Podcast #239 – Marc takes you through the basics of becoming a digital nomad
This week I am doing a solo episode about what you need to prepare for to be a digital nomad. I want to give you an overview of what it takes to go on the road. I am doing this from the perspective of leaving the US, but much of what I will tell you will apply if you want to be a digital nomad inside the US.
This is in direct response to the first 42 respondents to my Career Pivot blog and Repurpose Your Career survey.
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This episode is sponsored by Career Pivot. Check out the Career Pivot Community. Make sure and pick up my latest book, Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life Third Edition.
Now on to the podcast…
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad means working remotely primarily for yourself. This allows you to work wherever you want. Marc is primarily speaking about working remotely outside of the U.S. However, the tips and tools he shares will also apply to those working within the states as well.
Here are some things you will need to have or know to be a Digital Nomad:
- You will need to keep a U.S. physical mailing address. The biggest reason will be for your bank and credit card companies. They will require you to keep a U.S. mailing address.
- A U.S. telephone number and a U.S. billing address.
- Physical Mail – learning to handle physical mail that you will receive.
If you are doing your digital work in the U.S., Marc suggests becoming a resident of South Dakota. He states that becoming a resident is easy and they have many services available that could be helpful to working remotely.
Many services will give you a P.O. Box to use for mailing. You can also use family or friends to get your mail. Keep in mind that where you use your mailing address you will be paying that state’s income taxes. South Dakota does not have an income tax.
Financials of a Digital Nomad
Financials will be another topic to pay attention to when working remotely. If you are out of the U.S. it is recommended that you get a bank account in whatever country or place you are doing the majority of your work. There are a few services that will help with moving money around accounts.
- Remit.ly – using this site you can pay directly to a debit card.
- Wise – you can transfer money from a U.S. account to a bank account wherever you are located
- Xoom – a division of Paypal that lets you transfer money across borders.
Outside of the U.S. you also face exchange rates. On an ATM card, the exchange rates will not be good because you are getting a business-to-consumer rate.
Using the above services gives you a business-to-business rate. If you want to bypass going to ATMs to figure out what the exchange rates are you can use Charles Schwab International Money Market Account. They will give you a reasonable exchange rate and will refund all your ATM fees.
Time Zones will become a big issue. It is important to pay attention to your time zones and your calendar. Daylight savings isn’t followed by every state or country and some have different rules for following. Marc uses Schedule Once to help keep him organized and aware of the times.
Internet might be a complication when not living in the U.S. Marc recommends having a few plans or options for the internet. To get fast internet that works well enough you will have to go through multiple lines or connections. You will also need to get used to using a VPN or virtual private network.
Using a VPN will allow you to access certain sites and networks. For example, you will need a VPN to access several online banking sites. A VPN will also allow you to stream sites and videos such as Netflix or Hulu. Marc’s last recommendation is to use Dropbox or Google Drive. He uses this to keep all of his important legal documents. This is necessary especially being outside of the U.S. and needing access to all of your information.
Your last obstacle will be traveling and getting back to the U.S. Marc suggests always having a plan on how you will travel in an emergency. Making sure you are prepared for whatever those travel arrangements may look like.
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