mexico
- Medellin, Colombia
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The great news is that many of these place are also the most affordable ̶ it’s one of the main reasons why so many digital nomads congregate there.
I can’t recommend any particular city for you ̶ that’ll depend on your budget and interests.
Here are my top cities in each part of the world for bootstrapping + great digital nomad community + high quality of life:
- Western Europe: Lisbon, Portugal
- Eastern Europe: Budapest, Hungary
- Southeast Asia: Chiang Mai, Thailand
- South and Central America: Medellin, Colombia
In all of these cities, you can keep your total monthly costs as low as $1,500/month.
Overall, Medellin and Budapest are more expensive and Chiang Mai has the largest digital nomad community.
Nomad List is a great resource that ranks the cities in the world according to cost, digital nomad resources, and lifestyle.
Here are some of the main expenses that you’ll need to consider:
- Plane tickets: Some cities cost more to get to.
- Coffee shops: Are you a coffee drinker? Hanoi, Vietnam and Bali have some of the best coffee in the world. Chiang Mai is loaded with coffee shops too. Try Bali’s legendary poop coffee!
- Food: Got cheap food? Chiang Mai sure does.
- Eating Out: In general, European cities are way more expensive in this category, Budapest included.
- Rent: Many of the most popular digital nomad destinations crush it in this department.
- Transportation: Scooter rentals and petrol are absurdly affordable in most parts of Southeast Asia.
- Gym: Compared to most English-speaking countries, gym memberships are more affordable elsewhere in the world. In Chiang Mai, you can hit the gym for 30-60 Thai baht, or $1-$2 for a day pass. Prices drop significantly if you get a month membership.
- Coworking: Coworking spaces have been popping up like dandelions in major digital nomad hubs like Bali, Thailand, Lisbon, and Medellin. Day passes range from $3-$12, but monthly memberships can be as low as $60.
Cut Costs with Long-Term Stays
Staying put in one place for a longer period of time has plenty of advantages, but one of the main ones is that rent, coworking, gym memberships, and scooter rental become a heck of a lot cheaper.
I definitely saved a good amount of money by staying in places for longer (for example a few weeks in Cabo San Lucas and several months at the time in Cancun when I started living the digital nomad lifestyle and traveling the world a few years ago).
With a monthly discount, your rent can get cut by 50-75% in many cases ̶ same with transportation and memberships, not to mention you’ll be way more productive while staying in one place.
Are you pumped for how affordable the digital nomad life can be?!
You must be running out of excuses to stay at home fast…I can tell.
Now that you have the numbers all worked out, it’s time to put the digital nomad idea to the ultimate test: a pros and cons list!
Step #6: Make a List of Reasons to Stay and Reasons to Go
SPOILER ALERT! Most of your cons will be fear-based.
Sorry for blowing the ending, but when most people weigh the pros and cons of going rogue, the reasons to stay have to do mainly with insecurities and comforts.
With that said, there are plenty of positive reasons for staying put too:
- Closer to family
- Consistent long-term friendships
- Tighter sense of community
- Better healthcare and easier access to supplements and medicine
In the end, your decision will come down to your personality.
If you enjoy spending a lot of time alone and are healthy as an ox, then that takes care of the the four reasons I listed above.
Keep in mind that you can always head back to your hometown for a few months, or even years.
As a matter of fact, I’m actually writing this in-depth digital nomad guide from my home country. It felt right to swing back to Sweden to visit my family for a few weeks after living for almost 2 years in London (and I still consider London my official residency and home base by the way), but soon I’ll be off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a little while.
That’s the beauty of being a digital nomad ̶ you can live your ideal life anywhere as long as you make enough money to afford the city.
Is the fantasy of freedom starting to feel like a viable reality?
Now that you have a nice, fat carrot dangling out in front of you, it’s time to put together the final BIG piece of the puzzle: your location independent income stream.
Step #7: Practice Makes Perfect
Test the waters before you get rid of all your stuff, buy a plane ticket, and quit your job.
Who knows, there’s always a chance that you’ll hate life as a digital nomad.
It might seem kind of weird, but try living out of your suitcases for a few days while you’re still at home. I know you’ve probably traveled before, but living and working out of a suitcase is different.
You’re going to need to be comfortable with just the essentials, and the best way to figure out what those essentials are is to do a practice run.
If you have the time for it, take a “work-cation” for a week and bring your laptop with you.
Here I am somewhere in Curacao in the Caribbean, “work-cationing” permanently:
Do everything as if you were already in full-fledged digital nomad mode.
NASA doesn’t just launch people into space without doing some dry runs first, neither should you.
Once you feel confident and comfortable, pull the trigger and commit.
Step #8: Commit to a Timeline
The clock is ticking and it’s time to lock yourself into a timeline.
By now, you should have enough money saved and at least have a part-time, location independent income, but it’s not going to feel real until you start taking more solid action.
Join a Digital Nomad Community
Joining the right online community can help get you in the right headspace for your journey.
There are plenty of remote work Facebook groups, digital nomad subReddits, forums, and blogs where digital nomads share advice about the logistics of living and working abroad.
In my experience, local Facebook groups are the best places to get the most up-to-date info on certain areas.
There are Facebook groups for finding places to rent and for general digital nomad hacks.
Why go it alone when you can leverage the knowledge of the digital nomads that have gone before you? It’ll save you a ton of headaches and ease any anxieties you may have.
Commit, Commit, Commit
It’s timeline time. Are you ready to get some real skin in the game?
Decide when you’re going to leave and commit to a departure date, just make sure to leave enough time to tie up all your loose ends.
Big Step #1: Put in a notice at your job with your head held high ̶ you’re about to do something that most people only dream of.
Big Step #2: Buy your plane ticket. It’s starting to get real!
Big Step #3: Get rid of or put into storage everything that you can’t bring with you.
And last but not least, find a place to rent and get insurance…
Step #9: Find a Place to Rent and Get Insurance
Sorting out the logistics of travel has never been easier, and you have plenty of options for finding a place to stay.
Deciding How You Want to Live
You can stay in inexpensive hostels, or you can spend 30-times as much in expensive hotels.
It’s up to you.
Plenty of hostels have options for private rooms if you need some privacy, and they can be a great place to meet fellow travelers. Just be careful not to get sucked into the party scene.
Hostels are packed with backpackers whose only goal is to woop it up.
Guesthouses are another option in many locations. These are basically homes with rooms to rent and they tend to be significantly cheaper than hotels.
Sometimes it’s fun to mix it up and stay a few nights in a hostel to save money, then rent a nicer place for a week and get some privacy.
If you want to maximize productivity, though, you should really plop yourself in a monthly rental that has strong Wifi.
How to Book a Place
And then there are always Facebook groups to help you find long-term rentals.
Put your feelers out there before you leave and get an idea for what’s available.
I suggest booking something online for the first few days at a new destination. That way you’ll have a guaranteed home base to do your in-depth home-hunting.
Here are some tips for looking for places to stay:
- Always rent on the higher end of your budget when you’re booking a place without having seen it or knowing someone who’s stayed there before. Pictures can be deceiving. It might smell terrible or have bad Wifi.
- When in doubt, go with the place with the best reviews.
- Busy hotels and guesthouses are usually busy for a reason: because they’re awesome.
When you book online, don’t book more than a few nights in one place. If it turns out to be a disappointment at least you won’t lose too much money if you have to bail.
Travel insurance and health insurance for travelers are two different things, so be sure to read the fine print when you’re shopping around.
In most cases, travel insurance will cover your lost luggage, cancelled flights, and emergency medical bills, but if you want anything beyond that, you’ll have to get actual health insurance.
Health insurance for travelers is typically more expensive than regular health insurance plans in the United States.
World Nomads is one of the more most popular ones and is great place to start your research.
Safety Wing is by far the cheapest, so be sure to check them out as well
Step #10: Be Bold
To be fair, a lot of first-time digital nomads fail.
You need to be able to take a licking and keep on ticking, and of course, to take risks.
Even when I moved to Cabo San Lucas after hosting my first virtual summit, I only had $10K-$15K sitting in my PayPal account, but I was determined to make it work no matter what.
Failures and hard times will come, but if you persevere, you’ll be rewarded a million times.
Be bold and go for the things you want in business and life! It helps.
There’s no motivation quite as powerful as a hating your 9-5 with true passion (like I pretty much did, although it was a part-time job I had and earning very little), so you might as well use it to fuel your success.
I’ll put my money on someone who really, really, really, hated their old job over someone who enjoyed their old job any day of the week.
Keep pushing! Never surrender!
10 Epic Digital Nomad Jobs For People Who Want to Travel The World
No matter what your background is, you’ll be able to find or create a remote job that works for you.
And when I say “job”, it can simply be different ways to make money online that allows you to be location independent and travel the world while you’re building your online lifestyle business.
Here are some of the most epic digital nomad jobs out there:
1. Virtual Summits
Hosting a virtual summit can generate significant revenue, rapidly build authority, and gain your first 1,000 true fans.
It’s the most effective way I’ve found to make money online when you’re starting from scratch, and you can either use it to promote a brand or be a functional business model on its own.
2. Sell Online Courses
Create and sell your own online course or become an affiliate for others.
When I launched my first virtual summit back in 2014, I made over $20k as an affiliate for Ramit Sethi’s online course.
Online courses are one of my favorite online business models, which is why I’m already on version 3.0 of my Virtual Summit Mastery.
Out of all the industries, the average price of an online course is $397, but if you teach a skill that directly helps people make money, you can charge a lot more.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Getting paid to sell other people’s products is one of the fastest ways to climb the income ladder online.
You don’t have to deal with customer service, delivery, or product creation. Instead, you just push traffic to their sales page, either with paid ads or search traffic.
I make 6-figures a year from affiliate marketing alone, so it has been a very nice “passive” income stream for my online business over the years.
Growing a YouTube following is usually a slow process. Don’t expect to see much revenue until you’ve been regularly posting for around six months.
Just like with virtual summits, you can make a successful YouTube channel in any niche ̶ all you have to do is put a unique spin on it and know your audience.
Okay, that’s not all you have to do, but you get the idea. You can generate revenue from affiliate marketing, your own products, Google Adsense, sponsorships, and more.
5. Consulting / Coaching
Monetizing your advice on the subjects you’re knowledgeable about is one of the easiest ways to start making money online.
If you have SEO knowledge, you can help them increase their organic traffic, or if you’re a social media wiz, you can show them how to leverage Facebook and Instagram to increase sales.
Learning how to make money podcasting is another income stream if you have an outgoing personality.
The podcast market is saturated in most industries, but just like with YouTube, if you give it an original twist and build a loyal fan base then there’s still plenty of money to be made. One of the ways you can generate revenue is by selling ad slots to sponsors.
7. Ecommerce / Dropshipping
Dropshipping is one of the most popular ways to make money online in recent years.
If you pick a winning product a new online store can take off in a matter of months, and by take off I mean already be bringing in tens of thousands in revenue.
With that said, ecommerce also has one of the highest fail rates, and you’ll probably need at least a few thousand dollars to invest in product research on the front end.
8. Develop and Sell Software
Creating your own software might require thousands of dollars on the front end, but the payoff can be huge.
Software that helps other people make money can be relatively easy to sell with the right marketing strategy.
9. High-Ticket Coaching Program / Mastermind
Rather than exchanging your knowledge directly for your time as a consultant, you can package your advice into an online group coaching program or mastermind experience.
Always try to use your skills in a way that’s scalable because that’s when you can really start raking in the revenue.
10. Freelance Work
There are plenty of ways to monetize your photography and videography skills. If you can get an Instagram account popping, it can be a source of income on its own.
Other people make a solid living just by filming stock footage.
Coding skills are always in high demand. You can also make money blogging for someone else’s site.
Overall it’s a great skill to learn how to start a blog as it will become your hub online (whether it’s for your personal brand business like my site or simply just to show off your portfolio to get more freelance clients).
And of course you can always work as a freelance content marketer or copywriter for a while, and then focus more on your own personal brand once you’ve built up some cash flow.
12 Best Digital Nomad Destinations & Countries To Travel and Live
These are some of my favorite digital nomad destinations and countries to travel and live.
Get a full breakdown of how other digital nomads rate them at Nomad List.
Ball out on a budget in this world-class digital nomad hub.
Canggu and Ubud are the best places to meet other nomads, but you can always check out the gorgeous cliffs and surfing in quiet Uluwatu.
Internet can be pretty spotty unless you’re in main hubs like Canggu or are staying in a nice villa.
The villa accommodations, by the way, are incredibly affordable for how nice they are.
A room in a villa in a premium location like Canggu is usually in the $500/month range.
Chiang Mai and Bangkok have the biggest concentrations of digital nomads, but the islands are always beautiful options as well.
Bangkok is more expensive across the board, but you can still find nice places in the $600/month range.
Try to live close to the Skytrain, it’ll make getting around a whole lot easier.
Chiang Mai is known for being one of the cleanest cities in Southeast Asia.
It has a similar reputation when it comes to affordability and standard of living.
Massages in Bangkok and Chiang Mai only cost around $7/hour and are a great perk.
3. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I’ll be setting up shop here soon. It’s a little on the expensive side for Southeast Asia but it has a high standard of living.
Compared to the rest of the world, Kuala Lumpur is still relatively affordable in terms of rent and there’s plenty of modern cafes and restaurants.
There isn’t too much going on as far as coworking spaces, but it has all the ingredients for a great digital nomad city.
Short-term stays in centrally-located hotel rooms hover around $50/night, but you can get a 1-2 bedroom luxury apartment for around $700-$1,500 a month if you stay for at least a month.
4. Playa Del Carmen / Tulum, Mexico
These are two of my favorite digital nomad destinations in Central America, and they’re both located south of Cancun on the Caribbean.
I lived in Cancun for a while, and I explored quite a bit around there, and for digital nomads who’s interested in more community I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Cancun (although I found it a pretty awesome to live overall… I met my girlfriend there as well a few years ago)…
Playa del Carmen on the other hand, has a much more thriving digital nomad community, and there’s a growing nomad scene of lifestyle entrepreneurs living there you can connect with.
Tulum is on the quieter side but still has plenty to see if you like beaches, lagoons, and ancient ruins.
I personally wouldn’t like to stay in Tulum for max 1-2 weeks to relax and explore the beautiful surroundings, but if that’s your style, then it may be perfect for you.
Monthly rent in both destinations ranges from $700-$1,000 on average (but if you’d like to live nicer “luxury” living, expect to pay $1,500-$3,000 a month at least).
5. Medellin, Colombia
Without a doubt, Medellin is the premiere digital nomad city of South America.
The accommodations are affordable, the nightlife is fantastic, and the entrepreneurial scene is booming.
You can find centrally-located rooms to rent for $400/month if you’re trying to cut costs (but if you’d like to live in a nicer 1-2 bedroom apartment, then expect around $800-$1,500 a month).
The area called El Poblado is the most happening spot for digital nomads and other expats who live there permanently.
If you stay around Calle 10 you’ll find plenty of coworking spaces, cafes, and nice restaurants.
6. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is the second oldest European capital and one of the hottest digital nomad destinations in Europe.
The quality of life is high and it’s arguably the cheapest digital nomad city in Western Europe, plus the architecture is beautiful.
You’ll find a thriving nomad community and affordable places to stay.
Try Bworking Space coworking if you end up staying in the Saldanha area.
If you’re on a budget, you can find rooms for as low as $380/month.
7. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is the digital nomad jewel of Eastern Europe. It’s more expensive than Southeast Asia but is still in the “budget city” category, especially when it comes to Europe.
You’ll have plenty of options for coworking spaces, including:
- Impact Hub
- The Hub
Monthly rent can be as low as $1,000/month for a decent, centrally-located apartment.
8. Tbilisi, Georgia
This is a hidden gem…shhh, don’t tell.
For one, the city is quaint AF, and in general Georgia is a relatively undiscovered destination.
The nature is lush, the cuisine is unique, and you can rent an apartment for $350 to $1,000/month depending on the district.
Eating out is fairly inexpensive too, and as far as the VISA goes, foreigners can stay for up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
9. Barcelona, Spain
I can’t say enough incredible things about living and working in Barcelona.
It’s slightly on the expensive side, but if you can afford it, give it a shot!
Barcelona has one of the highest concentrations of digital nomads in Europe, and for good reason: it’s one of the best cities in Europe for all-around quality of life.
The climate is fantastic, the nightlife is bustling, and it’s close to nature activities like hiking.
Plus, there’s a bunch of coworking spaces.
10. Valencia, Spain
Think of Valencia as a more affordable, less hectic Barcelona with better weather. In December the weather stays around 70 degrees fahrenheit.
A studio apartment in the city center is $600-$700/month on average, or you can pay slightly more for a place on the beach.
Despite being a smaller city, they still have a few coworking spaces to checkout.
11. Berlin, Germany
Tim Ferriss listed Berlin as one of his favorite places to live as a digital nomad in his 2007 book The 4-Hour Work Week.
Berlin continues to hold its own as a top-of-the-line digital nomad destination, with plenty of coworking spaces, funky coffee shops, and exciting nightlife.
One-bedroom flats in trendier neighborhoods start at $1,500/month.
12. London, England
London has been my home for the last year and a half (since July 2017). It has a thriving entrepreneurial scene. Be warned, though, it’s on the pricey side.
I love this city despite the overcast weather. It’s a great place to network and the internet is lightning fast (as long as you have Hyperoptic internet provider… the other ones are not as good).
Nomadlist.com rates the average cost of living at $3,915/month (but my monthly expenses were a lot more than that).
Real World Examples From Digital Nomads Around The World
Even sooner than you think you could be crushing it online just like these guys and gals.
Here are some prime examples of people just like you who made the leap and became a digital nomad:
1. Matt Kepnes
The man, the myth, the legend. Matt, more popularly known as Nomadic Matt, went on an 18-month journey around the world in 2006.
When he returned to Boston in 2008, he struggled to adjust to normal life.
Matt decided to try writing online, and after 8 months of barely scraping by he gradually made a name for himself.
He’s now written several best-selling guidebooks and has a massive audience.
2. Kara and Nate
Kara and Nate are an adorable couple that fund their full-time travels by documenting and sharing their adventures with the world.
Their goal is to visit 100 countries by 2020. They made it to 83 as of February 2019 — I think they got this!
Their YouTube channel has over 550k subscribers.
Between their YouTube channel and blog, they earn their money from Adsense, sponsorships, and affiliate sales, just to name a few.
3. Jakob Laukaitis
Jakob Laukaitis’ YouTube travel vlog has over 300k subscribers. He became location independent five years ago at age 19 and hasn’t stopped yet.
For his first two years he didn’t film any videos, then he bought a cheap GoPro just to document his adventures for himself, friends, and family.
People besides his mom started tuning into his videos, including this one that now has over 10 million views:
Jakob monetizes his YouTube channel mainly with Adsense, affiliate marketing and sponsorships.
4. Kristin Adis
Kristin quit her job as an investment banker to travel the world in 2013. She traveled for two years on the $20K she had in savings.
Once that ran out, she started scrounging for freelance work.
Today, she makes her living with her travel blog, Be My Travel Muse.
5. Eric Yang
Eric had a background in event planning before taking his career online.
Thanks to the help of virtual summits, Eric has a thriving lifestyle business where he helps other young entrepreneurs create their own movements.
Eric made $170k and grew his email list from zero to 15K subscribers with the help of Virtual Summit Mastery.
Before virtual summits, his biggest pain point was that he always had to travel to specific locations to host events.
Now he can live and work from anywhere as a digital nomad.
6. Caleb Backe
Caleb runs an ecommerce store in the health and wellness niche called Maple Holistics. When his store took off, he realized he could work from anywhere.
Caleb spends most of his time living in Asia and looking for gaps in the market for new products.
7. Sabrina Philipp
23-year-old Sabrina makes six-figures a year working 15 hours a week as an online business coach.
She could work from anywhere, but she chooses to be based out of Bali. Right out of college, she decided to move to Bali with only $800 in her bank account.
Within a year, she started to have $60K months as a social media consultant.
Today, she continues to help clients at SabrinaPhilipp.com.
Your Next Steps: Are You Ready To Become a Digital Nomad?
So you see, becoming a digital nomad isn’t even that out of the ordinary.
Maybe not many people from your hometown have gone location independent, but plenty of others have, and they’ve been able to design the perfect lifestyle in the process.
Is it time for you to join the party?
- Do some more in-depth research on digital nomad destinations.
- Find one that appeals to you.
- Let it sink in how affordable it can be.
- Start making an exit plan by picking a remote skill to focus on.
- Commit to a timeline.
- Start shedding local ties.
- Take a deep breath.
- Fasten your seatbelt.
- Enjoy the ride.
The only thing you really have to worry about is enjoying life so much that your heart explodes.
Will there be struggles? Of course, but there are struggles no matter where you go.
And don’t worry, as a digital nomad you can return home and take a break anytime you like, so you never have to feel backed into a corner.
Is the digital nomad lifestyle for you? And if that’s the case, where will you head first and for how long?
Leave your answer in the comments below.
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