These digital nomads have ditched the 9-to-5 life

Personal Finance

“There’s a vision that if you’re a successful freelancer, you’ll be sitting on a glorious beach somewhere, drinking margaritas, making millions of dollars,” Maplesden said. “But you can’t escape work.”

It took him a few years to start making six figures. Many of his first efforts, such as selling poetry online, failed. “You need to be terrifyingly objective. There’s a tremendous amount of competition out there. Pick one thing and be really, really good at it,” he said.

He said that having a portfolio of his work has helped him stand out from the competition, although he said some people have to work for free at first to create a portfolio. That means that you should have savings set aside before you walk away from your 9-to-5 job.

Pamela Capalad, owner of the financial planning company Brunch and Budget, said the first step to becoming a digital nomad is recognizing the service you can provide.

“What do you enjoy doing?” Capalad asked. “Are there people who don’t enjoy it who would be willing to pay you for it?”

Some of the unconventional online services she said her clients provide include consulting, tutoring, teaching, proofreading and event planning.

You should also have at least six months of living expenses saved before you quit your job, Capalad said.

“Figure out what is the least amount of money that you could live on. The people who transition most successfully are the ones who take their time to experiment and see what works,” she said.

She said some people will have to keep a part-time job until they’re earning enough on their own. People should also resist investing in elaborate websites, business cards or office space until they understand their business and have proven they can make money, Capalad said.

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