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How to Start Freelancing in 2023 as a Digital Nomad

How to Start Freelancing in 2023 as a Digital Nomad

Our parents (and generations before them) always told us with some grit, and a little hard work, having the American Dream can be a piece of cake. Hate to break it to you mom and dad - but the days of buying a house on one salary and still affording a car, food, and basic living expenses just ain’t possible in this economy! Even with that in mind, this isn’t even the biggest problem. If you could afford to live on an income provided by a steady desk job, would you take it?

Would you spend 50+ years working at a company doing the same old same old each and every day? If this sounds like your version of living hell, it can be tricky to know where you should take your career - and how you’re gonna pay the bills.

Here’s the good news folks, a soul-sucking job isn’t the only career path to success and prosperity! I know, that’s a pretty shocking statement when we compare it with every piece of advice we’ve heard growing up.

“That’s a hobby, you can’t make any money doing that!”

“You should go to college, even if you don’t know what you’re going for.”

“You can’t travel the world and have a job!”

“It’s time to grow up and get a job with a steady work schedule and benefits!”

Oof, are you cringing yet? Don’t worry, we are too. Here’s the light at the end of the tunnel - freelancing is a totally realistic way to make money however and wherever you want! Yep, you heard that right. For many freelancers, all they need is a laptop and an internet connection! That means you can travel, work, play, and learn in any capacity with the freedom and stability you need to live life to the fullest.

Are you getting excited yet? Let’s jump in and see if freelancing is right for you. These tips to get started can be used while you still work your normal 9-5, so no risk involved!


What Are You Passionate About?

This question can be a daunting one, but your first step is to sit down uninterrupted and write down a list of skills, hobbies, or passions you feel are deeply seated and gifted within you. We all have something, maybe even from childhood, where time seems to slip away while we do it. This could be writing, graphic design, acting, project management, talking on the phone, filming, drawing, you name it! Allow yourself to dream and really get an idea of who you are beyond just a job.


Choose Your Skill and Prove the Concept

Next, choose one or two of these skills that really stick out to you! Get your research cap on and look up the skill. You’ll likely come across a ton of people offering this service online either through freelancing sites, businesses, or personal websites. This step is essential so we can prove your concept and know there’s money to be made in your chosen skill set! If you’re struggling to find people freelancing in your chosen skill, try to find a skill correlated with that passion. For example, if you love football, maybe look into online coaching, or if you love speaking French, think about becoming a bilingual voiceover actor or online tutor.


Do Some Work for Free (Or For Low Rates)

I know - this is NOT what you wanted to read. Here’s the thing, would you buy from someone who doesn’t have an example of their work? In a world of tough competition (especially in freelancing) people need to trust that you know your stuff by seeing examples of other people trusting you. The first order is always the hardest to get, but if you have a portfolio it can be so much easier to get your freelancing gig off the ground! If you have family, a friend, a coworker, or even your own businesses, try to use your chosen freelance service to create a portfolio example to showcase to the world!


Get on Some Free Freelance Sites

The pot of gold of freelancing has been discovered by the world, and thankfully you won’t need to pay for a fancy website or cold call thousands of clients to get leads coming in. There are some P2P (pay to play) sites where you have to pay to freelance, but before you hop onto those websites try the freebies first! People have still made millions of dollars, just from even one of these free websites.

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • People Per Hour
  • FlexJobs
  • Toptal
  • Jooble
  • Flexjobs
  • SimplyHired
  • Guru
  • LinkedIn
  • Behance
  • 99designs
  • Dribbble
  • ServiceScape
  • DesignHill

Set Up Your Profiles - And Wait 

Once your chosen profiles are live, now it’s time for the fun (or not so fun part) - the waiting. It can take a day or even a couple months to catch your first order. Like we mentioned above, the first one is the hardest so hang in there! Make sure you look at other freelancers in your chosen field and compare your profile to theirs. Use common keywords you notice among top performers, and keep building up your skill in the meantime with unpaid or low-pay work. When you finally get that first message - answer immediately and deliver your work ahead of time! You have no idea how far one 5 star review can go, most of the time that’s all it takes for more clients to come your way!

We never said this path was an easy one, but the total number of freelancers globally is estimated to be 1.57 billion people out of a total global workforce of 3.38 billion. This job path is proven to work, if you can get the ball rolling.


Keep Building Your Skill By Growing Your Freelance Gig

Adapt, grow, and make adjustments as more and more orders come in. If things really pick up, consider a virtual assistant! Make sure you always have a strong internet connection your clients can rely on, and upgrade equipment or invest in training as you grow! And finally, there might even come a time where you quit that 9-5 to pursue your chosen freelance skill full-time. You only live once, when it feels right and the money is coming in - take the leap!

Congrats, Nomad! You’re now on your way to finding freedom through freelance. We can’t wait to watch your business grow.

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