How to Become a Digital Nomad and Work While Traveling

Most digital nomads start out as withering office drones. Some accept being locked into a cubicle to endure consistent bullying by a beefed up micromanager, where relief comes from booze, Netflix and valium.

Life in a cubicle

Time-tracking, fixed hours and boss always lurking #cubiclelife

Others break free and carve out rewarding, flexible lives doing work they love - outside the cubicle. For example, Kris Reid was once a software engineer in the London Financial district. He chucked his career, founded Ardor SEO, grew it into a living breathing entity and then powered it by hiring others to join him as creative digital nomads.

Kris Reid beach yoga

Ardor CEO Kris Reid (the Coolest guy in SEO) practicing yoga on a beach in Thailand.

Today, Ardor employs a highly skilled roster of full-time digital nomads. We're always on the lookout for new talents to join our team, so check out our job openings if you're dreaming of breaking free.

How do digital nomads make money?

Most people assume that most digital nomad jobs are freelancers. If you want to go freelance, join the tens of thousands of others jockeying for jobs on Upwork. You might score one out of every thousand jobs you bid on. Pay is low and conditions brutal, and you won't make enough to cover your bills.

Fortunately, there are a few agencies out there like Ardor SEO that offer full-time packages with fully remote working conditions. Thus, if you want to become a digital nomad, we suggest either starting with well-established clients of your own, or else joining an agency that can support your earning requirements.

How to get a remote job with no experience

The internet is the great equalizer: it allows kids working in Karachi sweatshops to compete with well-groomed analysts in Manhattan.

Similarly, it allows people with no working experience to build a resume that will get them hired. Make a website. Get some articles published online. Develop relations with publishers. Then, look over our job listings, do some creative visualisation, then send us a pitch explaining how you can help our team.

Even with no experience, starting a career as a digital nomad is possible!

Best cities in Asia for digital nomads

Southeast Asia boasts several digital nomad communities where business and communities are thriving. Here are our favorites:

  • Chiang Mai: the highest concentration of digital nomads in the world enjoy great weather and cheap living in this chilled out tourist town
  • Penang: great food, fast internet, beaches and a lively expat scene (although not so many nomads)
  • Phnom Penh: ramshackle and basic, but cheap and relaxing, with great internet and easily accessible long-term visas
  • Osaka: lively town with good internet, friendly gaijin houses and nice co-working spaces

The Pros and Cons of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

If you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about exactly what the digital nomad lifestyle is all about. You’re also probably wondering how you can feasibly live such a lifestyle without constantly struggling for money. Let’s bust a few of those myths for you, and tell you what it’s really like.

The Good

Cheap beach holidays: You’ve probably seen the pictures a thousand times. A laptop set up outdoors with a gorgeous beach view. That can’t be true, right? Wrong! The benefit of going nomad is the ability to travel wherever you like, and there are some great deals to be had. If you’re living somewhere like the UK or USA, you’re probably familiar with how expensive everything is, from good food to good accommodation. But in places like Chiang Mai and Cambodia, the average cost of living is much lower. At Ardor SEO, we reward our employees with great salaries (none of that haggling low rates like you’re probably used to as a freelancer!), meaning that you’ll get amazing value for money. Not only will you get the tranquil sights and be able to enjoy your free time exploring a new country, but you’ll be earning money as you do it.

beach

Friendly expats: The cost of living plays a major role as to why there are so many expats who have decided to pack their bags and move abroad. Southeast Asia is a melting pot of cultures, but don’t be surprised to head to your local co-working space and bump into someone a little closer to home!

Experience new cultures: Having the chance to explore a new culture is one of the major plus points of travel, and with a digital nomad job, you have the opportunity to do that. Whether you like to spend your time learning about the history of the place you’re in, sampling the array of delicious, local food, or even learning a new language, the digital nomad lifestyle allows you to do all of that, and more.

The Bad

Struggle for money: It’s a common misconception that when working as a digital nomad, you’ll constantly struggle for money. Fortunately, it’s not true. That’s based on the idea that all digital nomads are freelancers working to the bone for a measly paycheck, but times — and businesses — have changed, meaning you can experience all the benefits of a monthly wage, without the slog to your cubicle. And, if you work remotely in somewhere like Southeast Asia, you’ll actually be a lot better off than if you were living in London, for example.

Self-motivation: It goes without saying that if you can work wherever you like, whenever you like, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to get work done. In the modern world where it’s so easy to get distracted, whether it’s the lure of your Facebook feed, the tantalizing sight of the nearby rainforest, or the smell of your coffee pot, it’s easy to understand why. Discipline is a key skill that digital nomads must possess, or at least be willing to learn. At the end of the day, your job is still your job, and you’ll have clients who need you. When it comes to remote work, there are two types of people: those who thrive, and those who crumble. If you’re the sort of person that can’t work without having someone constantly looking over your shoulder, then realistically, it’ll be harder for you to motivate yourself to get work done. However, if you thrive on organization, to-do lists, and schedules, you may be a perfect fit!

Communication: We have to admit, this one’s entirely true. As a digital nomad, life can get pretty lonely. You don’t see your colleagues face-to-face every day, and your best friend won’t be Sarah from Accounts, but your trusty laptop.

Fortunately, at Ardor, we’re completely supportive of the nomad lifestyle, which is why we have tools and processes in place to ensure communication doesn’t fall by the wayside.

We use Skype every day to keep in touch with our team, whether our conversations are work-based, friendly watercooler chat, or about planning our next killer party. We also have weekly calls, because it’s always nice to see a friendly face.

Our team are based all over the world, so we’re always on hand to recommend amazing co-working spaces to get you out of your home office and into the world (you know, to actually talk to people), and if any of us are ever in Cambodia or the Philippines, we’re always welcome to stop by at the office.​

The Ugly

Seeing team members every week: At Ardor SEO, we love talking to each other all the time. We find it helps with the sense of loneliness that can sometimes come with the digital nomad lifestyle, or remote working in general. Plus, there’s no better way to get to know your colleagues than seeing them face-to-face every week! So, expect bed hair and comfortable clothes. Be warned, it can get a little ugly. Of course, we’re joking —  everyone on our team is gorgeous!

Sold on the Digital Nomad Lifestyle? Who We're Looking For

Do you think the digital nomad lifestyle might be for you? We’re looking for the best to join our team, so if you tick the following boxes, we’d love to hear from you:

Creativity
When you work in digital marketing, whether you’re an SEO guru or a content writer, you need to be creative. We work on client campaigns in every industry imaginable, so it’s crucial you have an open mind, and the ability to think outside the box to come up with creative solutions to make our campaigns deliver even more of a punch!

Tech-savvy
As a digital nomad, you might be working from Sri Lanka one month and San Francisco the next, and being able to find good wifi is key. Thankfully, wherever you go, there’s accommodation and amazing co-working spaces that will give you everything you need. WordPress knowledge is a prerequisite, whether you’ve uploaded content and installed plugins on a client’s site, or even on your own. Familiarity with SEO tools, such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Screaming Frog, is a big bonus!

Published work

At Ardor, we’d love to see some published work! Whether it’s a byline in a small publication, content you’ve written on behalf of clients, or blog posts you’ve written for your own website, we’d love to see what you have to offer. As a writer, it goes without saying that you’ll need to be able to write some killer content!

Looking for the nomad lifestyle

This one’s a given, right? We’re huge fans of the digital nomad lifestyle, so if you enjoy travel, or even fancy someday settling down in an exotic location, then you could be a perfect fit.

Motivated and ambitious

We don’t do things by halves, so if you want to succeed at Ardor, you’ll need to be motivated and ambitious. If you have the drive to really make an impact, then your career can go far. We reward hard work, but you’ll need to be able to work autonomously and as a member of a growing, strong, and dedicated team.

Convinced that the nomadic lifestyle is for you? We want you on our team! Don’t miss out on the latest job openingsat Ardor SEO.