Join my community and earn USD 100,000 a year!
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s cut the crap, and get right to the heart of the matter. In reality, the six-figure salary is punchy, and to achieve that there’s a hell lot of sacrifices to make. So, what’s the truth, and how do I make money as a digital nomad?
I’ll be dead honest, if you want to hit the six-figure, you’re thinking more along the lines of location independence than digital nomadism. Meaning, while you’re putting the building blocks in place, you’re not gonna have time to get traveling! Work for it 16 hours a day; I shit you not.
I feel that a digital nomad will travel around frequently whereas someone who is location independent will move when necessary. They’re actually the same thing, but I would identify as a digital nomad most of the time. For some audiences, I would say I’m a location independent entrepreneur—just sounds posh! You have to decide whether you’re in it for the money, for the travel, or for the work-life balance (if there’s even any!).
As a result of hard work and damn grit determination, I now have what I consider to be the dream lifestyle. While on the path to becoming to the digital nomad I am today, I found it of great value to read about people’s stories rather than just skim through their hints and tips, it all becomes a bit generic at that point, right?
So rather than give you a list of bullet points, I’m going to share my journey. You can take what lessons from it that you want; teach a man to fish and all!
Here’s my story.
Surviving the 9-to-5 phase
My last 9-to-5 desk job over at Switzerland was as an online marketing manager. I am not shy to tell you that I was pretty good at what I do. This energy that I developed as a result of being good at my job was a real catalyst for me. Seeing my success rate while working for someone else made me start to ponder whether I could have this success all to myself. Not in a greedy way. Just in a don’t-wanna-be-serving-the-man kinda way.
This is when I started with a partner the online magazine that is Philihappy.com. By this point, I was already totally enamored by the Philippines and knew that my heart and soul belonged there. So there I shall go, I thought.
Not prepared to give it all up in one go, and for fear of failing (I’ll admit it, I was scared), I didn’t quit my 9-to-5 job. I became the best multitasker I knew. I worked my fucking ass off, seriously. All praise to my buddy, Red Bull!
With the view of moving to the Philippines full time, I sold all my shit. I lived on a mattress on the floor, had one cup, one plate, one bowl, one set of cutlery—you get the idea. I sold or donated almost everything, except my precious Wi-Fi router.
I didn’t do this overnight, though. This was a slow process that took around a year. This was my saving period. I saved as much money as I could so that I had my stash ready should I need to call on it. You never know when the game plan will go pear-shaped, so you need that cash buffer. This year-long period also gave me a chance to tweak and critic my game plan.
Quitting my desk job and seeking remote work
The year was up, and I was ready to go, emotionally and financially. I quit my desk job and found another job that was willing to renegotiate my online marketing manager’s contract, lowered my salary slightly in return for being able to work remotely. There were two reasons why taking a salary cut wasn’t too much of an issue.
(1) I had the buffer money ready and waiting.
(2) Cost of living in Asia is significantly lower than that of Europe, especially Switzerland.
This contract was for one year which was great. This meant that should Philihappy.com not work out, I had ample salary to keep me going while I developed my next initiative. (Thankfully, that didn’t happen.)
Coming to the Philippines and growing Philihappy
So upon landing in Manila, I already had my income stream set up. However, I also took on other small freelancing jobs. My income from my remote work was steady, but I was very conscious that I needed to have a fallback. This meant that my dream of kicking back on the white sandy shores of the Philippines would only be achieved months later.
And that’s the truth of it, in my first six months living over here, I barely looked up from my screen, I’m talking 15- to 16-hour days.
I would only do short travels because of Philihappy.com. The nature of the business involved going and experiencing the content for myself. Perks of the job shall we say! So this freelancing work, although not hugely financially profitable was crucial for my business development and interpersonal skills, too.
Starting Mr. Digital Nomad
With remote work in check, freelance work in check, and Philihappy doing well, I started to whittle down the freelancing projects I took in favor of developing Mr. Digital Nomad.
I needed to start investing time in it to make it work. So, with a proper game plan, reserve cash stashed away, and the secure income provided by my remote work and Philihappy, Mr. Digital Nomad was born.
Now, both Philihappy and Mr. Digital Nomad not only fulfill a service to my clients and readers but also provide me with the income I need and frankly deserve—after all the hard graft I put in!
Now you know how I made it work for me and how I make money as a digital nomad. Did that just sound like I’m a huge workaholic? The thing is, I really wanted the lifestyle, and so I did whatever it took to fulfill this dream.
I’ve seen so many “how to become a digital nomad” sites that are all filler and no killer. Now, I appreciate that this particular blog is a bit filler, but it is important. I feel people really need to start reading again rather than just skimming for answers. There are answers to your questions in this article, and there are lessons you can learn from it. The digital nomad lifestyle is not gonna be handed to you on a plate so start searching.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I am always happy to share the most authentic, real experiences with aspiring digital nomads. If you want to know how you can make money as a digital nomad, then I have just the articles for you. You may be wondering what the hell a game plan is?
This is where it really gets interesting!