In one of our previous articles, we talked about the 4 signs you will succeed as a digital nomad. Living as a digital nomad is the dream of many, especially with more employers and clients working with various professionals remotely these days. It is certainly possible to make a living while traveling the world, especially in fields like design and digital marketing.
Jumping headfirst into becoming a digital nomad, however, isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. You want to plan ahead and know exactly what you are getting into before making any big leap. Keep in mind that a relaxing life is not something you can expect; as mentioned in the previous article, long hours and difficult decisions are all parts of life as a freelancer.
Still here? Then it is time to take a look at some of the most important things you need to get started with your adventure as a digital nomad.
A Strong Online Presence
A strong online presence is an essential tool to market yourself, especially when you are working remotely. You want potential clients to know who you are and what you can do just by Googling your name. A strong online presence is something you can prepare before you start doing more freelancing work.
Start by establishing a compelling and strong portfolio. Thanks to platforms like Format.com, setting up your own online portfolio is incredibly easy. You can master how to make a Format portfolio website in minutes and get your site up and running even sooner.
Next, you need to establish some social media pages. LinkedIn is a must-have if you are a freelancer. Twitter and Facebook are great for connecting with the audience in general. Instagram, on the other hand, is a great social media platform for sharing your visual or multimedia work.
Tie these elements of your online presence with a compelling story. You need to share who you are, the passion you have, how you enjoy the work that you do, and many other stories related to your life as a digital nomad in a compelling way. Do it consistently and clients will start finding you more and more no matter where you are in the world.
Ideal Work Environment
It is important to figure out what you need to be able to work comfortably, and the best way to do that is by doing some trial runs. With your laptop and smartphone with you, try traveling to nearby destinations and practice working in between trips to gorgeous attractions.
As a remote worker, there are a lot of things you need to deal with. A time zone difference, for instance, can be a huge problem when you are not prepared for it. The same can be said for jet lag and an inability to adapt to new working environments.
Once again, the trial run will help you prepare better for these challenges. The focus at this stage is figuring out how you can find the ideal working environment – where you can focus on the tasks in hand and produce your best work every time – no matter where you are.
Use the trial run to also figure out your internet needs. Ideally, you want a data plan that can be used anywhere in the world; sadly, this isn’t always available or affordable. Rather than trying to use your existing data plan overseas, do more research about the local SIM card to use and what internet options you have.
Sharpen Your Research Skills
Speaking about doing research, sharpening your ability to do research and figure things out is also a must before you start life as a digital nomad. The better you are at using Google and other tools available right now, the easier your life as a nomad will be.
Don’t just stop at finding the best attractions to visit or the right accommodations based on your personal preferences. Learn how to find emergency services, the nearest grocery store from where you will be staying, the local data plans you can count on, and many other details about the destination area.
The more you learn about the destination city, the more prepared you will be for the next leg in your adventure. The more prepared you are, the better you will be at anticipating issues along the way and dealing with additional, often unexpected challenges.
Besides, knowing how to do thorough and deep research about a destination is also handy in another way – you can find the best places to visit as a digital nomad. It is not a secret that certain cities are friendlier to those working as a freelancer while traveling the world.
Expand Your Network
At this point, you already have what it takes to start traveling the world while working remotely. As an added layer of safety, you also want to expand your professional network before going on a fulltime adventure. Reconnect with old clients, build new relationships, and strengthen your professional network before you leave.
You will be doing a lot of networking as you travel but having a solid and reliable professional network back home is still a huge plus. Some digital nomads began their journey with a handful of clients providing them with steady streams of jobs; you can too!
Your online presence will help you expand your network and reach as well. A strong and compelling portfolio, paired with an effective LinkedIn or Instagram profile, can really get you the exposure you need and a wealth of new, potential clients even before you start traveling from one city to the next.
Get Your Gear Ready
Last but certainly not least, you need to be extra certain that your work gear is up to the task before you plunge into the world of living as a nomad. This means checking if your laptop needs an upgrade, making sure that your smartphone works with 3G or 4G bands in different countries, and doing other checks before you begin booking flights and accommodation.
The same can be said for the extra tools you need to do your work. If you are already very comfortable with using a tablet to do illustrations and designs, make sure you can carry one with you safely. Buying an extra padded case for the tablet and the stylus is something you can do. For video editors, a good in-ear monitor and colour calibration tool are among the essentials.
Think about marketing yourself too. Make sure your smartphone’s cameras can take great pictures so you can continue strengthening your online presence. It is even better if you carry a mirrorless or DSLR camera since the image quality you can produce – and the videos these cameras can put out – is certainly better.
These are the five things you need to get started with living as a digital nomad. Before we end this article, there is one more thing you need to prepare, and that is yourself. Making such a huge lifestyle change is a big leap, which is why preparing yourself mentally and physically is also necessary.
There will be plenty of challenges to face along the way, but there is plenty of fun to be had too. You will be joining other digital nomads who are fulfilling their dream of exploring the world, all while producing some of their best work.