If you're a freelancer who works remotely from your computer, you've probably imagined what it would be like to travel the country while working on the go. Many freelancers live this way for months or years on end, and they call themselves digital nomads.
Living a nomadic lifestyle offers some amazing opportunities, but it's not all one big vacation. You have to manage your entire freelance career while on the move, and you have to carefully plan ahead to avoid paying exorbitant travel expenses. Here are five ways you can transition into the nomadic lifestyle as smoothly as possible.
Diversify Your Workflow
Before you hit the road, you should make sure you're well-established as a freelancer. Diversify your clients as much as possible so that you have multiple streams of income. If the vast majority of your income is from a single client and they decide to end your contract, you may wind up stranded in a strange city struggling to get by.
Having several clients gives you a safety net and lets you stay afloat while you're networking to replace lost income streams. Additionally, working with numerous clients can land you additional jobs in the future through word-of-mouth marketing. Every client you maintain a good relationship with offers the potential opportunity to get your foot in the door of other businesses that the client works with who may require your services in the future.
Aim for Long-Term Clients
You should also try to land clients who offer long-term contracts. That way you can stay on top of your budget far in advance instead of living from one small project to the next. After all, the point of being a digital nomad is to spend as much time as possible enjoying new locales. You won't be able to enjoy your time in a new city too much if you're constantly stressing out over your bank account.
Generally, larger businesses and corporations are more likely to offer long-term contracts than the small businesses and freelancers that you work with. Before you dive into being a digital nomad, it's a good idea to get at least one steady contract under your belt so that you can count on a reliable source of income for months in advance.
Take Care of Your Things at Home
No matter how passionate you are about the nomadic lifestyle, you probably don't want to sell off all your worldly belongings. However, you also don't want to waste money renting an apartment that you won't even be living in. That's why you should find a reputable storage company before you hit the road. Learn more from contacting companies in your area.
Keeping your stuff in a storage facility is much cheaper than paying monthly rent on an apartment. It will also give you peace of mind, because you'll know your things will be waiting for you safe and sound if you decide to move back home. On the other hand, if you fall in love with a new city, you can hire movers to bring all of your things straight to your new doorstep. It's much more convenient than having to travel back home, rent a moving truck, and drive across the country yourself.
Plan Your Living Situation in Advance
If you travel to a new city on a whim, you may end up having to pay an exorbitant nightly rate on a hotel room. You'll save a lot of money by figuring out your living arrangement weeks ahead of time.
Most big cities have a multitude of hostels that are a lot cheaper than traditional hotel rooms. If you only plan on staying in a location for a month or less, booking a hostel a few weeks in advance is a convenient way to make sure you have a bed to sleep in.
However, if you plan on staying in a location for multiple months, it's a better idea to find your own apartment before you arrive. Obviously you don't want to tie yourself down with a yearly lease, so call around to local rental companies until you find one that offers apartments on a month-to-month basis.
Alternatively, you can sublet someone else's apartment while they're out of town. College areas are a great place to find sublet options — co-op students are often required to do internships in other cities, so they need people to take over their monthly rents for the semester that they're away.
Enjoy Your Journey
Being a digital nomad can be stressful, but it also allows you to experience more of the country than you ever could on short vacations. With some careful planning, you can successfully live and work nomadically for months or years on end.