As a digital nomad, you can work from anywhere in the world, allowing you to explore new places and cultures while maintaining your career.
You can pursue your career as an entrepreneur, freelancer, remote employee, perpetual traveler, or travel with family.
In this article, we'll explore the different types of digital nomads and share some tips on how to succeed and what you need to take care of.
Overview and Pros&Cons of different types of digital nomads
Freelance Digital Nomads
Freelancing is one of the most popular ways digital nomads earn income while being location independent. You can choose your clients, projects, and work schedule, so it's great for everyone who wants to combine a passion for travel with the desire for flexibility and autonomy in work.
Freelance digital nomad careers include web development, content writing, graphic design, social media management, virtual assistance, and more services.
You need to register your business, pay taxes, and get proper licenses and permits if required in your home country or the country you reside in. You should also have a contract with your clients that outlines the scope of work, payment terms, deadlines, and other relevant details.
Client contracts should be carefully reviewed and negotiated to ensure both parties understand and agree to the terms.
Maintaining a professional relationship with your clients and communicating effectively are important to avoid misunderstandings and ensure the project's success. Have your portfolio and testimonials from previous clients ready to showcase your skills and experience.
One of the benefits of freelancing is that it allows you to take control of your career and income. You can choose the types of projects you want to work on, set your rates, and work on your schedules. This can lead to a better work-life balance and more financial stability.
But on the other hand, all this flexibility can bring challenges, as it requires a lot of self-motivation and discipline. You need to develop specific skill sets in high demand and market yourself by building a solid online presence through a website or social media channels. One simple way to mingle with like-minded people is to work in coworking spaces and join a digital nomad community in your area.
You can create your profile on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, etc.
Entrepreneurial Digital Nomads
Entrepreneurial Digital Nomads build and run their own businesses while traveling. The business possibilities are virtually limitless; some popular ones are web design, online marketing, content creation, coaching, consulting, SaaS businesses, course creation, and much more.
💡 One of the most popular sub-categories of this type are travel bloggers and vloggers, who earn a living by documenting their travels and sharing them online through blogs or video channels. They typically monetize their content through advertising, sponsorships, or selling products.
As an entrepreneurial digital nomad, you have the freedom to explore new markets and test your ideas on a global scale, which can lead to greater success and profitability.
To build a successful business while traveling, you need the right mindset, a clear plan, and a solid strategy. This includes identifying a target market, creating a unique value proposition, and building a strong online presence.
Depending on the type of business, you may need to register the company, obtain licenses and permits, and comply with tax and other regulations. To make it stress-free, consult a lawyer or expert in the field to ensure all legal requirements are met.
To be a successful Entrepreneurial Digital Nomad, you must have high discipline, self-motivation, time management skills, strong vision and goals, and a willingness to learn and adapt.
Remote Worker Digital Nomads
This type of work is becoming more popular, especially after Covid, as companies realize the benefits of having a remote workforce, and individuals seek the flexibility to work from anywhere.
As a remote worker, you still work for a company, but remotely. The common roles include software developers, graphic designers, writers, customer support, and project managers.
You can have different agreements with your employer depending on the nature of your work. As a full-time remote employee, you often have the same contracts as regular employees, including benefits and a set salary. On the other hand, as a part-time remote worker, you may work on a contract for a specific project or a set number of hours.
You must ensure that you have a solid agreement with your employer outlining responsibilities, working hours, and compensation.
This is one of the easiest transitions to digital nomadism, as you will have a fixed income and sometimes hours when you need to work. You can leverage your existing job skills to work with clients from different countries and cultures, expanding their professional network and gaining valuable experiences.
Remote work gives you a chance to escape the daily commute and office politics and, instead, work in beautiful and inspiring locations around the world.
To succeed in this role, you must develop a strong routine and establish a strong communication plan with your team. You should be proactive in staying connected with your team and colleagues. You shouldn't wait for information to reach you but actively stay in the loop to avoid falling behind.
Some popular platforms where you can find digital nomad jobs and create your profiles are WeWorkRemotely, Flexjobs, LinkedIn, etc.
Perpetual Traveler Digital Nomads
Perpetual travelers, or PTs or permanent tourists, are a sub-category of digital nomads. They fit into all the above types but differ in their way of living rather than working.
As a PT, you live a nomadic lifestyle and do not have permanent or tax residency. You may travel from country to country, spending several months in each location, or travel continuously without stopping in one place for an extended period.
This lifestyle requires a minimalistic approach, with most of one's belongings fitting into a backpack or suitcase.
Most countries have regulations regarding residency and taxation, which can make it difficult to avoid being classified as a resident for tax purposes. Some PTs may choose to establish residency in a country with favorable tax laws or become citizens of a country that does not tax foreign income. You should seek legal advice and carefully review each country's tax laws to avoid any issues.
To run your business or work as a freelancer, establish a business entity or structure that allows flexibility and easy management. This may include registering a company in a country with favorable business and tax laws, setting up a digital business that can be run from anywhere, or establishing a passive income stream.
PTs must also be prepared to adapt to new cultures, languages, and customs as they travel. You should be adaptable and resourceful, with strong time management skills, and stay on top of your finances.
Since you don't have a home base, you rely on short-term accommodations like hotels or Airbnb rentals as you explore new destinations. This constant mobility requires a strong sense of adventure and a willingness to embrace uncertainty.
PT lifestyle gives you the ultimate freedom, and if you are seeking that, it is the most rewarding feeling when you can step out of the system and stay in parts of the world where you feel best.
Nomad families are becoming more common as more parents combine their desire to travel with the ability to work remotely. To become a nomad family, you must ensure that your children's education and healthcare are cared for while traveling. This can be done through homeschooling, enrolling children in online schools, or local schools if staying longer in some countries.
Becoming a nomad family can be complicated as each country has different rules and regulations regarding visas and residency. It is important to research visa requirements and tax implications for each country you plan to visit or stay in for an extended period.
You also need to consider the tax laws of your home country and the countries you visit.
This lifestyle can have both positive and negative implications for your children. On the one hand, they can experience different cultures and gain a broader perspective on the world. On the other hand, they may miss out on a traditional home environment's stability and struggle to make lasting friendships.
To travel as a family successfully, it is important to plan carefully and communicate openly. Finding appropriate accommodations, maintaining children's routines, and balancing work and family time can be challenging. Still, it can also lead to a rewarding and life-changing experience for the whole family.
Should I join the digital nomad tribe?
The digital nomad lifestyle is not for everyone. But, if you are at least a little interested, it can be a fulfilling and exciting way to live and work for those who can adapt to the challenges. By choosing your path, you will find your unique way how to make money as a digital nomad.
Whether you are a freelancer, entrepreneur, remote employee, travel blogger, or digital nomad family, the ability to work from anywhere has changed the way we live and work. What is common to all types is that you need to take care that you have internet access wherever you travel.
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