The ever-increasing accessibility and efficiency of the Internet gave birth to a multitude of sub-industries in a few short years. This includes the rise of a new professional: the digital nomad. The modern-day laptop- and smartphone-toting wanderer hates the traditional fixed, physical workspace and opts to operate out of coffee shops, restaurants, and beachside villas — pretty much wherever the Internet is accessible.
Packing your work in a suitcase and dragging it across the continent is not always the best course of action for every career, though. First, you need to maintain regular work. Otherwise, any plans for a trans-Pacific trip will be over before it even starts.
Here are seven ways to avoid that scenario:
1. Find freelance jobs.
Doing freelance work is a great way of expanding and diversifying your skills and experience. It eliminates the monotony of supporting a single company. It also lets you control the volume of work you take on.
Additionally, being a freelancer qualifies your potential as a digital nomad, as you are not constrained by location to perform and complete tasks. Most industries offer online work now, and it is only a matter of finding one suited to your skills, aptitude, and pay grade.
2. Be open to work for free.
If you need to generate more buzz for your work, do not be afraid to do free projects for people you trust. This approach guarantees a stream of goodwill and valuable testimonials, and opportunities to expand your network through current clients.
3. Build your portfolio.
This is actually a direct result of freelancing because it lets you create an impressive body of work. The way you build your portfolio is equally important, making sure that it highlights your particular set of skills. Testimonials from your clients let potential clients gauge the quality and consistency of your work, and act as a guarantee of your reliability. Your portfolio also sets realistic expectations for clients, so that you avoid committing to a project that is beyond your expertise.
4. Use your existing network.
If you are, for example, a graphic designer, informing people of your freelance status lets you extend help to relatives and friends, in exchange for positive testimonials. Referrals for future jobs will not be far behind, and making more connections through your current network becomes relatively easy.
5. Extend your network.
A new group of people can heavily influence your work style and marketing strategy. Other digital nomads have noticed an increase in their productivity when they were with like-minded people. Interacting with a different social network also opens up more connections that might not have been possible with your old one.
6. Put up a website.
Your online presence matters a lot. A personal website is your digital business card, and it makes you and your brand easy to find. Notice that this strategy works hand-in-hand with your portfolio and your network of contacts. You now have a hub where people can reach you, as well as a platform to broadcast the services/products you provide.
7. Capitalize on your existing skills.
Don’t abandon your existing skills, but do use them to increase your chances for success as a digital nomad. Consider places that have a need for what you can offer. This way, your brave new adventure becomes less of a crash course and more a gradual transition from being brick-and-mortar to being a location-independent business.
You will have multiple ways to attract clients and the opportunity to thrive as a location-independent professional. But make sure to develop your skills, strengthen your network, and manage your expectations.