Interested in becoming a digital nomad? With social distancing and COVID-19, most office workers have been working remotely for some time now. While remote work can have its own challenges, it’s a welcome change for some. It begs to raise the question: Could we keep working remotely in the future?
Undoubtedly, sitting under a palm tree with your laptop may sound like a dream come true. Especially, when compared to a dusty office environment. In this article, we explore the explorers of the modern era, with laptops in a backpack working wherever there are comfortable seats and a wi-fi connection.
It’s not only for the “chosen ones”
Finding a digital nomad profession might seem like an impossible task for some people. However this couldn’t be further from the truth. It all boils down to only three things: determination, acquiring some skills suitable for online work, and the courage of taking that leap to the uncertainty. If you can pass those, you can achieve the independent digital nomad lifestyle. Knowing where to find remote jobs, it’s definitely feasible. Surprisingly, it might even be relatively easy for people with the right mindset.
Interested learning what are the best digital nomad professions in 2020? Here are our top recommendations:
- Illustrator/Graphics Design
- Software Engineer
- Web Developer
- Game Designer/Developer
- Virtual Assistant
- Social Media Manager / Content Creator
- E-commerce Business Owner
- Video Producer or Video Editor
- Affiliate Marketing Expert
- Teacher (especially languages)
- Data Entry Jobs
- Tour Guide
The list of professions suitable for the digital nomad lifestyle is getting bigger and bigger every year, which is a definite advantage for everyone that wants to try this lifestyle. Here are some popular freelancing platforms that can help you earn income and network with clients:
- Dribble Hiring
Why digital nomads love Thailand
The biggest digital nomad communities are found in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket. The advantages of Thailand are significant. The low cost of living, pleasant climate, rich cultural heritage, open like-minded communities for networking are the main selling points, that other places in the world have the challenge to beat.
Part of being a digital nomad is being able to travel, and Thailand is a perfect location for that. There’s a lot of things to experience and explore in the South-East Asia region, hotels and hostels are affordable, people are nice and it’s generally safe, with the exception of traffic.
For those wanting to stay more rooted, there’s a variety of locations and experiences to choose from. The mecca of remote working, Chiang Mai offers a strong community with activities, boutique cafes, and great coworking spaces. Bangkok has a more urban setting, but it’s excellent for networking and businesses. Phuket, Koh Samui, and Pattaya allow that cozy beach life with an easily accessible vivid nightlife when in need of blowing out some steam.
Remote work expected to sour in popularity in the post-COVID-19 world
While remote working has surged in popularity for the last decade, the coronavirus pandemic is expected to boost it even further. With social distancing rules, many companies faced the challenge of keeping offices open. The simple solution was adopting more flexible remote working guidelines. Some companies, like Twitter, were so impressed with the results of remote working, that they allowed all of their employees to work remotely as much as they want.
Plan A and B
Taking risks is sometimes necessary, but unnecessary risks are just bad planning. Becoming a digital nomad takes dedication and planning. Having some savings set aside can help in a pinch. While digital businesses have been more resilient against changes due to coronavirus, the compounding effect from other industries will affect the available clients. Few months of living costs available in crisis go a long way.
Luckily, most digital nomads manage to find their way pretty quickly and easily. The digitalized world offers plenty of opportunities for those who are looking for them. To help you get started, there’s plenty of helpful and active digital nomad groups on Facebook where you can network and find friends. These open communities are friendly and ready to find answers to any of your questions.
Design websites and make a living without learning how to code
I’ve been working as a web designer, software engineer, and digital nomad for the last 8 years and Webflow is easily one of the best ways to earn money as a freelancer. If you’re a visual designer longing for freedom from the corporate world, or just interested in learning how to build websites the easy way, they give you the tools and knowledge you need to build websites for your clients. The workflow is fast, easy to learn, and efficient — allowing you to focus on kickstarting your professional digital nomad lifestyle.
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Visas for remote work and digital nomads
Firstly, visas are a common challenge for digital nomads. The Thai labor law states that you need a work permit in order to work inside the kingdom. While this is true, there are many exceptions. For example, e-commerce managers are allowed to conduct their business while traveling in the country. This means digital nomads can fall into a legal grey area, and the Thai legislation hasn’t evolved to support them. We recommend reading this brilliant article by chiangmailocator.com to have detailed explanations of how the Thai Labour law works for digital nomads.
While traveling nomads can get by with tourist visas, they do take a risk. If you want to play it 100% safe, you have a couple of options. You can receive a work permit by getting employed by a Thai based company. The easier option is to use services like Iglu, who will handle your visas and work permits for a percentage share of your billings.
Depending on how much you earn, it might make more sense to invest in an elite visa. This will give you a 5 to 20-year visa straight away without having to deal with paperwork or visit the immigration office. The price is high however, with the application fees starting at 500,000 baht. As a digital nomad living in Thailand, you should study the available visa options and see what is practical for your situation and lifestyle.
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