‘Digital Nomad’ isn’t a job description (and how to find that job)

Though I’ve been a digital nomad for a while now I’m still learning new things. One thing I recently realized is how people new to the lifestyle seem to think digital nomad is a job description and we make our money this way.

Now, you can call it many things – a lifestyle, a rebellion or even a movement – but it is not a job. That part of it is entirely separate. We get going by writing, freelancing or starting businesses and that allows us to then move around.

So why do people think of it as a job description? I suspect people have this idea because they’ve been sold a myth. Often, it is made out as if it’s not of this world. The way our lives are often portrayed is as if we’ve passed through the looking glass into a magical realm. A place where the sun always shines, the living is easy and we’ve moved beyond capitalism.

But that’s not true. Quite the opposite. The digital nomad lifestyle is dependent on modern capitalism.

We offer products in exchange for a fee.
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Road interview: Philippe Holthuizen – Expat Entrepreneur and 3D Cobbler

Starting a business in a foreign country is definitely harder than doing so at home. You have to deal with a different culture, language barriers and bureaucracies which treat you with mistrust. So the deck is stacked against you. Despite that, migrants start a lot of businesses. In fact, they’re far more likely to do so than the people who don’t leave their home country.

In the UK they’re three times as likely to start businesses as those who haven’t moved. In the US, 13% of the population is made up of immigrants, while they start 28% of its new ventures. Even more astounding, more than half of the billion dollar new ventures in the US are started by immigrants.

So why – despite the extra hardships they face – are migrants more likely to start businesses and succeed in them when they do? To find out, I interviewed Philippe Holthuizen, who traveled half a world away from his native-born Holland to start not one but two companies.
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How to get an onward ticket easily, cheaply (and even for free!)

No, they won’t ask you for an onward ticket out of the country every time you cross a border. I spent most of my twenties traveling without an onward ticket and never had a problem. Of course, my twenties were a decade ago and the rules do seem to have changed (or maybe I was just lucky). Now they will ask you for an onward flight on occasion – particularly if you have the ‘wrong’ kind passport. For me, I’ve been asked to prove I’ve got a ticket out far more often since I started traveling with my Central American girlfriend.

And when they do ask you and you don’t have one because you haven’t yet decided where you’ll go next, that can be a real problem. For example, when checking into a flight to Costa Rica they wouldn’t let me get on the plane without an onward ticket. As there was only an hour left before boarding, I had to run around like a maniac trying to get something that would satisfy them. In the end I managed, but not before getting seriously stressed out (and paying a bomb). And that’s not what I enjoy doing just before getting on a plane.

For that reason – and because getting an onward ticket of some kind before I travel is easy as pie – I now always make sure I have something.
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The Four Principles of How to be Lucky (According to Science!)

In some moments our lives seem far luckier than at others. Like when you go traveling the first time. For those months everything just seems to go your way. You meet interesting people, find opportunities and have a ton of lucky coincidences – way more than before. It’s like your charmed or something.

But for a logical person who doesn’t believe in superstition that can’t be, right? Luck is random, after all.

Well, it turns out that it might not be entirely true. It’s quite possible to actually be luckier during some times than others. And it’s not down to fairy dust, lucky numbers or your astrology sign.

Instead, according to psychologist Richard Wiseman’s book the Luck Factor, being lucky comes down to behavior and beliefs. In his book, he discusses four principles which separate the lucky from the rest. It would seem that during those lucky times, like when we first start traveling, we unconsciously embrace those behaviors.

Now imagine what you could do if you were consciously aware of those principles. Then you could take steps to enhance them in your daily life and end up not just with periods of good luck but a whole life filled with it.

For that reason, without further ado, here they are (along with a few observations of my own, of course).
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6+ Simple Insights To Make Your Query Letter More Effective

Do you loathe the query letter? I sure did when I started out. And it wasn’t just because I didn’t know how to write them, but also because when I did it was so damned hard to figure out what to make of the feedback I got back.

I mean, there are so many reasons somebody might not get back to you or turn you down when they do. Yes, obviously they might not be impressed by your letter. But it’s as likely they’re overworked, got distracted or don’t need any freelancers. The problem is, you don’t know which it is. And so, often you end up trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

To help you avoid that fate, today I’ll explore what I’ve learned over the years about writing query letters. In that way, you might have a guiding light and won’t have to learn by trial and error like I did.
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How I Find Clients – Tackling The Most Tenacious Freelancing Problem

When I started freelancing I didn’t have a clue how to actually get clients. So I did what I always do in those situations. I read a lot. A bunch of the articles I read said I should start on the big freelance sites like Upwork. I guess whoever wrote those didn’t know how to get freelancing clients either. That isn’t too strange, as getting those initial clients is probably the hardest part.

So I followed their advice, created a profile, wrote query letters and spent the next six months trying to break through there. In the process, I learned that it is true what they say. The worse the client pays the more demanding they are.

By that standard, Upwork’s clients are among the most demanding out there. The site is infamous for having clients that pay ludicrously low rates. I charged a cent per word there, which is too little to support my girlfriend and myself. And yet still I was regularly undercut by people willing to do it for less.

Those were some pretty miserable months, I can tell you!

Of course, hardship is a phenomenal teacher. I recount some of the lessons I learned there in the article my life as a warning to a friend and a whole generation. The one that matters most here can be summed up pretty simply.
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A Content Marketing Guide for Digital Nomads and Travelancers

Live on the road and want to get news of what you’re doing out there? Then content marketing is a no-brainer. It’s markedly cheaper than traditional marketing and gives you about three times as many leads. What’s more, you’ve already got the one thing most people struggle with – content. What else would you call do you call a life filled with beautiful places and interesting adventures? That gives you a massive leg up on your more sedentary competition.

Of course, you already knew that. It’s why ythere ou’re reading this article, right? You don’t need to be told that it’s a good idea. Instead, you’re here for guidance on the execution. How do you make sure that your attempt at content marketing does not disappoint?

To help you in that regard, here is what I’ve learned from a year of content marketing on this site and elsewhere. None of that regurgitated crap from other websites, where I have no idea of the effectiveness but I rehash it because it sounds good. No. Only tried and tested ideas here!

Sound good? Then let’s stop dipping our toes into the water and jump on in.
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Coming Home And How To Survive Reverse Culture Shock

Machines beep. Green and yellow lines wiggle up and down on monitors. My father’s glazy gaze meets us from where he’s nestled in a web of tubes filled with bodily fluids that run the same red, green and yellow. When we ask him how he’s feeling he gives a waxen grin. “No more pain. But the colors keep changing.” The painkillers seem to be working, then.

Even though it’s weird to hear my 70-year-old father giggle like a schoolgirl, it’s better than last night. Then he’d told us it hurt so much he wished he could kill himself. That’s not something you want to hear anybody say; let alone your father.

It was good we came. Even if you do feel absolutely powerless as you sit there, your presence does make a difference. I know. He told me so. That’s quite something for my dad, who showed affection in my younger years with a leg pat or a hair tussle and a smile. To have him take your hand and voice his appreciation means something.

Yes, even if he’s high as a kite.
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How To Be More Proactive And Boost Your Freelancing Success

When you’re reactive, you treat the symptoms that you have. When you’re proactive you prevent the sickness from ever arriving. Sure, in some lines of work you might be able to get along without being proactive. Perhaps if you work on the factory line you don’t have to be.

Freelancing is not one of those fields.

There, proactivity decides if you’re going to prosper or perish. Heck, even the strain of freelancing will be inversely proportional to how proactive you are. This is because being proactive will let you counter the natural freelancing cycle. You might see a period of slow work coming and push extra hard to find new clients to fill the gaps. It is also how you keep yourself and your skill set current. And that’s the only way you can stay ahead of the curve.

This makes it an essential freelancing skill. So what do you do if you don’t have it? That’s what we’re going to cover in this article at the hands of:

8 Simple Strategies That Will Boost Your Readability Today

To say we can measure readability objectively is going too far. Some aspects are still beyond our man-made formulas – probably because they’re too abstract to track. But we can get close. That’s for two reasons:

  1. Contrary to what most people think, a lot of readability is down to simple things.
  2. We’ve been working on figuring out what those are for quite a while now.

The initial push came back in the 1920s along with the first cross-Atlantic flight and jazz. There were several attempts at formulating readability. The most renowned is the one invented by the psychologist Edward Thorndike.

He proposed that you could measure readability by giving a text’s difficult words a score and adding them together. Not bad. Our modern theories do almost the same, though they take into account other factors. The most famous one is probably the Flesch-Kincaid test, which was thought up in 1975 and is still used today.

Here’s the formula:

Flesch Kincaid readability test

Don’t worry about the details. I have no idea why he chose those weights either. Instead, let’s focus on the big picture. As you can see, it uses words per sentences and syllables per word to analyze a text. Seems too simple to you? I hear you. I thought the same.
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