Digital Nomads: 6 Must Have Resources, Tips and Tricks

digital nomads

Digital nomads, also known as expats or remote freelancers, are gaining recent popularity among millennials, as well as established tech leaders and freelancers. Digital nomads are people who have mobilized their trade and travel from country to country exploring the world while working remotely.

Sounds fun, right?

While the term “digital nomad” has gained a bit of a reputation for being a free-spirited, easygoing lifestyle, in actuality, it is anything but. Becoming a digital nomad puts all of the responsibility in your own hands and puts you halfway across the globe to a country you very well know nothing about.

Successful digital nomads are self-driven, highly organized, and have the ability to mobilize their trade.

If you’re interested in learning more about the digital nomad lifestyle, click here to read our previous article on the digital nomad life. If you’re already a digital nomad, these resources can immensely help your journey in progress. If you’re thinking about taking on this new adventure, these resources will give you a leg up in the process.

I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. – Steve Jobs

Whatever your reason, these tips and tricks are designed to help out fellow digital nomads, a community of highly independent individuals exploring the world one country at a time.

Reddit’s Subreddit – Digital Nomads

This subreddit is a guidebook and continual community resource for those interested and those already in the digital nomad lifestyle. Users share everything from the best cell phone companies in a foreign country to the most durable laptop cases for when you’re on the road. The right sidebar features pages for the best remote job websites, how to obtain a visa, and other travel hacks.

This subreddit is an incredibly tight community. Do your research before posting; self-reliance is an admired quality not only for this group but as a digital nomad as well.

Learn a language with Duolingo

It would be highly irresponsible to move to a foreign country without a general grasp of the language.

Duolingo is a “freemium” service that can help you get started on learning the lay of the land. With access to most major languages, you can begin to learn the basics of your new home language and perfect your skills once you’ve moved. Duolingo has some in-app upgrades, but the majority of the app is free.

Unlike other language learning services on the market that cost a fortune, Duolingo can help you save a few bucks while learning a vital skill to your survival.

Develop a new skill with Lynda

Don’t think you have a skill that can be mobilized? Learn one!

Lynda is an online “school” that has thousands of courses for a variety of trades.

This isn’t your typical YouTube tutorial; these are in-depth classes designed to help you master a trade.

Photography, software development, design, and business are just some of the hundreds of skills you can sharpen. Sign up for a free trial and see if there is something that interests you, chances are, there is. While a monthly price of $19.99 may seem a bit high, it is much more affordable than going back to school and is a worthy investment in your future.

The best part about Lynda? The classes are engaging, not strictly informative, and many times the classes are taught by industry leaders.

digital nomads

Put your skills to use on Upwork

There are many freelance websites out there, but Upwork is arguably the largest platform. It is a great starting point for your freelance career. Companies and individuals post job listings that include the skill level they are looking for, timeframe, and sometimes the budget. You create a profile that showcases your skills, portfolio, and previous work.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a hefty portfolio to show, many jobs are looking for entry-level work. Upwork is a “free” service, meaning you won’t pay upfront for anything. Instead, they take 20% of the job payment. While this can initially be quite a jarring cut, it is still a useful service for getting your feet wet in the freelance arena and building your portfolio. Plus, after a client spends $500 on you, the fee goes down to 10%.

Upwork also has payment protection in place, so if a client doesn’t want to pay for work you’ve already done, Upwork’s got your back.

Track your time with Toggl

Not every client makes you track your hours, but for the ones that do, this website is a simple way to do so. Upwork has a built-in time tracking system that some clients prefer you use, but if you have a choice (or are working outside of Upwork) go with Toggl.

It is not only one of the simplest tools for you to use, but the weekly reports are also clear and concise to the client and can be edited in a variety of presentations. It is simply the clearest and concise time tracker. My clients have always complimented me on my weekly reports for being so easy to read.

If you client requires screenshots throughout your process (never a fun requirement, but it’s bound to happen at some point) you can enable Timeline on the desktop app, and it will record your computer activity, and display 15-minute chunks of your work. Oh, and did we mention Toggl is free?

Stay connected with Asana

Once you begin to acquire multiple clients, all the emails, phone calls and Skype sessions begin to blend together. For a lot of digital nomads, Asana is the perfect resource for keeping track of everything.

While the success of Asana is dependent on the participation of the client, many of my clients have reached out to me to use it, as it a popular team tracking tool for both freelance and office work as well. Asana is a simple way to view your tasks and inform your team members when they are done.

Asana also has a built-in inbox, so you can separate your projects by the client with ease. Asana is also insanely user-friendly and beautiful, there’s nothing like checking “complete” on a project in Asana.

Ellie Herring is a creative writer who lives in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Advertising. When she's not writing about her latest travel adventures, you can find her at Red Rocks Amphitheatre dancing in the mountains.

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