Career Opportunities for Digital Nomads
Today’s guest post is brought to you by Anand Srinivasan, the founder of Hubbion.
Worldwide, there are over 1.2 million digital nomads earning over $80,000 a year. A significant number of such workers typically run their own business. There is also an equally good number of digital nomads who either work with businesses that offer remote career opportunities or are willing to sponsor working visas for nomads who want to live and work in their country.
Despite the charm of a digital nomad lifestyle, it is worth pointing out that this is not practical across all career categories. Jobs like Plant Manager or Area Sales Manager (ASM) typically require the employee to work out of a specific factory or location. The success of an ASM, for instance, relies heavily on their relationship with vendors in their location. A digital nomad may not be effective at nurturing relationships in the limited time they spend at a location.
In this article, let us take a look at the specific career paths that an aspiring digital nomad could consider.
The best way to lead a digital nomad lifestyle is by running your own business. Entrepreneurship gives you control over the hours you put in and the kind of clients you deal with. But again, not all entrepreneurship opportunities are practical for a digital nomad.
- Agency: Web designing and development is one of the most popular career paths for digital nomads who wish to run their own business. You may also look at a career in digital marketing. SEO, PPC, and content writing offer well-paying gigs that can be performed from anywhere. Most of your conversations with clients happen online over email or Skype. This makes running a business while living in a nomadic hotspot like Ubud or Chiang Mai entirely possible.
- Websites: Launching your own product or service website can be another exciting way to work from anywhere. Digital nomads who have adopted this strategy have typically succeeded with running eCommerce stores or affiliate websites. With eCommerce, they rely on a strategy called drop shipping that allows a store owner to outsource all shipping and logistics to a supplier. For affiliate marketing, entrepreneurs typically rely on networks like Amazon, Commission Junction, and ShareASale to find products to promote from their websites.
One word of caution here: unlike an agency business that you could launch and get going within a matter of days or weeks, a website business takes several months to start showing results (unless you spend on advertising). So this is a strategy you can only adopt with plenty of preparation.
Entrepreneurship is not really for everyone. For one, there is a certain level of uncertainty around how much you make each month. Traveling costs money and you don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country without funds. A remote employment opportunity is more stable and reliable for a digital nomad.
There are a few career paths you can take when looking for remote employment.
- Technology: Technology roles are by far the easiest to get through with remote employment. There are two reasons why this is the case. Firstly, tech startups are among the most progressive in terms of ideas and are thus more accepting of remote workers. More importantly, tech companies need highly skilled workers who may not always be available in the local talent pool.
- Sales & Support: Most of the traditional sales roles may not work for a digital nomad. However, workers are in great demand for telesales and support roles. Your job in such roles would be to either make calls to prospective buyers or attend to complaints from existing customers over the phone. VoIP makes this possible over the internet.
- Marketing: While it may be a tough ask to secure a senior role in marketing through remote employment, it is not unheard of among startups. It is, however, more common to find remote working opportunities for specific categories of marketing activities like SEO, PPC, or content marketing. These roles are routinely outsourced to third-party agencies. Alternately, organizations also hire contract workers to execute these tasks. As a remote worker, it is possible to find such contract positions for even a number of large organizations.
Although these roles give you the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, there are a few constraints to keep in mind. Product managers and software developers are often required to coordinate with other members of their team while building a product. Similarly, if you are in telesales or telesupport, it is important for you to work when your customers need you. Consequently, you may be required to work regardless of the time difference. It is important to be open to such constraints. Alternately, you may also look for work opportunities in places you plan to move to as a digital nomad.
The Digital Nomad Visa is Coming
There are other reasons why this makes sense. For one, working as a digital nomad may not always be legal. Most countries prohibit foreign tourists from indulging in money-making activities while on their soil. Securing a legal work visa at your destination can thus be your best bet.
Technically, such roles may be secured on any career path. However, technology and marketing roles are the most commonly sought opportunities. Technology roles do not always mean software development. On Jobbatical, you can find openings for other roles like database administrator, product management, and DevOps. The reason these roles are popular is once again because the local talent pool may not always be large enough to meet the needs of all businesses.
If you are moving to Estonia as a digital nomad, you may also be excited to know that Jobbatical has partnered with the Estonian government to issue ‘digital nomad visas’ starting 2019. With such a visa, any foreign national can live in the country for up to 365 days while working on their remote work opportunity.
A digital nomad lifestyle is a fantastic way to pursue a career while traveling and enjoying the world. The career paths listed above should provide you a guideline on skills to hone and industries to target while setting yourself up for a digital nomad life.
Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources that has been ranked among the top 20 project management apps by Capterra.