How To Become a Digital Nomad

How to Become a Digital Nomad – Carolin Pilligrath

how to become a digital nomad

Today Carolin shares with us how she became a traveller & a digital nomad. She works in social media, writing, and web design as well as running a travel blog. 

 In our stories of #Wonderer series, we share with you snippets from the road. These are stories from the women in our community, they are powerful, bold and free-spirited #Wonderers who love to travel.
 Full of Wanderlust

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I was born in Germany and grew up in a small town close to Wiesbaden. If anyone was to visit my hometown, I would suggest to come in summer. My region is big with wine festivals which are totally amazing. I would also recommend visiting the weekly market which is on Wednesday and Saturday in Wiesbaden. Loving to get fresh bread and shop for amazing produce there.

I love German food, it’s much more than bratwurst and what people outside know. Since Wiesbaden is not far from the river Rhine, there are many great spots for a picnic by the water or circling along towards the vineyards. I am lucky to have grown up there and I love visiting. But my heart belongs to the world and travel.

How did you become a Digital Nomad? And what do you do?

Well, I was always pretty travellous, before and during my studies. I travelled a lot, studied and interned abroad. I worked in Marketing as I was just graduating and really liked it. Unlike many stories you read, I never hated my job or wanted to quit. It just happened that my contract ran out and I then chose to take the plunge and try to combine work and travel together.

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I bought a one-way ticket to Thailand and set off to Bangkok, then Chiang Mai where I stayed for a few months. Since I had experience in marketing, more so online and social media, I decided this is where I would offer my skills. Also trained on building websites and build my own blog as a first project where I still share my travel and lifestyle experiences to date. I set out with no clients and no specific plan really and I might have been lucky that it took me less than a month to have my first client. Today, I have a number of social media, writing, and web design gigs.

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How do you get clients? Are you signed up with freelance sites or do you reach out to potential clients?

Yes, of course, I am on Odesk plus LinkedIn and Xing works great for making contacts. Also talk a lot so word-of-mouth is definitely a big source where clients come from. Get pretty stable work so I don’t have to look for new clients constantly, which may be lucky too. I also have a few of my own projects which I am working on so not all my time is made up of client work.

How long did it take for you to being able to fully sustain yourself?

It took me about 6 months to have a stable income. But I already could pay most of my bills before that. Also due to a cheaper lifestyle in Chiang Mai.

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Can you describe a typical work day for you?

It depends on where I am. Right now here in Canggu, Bali, I go out surfing in the morning, so life depends on a little more on the tides. Sometimes I check my emails and do a little bit of work before I head to the surf, sometimes I don’t. When I come back I normally sit in a nice café and have lunch and then work all through the afternoon from the villa. Sometimes in the evening after taking a break to see the sunset and go for a walk along the beach. And then there are days where I work in the morning and take the afternoon off to do some sightseeing, meet friends or whatever else is happening.

A typical day for me, if there is anything like typical and routine, right now here in Brisbane I aim to get about between 7 and 8am. I always check what has happened on social overnight before. Even get up and then I either work out in the morning before anything else or I just take the dog (which I am currently housesitting) for a little walk to get some coffee down the road. I am definitely a morning person and feel most productive in the mornings. So I tend to use that wisely. Then work for a few hours mostly on client work or write on a blog post.

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Some days I have a short break over lunch and then push through till the late afternoon. If there is less work I have to tackle, I like to go out and explore or catch up with friends. I like to be outdoors. So in Bali I surf a lot, and I try to work out 4-5 times a week. No matter if that is just going for a run, go wakeboarding or join a yoga class. That’s my goal no matter where I am. I don’t really do weekends but many times friends and clients still dictate that Saturday and Sundays are quieter which is nice. But if I need a day off throughout the week, I will most of the time make it work and shuffle my workload around, the beauty of being a freelancer!

Three advice for anyone who wants to become a Digital Nomad but doesn’t know where to begin?

Routines get shuffled all the time, it’s alright! Where are you actually at the moment?

1. Start before you are ready, don’t wait and procrastinate too long.
2. Try out this lifestyle if you can, before you go completely nomad, I realised it’s not for everyone
3. Upsell yourself but know your limits

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Author: GoWonder