A subscriber of the free Let’s Reach Success recently shared with me that he’d like to experience the digital nomad lifestyle for a year or two.
Knowing I’ve given it a try by going to Thailand for a few weeks, he asked what I think about that.
My first answer was this:
The only way to see if the digital nomad lifestyle if for you is to give it a try.
Everyone does it differently. Because traveling and freedom are a big part of it, it’s worth including it early on.
He also said he’s graduating from college after the summer, and would like to have a remote job and serve people with his business.
I immediately wrote him a long response. Then it struck me that so many other people out there are in this exact phase of their life, and in that mental state.
It’s both scary and exciting. The big dreams are there, but also the fear that the corporate world might get to you and you might end up living in someone else’s fairytale.
Truth is, some graduates never really sit down to think about the options they have, and choose the one they’ll be happy with, but which will also be a good investment in the future (in terms of knowledge, experience, connections, etc.)
So this post is for them. And for anyone interested in the lifestyle design scene.
Here’s a post of mine explaining what exactly lifestyle design is. If you can’t define it clearly, I suggest you read that first. Then, come back to this article and see what your options are if you’re about to finish college soon and still aren’t sure of your next move.
So, dear future graduate who seeks freedom, independence and doing meaningful work. Here’s what I have for you:
I know people who used all their savings to travel slowly around Asia for a few months or so. You might start a business there too with all the free time. But what’s for sure, is that you’ll come back a changed person.
If you want to have started something before that that makes you money, and to be able to work from your laptop while traveling after the summer, I think you won’t be able to do it. At least not this way.
Because your mind will have set the goal of needing these money to travel, and that will prevent you from being truly dedicated to doing things for free first.
There are many paths for you now. Here’s how I see it:
1. You finish college. Get a normal job in your field and hustle in your free time to start something on your own.
That’s the noble way. Through hard work you’ll learn a ton of things.
Your biggest motivator then will be to get out of the rat race. Luckily, you’ll need to stay there just for a short time if you keep working hard on a side project. During that time, however, you’ll be noticing important things going on in the company you work for, you’ll make connections, see what management is all about, see how ineffective some workers can be and will build some discipline while doing that too.
What’s more, once you focus all your free time on your passion project, you’ll build good habits that will be the foundation of your future online business.
Waking up early to do some work on something that might not even make a lot of money, is quite the win. And small wins every day with help you become responsible, take control of the direction of your life and build character.
If you truly are a lifestyle designer by heart, you’ll notice all the little things about the 9 to 5 that you can’t stand.
And, believe me, you’ll never forget them.
That’s great because you’ll make sure you never come back to a regular job in your life, simply because you aren’t born to live a regular life.
But here you may ask the following 2 questions:
What job do I get exactly?
Something in your field would be good, of course. In addition, it will make your parents happy and society will think you’re following the right career trajectory. So everyone will leave you for some time, which takes away the pressure of others trying to talk you out of your goals.
An office job would be fine. Even at work you can brainstorm ideas for your online business venture, do your research, start a website, read about the success stories in your niche, and more. This way you’ll form the mindset of a hustler while at your regular job.
What can I start on my own?
What you do will soon turn into a so-called lifestyle business.
Meaning, you don’t need to deal with investors, create a product no one has seen before, need initial capital, hire employees, have special digital skills, etc.
Start super small. It’s all a learning process, but the investment in your passion project must be daily. Otherwise, it will remain just a hobby.
That’s why I said begin by doing research, by finding out what you’r good at but also reading about sales and marketing and psychology of the Internet user and buyer. See what’s popular on Amazon and Ebay. Check different platforms allowing you to create all kinds of products.
You can make videos and start a YouTube channel talking about what’s wrong with society today.
You can be on Instagram reposting awesome motivational posts from influencers, and thus play the role of a curator. While there, you’ll see what people are interested in, what hashtags work, and your mind will start coming up with ideas on what to create next.
On Udemy you can sell a course you create.
Self-publishing a book isn’t a difficult task either. Here’s the guide I’ve got for you explaining the process.
Whatever your side hustle looks like in the beginning, know that it will be changing all the time. It’s because you’ll be realizing your strengths, will find new opportunities for exposure and online income, will rethink your strategy, build new skills, etc.
The important thing is to do something about it every day. That’s how you slowly build your online empire over the years.
2. You start doing things now, so that you can be making money online after the summer and won’t need a job.
A quick note: Even if that succeeds, you probably won’t be able to afford traveling that soon and will need to stay at home and hustle full-time. Still worth it, though.
That means building your portfolio, setting up a basic website and starting a blog, finding clients to do work for free.
Then, begin freelancing for a low rate by applying for jobs on sites like UpWork, Freelancer, Guru, etc.
It won’t be a pleasant thing, and it will include doing what you’re good at online (be it writing, programming, designing, translation, editing audio or video, social media marketing, or simply doing virtual assistance to somebody).
You’ll be underpaid, but the goal is to start making just a little money to support yourself.
During that time, you’ll cut your expenses in daily life to the minimum.
It takes living like that for 6 months to a year, to then be able to live an enjoyable lifestyle working remotely.
From then on, you’ll be more confident in making money online. Will be constantly reading stuff on digital marketing, creating products, being an affiliate, building a list and an audience and monetizing it strategically, etc.
3. Ditch everything and go live somewhere else for a few months.
Your parents will be devastated, your friends will think you’re crazy, you yourself will be scared to death. But the transformation you’ll go through will let you say it’s the best decision you’ve ever taken, and once you come back you’ll see true admiration in everyone’s eyes.
That’s a drastic move, it’s risky, it involves a lot of uncertainty and even stress. And that’s exactly why you should do it.
Here are a few reasons why you need to leave your home for some time:
- it’s been your comfort zone for some time now. You need to challenge yourself, to empty your mind of what’s familiar and start generating new ideas and form a new mindset;
- new environment, new you;
- you need to see what the world has to offer;
- personal, spiritual and business growth go together;
- the only way to become independent and take responsibility for anything that happens in your life is to leave your family and friends;
- you’ll see the real face of freedom;
- you’ll take some important decisions on the lifestyle choices you’ll make in the next few years.
Traveling the world for a few months, using all your savings for a round-trip ticket, going somewhere without a fixed plan, not knowing anybody in the country you’ll move to, not being sure what to bring in your suitcase, solo traveling – all these are absolutely okay.
The only way to understand that, is to experience each.
Where to go?
My answer will always be Asia (unless you’re from there, of course).
Don’t forget to get travel insurance. I’d recommend one from WorldNomads.com. You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Well, it’s not a coincidence that the countries in South East Asia are the preferred choice for digital nomads, world travelers, online entrepreneurs, remote workers taking a mini-retirement, or simply those who left corporate America or Europe and wanted to escape to another reality.
The culture there is great. The lifestyle is cheap (that’s a big plus for you), the people are open-minded, the beaches are beautiful, the opportunities are many.
You can do anything there and live like a king.
It’s safer than you think, cheaper than you can imagine, and might even become your most favorite place on the planet.
The only way to know what I’m talking about is to go there.
What’s more, it’s full of people in their gap years, brave teenagers who left home and decided to travel Asia for half a year or so, groups of friends who are there for the party and the beach life, and more.
Whoever you are, whatever you do, you’ll find a way to experience life to the fullest there.
What do you think?
By the way, if you just read the post and aren’t a student, I’m sure you still found a solid tip or two.
We can all learn from the lifestyle design path, at any age :)