Traveling the world is a pretty common dream, but certain jobs make it easier than other. And not just easier to take a vacation—but easier to spend weeks, months, or even years living overseas. Becoming a digital nomad—someone who travels the world, but works while they do it—is becoming a more and more common goal for copywriters.
But making it work isn’t quite as simple as packing up your computer and hopping on a plane. Today, we’re going to talk about important tips to help make sure you can make it work.
There are a lot of terrific things about being a copywriter—fulfilling work, a creative outlet, a great income—but one of the best is that copywriting can be very flexible. Many people don’t have the kind of career that lets them work from home, much less work overseas. Sure, you can work on staff or at an agency, but you can also do it as a freelancer or contractor.
Freelancing offers you the most flexibility. You can decide what hours you want to work, and from where you want to work. Which means, of course, you could choose to work from a brownstone in Brooklyn or a hut on the beach in Bali.
Recently, the Filthy Rich Writer team experimented with spending a few months working remotely. While I loved living in Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, it wasn’t just like working in Boston.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of living and working overseas, no matter where you choose to work.
Psst: Wondering about my travel essentials? Check out all my must-pack items right here >>
1. Line Up as Much Work as Possible in Advance
This may seem obvious, but bear with me. It’s always more easy to find work when you’re willing to periodically go into a client’s office. Not being able to do that is going to naturally limit your pool of potential clients. You also need to line up as much work in advance before your trip for the same reason: Some people may be comfortable with you working remotely—but they want to work with you first.
2. Be Honest with Your Clients
If a client asks where you are or whether you can meet with them, it might be tempting to tell them a little white lie. But that’s never how you should work with your clients and, as long as you make it clear that you’re working a normal schedule and you’re still just as available to do work, you should tell them that you’re working remotely. That said, though, there’s no need to volunteer the information unless it will affect how you work with your clients.
3. Stay Somewhere That Offers Some Privacy …
Whether you choose to book hotels, home rentals, or one of those coliving/coworking spaces, you need to make sure you have some space that offers quiet and privacy. You can’t take calls—or write great copy—if you have lots of noise in the background.
When you’re looking at reviews for hotels and Airbnbs, make sure that “quiet” is one of the attributes in reviews. There’s nothing worse than trying to sit down to work and having to deal with screaming tourists outside or, on the other hand, trying to sleep in anticipation of dealing with a long upcoming day of work and dealing with the bumping nightclub downstairs. (Been there.)
4. … And Reliable WiFi
Working on the beach sounds nice, but bear in mind that that beach had better have a strong and reliable WiFi signal. You need to be available at all times, and you can’t blame missing conference calls or missing deadlines on the lack of internet access.
Even the swankiest Airbnbs may have less reliable WiFi than advertised. Make sure you have backup plans, including the route to the nearest cafe with WiFi and your own portable WiFi device.
5. Ensure You Have Access to Friends
Whether you’re traveling alone or with someone, you still need more friend outlets. Hostels and coworking/coliving places can be great places to meet people, but they aren’t everyone’s style. If you’re going to be overseas for a while, spread the word to family and friends and invite them to visit you.
They’ll need to understand that you’ll have to spend some parts of every day, but having friends in town will help you avoid homesickness and feeling like you’re so separate from the people you love. Even if friends or family can’t visit you, make time for phone calls at least a few times a week.
You can also look for digital nomad communities in your area. Look to Facebook groups, co-working spaces, or Meetup.com.
6. Dedicate Time to Work
If you’re traveling on your own, this isn’t too different from being at home. But if you’re traveling with friends or your significant other, it can be harder for them to understand that you need 4 hours (or more) a day to actually do the work that allows you to take the trip. Be sure to lay out your expectations and needs ahead of time, and also, especially on days when you’re traveling from one city to another, schedule out your work hours in advance.
7. Use Time Zones to Your Advantage
Most freelance work requires a meeting or two with your client…but if you’re in Caracas, it’s hard to get to Chicago for an 1:30 meeting on Tuesday.
If your clients are all in the US and you’re in Europe, you can spend your days playing tourist and dedicate nights to copywriting work. Or maybe you wake up a bit earlier to get in a few hours before wrapping up work later at night. Remember, you set your schedule so take advantage of the flexibility of copywriting!
There are plenty of other things to think about when considering working overseas, but these are logistics you’ve got to nail down—well before you leave.
Watch More: How to Be a Digital Nomad Copywriter
You don’t have to pack up all your belongings, put them into storage, and sell your home to be a digital nomad. (Though you can, absolutely, do that if you choose!) There are so many ways you can take advantage of the flexibility of copywriting, even if you’re spending a weekend away to work on your business, taking your laptop to a nearby hotel lobby, or, yes, working remotely for two months from Italy.
Nicki and Kate dig into what you need to know to successfully take advantage of copywriting’s location flexibility.
Your turn! If you’ve worked as a digital nomad, what are your best tips? If you haven’t, what are your questions or concerns about the lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on July 4, 2023