Profitable Nomad Couple

64. How to Become a Digital Nomad

October 25, 2023
Profitable Nomad Couple
64. How to Become a Digital Nomad
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

One of the most often asked questions we get is "how do I become a digital nomad?", or some variation of "how do I get started?"

This week we're revealing the secrets to successfully getting started with this dynamic lifestyle. From freelancing and remote employment to starting your own online business, we discuss the myriad of ways you can earn a living while exploring the world.

But remember, there's no magic formula for success. It's all about finding the path that suits you best.

Tune in, take notes, and kickstart your digital nomad journey with us!

Links mentioned in this episode:
Episode 12: 7 Steps to Starting Your Successful Online Business

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Connect with us on Instagram by following @austinandmonica

Visit our website: AustinandMonica.com

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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. This is a show where we share all of our secrets about building a sustainable location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

We're Austin and Monica. We're a digital Nomad couple here to help you develop an entrepreneurial mindset, ignite your passions and develop a purpose-driven online business.

Speaker 1:

Get ready for weekly insights and inspiring stories to empower you to live life on your own terms.

Speaker 2:

So are you ready to unlock the Nomad mindset and embrace a life of limitless possibilities? Let's dive in. Hey, hey, you guys, welcome back to the podcast. This is the first episode that Monica and I are recording from Columbia. We've had a super fun time. Hopefully you're following us on Instagram and checking out the things that we've been up to.

Speaker 2:

We had to do a super ghetto setup to our apartment so that our microphone doesn't pick up all the echoing, because we're in this concrete tile box and everything echoes really bad. Luckily, this is just an audio podcast. You can't see all the random towels and blankets and stuff we have lying around everywhere, but it's kind of fun. So this week's topic is all about how to get started as a digital Nomad, and we are super excited to have this episode out there for you guys, because this is maybe one of the most common questions that we get asked, some variation of how do I get started?

Speaker 2:

What are the first steps? I don't know where to begin. We get people coming to us asking this question all the time, and so we wanted to create a resource that we could send out and offer you, from our point of view, the first things that you should consider the first things to start looking into to get started, because we know that it can be a little bit overwhelming getting started with a totally new lifestyle. If this is something you haven't done before, we want to help break it down so that it's not as overwhelming and it's not as complicated.

Speaker 1:

So, inevitably, when people come to us and they say, hey, I wanted me a digital Nomad, how do I get started? The very first thing we're going to tell you is that you need to figure out a way that you can make money online or remotely, and so in this episode, we're going to be talking about ins and outs of different ways you can make money online, different options available to you and things like that.

Speaker 2:

And that's the common denominator between all digital Nomads is that you make your money online and you can move anywhere you want to because you work online. Other than that, I think the digital Nomad lifestyle is so diverse and so individualized for everybody, and that's the beautiful thing about it is there's no one size fits all. There's no one way to live as a digital Nomad, but it's such a wonderful thing to be able to have the freedom and the flexibility to travel where you want and when you want and to work when you want and where you want, and to have this flexibility and freedom in your life, to dictate your own life and to choose your own schedule. We know so many people are looking to get started and just don't know what to do first. So that's what this episode is all about what to do first.

Speaker 2:

The very first thing is there are a couple different generalized paths that you can take. The first thing to start considering and thinking about is the. You need to find the path that's most aligned for you. It's not going to be the same for you as it is for everybody else. Everyone's going to have something that works better for them, and so what I mean by that is just a really quick overview. You can work online as a freelancer, you can work online as a remote employee. You can work online by running your own business. You can start up your own thing. You can be a content creator, you can be an investor. These are different, generalized things that you can do and we see people all the time on Instagram, on Facebook, saying things like oh, this is the way to do it. Do you want to make 10K a year or not a year?

Speaker 1:

Do not follow them if they're telling you you can make 10K a year. If you want to make 100K a year, 10K a month.

Speaker 2:

This is the thing that you have to do. I get a little frustrated with those ads or those sponsorships or these things that you see, because it's just not true. There's not one way to do it and maybe that path worked really well for that person, but maybe you've tried it before and you've noticed that it's just really not working out for you and it's because not every path is made for every person. There's different ways to approach it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, or maybe even it was working for you and then you get to the point where you don't want it. It's not providing you the lifestyle that you want to live anymore. I mean, I think a really good example in our lives is we were remote employees for a while. We worked for Austin. Worked for a yoga studio where he had to be online during certain hours. He had to be making phone calls during certain hours. I worked for a food blog where I had to be clocking in 20 hours every single week. So it was more of a remote employee position and you know what.

Speaker 1:

Some people love that and I've heard a lot of people say like this is your best setup as a digital nomad. But for us it was terrible because we didn't have that freedom to go for a walk in the middle of the day. We didn't have that freedom to say you know what, right now I don't feel super energetic and excited to go to work, so I'm going to take a break and go outside and get inspired or say you know what? It's really late tonight, but I'm super motivated to work and so I want to sit down and bust out some things. We couldn't do that because we weren't on the same schedule. So even if you find yourself in one of these positions, you are always able to change and switch around and try something new.

Speaker 2:

So let's look at the first one that I mentioned being a freelancer. A freelancer basically means that you are kind of doing you're doing one off gigs here and there. A really good example of this is being a graphic designer or web designer. You're going to get one client. You're going to do a project for them. You maybe have two or three projects going at once. The really nice thing about being a freelancer is all you need really is just one skill to get started. It's super easy to get going. There's little to no startup costs. Within as little as like one week, two weeks, you can start making a pretty good amount of money online. So it's really quick to get started, really easy to get started. The flip side to being a freelancer is that you are not a, you're not salaried and there's not a regular income, so you have to be constantly searching for new clients. There's a little bit more uncertainty or unknown when it comes to how much money you're making and how regular that money is going to be.

Speaker 1:

The next one is a remote employee, which is something that has gotten a lot more popularity since COVID, and it's where, essentially, you go and you get a normal quote, unquote. W2 job is what we call it in the States. I don't know what tax form is it's called in other places, but in the States is a W2 job. You're working for somebody else, they're playing you a salary, they'll pay you benefits and then you are fully remote. The downside to this you do have to be careful. I have heard a lot about companies trying to say, oh, we're remote, but you also have to come into the office once a week or once a month, so you do have to be a little bit careful when you're looking for these remote jobs. I also would say, just based on our experience that I've shared a little bit more time zones can be very, very tricky. I mean not saying that it's not doable at all.

Speaker 1:

We have a really good friend who is based out of Thailand and he works for a company in Seattle and so essentially, he starts his work day at 11 at night and he works through the night and then wakes up and has. He doesn't wake up, he's already awake. His family wakes up, he has breakfast with his family, they go off to school and to work and he goes to bed. So it totally works for them. It totally works for some people. That's just not our speed, it's not really our jam.

Speaker 2:

This works well. If you're someone who wants the structure of a salaried, paid job, you know how much you're going to make. It's a little bit more expected of what's going to happen. Another downside is that you don't get as much flexibility in creating your own schedule as you would with some of these other options. I do want to say that with this one, there's a lot of people that have come to us as well, looking for help with finding a remote job. You really need to come at it with an abundance mindset. Sometimes we are looking for jobs and we have this scarcity to mindset. We feel like no one's giving you a chance. You're not getting the interviews that you want. There's a job out there for you, you know.

Speaker 1:

I think there's a big misconception when you're applying for jobs that you just apply, you know, send in a resume like, tweak it to fit them and badda-bing, badda-boom. But really there is a high level of marketing yourself to get into a remote position.

Speaker 2:

Another option is to start your own business. This is my mnemonic is jam. We love this and that's because we've seen you can't always find the right job, that a works with your lifestyle but b works with the things that you are passionate about and the things that you're skilled at. And if you can't find something that's perfect for you, we say, go make it. And that's why we love this option is because there's so many paths to take with this, like, literally, it's limitless. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to creating your own job. We have seen some incredibly unique online businesses, so we just love this option, and we also think that there's a huge aspect of personal development and personal growth that comes along with starting your own business. You learn a lot about yourself, you grow a lot as a person, you're pushed and challenged in ways that you're not as an employee or even just a freelancer.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and there's definitely room when you start more of a business as opposed to just freelancing one off projects. The difference is that it grows and scales with you and you can grow and scale into the CEO role and provide more employment opportunities, which I just think is so exciting. So that I mean there's so much, there's so many kind of nuances here. I would say a lot of online businesses start as freelancers and then it kind of grows and evolves into more of an online business.

Speaker 2:

That happens a lot and normally it's pretty organic. You kind of start growing and you have a larger client base and more interest and you put on more the hat of a CEO, more than just a one time project kind of person.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, okay, so then a creator. I think this is a really popular one that a lot of people see. Whenever you search, like how to make money online, you're always going to see influencers, you're always going to see bloggers, you're always going to see creators. So, essentially, these are people who are monetizing themselves by creating content and or a personal brand. I would say most of the time it's a personal brand. I don't actually know that. It just seems that most of them who do really well have a personal brand, so this could be, like I said, a blog, a YouTube channel, instagram.

Speaker 2:

Think MrBeast, someone who releases regular content that people consume and then you can throw an ad content from there. There's lots of different ways to generate revenue through this, but that's kind of like that's who comes to mind. When I think of a content creator, that's the first person that pops in my head.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, yeah, I mean he's a great example, I think. Isn't he like the most, like the highest paid YouTube creator, or something he was at?

Speaker 2:

one point. I don't know if he still is, but this is a really popular option and I don't want to knock it. But I do want to give you a bit of a reality check. This takes a lot of time. You are not going to start your own YouTube channel in a week, in a month, and get enough views to make a living off of this content. This is going to take several years. It takes a lot of time to build a fan base, to build an audience, to build enough traffic to your channel, to your sites, where you can live off of that income. So if you want to do something like this, I definitely want to encourage you to do it if you're interested in it and if you're passionate about it. But start it now, while you have some other source of income, and build it while you're earning money from something else.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think that's really good advice. I follow a couple of creators which I just adore. I think they're awesome and they have talked about how long it took them to make money as a creator, and most of them have said about year three is when they start making money. That's what I heard too, actually.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so expect on average about three years. And then another one that we have here is being an investor. So think about you're like a property investor, you have Airbnb's, or if you are doing like stock exchanges, or if you're retired and you're living off of your investment income, things like that. Those are all ways that people also can make money online as a digital nomad. Those things also typically take time. You know, things like Airbnb you're going to have to if you want to be able to travel remotely or travel while you have that going. You're gonna have to spend some time setting it up and hiring a manager if you're going to be gone, things like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I'd say the biggest downside to these is it does require a bunch of upfront capital, which I don't know your financial situation. You might be in a totally different position than we were, as far as Austin and I were, when we started our journey. We did not have that capital to invest. So these are just kind of like the general categories that you can look into for different ways to make money, and the cool thing about these is you could do more than one of these at once. I would encourage you to start with just one thing.

Speaker 1:

I know a lot of advice that you hear online is that, oh, like, the average millionaire has seven income streams.

Speaker 1:

And then you're like, okay, well, I should start my creator account, I should start freelancing, I should start investing, I should get all of these income streams, and it's so enticing, and I fall into this trap all the time. But luckily I have Austin to remind me to calm down, because here's the thing Millionaires did not become millionaires because they took on everything at once. They became really really good at one thing and then they added a second thing. So start with one thing. If you are dividing your attention to many different things and your energy to many different things. None of them are going to grow as fast as you want them to. So if you can narrow in your focus and narrow in your energy into putting into one of these options becoming a freelancer, becoming a creator, starting, airbnb is whatever it is If you can focus all of your time and energy into that one thing, it is going to grow exponentially faster than if you were trying to do them all at once.

Speaker 2:

And that advice works on two different levels. So, on the first level, like Monica was talking about, don't try and start up a brand new business at the same time that you're trying to create Airbnb investments and things like that, because that's just going to be overwhelming. But it also works on a different level. If you decide that you want to start your own business, or if you want to be a freelancer, don't try and do 10 different jobs at once. Don't try and be a web designer and an online guitar teacher and a tutor all at the same time.

Speaker 2:

I recommend that you pick one thing, find something that you are really passionate about, something that you're good at, and if you're not good at it, you can get good at it. There's tons of online courses for everything online these days and pick one thing and then start hitting the ground running with that one and, like Monica said, as you progress and as you get good at that thing, as you get an audience with that thing and get clients, you can tack on extra skills and extra things that you want to provide and offer to your clients. But it's going to be so much easier if you pick one and start with that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would also recommend learning from mentors. So the fact that you're here listening to this podcast already speaks to the fact that you understand the value of listening to someone who's gone there, been there, done that before, or you just like us. In that case, thank you very much for being here. But there is such a big value, a high value, in learning from people who have been there, done that. So podcasts, youtube videos, investing in coaches, friend groups, facebook groups any way that you can surround yourself with people who are on the same journey as you and you can learn from and grow from, is totally worth it and super valuable.

Speaker 1:

I will say one little caveat here is like we you will hear us say over and over and over and over again this is an individual journey. Okay, you're not going to be able to take an expert's advice. You're not going to be able to say, okay, this person says, do X, y and Z and I'll have a thriving business. So I'm going to do X, y and Z and I'm totally going to ignore my intuition. I'm totally going to ignore, like, who I am as a person, in my own needs. I'm just going to do exactly what they did. It's not going to work for you, okay, so you need to find mentors and people who are giving you advice, and then you're going to take that in and listen to your gut and follow that.

Speaker 2:

So we're going to go back and recap these things real quick. So, if you are looking for how to get started as a digital nomad number one find your personal best path forward, whether that's being a business owner, a freelancer, a remote employee at someone else's business, an investor or a content creator. Find what's going to work best for you and move forward with that. Number two get started by doing just one thing Find the skill that you are good at. Find the cause that you are passionate about. Choose one thing to begin with, Get good at that, get an audience and then build from there. And, by the way, if you want tips on how to grow that part, go reference episode number 12. We have seven steps to starting your online business. So if you're going the online business or even the freelancer route, definitely check out that episode. We have some great tips in there for you. And number three learn from the leaders. Learn from mentors. Surround yourself by people who have done this before, who have done it successfully, and it can give you some guidance.

Speaker 2:

And now that I'm thinking about it, I want to throw in one bonus tip.

Speaker 2:

This is an unplanned tip that I think would really help as you're going through all of these steps that we've outlined, you're going to come across a lot of mental barriers. You're going to come across imposter syndrome and feel like you can't do it, Feel like you're not qualified or worthy enough or good enough. You're going to feel afraid. You might be fearful of the unknown, you might be fearful of failing. You might be fearful of what other people are going to say or think about you. You're going to come up against and face a lot of mental blocks and mental barriers, and so our bonus tip would be do a lot of that inner work to work through that. It can be really helpful to work with a one-on-one coach or a mentor to work through these things, because they can help point these things out to you and help you identify these things when you can't see them in yourself, and then they can help you work through them and find ways to navigate around these mental roadblocks.

Speaker 1:

That would be our answer. If you're coming to us and you're saying what's the first thing I need to do, what are the first three things I need to do to be successful, to set myself up for success as a digital nomad, that is this episode.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so much for joining us here on the profitable nomad couple podcast. We appreciate you listening to us today.

Speaker 1:

If you enjoyed this episode, share it on Instagram and be sure to tag us. At Austin and Monica, together, we can inspire others to embrace a location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

And while you're there, we'd love to connect with you, so make sure you follow us for more tips and inspiration on living your dream location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 1:

Until next week. Remember that you have the power to shape your own path. So stay curious, stay adventures and stay connected.

Getting Started as a Digital Nomad
Become a Digital Nomad, Key Steps