Habits of a Digital Nomad Entrepreneur: Earn while Traveling

by | May 6, 2024 | 6 comments

There are many ways to earn while traveling. However, in my experience, becoming a location-independent business owner is one of the most rewarding and purpose-aligned roads to freedom and financial success. While the term digital nomad has been around for a few decades, we’re just recently beginning to lean into the phenomenon of Digital Nomad Entrepreneurship. Fascinating!

In my years of entrepreneurship and travel, I’ve seen a stark shift. During COVID-19, we saw a lot of people trying to freelance their way through full-time travel, taking odd jobs online and in the countries they were in. Now, a certain seriousness is emerging, the good kind. Digital nomads are becoming more intentional about their lifestyle, and that includes their income streams and, in turn, their business strategy model.

Of course, online businesses have been around for a while, and so have digital nomads. What’s new is this beautiful combination of location-independence, online entrepreneurs, and purpose-alignment. It’s the era of digital nomad entrepreneurs.

As traveling entrepreneurs, our online business strategy will have different needs and meet different goals than that of more traditional entrepreneurs. When we set out to earn while traveling and to do so entirely on our terms, our entrepreneurial activities must be anchored deeply within our lifestyle goals. Simultaneously, they must be supportive of our income goals. 

I’ve found that the activities below are the first step in creating an online business strategy. On top of that, they help me keep my eyes on the goal: location independence, purpose-alignment, income growth. 

If this describes your goals as well, read on, and let’s all earn life-changing money while traveling.

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Defining the Digital Nomad Entrepreneur

One might argue that anyone who earns while traveling is a digital nomad entrepreneur. Of course, there’s a certain rebellious mindset both to the personality of a nomad and the characteristics of an entrepreneur. 

Both defy the old and forge the new. That being said, I’d like to distinguish between someone who earns while traveling as a freelancer or employee versus as an entrepreneur.

The former, generally speaking, cannot determine their working hours entirely on their own. They might be subject to budget cuts and corporate guidelines, and may not be writing their own contracts.

Whether full-time, part-time, or project-specific, there’s a boss on the other end. Digital Nomad Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are their own boss, writing their own contracts, and setting their rates and working hours.

Two habits to reliably earn while traveling

Apart from learning to managing your money as a nomad, another big element in earning money while traveling as an entrepreneur is, of course, mindset. While digital nomads are regularly subject to judgments of being lazy, flaky, and whimsical, entrepreneurs truly aren’t. In fact, they can’t afford to be. 

The same is true for digital nomad entrepreneurs. While promises of lounging by the beach on a Wednesday and building an empire a la 4-hours-work-week might be appealing, they are not realistic.

First and foremost, to earn and grow your income reliably, you’ve got to rely on yourself 100%. And that starts with your habits. These determine how you relate to your business, and how you grow your business.

Generally speaking, I’ve found all successful digital nomad entrepreneurs to be clear on these two things, more than any entrepreneur I’ve witnessed or coached:

  1. Clear prioritization of their daily action steps, following a diligently defined annual and project plan.
  2. deep connection to their purpose, their definition of success, and freedom and willingness to create a business growth plan that supports that.

Read also:

My No. 1 Productivity Hack for Digital Nomads

Digital Nomad Money Management and Mindset for Entrepreneurs

Common mistakes of Digital Nomad Entrepreneurs

Let’s go ahead and name the pitfalls of traveling online entrepreneurs that commonly prevent people from earning while traveling. If these mistakes are left un-noticed, failure is imminent and the dream of location-independence might not be attainable. The good news is, so much of this is in your power:

Starting to travel before earning stable income

In all seriousness, traveling and building a business is not for the faint of heart. The business, in its infancy, is unstable, and unreliable, and you’re having to constantly shift and adapt. So is traveling. 

While, ultimately, your travels can enhance your business strategy, and your business can help you experience traveling more intentionally, this is not the case in the beginning. You don’t want to be stressing about your income while also figuring out accommodation and visas.

Give yourself some grace, and be in one location until you’ve figured out how to earn while traveling as a nomad. Make sure you’re in a location from which you can handle all the administrative requirements, and give yourself a deadline for when you’ll start traveling. 

Alternatively, if you’re already on the road, slow down your travels if you need to. Find a country where you can stay for 3 to 6 months to focus on growing your income.

Lack of prioritization

While this is true for just about anyone who’s not living off of a trust fund, learning how to prioritize is an especially potent skill set to learn for digital nomad entrepreneurs. Both due to the nature of the lifestyle and, likely, your own intentions, you’ll not be working 70 hours a week. Or 40. Additionally, constantly shifting environments will throw your workflow for a spin.

For these reasons, it’s crucial to prioritize your projects and daily activities around one or two big goals. Beyond that, I highly recommend creating a list of alllll the activities you’ve put on your plate when you started your business, and assessing which ones bring the biggest bang for your buck, which ones you can eliminate or combine, and which ones you can outsource. 

Personally, I prioritize around (1) health, (2) purpose-alignment, and (3) revenue-driving activities.

Not setting clear working hours

This goes hand in hand with the previous mistake. Yes, you can work whenever you want. But you can’t just work whenever. 

Creating a schedule that is conducive both to your lifestyle needs/desires and to your business growth is a game changer. Decide ahead of time which days you’ll work on, when you’ll take client calls, when you do your admin, when you have your learning and growth days, and when you’ll finish work.

Pro Tip: Work your travel days into your schedule and your project plan! 

With the freedom of when and where you work, getting clear on when and where you work is a key characteristic of any successful digital nomad entrepreneur.

Trying to do it all alone

Been there, done that. Didn’t work. At any one time, you’re either trading in your money or your time for growth and expertise. 

Sometimes, you may not have the money to hire out or buy a course. In that case, I still encourage you to join Facebook groups, attend free conferences, ask questions in online forums, and call up your mentors.

As soon as you can set aside some money, I highly recommend purchasing coaching, and courses, and joining masterminds. Granted you find coaches and mentors that sell coaching ethically, doing so before you feel totally comfortable with it will expedite your growth and earning potential drastically.

If you’re curious about working with me as your coach, you can check out how I work and schedule a free session here.

Work with me.

Finally, I do want to remind you that some support doesn’t even come in the form of mentors or courses, but from within. As you strategize how to earn while traveling, don’t forget to listen to your intuition, call on support in your meditations, or tune into that strange sensation in your gut by journaling for an hour.

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Re-connect to your Purpose to earn more while traveling

Well, that’s a big subject line, isn’t it? And yet, finding or living ‘on-purpose’, I’ve found, is a common and powerful intention many digital nomad entrepreneurs are driven by. This sense of creating something bigger than themselves. This desire to ‘find’ your purpose.

I get it. I once paid a dear mentor of mine a big sum of money to help me find mine. A truly great investment.

Here’s what he said to me: Purpose is a revelation. We all have a purpose. And we find it by following our joy, by tapping into love, and by noticing patterns in our lives through which purpose reveals itself to us.

Based on years of working with founders on aligning their business strategies with what feels on-purpose to them, I’ve creating this free workbook to help you align your purpose with your business goals. You can download it right-away before reading on.

online business growth strategies

Nurture and Expand your Community

In life, especially in business, community is your currency. And this goes beyond ‘who you know’. I’m talking about creating a real community that you can lean on and a real community that wants to buy from you. 

The former refers to creating a business community and a few mentors that you can rely on when the tide gets rough. The latter refers to creating a community that knows, trusts, and likes you so much, that they buy from you regularly and refer you.

Join Digital Nomad communities

The entrepreneur’s road can be lonely. So can that of a nomad. Unless you’re being intentional about it. I know I’ve locked myself away at my airbnb before, thinking more work without distractions will get me to the next milestone faster. Hardly ever been the case.

Instead, I highly recommend joining both in-person and virtual communities of people who live a similar lifestyle. For the specific sake of growing a business while traveling, I’ve found it hard to be around either backpackers/freelancers or temporary travelers. It’s simply a different mindset.

Becoming intentional about the communities that you regularly tend to and sincerely contribute to adds a great deal of inspiration, useful guidance, and amazing colleagues to your life as a digital nomad entrepreneur.

MeetUps, Eventbrite, co-working spaces, and Facebook groups are a great starting point. Usually, remembering to ask this ONE person you know for an introduction or a recommendation can make all the difference.

Attend networking events

This is important both for creating your business community of peers and creating your own business’ community of clients. However big an online business you may have, don’t underestimate the power of meeting someone in person.

For example, most of my private coaching clients find me through networking events, referrals, or conferences that I attend in person. And it makes sense: private coaching requires the establishment of an intimate connection, first.

When researching networking events, or simply events, ask yourself where your business colleagues would be, and where your ideal client would hang out. Work it into your schedule to attend both kinds of events regularly.

Create your own Virtual Community

The above being said the connections we make on the road can be fleeting, unfortunately. The best medicine against that is to be hyper-intentional about creating and nurturing virtual communities of your own.

This could look like running a dedicated but informal business mastermind that you personally invite new connections into. The point of this could be collegial support, exchange of conferences, and accountability. 

For your larger community, you have a variety of things I’ll mention here: your social media presence should invite conversations with you and amongst your followers. You could facilitate monthly AMAs (ask me anything) either on Zoom or on Instagram Live. You could create a free Facebook group or a premium Slack community membership. Get creative here. 

To sum this up, I’d encourage you to create the communities you wish existed yourself. Think of this as a long-term strategy to build lifetime connections with colleagues and establish a meaningful rapport with an ever-growing community of followers, readers, and clients.

Seek Spiritual and Professional Growth and Experiences

Something I tell my entrepreneur clients is that founding a business is a deeply cathartic experience and that their business, inevitably, becomes a mirror of your soul. It’s a trip!

If you’re reading this, you’re definitely not in the game to simply make money (but you do want to make loads of it). You’re in the game for the pursuit of freedom, impact, location independence, and yes income. You want to earn while traveling in an authentic way. 

Seeking experiences that help you grow spiritually and professionally can help make this road of entrepreneurship not only smoother but feel more alive.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying that seeking spiritual and professional growth opportunities is a must for a digital nomad entrepreneur. That is, it’s a must if you hope to earn while traveling through authentic business strategies.

Lean into your spiritual connections

Whether it’s a prayer, meditation, kirtan, or another form of religious or spiritual seeking, to me, it’s a part of business growth. As mentioned before, establishing and deepening your spiritual connection internally and externally can bring about wisdom and guidance for your business.

I can’t tell you how to do this, as it’s personal to everyone. However, traveling itself is an excellent way to find deeper, more authentic, or simply new ways to connect to your soul.

I’ve found non-dual Kashmir Shaivism to be a great source of wisdom for myself, as well as Pranic healing, meditation, and various philosophers.

Leaning into your spiritual connections can help you earn more while traveling in a more reliable, more authentic, and more purpose-aligned way.

To dive deeper into this, read also:

Nurture your business strengths

This almost goes without saying, but as a digital nomad entrepreneur, there are a lot of new skills to learn. Likewise, there are lots of mindset shifts required to expand your capacity for a higher income, a greater impact, and the general ups and downs of business.

It’s time to get clear on your strengths and weaknesses and nurture both. This might happen through the good old YouTube University, by purchasing a course, or in a few cases, by outsourcing.

Something I help my clients do is to get super clear on their zone of genius (a term coined by Gay Hendricks) and design a business structure around that. However, this doesn’t absolve you from growing your mindset, strengthening your communication skills, and learning how to sell ethically.

Engage a mentor or coach who earns while traveling

Now, a coach doesn’t need to know your industry or lifestyle inside out. This is because great coaching is holistic, integrative, and addresses the entire human. My personal philosophy is based on a teaching of the University of Santa Monica: “How we relate to one thing is how we relate to everything.”

That being said, I’ve found incredible value in being able to lean on someone who gets, respects, and appreciates the lifestyle of a digital nomad entrepreneur. 

While the lifestyle is fairly new, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: There are resources and mentors who can help you set up your business structure legally, there are coaches like me who specialize in supporting clients to create a freedom-based business, and there are courses dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs that take ‘innovation’ to a whole new level.

Beyond, I’ll repeat that the sooner you humbly hire support, the faster your income will grow, the more deeply aligned your business will feel, and the greater your sense of impact, joy, and freedom can grow. Don’t put this off. YOU are too important.

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Hi! I'm Dina

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6 Comments

  1. Megan

    This is so helpful, It feels as if alot of people in the community gate keep information, thank you ☺️

    Reply
    • Dina-Marie Weineck

      I know right? It’s so important for me to share this information and spread it so that people can feel self-empowered to create the life they desire.

      Reply
  2. Lucia

    I started my online digital nomad lifestyle during covid and wish I had started earlier without overthinking it. I love the tips you gave, would you have any digital nomad virtual communities that you would recommend to join?

    Reply
    • Dina-Marie Weineck

      I know what you mean! I started my business during that time and took the first flight out the first day possible! Happy to hear that you took the plunge. Frankly, I don’t have any I can recommend but I am working on launching one of my own. Happy to let you know when it’s open and would love to have you. (If you want to be sure to hear about it, sign up for my newsletter)

      Reply
  3. Amanda

    This was such a fabulous article, I read and hung on every word. As a founder and entrepreneur, I appreciated so many of your thoughts here. I’ve saved this to refer to in the future. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Dina-Marie Weineck

      It sounds like you’re leading your life and business from a place of deep and loving commitment. I see you, and I acknowledge you for seeking out information to support yourself with. Honored to know that what was shared in this article was valuable to you – I’d love to know what stood out to you the most? (Feel free to reply or email me privately) <3

      Reply

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