Don’t be fooled; it’s not all sightseeing and short days. A lot of hard work and persistence goes into making your dream job a success. Being a digital nomad isn’t without its challenges, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
If you are considering this lifestyle, you need to make an informed decision. Let me share my 10 reasons why it’s difficult to be a travelling freelancer (and what you can do to make life easier!)
Admittedly this is obvious, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
If you register with online employers such as Upwork or PeoplePerHour, it’s extremely difficult (sometimes impossible) to get a decent job. Rates are unreasonably low and competition ridiculously high. I felt like a monkey working for peanuts.
I found TravTribe to be the easiest, most stress-free way of finding digital nomad jobs because TravTribe recruit digital nomads for marketing gigs. “Our drive is to provide the opportunity to travel full-time for every wanderlust-er” is the founders’ belief. Sounds like they are talking directly to you doesn’t it! If you register, use Briggs118 as the insider code when prompted.
You need the internet to find work and earn money. Reliable internet, however, isn’t always available. Coffee shops and restaurants tend to be the best, but you can end up spending a lot of money on food and drink to stay all day.
The cheapest, most convenient solution, is to buy a local sim card with a data package which can be used as a hotspot. If you have just arrived in a new country, you can buy one at the airport but this is often more expensive than if you wait and purchase one in town. A wireless pocket router is another option but I haven’t personally tried this.
When travelling around beautiful countries, distractions are everywhere. There are more interesting things to do than stare at your laptop. But remember, that laptop is your key to keeping you travelling longer.
Get yourself “into the zone” and distractions will be minimal. Schedule work time into your travels, even if it’s only a couple of hours. If you need focus or to relax and de-stress, I sometimes find doing yoga, going for a jog or workout at the gym helps to re-set my mind. Then find yourself a comfortable working space without TV or loud music. If you are easily distracted, don’t choose a room with a stunning view, this will encourage your mind to drift off.
Without distractions, you can crack on with work, then go out and explore.
I find solutions to problems by talking them through, but how do I brainstorm ideas when I don’t have colleagues?
I joined online networks and found them invaluable. Having like-minded online “friends” to bounce ideas off has enabled me to climb many brick walls.
Some employers have Facebook Groups or forums. TravTribe, for instance, connected me with other freelancers and nomads. For my wanderlust urges, I set up my own Facebook Community for travellers.
My “virtual friends” are with me any time of day, regardless of where I am in the world.
When you are your own boss, it’s easy to put things off to another day. Willpower is required to keep you motivated and your creative juices flowing.
Your “virtual friends” have been in the same position as you, so reach out to them. They can inject enthusiasm and encouragement into your day, and give you the motivation you need to push on through. Don’t underestimate the power of a community to help you when it’s most needed.
Don’t give up. Today may be difficult, but the life you seek is just around the corner. It can only be achieved if you keep going.
Travelling between destinations means you won’t have internet. With work schedules to keep, if you’re not ahead of the game, it can become stressful.
Don’t despair, there are various scheduling tools to help you be organised. For Social Media scheduling, set up a free account on Hootsuite or Buffer (options are limited but it’s better than nothing). You can schedule newsletters in Mailchimp, and for blog posts, utilise the scheduling option on your content management system.
With a little bit of planning, you can seamlessly travel and work without getting stressed.
Being a freelancer means you can take a break when you want! Yes, this contradicts everything I have said about remaining focused and avoiding distractions but, if you don’t give yourself a break, in the long run, you won’t be able to keep yourself motivated.
You quit the cubicle so you don’t have to work all the time.
Be kind to yourself, take that duvet day. If you are feeling low or missing home, do something nice to remind you why it is you love to travel. When you do return to your work mind-set, you will have renewed vigour.
You may never meet “your boss” in person, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship with them. Staying in touch and keeping them updated on a regular basis, removes any irrational thoughts.
You don’t want your employer wondering if they were wrong to hire you.
It’s super easy to stay connected, for example by good old fashioned email. If you can, schedule a video call either on WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom, there is also Facebook Messenger which is how I had a video call with TravTribe.
With different time-zones to adhere to, it may be difficult but make it happen, it’s worth it in the long run.
We work to get paid, simple as that. When you accept a job, it’s imperative you discuss payment terms and options before you submit any work. When working with TravTribe, payment is discussed at the beginning and you are never wondering when and how you will be paid.
The easiest and most convenient method of pay is to use companies like Western Union, PayPal or Payoneer. The downside is you will be charged to receive your hard-earned money, but they are reliable. If you plan to be in one country for a while, look into setting up a bank account.
Don’t leave home without insurance! This is often overlooked but is the most important. Everything you own is carried with you. You’re a walking target for thieves.
You may think the cost of insurance is too high, or the money could be spent on better things. If your valuables are stolen and you don’t have insurance, you will spend more money replacing your laptop/camera/phone. You will find it very difficult to work and earn money without these essentials.
There are many insurance companies out there. I personally recommend World Nomads, who are used and endorsed by all the “big named nomads”.
For preventative measures, carry your valuables in your hand luggage, be vigilant and invest in a PacSafe. I don’t travel without mine and the peace of mind it gives is priceless.
Get smart, think long-term, get insured!
Now you know the problems faced by a travelling freelancer, you can make a plan! The ideal solution is to spend time building up your online presence and applying for freelance work before you leave home. When the time comes, the transition from working for someone to being your own boss will be seamless.
You can do it! Good luck, and happy travelling.
Are you a freelance traveller? What difficulties have you found? Do you have any advice for digital nomads that I have missed out? Tell us in the comments section below, we are all ears!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by TravTribe but all opinions here, and throughout my site, are genuinely our own.
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