You want Become a digital nomad and work location-independently from anywhere in the world be able to? It doesn't matter if you've had enough of university, your job sucks or you just want to make a fresh start: In this article, I'll show you how you can become a digital nomad in just a few steps and realize your dream of working from anywhere.
Here is another short Overview about the article:
Notice: This article originates from another, dissolved project and has been adapted accordingly. Even if it doesn't harmonize 100 percent with the topic of sustainability, you can still use the content to get a little closer to climate-friendly, location-independent work.
Tip: The Corona crisis at the latest should have made the advantages of location-independent working clear to us all. In the article about the Conclusions from the Corona Pandemicyou will learn what you can still learn from this time.
Become a digital nomad - With these things!
As a digital nomad you are very free in your decisions and of course in the things you own. To become a digital nomad you basically don't need much! The more you own, the less flexibility you have. Therefore, I will now show you the things that you need in any case and depending on your business to become a digital nomad.
The absolute basis for location-independent work as a digital nomad. Nothing works without your laptop. At most, you can temporarily work once with your smartphone, should your laptop be for repair. Depending on where you are, there may be no laptop repair. A breakdown would be the worst case for you and your online business. That's why you should invest in your work base a little more! It is worth it. In the long run you will save money and a lot of problems.
If you want to become a digital nomad, you will definitely need a smartphone for phone calls, WhatsApp contacts and basically for fast, mobile communication. As already mentioned, the smartphone is also a good device to bridge when your laptop should be for repair. In Sri Lanka, I had to manage without a laptop for 2 weeks and was able to do almost everything via my smartphone, even though working location-independently with it was - admittedly - very tedious.
Tip: If you want to be 100% sure that you'll always have mobile internet when you're on the road, then I recommend you look into getting a surf stick before you travel. Have a look at the article about sustainable telephony, which should also help you!
In addition to the technical devices and tools, you basically need a functioning and, if possible, fast Internet connection. The spread of a good network is progressing rapidly, and hotspots can be found on every corner. Not only in Germany, but also in most developing countries. With each passing day, this network expansion makes you even freer as a digital nomad.
As a digital nomad, you can travel to the places that make you happy and work there regardless of location. When you get tired of a place, you just keep traveling. If you want to become a digital nomad, you'll find that there are many good location-independent jobs out there. For example, sprout Co-Working Spaces are springing up like mushrooms at the moment. In these special facilities you have perfect working conditions for your flexible business. Personally, I also like to work in cafés or in the accommodation I'm staying in. But basically, I love the company of other entrepreneurs in the co-working space. Especially in the early days when you want to become a digital nomad, I highly recommend it.
In theory, this can also be done digitally, but for me it's psychologically valuable to be able to check off goals and intermediate objectives again and again. The notebook accompanies you throughout your time as a digital nomad. Record your goals and always keep an overview of your tasks.
For your own business, you need of course from a legal point of view also a trade. Only then can your work legally function properly. The Trade license you can get relatively quickly at the trade office of your city for about 20 - 60 €. Consider whether you want to start out on a small scale as a small business owner - or directly as a sole proprietor. With the business registration you have then laid the next foundation for your successful digital business.
As a digital nomad, you work largely paperless, but you still need to find a good structure to always have invoices, payment data and other documents ready for you and your tax advisor. DropBox is ideal for this. It's a digital folder system that you can access from your smartphone and laptop at any time, even offline.
As a digital nomad, you don't want to carry your scanner with you every day, do you? As a perfect alternative, simply download the Scanner Pro App download. With the app, you can scan documents accurately and upload them directly to your Dropbox.
Signatures are still required on documents, of course. This is usually a thorn in the side of the location-independent, digital nomad. Here you have helped yourself with Sign Now also a strong, digital alternative. Simply sign digitally with your smartphone.
I currently send my mail via my roommate and my parents back home. But it's also easier with digital forwarding using DropScan. As soon as I have made my experiences there, I will write a separate article.
Willingness to learn
Not to be paid with money! You really need to become a digital nomad and want to learn all the time. To 100%. If you're open to new experiences, though, I'm not worried about that. You'll see how quickly you'll grow personally when you run your own business as a location-independent digital nomad.
When it comes to "earning money on the Internet", there are also many black sheep who want to tell you how easy it is to become a digital nomad. And then the interested parties are often surprised afterwards that you also have to do bookkeeping. Unfortunately, they had never heard that from the so-called "coaches". So: I do subordinate the tax advisor to the optional one, but unless you're a tax crack, you should definitely get back to a tax accountant including bookkeeping. Personally, he takes away so much tedious work that I don't want to do myself. Proper financial statements and lots of tax saving tips are guaranteed.
Employee / Freelancer
At the beginning also optional. Depending on your business model and the status of your online business, you should also get some support. Whether it's new blog posts or social media work on Facebook, Pinterest, etc. - at some point, you'll have to take some of the load off yourself and focus on the most important tasks as a digital nomad. By staff, by the way, I mean employees or even freelancers.
As you can see, you basically don't need many things to become a digital nomad. What you do need is a good overview and someone who has already gone through the process of becoming a digital nomad.
Forms of location-independent working
Basically, as a self-employed freelancer, you can work for others regardless of location or get off the ground with a more personal online business. One of many Advantages of location-independent working with your own online business is that with a functioning online business, you also earn money while you sleep. As a freelancer you work for others, but you can usually do that from anywhere in the world. I also started as a freelancer in SEO (search engine optimization), writing texts for a company. That was my first contact with online marketing and as you can see, everything turned out great. Now I'm going to introduce you to the best ways to become a digital nomad and work wherever you are:
Blogging opens up a lot of opportunities for you! With Affiliate marketing, Banner advertising, Sponsored Posts and of course also in combination with your own Online ShopYou can earn very good money online through blogging. The longer and more passionately you blog, the more likely it is that great partnerships will emerge. Because companies see you as a link to the common target group and will soon get in touch with you. Even if you can only make a living from pure blogging after several months or years, never underestimate the value of your blog! Because with every text and every additional visitor, your blog becomes more valuable. Nevertheless, you should not see a blog as a money machine, but as a passion project with which you pass on valuable content. This ensures long-term success.
As you can see, you can also become a digital nomad with your own blog and work location-independently.
Every day, the Internet creates new jobs that also offer you the chance to become a digital nomad. As a freelancer, you can also earn a lot of money on the Internet, depending on your skills. All you need is a (small) business and offer your services. Service an. For example, you can write texts for companies or program websites. I also know many freelance photographers who sell their photos or translators who translate web texts into other languages. Offer your services on platforms for freelancers like Freelancer.de and create a website for your services.
Online retailing offers you unimagined opportunities to become a digital nomad very quickly. On various online platforms, you can find the perfect manufacturer for your desired product and create your own product. A product that optimally fits the topic you are working on. Start your own Online Shop and sell your own products. With fulfillment providers, the sale can also be wonderfully automated and you usually have a good income that minimizes your worries in the early days of your online business.
As the name suggests, you build a site for a niche topic where there is little competition. For example, a website that compares flashlights. There are no limits to your imagination here. Through Affiliate advertising Through networks like Zanox or Awin, you can then refer the best articles and earn money automatically. You can also resell such websites very well if you are no longer so enthusiastic about them. With niche sites, however, you have very good opportunities to work independently of location and earn your daily income online.
Absolutely sexy if you not only want to BECOME a digital nomad, but also STAY one in the long term. Because with digital products like e-books or Online coursesyou only have a one-time high effort. After that, the product stands and, in the best case, sells for the rest of your life. An online course can also be automated very well. If the content and presentation of the e-book and online course fit, the product will almost certainly sell very well and generate a good income for you automatically. You are not only a digital nomad, but also an author. An e-book can also increase your personal market value!
Tip: Feel free to check out my 30 Days To Zero Waste Online Course to learn more and make less waste in everyday life in the future.
Many possibilities to be able to work location-independently
As you can see, your chances of becoming a digital nomad have just increased. You don't have to be a blogger, freelancer, online retailer, niche site owner, and e-book author all in one! But as I write these lines I realize that I am all of these by now. Because over time, as your skills develop, so do your chances of increasing your income from your activity. As an online retailer with your own blog, for example, you quickly become an influencer, If you are passionate about providing value to your readers.
Become a digital nomad - your skills
To become a digital nomad, you need a good foundation. And this basis is you yourself. Every minute and every cent you put into your own skills makes you and your business better and expands your personal possibilities. Of course, as a location-independent digital nomad, you don't have to master everything, but the more diverse your skills, the better. Here I'll give you 10 important skills that you shouldn't master 100% as a digital nomad, but still constantly improve:
As you can see, you basically don't need many things to become a digital nomad. What you do need is a good overview and someone who has already gone through the process of becoming a digital nomad.
As a layman, you might think directly of website programming and shrink back a bit. Forget that. Because today there are fantastic blog & store systems à la WordPress. With this content management system it is really super easy to create your first own website. In the clear modular principle.
Tip: Take a look at the post about sustainable web designn in! There you can pick up even more practical tips.
I am glad that I came to online marketing through search engine optimization and learned a lot. Basically, SEO (abbreviated Search Engine Optimization) is not complicated. The goal is to get to the top of the natural search results (under the ads on Google) for the keywords that are most important to you, in order to bring as many visitors as possible to your site. SEO goes offpage through backlinks of other websites and onpage through your texts, titles and images on your website.
With Google Ads you can promote your articles or your store, if you still get too little traffic (website visitors) to your website via the organic websites. It's very simple to explain: You pay money for searchers to find your website. If you offer targeted content, this investment is definitely worth it.
As a location-independent digital nomad, you want your website visitors to come back and not just visit once. You can achieve this through well-structured content marketing with advisory, supportive content that adds real value for the reader. If you want to become a digital nomad, you should therefore also take a close look at the topic of content marketing.
The classic online trade is not complicated in principle and offers you the possibility to finance your project from the beginning. Provided that your products sell well. If you are interested in online trade with physical or digital products, you will quickly get a feeling for sensible and stupid product ideas.
How do you get a potential customer to become a customer? The sales funnel answers this initial question and turns an initial contact into a prospect who will eventually decide to buy one of your products and eventually become a customer. In the course of your personal development with your online business, you will also get a good sense of what your target audience or potential customers really want.
If you want to become a digital nomad, you can't underestimate the power of email marketing. First, because your customer contact is very easy to automate through email campaigns, and second, because your reader or prospect has voluntarily allowed you to write them on a regular basis. Improve your email marketing skills and you'll automatically improve your customer retention as well without cutting into your work time.
Tip: Here you can download my free E-Book and subscribe to our newsletter.
If you want to work as a digital nomad independent of location, you should also improve your skills in managing your community. Because with every day your following grows and many emails come in that need to be answered. Especially in social media, such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, it is an advantage to be able to respond quickly and interact with your own community. This increases customer loyalty enormously and turns interested parties into real fans of your work.
As mentioned above, it doesn't matter that you've mastered all of these things 100%. But if you've ever heard of search engine optimization, email marketing, and community management, you'll know when to improve your skills in these areas. Over time, you will improve your skills in all areas so incredibly, believe me.
Brainstorming for your online business
For me, this section is the heart of this article and your guide to becoming a digital nomad. I will now go through how I became a location-independent digital nomad based on my own experiences. By the way: The following instructions are of course especially suitable for you if you are still lacking the right idea to finally be able to work location-independently. But also for those who already have an idea, the comparison with the 6-step plan to become a digital nomad is worthwhile. Let's go!
1. how much do you want to become a digital nomad?
You simply have to decide whether life as a location-independent digital nomad is really something for you. For this purpose, I have prepared a short overview with advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: Free time management, location independence, working on your passion, traveling, meeting people & cultures, extreme personal development, income even while you sleep.
Disadvantages: Little structure, little chance of commitment, uncertain future.
Basically, life as a digital nomad is really unique and great! You didn't think about becoming a digital nomad for nothing. So if you can answer the initial question clearly, you can now move on to the second step.
2. what are your personal strengths and weaknesses?
If you really want to become a digital nomad, then this is the classic, dusty question from job interviews. However, the answer to this question will help you enormously in becoming a digital nomad and finding your ideal business idea. It allows you to narrow down your business idea a bit. This also has the advantage that you don't have to relearn all the necessary skills at 100%, but start at a certain level. Note: If you can't think of much, that's no problem! But the more answers you find, the more clues you have for your later business idea. Be mercilessly honest with yourself here, everything else is wasted time.
What makes you stand out? What would you like to learn? Write down the things that you are basically interested in or that you are really good at. Write down everything that comes to your mind, even if it might be nonsense at first glance.
My answers looked something like this: Good copywriter, search engine optimization, What I set my mind to will follow through, I want to make the world a better place, I want to learn new things from online marketing, affiliate marketing, search engine advertising, honesty, helpfulness.
What can't you do? What don't you feel like doing? The same applies here as above: Write down what you can't do and what you don't enjoy doing! Let your creativity run free and write down all the stupid answers that come to your mind.
That's roughly what I wrote down: Accounting, tax stuff, talking in front of people, programming.
All these answers are not set in stone and many weaknesses can be your strengths even one year later. Because you develop with your business. What's certain about 100% is that the answers will help you find the business that will allow you to become a location-independent digital nomad. Let's take the next step to becoming a digital nomad.
3. what are you burning for?
By this question I mean: What is your passion? What are you really into? This might already be the area where you can earn money online and make your dream of working from anywhere come true. So: What are you burning for? Write down everything that comes to your mind!
That was my answer: I want to make the world a better place. But I also want to see it, I want to get to know people and cultures, I don't just want to sell something, I want to see the world. Environmental problems of our time fight, I want to do online marketing, I want to blog, I want to be proud, I want to develop, I want to work location independent.
As you can see, it doesn't say "I want to be rich" or "I want to be financially independent". My list only includes things that make me really happy. Money should not be the driving force to become a digital nomad. You should be driven by your passion, which you hopefully found with the answer to the question "What do you burn for?
4. where is there a problem?
Having a working online business usually solves an existing problem. For example, the Pro Scanner app solves the problem of not being able to scan documents on the go. The problem doesn't necessarily have to be that glaring. Because fashion blogs, for example, don't solve an earth-shattering problem, but they do inspire. Thus, you are basically solving the problem of people who lack inspiration. So, in the third step on the path to becoming a digital nomad, answer the question about the problem in the possible areas of your strengths and passions. It doesn't have to be your biggest passion either, which is what your online business is all about. But working will definitely be a lot easier for you if you identify 100% with the topic. So: Where is there a problem that you can solve?
My answer was: 32 million tons of plastic waste is in the environment every year, 80% of plastic waste comes from Southeast Asian countries, 370 million tons of plastic waste is created by unconscious consumption every year. (see also Plastic waste in the environment)
5. what solution do you have?
If you want to become a digital nomad and you've identified a problem, you should use the develop suitable solution. It doesn't have to be the perfect solution to the problem right now, because that evolves over time. So how to solve the problem you've identified? The answer from the developers of the Scanner Pro app, for example, is an app that scans documents and their size and can upload them directly as PDF files. This solved the problem of not being able to scan documents on the go.
My solution was the following: E-commerce with plastic free products, blog to educate the society. (see also CareElite environmental project)
This step is simply about finding a solution or providing value to your potential audience.
6. start your online business
Now you know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your passion. Maybe you've already found the ideal idea for your online business? Then it's time to get your business rolling. Go ahead and make your dream come true. It's really not complicated to get started! Even if you have no experience in website building or online marketing. Today you have all the possibilities to learn new skills on your own within a very short time. Whether it's by reading classic books, watching video tutorials on YouTube or reading helpful blog articles.
How you can start your own digital online business and work and travel location-independently, you will soon find out in a detailed article!
Tip: Here are some business booksthat you should definitely read!
Preparation - Become a digital nomad in 14 steps
Here are 14 steps I took to become a digital nomad. Use them as a guide and create a picture of how you can best prepare yourself for the digital nomadic life.
1. inform yourself
I didn't know much when I started my online business... I just felt like it and I'm eager to learn. Blog posts, YouTube tutorials, talks, books and online courses move you forward mightily!
2. do you want to become a digital nomad?
You have to know that it can be stressful and that you need 100% motivation and patience, especially in the beginning. So if you can answer the question with a clear YES, then go on! If not, first make yourself aware of what drives you.
3. how much money do you need
For me it was about 2000€ a month, which I need to live. Think about where you can cut costs. That way you'll be a bit more flexible. Many people have also made the leap to location-independent working by reducing their job from full-time to part-time with a transitional solution - and only quit when the personal idea turned into a revenue-generating project.
4. what do you bring to the table? Strengths, weaknesses, passions
Even starting from scratch is no problem. Optimal if you can become a digital nomad directly based on your strengths and passions!
5. save money
When you quit your job, you have no income for the time being. So for the first few months, you need to put a little money aside. Think about how you can live more minimally, do without consumer goods and thus save money. If you've already saved enough, all the better!
6. prepare your business part-time
Before you quit, you should plan your plan. Does it solve a problem that people have? Then your idea has real potential. Make a rough task plan for the next few months!
7. events and seminars - always keep learning
If you already know roughly what you're going to do for a living, attend seminars and events that will help you improve your business skills. For example, online marketing events!
8. let's go - launch your website
Haha funny, you think? Get a web hosting package, for example at 1und1 and install WordPress. You can also ask 1und1 or other hosting providers, they will help you. And then you start with a simple but flexible modular system!
9. check your status - do you go in it on
How are you? If you're doing well, keep doing what you're doing! Write your first blog articles and put your business on the rails towards location-independent working. Also, be aware of what your readers and your growing community are interested in and adapt your content accordingly.
10. enough money together? Then quit your job
If you are afraid of falling, you will crawl forever. Now gather your courage and say byebye to your boss. Because you have something in mind that will drive you and make you happy!
11. regulate your paperwork
Right from the start, I've been working with a tax consultant who also does the bookkeeping. That way I have both in one and am rid of the annoying paperwork. When you start your digital nomadic life, you pay about 40-60 euros a month. Tip: Find someone who knows their way around the Internet.
12. test the digital nomadic life
You have now set everything in motion to work more location-independently in the future. Just try it out for a few weeks in a neighboring German country. This way you stay flexible and can react quickly.
13. it worked? Then look for a cheap destination
In Indonesia, Brazil or Thailand you will find the ideal, favorable conditions for your start as a digital nomad. That doesn't mean you should fly there every week! For example, I always stayed there for a few months so that the ratio between travel distance and travel time is as environmentally friendly as possible. (more under fly as sustainably as possible)
14. work hard and stay hungry
My top motto, which is especially true in the early days. Because here you will face many challenges where you have to prove that you really want to become a digital nomad. So be patient and stay motivated! Just take another look at the reasons for becoming a digital nomad.
Become a digital nomad - 8 valuable tips
I would now like to give you 8 important tips that you should take to heart if you want to become a digital nomad! I've been able to work location-independently for quite a while now and I'm giving you these tips based on my personal experience.
1. you really have to work hard
People want to be able to work more location-independently because this way of earning a living means more freedom. But for that you have to do something especially in the beginning and you can't just hang out at the beach. Of course you can find a good mix of beach, sight-seeing and your business. If you work with passion for your goals, you will quickly achieve a good income that will also give you more flexibility in your leisure time activities at your favorite places. But any business can always be made a little better. So find a healthy mix of work and travel if you want to be location independent in the long run.
Tip: Be sure to check out my post about Zero Waste Travel in to consciously make less trash when you're out and about.
2. it can be stressful
You need to know this if you want to become a digital nomad. Because besides possible stress from the business, many disruptive factors can also occur on your trip. Passport or visa, theft of your laptop or loss of your wallet. Everything is possible. So be prepared, make copies of your documents, write down phone numbers and addresses. And most importantly, make sure your laptop is always with you or safely locked away. Because when your laptop is gone, that's when things really get stressful. Take these tips to heart, because these are really my personal experiences.
3. internet is not good everywhere
Whether in India, Brazil, South Africa or Indonesia. The Internet is not as good everywhere as it is in Germany. On Lombok, for example, the Internet went down for an entire city just because it rained a little. To make sure you are always connected, you should get a SIM card with mobile internet. Co-working spaces like Hubud in Ubud (if you ever find yourself in Bali, make sure you go there, even if it's just for a day) offer high-speed internet and good tech support. If you want to become a digital nomad you have to make sure that you always have an internet connection. Then everything is good.
4. have patience
You really want to become a digital nomad and work location-independently, right? Then you might need a little patience. Especially in the beginning you need a lot of confidence in your plan. With the first partnerships and income you will then get the confirmation! Always remember that your project becomes more and more valuable with every text and every minute you invest in it. Just work for your goals and success will come. As your business grows day by day, so will your standard of living over time.
5. take only what is necessary
You would come across this tip at the latest when you have completed your first test run as a location-independent digital nomad. Depending on how active you are, you won't spend all your time in one place and travel around a lot. The fewer things you carry around with you, the better. Because that way you always stay nice and flexible. For example, I wouldn't take my big drone with me again. And you don't need that much clothing either, you can do your laundry everywhere. Just think about the things you definitely need before your trip. Then it will fit.
Tip: You can get even more advice in the post about sustainable travel!
6. invest in your skills
You might have been a bit scared by this article when you saw what skills you should have if you want to become a digital nomad. As I said, these skills would be ideal, but that doesn't mean you have to master them all from the start. Because you will automatically develop very quickly! To accelerate your development process, you should regularly attend seminars or events and exchange ideas with other entrepreneurs in Facebook groups. Invest in your skills, because only they will advance your online business and open new doors for you.
7. calculate the cost of living
I earn my money in Germany, but most of the time I live in countries with a much lower cost of living. That's why I also recommend traveling to countries like South America or Southeast Asia for your start as a digital nomad. Here you don't need an income of 2000€ per month to make ends meet. Accommodation, food and mobility are simply much cheaper here. So you will probably have much more money at the end of the month than you would in Germany. So you should think about where you can start your life as a location-independent digital nomad.
8. set yourself (intermediate) goals
From the beginning, I write down what I want to achieve in the next 90 days. For example, the goals are "e-book finished" or "new (concrete) product on the market". Every morning, I write down my tasks for the day and get started. That way I stay focused and don't get distracted by any crap.
By the way: Every day, do the things first that you don't really feel like doing! Once that's done, you're free to tackle the exciting tasks. That's how you'll put your online business on the rails and achieve your goals.
Become a digital nomad & work location-independently? It's easier than ever!
Just do it! You will learn a lot on the way to your goal, also about yourself. And finally, to take away all your fears: In the worst case, your plan won't work. So what? Only those who are afraid of falling have to crawl their whole life.
With this article, I don't want to create a crowd of frequent-flying digital nomads, but rather inspire more people for location-independent working and the opportunities of self-employment. For me, it was definitely worth taking the plunge. Because today I can devote myself to my passion, environmental protection, every day and without always having to travel to the same office.
I also wish you the greatest success on your way!