Ditch the office, embrace the world: How I quit my 9-to-5 and found freedom (and income) as a digital nomad

experiencing freedom as a digital nomad

Imagine yourself enjoying the sunrise with a glass of Malbec, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and you’ve closed your laptop a while ago and you only hear the birds singing, not the voice of office chatter. This isn’t a luxury vacation ad, it’s my reality as a digital nomad, a citizen of the world whose office doubles as a swimming pool bar or a mountainside cafe. But before you click away thinking “privileged trust fund baby,” let me tell you this: I traded my office life for digital freedom five years ago, with nothing but a laptop, a journal full of dreams, and zero trust fund inheritance.

The truth is, making money as a digital nomad isn’t some mystical secret reserved for tech gurus and social media influencers. It’s about leveraging your skills, embracing flexibility, and tapping into the ever-growing remote work landscape. Sure, there’s hustle involved (and a lot as we start), but the rewards – freedom, adventure, and a life truly in tune with your passions – are worth every byte of effort.

Now, you’re probably wondering: “But what about the money? How do I pay the bills while sipping a glass of Torrontes in Argentina or a mojito in Colombia?” Here’s the juicy part, the stuff most blogs gloss over:

Niche Down, Not Out: Forget the “jack-of-all-trades” approach. Instead, find your unique skillset, that thing that makes you stand out from the crowd of remote workers. Are you a data-wrangling wizard? A social media storytelling maestro?

Pro tip: Lean into your niche and become the go-to expert in your field.

As a marketer myself, it’s very tempting to offer all types of marketing services but I decided to specialise in email marketing and content marketing to be able to stand out from the crowd and it worked.

According to a study by Upwork, specialised skills command higher hourly rates than generalist ones. (Source: Upwork 2023 Freelancer Income Report)

Think beyond the usual suspects: Remote work options extend far beyond the typical freelancing platforms.

Did you know that companies like Automattic, Zapier, and GitLab actively hire for remote roles?

Check out dedicated job boards like Remote.co or Nomad List, and explore platforms like FlexJobs or We Work Remotely to unearth hidden gems.

Passive income: your secret weapon: Imagine waking up to money magically appearing in your account. The magic is called passive income, and it’s a digital nomad’s best friend.

From creating online courses to building an affiliate website, there are countless ways to let your work earn even while you’re exploring ancient temples or diving into coral reefs.

Affiliate Marketing is actually the method I used to make my first $ online- It was an online Marketing course that I took and then promoted on this website and on social media (and this was back in 2011 after I created this website). I still make a good chunk of my income from affiliate marketing (Amazon, SafetyWing, Dreamhost – my hosting provider, Divi – my WordPress builder,  AI content bloggerMailerlite – my email provider and also this 15-day Business Challenge from Dave Sharpe).

A study by Statista found that the global e-learning market is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025 – time to tap into that goldmine!

working as a digital nomad

Master the Art of the Side Hustle: Diversify your income streams. Create an e-book on your niche expertise, offer online consultations, or even sell handmade crafts at local markets.

Remember, multiple income streams create a financial safety net and keep you from relying solely on one fickle client. 

Remote Education Renaissance:

Tired of the classroom walls? Ditch them for the world’s classrooms!

Online tutoring is booming, with the global e-learning market projected to reach a whopping $1.9 trillion by 2027 (GlobeNewswire, 2023).

Share your expertise in languages, STEM subjects, or even niche skills like coding for kids, and connect with students across the globe. Platforms like VIPKid and Cambly offer flexible hours and competitive pay, letting you earn while exploring ancient ruins in Peru or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

Virtual Assistant Extraordinaire:

The virtual assistant (VA) role has evolved beyond basic admin tasks. Become a specialized VA, offering expertise in areas like social media management, SEO optimization, or even podcast editing or video editing. With skills in high demand, you can set your own rates and work with clients from around the world, all while sipping mojitos on a Mexican beach.

Content Curation Concierge:

In the information age, content is king, but time is precious. Enter the content curation concierge – a digital nomad who helps businesses and individuals navigate the content ocean. From researching and sourcing high-quality articles to managing social media feeds, you’ll be the king (or queen) of content creation, filtering the good stuff for clients and earning a tidy sum in the process.

enjoying life as a digital nomad

Offline gigs

Don’t just rely on online gigs. Think outside the Wi-Fi box! 

Local Experience Guru:

Become the ultimate insider for a specific city or region. Offer personalized tours, curated restaurant recommendations, and hidden gem experiences to fellow travelers. Platforms like Airbnb Experiences and Vayable connect you with curious explorers, allowing you to monetize your local knowledge while sharing the magic of your adopted home.

In the past few years, I hosted Argentine Wine Tastings and empanada-making classes in Rosario, Argentina using AirBNB Experiences. My crazy fact is that for both experiences, I got my first bookings on the day I published them and I’m not even located in a very touristy place in Argentina.

 Befriend the Local Hustle: . In Buenos Aires, you can teach English to local kids, earning extra cash while immersing yourself in the culture. In Prague, you can offer walking tours for fellow nomads, sharing your insider knowledge and building your network.

Remember, location is your currency. Use it to your advantage! 

Visa for digital nomads

Location, location, location – but not for the reasons you think: Sure, Bali and Chiang Mai are nomad hotspots, but remember, affordability is key.

Consider places like Medellin in Colombia or Buenos Aires in Argentina, where a high quality of life meets a budget-friendly cost of living.

Nomad List’s 2023 Cost of Living Index ranks Medellin the most affordable city for digital nomads, with a monthly budget of just $837.

 Community is your lifeline: The digital nomad journey can be exhilarating, but it’s not always smooth sailing. That’s where the global nomad community comes in.

Online forums, co-working spaces, and Facebook groups offer invaluable support, advice, and even travel buddies.

Remember, you’re not alone in this – a virtual handshake and a shared experience can turn even the loneliest beach into a home away from home.

Remember, the digital nomad life isn’t just about location independence, it’s about embracing your unique skills and passions. So, ditch the desk, put on your explorer hat, and start building your dream income stream, one sandcastle at a time.

Bonus Tip: Network like crazy! Attend online and offline events, connect with other nomads on social media, and build your virtual community. The more you connect, the more opportunities you’ll unlock.

Now go forth, digital nomads! The world is your office, and your income potential is limitless. Remember, the only limit is your imagination.