Their “offices” are wherever they open their laptops…on white-sand beaches, in tropical mountain valleys, and in vibrant university towns. They seek income opportunities online—which keeps them tethered only to an Internet connection. And they can live better while they spend less, by earning in dollars and living (and spending) in places where the cost of living is much lower than in the U.S.
Some Digital Nomads country-hop every few weeks and live in dozens of countries every year. “I’m free,” says Nimisha Walji, who took what she knows about yoga and turned it into an online income. “I can go where the wind takes me and live any place I choose! If I hear about somewhere nice, or feel like a change, I can pursue that in a matter of days. Sometimes hours.”
Most days, I’ll put in three to six hours of writing in the morning. Then, I’ll spend the rest of the day exploring the island’s spectacular beaches, catching up with friends, or visiting the night market in town to grab my favorite Thai meal—steamed chicken with rice and soup for just $1.44. Other days, I’ll take it easy in the morning, then perhaps do a bit of work in the evening. I never have a boss looking over my shoulder, so it’s all up to me.
The internet has made it more simple than ever for aspiring Digital Nomads to discover new places to live; find cheap international flights; secure good short- and long-term accommodation; and meet fellow Digital Nomads, travelers, and expats. I’m not the only one who feels that the social aspect is one of the best parts of being a Digital Nomad.
David and Diane Daniel were early adopters of the Digital Nomad lifestyle. Since 2005, this wandering duo has been traveling to the world’s most appealing destinations and earning a great income at the same time. “We were Digital Nomads before it was cool,” says 51-year-old Diane. “We take home with us. It’s just us, together. That’s it!”
“We’ve been to Isla Mujeres several times before,” says Diane. “It’s a great place with mostly stable internet, wonderful restaurants and beaches, and perfect tropical weather. We’re housesitting now for some folks who only come down during the winter. We’re caring for their dogs, and all we have to do is pay the electricity bill and the internet bill.”
On a typical day, Dan works a few hours from late morning to mid-afternoon, goes to eat, then heads to the gym or plays some beach volleyball. Then he’ll usually work again in the evening. “The freedom of location and schedule is really nice,” says Dan. “Also, the ability to live somewhere I enjoy for well under a thousand dollars a month (about $750 a month) allows me to save money and reinvest in my projects.”
When it comes to ways to earn an income as a Digital Nomad, Dan offers plenty of ideas. “There are many approaches, and some fit certain people better than others. If you have an existing skill set or love for a certain type of work, consider what you can do to capitalize on that. Also, if you can find a system so that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel—like drop-shipping or selling through Amazon—you can save a lot of time and frustration.”
2. Earn as an online tutor through Skype or udemy.com. If you have knowledge and experience to share, then folks want to hear about it. You can earn teaching almost anything—Microsoft Excel, photography, marketing, guitar, knitting, and more. You can earn anywhere between $25 and $300 per lesson.
3. Start a blog and earn with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product or company on your blog or website, with a link to the seller. Affiliate networks have different systems. Some pay you for every user that clicks on the link, others require the customer buy a product before you get paid a commission.
5. Provide drop-shipping services. Drop-shipping is a type of online selling where you don’t need to pay for storage or manage inventory. You simply market the products and when somebody buys, you have the products shipped straight from the manufacturer to your customer. You don’t need warehouse space. You never even see the product. See shopify.com and start creating your own store.
6. Become a stock photographer. Your Digital Nomad lifestyle will take you to new and exotic places, where you’ll take colorful and exciting photos. With stock photography, you can turn these travel snapshots into a passive income that makes money on autopilot while you explore the world. See here for more details.