Howdy! I’m Walter and I’m a newcomer to the digital nomad lifestyle, but I can tell you from my experience that it’s been my best move so far! I’m a former sales coach, sales manager, sales team leader and a top salesman who has completely transitioned over to freelancing which you can read more about from my marketing blog at Seonomad.co.
1. How and why did you choose to go nomadic?
Oh boy! It was by a complete accident! I had been burned out from my office work, but just as an opportunity arrived to actually be promoted to a top level management position I had accidentally seen a job offer in a random Facebook nomad group that offered a marketing apprentice position with small compensation. The salary wasn’t tempting, but the idea of working remotely in paradise, with other like-minded people… I was instantly sold! I booked my tickets right away and told the corporate world to piss off! Hehe not literally, but I got out of Estonia ASAP.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately perhaps?) life had other plans for me. As I had arrived to Thailand I was notified that I was no longer needed as an apprentice, but due to my lengthy travel (3 hours on a boat, 22 hours on a plane and 14 hours on a bus) I found this out a little too late! So I had arrived to a foreign paradise with no income whatsoever!
I had only two options left… either start crying and quit now or fulfill my dreams and become a serious digital nomad myself! Bet you can guess which one I chose, and the rest is history!
2. What was it like leaving your home country?
Difficult, but extremely satisfying. I was overthinking this trip way too heavily. Planning trips out to the A is just not worth it, you will lose too many brain cells and miss out on a possibility to experience an awesome adventure.
But the moment when I arrived to Thailand… I can’t put it into words, but something inside me just struck that I’ve just made the best decision of my life!
3. What are your biggest struggles? Fears?
Definitely my own thoughts. It’s so easy to not start anything and stop in your own thoughts, imagine mental blocks and poor excuses.
Fear of not being able to make an income, fear of not being able to manage yourself physically. A lot of excuses and the more you think about it the worse it gets. At one point I was stressing way too much about minor details such as the food and the roads around here. Surely they are important, but you can’t experience a complete life when you’re worrying about everything!
4. How are you funding your lifestyle and what projects are you working on?
I had to figure out what I needed to do to make a living after I found out that I was unemployed and stuck in a foreign country with relatively little savings. But hard cold, common sense kicked in and I figured I should do what I was supposed to do as an apprentice here or do what I was paid for in my last office job. But this time, nobody would pay me, instead I would be my own boss, but still capitalize on the skills I’ve been used for.
All of my skills and knowledge are in the following areas: web development, graphic design, SEO, marketing, sales and coaching. I just filtered out what I LIKED the most. Just keep only my skills that I truly felt passionate about it. Narrowed it down as much as I could. I ended up with SEO, it’s weird, but unlike other people I’ve never learned to do SEO out of the need to rank my websites, instead I’ve had always learned it because it truly fascinates me. Just the thought of being able to manipulate a billion Google users to visit your link is just mind-blowing for me. It’s beyond instant riches, this is the modern sense of conquering the world. The digital world.
I started a blog to create some authority, give out a free SEO case study to prove my knowledge in this field and show results in advance. I joined Upwork and despite it’s really negative reputation I managed to find my first clients from there, but ever since that I’ve been getting clients just from networking! Just got to stay visible!
I have a secondary secret income, that is not much, but keeps me floating if I were to fail as a SEO — I’ve made my fair share of online courses on Skillshare, which is definitely a very underrated platform.
Right now I am working on creating a huge SEO course, writing 2 Amazon books — one SEO and the second about sales, also I’m working on a case study called “SEO Project: How to steal all the Christmas sales” which is going to be nothing short of the most amazing SEO project ever. But first of all, I do SEO freelance gigs and consult both clients and other freelancers. I also provide free SEO audits for anybody that wants some advice! I’m so glad to be involved in only things that I truly am passionate about!
5. What is the estimated monthly cost of living for one of your favorite locations? What lifestyle does that afford?
I’ve been here (Chiang Mai, Thailand) for so short a time, that I’ve just explored different hotels and hostels for short stays until I get an apartment deal that satisfies me. I’ve been selecting things based on how close they are to necessary things for me and whether they have a pool or not. Back in Estonia it was extremely rare to see pools, so I’ve spoiled myself completely with that. I’d say average monthly cost for accommodation is about 200$ for me, but I could work with half of that if I wasn’t spoiling myself.
Meals are a different theme, it really varies on days and events. But aside from pools I’m not much for posing and don’t care much about fancy restaurants. I’ve found that there are plenty by the corner side of options where family businesses deliver homely meals, which I’ve found to be very pleasing. Even for the atmosphere. These meals are usually around 3–4$.
All in all, you do get some unexpected costs such as traveling, bike rents, upgrade recording gear, repair existing equipment and such, but all in all, as a lone male digital nomad, I find that it’s absolutely possible to live here with 600$ per month and still enjoy most of what this beautiful place has to offer!
6. What is your top tip for someone who aspires to earn money online and travel?
Don’t overthink it. I can not believe how long I had dreamed of starting my digital nomad journey but I was mentally blocking myself thinking that the plane tickets are too expensive or the rent is too expensive or that I can’t travel alone or that I don’t want to network with new people or how I don’t even speak the local language, a million excuses.
Don’t overthink it.
For about earning money online? Sometimes it’s so ridiculous how the answers are in front of us, I had done SEO for one the companies where I was a sales manager at and therefor I knew I had the skill required to make money. Just list down what you’re better at than most people around you. Don’t overthink it. I don’t want to try to be too cliché, but: just take action.
Any final thoughts?
Enough of daydreaming! You can’t expect to live a phenomenal life without taking some risks.