The life of a digital nomad certainly sounds attractive; the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, working from exotic locations and travelling to new destinations whenever you fancy a change of scenery. You see pictures of these digital nomads on Instagram all the time, lounging on beautiful beaches with their laptops and an iced drink, usually captioned something like “Today’s office 😍”.
Let’s gently burst that bubble straight away; working from beaches is definitely not the life of the average digital nomad. Beaches make for an attractive Instagram photo but they don’t make very practical offices! Sand and laptops don’t mix well, and reliable Wi-Fi and access to a power socket are essential for work.
The digital nomad lifestyle more realistically involves working from slightly less scenic spots such as cafes, hotels/hostels, rented rooms, or co-working spaces. But the lure of the nomadic lifestyle lies in its ability to finance travelling the world, allowing you to explore exciting places (or chill on beaches) in your spare time. You can stay in one place for a week before moving onto the next, or several months if you want to get more of a feel for the local life and culture.
But what sort of work do digital nomads do? Copywriting, social media management, web design, graphic design, programming, and translation are common sources of income for nomads, but any kind of work that lends itself to freelancing or remote working is suitable. And TEFL happens to be one of them!
TEFL is becoming an increasingly popular job for digital nomads. Teaching English online is a growing market and it’s well-suited to someone who’s constantly on the move. So how do you get started?
Here are 5 tips for becoming a TEFL digital nomad:
Get TEFL qualified
First things first, you’ll need to get TEFL qualified. We’ve developed an Advanced TEFL course specifically for teaching English online, which guides you through the technologies and mediums used for online teaching as well as showing you how to set yourself up online and start finding work!
Start building up a client base at home
If you’ve never taught English before then it’s a good idea to get some experience and building up an income stream from home can be a lot less stressful than trying to do it abroad.
Online teachers find work via companies and/or through their own websites – don’t worry if you don’t know where to start with that since our Teaching English Online course teaches you how to set up your very own site! Companies such as Tutor ABC and italki will take a commission while you’ll keep everything you earn if the work comes in through your own website.
This way you’ll get an understanding of what sort of money you can earn before you set off, which brings us onto the next tip…
The cost of living can be significantly lower than at home so you’ll find your money goes a lot further, but you’ll need money for flights and accommodation, so always carefully budget with travelling costs in mind. Work out how much you need to be working to fund your travels and keep in mind any additional costs such as transfer fees and how long it might take money you’ve been paid to arrive in your account.
Scout out services to help you manage your money
You want to minimise the amount of money you lose through transfer and withdrawal fees so research your options. Services such as Transferwise significantly reduce the cost of transferring money and pre-paid cards such as Revolut allow you to exchange currency at great rates and the card can be used all over the world.
Prioritise internet access
You can’t successfully make money teaching English online without reliable internet, so when you’re planning your travels you have to make this a priority!
There’s also the option of sourcing tutoring work wherever you are and picking up short-term teaching contracts with schools, companies, and language camps (although be mindful of visa regulations when it comes to in-country work!).
And if you find yourself wanting to settle for a longer period in a country you’ve fallen in love with then you can always keep an eye on our TEFL Jobs Centre!