Not too long ago, a great many workers’ days started with an alarm clock and a commute to a suffocating cubicle. Now, with the world at our fingertips, a growing proportion of work is conducted entirely online.
What this means is that you do not need to be based in any one city, or even one continent, to get the job done. Today’s employee can wake up in Berlin, log into a job in New York, conduct a conference call in Tokyo, and fall asleep on a beach in Indonesia. This might sound like a fantasy, but it’s reality for a digital nomad.
Of course, not every job will accommodate this lifestyle. If you’re looking to be a firefighter or a surgeon, you’ll likely find it best to stay in one spot. On the other hand, if you’d rather set out into the world with just your laptop or tablet to keep you connected, there are plenty of jobs in this economy that can give you the free movement you’re looking for.
Blogs and other web outposts are constantly looking for fresh takes, and as you’ve probably seen, quality writing is at a premium. If you have the talent to string words together in a way that people will want to read, you can get work on a per-piece basis for one of the many content-rich sites out there. You might not ever meet your editor in person, but all that matters is the words on the page (or screen, more likely).
Along those same lines, there is a vital need out there for compelling visuals. Even the best verbal content can fall flat without a well-designed graphic component. Graphic design work is certainly out there for those with the skills for it. Even better, tablet computers have made great leaps forward so that you can do what you need with a stylus on a touchscreen, with no need for a big expensive workstation.
What better way for a world citizen to earn their way than as a translator? The versatility that comes with being a digital nomad means you can immerse yourself in languages in a way that would have been difficult if you were stuck at a desk back home. Need to check a primary source in Swedish? Easier to do in Stockholm than in Seattle.
Don’t laugh, this isn’t as out there as it might sound. Being an executive assistant goes much further than getting coffee. More important is the ability to organize and communicate rapidly, all of which can be done online. Being a ‘virtual assistant’ gives you the opportunity to work flexible hours while satisfying the needs of multiple clients. Whether you do this while on the beach or on a rooftop deck isn’t something they’re worried about.
Once you put in the work to build an audience, a successful blog can bring in quite a bit of income. Revenue from advertisements, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing can fund your travels, while you stay plugged in wherever you go. If you’ve got the content, and the views, it’s more than possible to make a good living. You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley to be a player in digital media. Of course, you can jet there if you so desire. It’s up to you.
It’s not only media jobs that digital nomads can thrive in. The explosion of apps and web solutions means that there’s a huge need for talented code writers, many of whom telecommute from all around the world. As computers have gone from gray boxes in rows of cubicles, coders have gone from office drones to any type of person you can imagine. In this world, being a computer expert doesn’t mean you’re cooped up in a basement anymore.
Thanks to cheap and easy video conferencing, tutoring in nearly any subject you can think of can be done completely online. Whether helping people learn a language, sharpen their math skills, learn an instrument, or even become a dancer, if you’ve got the know-how, sharing it (and getting paid for it) is easier than you might imagine.
A “world of opportunity” is no longer just a metaphor. We’re at a unique point in time where those who want to travel the world and stay employed don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other. If you’ve got the skills and can use them while staying connected, the possibilities are global.