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What is a digital nomad and how do they make money?

You saw them in your news feed, you probably saw them in your favorite coffee shop; and you’ve probably met one or two ‘em to know enough to hate them: People who do not have a classic 9 – 6 cubicle job, but rather a service they can deliver from wherever they may be, and usually in exotic countries or an amazing coast somewhere in the ocean.

We are talking about the nomads that replaced the tents with AirBnB, horses with ride-sharing apps and their livelihoods with freelancing jobs: The Digital Nomads.

If we need to put it out there like Wikipedia,

“Digital nomads are a type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces.”

Digital nomads are the direct response in the paradigm shift in the workforce, with the Gig Economy piling up to be the next big thing in the department of human resources. Millions are joining in the trend each year around the world, it’s estimated that 1 in out of 4 employed individuals will be working out of office in the next decade, but as of 2019,

  • 53% of employees in the global workforce has worked from their home at least once per week
  • 70% of global employees worked from home at least once per month.
  • 19% of employees worked remotely full time.

How do you become a digital nomad?

Although it could feel that it’s pretty hard to be a digital nomad, when you start reading and weighing your options, you’ll see that even with beginner experience, you could start making money while you are traveling the world.

Keep in mind that becoming a digital nomad is not as easy as selecting a location and jumpin’ on a plane. There are planning and researching phrases that you should not skip.

All in all, you must have a good grasp on what you can offer while traveling the world as a freelancer, where you would head to and where you would stay; and how much you will need to make while doing all this.

The best way to start is to get a grasp on how you can earn money.


So how do digital nomads make money?

There are multiple ways to earn money while you are getting a sweet tan in Bali or mind-blowing self-realization in India. From translating to graphic design, you can do anything that can be digitally delivered.

  1. Use your native language as a tool, and start translating;
  2. SEO Consultancy
  3. Content Writing / Blog Posting
  4. Web Design
  5. Web Development
  6. Mobile App Development
  7. Graphic Design
  8. Video Content Production

And to find jobs, look no further than

  1. Micro-job sites like Fiverr, PeopleperHour
  2. Long-term freelancing contracts from sites like or UpWork
  3. Getting local jobs from the countries they visit,
  4. Presenting yourself to job posters as a cheaper alternative to full-time employment in job listing sites and Linkedin
  5. Finding job listing/employment groups to share your portfolio on Facebook

In addition, while traveling, you can take dozens of photos and videos to supply & sell them on stock sites like Shutterstock, iStock or Getty.

How much a digital nomad makes monthly?

As in any category, there are some low and high outliers, but generally speaking Digital nomads can earn a high income; imagining an average middle-class worker makes around $50,000, a digital nomad with an experience around 2 to 4 years can make about more than $80,000; up to a whopping $120,000 in some cases.

Experience Level Average Income
0-2 years USD 65.000
2-4 years
USD 80.000
4-6 years USD 105.000
6+ years
USD 120.000

And getting paid is much easier with Ruul since other payment methods like PayPal and Venmo can be out of reach in some parts of the world, whereas Ruul helps freelancers to become virtual companies. *wink*

All in all, it’s one of the GenX and millennial favorites when it comes to career paths. Now pack your things, you are going on an everlasting vacation where you work wherever there is wi-fi, and don’t forget to bring sunscreen!

Best Cities to Start a Digital Nomad Life

We know that you all have your own dreamy vacation/workplace island somewhere in the Pacific, but when you think about the cost of living, internet connection, and utilities, there are several places to match your expectations for an Instagram-worthy office.

City / Country Cost of Living (Monthly) Ruul Invoicing / Payment
Canggu, Bali USD 1,146 YES
Belgrad, Serbia USD 1,449 YES
Buenos Aires, Argentina USD 1,162 YES
Chiang Mai, Thailand
USD 1,171
Bangkok, Thailand USD 1,561 YES

To the question of “Can you stay there without residency, you’ll have to check each countries’ approach to long-term touristic stays: But those countries in the list can let you stay as long as you can afford it, so there’s that.

Wherever you may go, know that all you have to do is enjoy, meet great people and trust the invoicing and payment to Ruul.

Chloe Frederick
Blogger for Ruul
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