It seems like in the last few short years, the digital nomadisphere (←totally a thing) has exploded through the roof as more and more people get the motivation, know-how and belief they need to pack up their bags and their businesses and hit the road. It’s not just 20-something backpackers who are going on these extended 2, 3, 4 year round-the-world trips now, but career couples and families too. And it’s exciting! For me, this revolution kind of feels like the equivalent of that memorable Roger Bannister story I remember hearing so many times to describe the impact of belief on human consciousness and ability.
You know the one?
For years, people had held the assumption that the human body was incapable of running the mile in less than 4 minutes. Then in 1954 Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier, running the mile in 3:59.4. Within the year, someone else matched him, then more, and more and more athletes. Good old Roger set a new benchmark, and by doing so altered the subconscious beliefs of every runner to come after him. There was exponential growth all of a sudden in the number of athletes achieving this massive goal, that had somehow seemed completely out of reach for so many years before.
The same thing is happening right now in the digital nomad world. Every day someone new is breaking that previously insurmountable barrier of opting out of the rat race and earning an income without geographical restriction. They see that it’s doable, and they get the courage and know-how to trade so-called ‘security’ for freedom.
Who was our metaphorical Roger Bannister? Many would say it was Tim Ferris, with his New York Times best seller The Four Hour Work Week published back in 2007. For me, it was Gaia Grant, author of the digital nomad recount “A Patch of Paradise” which I stumbled on in a little boutique bookstore in Sydney all the way back in 2002. She was the first person whose example set the stage for what I believed was possible in the realm of living life on your own terms.
But it was never just about having the belief that it’s possible, we also needed the infrastructure and tools to come along that would make remote working truly feasible on a large scale. And that time is upon us, thanks to some intelligent tech geniuses who have continued to expand the speed, functionality and ease of use of online tools.
So whether it’s figuring out the how-tos or seeking out the best free Wi-Fi cafes, if taking your business on the road to travel sounds like fun, check out this list of 12 outstanding sites for finding your digital nomad tribe online.
Cody McKibben is one of the top players in lifestyle design blogging, and it only takes a few short minutes jumping around his site to see why. This is one resource packed hub for aspiring digital nomads (or those who already are). To get right to the core of Cody’s mission with Thrilling Heroics, check out this masterpiece of video editing on the site. Sensational!
Cody quit his office job back in 2007 to go all in on his freelance web development business. Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek was definitely one of the catalysts here, and you’ll see that reflected in Cody’s style.
If there’s one business owner you should model successful outreach and PR strategies from, it’s Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur. Not only does she have an awesome message to share, she sure knows how to get it out there! Natalie has been featured on Forbes, Mashable and The Huffington Post, to name a few, plus she puts in an appearance in this compilation oDesk put together to encourage more people to say “Goodbye commute, hello world“.
Natalie’s blog and podcast are filled to the brim with concrete resources for creating a profitable online business that you can run from anywhere.
Mish and Rob left their jobs in London back in 2012, and used their skills to set up a unique, personality-filled copywriting business, Mortified Cow. With their talent and commitment, they made a huge success of it, and along the way have built a community around sharing their practical insights on how to make it happen. The Making It Anywhere blog covers business building and “your new life” skills, as well as inspirational travel tidbits.
One thing I really love about the message shared on Making It Anywhere is their sentiment that the location independent lifestyle is now wide open to a huge variety of service businesses. They share: “A few years ago you might have needed to be a programmer or designer to have this sort of lifestyle, but not anymore.” So, so true, I couldn’t agree more.
Mish and Rob’s tag line is definitely a tweetable:
Flexibility + freedom + travel = no-brainer Tweet this!
Now this is where you can get yourself one heck of a business education, for free! TropicalMBA, founded by two business partners Dan and Ian who built a multi-million dollar physical products based business. The niches they operate in are pretty unique actually, check out examples of some of their products on the About page here. They put TropicalMBA together to help “people build profitable location independent businesses, and meet with others who are doing the same”, and they’re doing a mighty fine job of that. Think Hubspot quality resources, but specifically designed for location independent entrepreneurs.
The place to get started with TropicalMBA is on their podcast, published every Thursday, plus Dan’s detailed answer to the question he gets asked all the time: “I Want to Make Money From Anywhere in the World – Where Should I Start?”
Rachel and Greg Denning travel the world with their 6 kids, and boy do they make it look easy and fun! The Dennings sold up and set off on their adventure back in 2007 with the aim to escape the mundane, and live a “ridiculously awesome life” as a family. Along the way they’ve inspired others to do the same through their “How to Fund Travel” series.
This is one solid family unit, and after watching them through their videos and on the blog, you’ll soon have no doubt that the lifestyle design is certainly not a privilege reserved for 20-somethings without commitments or 8 airfares to pay! It really does just come down to a decision to live your own life, the way you want to, and the courage to follow through no matter what.
The essence of their message to aspiring family lifestyle designers? Here it is right here:
Raise Your Family – Live Your Dream – Change the World Tweet this!
The Rawfoodfamily – Ka, Katie and their 5 kids are from Germany, but considering the number of years they’ve been on the road for now (or more accurately, jet setting in the air), they truly are an international family. Their journey started off when they began sharing the life-changing health information they’d discovered back in 2004 when their 2nd son was diagnosed with Asthma. Along the way they got so incredibly skilled at building an audience and income online, without forgoing their daily tropical beach time and green juicing, that they were inundated with requests to share the deets on how they were doing it. So emerged The Rawfoodfamily Business School, teaching conscious entrepreneurs the world over how to make a real living with their passion.
In recent years, they’ve been hopping around Costa Rica, Thailand, Europe and the United States, and you can find out the why, where and how on Ka’s YouTube channel.
The Art of Non-Conformity blog is the home for “unconventional people doing remarkable things.” Chris Guillebeau, the founder, is famous for having travelled to every single country in the world, and, masterminding the sellout digital nomad and online business annual event World Domination Summit.
His recent site design overhaul is spectacular and makes for a very stylish online hub to hang out in for online business owners with world travel ambitions. Chris personally writes about personal development, entrepreneurship, travel and adventure, but you’ll also find quality guest contributions from all corners of the globe and you can even nominate yourself to be profiled to share your story of digital nomad life “On the Road.”
Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week, was one of (if not, the) driving force behind the current revolution in lifestyle choices we’re witnessing, and he made it clear that being “rich” was not about how much cash you had in the bank, but rather how much juice you were able to squeeze out of life by way of your experiences, travel, skills, connection and contentment.
He’s been criticized for painting an unrealistic picture of what it really takes to get a business off the ground, but as Corbett Barr insightfully points out on the Fizzle blog, “that’s not the point.” The fact remains that his sensationalized marketing did it’s job of infusing the concept of lifestyle design into our collective consciousness, and forever placed an alternative option on the menu to the long outdated “go to college, get a good job, do your time” monotony.
His blog dives deep deep deep on the details, so be warned if you’re not yet familiar with his work! If you’re planning your escape from cubicle nation, the 4-Hour Case Studies are an excellent place to dig in first.
Jill and Josh got their start in affiliate marketing, back in 2012, and after a bit of a rocky start they hit the coveted $1000/month mark by their fourth month in business. A short time after that, with some focus and dedication, they were making a full time income and hatched their escape plan – they sold up, said goodbye and headed over to Thailand.
Through their podcast and courses they share their perspective on what they’ve tried and tested to help online business owners get found and make money. Among those they help are coaches, consultants, bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and digital product creators. They’re not short on personality, that’s for sure. Take some time peeking around their social media channels, Facebook and Instgram in particular, for some spectacular wanderlust-inducing visuals á la Thailand.
Sean Ogle’s Location180 site is about 2 things:
1. Building a business you can run from anywhere on Earth
2. Living a life worth writing about
Starting to see the common thread here, right? Mobile business, good life!
Like many of us have at some point, Sean realized that working a 50 hour week, not having any flexibility and doing life-draining, boring stuff every day wasn’t really going to fly for the long term. So in 2009 he quit his job as a financial analyst and headed to Thailand to get a start on ticking off items on the bucket list he’d put together. Once out of the system, it didn’t take him long to realize just how easily he could make this new lifestyle sustainable for the long term, and it was literally only a few months from that realization before he was making enough income online to make that a reality.
I loved reading Sean’s post My Last Day that he wrote just 2 days after leaving his job. The emotions captured serve an excellent reminder (if you’re already digital nomadding it) or inspiration (if you want to be!).
In 2012, Graham traded his high-flying entrepreneurial, go go go lifestyle (clocking over a million business Air Miles in 5 years!) for a simpler, more intentional location independent lifestyle where he now had time and space back in his day. He’s been able to fund ongoing world travel with his family by running a publishing business, continuing to consult with some old clients, and also through investments that he’d made back in his business career that still tick over. I find this to be super inspirational. I know that there are other people out there that are in a similar position to where Graham was back then; not struggling financially, travelling, living what many perceive to be the peak of achievement. And it takes some honest self-reflection and dedication to transition to that lifestyle. There’s a knack to doing it in a way that’s equally as abundant, but more peaceful and now on your own terms. If that’s you, see what tidbits you can glean from Graham’s story.
The other thing I love about Graham’s blog are his outstanding original photos. He captures those iconic coffee/ cafe/ laptop/ view pics with style – the most I’ve seen!
Here’s what going “barefoot” is all about:
Going barefoot means trading comfort for feeling, success for meaning and security for freedom. –The Barefoot Journal Tweet this!
12. Nomad Spirit
David and Erin, hailing from the UK and Australia respectively, met in Barcelona and, I’m assuming, thought they’d stick with a good thing while they were onto it. They’ve been travelling the world ever since, funded by a variety of different income sources spanning online business services and affiliate marketing.
The Nomad Spirit blog provides first hand insight into the cost of living as a digital nomad in various cities around the world, documenting their actual expenses line by line, as in this recent example for Malta here. And this is very cool — they’re on a mission to visit each of the signature digital nomad “hot spots” of the world which they list out for us right here. Have they missed any? I’m curious. Let me know in the comments below if there’s a city you’d add to that shortlist.
Bonus Resource: The Paperless Entrepreneur
Michelle Dale, a digital nomad herself, quit her job back in 2005 at the age of 23 (she was ahead of the curve!) to move to Egypt and start her own business Virtual Miss Friday. Building a world class online business consultancy has given her the unique vantage point of seeing directly into the inner workings of countless online businesses. She uses that depth of experience to train online service providers to build exceptional, scalable businesses. Here’s just one of the suite of resources she’s put together on that mission: The Paperless Entrepreneur magazine especially for digital nomads and online business entrepreneurs. Have you checked it out yet? Click here to access your copy for free.
In this issue below, I gave the lowdown on the 4 key factors I think make the biggest difference if you’ve got a goal to become a digital nomad and earn an income from anywhere in the world. You’ll find that article on page 36 – Mission: Location Independent – How to Push Past That Last Ounce of Resistance. Enjoy, and let me know if you agree.