Starting a business as a digital nomad post-pandemic: Tips and advice
The digital nomad lifestyle, characterized by working remotely while traveling the world, has become increasingly popular in recent years. As a seasoned traveler and geographically-independent nomad myself, I’ve seen firsthand how the digital nomad lifestyle can be an excellent opportunity for starting an online business. In this article, I’ll be providing tips and advice for starting an online business as a digital nomad.
Start with a plan: Before starting an online business, it’s important to have a clear plan in place. This includes identifying your target market, understanding your competition, and outlining your unique selling proposition.
A clear understanding of what you want to do and how you want to do it will help you tenfold in the long run. Remember, just because you are traveling around and exploring the world it does not mean you don’t have to take your business seriously.
If anything you need to be even more laser-focused as there are so many obstacles and pitfalls that will come your way as a nomad so be prepared for the unexpected with a solid plan.
Find a niche: Starting an online business can be challenging, so it’s important to find a niche that you’re passionate about. This will make it easier to stay motivated and to be successful.
If you focus on watercolor painting rather than painting then this can help you gain an audience who have exactly the right interests as you, or maybe steampunk rather than sci-fi.
Reducing your potential market size does not mean that you will lose customers but rather the opposite. Focusing on your perfect demographic will result in a more targeted approach which they will appreciate instead of waiting for you to create something they may be interested in.
Learn the basics of online marketing: Online marketing is essential for any online business, so it’s important to learn the basics. This includes understanding search engine optimization, social media marketing, and email marketing.
These days there are so many courses and sources of information, both paid and free, that can help you in almost every aspect of your business so it’s important to learn how to do it, learn what to do, and then get it automated as soon as possible so you can focus on what your customers actually want.
Spending too much time working on the back end of your business will lead to ‘analysis paralysis’ which basically means you will focus more on your tools and metrics rather than serving your customers.
Given that now we are in a post-pandemic stage we need to assess how things have really changed in our target market.
Many more people are now working from home than ever and it looks like this trend is set to continue. With this in mind, any digital products and services are likely to become more sought after than before so this, in my opinion, should drive your marketing strategy as well as your niche choice.
Build a website: A website is an essential tool for any online business, so it’s important to build a professional website that reflects your brand.
There are a number of great website builders and companies you can use. There are companies like Wix for the newbies or those fearful of tech, they walk you through templates to set you up with a professional-looking site.
Another great option is WordPress. This can be a bit more hands-on so you will need to spend a little more time to get your site looking great, this is what I have used for many years and I am also happy with the support they offer when I have needed to ask a question or tweak one of my sites.
Choose the right tools: There are many tools available for digital nomads to help them run their businesses, such as project management software, invoicing software, and cloud storage. It’s important to choose the right tools for your business.
If you have the right tools then you should never have to worry about anything other than product creation/servicing customers, or whatever it is you are working on.
If there are a lot of manual processes in your current business model then chances are there is a better online tool for that job. Remember, as someone who will be out and about and on the road, you don’t want to be hauling printers, photocopiers, and reams of paper around.
Network: Networking is key to building a successful online business, so it’s important to join online communities and attend networking events.
In the digital age, we have seen an exponential rise in the number of connected people globally. There are many ways you can reach out and find like-minded individuals no matter where you are in the world.
In most countries, you will find in-person events as well as hundreds, if not thousands of online equivalents. Reaching out to people is not only fun but can help you keep your sanity when you are feeling lonely or isolated too, another side effect of a nomadic lifestyle.
Stay organized: As a digital nomad, it’s important to stay organized to ensure that your business runs smoothly. This includes keeping track of expenses, invoices, and deadlines.
As mentioned use the tools that are at your disposal to simplify things, this includes your diary for both your working life and also your free time. Work-life balance is crucial and so is keeping track so one or the other does not suffer when you take your eye off the ball.
Be flexible: The digital nomad lifestyle can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible and adaptable. This will help you stay on top of changes in the market and respond to new opportunities.
When traveling internationally it’s important to be aware of all and any changes that may impact you with regard to new travel restrictions. These can come thick and fast and often without warning so it may be a good idea to always have a backup plan in the form of savings and exit strategies if you end up being stranded somewhere because of flight changes/cancelations, or other govt imposed travel restrictions.
Set boundaries: As a digital nomad, it can be easy to blur the lines between work and leisure, so it’s important to set boundaries to ensure that you have a healthy work-life balance.
These boundaries are for both you and others. It’s easy to tell yourself one more day at the beach does not matter but if you are living on fumes rather than a hefty bank balance then sitting on your butt instead of getting it into gear is unwise.
Fortunately, most people are able to compromise so you can do both without risking overworking or becoming complacent and lazy.
Stay motivated: Starting an online business can be challenging, so it’s important to stay motivated and to remind yourself why you started your business in the first place.
Motivation is key here as there will be many times you are alone, being a stranger in a strange land is often disconcerting and many adjustments need to be made to keep you positive and your spirits high.
When finding yourself in a mental slump, networking or just getting away from your work and computer for a while can help you to recharge and keep going.
For me sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by leafy palms with geckos and crickets as well as the great coffee gets me right back to where I need to be.
Starting an online business as a digital nomad can be an excellent opportunity to make money while traveling the world. By identifying your target market, understanding your competition, and learning the basics of online marketing, you can establish an online presence and attract new customers.
Building a professional website, choosing the right tools, networking, and staying motivated are also important steps to take in order to start a successful and sustainable online business as a digital nomad.
Be very mindful of how your marketplace has changed, if at all now we have passed the worst of the pandemic. If you are unsure ask people, get as much information as you can and most importantly, start now.
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