Being a digital nomad is a dream for many freelancers and even remote employees. It means freedom to move around and travel, have a more flexible schedule, and generally enjoy not being confined to a desk surrounded by four walls and obnoxious workmates.
One of the most common first steps to a fully nomad lifestyle is via a remote employment. So what does it take to become a digital nomad? How to land a remote job and make sure it’s something that will sustain your new lifestyle? Surely the benefits of having one will appeal to the inner nomad in you: there will be no vexing traffic and commute to deal with, you can work practically anywhere at any time (within a reasonable schedule, of course), and you can save up on expensive lunches associated with working in an office.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to getting a remote job that could be the launchpad for a nomadic career. However, there are certain pitfalls to avoid, and below are four of the most common ones I have heard of, thus far.
Instantly declaring that you want to be a digital nomad
As much as it pains me to admit it, not everything about this chosen path will be about you – especially in the beginning. In a previous post, I mentioned that getting remote employment is one of the best and most effective gateways to being a digital nomad. For starters, it has the financial security of a regular employment, yet still allows you a semblance of flexibility and freedom.
However, it’s a no-no to declare straight away to a potential employer that you want to be a digital nomad above all else. It will just seem as if you are using them as a stepping stone for your self-interests, chief of which is the convenience of not physically reporting to work in an actual office on a daily basis. When asked, you can admit that the convenience of working remotely is an added bonus to the job being offered. But waxing poetic about how you want to travel while working and mentioning other perks won’t sit well with future employers and clients who simply want a reliable employee (never mind where they might be working from).
Not getting to know your remote employer
It’s easy enough to detach yourself from people you don’t see face to face or communicate with except via email or chat. But in the undeclared handbook of how to land a remote job, getting to know your potential employer is a must.
You will need to research about the company you will be potentially working for. So given the opportunity, ask the right questions. Get to know the company’s vision-mission, what their goals are in a couple of years, and how you can contribute to achieving those goals. Employers (yes, even remote ones) prefer people who are on the same page as they are, and can truly help them achieve their company’s objectives.
Refusing to use the proper tools for communication
Maybe you don’t like getting your time tracked and your progress monitored – I mean, who does? It goes against the grain of being a freelance nomad, after all. However, remote jobs often work within tried-and-tested frameworks, structures, and processes. If you are asked to use certain software or app to monitor your schedules and progress, don’t dig in your heels and refuse. Chances are it’s merely a tool to help new hires get on-board and to keep track of general progress for projects.
The same goes true for communication tools – they are there to make sure everyone is on the same page, that things are running smoothly, and that people won’t suddenly disappear in the middle of an important project and leave everyone else hanging. So unless micro-management rears its ugly head all the time, use the required tools freely. It’s for your own good, as well as that of the company’s.
Not searching in the right places
Based on personal experience, remote jobs are often introduced to me by way of friend and former client referrals. I’ve had lots of past and current employees who tell me they prefer this method because there’s a sort of “guarantor” system involved. This doesn’t work out for everyone, though. If you want to know how to land a remote job by yourself, it’s important to look for them in the right places. You can get membership on remote employer communities and forums to get a heads-up from other members and employers. There are some I’ve seen on Facebook and other social media platforms, and there’s hardly a dearth of jobs to be had for remote workers.
More importantly, look for remote work via the right websites! Some of my favorite sources include Remote.co, AngelList, FlexJobs, and WeWorkRemotely. These sites offer a variety of remote work opportunities in various fields, including copywriting, programming, web and graphic design, remote sales, and lots of tech-related jobs. When a project is winding up, I make sure to check regularly on these sites to see if there’s a new remote job that’s a good fit for me in the near future.
There are plenty of methods on how to land a remote job and succeed at it. It should not be too difficult to get reliable ones that can guarantee good working experiences for you. Just be mindful of potential pitfalls that could ruin your chances of even getting your foot in the door. Remote employers value employees who understand the processes set in place even as they enjoy more freedom than office-bound workers. An open and honest communication between the remote employer and employee is a must, otherwise things can quickly fester when unclear things are not resolved in time.
Looking for a remote job is a bit different than applying for regular work in a company, but the benefits cannot be beat. If you have what it takes to get a remote job and actually enjoy it and all its perks, I would love to hear more about your experiences!