BeachBeing a digital nomad seems to be a fabulous way to live, but the reality is a touch less glamorous (and a lot more hard work) than people imagine. I threw myself in the deep end by quitting my corporate job and showing up in Vietnam a couple of months ago with no steady stream of income and almost no savings. But here I am, building my blog for motorcyclist and traveler community; writing for pay from a beach chair in Bai Xep, a small fishing village on the coast of Vietnam. Every morning I put in about two hours of work.  Then, I get the rest of the day to live…snorkeling, riding my motorcycle along the back roads of Vietnam, lying on the beach, or scoping out some historical pagodas. Here are some of the things I’ve figured out in the past few months that have helped me make a living off of my freelance writing.

1. You don’t need a lot of money to travel

Chose your first few countries wisely and you can start to build up a client base for your writing while you are living in some very cheap destinations. South East Asia is the obvious hotspot – the people are friendly, the Wi-Fi is ubiquitous, the food is delicious, and the scenery is incredible.

Typical View

Here’s a pretty typical view from the main coastal highway, AH1. The mountains all look like they’ve been plucked from watercolor paintings and the grass is lush and green…but be careful, once late afternoon hits, those thunderclouds get to be a lot more ominous!

Since I have been traveling around Vietnam, I’ve been able to pay for my accommodation, meals, and incidentals entirely through the money I make writing for online clients.  A typical day of decent living over here costs approximately 250.000 VND, or just about 10 USD. Of course, add in a few beers and that number creeps up just a little…

A/C Dorm

The A/C dorm at Life’s A Beach Hostel (one of a few guest houses here) is a pricey 8 USD per night, but you can grab a spot in the non-A/C dorm for less. The view (especially at sunrise) is well worth the splurge!

2. Know your resources

Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, and even a simple Google search are all good places to start. If all of the choices are too overwhelming right now, start out on Upwork and build up some experience there, then branch out into the other avenues for online freelance writing work.

3. Be professional

This is a business. Manage your time, only apply to writing gigs that you can do well, and then do the work VERY well. Your reputation in the freelance writing community matters, so don’t disappoint your clients by overselling and under-delivering…do the opposite! There are plenty of jobs to go around and you just need to snag one to start building up your experience.

4. Market your travel plans as an asset

The majority of the writing I’ve been doing since leaving New York in July has been travel-related, which allows me to document my travels (and get paid for it).  After a few weeks of pushing yourself as a travel writer and taking on small projects here and there, you’ll have built up enough of a portfolio to shop around for those bigger and better long-term gigs.

5. Make sure your pitch is perfect

And I don’t mean singing! There are a lot of folks trying to win jobs on the same platforms, so put in the time and effort to make sure that your proposal is absolutely perfect. Give prospective clients enough information to create interest in your profile. Usually, 100-150 words plus a relevant writing sample will be enough to get you through the door.

6. Enjoy your travels!

Working as a freelance writer to fund your travels is one of the purest forms of “working to live” instead of “living to work”. Besides, if you end up working more than traveling, what will you write about? Don’t get too wrapped up in the earning and forget to enjoy the amazing sights, food, people, and history of the places you get to spend your time in.

Yumm

If you find yourself looking at a menu entirely in Vietnamese, just point at something that looks like soup and you might find yourself with a Balut Egg Soup (fertilized duck egg soup). Yummm!

About the Author:

Lucas KnightOver the past 10 years, Lucas Knight has been a motorcycle rider. He has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to motorcyclist and traveler community. This is the reason why he created MotorManner.com where his passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcycle travel lover.