The pound was placed on the defensive again on Thursday, amid concerns the UK may be at risk of a credit rating downgrade.
If you’re spending two hours a day commuting, getting worn down by office politics or finding yourself so wrung out by the working week that you can’t enjoy your down time, it may be the moment to consider a life change.
For those that are passionate about their career but also want to get out into the world and enjoy a less ridged way of life, one transition you could make is to become a digital nomad.
‘Digital nomad’ is a term applied to anyone who takes advantage of the latest digital technologies to work remotely while living or travelling abroad, and the number of people embracing this way of life has been climbing in recent years.
With wireless internet, cloud-based applications, smartphones and online collaboration/work management tools, it’s possible for people from a range of sectors to pack in their dreary 9-5 and embark on a life where they feel fulfilled in both their careers and their personal lives.
Obviously, the digital nomad lifestyle won’t work for everyone. If you’re a postman in Norfolk you can’t very well continue down the same career path in Bali, but there are some positions where there are a number of employment opportunities up for grabs.
So, if you’re captivated by the idea of using your work to fund your travels, what careers offer the highest chance of enjoying a successful nomadic life?
If you were one of those people who only managed to grasp ‘oui’ and ‘merci’ in French classes, the translation path is not one you can easily switch to. However, if you’re a dab hand with languages (or are at least fluent in both speaking and writing in a language other than your native tongue) translation work is something that can be easily undertaken while living or travelling abroad. The increasingly international nature of business means that demand for skilled translators is likely to remain high, and if you can build up a list of regular clients you can be sure of commanding a steady income. There are courses you can take in order to become a qualified translator, and sites where you can sign up to advertise your services once qualified.
According to recent marketing rhetoric, content is king, and a growing number of businesses are certainly seeing the value of providing their customers with informative, useful or entertaining copy. While a career in copywriting isn’t necessarily one which is particularly well paid, the sheer amount of work available (and the flexibility it affords in terms of being based in any location) makes it a good employment option for anyone seeking the lifestyle of a digital nomad. You can make your copywriting services more desirable by having knowledge of SEO and persuasive marketing techniques. You may also be able to command a higher hourly rate if you specialise in technical copywriting (for the medical profession, for example) as this will require an in-depth knowledge of a particular discourse. Build yourself an online portfolio of work you’ve produced and start making contacts through sites such as LinkedIn if you want to start bringing in enough work as a freelance copywriter to fund your travels overseas. Sites like freelancer.com can also help you connect with clients.
While web development skills aren’t something that can be picked up overnight, there are numerous books and online courses which can help you become proficient as long as you’re committed and enthusiastic. Once you’ve mastered the art the world is your oyster in terms of working remotely. The best way to generate business is through referrals so you may want to charge less than you’d like to achieve initially in order to get a few jobs under your belt. Exceed the expectations of your first few clients and word of mouth will soon help your client base grow. Once established, you can then start charging more for your services and make the endeavour more profitable.
This career path is probably better suited to someone planning to settle in one place overseas rather than someone hoping to be constantly on the move. While your store may be online, you will need a physical location where your products can be stored and shipped. Living overseas will give you access to a range of items which might not be readily available in your home nation, giving you a bit of an edge if you’re planning to market them to a UK audience. If you decide to use an e-commerce marketplace like Amazon, it can make shipping your products simpler, although the commission you will have to pay Amazon can eat into your profit margins. Exciting products, competitive pricing and a solid marketing strategy (e.g. enticing product descriptions, great photos, positive reviews and a strong social media presence) are necessary if you want to earn a reasonable wage from e-commerce endeavours.
Gone are the days where teachers have to be stuck behind a desk. With so many people opting to take online courses and learn remotely, online teaching is an industry on the up. The range of subjects which can now be taught online is also increasing, so don’t count yourself out based on your subject area. While you could end up teaching a class you could equally start one-on-one online tutoring through sites like Superprof.co.uk. You will, obviously, need to have teaching qualifications in order to make this option work. Additionally, if you’re hoping to live or travel overseas while conducting online classes it’s important that you don’t forget about the time difference. You won’t want to be up in the middle of the night in order to teach a morning class to people living halfway across the world!
Funding your nomad travels
If you’re sold on the idea of pursuing the life of a digital nomad, you may want to look into opening an account with WeSwap – our leading travel money provider.
With WeSwap you can either order your desired currency to be delivered in cash (fee-free) or use a WeSwap card to spend money worldwide. You simply load your card up with the currency you have (either by debit card or online) and WeSwap will swap if for the currency you need, making it a quick, convenient way to splash cash abroad. Find out more about WeSwap here.
Get out what you put in
The people who enjoy the most success as digital nomads are the ones that appreciate the amount of work involved. Although this lifestyle gives you the opportunity to travel, it isn’t one long holiday and nor should you treat it as such – particularly if you want to earn a decent wage. Most of the career paths mentioned above require you to be qualified and ready to put yourself out there to make contacts/secure clients. Work won’t just find you sitting on the beach somewhere. You have to be up for doing the (metaphorical) legwork and taking a few chances.
Joining the corporate trading desk in 2007, Phil now over sees all of Currencies Direct’s corporate dealing activity. Having gained experience working with hundreds of businesses to optimise international payments processes and execute comprehensive risk management strategies, Phil currently works with a portfolio of corporate clients whilst managing Currencies Direct’s overall market exposure
Phil has FCA approval and has completed the Certificate in International Treasury Management (CertiTM)