5 Top Tips to Becoming a Digital Nomad - TEFL Style

Digital nomad: A person who has the freedom to work from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection.

A lot of us have that dream, don’t we? The dream where we can travel the world and go on plenty of adventures and have the money to do so. Yet, many of us only dream this at our 9-5 jobs, only to go home to scroll through social media.

When we do, we see influencers all over these platforms living in places like Dubai and Bali who seem to be making money from simply breathing. How do they make money to live in these countries and live out their dreams and adventures?

Well, the answer is quite simple; they make money through social media and travel while they do it. Think about it, if you’re creating money online, all you need is your phone or a laptop, and you can pack them in your hand luggage on a plane.

There are also different jobs that people are doing to make money while working online, and these jobs do not include gaining a ton of followers. Examples of jobs people are doing online include graphic design, copywriting, coding, and teaching English as a foreign language.

The term for this type of lifestyle is ‘digital nomad’, and these people have skills they can transfer from an office job to working remotely online.

How to become a TEFL digital nomad 

1. Get TEFL qualified
The first step to becoming a digital nomad is to get TEFL qualified. For anyone who doesn’t know what TEFL is, it stands for Teaching English as Foreign Language. It’s a certification that qualifies you to teach English to students either online or abroad. 

There are plenty of TEFL course providers out there and different types of qualifications, so it’s important to do your research. Good TEFL courses cost money, so avoid going for $20 courses on sites like Groupon. When you do your research, you’ll see an endless number of different TEFL courses, but most companies’ minimum requirement is at least a 120 Hour TEFL Course

2. Look into specialist courses

You now have your main TEFL course, but did you know you can specialize in areas that interest you? Ask yourself, at this stage, who would I like to teach? Would you like to teach adults or young learners, or even students who will be undertaking English exams? The list is endless for a digital nomad, so start planning on who and what you would like to teach. 

Write a list of your strengths and weaknesses and see where you excel. If you like children and think it would be a very fulfilling career, aim for a specialist course for teaching young learners. If you want a practical and learning-focused classroom, teaching adults would be more fulfilling for you. 

If you want to become a TEFL digital nomad, the 30 Hour Teaching English Online Course will give you all the tips and tricks on how to teach English online. Also, many companies look for at least some hours of teaching practice, so also try to take part in the 10 Hour Virtual Course

3. Start building up clients
You may not be on the road yet, but once you’re qualified and ready to teach, start teaching! Look into companies that are hiring online and apply. Get all the teaching practice you can get to begin your TEFL digital nomad lifestyle. 

Besides working for a company, you could also try freelancing for different companies or offering your services on freelancer sites like Fiverr. They have a ton of freelance TEFL teachers who are offering their services!

4. Start saving

As always, when you’re going to travel, start saving your money! As a digital nomad, you will probably be travelling slowly, staying in one place for a few months, and then moving onto the next place. You want to have savings put away for travel costs, housing and living costs, equipment, etc. to get set up. This is another reason why you should do the above step first. Besides getting teaching practice in, you would also earn money and save for your new digital nomad lifestyle. 

5. Do your research
One of the biggest questions that all digital nomads must keep in mind is, where is the internet? As much as we like the thought of working on the beach all day in the sun, there might not be an internet connection. Start looking up co-working spaces, internet cafes, and Airbnb homes with a good internet connection, etc. There are plenty of ways to find the internet, even if it means you overdrink coffee and sit in a Starbucks using their public internet for the first week of living in your new country.

Of course, also do your research on how you will have to pay taxes and to whom, and if there are any additional costs to working freelance, etc. Also, research the country you will live in and check for visas and what the requirements are for living there.

Making your TEFL digital nomad dream a reality 

We may be in a global pandemic and, depending on where in the world you are, there could be lockdowns or restrictions. So, it may seem impossible to get on the road anytime soon to begin your new digital nomad lifestyle. But this is a completely possible dream – travel will resume!

While we’re going through this pandemic, use the time as an opportunity to become a TEFL-qualified teacher and get your specialist courses completed. It’s also the perfect time to start saving and carry out research, so you begin your digital nomad life on the right foot.

If you are feeling unmotivated to get started, write up a bucket list to motivate yourself. Don’t forget that although we cannot go anywhere now, there is still a demand for TEFL teachers online. This allows you to get your teaching practice in. 

So, there you have it! Follow these steps to becoming a digital nomad to begin living the lifestyle you want. 

Don’t forget, all the courses you need, including the specialist courses, are available from the TEFL Institute – find out more.

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