Working Nomads: 11 Secrets to Success as a Digital Nomad 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Every day, more than 10,000 Americans retire and leave the workforce. And most do it at the age of 65 or older.

After all, that’s when you’ve done your time and finally able to travel. But who says you have to wait?

Becoming a digital nomad lets you travel without sacrificing your job or your ability to bring in an income.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to being a digital nomad than jetting off to the tropics or backpacking through Europe. You still need to work and strive for success.

Here are a few tips to help aspiring working nomads be as successful as possible.

1. Understand That Working Nomads Have to Work

Being a digital nomad gives you tons of flexibility and allows you to travel the world while earning money remotely.

You’re surrounded by new sights and experiences each day. It’s always tempting to get out there and see what you can find. But the lifestyle can’t be a perpetual vacation.

Otherwise, you’ll run out of money and you’ll do it fast!

Unlike tourists visiting on vacation, you still have to work and earn a living. And you might just find it a bit harder than working in an office.

You are your own supervisor and there’s no one else around to make sure you’re getting things done. And trust us, businesses will fire you if you underperform. You’re expected to show up each day just like any normal in-house employee.

Don’t get us wrong. You’ll be able to enjoy everything the local scene has to offer, but you need to prepare yourself to work the same amount you would back at home.

Remember, your responsibilities haven’t changed-just your location.

2. Set a Schedule and Stick to It

In an office, you always have someone else to rely on. They can give you motivation when you’re feeling stuck. And your boss can keep an eye on your progress each day.

When you’re working remotely, you’re responsible for your productivity.

For some people, a flexible schedule works. They stay on top of things even if they work at different times throughout the week.

But for most people, especially those new to the remote lifestyle, it’s helpful to set a schedule.

Create your own workday. Dedicate certain hours for work, lunch, breaks, and personal time and stick to it.

When you have an established work schedule, even if it’s halfway across the globe, your mind will know when to enter the work-zone and when to start enjoying those new surroundings.

As an added bonus, your clients will know when they can expect to hear from you if you keep the same schedule consistently.

3. Take Things Slow

The prospect of seeing new things is exciting and this can make many people rush into the lifestyle before they’re ready. Take the time to prepare before committing to becoming a digital nomad.

Start saving up and make sure you have enough to live on for at least six weeks before taking the leap. Figure out where your income will come from.

Are you going to work remotely for your current employer or are you jumping into a freelance career?

And if you are becoming a freelancer, make sure you have a few clients and projects lined up before you quit your day job. Being a nomad without a steady income is tough.

Travel Slowly, Too

Once you’re living the lifestyle, try not to rush from destination to destination. Stay put for a few weeks. Get to know the local culture, hit up the tourist hotspots as well as the local hangouts.

The slower you can go, the more you can get from each place you visit. Remember, it’s not a contest to see how many countries you can visit in a year. It’s a chance to travel while you’re young instead of waiting for that dreamed-of retirement.

4. Create Clear Goals

Just like setting a schedule, setting goals can help you stay productive and become a successful digital nomad. The key here is to recognize that everyone’s definition of success is different.

Just because the person you’re sharing an Airbnb with only feels successful when they’re making more than $10,000 a month doesn’t mean you will.

Look at what you need to get out of life, both financially and emotionally. These are your main goals.

But you’re not done yet! Break them down into actionable steps or mini goals. Think about what you need to do to reach those main goals.

It may seem like you have more to do, but the steps are smaller and can make your goals feel more attainable.

5. Don’t Rule Out Coworking Locations

When you’re working remotely, you don’t have to work on the couch in your pajamas. You can if you want to, but sometimes it’s helpful to get out of the house.

Many people choose to hit up coffee shops and change their location each day. But that level of inconsistency can make it hard to focus on your work. That’s where coworking spaces can help.

These spaces give digital nomads and remote workers a place to hunker down, get work done, and network with other nomads. In most cases, you pay by the day, week, or month.

Some locations allow you to pick a designated desk while others let you choose your own work area each day you come.

And every coworking space will be different. It’s part of the fun! Check out this article by KettleSpace to see what we’re talking about!

6. Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

Unfortunately, getting consistent work isn’t as easy as you think. There will be dry spells, clients might flake out, and contracts expire.

But as long as you have a contingency plan in place, you’ll be fine. So what does this mean? Savings.

You’ll want to have savings to cover those lean months and help you get by until another project comes your way.

When interviewing for new employment opportunities, stay positive. But always be ready to hear that the position went to someone else and know what you’ll do if it happens.

7. Research Your Destinations and How You’ll Get There

If you’re traveling abroad, research where you’re going and how you’ll get there. The same applies if you’re traveling domestically.

Planning lets you plot out the top sights you want to see and helps you save money on transportation in the long-run. For example, you might know where you want to go in theory, but a flight from New York to London might be cheaper than one to San Francisco.

Take the time to research transportation prices before deciding on where you’ll go. The joy of being a nomad is the only schedule you have is your own (as long as you’re getting work done). You can change it up as needed and as airfare allows.

8. Be Persistent

It takes time to be successful. And it’s normal to feel a bit out of your depth when you’re starting out. But that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Far from it!

Be persistent. If something’s not working, figure out what you can do to make it better. Sometimes, this means walking away and starting from scratch.

But keep at it. Think of yourself as a business and put in the time. You’ll eventually hit on something that sticks.

9. Invest in Yourself

As a digital nomad, you don’t have a boss to rely on or to supply you with all the equipment and training you need.

It’s up to you. So, invest in yourself.

Save up for a quality laptop, look for continuing education opportunities, and make sure you have everything you need to get the job done right.

Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. And when you invest in your business, your job will get easier.

10. Embrace Minimalism

As a nomad, you live out of your travel bag. This means you have limited space for possessions, clothes, and work equipment. You need to pare down to the bare essentials.

And with the checked baggage fees increasing each year, the less you have, the cheaper it is to travel.

Successful nomads are always re-evaluating their gear and minimizing their stuff. Every month, see if there are things you need to get rid of and get rid of those items.

Minimalism is a journey, but it’s an integral part of the digital nomad lifestyle.

11. Remember to Have Fun

You get into this lifestyle with the purpose of escaping the rat race and not waiting for retirement to see new things. But when you’re still working a full 40 hours, it’s easy to lose sight of the joy nomadism brings.

If you find yourself getting bogged down in work, take a step back and breathe. You’re not stuck in a cubicle, you’re not forced to spend eight hours behind a cash register. And you’re living a life most people only dream of.

Find one fun thing to do each day and do it. Go for a walk, try a new restaurant, and do something you enjoy.

Final Thoughts

Working nomads may be able to work from anywhere in the world. But they still have to put in the time, do their job, and do it well. These tips will help you be successful whether you’re just starting out or revamping your process.

For more helpful tips for growing your business and becoming a stellar remote worker, check out our latest posts.