Yay, I’m so excited to be writing about my first digital nomad job for my nomad job challenge. As you might know, I recently decided to try out 10 different online jobs in order to figure out how to become a digital nomad.
I picked freelance writing first because I have always had a deep love for prose and literature.
I picked it first because a job came my way and obviously I went for it, despite having no experience at all.
It was one of those coincidences.
I was skype-chatting to a travel blogger and fellow intern, who I hadn’t even met yet in person. Turns out he knew a travel blogging couple who live in Chiang Mai and who regularly need freelance SEO writers to write blog posts for a content management business. He connected us on Facebook, half an hour later I had arranged a coffee date and a day later I had my first freelancing job!
Ok, but how is this useful for you, if you don’t regularly talk to strangers on skype? Now that’s an excellent question!
Let me tell you why:
Yep, like it or not, it’s all about who you know. But that doesn’t mean you have to know Bill Gates and Oprah if you want to be successful, although that would probably help. It just means you need to put yourself out there!
Don’t be afraid of telling EVERYBODY you know and meet that you are starting out as a freelance writer/programmer/circus clown (anything really) and that you’re looking for clients. You’d be surprised how many people will try to help you and will be able to point you in the right direction.
That also goes for social media. Post a link to your blog/website/portfolio on your Facebook profile and ask people if they know anyone who you could help out. Your aunt’s hairdressers’ cousin twice removed might hear about you and hire you off the spot!
Sell yourself short!
Ok, this might not be the advice you’ve been hoping for. And it’s definitely more of a short-term strategy. But if you are just starting out and don’t have much (or any) experience, it will help if you offer your services either for free or for super cheap.
This way you will get some actual real-life practice, your clients will get a good deal and will be happy to write you a fantabulous review for future clients. Then you obviously increase your prices and start earning.
My writing job is paying me only $7 per article, and often that’s fine because they’re easy and quick to write. But when I have to write about such thrilling subjects like exhaust pipes it might take me an hour to get those 500 words down, which makes for a pretty low hourly rate.
But I’m happy to do it anyway. I can improve my writing (and editing) skills, get some experience and earn some money while I learn.
Learn to wing it!
Again, this might not seem like sound advice, considering it’s your livelihood we’re talking about here.
But here’s the thing, you never know what other services your clients might need. A guy I know was doing some freelance SEO writing for a client who asked if he could design a website for him. He had no bloody clue how to do that but he still took the job and taught himself while getting paid for it.
Now, I’m not saying take a job as developer, but setting up a simple WordPress website might be easier than you think.
So remember next time an opportunity comes along and you think you’re not qualified, just give it a try, you could learn a great new skill and in the worst case you can always outsource the job if it’s too hard!
So what did I actually earn from writing? You’ll find out about that in my monthly income report, coming soon 🙂
I read your “about me” section and a few of your posts. I really love what you are doing. I didn’t go as far as to obtain a PhD, but I did get a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I planned on going to graduate school but realized early on that it wasn’t the path for me. After college I eventually got a job in the IT industry and now work at Google. But it’s hardly fulfilling. I do the same mundane tasks day in and day out. I wish I could be doing what you’re doing. Except there’s one problem. I have no real nest egg outside of a few thousand dollars and have no real world experience outside of New York City. You said you traveled for 2 years and met tons of people and went on all sorts of adventures. Reading that sparked something that told me to write to you. Could we maybe talk over email about how you make money along the way, how you got started, and travel tips/advice? I feel like I could learn a lot from you and your experiences and maybe start an adventure of my own. Thanks for your time.
– Michael King
Wow, thank you so much for your lovely message! I’m always surprised to find out people actually read what I put out there 🙂 Good for you for realising grad school wasn’t for you. What are you doing at Google? I’d love to visit New York, it’s always been a dream!
Of course, I’d be happy to chat on email, send me your email address (I’ve been meaning to add an email sign up box to my blog for ages and still haven’t got round to it, so stupid!) and I’ll drop you a message!
Hi, I’ve just found this blog and I’m loving it. I’m gearing up to live on a narrow boat, so I’m investigating nomadic career options. I write and illustrate, but have been struggling to turn that into freelance income. Good luck in Thailand!
Hi Klara! Thanks for leaving a comment! That is amazing that you’re going to live on a narrow boat! I love Tiny Houses, and boats are just a step more awesome 😉 Good luck with your freelance career, it’s so hard, isn’t it? I just checked out your website, man you are interested in many things, that is very cool! Are you on Facebook? Would love to connect! Have you checked out Puttylike yet? It’s a community of scanners and multipotentialites like you (and me 🙂 ) Jenny x