What is a Digital Nomad and How Do They Make Money?

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Written By Ryan Patton

Adventurer, Tech Geek and Lover of Productivity Hacks. 

Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into the world of digital nomads and what exactly it is they do to be able to travel the world, work from anywhere with a reliable Internet connection and achieve financial freedom all at the same time.

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Digital Nomad?
  2. How Was The Term “Digital Nomad” Born?
  3. How Do Digital Nomads Make Money? 
  4. The Digital Nomad Lifestyle is Growing at a Rapid Pace

What is a Digital Nomad?

Simply put, a digital nomad is someone who uses modern technology to make a living, often working remotely, with a flexible schedule and financial independence.

The term “nomad” means someone who is never grounded in one place. The “digital” part has to do with how the nomads make a living, off of technology and of course, the Internet. 

As technology advances, there are more ways than ever before to make a living online as a digital nomad.

While the term Digital Nomad has been around for a long time, it has only grown in popularity over the last few years as millennials have started adopting what is known as “the digital nomad lifestyle”.

How Was The Term “Digital Nomad” Born?

Originally, the phrase digital nomad was used as a term in 1997 in a book titled Digital Nomad by Tsugio Makimoto.

Coincidentally enough the book was about what it is like to work digitally and live a nomadic lifestyle.

However, despite the book being published in 1997, the term really did not come into play until around 10 years later. 

In 2006, “location independence” started to become a popular term thanks to Lea Woodward, who used it to describe the digital nomad lifestyle.

Location independent workers became the more popular term, and it is often argued that location independence came before digital nomad even though location independence and digital nomad essentially stem from the same idea. 

In 2014, the term digital nomad started to gain more and more popularity as it became more acceptable to live a remote lifestyle all while making a living doing it.

Thus, digital nomad became a commonplace term and gave birth to a new way of work and life balance for those who yearn for travel and the freedom that comes along with being able to create your own schedule. 

How Do Digital Nomads Make Money?

Digital nomads make money in a wide variety of ways including freelance writing, copywriting, blogging, translating, coding, graphic design, video editing, becoming a virtual assistant and more.

An important detail in becoming a digital nomad is identifying what types of skills you might have and figuring out if you have what it takes to convert those skills into digital services that you can offer to clients online.

Most of the opportunities to make money online stem from a digital nomad’s skill set. 

That being said, finding work that you are not only good at but are passionate about will help immensely when it comes to working towards your dreams of one day being your own boss.

As mentioned above, there are many ways for nomads to make a living online.

Many digital nomads determine a skill they are particularly good at, and start offering those services online.

Similarly, many digital nomads take up things such as teaching languages online as a private tutor to creating educational courses that teach others new skills.

More recently, digital nomads have been delving into social media marketing and becoming “influencers” where brands sponsor them to create content via social media platforms like Youtube and Instagram.

In other words, there is a wide variety of digital nomad jobs available and the list is growing by the day.

The Digital Nomad Lifestyle is Growing at a Rapid Pace

Due to the rise in popularity of social media, the digital nomad community is truly booming.

Particularly for millennials, becoming a digital nomad is more accessible than ever before.

Most millennials grew up with the Internet alongside them, and have been through all the phases of social media, from Myspace to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and now TikTok.

As a result, there has been a significant rise in those who proclaim themselves to be social media influencers.

Influencers are essentially digital nomads, too.

As a matter of fact, tens of thousands of agencies have been developed around the world just to manage social media influencers, bloggers and vloggers.

Since the nomad community is growing at such a rapid pace, it has completely changed the way certain millennials live their lives

Many digital nomads travel wherever they want to in the world, work whatever hours suit them, and create content that they are passionate about.

This brings financial freedom and the ability to live and work anywhere in the world.

Did You Know?: One of the largest digital nomad communities in the world exists on Reddit.

As you can imagine, travel is a huge part of the digital nomad community.

Digital nomads have the ability to work remotely on their own schedules, so they can have the freedom of choosing where they want to work from day in and day out.

With the rapid growth of millennials becoming digital nomads, there has also been a spike in millennials traveling as well.

Particularly for those digital nomads who are travel bloggers or social media influencers, traveling from place to place is a key component of their lifestyle.

Historically speaking, travel content has always been received quite well no matter what the destination, as viewers and readers like to research various travel destinations that they desire to visit in the future.

As a result, millennials that travel often find cost effective destinations to live in while building their businesses and networking with other fellow digital nomads at cowork spaces, digital nomad meetups, conferences and more. 

Did You Know?: Estonia is the first country in the world to offer e-Residency (Estonia Digital Nomad Visa). E-Residency allows Digital Nomads and other online entrepreneurs to not only acquire residency in Estonia but also to create an official EU based business by simply filling out an application and sending over a passport-sized photo and a government-issued ID.

While the digital nomad lifestyle takes a lot of hard work and patience, becoming one is completely feasible in today’s world.

At the end of the day, the term digital nomad has grown significantly more popular over the last few years due to the rise of millennials looking to adopt the nomad lifestyle.

If you dream of working from anywhere you please, exploring new destinations, and ultimately becoming a modern-day nomad, this lifestyle is definitely for you.

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