How to Become a Digital Nomad with No Experience

Ever dreamed of how to become a digital nomad with no experience

Here’s the good news: you don’t need loads of experience to make this dream a reality. I’ve been living the digital nomad lifestyle with my partner, Josh, for a couple of years now, and we started with zero experience. If you’re feeling hesitant or unsure if you’re cut out for this lifestyle, understand this:

Your dream life as a digital nomad is already being lived by someone else right now. No matter where they are, they began from scratch, just like you can. 

They likely faced uncertainty and naysayers but learned as they went and created their dream life. So, don’t let doubts hold you back. It’s completely possible to become a digital nomad – even if you’ve never traveled extensively or feel you lack the skills.

Every digital nomad started somewhere. Sure, some folks may have had a head start, but most of us began with a mix of excitement and doubt. If you’re curious and willing to learn, you’re already on the right path.

 I felt the same way before taking the leap, and here’s how you can do it too.

HOW TO BECOME A DIGITAL NOMAD WITH NO EXPERIENCE: MY STORY

How to be a digital nomad with no experience

Flashback to 2022

I had a solid remote job in San Diego and some international travel under my belt, but the idea of leaving my comfort zone was terrifying. The thought of selling my belongings and saying goodbye to my family and friends stressed me out. 

There wasn’t a clear reason to abandon a good life for something so uncertain. Yet, every day, I scrolled through Instagram, envious of people who seemed to be ‘living their best lives’ in far-off places.

It consumed my thoughts daily. I couldn’t shake the desire for that lifestyle. After months of planning, Josh and I found ourselves at the airport, boarding a one-way flight to Tulum, Mexico. I was scared out of my mind.

 If you’ve ever thought, “I want to be a digital nomad,” don’t ignore that feeling. Let me help you make it happen.

In this guide on how to become a digital nomad with no experience, we’ll go through everything from finding remote work to what living as a digital nomad is really like. I’ll share tips, resources, and personal stories to help you on your journey. 

Ready? Let’s dive into how to become a digital nomad.

WHAT IS A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Digital nomads are people who work remotely while traveling the world. Instead of being tied to an office, their “office” can be anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection. This includes folks who run their own online businesses, remote employees, and freelancers.

A digital nomad might have no permanent address, constantly on the move, or might have a home base they return to occasionally. Here’s a quick rundown of related terms:

  • Location Independent: This term covers anyone who doesn’t need to be in a specific place for work. It includes those who work from home and those who travel while working.
  • Laptop Lifestyle: Those who enjoy the freedom of working from their laptop, whether they move frequently or stay in one place for a while. This might mean spending a year in Bali or wintering in Greece.
  • Digital Nomad: Combining location independence with the freedom to travel, digital nomads typically move from place to place, whether they stay a few days or several months.

These labels aren’t set in stone, but they’re commonly used among travelers. You’ll figure out how you want to identify as you go. This journey might cause some identity shifts, especially if you’re leaving a career that defined you.

So, why do people who love their jobs make the jump at all?

WHY DO PEOPLE LIVE A NOMADIC LIFE?

The obvious draw to the digital nomad lifestyle is the chance to travel more, but there are many other benefits.

Big-Picture Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad

  • Align Your Lifestyle with Your Values: Traveling often leads to a simpler, more intentional way of living. You might find yourself embracing minimalism and conscious choices more than ever.
  • Spend Less Money: Depending on where you start, moving to cheaper countries can significantly reduce your living expenses, a concept known as geographic arbitrage.
  • Live Passionately: While not every day is an Instagram-worthy adventure, living as a digital nomad pushes you to make the most of every day.
  • Overcome Fear: When you pursue what you truly want, you become less afraid and more willing to take risks.

What benefits will you gain? That’s for you to discover. Stay curious about your goals to maximize your experience. Bold moves toward your dreams often lead to unexpected and rewarding changes.

Big-Picture Risks of Being a Digital Nomad

  • Career Setback: If you return to a traditional career, you might face gaps on your resume.
  • Financial Risk: The fear of going broke can be mitigated through savings, flexibility, and travel medical insurance.
  • Pushback from Loved Ones: Some people may not understand or support your lifestyle, seeing it as an extended vacation.
  • Social Isolation: Working online can be lonely, despite the incredible places you visit.

Every life choice comes with risks. Consider the risks you took going to university or starting your current job. If the benefits of being a digital nomad appeal to you, don’t let fear hold you back. 

Commit to your dream, and you’ll find a way to make it work.

New Hampshire fall foliage

How Do You Find Work & Stability as a Digital Nomad?

Digital nomad jobs for beginners usually fall into two categories: self-employment or remote employment. You can look for a remote version of your current job or explore new opportunities that offer more freedom.

Remote Jobs

Remote jobs offer more stability and often come with benefits such as healthcare and retirement plans. They also come with less responsibility since your employer handles most administrative tasks like taxes.

  • More Stability
  • Less Responsibility
  • Routine
  • Potential Benefits: Healthcare, retirement, etc.
  • Employer Handles Paperwork: Taxes and other administrative tasks

Self-Employment

Self-employment provides more freedom and allows you to create your ideal job. It also offers the chance to learn new skills, build confidence, and potentially make passive income. However, it requires more hustle and self-discipline.

  • More Freedom
  • Create Your Ideal Job
  • Learn New Skills
  • Build Confidence
  • Potential for Passive Income

Worried about a resume gap? Don’t be. Employers care more about your skills and what you’ve done with your time than the gap itself. LinkedIn even has a feature to add career breaks to your profile, making them a normal part of your professional journey.

WHAT JOBS CAN DIGITAL NOMADS DO?

When starting from scratch, your first remote job just needs to get you going. Expect to evolve as you discover what you enjoy and excel at. Here are some beginner-friendly jobs to consider:

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is a great option. You can find work as an SEO writer at an agency, marketing company, or as a freelancer. Websites and businesses always need content. I started writing for travel blogs, and it grew from there.

Blogging

Starting your own blog can be rewarding. If you monetize it through ads, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing, it can become a source of passive income. Building a successful blog takes time and effort, but you just have to get started. I’m doing this for, Aqua Apple

Virtual Assistance

Virtual assistants help businesses with tasks like email management, scheduling, and social media. I freelance as a social media manager as a side hustle while I work on my blog. 

Online Tutoring

There’s a high demand for English tutors, especially in non-English-speaking countries. Teaching English or other subjects online can be a great way to earn money while traveling.

Graphic Design

If you’re creative, graphic design might be for you. Use platforms like Canva to design for clients. You don’t need to be a pro, just have a creative eye and a willingness to learn.

Online Language Teaching

Work with companies like Preply, Lingoda, and AmazingTalker to teach languages online.

How to become a digital nomad with no experience

DIGITAL NOMAD JOBS FOR BEGINNERS: WHERE TO FIND REMOTE JOBS

Now that you know what jobs you can do, it’s time to find opportunities. Start your job search in these digital nomad hotspots:

  • Freelance Platforms: Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer are great starting points. My first gig was on Upwork, which led to more opportunities.
  • Remote Job Boards: Check out We Work Remotely, Remote.co, Remoters, Workew, and FlexJobs for remote job listings.
  • Facebook Groups: Find opportunities, friends, and connections in Facebook groups related to your role, location, or target demographic.

HOW TO START YOUR DIGITAL NOMAD JOURNEY

Starting your digital nomad journey can be both exciting and overwhelming. I explain more of these steps in my, How to Become a Digital Nomad ultimate guide, but here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Identify Your Skills: Make a list of what you’re good at or interested in. When I started, I realized I loved writing and organizing.
  2. Learn New Skills: Use free resources like Coursera, Khan Academy, or YouTube to gain in-demand skills. I spent hours on YouTube learning SEO writing.
  3. Create an Online Presence: Build a LinkedIn profile and a portfolio website to showcase your skills.
  4. Apply for Jobs: Start with freelance gigs and internships, even if they’re low-paying, to build your portfolio.
  5. Save Up: Build a financial cushion to cover initial travel and living expenses. Josh and I saved for months before we set off.

Building a Portfolio with No Experience

  • Start a Blog: Share your journey and showcase your skills. This builds your portfolio and connects you with other digital nomads. This is what I do. 
  • Volunteer Work: Offer your skills to non-profits or small businesses for testimonials. 
  • Personal Projects: Create your own projects to demonstrate your abilities. 

ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

Being a successful digital nomad requires developing certain skills. Here’s what you need to focus on:

Developing In-Demand Skills

  • Communication: Clear and effective communication is crucial, especially with remote clients. Always be responsive and clear.
  • Time Management: Managing your time effectively is key to balancing work and travel. Tools like Trello or Asana can help.
  • Tech Savviness: Basic knowledge of tools like Google Workspace, Slack, and Zoom is essential. These tools will save you a lot of headaches.

Free Online Resources for Skill Development

  • Coursera: Free courses from top universities.
  • Khan Academy: Basics of various subjects.
  • YouTube: Tutorials on almost anything. I learned writing and video editing here.

HOW DIGITAL NOMADS MAKE MONEY

As a digital nomad, it’s important to diversify your income streams. Here’s how you can make money:

Multiple Income Streams

Don’t rely on just one income source. Diversify with:

  • Freelancing: Work with multiple clients. I have clients from different industries, so if one drops off, I still have others.
  • Passive Income: Consider blogging, affiliate marketing, or online courses. I started a travel blog, now a steady income stream.

Freelancing vs. Full-Time Remote Work

  • Freelancing: More flexibility, but you need to find new clients regularly. I love the freedom it gives me, but it does require hustle.
  • Full-Time Remote Work: More stability but less flexibility in hours and projects. Josh moved from freelancing to a full-time remote job for stability.

BEST DESTINATIONS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

One of the perks of being a digital nomad is choosing where you want to live. When it comes to visiting countries as a tourist, there is no wrong choice as every country is unique and worth visiting. 

The same cannot be said for visiting countries as a digital nomad. Some countries are better suited for life as a digital nomad than others.

Top Digital Nomad Cities

  • Medellín, Colombia: Great weather and strong Wi-Fi.
  • Lisbon, Portugal: Beautiful city with a growing digital nomad community.
  • Mexico City, Mexico: Vibrant culture and affordable lifestyle.
  • Tulum, Mexico: Amazing community-building opportunities and great if you need to work US hours.

Budget-Friendly Destinations

  • Bali, Indonesia: Low cost of living and stunning scenery.
  • Budapest, Hungary: An affordable European city with a rich history.
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand: Affordable living and a vibrant community.
  • Oaxaca, Mexico: Affordable housing and safe for nomads. 

BUDGETING FOR A DIGITAL NOMAD LIFESTYLE

Budgeting is crucial for sustaining your digital nomad lifestyle. Here’s how to manage your finances:

Creating a Sustainable Budget

  • Track Your Expenses: Use apps like Mint or YNAB.
  • Cut Unnecessary Costs: Coom at home, use public transportation and find affordable accommodations.
  • Save on Flights: Use tools like Skyscanner or Google Flights to find the best deals.

Saving Tips for Digital Nomads

  • House Sitting: Stay for free in exchange for taking care of someone’s home.
  • Co-Living Spaces: Shared housing specifically designed for digital nomads.

ESSENTIAL TOOLS AND RESOURCES FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

To stay productive and connected, digital nomads rely on various tools. Here are some essentials:

Productivity Tools

  • Trello/Asana: For project management.
  • Slack: For team communication.
  • Google Workspace: For email, documents, and cloud storage.

Community and Networking Platforms

  • Nomad List: Find the best cities to live and work remotely.
  • Meetup: Join local groups and meet fellow digital nomads.

STAYING PRODUCTIVE AS A DIGITAL NOMAD

Balancing work and travel can be challenging. Here are some tips to stay productive:

Time Management Tips

  • Set a Routine: Having a consistent daily schedule can help maintain productivity.
  • Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Makes large projects more manageable.
  • Use Time-Tracking Tools: Tools like Toggl can help you understand where your time goes.

Balancing Work and Travel

  • Work Ahead: Finish tasks before moving to a new destination.
  • Find a Work-Friendly Environment: Choose accommodations with reliable Wi-Fi and quiet spaces.

WHAT’S IT REALLY LIKE BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD?

Everyone’s digital nomad experience is unique. Rather than generalize, let me share my personal journey.

Before 2022, I was trying to figure out how to become a digital nomad with no experience. I didn’t know anyone who lived this lifestyle. I was eager to jump in but lacked the necessary information.

After consuming a ton of content from digital nomad blogs, Instagram, and podcasts, I decided to take the plunge. It was the right decision, but I was absolutely terrified. 

My corporate job was great, and I worried there was a 50% chance I’d be let go if I decided to leave, even though it was remote. Thankfully, Josh supported this dream too. Having my partner with me made the leap easier and less lonely. I honestly don’t know if I could have done it alone.

As our journey progressed, many things changed – our destinations and our income sources. I lost my corporate job during our travels, which was a tough blow. But I saw it as an opportunity to try something new. I quickly applied for freelancing gigs and landed a job as a social media manager. I still do this work while building my online travel business. 

Changes can be big or small, but they’re usually positive if you keep an open mind and push yourself.

Travel also changes you. I started with questions like, “How do I become a digital nomad with no experience?” and eventually moved on to, “What actually makes me happy?”

Together, we’ve traveled from Mexico to Europe to various states in the US and back. We travel slowly to fully experience each culture. We travel responsibly, and minimally, and embrace the uncertainty of where we’ll go next.

Most of learning how to become a digital nomad is about handling emotional challenges. These don’t disappear when you start traveling. The ups and downs of everyday life follow you, no matter how small your luggage. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Traveling gives your life purpose, but it’s not a permanent fix. The initial excitement over new places fades. The rush comes from the novelty, and the longer you travel, the harder you have to seek out new experiences.

Use travel to explore big questions in your life, not as a means to escape from them.

FAQs

What is a digital nomad?

Digital nomads are people who work remotely while traveling the world.

Can you become a digital nomad with no experience?

Yes, anyone can start with some persistence and the willingness to learn new skills.

What jobs can digital nomads do?

Common jobs include freelance writing, virtual assistance, online tutoring, and graphic design.

How do I start my digital nomad journey?

Identify your skills, learn new ones, create an online presence, apply for remote jobs, and save up some money.

What skills do I need to be a digital nomad?

Essential skills include communication, time management, and basic tech savviness.

How do digital nomads make money?

Through freelancing, remote jobs, and passive income streams.

What are the best destinations for digital nomads?

Popular destinations include Chiang Mai, Medellín, and Lisbon.

How do I budget for a digital nomad lifestyle?

Track expenses cut unnecessary costs, and save on flights.

How do I stay productive as a digital nomad?

Set a routine, break tasks into smaller steps, and use time-tracking tools.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BECOMING A DIGITAL NOMAD

Feeling the pull towards the digital nomad lifestyle? Trust that instinct – it could be the start of an incredible adventure! You can become a digital nomad with no experience needed.

And remember, if you ever need advice or just someone to talk to, I’m here for you. Let’s connect and support each other on this journey. Safe travels my friends!

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How to be a digital nomad with no experience

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