A laptop is a digital nomad’s best friend. Most remote workers can get by with virtually any type of laptop, but that’s not the case for digital nomads. Finding the best laptops for digital nomads is a top priority if you want to have a smooth sailing remote work experience. Besides, it’s called a “laptop lifestyle” for a reason!
It’s your office, your library, your entertainment center, and your lifeline to the rest of the world. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you.
Not only do you need a working lightweight laptop, but you need the right kind of laptop for your digital nomad lifestyle.
The best laptops for remote workers who are also digital nomads have some unique characteristics, so budget laptops that suit work-from-home needs may not be enough.
What to Look for in a Digital Nomad Laptop
Every digital nomad has different requirements when it comes to remote work. Some digital nomads prefer Windows laptops while others want Apple laptops.
There are those who want to limit their search to the best budget laptops and lightest laptop lists while others want to look for powerful laptop and performance laptop options.
Most digital nomads prefer an ultraportable laptop, weighing under 3.5 pounds. The best laptop is compact and won’t weigh you down (or break your back) when you’re on the move.
Ideally, the best lightweight laptop for a digital nomad on the road would be something you can easily and conveniently use in tight spaces such as airplanes.
When you’re working from anywhere, you need a laptop with long battery life. Look for laptops with at least 8 hours of battery life. This digital nomad laptop will give you enough power to get through a full day of work, even if you’re not near an outlet.
When checking this detail on a performance laptop or a budget laptop, make sure to look at third-party reviews because manufacturers tend to exaggerate details in terms of battery power.
Another important factor to consider is connectivity. If you’re going to be working from different places, the best laptop for working can connect to the internet no matter where you are.
Look for digital nomad laptops with built-in LTE or at least have the option to add an external modem. This way, you won’t have to worry about finding a Wi-Fi hotspot when you’re on the go.
The processor is the heart of the best digital nomad laptops, so you need to make sure it’s powerful enough to handle all your work needs.
For digital nomad laptops, an Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 processor should be more than enough. Anything less may lead to a laggy remote working laptop that can’t keep up with you.
You also need to think about storage capacity when choosing the best laptops for digital nomads.
If you plan to work with large files or store a lot of data, the best digital nomad laptop options have at least a 256GB solid-state drive. This will ensure your laptop’s storage space can keep up with you, no matter where you are.
Replacing a laptop while on the go is not fun. You want a thin laptop that’s durable enough that it won’t snap in half when you’re lugging it around in your backpack exploring a remote tropical island.
Outstanding laptops not only have amazing battery life and cool features but also have a long-lasting build. This includes an aluminum chassis, reinforced corners, and a sturdy hinge. You’ll thank me later.
Of course, price is always a factor to consider when choosing a reliable laptop. The good news is that there are plenty of light laptop and quality laptop options on the market that won’t break the bank.
However, if you plan on using your laptop for more demanding tasks, you may need to invest in a more expensive top performance laptop and splurge on higher specs than a normal laptop like a full HD monitor display, more powerful Intel core processor, laptop accessories, and even additional USB C ports.
The Best Laptops for Digital Nomads
Now that you know what to look for in a digital nomad laptop, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the best options on the market.
Keep in mind, though, that a particular laptop that I consider the best laptop for working as a digital nomad might not be the best option for you.
So, I’ll break up each laptop recommendation based on the type of remote worker you are and what you will use the laptop for as a digital nomad.
Whether you’re searching for a budget laptop, a more versatile laptop, the most lightweight and ultraportable, or the one with the most high-end specs, this guide got you covered.
Overall Best Laptop for Digital Nomads: MacBook Air
You’re probably not at all shocked to see the new MacBook Air at the top of the list of best laptops for digital nomads. After all, it is a fan favorite among remote workers. And for good reason, too.
The MacBook Air is one of the most well-rounded laptops on the market.
This affordable laptop won’t blow you away with incredibly high-tech specs, but it’s more than enough for a digital nomad to do practically everything you need it to–and do it well.
It’s lightweight and ultraportable at just 2.8 pounds (1.29 kg), making it easy to carry with you wherever you go.
Offering a fantastic battery life, the Apple MacBook Air has a new M1 chip that can guarantee up to 18 hours of power on a single charge. The long hours of battery life are clutch for digital nomads who are working remotely in areas with no or limited outlets.
The build quality is second to none, as you would expect from a MacBook, making it a durable laptop.
Unlike most laptops, the aluminum chassis is sturdy and the keyboard can withstand some serious abuse. In other words, it’s the perfect laptop for those who are constantly on the go and need a machine that can keep up with them.
The base model is offered at 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, which is already extensive for an average user. You can customize it if you need more, but at that point, it might be a better idea to simply buy a MacBook Pro.
If you’re someone who does graphics-intensive work, such as photo editing or editing 4K videos, then you’ll most likely want to buy something more powerful.
Overall, if you’re simply looking for an all-around great laptop that won’t break the bank, the MacBook Air is one of the best options out there for digital nomads.
Best Laptop for Digital Nomads in Tech: Huawei Matebook 13
It might be heartbreaking to pry yourself away from your state-of-the-art machine at home, something you’ve built to be so fast and powerful it could easily fly you to Mars and back.
But, the digital nomad life is beckoning. That means you need to downsize and streamline.
Huawei has been slowly breaking into the laptop world and is becoming one of the most reliable names when it comes to building high-tech, reliable machines.
The Huawei Matebook 13 is an excellent representation of that reputation.
This is one of the more distinctive laptops on the market thanks to its 3:2 aspect-ratio touchscreen, which is a feature that only a handful of devices offer.
The Huawei Matebook 13 also has one of the best HD camera features on the market, which is something that’s often overlooked but can be incredibly important for digital nomads who rely on video conferencing for work.
It’s great for light gaming and can even handle some more intensive games if you’re willing to lower the graphics settings.
Moreover, the MateBook 13 is compact and surprisingly portable despite being described as a flagship laptop powered like a gaming laptop. Plus, it has an incredible battery life of almost 9 hours.
Weighing only about 2.87 pounds (1.3 kg) and measuring roughly half an inch thin, this lightweight laptop barely takes up space in your backpack but still manages to deliver a powerful performance.
Basically, this laptop can do almost everything–a jack of all trades among the best laptops for digital nomads.
Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Digital Nomads: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Convertible
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Convertible is one of the best laptops for digital nomads who aren’t big fans of Apple. In fact, others would claim that it outshines the MacBook in some areas.
For one, the Dell XPS 13 is lighter and even more compact compared to the already very lightweight MacBook Air.
It comes with a 14+ hour battery life, which is a bit longer than the 15-hour battery life of a MacBook with Intel chips.
Unfortunately, it cannot compete with the battery life offered by the new Apple M1 chip.
With that in mind, how often do you actually require over 15 hours of battery life without charging anyway?
Its InfinityEdge HDR is one of the very few laptop screens that can go head-to-head against Mac’s retina display. Plus, the Dell XPS 13 comes with convenient anti-reflective technology.
This is a great feature for digital nomads looking to complete some remote work tasks while lounging around on the beach.
The 2-in-1 feature turns this version of Dell XPS 13 into a transformer-esque gadget that can change from a laptop to a tablet in seconds, offering you a dual-computer solution.
The tablet configuration of the Dell XPS 13 lets you use the attached stylus to drag, draw, and tap to your heart’s content.
And, there’s no need to worry about the screen since Dell secured it by using Corning Gorilla Glass that would most likely survive a coconut falling on it (don’t test this at home!).
Best Laptop for Digital Nomad Creatives: MacBook Pro
If you want to ramp things up a notch, go for the MacBook Air’s big brother: the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Pro is arguably the most powerful option among the Apple laptops and it comes with an impressively strong processor, heaps of RAM, and all the shiny bells and whistles that you’d ever want from a brand new laptop…and then some.
When you buy a MacBook Pro, you can choose between the Intel core processors or the new Apple M1 chip.
Between the two, the M1 chip comes at a lower price tag and practically double the battery life. So, I recommend this option for digital nomads.
In terms of size, the MacBook Pro is just about the same size as the Air. It’s a bit heavier at 3 pounds (1.3 kg), but the performance it delivers is well worth the extra weight.
For most people, the MacBook Air is enough. But digital nomads who are into intensive video editing and photo editing might want the power of the MacBook Pro.
The downside of the MacBook Pro is obvious: it’s more expensive than the other laptops for digital nomads.
Given its price point, you might get a bit more paranoid about getting it damaged to stolen while traveling. That said, if you’re a remote worker who needs the power of the MacBook Pro to get things done, then you’ll thank yourself for opting for quality.
Basically, the Pro is like the MacBook Air on steroids. It has a better display, more customization alternatives, louder speakers, a larger trackpad, and, of course, more processing power. On top of these, it gives you 20 hours of long battery life!
Ultimately, it all boils down to how crucial are these extra features to your life as a digital nomad.
If they’re vital to your remote work, then don’t hesitate to go for the MacBook Pro. You won’t be disappointed.
If you can live without them, then save your cash and opt for the MacBook Air (or the other non-Apple options here on the list).
Best Laptop for Digital Nomads on a Budget: Lenovo Flex 5 14″
If you want a quality portable laptop but are on a tight budget, then you can’t go wrong in choosing the Lenovo Flex 5 14.
While it’s not as powerful as the other laptops on this list, you can still complete day-to-day tasks. You may not want to edit videos or even photos on this bad boy, but it can work perfectly fine for most remote work projects.
Actually, the Lenovo Flex 5 14 comes with a flip-around screen and a stylus. While it’s not as small and portable as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, the tablet mode still makes this model convenient to use on flights and in cramped spaces.
While it’s chunkier than the other ultraslim laptops listed above, Lenovo Flex 5 14 boasts a dongle-free experience thanks to its two USB-A ports, USB-C port, HDMI port, and SD card reader. That’s actually an edge it has against the likes of the MacBook Air.
All in all, the Lenovo Flex 5 14 is a starter laptop for remote workers and digital nomads.
Although it is a bit heavier, has a slightly less bright screen, and has unimpressive battery life, this is still a good laptop for digital nomads on a tight budget.
What’s the best laptop for digital nomads?
The best laptop for digital nomads ultimately comes down to your remote work requirements, budget, and preferred features.
If you’re a remote worker who’s only starting out and still don’t have the extra cash to splurge on one of the best laptops for digital nomads, then budget laptops with decent to long battery life can be great starter devices.
But, if your budget allows you to spend on a more powerful machine, go for one of the best laptops for digital nomads on the market. It’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.
Not only will it make your life easier, but you’ll also be able to work more efficiently and enjoy better results.
After all, your livelihood depends on it. So choose wisely and enjoy the journey!
Being on a beach and making money from a laptop is the dream of thousands of aspiring digital nomads. With just a laptop and an internet connection, digital nomads can work from anywhere in the world – whether they’re exploring Europe, soaking up the sun in Southeast Asia, or enjoying a coffee in a local cafe.
Of course, becoming a digital nomad is not as simple as packing your bags and saying goodbye to your cubicle. There are a few things you need to do before you can start living a digital nomad life.
What is a digital nomad?
The best way to become a digital nomad is to first understand what it is and what it isn’t. Contrary to popular belief, being a digital nomad doesn’t mean working from a laptop on a beach somewhere and sipping cocktails (though that is certainly part of it). It’s actually a lot more than that.
A digital nomad is someone who uses technology to make a living, whether that’s through freelance work, online businesses, or some other form of income. The key defining factor is that they’re location independent, which means they can work from anywhere in the world.
Basically, a digital nomad is a term used for people who travel the world with a laptop and a backpack. It used to primarily mean young professionals and entrepreneurs who could up and leave, travel somewhere warm and inexpensive, and play geographical arbitrage with where to live/work.
But the truth is that anyone can become a digital nomad, even with no prior experience or skills. I started LiveWorkAnywhere in 2007 with the goal of figuring out how to become a digital nomad. I bought a one-way ticket to Costa Rica in 2009 and never looked back.
I learned the hard way, on low-bandwidth, shared Internet, and before smartphones existed. I want to help you navigate the hurdles I experienced and get you living the digital nomad lifestyle now.
We’ve come a very long way to 2022. Really, with high-speed Internet being abundant and everyone having a laptop and smartphone, there’s no excuse not to become a digital nomad. The only obstacles typically are planning and preparation, and taking the leap.
I still have the same mission – for every single person to be able to become a digital nomad and be location independent if they choose.
So if you’re curious about digital nomadism or want to become a digital nomad, here’s everything you need to know.
First things first – let’s start with the basics.
Who is a digital nomad?
The term “digital nomad” conjures images of 20-somethings working on their laptops from exotic beaches, but the reality is that anyone can become a digital nomad. As of 2022, almost half of digital nomads across the globe are in their 30s, with roughly 35% being in the 40-59 age group.
A digital nomad is simply someone who works remotely, without being tied to a specific location. This can be done by working for a remote company, or by running a location-independent business.
A digital nomad is someone who uses technology to work remotely, often from different locations around the world. This can mean anything from working on your laptop at a coffee shop in Paris to running a business from your RV as you travel across America. There are many benefits to being a digital nomad, including the ability to work from anywhere in the world and the freedom to create your own schedule.
The key defining factor of a digital nomad is that they have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection.
Simply, it’s a person with a laptop who works online and has the freedom to be anywhere, anytime.
Digital nomadism is a rapidly growing lifestyle with more and more people looking to escape the traditional workforce and live a laptop lifestyle.
Before learning how to become a digital nomad, it’s important to understand the two types of digital nomads:
Type One: The digital nomad who wants to live the laptop lifestyle but also maintains a home base. They often have an apartment or condo in a city they frequently return to.
Type Two: The digital nomad who wants to travel the world and work from anywhere. They often have no permanent home base, living out of a suitcase most of the time.
The digital nomad lifestyle is not for everyone – it takes a lot of planning, self-discipline, and motivation. But if you’re looking for freedom, flexibility, and adventure, digital nomadism might be for you.
Here are some of the most common questions I get asked about digital nomads:
What are the pros and cons of being a digital nomad?
I’d love to tell you that being a digital nomad is all rainbows and butterflies. But, as with everything, you have to balance the good and the bad. Before you decide if you truly want to become a digital nomad, it’s crucial to know the pros and cons of the nomad life.
Pros of becoming a digital nomad
The digital nomad lifestyle is often romanticized as a life of constant travel and adventure. While it’s true that digital nomads do enjoy a great deal of freedom, there are also some very practical benefits to this lifestyle.
One of the biggest advantages is that it allows you to be with your family when they need you and without having to sacrifice your career. With traditional jobs, it can be difficult to take time off for family emergencies or even just for quality time together.
But with a digital nomad lifestyle, as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection, you can work from anywhere. That means that if your family needs you, you can be there for them without having to worry about work because of your location independence.
As for those with young children, you can even homeschool them while you travel the world and work remotely. So if you’re looking for a way to balance your career and your family life, the digital nomad lifestyle is an excellent option.
Another major advantage of being a digital nomad is the ability to make money from anywhere across the globe online – and, never have to stop exploring the planet. The digital nomad life is the perfect way to see the world and have amazing adventures while getting paid to do it.
Being a digital nomad means having a remote job, which allows you to live a nomadic lifestyle. That means you can move around and travel as you please.
Plus, you have the freedom and flexibility to work on your own schedule. You’re your own boss, so you can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want.
One more benefit for digital nomads is that there’s no such thing as office politics. No more water cooler gossip, no more backstabbing colleagues, and no more worrying about what your boss thinks of you. No more having to tiptoe around the delicate egos of your co-workers or kiss up to the boss in hopes of getting a raise.
Of course, that’s not to say that there isn’t any politics in the digital world – after all, there are still plenty of people vying for attention and clients. But digital nomads are quick to point out that politics are very different when you’re not dealing with people face-to-face.
When you work online, though, it’s easier to focus on improving productivity, becoming more efficient remote workers, and honing their digital nomad skills to land highly coveted remote jobs.
Finally, the digital nomad life is often one of increased motivation and effectiveness their remote jobs. Whether it’s the stunning beaches of Bali or the rolling hills of Tuscany, there’s no doubt that working surrounded by natural beauty can be a huge boost to creativity and productivity.
Being able to work remotely means that nomads are not tied to one location and can choose to work from wherever they desire. This flexibility often leads to nomads seeking locations that offer stunning natural beauty, as the peaceful surroundings can help boost their innovative spirit and ingenuity.
After all, there’s nothing quite like working from a sun-drenched beach or a snowy mountain cabin to get the creative juices flowing.
Cons of becoming a digital nomad
The nomadic life isn’t for everyone. It isn’t all Instagrammable avocado toast and #wanderlust. In fact, most digital nomads eventually crumble under pressure and give up on their nomadic dream. For those who manage to stick it out, there are a few disadvantages to contend with.
First, there’s the matter of constantly being on the move. Remote work may be freeing in some respects, but it can also be exhausting. You never really get to put down roots anywhere, and you’re always saying goodbye to friends and colleagues.
Second, there’s the issue of isolation. Most digital nomads work remotely, which means they don’t have the opportunity to socialize with co-workers or meet new people on a regular basis. When you’re living out of a suitcase, it can be difficult to connect with people on a deeper level.
Third, it can be really tough to stay focused when you’re constantly on the move. There’s no such thing as a “normal” day when you’re a nomad, which can make it hard to stick to a routine or get into a productive flow state to quickly fulfill your remote job responsibilities.
Fourth, let’s not forget about all the logistical challenges that come with living a nomadic life – think finding a place to live and work that has good stable internet connection. Whether you’re working from a co-working space in Bali or your van parked in a campsite in Joshua Tree, reliable internet access is not always guaranteed.
This can make it difficult to stay in touch with family and friends back home, as well as stay on top of work deadlines. Living a nomad life often means having to deal with unreliable internet connections and a lack of reliable infrastructure.
Fifth, the nomadic lifestyle has a few hidden costs that can add up quickly, such as health insurance and travel expenses. You’ll need to find a way to pay for your own health insurance. This can be a challenge, as most traditional health insurance plans don’t cover nomads who are constantly on the move.
There are a few options available, such as nomadic insurance plans or international health insurance, but they can be expensive. Make sure to do your research before choosing a plan.
Finally, there’s the question of financial stability. For most digital nomads, being financial unstable is just a part of the package. Remote work gives us the freedom to pick up and move to wherever we want, but it also means saying goodbye to the stability of a regular paycheck.
Because when your income is derived from remote work, there’s always the possibility that you could lose your job or clients at any time. And even if you do have a steady stream of work, the nomadic lifestyle can be expensive, since you’re always on the move and often have to pay for things like accommodation and transport in advance.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming a digital nomad, just know that it’s not all glamping and yoga retreats. There’s a lot of hard work and uncertainty involved. For those who live nomadically, financial insecurity is just a fact of life. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sure, it can be scary not knowing how much money you’ll have coming in each month. But it also teaches us to be resourceful and budget carefully.
Path One: Quit your job and travel the world. This is the path I took and it’s not for everyone. It requires a high-risk tolerance. I tend to leap and then figure out the steps.
Path Two: Transition into digital nomadism gradually. If you’re not ready to quit your job, you can start by working remotely a few days a week. Once you’re comfortable with that, transition into working remotely full-time. You can kick off with a side hustle then move into that or ask your boss for a few days per week to prove you can be productive.
Requesting that arrangement from your boss shouldn’t be a problem. After all, the remote working trend is not new, and it appears to be taking off due to the changes caused by COVID-19.
In 2021, many companies are beginning to offer their employees a chance at permanently being able to do their jobs from home. In 2021, 42% of US employers report that their staff have to work from home. While we have yet to see permanent changes, 66% of the respondents are optimistic that remote work will become a fixture in time.
Path Three: Start a digital nomad business. This is the path most digital nomads prefer as it gives them the most flexibility and freedom. Actually, over 53% of remote workers point out that flexibility is the most highly appreciated perk they enjoy in being a digital nomad. You can work from anywhere, anytime, and don’t have to quit your job.
If you’re ready to take the leap and become a digital nomad, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started and give you an idea on how to become a digital nomad.
Step One: Plan Your Escape
The first step is to plan your escape. For the remote worker, the appeal of the digital nomad lifestyle is obvious: freedom. But with that freedom comes a great responsibility: choosing the right destination.
After all, not all remote-friendly destinations are created equal. Some offer access to fast internet and a vibrant community of other remote workers, while others are nothing more than a remote wasteland where you’ll be lucky to find a decent cup of coffee, let alone a strong Wi-Fi signal.
So how do you choose the right destination for your digital nomad adventure?
Some popular digital nomad destinations include:
For starters, there’s Bali. This Indonesian island is a mecca for remote workers, thanks to its laid-back vibes and idyllic setting. Bali has everything a digital nomad could want, from beautiful beaches to jungle trekking and amazing food. Plus, it’s relatively budget-friendly and easy to get around.
If you’re looking for a more urban experience, Taipei is quickly becoming one of the most popular digital nomad destinations in the world. There are plenty of coworking spaces and cafes where remote workers can set up shop, and the city is incredibly easy to navigate. And, thanks to its convenient location and relatively affordable cost of living, Taipei is an ideal base for exploring Asia.
Another popular digital nomad destination is Thailand, and it’s not hard to see why. The country has a great climate, friendly people, and plenty of remote work opportunities. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive to live here, which is important for location-independent workers who need to watch their bottom line.
Meanwhile, remote workers who are looking for a change of scenery will find Puerto Rico appealing with its mix of sun, surf, and culture. Best of all, it’s relatively easy to become a digital nomad in Puerto Rico. There are no special visas or permits required, and the cost of living is relatively low.
Mexico is also a convenient destination for digital nomads who want to be close to the United States. With its close proximity, it’s easy to hop on a plane and head back to the States for a quick work trip or visit with family and friends. And, of course, Mexico is also a popular tourist destination, so you can enjoy all the benefits of living in a beautiful country with plenty of things to do and see.
Barcelona is another great destination for digital nomads. The city has a lively atmosphere and is packed with bars, restaurants, and cafes. There are also a number of coworking spaces that offer reliable internet connection, which makes it easy to find a place to work. In addition, Barcelona is well-connected, with excellent public transportation and an airport that offers direct flights to many European cities.
If you have no specific country in mind, you can start your search with the kind of accommodation you envision living in.
For example, what better way to achieve location independence than by living on a boat? While it may sound like a lifestyle reserved for the rich and famous, there are a number of affordable options for would-be digital nomads.
Houseboats, for instance, can often be rented for a fraction of the cost of an apartment, and many marinas offer special rates for long-term tenants.
If you’re a remote worker who wants to take the show on the road, there’s no better option than a yurt. These circular dwellings have been used by nomadic peoples for centuries, and they offer all the comforts of home while still providing a sense of adventure. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to set up and take down, making them the perfect option for the digital nomad who likes to move around frequently.
Most importantly, yurts can be easily adapted to any climate, whether you’re looking to escape the winter cold or enjoy a summer in the mountains. So if you’ve ever dreamed of living a life of location Independence, a yurt just might be the perfect option for you.
Step Two: Quit Your Job (or transition into digital nomadism gradually)
If you’re ready to quit your job and become a digital nomad, here are the steps to take:
Talk to your boss about working remotely. This is becoming more and more common as technology allows us to work from anywhere.
Give notice and start transitioning into working remote a few days a week.
Transition into working remotely full-time.
If you’re not ready to quit your job, you can transition gradually into digital nomadism by:
Working remotely a few days a week.
Taking vacation time to travel and work from different locations.
Starting a digital nomad business.
Step Three: Earn income online
The next step is to generate revenue. There are a few ways digital nomads earn income:
Assess your skillset. What kind of work can you do online? Are you a web developer? A graphic designer? A writer? Once you know what kind of work you can do, start reaching out to clients and employers in your field. Many companies are now open to hiring remote workers, so don’t be afraid to ask around.
Find something you’re good at and start offering your services online. Once you have a few clients, you can transition into working full-time as a digital nomad.
Step Four: Get Organized
The next step is to get organized and start planning your travels. Where do you want to go? How long do you want to stay there? What are your accommodation and transport options? Once you have all the logistics sorted, it’s time to hit the road and begin your digital nomad life.
If you choose to become a digital nomad gradually instead of jumping right into it, make sure to set up a workstation in your house with a good internet connection, power outlets, and a comfortable chair.
Step Five: Hit the Road
Now it’s time to hit the road! Start by booking your flight and accommodation. Once you’re in your destination, start looking for co-working spaces, cafes with good WiFi, and places to stay.
How do I make money as a digital nomad?
The digital nomad lifestyle offers a lot of freedom, but it also requires you to be more organized and self-disciplined than the average person. If you can master those two things, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful digital nomad!
There are many ways digital nomads make money while they travel. The most popular include freelancing, consulting, online courses, blogging, and affiliate marketing.
Freelancing is a great way to make money as a digital nomad. You can work in a variety of industries and fields, from writing and editing to web design and development.
To get started, create a profile on a freelancing platform like Upwork or Fiverr. Then, start bidding on projects that interest you. Once you land a few clients, you can transition into working full-time as a digital nomad.
Consulting is another great way to make money as a digital nomad. If you have expertise in a particular field, you can offer your services to companies and individuals all over the world.
Another excellent way to generate income as a digital income is through starting a blog. You can monetize your blog through advertising, affiliate marketing, or selling digital products like e-books and courses.
Affiliate marketing is also a wonderful way to make money as a digital nomad. It involves promoting other people’s products or services and earning a commission for every sale you make.
To get started, sign up for an affiliate marketing program like Amazon Associates or CJ Affiliate. Then, find products or services that you believe in and start promoting them on your blog or social media channels.
How to earn passive income as a digital nomad
Passive income is the dream, particularly for a digital nomad – you never have to stop traveling. However, setting up passive income takes work.
As a digital nomad, an ideal way to continue funding this lifestyle is to generate passive income. This way, even when you’re not working, you can still earn money.
Investing in real estate as a digital nomad can be a terrific way to generate passive income. It’s the best way that I’ve found over the years to travel and have income. You can buy properties in desirable locations and rent them out to short-term tenants.
Or, you can purchase dividend-paying stocks and bonds or online real estate investment funds that will provide you with regular income payments.
Starting your own online business is also a fantastic way to earn passive income, as digital nomads often have a lot of flexibility in terms of what they can do. A survey among digital nomads worldwide in 2022 revealed that most are self-employed, with more than 65% owning their own business.
For example, you could start an online store that sells products related to your niche. Or, you could launch a blog and sell digital products like e-books and online courses.
There are many different ways digital nomads can generate passive income. By choosing a couple of methods that interest you, you can create a reliable stream of revenue that will help fund your travels for years to come!
If you’re interested in generating passive income as a digital nomad, I suggest checking out my guide on the best ways to do it.
How to find digital nomad jobs?
What are the best digital nomad jobs? Where can you find them?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. The internet has opened up a whole world of opportunities for remote workers. With a little ingenuity and some hard work, it’s possible to find digital nomad jobs that offer the ideal blend of location independence, remote work, and decent income.
The best way to find these jobs is to start by looking at the skills that you already have. That is, the best digital nomad job for you will depend on your skillset, interests, and goals. Wondering where to begin?
To find remote job openings, start by searching job boards and websitesthat specialize in this sector. In the past, remote jobs were mostly reserved for highly skilled professionals with in-demand skills, such as software developers and designers. However, with the rise of the internet and the growing popularity of the digital nomad lifestyle, there are now a number of job boards that target digital nomad communities.
These job boards offer a wide range of remote jobs, from customer service and administrative positions to online marketing and social media jobs. Because they cater to remote workers, they often have a number of free resources online and tips for landing a remote job. If you’re interested in working online, be sure to check out one of these remote job boards.
Once you’ve found a few promising leads, it’s time to start applying. When applying for remote jobs, be sure that your profile matches the job description and highlight your digital nomad skills, such as the ability to work independently and manage your time effectively. With patience and effort, you can land the perfect remote job and start enjoying the freedom of working online.
While this digital nomad lifestyle has a lot of benefits, it can also be difficult to find steady work. That’s why I put together this guide on how to find digital nomad jobs. It features a list of skills, courses, and even personality traits to help you with your digital nomad journey.
The courses include suggestions for those just starting out, or you are already mid-career. You can choose a niche and become highly proficient in that niche.
What kinds of online businesses are best to start for digital nomads?
Digital nomads are a growing breed of entrepreneur. These remote workers are not tethered to a traditional office, and they have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. If you’re a digital nomad, or if you’re thinking about becoming one, you might be wondering what kind of online business is best to start. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
There are many different types of businesses digital nomads can start.
A business you can jumpstart immediately is freelancing. If you have skills in writing, web design, social media marketing, or any other area, you can start offering your services to clients online. However, remote work is not for everyone.
If you’re the type of person who needs structure and support in order to get work done, then freelance remote work is probably not for you. You need to be able to motivate and organize yourself in order to be successful in this remote profession.
However, if you’re the type of person who thrives on independence and enjoys being your own boss, then remote work can be an excellent option.
You can offer your services as a virtual assistant. Also known as a VA, a virtual assistant is a remote worker who provides administrative, creative, or technical support to clients from a remote location.
Depending on the freelance clients’ needs, virtual assistants could oversee everything from social media management to graphic design to customer service. Versatility is key when it comes to being a VA. This is a great option if you’re organized, detail-oriented, and good at managing your time.
Another option is to launch a remote job board. This can be a great way to help businesses connect with talented workers from around the globe. To succeed in this business, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of the market. You’ll also need to put together an effective marketing strategy to reach your target audience.
One more excellent track for digital nomads is starting an online store. The internet has made it possible for anyone to become an online entrepreneur, and there are a number of platforms that make it easy to get started. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you launch your e-commerce empire.
First, you need to choose a niche. What are you going to sell? For example, if you’re a travel blogger, you could leverage your own blog to sell travel guides or e-books on your website. Second, you need to decide how you’re going to fulfill orders. Are you going to dropship? Finally, you need to establish a remote work schedule and lifestyle that will allow you to run your business effectively.
Fortunately, there are a number of free resources online available to help you get started as a digital nomad. Once you have the basics down, you can start selling your products and services online with relative ease. You can sell physical or digital products related to your niche.
If you’re interested in becoming an online entrepreneur as a digital nomad, I suggest checking out my guide on the best businesses to start.
Where can I find digital nomad communities?
A full-time digital nomad can go anywhere. But, one of the biggest challenges digital nomads face is loneliness.
There’s no shortage of digital nomad communities out there. Digital nomad communities can be found all over the world, from the beaches of Bali to the streets of Berlin. You might say that there are too many of them!
There’s no one digital nomad community – they’re spread all across the globe. You can find digital nomads in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between. There are even digital nomad communities in remote locations, like deserts and mountains. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you find the perfect one for you.
The first step is to decide what kind of community you’re looking for. Do you want a large, active community with tons of events and activities, or a smaller, more intimate group? There are pros and cons to both choices, so it’s important to decide what’s most important to you.
Once you’ve got a general idea of the kind of community you’re looking for, the next step is to start your search. The best way to find a digital nomad community is to search online. There are a number of online forums and groups dedicated to digital nomads, and many of them are very active.
You can also find digital nomad meetups in most major cities, and these are a great way to meet other digital nomads, gain new friends, and learn about the lifestyle.
Finally, if you’re traveling to a popular digital nomad destination, such as Bali or Chiang Mai, there are likely to be a number of digital nomad communities already established there.
For those who feel chained to their desk by the digital world, digital nomad communities may seem like a far-off dream. However, these digital oases are more common than you might think. Just a few of the most popular include:
NomadBase: A digital nomad community located in Thailand that is open to digital nomads from all over the world.
Nomad House: A digital nomad community located in Spain that offers temporary co-working space and lodging for digital nomads.
The Dojo: A digital nomad community located in Bali that offers a variety of amenities for digital nomads.
So, whether you’re looking for online or in-person digital nomad communities, you should have no trouble finding what you’re looking for.
Digital Nomad Checklist: Guide to Freedom
The digital nomad lifestyle is one of freedom and flexibility, but it’s not necessarily an easy one. There’s more to it than just packing your laptop and heading off into the sunset.
In order to be a successful digital nomad, you’ll need to plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need to stay productive (and sane) while working remotely.
If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into the world of remote work, there are a few things you’ll need to check off your list first. Here’s a digital nomad checklist to help you get started:
A good laptop
This is pretty much essential for any digital nomad, so it’s non-negotiable. To find the best laptop for your digital nomad needs, it’s important to do your research.
Remember, not all laptops are created equal. While there are many great laptops on the market, some are better suited for digital nomads than others.
In general, digital nomads should look for laptops that can handle the demands of remote work, such as video conferencing and multitasking, and promise long battery life and a good selection of ports.
If you’re constantly on the go, you’ll want a laptop that’s lightweight and portable. But if you’re mainly working from coffee shops and co-working spaces, you might prefer something with a little more horsepower. And of course, price is always a factor.
It’s vital that you look for a machine that can handle all your work needs whether you’re a freelance writer, graphic designer, or web developer, there’s a laptop out there that will suit your needs. You’ll need something reliable to work on, after all!
A good internet connection
Digital nomads are a growing tribe of people who have embraced the freedom of working remotely. Whether it’s for a short-term project or an extended period of travel, digital nomads rely on portable wifi to stay connected and productive.
While the digital nomad lifestyle has its perks, it can also be fraught with challenges, particularly when it comes to finding reliable internet.
Fortunately, there are now some great portable wifi options available for digital nomads, making it easier than ever to stay connected while on the go. Portable wifi hotspots offer a fast, reliable way to get online, whether you’re working from a coffee shop in Bangkok or a hostel in Rio de Janeiro.
Since they rely on cellular data networks instead of wifi hotspots, they’re much more reliable than relying on public wifi. Moreover, the fact that they’re small and lightweight makes them easy to take with you wherever you are in the world.
A place to live
For digital nomads, the world is their oyster – but finding a place to stay can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a few great resources that can help digital nomads find housing in their next destination.
First, there are websites specifically devoted to digital nomad housing, like NomadBase and Roam. These sites offer a variety of options, from co-living spaces to private apartments, and they make it easy to find housing that fits your budget and lifestyle.
You can also try search engines like Booking, VRBO, and Airbnb, which often have an extensive selection of digital nomad rentals available for a few weeks or months at a time. Most digital nomads choose co-living spaces specifically designed for the digital nomad lifestyle.
Finally, don’t forget about good old-fashioned networking – tell your friends and family you’re looking for somewhere to stay, and they might be able to show you the ideal place to suit your needs.
A comfortable place to work
You’ll need to be comfortable working remotely. That means being able to stay focused and motivated without an office environment or set hours. You’ll need to find some remote work-friendly spots.
Coffee shops and libraries are always good bets. Some even enjoy working in hotel lobbies. But, co-working spaces are overall the best option for most digital nomads when it comes to remote work.
With the growing number of digital nomads, it comes as no surprise that there are also a growing number of coworking spaces that cater specifically to this group. These coworking spaces often offer features like fast Wi-Fi, plenty of outlets, and comfortable seating. In addition, some digital nomad coworking spaces provide amenities like bike storage, showers, and on-site cafes.
One great option is to search for digital nomad coworking spaces that offer a variety of seating options, like standing desks, lounge areas, and private meeting rooms. This way, you can mix up your workday and avoid sitting in the same spot for hours on end.
Another tip is to look for coworking spaces that have lots of natural light and plenty of outlets for charging your devices. And finally, be sure to check out the amenities offered and ensure they offer everything (or at least most things) you need.
Noise canceling headphones / earbuds
You’ll be spending a lot of time in coffee shops and co-working spaces, and trust me, you don’t want to hear your seatmate’s phone conversations. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones will come in handy, both for blocking out distractions and for making video calls in public places.
In picking what’s right for you, keep in mind that digital nomads need headphones that are durable and portable. We often work in coffee shops and other public places, so we need headphones that can stand up to a lot of wear and tear. Since the digital nomad lifestyle means being always on the go, we need headphones that are easy to pack and carry with us.
A sturdy backpack
For the digital nomad, a backpack is not just a fashion statement – it’s an essential piece of gear. After all, when you’re constantly on the move, you need to be able to pack light and stay organized. That means your backpack serves as your office, your bedroom, and your home away from home. So it’s important to choose the right backpack for the job.
First and foremost, it should be spacious and well-designed, with plenty of compartments for all your digital devices and cables. Second, it should be comfortable to wear, with padded shoulder straps and a hip belt that distribute the weight evenly. Finally, it should be stylish – because let’s face it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in coffee shops and co-working spaces, and you want to look good while doing it.
A travel adapter
As a digital nomad, I’ve come to rely on my travel adapter to keep me connected while I’m on the road. Whether I’m working from a remote location or simply keeping in touch with friends and family, my travel adapter is an essential part of my kit.
If you’re going to be working from all over the world, you’ll need an adapter that can handle multiple types of plugs. After all, you can’t exactly do your work from a cafe if you can’t plug in your laptop!
Some adapters are designed to work with a variety of different electrical outlets, making them ideal for use in countries with diverse power standards. Some also usually come equipped with multiple USB ports, so digital nomads can charge all their devices at once. Many models even come with built-in surge protection, ensuring that delicate electronics are protected from power spikes.
A virtual mailbox
As a digital nomad, I often find myself on the move, with no permanent mailing address. And if you rely on friends or family to hold onto your mail for you, they might eventually get tired of playing postal worker.
Even if you have a forwarding address, it’s not always convenient to get to your mail in a timely manner. That can be a problem when it comes to things like bills, packages, and other mail. Fortunately, there’s a solution: virtual mailboxes.
A virtual mailbox is a digital service that provides you with a physical mailing address. This can be particularly helpful if you need to receive mail while you’re travelling.
Whenever you receive mail at that address, the virtual mailbox provider will scan it and send you a digital copy. You can then view and manage your mail online, and even have it forwarded to your current location.
Virtual mailboxes are perfect for digital nomads who need a reliable way to stay on top of their mail.
If you’re a digital nomad, chances are you’ve got a pretty good handle on remote work. But what about remote communication? Just because you’re not in the same physical space as your team doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch and stay productive.
There are a number of great communication apps out there that can help digital nomads stay connected not only with their teams but with their family and friends back home as well.
Slack is a great all-in-one communication tool that can be used for everything from real-time chat to video calls. Zoom is another great option for video calls, and it’s especially handy if you need to share your screen or record a meeting. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, consider using WhatsApp or FaceTime. If you need to collaborate on documents, Google Drive is an essential tool for digital nomads.
In today’s increasingly connected world, more and more people are choosing to become digital nomads, working remotely from wherever they happen to be. While this lifestyle comes with many advantages, it can also present some challenges, especially when it comes to communication.
Fortunately, there are a number of apps that can make it easy for digital nomads to stay in touch with colleagues, clients, and friends. If you need more help in choosing the best communication apps for your digital nomad lifestyle, you can check out this article.
Local sim card
Getting a local sim card is now less important if you have an iPhone or Samsung that has a T-Mobile plan. You can get off the plane, turn on your phone in 152+ countries, and it will work seamlessly.
However, there are still some great local sim cards if you want to save on rates and get a local number. Getting a local number is great for long-term travelers who don’t want higher phone bills, less data, and don’t want to rely on Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, and other apps to communicate while abroad.
If you do go the route of using your phone, there’s a trick I’ve used for years that still works to get a local US number while abroad.
If you’re a digital nomad, Google Voice can be a lifesaver. It’s a US-based phone number that you can use while living abroad, and it’s perfect for keeping in touch with clients, family, and friends.
Here’s how to set it up:
First, create a google account if you don’t already have one. Then, go to Google Voice and click on “Create a new account.” Follow the prompts to choose your Google Voice number. You can select a number from any area code in the US.
Now that you have your Google Voice number, you can start using it right away. Simply give out your Google Voice number when someone asks for your phone number.
Prepare a Pre-Travel Checklist
For a digital nomad looking to go on a next adventure, it’s important to check out this pre-travel checklist before you hit the road. From ensuring that your laptop is backed up to packing your nomad essentials, this checklist will help you make sure that you’re prepared for anything.
First and foremost, be sure to back up all of your important files before you leave. Whether you’re working on a new website or just have some photos that you don’t want to lose, backing up your files will give you peace of mind while you’re traveling. You can use an external hard drive or cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
You should also make sure your passport is up to date and that you have all the necessary visas for your destination. Don’t forget to make copies of all your important documents, organize your finances, and set up a budget for your trip. This will help you avoid any unwanted surprises later on. Look into travel insurance to protect yourself from any potential risks as well.
For the longest time, the traditional 9-5 office job was the only way to make a living. But in recent years, that’s started to change. Thanks to the internet, more and more people are finding ways to make money online – and that’s led to the rise of the digital nomad.
So what is a digital nomad? In short, it’s someone who uses technology to work remotely, usually from a different location each day. That might mean working from a coffee shop in Madrid one day, and then from a beach in Bali the next.
These days, more and more people are opting to pursue the digital nomad lifestyle. There’s no doubt that the digital nomad lifestyle is alluring.
And who wouldn’t want to trade in their stuffy office and soul-sucking commute for a life of sunny beaches, tropical drinks, and working from wherever the wifi is strong? But is this idyllic lifestyle really all it’s cracked up to be? Is being a digital nomad worth it? That’s a tough question to answer.
If you value freedom and flexibility, then the answer is probably yes.
If you’re looking for stability and security, then you might want to stick to the traditional 9-5 lifestyle.
If you thrive in adventures, you will be forever altered.
If you’re open to immersing yourself in new cultures and learning about how the rest of the world works, it’s absolutely worth it.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to be away from family and home, then this isn’t the best option for you.
If my family has a medical emergency, I get to go there right away with no questions asked and no restrictions to consider. Is that worth it? What’s the price or value of not being able to take care of your parents?
Being a digital nomad is the ultimate flexibility. To me, it’s worth it!
If you are a baby boomer, then you face some unique issues when it comes to work. Those of you who have had a job for 20 or 30 years (or more) are usually ready to retire, but aren’t necessarily ready to not work either because you don’t want a lot of free time on your hands or you can’t afford to financially.
Some of you may have even lost your job due to the economic downturn and now find yourself trying to compete with people half your age for a job you really don’t want. What are you to do? Have you considered working remotely?
Baby Boomers and Working Remotely
Luckily, the Internet spans most areas of the globe, allowing you to work from anywhere. You can set your own schedule and create your own routine (allowing you to work around family and other obligations) right from the comfort of your own home.
Additionally, you have built up certain skill sets, which I would argue are 100% transferable to the LiveWorkAnywhere model. This greatly increases your online work options as a baby boomer looking for a full or part-time career.
By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full time workforce. The number of freelance workers is projected to outpace full-time workers by 2020. The economy is rapidly shifting to a more contingent workforce, with recent estimates by the Freelancers Union of 42 million American independent workers, up from 10.3 million workers in 2005.” – Forbes
There are several jobs in which you do not have to actually be there in person to perform. If you had a career as a trademark attorney, for example, perhaps you could transfer your skills to consulting and meet your clients via web and phone.
If you were a sales executive, get rid of the car, use a US-based number and make calls from wherever you live. You can even hire a team to do the majority of the work for you while you focus on client acquisition.
Perhaps there is another service you can offer to your existing client base? Something you can do without even leaving your house. Baby boomers have many online work options, allowing them to live and work remotely.
Telecommuting is not a buzzword, it’s a reality. You start with your dream and your skills and work backwards to find flexible work that you will enjoy. That’s all fine, you say, but what if you don’t have time to start with your dream? What if you need something NOW?
Transferrable Skills for Baby Boomers Looking to Work Online
If you are in need of augmenting or supplementing your income, there are several online positions you can do right now from home with just a computer. Here is a list of skill sets that are great for remote, online work:
IT & Programming
Patent / Trademark / Legal
Medical equipment consulting
So What Are Your First Steps as a Baby Boomer Who Wants to Work Remotely?
This is where the work begins, so here is a step-by-step guide that will make your online work process as simple as possible:
1. Build Your Online Profile
Are you on LinkedIn? If you are, is your profile current? How many connections do you have? You should have at least 500+ so, if you don’t, then you need to get busy. Join groups in your field and network with others. Connect with other baby boomers who work remotely in your field so you can learn from them.
2. Build Your Professional Profile
What are your skills? To answer this, simply take your resume and transform it into a business portfolio. If you were an attorney, for instance, make a list of all of the professional services that you would offer and include some key milestones from your career. Package yourself to market yourself.
3. Transfer Your Profile
Create a website (there are several ways to make a free website – weebly.com, wix.com, wordpress.org, squarespace.com and Google sites, just to name a few) where you can showcase all of your talents. If you don’t want to spend time creating and marketing a site yet, then you can at least sign up on a site like Elance.com where you can build your own profile and have them market it for you within their freelancer marketplace.
4. Build Your Routine
Know how many hours you are available, the wage you want to make (be sure to look around so you are price competitive with the market – too low is okay to start, but doesn’t show high quality; too much and you’ll drive potential customers away), and what your monthly revenue goals are. The more you know what you want, the easier it is to create the routine to get it.
5. Get Started
Nothing new is ever easy. You will be challenged. But you spent your entire professional career meeting challenges head-on and look how far you’ve come. You can transfer your skills and create supplemental income or even prepare to hit the road with your new business and be successful no matter what stage of the game you are in – even as a baby boomer.
Tell me – what other questions do you have? Where should we dig in deeper?
It is estimated that by the year 2020, approximately 50% of the workforce will be working online. While this may offer a large majority of individuals the ability to work from home, this isn’t always the preferable option.
Thus, the coworking movement.
What is Coworking?
Perhaps the best way to describe coworking is to think of it as an office-type of setting that you can go to everyday to do your work, but you don’t have to go through the hassle or expense of buying or creating it on your own.
Although they aren’t very well-known by a lot of freelance workers and startups, more and more coworking spaces are popping up all over the globe. In fact, I have personally been working out of WeWork in New York City for over three years.
WeWork started as a small, invite-only incubation space in Soho called WeWork Labs. Since 2011, it has grown to 15 locations (10 in New York, 2 in Boston, 2 in Washington DC and 1 in Seattle) and each one houses approximately 200 startups.
Here’s a quick video clip from AFP News, who interviewed me in a piece on coworking spaces in DC:
Advantages of Coworking
There are a number of distinct advantages to picking up your laptop and going someplace else to work. Here are just a few of them to consider if you’re contemplating making coworking a part of your LiveWorkAnywhere life:
You get out of the house. It may seem like working from home is great, but the reality is that the four walls can close in on you very easily if you hardly ever get out. Plus, if you have an active family, sometimes the distractions can be too much, making it hard to concentrate and causing you to potentially miss important deadlines.
They’re cost effective. Other than the cost of the coffee that you drink, coworking spaces are totally free. This saves you from having to find an office space to rent, which has the ability to eat up all of your income, depending on where you live.
You have hi-speed Wifi Internet. This coworking advantage is huge for people who either live in areas that don’t get good service or simply can’t afford the higher speed options. Access to a super-fast Internet is something no online working should go without.
They’re good for the environment. Why take up precious space on this planet and build a bunch of offices when you can house a large number of people in one place and they can still accomplish the same thing? This makes coworking very earth friendly.
You get to network with other entrepreneurs and startups. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of co-working is that you get to meet like minded people. You can share stories, tips, and advice as you decide how you’re going to conquer the world.
Coworking is the next new trend and one that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
Where do you cowork? What is your favorite coworking space and why?
If you’re not yet coworking, what would you look for in a space?
Many people have horror stories when it comes to hiring freelancers for services ranging from writing to coding to web design. And, unfortunately, it’s not at all uncommon to hear these types of statements about them as a result:
They lie about the level of job they can take on
They disappear without a trace
They steal your code
Their quality of work is shamelessly poor, and so on.
Maybe you even have a tale about a freelancer that has soured your thought of ever wanting to hire a remote worker to help you fill your needs? If so, you are not alone.
It can make you wonder why, in a world where remote work is coming of age and the Internet is everywhere, do we have so many problems, still, trying to find great freelance talent?
Here’s the good news: There are still wonderful freelancers out there who don’t abide by the same poor work ethic as the others in their field who give them a bad name. The key is recognizing the diamonds from the cubic zirconium, so you know when you have the real deal and when you’ve been fooled.
With that thought in mind, here are three of the most common freelancing nightmares, as well as ways to avoid finding yourself in them:
Nightmare #1 – The freelancer provides low-quality work
Your whole purpose in hiring a freelancer is because you want a higher quality of product than you’re able to provide yourself. Either you have no skill in that required area or you simply don’t have time to apply it. Regardless of the reason, you want a freelancer that gives you the highest quality product available, which can hit you extra hard when you get low quality work – especially if you paid top dollar for it.
Here are some pointers to help you avoid this scenario all together:
1. Set your communication expectations upfront. Tell them immediately what you expect from them. Do you need them on Skype from 9 AM to 6 PM EST each day? If so, let them know that before you hire them. Do you expect an email each day with progress? Make sure they are aware of this so you’re not sitting there wondering what they’re doing.
Also, let them know when and how you will be available to them so they know when they can and cannot engage you. This lessens the likelihood that you’ll run into issues because they’ll know how to contact you if a problem arises.
2. Create milestones. This suggestion works well especially if you have a larger project that you’re hiring a freelancer for. Take the task and break it down into smaller bits by setting milestones along the way. For instance, if you are hiring a freelance writer to create a 10 chapter e-book for you, you could set milestones at each chapter to review their work.
This allows you to make sure you’re a good fit and to figure out how you work together. If you don’t like their work or you’re not meshing, simply don’t go beyond the first milestone, pay them for their work, and let them go. Take what you learned about what you need and use that as criteria when hiring the next person.
On the other hand, if it appears that you’re going to do okay together once you reach the first milestone, then just create another one and go step by step. This helps you retain control over your project and minimizes the damage if you happen to hire a freelancer who provides low quality work.
3. Hire multiple people. Admittedly, this option works best if you have a smaller project (or microtask) that is going to lead into a larger one. One way to do it is to post the job, hiring a few different people for it so that you can see who does best job. Then pick the freelancer you like the most to work on your next, more important project.
4. Post a crystal-clear job description. The more descriptive you are about the job you are hiring for, the better your results will likely be. This allows the freelancers interested in it to have a better idea of what is expected of them, allowing them to not even apply if they feel they aren’t qualified or can’t do what you ask.
For starters, the header should give enough information to attract the right type of freelancer. A good header includes the type of freelancer you’re looking for by stating the industry (health, tech, business) and the project type (e-book creation, code, web design). An example is “Tech Writer Needed for iPhone Article” or “Need Web Designer for Cake Decorating Business.” It is specific enough that someone will know right away whether they’re interested and qualified.
The job description must also be incredibly clear. Include things like:
What the job is specifically, breaking it down as much as possible so it is easy to understand
Use bullet points to list expectations or needs
State the projected duration of task
If you have an example of the kind of work you’re looking for, state it or provide a link to it
List your expectations
Ask for portfolios or samples that pertain to your specific request
If you have a budget, state it
(Tip: Sometimes it helps to look at other job posts to get a feel for what people are including in their posts, what they are looking for, and the quality of proposals the jobs are attracting from potential candidates based on how they’re worded.)
5. Do a code review. If you’re listing a coding project, have someone you trust and who is a rock star coder review the code – immediately – before continuing onto another project. Make sure that it is freshly written as code samples could be from anyone. You can even take screenshots to make sure the freelancer is creating the code themselves.
Nightmare #2 – The freelancer is unreliable, sometimes even disappearing completely
This scenario is rather unfortunate. Some freelancers like their freedom so much that they forget that they have obligations and responsibilities to the clients that have hired them, proving themselves to be completely unreliable. Others have a problem staying accountable because they don’t have an employer standing over their shoulder, making sure they get their work done.
Some even disappear completely. One day they’re there and the next they’re gone. Sometimes with your money already in hand. So, how do you avoid this? Here are some options to consider:
1. Hire and fire swiftly. When you get a red flag that tells you that something isn’t right, do not ignore it. Sure, it can be really difficult to let someone go, but some people can and will drive your business into the ground with their own needs in mind if you let them, so STOP BEING NICE!
Sometimes you have to do what’s hard in order to survive. Remember that this is about your business. If it doesn’t make it, then you’ve made all your hard work and effort essentially useless, so make those tough decisions before they make you go bankrupt…or crazy.
Having a platform like Elance or Odesk to hire freelancers allows you to start and stop jobs easily, scale your business up or down as needed, and gives you access to millions of candidates right at your fingertips. You owe it to yourself and your business to find the right fit.
2. Have a backup plan. Relying on one single person to meet all of your needs gives you a single point of failure with no way to rebound. Instead, have a team of potential candidates, hire in parallel, and have at least two people who are able to do the same task. Servers need backups and so do your other critical business functions, which is why you’re better off with a plan in place before you need it.
3. Document, document, document. Generally, disappearing freelancers hate documentation, so if they refuse, consider that a red flag. Additionally, make sure that you document everything too. That way, if they do prove to be unreliable or simply walk away, you don’t have to start from scratch as you’ll have your work up until the point that they took off.
Nightmare #3: The freelancer steals your code
If you saw the movie Social Network, then you know that copyright violation does happen. In fact, it even happened to me.
I was copied on my idea of Beer2Buds from an American guy living in Germany. Blatant copy and branding. While I found it flattering to some degree, I had no legal recourse. Then, my business partner convinced me to put the first version of Beer2Buds on his servers so, when he disappeared somewhere in China, the code was lost with him. Again, no legal recourse.
My answer to this type of nightmare is this:
1) Keep the code on your servers, ALWAYS. When my CTO passed away suddenly and tragically , one lesson I had fortunately learned was to keep the code in my control. Probably a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
2) Out-execute. First of all, the idea is yours so you will always be a step ahead of the copycats. Second, people who steal ideas or copy yours can only go so far. There is so much power, not to mention integrity, in being innovative and a game changer, two qualities that code thieves usually lack.
3) Use a platformto protect you. When possible, use a platform to help protect both you and your code to prevent any potential issues. For example, NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) do not work in China, especially when you have no address.
4) Separate the code baseinto segments. Use a platform like github and create branches so that you give specific tasks to specific groups to only work on one section of your code. That way, no one has the whole thing.
While these suggestions don’t necessarily guarantee that you won’t find yourself in the middle of a freelance nightmare, they will lessen your risk considerably. So, what else can you do to protect yourself?
What to Do Before Hiring a Freelancer
Before you even hire a freelancer, there are certain things you can and should do to ensure that you’re getting a top-quality individual. Think of it in terms of hiring an employee and set up your own interview process of sorts. In it, you will want to do the following three things:
Review their portfolio. Take the time to see what samples they’ve uploaded to their profile. Does their work reflect the type of quality that you’re looking for? Does it fit your style or the style for the project?
Read their reviews. Think about what is MOST important for you, i.e. quality, cost, responsiveness, etc. Then, skim through the reviews to get a quick view on the freelancer’s character. For instance, do they rate low consistently in adhering to cost and cost is one of your most important factors? This would probably signal that they would be a bad fit for you. Or, maybe they rate high on responsiveness and that is most important to you, so you decide to try them out. There is no right or wrong answers here as it is all about what you want out of your freelance relationship.
View their skills tests results. Don’t forget that you can look at the skills the person has from the assessment tests they’ve taken to determine whether they are qualified for your particular project. For example, if it is a logo project you’re posting, it might be nice to know that they rate in the top 5% for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that hiring a freelancer is not easy, but the more you can do to prepare yourself, the smoother the process will be. Expect to work hard and be a good leader and, in the end, you will likely create a quality relationship with a freelancer who meets and possibly even exceeds your expectations.
Have you ever had any of these issues happen to you? If so, how did you deal with them? Please leave a note in the comments as I’d love to hear about your experiences!
“Growth hacking” is a technical term for customer development. Essentially, it involves figuring out what your customer wants without ever having to talk to or interact with them. How?
By using tools like Optimizely, Google Analytics, and KISS Metrics, you’re able to learn more about your customer based on a specific set of metrics. These types of programs allow you to discover their likes, dislikes, and interests solely by monitoring their Internet usage and what sites they frequent most.
So, what’s the problem with customer development via growth hacking?
The Problem with Growth Hacking
You can’t growth hack your way into your customer’s mind. Sure, you may gain a little understanding about them thanks to the software program, but your growth will be faster if you actually keep a finger on the pulse of your customers. How do you do this? By having real conversations with them.
The software developers responsible for creating these types of programs are partially to blame. I’m not saying that they are schmucks, but not all of these growth hackers are worth the beaucoup bucks they’re generally paid.
A large number of software developers (and non-savvy business developers) have the illusion that “if they build it, they will come.” In this case, the second “they” refers to the customers who they expect will adore everything they do and flock to their software simply because it exists.
In all fairness, this way of thinking is not entirely their fault. We fawn over stories of icons such as Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook and dream of being that one in a billion.
However, overvaluing software developers and undervaluing business developers can give software developers a giant ego and false sense of worth. Unfortunately, it is this inflated ego that can drive them to quit projects midway through to pursue their own passions. And, why not? They can, right?
While it’s great for anyone to follow their passion, this is bad luck in these types of situations. Plus, it’s just awful for the teams they leave behind.
Growth Hacking Can Be Good…Within Reason
Personally, I love the concept of growth hacking. In fact, by definition I am a growth hacker. But I also know that you cannot – 100% cannot – grow your company without getting to know your customer face-to-face.
For instance, consider the concepts behind Lean methodology which forces you to GOOTB (Get-Out-Of-The-Building) and talk to your customers. It’s so much better! Why?
It makes your potential customers part of the growth process so you become customer-centric. When you follow Lean methodology, you are constantly putting your product or service in front of them to test their response, giving you immediate feedback that is essential to your growth power.
One way to do this is by signing up for Lean Startup Machine. This is a three-day course designed to teach you the process by which you can learn enough about your customer base to make your business more successful.
When it comes to Lean methodology versus growth hacking, Lean methodology wins every time!
Customers Aren’t Numbers
Customers aren’t just numbers. They have a voice. So, hiding behind the numbers and hacking away at code, pretending that you’re staring at a matrix screen that somehow tells you all you need to know about your customer… that’s all bunk.
Your front end sales people have the pulse on your company. Your business development people actually know what your customers are saying – and they’re worth listening to.
That’s why I believe that growth hacking is seriously overrated and may, in fact, be one of the worst effects of modern tech culture.
What’s your opinion on growth hacking? Do you find it helpful or not? We’d love to know your thoughts!
Finally the playing field is being leveled. You don’t have to be a college grad to be successful. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here: Being accepted into an accelerator is a more significant step toward business success than a degree from Harvard.
Microsoft is actually contracting TechStars companies to build their products, so this attitude is even affecting the workplace. Which I predict is really going to work in Microsoft’s favor going forward. Thinking like an accelerator is the style of the future. Big companies need to adapt to survive.
The problem with corporations, in short, is that everything changes when they get big. Big companies come with a lot of problems and hang-ups. Employees get comfy paychecks and pseudo-meaningful titles that they hang onto, fight for, and step on others to maintain or get. As a result, innovation is lost.
From there, companies are then forced to copy ideas from startups or established companies. Then, due to politics, egos, and position control, it takes a long time to get something meaningful accomplished. They don’t have the nimbleness that comes with being a startup, especially one nurtured by accelerators and incubators.
Startups are agile, quick, and either don’t have titles or know titles mean nothing. They focus on getting things done and rapid iteration. That’s it. There’s no junk getting in the way. Startups are there to get things done.
So let’s support our local startups, and the accelerators that make them great. And if you want to be successful in business, avoid the big corporations. Don’t go for that expensive business degree unless you just want it anyway. Just build a startup, and find an accelerator/incubator to light a fire under it!
That’s the format for IGNITE. An IGNITE talk reminds me of a TEDX talk or the old Gnomedex run by Chris Pirillo. Except that it’s even more niche. It’s likely derived from the PechaKucha format, in which designers were challenged to talk with 20 slides auto-advancing after 20 seconds each. The content is inspiring, humorous, or pensive. And generally presented by nerds.
I gave my first IGNITE in Chile in January 2014. I wanted to introduce the concept of the Anywhere Startup.
I’ve been living and working from cities around the world for several years, but thanks to the increase in fiber, Internet, technology, resources, with near ubiquity driving the cost of access down, airline costs decreasing overtime, and other trends such as Startup workshops, in-flight wifi, etc, more people have the flexibility to travel and stay connected to one another.
I used to swear that I would do anything to get back to Spain, even if it meant I had to clean toilets with a toothbrush. Thankfully, I no longer have to do that. I’ve found success following an entrepreneurial path, and I want to help people get to that place too.
Here’s my Ignite Talk in Chile, introducing the Anywhere Startup:
The core points from my talk include:
1) I grew up sheltered, in rural America. I was 20 years old and I’d never left North America. 2) In college, I went to study abroad in Spain. I had never been on a plane, train, bus, or taxi. I had to do it all, within 24 hours, and – in SPANISH. My world was completely turned upside down. 3) But it was also during this time that I realized that I would to do whatever it would take to continue traveling.
That was 1997.
OVER 20 YEARS AGO.
4) I had only just started using email in 1994. Twenty years ago. In the University in Spain, my friend would sneak into the computer labs on the weekend with to use a computer (on DIAL UP) to send e-mail. 5) After school, I was to told to get a job. And I did. But even with the Internet, there was no mobility. I was still stuck in an office, watching the clock every day until 5 pm. Waiting to leave, or rather until someone else told me I could leave. 6) What happened to the days of being a pioneer, an explorer, of sailing our ships through unknown waters – navigating through obstacles and discovering new lands, creating new maps? Why couldn’t workers combine the Internet and travel? 7) The morning of my talk I physically worked from Santiago, but I was really working in New York and San Francisco. There is no difference between working right next to someone and being thousands of miles away, whether you’re in the air or sitting on a rock.
TODAY, 2014 – 27 YEARS FORWARD
8) Access to resources is nearing ubiquity and the cost of technology has plummeted. Airlines are now starting to offer FREE WIFI. I’ve been mid air sending emails, chatting, and making calls via Google Voice … and nobody … even knew … where I was.
THE ANYWHERE STARTUP
9) This is the concept of the Anywhere Startup. A startup that, simply, you can run from anywhere. It’s based on a set of what I call the Mobility Criteria. 10) I run 2 anywhere startups. One is an e-commerce company (or beer commerce, if you like) called Beer2Buds that allows you to send a friend a beer anywhere in the world. The other is a SaaS product called PromoBomb. I’ve been traveling while running these startups from anywhere. 11) The most obvious elements of the mobility criteria are strong wifi, continuous power, quiet private space. Thanks to co-working spaces popping up around the globe certainly feeds this ecosystem. But it hasn’t always been that easy…. 12) In 2009 I went to Costa Rica lured by the promise of strong WIFI and continuous power. When I got there, the line was shared by 12 other businesses and the power would go out, people would shrug, and head to the beach. 13) In Budapest, I found a cafe open til midnight that had strong wifi, not shared with other people. Bingo. I arrived at quarter to 8. At 8 pm, on the dot, the wifi was shut off. The waiter said they do it so people would socialize. 14) Learning my lesson, I went to Buenos Aires and got my own apartment with my OWN strong wifi and power. I was on a conference call with Budweiser, when all of a sudden someone started jack hammering through the wall. Jack hammering. My noise-canceling headphones were no match for the jack hammer. I also lost power and the call was over. 15) Things can and will happen, but the most important part to an Anywhere Startup, is having a system in place. 3 components of a perfect system are:
An Anywhere Startup requires a different type of commitment, different style of communication and new processes. 16) My Anywhere Startups have teams that are dispersed all over the world. We use a variety of tools for collaboration. We set our clocks to ONE timezone, in our case, EST. We set weekly meetings based on this time. No matter where we are on the globe, we all adhere to EST. 17) During our meetings, over Skype, one person may be having pizza for lunch, while another is having balut for dinner . Our sales team battle cries are “Walang Aayaw” and “Lage Raho.” We are an international team running on one single system.
NEXT 20 YEARS – THE FUTURE
18) What will the next twenty years look like? Did you know that only 30% of the world has metadata? In Nicaragua and my address was – 2 blocks down from San Miguel’s store, down the street past El Mar restaurant, and on the left hand side… 19) Imagine a world with 100% metadata, and, as access to resources becomes even more ubiquitous, people who never before were able to share their vision with the world could now do so. We create cross-cultural entrepreneurship, and global cooperation. 20) Imagine a world that where, when you land in Chile, it doesn’t say “roaming” you turn on your phone. It just works. I’m navigating the waters of the Anywhere Startup and building a map for the next twenty years of Anywhere Entrepreneurs.
I was just at an event last night where we went around the room and introduced ourselves.
Many people talked about their “company.” It’s hard to tell if they were talking about the company they worked for, the piece of code they were working on, or the group of friends they worked with to raise a seed round.
It’s a project. Until there are paying customers, a formed corporation, and a need solved that’s scalable, it’s a project. Startups fail because they are experiments.
Of course, it depends on where you are in the process. Anyone can turn from XYZ into CEO overnight with a project. It’s easy to give yourself a title and to build a prototype. That’s the simple part.
A startup moves from the project phase into the company phase when there is revenue. Revenue comes from paying customers.
By now, Lean Startup has become a common term. Lean Startup takes the principles of Customer Development and Agile Development and combines them. It’s important to think of customers first—who will actually buy your product? It ‘s usually not who you think! After you figure that out, how quickly can you iterate on your development when you learn this? This is known as agile development, or SCRUM.
On the other hand, there is no need to start a company (or even incorporate) when all you have is a project. Unless there are some patents, trademarks, etc that are essential to the core of the product, then all you really need to do is experiment. That’s the beauty of a startup. It’s not failure if you are experimenting and documenting what you’re learning.
A startup project is fun, exciting, and experimental. A company deals with real revenues and expenses, customers and support issues. So if you want to build a company, it’s okay to begin with a startup. Just keep in mind that customers are your goal. With customers comes real business decisions. If you don’t want a company, keep building startups! It’s all about the learning.
In your experience, at what point does a startup become a company?
LiveWorkAnywhere connects you with resources including articles, products and courses that help you build an online business or find a remote job, allowing you to live and work from anywhere.
What is LWA?
LiveWorkAnywhere connects you with resources including articles, products and courses that help you build an online business or find a remote job, allowing you to live and work from anywhere.