11th June, 2019

What is the Salary of a Digital Nomad?

Well, how long is a piece of string? It’s almost impossible to lock in a salary range for what digital nomads can earn in a given time. Invariably, it will always come down to what skill is on offer and how hard you work.

Some suggest that you only need to make enough to sustain the travel experience, whilst others will say that it’s a full time job that requires meticulous discipline and a heap of billable work hours. It all depends on how your goals as a digital nomad are weighted.

Given that it’s difficult to put a realistic figure on the earning potential of whatever kind of skill you possess, it’s best to give a few different financial aims that digital nomads will shoot for.

Increase total savings every month

A good way for those looking to measure their financial success as a digital nomad is to set a monthly savings goal. This could by measured as a percentile of total savings. For example if you were aiming for a 10% increase in savings per month in your projections, you would ensure that you are always stockpiling money.

To break this down further in the 10% scenario, if at the start of month one you have $5,000, by the end of the month you would be aiming to have $5,500 in your savings account. This is independent of cash flow required to indulge in all the wonders that travelling provides.

Another less ambitious example could be at 2% per month. I.e. if the savings were at $5,000 at the start of the month, then they should aim to be at $5,100. This example relates closer to an alternative strategy.

To precisely sustain the experience

This is a more common one amongst digital nomads. There is a feeling of ‘winning‘ without sacrifice. This strategy involves income earned whilst location independent equalling EXACTLY that of expenditure.

For example, you have $5,000 in rainy day savings before you leave, and then you only live off precisely what you earn to sustain the experience.

The thought here is that you are not sacrificing so much time trying to earn and save money, and can concentrate more on the living and lifestyle side of things. Of course this strategy is only recommended to those who are disciplined enough to enforce a balanceand good budget. Otherwise you will fall into the next bracket

Run at a loss

Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good. You are running a business and your books are showing that it is haemorrhaging money, and at a rate of knots! This is the worst outcome for your digital nomad experience.

It might be ok to cop this result one or two months in a row, however if it is the consistent outcome, you need to take a look at whether you are working hard enough, or whether you are merely turning into an everyday holiday maker.

The Enterprise digital nomad

Finally, it is only fitting to include a final category – the Enterprise.

This is the professional who is extremely focused on creating a very lucrative business. Often utilising the benefits of geographic arbitrage, this nomad works very, very hard.

Only big profits will satisfy, and often if the profits aren’t gradually increasing each and every month, the Enterprise nomad will view their venture as a failure.

An obvious drawback of this approach is often the decline in lifestyle. Working twelve hour days, seven days a week is not one of the underlying attributes of an aspiring digital nomad. However, if you find that work is going well and there is money to be made, it’s hard to say no, no matter how damn beautiful that tropical island in the distance looks!


Prepared by Work Play Nomad


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