So you want to know how to become a digital nomad with no experience? You’ve come to the right place!
It’s your goal to live abroad and figure out how to make money along the way, but of course that’s easier said than done. So how do you make that a reality?
The digital nomad world can be overwhelming, I know I found it INCREDIBLY overwhelming trying to figure out how to get started. One of the most important things to know though is that if you’ve got the determination and the drive to make it happen, anyone can do it!
To help you navigate the unknown, I’ve written an in-depth series on how to get started as a digital nomad. These are all the steps I took to land my first clients and my first remote job. My background is in digital marketing and social media management so if you’re striving to make the nomad life work in any of these areas, I’ll be able to help you.
Now don’t let pics on the gram fool you, trying to make it as a digital nomad is HARD work. It doesn’t happen overnight and you have to put in the hours in order to see results. Your clients aren’t going to find you by themselves, you need to go out and find them.
So with that, let’s jump into my guide on how to get started as a digital nomad.
How To Become A Digital Nomad With No Experience in 13 Steps
1) Discover the best skills you need as a digital nomad and learn them
In my post on the best skills you need as a digital nomad, I’ve drilled down into 10 different skills, and a combination of hard and soft skills that you need to make you money. Now before you freak out, this doesn’t mean you need to learn all 10! I would just pick just one hard skill to focus on.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about it, the great thing about hard skills is you can always learn them because they are skills that are knowledge-based. Not sure where to start? Just choose something you are passionate about or think about what you COULD be passionate about, then go from there.
When it comes to soft skills, chose a couple to build on. These are a bit harder to learn and is something that you will get better at in time but if you try to keep them front of mind and put yourself in situations where you’re forced to build on them then you will fast-track that process.
At the end of the day, just keep reminding yourself that anything is possible. If you’ve got the motivation and are striving for something you want bad enough, you will get there. Try not to feel overwhelmed by how much you’ve got to learn, inside say to yourself, wow I’ve learnt so much already. Trust the process gf, you’ve got this!
2) Know where to look to find digital nomad jobs
If you’re looking for digital nomad jobs, the best place to start is by searching online job boards. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer are great places to find work that can be done remotely, and there are always new projects being posted.
You can also search for specific roles, such as “virtual assistant” or “customer service representative.” Another option is to join digital nomad communities and forums, where members often post job openings and opportunities.
Finally, don’t forget to check out job listings on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. With a little effort, you’re sure to find the perfect digital nomad job for you.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to looking for digital nomad jobs, I suggest checking out my post on the best digital nomad jobs for beginners. From social media management to digital marketing, there are plenty of opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.
You can do all of these jobs from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good internet connection. So whether you’re looking to make some extra cash on the side while you travel or build a full-time business, be sure to check out my post here for more details.
3) How to decide what countries to base yourself in
Deciding where to base yourself as a new digital nomad can be a tough decision. There are so many beautiful countries out there, and it’s hard to know where to start. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your next destination:
- Safety: When you’re living abroad solo, it’s important to feel safe in your surroundings. Do some research before you go to make sure you’ll be in a safe and secure environment.
- Cost of living: Another important factor to consider is the cost of living in your chosen country. Make sure you’ll be able to afford the basic necessities like food and accommodation.
- Weather: If you’re like me and love the beach and the sun, you’ll probably want to pick a place with good weather conditions
- Wifi: If you’re working, you’re going to need wifi and good wifi at that. Always take a look at average wifi speeds for the country you’re planning on basing yourself in so there are no surprises when you get there.
- Visas: Another incredibly important factor to consider when deciding on a country to live in and a lot of this will come down to how long you want to live there for.
If you’re the type of person who gets itchy feet after a few months in one place, then you might want to consider a country that’s visa-friendly for digital nomads. This way, you can stay for a while without having to worry about renewing your visa or overstaying your welcome.
There are plenty of countries out there that offer long-term visas for digital nomads, so do your research and see which one is right for you. And who knows, you might just find your new home away from home.
I’ve written an entire post on digital nomad visas that are beginner friendly which you can read here. On this list you won’t find any countries with visas that require proof of a high minimum monthly income, this isn’t always achievable when you’re just starting out in the nomad world.
Personally, I’ve found that countries like Thailand and Indonesia are great for digital nomads. They have beautiful beaches, relatively low costs of living, and good internet infrastructure. Plus, there’s always something new to explore, whether it’s a temple or an island paradise.
4) Learn about VPNs and why you need one
There’s no denying that VPNs are important. In today’s digital world, we’re more connected than ever before – but that also means we’re more vulnerable to hackers and other online threats.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an essential tool for anyone who relies on the internet for their livelihood. It can help protect your privacy by encrypting your traffic and hiding your IP address, making it harder for someone to track you online.
A digital nomad, for example, needs to be able to access their work and personal accounts from anywhere in the world. A VPN allows them to do this by encrypting their data and routing it through a secure server.
This means that their data is protected from snooping eyes, and they can access any site or service they need without worrying about censorship or government surveillance. A VPN can also help you access geo-blocked content and stay connected while you’re on the go.
In short, a VPN is an essential piece of kit for anyone who wants to stay connected and safe online. So if you’re not already using one, now is the time to get started.
5) Discover the best digital nomad communities
While the digital nomad way of life comes with many benefits, it can also be quite isolating. That’s why it’s important to seek out digital nomad communities – places where like-minded individuals can gather to share tips, collaborate on projects, and support one another through the ups and downs of nomadic life.
There are many digital nomad communities online, so how do you find the best one for you? First, consider what you’re looking for in a digital nomad community.
Do you want somewhere to chat and ask questions, or somewhere to meet other digital nomads in person? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start your search.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the best digital nomad communities:
- Nomad List is a great place to start your search. It’s an online community of digital nomads with more than 100,000 members.
- Workfrom is the perfect place to find your next digital nomad community, it’s the largest remote work website out there. And with good reason: Workfrom provides an incredibly valuable service for digital nomads.
Not only does it offer a comprehensive directory of remote work-friendly locations, but it also has a wealth of resources to help you make the most of your time on the road. In addition, the Workfrom team is always on hand to offer advice and support. So if you’re just starting out as a digital nomad, Workfrom is a great community for you to be a part of.
- Female Digital Nomads is a Facebook group definitely worth joining.
For starters, it’s a great community for solo female travellers. You can connect with other digital nomads and get tips on everything from where to find the best Wi-Fi to how to stay safe while travelling.
The group is also a great resource for finding out about new and interesting places to travel to. And, of course, it’s a great way to make some new friends who share your love of travel.
So if you’re looking for a little inspiration or advice, be sure to check out Female Digital Nomads.
- Digital Nomads Around the World is another good Facebook group to join. If you’re looking for a community of like-minded individuals who are all striving to become digital nomads, then you should definitely check it out.
With over 149,000 members, it’s one of the largest and most active digital nomad communities on the internet. You can find helpful advice on everything from how to save money for your travels to where to find the best coworking spaces around the world.
And if you’re ever feeling homesick or lonely on your digital nomad journey, there’s always someone in the group who is happy to chat and offer words of encouragement.
6) Get familiar with your local coworking spaces
One of the best places to meet other digital nomads is in a coworking space. They offer a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.
Whether you’re looking for collaboration opportunities, networking opportunities, or just a place to get some work done without distractions, coworking spaces offer a great solution.
Plus, many coworking spaces offer amenities like coffee bars and lounge areas, making them the perfect place to take a break from work and socialize.
Coworker is a website worth adding to your bookmarks bar, it helps you find coworking spaces around the world. The website offers a searchable database of coworking spaces, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.
You can also read reviews of the coworking spaces, so you can get an idea of what others think of them. In addition, Coworker offers a forum where you can ask questions and get advice from other coworking enthusiasts.
7) Remember that coliving spaces are always a option too
What better way to meet people and find a community than by living with other digital nomads?
Coliving spaces are another great option, and they offer a number of advantages over coworking spaces.
First of all, you’ll actually get to live with other digital nomads, which means you’ll have more opportunities to bond and form relationships. They offer a great way to share your daily life with other remote workers.
From shared kitchens and living rooms to coworking spaces and event programming, coliving spaces have everything you need to feel connected and supported while working remotely.
Coliving spaces are popping up all over the world and becoming more and more accessible. If you’re not comfortable living in your own apartment or condo, coliving could be a great solution for you!
8) How to meet people in a new country
Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience. If you’re not familiar with the local culture, it can be tough to know how to connect with others. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of meeting people.
First, try to get involved in the local community. There are often community groups and activities that you can join. This is a great way to meet people who share your interests.
Second, don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with people you meet. Everyone is in the same boat when they move to a new country, so most people will be happy to chat and make new friends.
Facebook groups are also incredibly handy. Search up local Facebook groups to see what you can find. In Chiang Mai for example, there’s a group called Chiang Mai Nomad Girls which has regular meetups at a local cafe.
I used this group regularly when I was living in Thailand to meet new people, it was honestly so valuable and if you ever felt lonely you always knew you could post on the group asking if anyone wants to meet up.
9) Is it possible to travel and work at the same time?
Sure, some people might say that it’s impossible to travel and work at the same time. But those people are probably just a bunch of Negative Nancys. The truth is, it is possible to travel and work at the same time – you just need to be disciplined and motivated.
Sometimes I would feel a bit antisocial when I had to leave dinner a bit earlier to finish off the work I needed to do that day, but hey, the reality was I was able to make money while I was travelling the world. That’s the ultimate goal at the end of the day right?!
If you’re disciplined, you’ll find a way to make it work. You might have to wake up a little earlier to get some work done, or stay up a little later. But if you’re motivated to make your travel dreams a reality, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
Another important thing to note here, is be realistic. Don’t expect to get rich quick or figure out how to implement ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ overnight.
Everything takes time.
When you’re just starting out, overestimate how much time it’s going to take you to get certain tasks done. That way you’ll allow appropriate time to get everything done without stressing yourself out.
Remember, underpromise and overdeliver. A surefire way to keep your clients or your employer happy.
Also wherever you’re traveling, ALWAYS remember to check on the wifi speeds. If it looks like it’s going to be a little on the low side where you’re going, there are solutions such as Skyroam Solis.
Skyroam Solis is a personal hotspot that provides high-speed internet access anywhere in the world. With no contracts or roaming fees, Solis gives you the freedom to work from any location without having to search for a reliable WiFi network.
Plus, with the Skyroam app, you can easily connect to fast, secure networks wherever they are available.
No need to stress about slow internet speeds ever again!
10) How to use Facebook groups to find work
Facebook has become a digital hub for all kinds of businesses, and freelancers are no exception. They provide a space where digital nomads can connect with each other and share job leads, advice, and support. If you’re looking for clients or freelance work, there are a number of different Facebook groups you can join.
For example, the Digital Nomad Jobs group is a great resource for finding work that can be done remotely. With over 149,000 members, it’s a bustling community of nomads from all over the world.
It’ll help you stay up-to-date on the latest remote work opportunities.
With so many members actively posting new job listings, you’re sure to find something that fits your skills and interests. So if you’re looking for a way to make some extra money on the road, this Facebook group is a great place to start.
11) Key things you need for the nomad life
If you’re thinking of embarking on the digital nomad life, there are a few key things you’ll need to make it work. First, you’ll need a laptop stand to keep your computer at the right height and angle for working. Those ergonomics are important! No sore backs around here.
A Bluetooth mouse will also come in handy, as you’ll likely be working on a variety of surfaces. Headphones or airpods are essential for blocking out distractions, and portable wifi will help you stay connected when you’re on the go.
I already mentioned Skyroam Solis above so with that and these essential items, you’ll be well on your way to digital nomad success!
12) Don’t forget about travel insurance
From lost laptops to last-minute cancellations, travel insurance can help protect you from the unexpected. Whether you’re working from a coffee shop or travelling from place to place, you need to make sure our devices are covered in case of loss or damage.
That’s where travel insurance comes in, and more specifically, travel insurance for digital nomads.
While most standard insurance policies don’t cover digital nomads, there are a few companies that specialize in covering travellers and their devices. By getting travel insurance, you can rest assured that your laptop is covered in case of loss or damage. And, if something does happen to your device, you’ll be able to get it replaced quickly and without hassle.
Some popular insurance policies for digital nomads:
13) How to do your banking as a digital nomad
Being a digital nomad doesn’t mean you have to give up your banking services. In fact, with a little planning, you can actually enjoy even more convenience and flexibility than you would at home. Here are a few tips to help you manage your finances on the go:
- Get a digital-friendly bank account. Look for a bank that offers online and mobile banking, as well as ATMs in convenient locations. This will make it easy to check your balance, transfer money, and make payments no matter where you are.
- Set up automatic payments. If you have recurring expenses like bills or rent, set them up on auto-pay so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay them each month.
- Get a debit card that has no foreign transaction fees. This will come in handy when you’re traveling from country to country and need to withdraw cash or make purchases in different currencies.
Popular banks for digital nomads include Paypal, Transferwise and Monnzo.
For an in-depth review on the different banking solutionns suitable for digital nomads, Out and Beyond wrote a great post on this which you can read here.
So there you have it! Everything you need to know to get started as a digital nomad. Of course, this is just a basic overview and there are plenty of other things to learn along the way.
But if you’re feeling motivated to give this lifestyle a try, don’t hesitate to reach out for more advice. I’d be happy to help aspiring digital nomads every step of the way.
All the best on your travels!