So you have decided to become a Digital Nomad and to go full-time location independent with your work. Here is the checklist to follow.
1 – Set Goals. Know where you’re trying to get to, in detail – income, places you want to visit, experiences you want to have, what difference you want to make in the world. Have a vision.
2 – Join A Community. Your friends and family won’t understand what you’re doing. Join digital nomad Facebook groups and forums for support and community from like-minded people.
3 – Assess Skills. Look at what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what people will pay for. Where’s the overlap?
4 – Brainstorm Ideas. Create a list of potential services and/or products based on your skills, experience, and passions.
5 – Niche Down. Often your early ideas will be too broad and competitive – focus instead on a small, passionate niche market which you can dominate.
6 – Narrow Ideas. Is there a sub-niche within your niche market that isn’t being served by the existing competition? Can you fill the gap?
7 – Create Your Avatar. Don’t try to sell to everyone. Create a profile of your ideal customer. What’s their name? How much do they earn? Are they single? What are their most burning pains? What are their dreams?
8 – Start Market Testing. How do you know if your potential customers want your product? Ask them. Talk to people who fit your avatar profile closely and ask them what they want.
9 – Kill Your Darlings. Is that “perfect business idea” you’ve been dreaming about for years not standing up under real-world conditions? Be ruthless. Drop it. Don’t over-invest in doomed ideas.
10 – Test More. Talk to more of your ideal customers on forums. Start running ad tests on Facebook. Get an idea of the messages your customers respond to. (This is all before you build your product).
11 – Refine Your Idea. Use the intelligence you’ve gathered to mould your product or service to exactly what your target customer needs to solve a burning problem. This will massively increase your chances of success.
12 – Choose a Name. It’s important that you leave this until you’ve completed the above steps. That’s because your name and website domain name should be chosen after you know exactly who you’re selling to so it resonates with them.
13 – Create Your Minimum Viable Product. What’s the simplest version of your product/service that someone will pay for? Create that first. Your idea is not verified 100% until someone pays for it.
14 – Get Your First Sale. If you’re a freelancer or service provider, pitch your offer to a real-world potential customer. Keep pitching until you close a deal. If you have a product, sell your first “minimum viable product” version.
15 – Do Great Work. Overdeliver on what you sell – it should not only meet customer expectations, it should exceed them.
16 – Get a Testimonial. Your first customers should be thrilled with your quality – use their words for your future marketing. Nothing builds credibility faster.
17 – Leverage Early Successes. Prime the word-of-mouth pump. Deliver something remarkable and your customers will talk about it – to more of your ideal customers.
18 – Build a Website. Depending on your product you may do this before some of the above steps, but at this point, you want to start systematizing this process as much as possible – don’t do in person what your website can do for you. It attracts leads, builds relationships and converts new customers for you while you sleep.
19 – Write Great Copy. The success of your marketing efforts will hinge largely on your ability to persuade through words. As a digital nomad, you won’t have the luxury of persuading face to face. Your words must carry power. Learning materials: Write to Sell, Andy Maslen.
20 – Learn Sales. Nothing sleazy, nothing manipulative. Your product is the best. How can you show your potential customers that’s true? How can you help them make the right decision? How can you help them avoid the mistake of buying from a competitor?
21 – Make a Video. Remember: if you’re selling online, you don’t get to make a connection in person. Video is the next best thing. Let your customers experience who you are.
22 – Track Results Religiously. Set up analytics on everything you do. Never runs ads without conversion tracking. Pay careful attention to what’s working and what’s not.
23 – Find What Works and Concentrate Your Forces. If one marketing method doesn’t work well, cut it. Focus your resources on whatever works best. Move to secondary methods once your most effective channel is running at optimal performance.
24 – Scale Your Marketing. Do you know it costs you $5 to make $10 profit at this stage? Great. Buy as many of those $5 customers as you can possibly find.
25 – Start an Email List. Most customers will not buy from you right away. Start a relationship, deliver value to their inbox on a regular basis, and your conversion rates will skyrocket.
26 – Hire a Virtual Assistant. Don’t spend your time on $10/hour tasks if your time is worth $100/hour. Track productivity carefully and outsource every low value task you can to free up time.
27 – Manage Customer Expectations. If you’re going to be working on the road, there’s little point in chasing clients who expect a weekly face to face visit.
28 – Build an Inbound Lead Generation System. At the beginning most of your sales may come from outbound “hustling,” but the sooner you get all your business coming to you, the better. Advertising, blog traffic, social shares – build a comprehensive system to let your customers find you on their own.
29 – Create Remarkable Free Content. No one will spread positive word-of-mouth about an average product. Likewise, no one shares average content – put out amazing free content and your fans will do your marketing for you.
30 – Build Marketing Into Your Products. Are you putting good words in your customers’ mouths? Is it easy for them to tell their friends about an awesome feature of your product? Give them reasons to rave. Build it in.
31 – Facilitate Word of Mouth. You can’t bribe customers to talk positively about bad products, but you can incentivize them to become evangelists for a great product. Offer incentives to your customer base to spread the word.
32 – Keep Getting Better. There will be no resting on your laurels. Business is a competition. If you stay still, you’ll get eaten. Keep making your products better. Constant improvement. It’s never finished.
33 – Establish a Cash Surplus. In theory, you may be able to travel Asia with a $500/month income, but scraping by and being desperate for sales on the road ruins the fun.
34 – Get Your Finances Right. The rules of personal finance apply anywhere. Spend less than you earn and avoid credit cards like the plague. The road is much more enjoyable when you are saving money on the way.
35 – Go Minimal. Life on the road is not for hoarders. Do a realistic assessment of the items you need and use the most. Give everything else away. No room for clutter.
36 – Optimize Traffic. Learn basic search engine optimization and keyword research to ensure you’re being found on Google by potential customers.
37 – Optimize Conversion Rates. Tweak and test website changes to get more visitors to become leads and customers. Don’t make assumptions – track everything and listen to the data.
38 – Automate Marketing Strategy. Start removing yourself from every step of the lead generation process. Between ads, organic traffic, free giveaways, videos and email marketing, your leads should love you without ever talking to you in person.
39 – Automate Sales. Learn why customers buy from you. Learn why others don’t. Work out all the objections. Build it all into your automatic communications.
40 – Automate Product/Service Delivery. Remove yourself from the process of delivering what you sell. No order processing or shipment should be done by you manually. Build a system for everything.
41 – Automate Customer Service. Use apps wherever possible to help clients solve common issues. Create a comprehensive FAQ and help archive. Outsource anything that requires a personal human touch.
42 – Get the Right Gear. Make sure you’re equipped for work on the road – lightweight laptop, charger adapters, mobile WiFi, suitable luggage or backpack, and any other business-specific gear you need such as an HD camera for video.
43 – Choose the Right Locations. You can work from anywhere, but not all “anywheres” are equal. Use Nomadlist.com to assess key location factors to ensure you’ll be able to work effectively in any new destination.
44 – Prepare for Mishaps. Things will go wrong. Your gear will get broken or stolen. You’ll miss a train which leads to missing an important call with a client. Be prepared and learn from problems so you can build redundancy into your systems to avoid repeating mistakes.
45 – Adjust Your Travel Style. The way you travel while maintaining an income will be different from how you travel with zero responsibilities.
46 – Productize Your Services. Can you take a freelancing or service-based business and turn it into a product, like a how-to course? This will give you leverage and reduce dependence on one-to-one, high-contact-frequency clients.
47 – Build Recurring Income Streams. This is the key to long term sustainability for a location independent business. Sooner or later, you will get tired of “hustling” for new clients. Offer a monthly subscription service or product so you have a reliable income stream you can bank on every month.
48 – Reinvest. Don’t spend all your cash the minute you get it. Remember: create a cash surplus. Save. Then use part of your savings to grow new income streams (or increase your first one). Don’t rest on your laurels. Always be moving and growing. Keep swimming.
49 – Optimize Lifetime Customer Value. After a certain point, you can make a lot more money by focusing on selling new products to your existing customers, rather than chasing new ones. Find out what else your existing happy customers want from you, then give it to them.
50 – Build Partnerships and Affiliates. Quality over quantity here. Form strategic partnerships with people who have followers who will want what you’re selling. Reward them with excellent commissions and they will sell your stuff for you forever.
51 – Manage Relationships. It’s extremely important that you don’t let the quality of the experience your customers have changed when you’re on the road. Location independence is not a permanent holiday – the experience should be seamless for clients regardless of whether you’re next door or half a world away.