Wouldn’t you love to make money while traveling the world?
That’s exactly the lifestyle Nicole Fu set up for herself. With her remote career, Nicole works online from various corners of the globe.
As a successful — and self-taught — full stack marketer, Nicole partners with a variety of tech startups. At the same time, she’s visited over 30 countries and counting.
Learn what Nicole has to say about the benefits and challenges of this lifestyle, along with her advice for aspiring working nomads.
How Nicole became a digital nomad
Nicole was coming up on five years living in Montreal when she got the itch to travel. Fascinated by the idea of working from anywhere, she daydreamed about remote careers.
When her cash-crunched tech startup starting laying people off, she took it as a sign to make the leap. Nicole bought a one-way ticket to Singapore and started marketing for companies online.
Nicole is a full stack marketer, meaning she offers services in the sales, creative, and technical sides of marketing. She helps with social media, business development, copywriting, analytics, HTML, and CSS, among other areas.
Plus, Nicole took an Adobe PhotoShop course to learn graphic design. By expanding her skill set, she’s been able to stand out from the sea of marketers and secure steady work.
“For me, [developing my career] is about being bold and jumping in the deep end, which forces you to learn and grow,” Nicole says. In addition to marketing, she also writes about working remotely on her blog.
How ‘geo-arbitrage’ helped Nicole get started
Once Nicole moved her work online, she says “the pressure was on to build repeatable, scalable income.” She spent much of 2016 in Asia, taking advantage of geo-arbitrage to build up her savings.
Geo-arbitrage, a concept popularized by Tim Ferriss in “The 4-Hour Workweek,” involves taking advantage of the economic differences between two locations. Nicole was earning money in a strong currency and living somewhere where her money went far.
Because her cost of living was so low, Nicole was able to establish herself as a working nomad. Today, she’s back in Canada and preparing to spend the next year traveling and working around Europe.
Why she loves the digital nomad lifestyle
For Nicole, the ability to work from anywhere is all about freedom and flexibility. “I love not setting an alarm [and] setting my own schedule,” she says.
She might fit her day around a yoga class or meet up with friends mid-day for coffee. If she wants to work for half a day before visiting an art gallery, she’s able to do that, no matter the time. “Remote work gives you the ability to have great work-life balance,” she says.
Plus, she’s driven by an urge to see the world. “If you’re at a regular job with two to three weeks off a year,” Nicole says, “you’d only be able to visit one to two new cities a year.” For her, that limited vacation time wasn’t enough.
She prefers to travel slowly, spend a lot of time in one place, and immerse herself in the culture. By moving her work online, Nicole can stay in one place for however long she wants before moving on to the next country.
Challenges of working nomads
But working nomads also have their fair share of challenges. If you’re entirely reliant on the internet, a shaky connection could derail your day.
Finding good Wi-Fi has been one of the biggest challenges for Nicole as she travels. In Australia and Laos, she struggled to find hotels or cafes with reliable internet connections.
Once during a visit to Alcatraz, she had to take an important call from a client. They had trouble hearing each other over the wind and screaming kids in the background.
Besides finding work-friendly spaces, taking time off is also a challenge. “Because I’m my own boss, I’m always working,” says Nicole.
She doesn’t typically take vacations or sick days. Even though she gets the chance to explore the world, Nicole doesn’t ever feel “truly on vacation” as she would with a traditional job.
Keeping track of your finances is key
When constantly changing locations, your expenses will go up and down. To track her spending, Nicole relies on the money management app Mint.
Mint gives Nicole an overview of her finances by monitoring her credit cards and bank accounts. She can keep tabs on her income growth. Plus, she sets savings goals, whether for an emergency fund or a trip to Cuba.
Nicole also used the app Trail Wallet when traveling in Asia. Since a lot of her transactions were in cash, she manually inputted them into the app.
By keeping careful track of her income and expenses, Nicole was able to become her own boss. Plus, she could see exactly what steps she needed to grow her net worth.
Anyone can start working remotely
Remote careers are more popular than ever. In fact, over 43 percent of workers spend at least part of the week working remotely, according to a recent Gallup poll.
You don’t necessarily need to change your career to move it online either. “You can become location independent with whatever skills you currently have,” says Nicole.
Web development skills are in high demand, but they’re not the only ones that let you telecommute. Nicole recommends the website Clarity, where anyone from doctors to lawyers can offer their expertise and get paid by the minute.
Or you can share your knowledge in a certain area. “If you have a passion for gardening, painting, whatever it may be, you can create an online course on that subject matter, write an eBook, offer consulting sessions over Skype, [or] build a niche website,” Nicole says.
Finally, you can search for a telecommute job from a website like We Work Remotely or FlexJobs. Whether you work in education, human resources, or customer support, you can find opportunities for remote careers.
If you can balance your working hours as you travel, you can join the group of working nomads like Nicole. Even though her path may be unconventional, Nicole loves the freedom of working online. “I have this one life,” she says. “And it’s mine.”
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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