The pandemic made professionals reconsider the value of working in the same office every day. In fact, it made many realize there’s little value in it. Making the commute through morning rush hour to the same cubicle is a holdover from the days before tools like Slack, Zoom and Skype. For many jobs today, there’s just no need to be in any given place – other than your laptop. That’s why the digital nomad life has become so popular. Project Untethered reports that the number of nomadic professionals grew from 4.8 million in 2018 to 15.5 million in 2021. They also state that 14 percent of digital nomads are Black and that 70 percent are female. Nearly half of these professionals make the same salary they made before fleeing the office – if not more.
If the desire to explore more corners of the world has been calling your name, it might be time to look into jobs that you can do from anywhere. There’s a lot of ground to cover on this planet, and with the right profession, you can make a living from nearly anywhere. Here is what to know about the digital nomad lifestyle and the best jobs for digital nomads.
Facts About Digital Nomads
The remote work lifestyle is still relatively new and can leave many with questions about things like productivity, longevity of work and, of course, salary expectations. Project Untethered provided a few important (and enticing) statistics for those interested in breaking free from that cubicle:
- Productivity remains high. If you’re worried your employer will question your ability to do your job from a remote location, the good news is that 55 percent of business owners report that letting employees work away from the office does not harm productivity.
- The average salary is appealing. A reported 44 percent of digital nomads make more than $75,000 per year.
- Work hours are reasonable. If you’ve ever worked in an office, then you know the 9 to 5 schedule can be arbitrary. There are countless meetings that could have been an email, and a lot of sitting around until your next task comes in. Being a digital nomad cuts down on idle time, and reports have found that 70 percent of these professionals work 40 hours or less per week.
- It’s not all freelance work. A free lifestyle can conjure the idea of freelance work, but in reality only 36 percent of digital nomads do freelance work. Twenty-one percent work for one company on salary and 33 percent own their own business.
The Pros Of Being A Digital Nomad
Not being tied to one place comes with many pros, and working away from an office has its perks, too. Here are some benefits to look forward to if you choose the digital nomad life.
- Reduced cost of living. Depending on how you choose to live your nomadic lifestyle, you could skip paying for utilities, a vehicle and/or a mortgage. If you’re staying in extended-stay AirBnbs and similar rentals, utilities and Wi-Fi are often included. If you choose to stay somewhere with excellent public transportation, you can give up your vehicle. The biggest cost cut you could see would be in housing. Being a digital nomad means that you can live anywhere – including where the rent is cheap.
- Reduced coworker conflict. When you’re a digital nomad, you don’t need to deal with office dynamics. Social interactions gone wrong at the water cooler are a thing of the past, and there is no annoying coworker right next to you to distract you. You can just focus on your work.
- See the world. Life is short and the world is large, so get out there and explore. The digital nomad life empowers you to see as much of this planet as you can get stamps for in a passport.
The Challenges Of Being A Digital Nomad
There are, of course, some benefits that come from a stationary, office job that you give up when you choose a nomadic lifestyle. These obstacles can be overcome, but it’s important to be aware of them and plan for then.
- Time zone differences. Certain companies might require you to work on their time zone, which might mean early wakeups or late nights for you.
- Finding reliable Wi-Fi. Between busy cafes with slow Wi-Fi to finicky Internet at your hotel, you might sometimes struggle to get online. If you want to go nomadic, consider investing in a portable Wi-Fi hotspot so you can have reliable Internet wherever you go.
- Funding travel. Your accommodations might be cheap in other cities, but getting there isn’t. Make sure to budget for plane, train and other transportation costs.
- Lack of community. While some professionals like the respite from office culture, others miss the community feel of seeing colleagues in person. Scheduling regular virtual happy hours and similar activities can fight the loneliness.
The Best Jobs For Digital Nomads
Now that you’re excited about the prospect of being a digital nomad, it’s all about finding the right job. There are a variety of jobs that can be done from anywhere, and that appeal to a range of skillsets and backgrounds.
A virtual assistant is a blanket term for someone who provides assistance to clients remotely. This assistance could be technical, creative or administrative in nature. For this reason, the pay range is rather wide. Some virtual assistants make as little as $15 per hour while others make up to $60 per hour.
Social Media Manager
Today, companies recognize the value of a strong social media presence and are willing to pay top dollar to someone who can gain them followers. If you are an expert in social media, you can take on several clients and charge hefty monthly retainer fees to manage all of their profiles. According to job listing site Builtin.com, some social media managers make nearly $80,000 per year.
Being a virtual tutor can be quite lucrative if you have a specialty skill. However, even educational tutors like LSAT and GRE tutors can make upwards of $90,000 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.com. The beauty of this job is that it’s easy to set your own hours and find students in your appropriate time zone.
Transcription work is done fully on your own schedule. You’re simply given the materials to transcribe – like a video or audio file – and a deadline. This flexibility makes it a great nomadic job. Like with other jobs on this list, having expertise or high-level background, such as one in a medical or science field, can bring in higher pay. ZipRecruiter.com reports that some medical transcriptionists make up to $100,000 per year.
If you can become well-versed in top editing programs like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, companies and individuals will pay you generously to edit their footage. This is another job that can be done on your own schedule as you’re simply given the footage and a deadline. You will need to take some meetings with the client to discuss notes and feedback, but otherwise it’s a primarily independent position. Video editors make anywhere from $40,000 to $120,000 per year, according to Comparably.com.
Accounting work is also quite independent, requiring infrequent meetings with clients. Companies or individuals send you their documents, and you do most of the data entry and calculations on your own schedule. GlassDoor says that some accountants make up to $91,000 per year and US News reports that the median salary is $73,560.
If you have already had a successful career in your field, then you could take a more hands-off approach to the work and consult companies or individuals. Consultants provide expert advice and guidance, and can make a great living. GlassDoor reports that some consultants make up to $130,000 per year. Consulting work will require regular meetings, so being in the same time zone as clients is beneficial.