Finding Jobs on LinkedIn – How to Do It Properly

Common sense dictates that finding jobs on LinkedIn should be easy. It’s a professional networking site, after all.

It therefore stands that getting a job through the platform should also be straightforward. Especially if you want to work from home or land your next, full-time remote job.

From personal experience, I can’t say that this is true. Emphasis on personal. Jobseekers get hired through the platform every day. Yet apart from the odd freelance contract or two, it hasn’t happened to me.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not…) I’ve come to realize that telecommute options seem to be even more scarce.

While I still haven’t managed to even land an interview, something clicked with me a while back. I realized that I and every other job seeker is sitting on a potential goldmine for new opportunities. What’s more, this has nothing to do with their job search feature.

linkedin job search engine
On that note, digital nomads and remote workers may appreciate that you can exclusively search for telecommute jobs in place of location. A step in the right direction, at least.

Those who do manage to meet recruiters, land interviews and get hired through the platform are doing it differently. They go beyond simply setting up a profile and connecting with everyone they know.

They’re taking LinkedIn more seriously… as a networking platform.

NOT as a job search engine. If anything, I’ve realized…

…as a “job board”, LinkedIn sucks.

Technically, the job search feature is fine. Like I pointed out, you can actually use it to find remote-friendly, work from home jobs. However, there just aren’t that many advertised. What’s more, most of what you do discover have already been posted elsewhere (Indeed, Stepstone, Monster and on remote job boards).

For the most part, I’ve found the search feature to be somewhat redundant. The job suggestions would be useful if the jobs suggested hadn’t already been posted somewhere else.

So, remember this: LinkedIn is not a job board. It is a social networking site for professionals. A place to gather new connections, expand your network and polish your personal brand.

Finding jobs on LinkedIn starts with your network

The word network cannot be emphasised enough.

Connecting with people you know (or don’t) is certainly part of it, but that’s really just the beginning. It’s just an introduction. Real networking happens by having conversations which further serve to develop relationships with your connections.

Part of networking lies in giving – doing things for other people without expecting something in return. Endorsing skills, suggesting people for jobs you know they’re be suited to, etc.

In turn, this could very well open you up to future possibilities. Someone may return those favors. Pay it forward, or backward… I don’t know, I didn’t watch the movie.

pay it forward movie
Not enough chainsaws

Building your network can start with the basics I previously mentioned: people you know. Friends, acquaintances, people from school, old work colleagues.

You probably already have a handful of connections. What comes next is growing your network.

This could very well mean getting out there and physically meeting people at industry-related events, meetups etc. The good thing about social media, however, is that there are many other ways to grow your network without actually leaving the house.

For the remote workers and digital nomads among us, this is especially important. Just as we can do our jobs from (almost) anywhere, so can we network from (almost) anywhere.

Take a look at the following points if you really want ideas on expanding your network. Bear in mind that these points are also great for increasing your own visibility (to employers and recruiters).

Seriously, get involved in online communities

If you’re a digital nomad, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not involved in at least one thriving digital nomad community. Even if nomading isn’t your thing, joining online forums and discussion groups related to your industry (or to remote working/networking) is a great place to exchange ideas, get inspiration and yes, maybe even land a job.

You can further use these communities to build up your LinkedIn connections. If you get on with someone, don’t be shy. Ask to connect. Offer to endorse a few skills. Remember, people like it when you have something to offer (it doesn’t even have to be big).

Join LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups serve the same purpose as online communities, except they’re all gathered on the site. There are tonnes of communities, too. Really take the time to research them, see how active they are and what content is being shared.

Note: You can of course connect with random strangers in your industry, hiring managers, recruiters etc. But should you? Personally, I don’t. I also don’t respond to random connections, unless they write a message explaining why.

Involve yourself in discussions

On both LinkedIn and elsewhere… but especially LinkedIn. Like, comment and share content that is relevant to your industry/working style and engage with people. This gives your profile more visibility and will show off your expertise and areas of knowledge. Which recruiters and hiring managers may pick up on.

Share your own content (if you have some)

Not just your blog content – but also a few well thought-out posts or even your own articles. You can use LinkedIn Pulse to publish or even repurpose articles from your blog(s). And no, as far as I’m aware there is no duplicate content penalty.

You don’t even have to post that frequently, you just have to be consistent (and yes, I am very much failing at consistency). This isn’t Twitter (which is actually why I prefer it… too noisy for my tastes).

Really give your profile some TLC

Fill it out as much as possible, highlight relevant skills, try and get people in your network to endorse those skills… and make sure you have an interesting profile biography. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should capture the attention of the right people.

You can also let recruiters know that you’re available. Don’t worry, though: the platform keeps this information from your current employer if you’re working.

How this has helped me (so far)

I stated earlier that I still haven’t gotten an interview through LinkedIn, even though I’m currently looking for a new job. I have certainly been getting interviews, but not here. Yet I have noticed that my chances have become higher because…

  • More people are looking at my profile (this is partially because of sending around 8 job applicants a week, I’ll admit).
  • People are liking and commenting on my articles/posts and reshares.
  • I am engaging more. I’ve been using online communities to discuss aspects of remote work and have already connected with quite a few people.
  • Recruiters are approaching me.

Basically, I can see the beginnings of it happening. Just this morning, a recruiter from a company in Berlin expressed interest in my profile. That may lead to an interview if I like the job specs.

If you’re an impatient person (like I am), all of this can seem very long-winded and not really worth the effort. However, times have changed and for the most part, “jobs for life” are no longer a thing. You’re probably going to spend a lot of your career looking for new opportunities.

Building up a good network will not only serve you to land your next position (remote or not) but could very well serve you with an excellent resource for the rest of your career.

So Little to Do, So Much Time – “Good” Stress, Time Management and Goals

We’ve all heard the tired phrase – So much to do, so little time!

Well, having so much time and so little to do is just as draining and unproductive. In recent months, I’ve felt a weird mixture of both and I don’t like it. Having plenty of time but very little to do bores me to no end – I sink into apathy and find it difficult to resurface.

On the flipside, having too many tasks and not enough hours means rushing through tasks. I stop paying proper attention and become sloppy.

That’s what I’ve experienced with most of my projects lately. Sloppiness. I’m pretty sure even this blog post could be better but right now I don’t really care.

My greatest task, however, has been tackling the monster that is JavaScript. I’m not talking about doing a few hours here and there. I’m not talking about “Oh, I’ll give it a try…” I mean that I’ve actually been learning how to program in f***ing JavaScript.

Only now, in the last few weeks, has the penny truly dropped in terms of actually understanding the logic behind it. Before this year, I never really tackled coding proper (though I am a whizz at HTML & CSS). I’ve been following a Web Development course from CareerFoundry. So, I have a curriculum of tasks to follow. Its flexible but structured.

Now, after all those weeks of grinding through JS exercises, I have a backlog of course tasks to complete. Yeah, I’ve progressed in my understanding and fluency of JS. However, I’ve not actually progressed on the course itself.

Why? Because I was learning f***ing JavaScript.

In my limited experience, learning your first programming language means a lot of repetition. A LOT. I couldn’t just fly through the tasks on my course, have them approved and then forget about them. I wanted to be comfortable with everything, from data types to functions to functional programming (which still stumps and confuses me… unfortunately).

And loops.

I hate loops.

javascript for loop code
Oh, for God’s sake just DIE! (Yes, I’m aware I screenshot the cursor…)

Good Stress, Time Management and Keeping Your Goals in Mind

I’ll be frank with you: this blog post, for once, is mainly for my own benefit. However, I’m sure it can still be of use to all of you. That’s what I want to talk about three things: Good Stress, Time Management and Keeping Your Eye on the Goal.

So, first things first: What is good stress?

It’s the kind of stress which motivates you to get things done. It gives you slight anxiety, pushing you to finish a project and do it right at the same time. This was something I experienced often in my last job. I worked on a project but had a deadline. Instead of going down a rabbit hole (as I am wont to do), I cut out the unnecessary or extraneous steps and focused on the points I had to deliver.

Guess what? I didn’t do half a bad job. I wasn’t 100% happy with it but it was good enough.

Good stress ties in with time management. Good stress forces you to implement more effective time management. Focus on priorities. Right now, I have the following priorities:

  • Finish the heap of JavaScript tasks I have left on my actual course.
  • Develop my personal brand.
  • Keep up my job search, get as many interviews as possible.
  • FINISH THE DAMN COURSE

In many countries, finding a job would be top priority. We all need to eat. I am lucky enough, however, to live in a country with excellent social security.

counting money
That I PAID FOR, might I add. 600 euro a month went from my pay checks toward unemployment insurance.

So, finishing my course is top priority. Of course, in order to keep receiving an income I must be seen to be making an effort to apply for a job. My job search therefore continues to run in the background. It’s something I spend 1-2 hours a day on. That doesn’t just include applying for jobs. It means engaging on social networks, going to networking events etc (which I find difficult, being something of a recluse).
That also ties in with another “background” activity: developing personal brand. Which also ties in with this blog. Of course, this blog isn’t all about me. It’s about helping others develop skills and find remote/flexible jobs particularly within digital media. That’s my own, separate online marketing project which, admittedly, I haven’t really put that much effort into (because of f***ing JavaScript!).

NOTE: I did actually get a link the other month, though. Yay! Yes, I’ve acquired many backlinks in my career, but it’s been a while since my last link-building gig. Glad to see I’ve still got it!

So Then, What Now?

Well, I’m going for a walk first. I’m in Ireland right now and the house is right by the sea. After, I’ll actually edit this post and post it. After, I’ll apply for jobs (I found a nice bunch of gigs) and then… Well, the rest of the week will involve refreshing myself on JavaScript.
F***ing JavaScript (actually, now that I understand it, I quite enjoy it).

Tackling Remote Work’s Biggest (Personal) Challenge

I love remote work. It lets me be me, without getting in the way of a career I’m passionate about. Plus, the money is nice.

While I took to it like a duck to water, the same cannot be said for other people. Sure, there are benefits but it also comes with quite a few downsides.

If you’ve sat in an office for most of your professional life, switching to a work from home position is a big change. You’ve got issues with communication: forget about sauntering up to your colleague’s desk or nipping down the hall. You have to call them  (sometimes on a phone! ) or at least send a message. Even then, they may not reply but you need an answer NOW…

If you work in a globally distributed company, you may have a few time zone issues. Of course, that’s something any half-decent project manager can work around.

You may, however, be very easily distracted by housework. That certainly brings some people’s productivity down.

To top it all off, in spite of the “freedom” remote work brings… you may end up grinding more than your in-office counterparts.

But wait, there’s more!

Telecommuters find that working remotely can increase loneliness.

This affects even those of us who strongly prefer working from home.

I guess I’m a bit of an odd fish in this sense. Working on my own usually means I’ve got far more social energy than I would if I spend every day in an office, surrounding by people. Once I’ve closed my laptop, I can’t wait to get out into the world and spend some good, quality time with people.

beer hand
…and booze.

However, not everyone is wired the same way. Work often becomes a large part of most people’s social lives. In some cases, it more or less is their social life. I find this very strange because I prefer to hang out with people different to the ones I work with, but each to their own.

So, when you’re suddenly thrown into a “remote” environment and all your interactions are done via email, phone or video call… It can get very lonely very fast.

Since many of us are creatures of habit, its often difficult to break out of the cycles we find ourselves in. Suddenly, you realize you haven’t left the house or physically interacted with a single person all week.

What, then, can telecommuters do to ensure they get regular, healthy social contact? Coworking spaces can ease the burden but let’s be realistic: there might not be one near you. Or it might be ridiculously expensive.

Unfortunately, this means taking your social life into your own hands. Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you think.

Creating and maintaining a healthy social life

The good news is that maintaining active social contact and putting yourself in a position when you regularly meet new people isn’t at all that difficult. It does require that you have a bit of confidence in yourself, though. You should at least be comfortable talking to new people.

NOTE: If you want a wealth of ideas and tips on improving your social life, check out these experts tips on how to make new friends.

 

So how do you make new friends? Well, you can…

  • Join specialist interest groups. Look for Meetup groups in your area and make a commitment to actually attend them. Preferably go to groups centered around a topic that interests you. And yes, that topic can just be “drinking” if you’re as devout a barfly as I am.
  • Attending networking events. This isn’t just great for your social life. It can also do wonders for your career. Remote workers tend to be physically isolated and have fewer options when it comes to networking. This is something you need to take into your own hands.
  • You can still do a lot of it online. I’ve mentioned how digital nomad communities can help you make new friends before you arrive in a new destination. These online groups centering around remote work and the nomad lifestyle shouldn’t be your only source of networking but rather, they should complement it. Additionally, these communities are great for making contacts in your new chosen destination.

Again, don’t forget to check out the expert tips above as well! Different techniques work for different people. Additionally, consider your online networking/socializing as a complement to getting out there and interacting with the real world.

The Key to Expanding Your Social Circle: Stay active, be patient

Making new friends and connections is a lot like applying for a remote (or any!) job. You could get one tomorrow but it is more likely to take a while. It has happened to me but hitting things off with someone straight off the bat doesn’t always occur.

The key here is remaining patient and knowing that good things are around the corner. You just have to sow the seeds yourself first.

First Forays into Web Development – Tackling the BEAST

Okay, the title of this post is a lie.

I’ve been messing around/working with websites for years. I learned HTML back in the pre-Broadband era on Neopets of all places (I was 11 or 12 – don’t judge me). I learned I could use it to make my messages on the forums “prettier”. It was a lot of fun.

When I started writing for money, I learned about SEO (accidentally first, then on purpose).

I even tried my hand at blogging a few times. I set up basic websites with the likes of WordPress and other tools (good old Weebly… what a heap of shite).

Then, I got my first digital marketing job (online dating comparison – I’ve had a damn weird career). I had to deal with an ancient, outdated CMS (ironically called “CMS Made Simple”). So naturally, you can imagine how happy I was when I set up this blog with WordPress.

Thanks to digital marketing, my knowledge of HTML and CSS grew exponentially.

cms made simple 400x
YUCK. Admittedly, the “made simple” part was probably aimed at developers, not humble content managers.

Beyond markup languages, I learned how to use File Transfer Protocol. In my last job, I was even tasked with building and landing pages (content, code, EVERYTHING) despite being a “Media Analyst” (whatever that title meant…).

In my spare time, I did courses with Codecademy. I tried to learn programming (JavaScript & Python) but got bored (in retrospect, it was the way they did it and not the languages themselves).

It wasn’t until a few months ago (after I became unemployed – again) that I began my real education in web development (thanks, CareerFoundry).

To my surprise, I learned that I already have a huge tonne of frontend knowledge. I’m still doing the course and let me tell you – frontend is the easy part. It’s still a challenge, but there’s something very satisfying about writing code, tweaking it, changing it and then sitting back to see what you’ve created.

PSST! If you want to see my gloriously bad first attempt at my very first website, check out http://liam-hennessy-test.000webhostapp.com/. It will definitely improve as time goes on, but for now feel free to laugh at the horror that is the first site I built from scratch.

I’m pretty confident in the basics of frontend now more than I ever was.

Now I’m REALLY digging into JavaScript and moving to the backend.

I won’t lie: programming is fucking HARD. It’s fun, too: but if you’ve never worked with logic before, it’s a massive learning curve. I’ve only just gotten the basics of JS – namely, learned what the data types are and what functions and conditionals are (a piece of piss in comparison to for loops – good Jesus…).

As hard as it is, I plan on sticking with JavaScript until I know it. Do I want to be a developer? The honest answer is – I don’t know. I love tech and I love open source software. I’ve still got a few months left on the course, so I’ve still got time to determine whether this really is a career path I want to follow.

That being said, I’m really glad I chose to put my head down for a few months and learn web dev properly. The thing is, even if you don’t want to be a developer…

…having a strong technical background opens up many, many more doors.

This is something that’s been playing on my mind in recent months.

Being unemployed, I still have to apply for jobs. I’m taking this as a learning experience and have changed up my resume here and there to see what sort of responses I get (I have about 10+ versions of it, depending on the job I’m applying for).

I’m not ready to apply for junior dev/tech jobs yet – so I’m still sticking with digital marketing positions. Since I wax lyrical about my strong frontend knowledge, responses to my applications have been overwhelmingly positive. Even in digital marketing, strong tech skills are a massive plus. Digital marketers are in even more demand if they know their way around websites and understand how developers think.

But what about you? Not sure if web development is right for you? Well, I’ve learned a couple of things that may ease your mind. If becoming a developer is what you always wanted, read on!

Want to be a web developer? Some surprising things I’ve learned (so far)

Web development (and software engineering in general) takes time. You won’t pick up the skills you need in a couple of days (or even weeks, or months). There is a LOT of information to absorb: especially if you’re like me and you come from a more creative/artsy-fartsy background. That being said, it is entirely possible. It just involves a lot of hard work.

I think many of us have a lot of misconceptions about what web dev entails. Time to dispel them!

Web dev isn’t just about building websites

Shockingly, the actual process of building a website is the easy part. Wireframing, design, figuring out site structure, coding in HTML, creating lovely buttons in CSS, adding JavaScript for interactivity. Once you know how to do that, it’s not just easy. It’s a hell of a lot of fun!

The thing is, though…

…a significant portion of a web developer’s job is problem solving.

You may have the design and structure down, but you’ve also got to think about the code. Indent it properly, so that when you return to the project in a few months you can pick up where you left off and not be scratching your head about what something means.

Web developers end up spending a lot of their time on small, annoying problems. You can spend hours trying to figure out why a particular piece of code isn’t working only to realize that the problem was staring you in the face the whole time.

Web developers aren’t just builders. They’re problem solvers. Things shouldn’t be done quickly – they should be done properly. And that takes time.

No web developer (or programmer) knows everything

Crazy, right?

Not really. Obviously, the longer you do it the better you get. The more code you know off the top of your head. Even the most senior developers, however, have to turn to the search engines for their answers. That’s why there are so many communities based around different languages. If you’re experiencing a problem, it’s highly likely someone else has encountered it before.

That’s where you can go onto sites like StackOverflow and see if someone’s come up with a solution. As a developer, you’re also allowed to ask for help.

The two last points really put my mind at ease. You’re not just paid to create sites and apps – you’re paid to solve problems. While it’s early days for me yet, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t mind web dev as a career. We’ll just wait and see.

PS: Well, you can wait. I’ve still got a lot of work to do on my site…

How Much? Some Top-Paying Location Independent Careers

A long time ago, I began my online career as a freelance writer (aka: in my case, “I’ll write anything for money!”).

My first jobs came from awful content mills. Later, I got my own clients – some of whom paid a pittance. Others were more generous. Eventually, I learned to ask for what I was worth.

money counting
And then I was loaded… LOADED, I tell you! (Not really.)

During this time, every project and assignment had one thing in common: I could do my work from anywhere. Admittedly, my take-home pay wasn’t huge. It didn’t matter. In those days, I was happy to cover my rent and my bar tab. Oh, and food. I also had to pay for food.

Everything I did was via email or Skype (Slack didn’t exist in those days – well, not to me anyway). Communication, corrections, outreach and client acquisition were all handled over the Internet. Okay, so you can bet that I also placed my Internet bill as equally high in importance!

welcome to the internet
My first day on the job was weird, but that’s the Internet!

Fast forward several years later and I see countless blogs and news articles talking about the benefits of working remotely. There are studies proving its effectiveness and even big companies like Stripe have openly talked about implementing a remote work policy.

There’s also a lot of press around digital nomads, those devil-may-care go-getters who live wherever they want and maintain a career. Well, okay, digital nomadism takes a lot of planning so “devil-may-care” probably isn’t the right description for these individuals.

But what’s the state of location independence these days? If you want to live and work anywhere, do you have to resign yourself to freelancing and financial insecurity? It simply begs the question…

Can you really have a location independent career that commands a high salary?

Way back when, many employers used “remote” as a reason to pay their employees less. It is still a phenomenon that sadly occurs today when talking about remote work and salary.

With more and more highly skilled and specialized work from home jobs appearing, this should no longer be the case. Anyone with a unique set of skills and years of experience can command a better pay packet and still work from wherever they please.

After doing a bit of research, I uncovered quite a few pretty surprising, high-paid (and often senior) roles that don’t require you to be in the office.

NOTE: While these high-paying, location independent careers can be found, it may take a bit of work to convince bosses to allow for any degree of remote work. But keep in mind that it is possible. In addition, your level of seniority may give you an advantage.

 

Let’s Dive in: Location Independent Careers That Pay a Bomb

Recruiter

Wait… That’s not a tech job. Nope, but not every remote job has to be in tech (despite what telecommute boards will have you believe). Even so, this job may seem like an odd choice to slap the label “telecommute” onto, but let’s hold up for a minute…

Have you ever been approached by a recruiter? If so, where did they approach you? It probably wasn’t on your way to work, or when you were at home feeding the cats/children. Most recruiters contact candidates via phone, email or (more commonly these days), social media (LinkedIn being the favorite).

So, you can bet your ass most recruiters spend a lot of their time behind a desk. They can recruit from literally anywhere… Making this a very viable remote job. Of course, it also depends on the specifics. Some recruiters work within specific areas. Others are more international in their scope (I was approached by a recruiter from Malaysia).

How much do recruiters earn? According to Workable, the average salary is US$ 45,360 per year. That’s average – it can go up to $70,000. Depending on your success level, it can be even more.

Project Manager

Project Managers work in a wealth of different industries. Yes many are in tech, but this is a job that quite literally pays people to make sure shit gets done. So, when it comes to being remote-friendly, it may not immediately seem that most suited. After all, shouldn’t a Project Manager be checking up on their colleagues, ensuring that targets and deadlines are met?

Well, think about it. How many Project Managers do you know who actually go out into the field to check if things are being done? I’m sure it happens in some industries, but for many others… It’s just not necessary. Even if the project isn’t specifically technical, Project Management is simply a title for those who run projects and coordinate workflows. They are in charge of workflows, task management, prioritization, cost proposals and ensuring execution. They should also be highly organized.

The bottom line is that most of a Project Manager’s job is based on organization and communication. There is also a lot of PM software house there which was created specifically for this role – which lends itself very well to remote work.

How much do Project Managers earn? According to FlexJobs, US$65,000-US$105,000 a year. I wouldn’t sniff at that.

Senior Business Analyst

Now we’re diving into more technical jobs. Probably one of the more droll-sounding yet highly-paid careers out there. I’m willing to bet a lot of people in this profession often have the right (or the need) to work remotely. Basically, a Senior Business Analyst makes sure that processes run smoothly: they test for bugs in software, troubleshoot technical issues and ensure that things are maintained to a specific standard.

So, as you can see, it involves a high level of technical knowledge. At the same time, you don’t need to be a full-on developer. Technical skills aside, a healthy dose of business acumen is also necessary.

Well, what about the money? FlexJobs states that the average salary for a Senior Business Analyst is $57,000 – $90,000.

UX (User Experience) Researcher

One of the “newer” tech jobs. UX Design and Research are EXPLODING at the moment. What’s handy about this profession is that it requires a lot of skills that are transferrable from other professions (such as aspects of digital and performance marketing). Specifically, UX Research analyse websites and sales processes before recommending solutions to increase customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Actually, it even goes beyond revenue – UX isn’t just for websites, it’s for just about every piece of technology handled by humans.

This job can be “fully digital”, but plenty of researchers also get together in person. Since that’s not always possible, it’s also a very viable “remote” career.

What’s the compensation? Payscale.com says EUR 46,000 per year (if you’re American, convert it yourself – I’m too lazy).

Teleradiologist

A what?

Basically, a radiologist who works remotely. Traditionally, the majority of health care jobs could only be done in a specific location. Doctors, nurses, medical specialists etc… Teleradiology is that little bit different. Their input is needed on X-rays which are normally sent to them, making it a very viable remote career.

Of course, this particular role is quite rare at the moment.

What’s the compensation? US$100,000 – $400,000 per year, apparently (thanks, FlexJobs).

DevOps Engineer

Probably the least surprising job when it comes to telecommute-friendliness. It’s an IT job. As a highly skilled profession, they work closely with software developers and other tech staff to oversee code releases. This is a role where you have to break the barriers between development, testing and operations. Basically, you hold the digital presence of a company together.

And of course, since it’s all on a computer there’s really very little need to work in an actual office.

How much $$? According to FlexJobs, the average salary is US$80,000-US$100,000.

What Can Digital Nomad Communities Do for Me?

For the introverts among us, the following is unfortunately true: people need people.

Human beings are social animals. Even those of us who prefer limited social contact need it sometimes. That’s why online communities have always been popular and will always remain popular.

That’s also why online communities based on specific niches and interests do well (if that niche is big enough).

For the working globetrotters among us, online digital nomad communities serve to fulfill that need. These platforms let you chat with other nomads, exchange ideas and can even be used to network (important even if you have a permanent remote job – even more so if you’re a freelancer). On top of that, they’re a handy place to make new friends.

bloody hands
Don’t let the above picture alarm you – meeting strangers off the Internet is less risky these days (though a hint of caution is ALWAYS advised).

Believe me, as a digital nomad you’ll need to learn how to make friends. Not everyone can just wander into a bar and start chatting to people. Starting friendships online offers a way of easing you into the process (not very different from online dating – just with fewer dick pics… we hope).

With all of that said, probably one of the biggest advantages of digital nomad communities is…

…the ability to contact other nomads already living in your new destination.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of this particular type of community and see how exactly they can benefit you as a nomad. Maybe you already had an idea – but now its time to execute it.

Networking: Speak to other nomads in your industry

With the rise of remote work, it’s easier than ever to network without having to go to boring business meetups. Social media allows for a fluid exchange between people in the same industry – and that’s truly a blessing. Especially as a freelancing nomad, you should always be on the lookout for new gigs and opportunities. This means cultivating relationships.

The likes of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can help you network with professionals in your industry who may or may not be nomadic. However, digital nomad communities will get you in touch with those who are not only in your industry, but who also know the nomadic life. Your unique experiences may very well help you land a new gig, part-time job or full-time remote position.

Get the lowdown on your new home, before you travel there

Are you currently living in Strasbourg, France but looking to move further east – like Berlin, or even Kiev? Sure, there are a lot of ways you can find out about your new prospective home before your plane even touches down. Plenty of travel sites and blogs are available – you can look at cost-of-living stats and even connect with expat and international groups in the major cities of that region (which I would highly recommend).

Online digital nomad communities can offer you that – and more. If there are a few nomads living (or who have lived) in your next chosen destination, you can strike up a conversation and ask them what it was like. They can give you insight specifically unique to nomads (such as how easy it is to find affordable, low-cost accommodation) and how much coworking spaces cost.

Make friends before you arrive

Okay, I wouldn’t call complete strangers “friends” just yet – but digital nomad communities can give you the opportunity to connect with people in real life. If there are any nomads living in your destination city, simply hit them up and see if they’d like to go for a drink, show you around etc. It can be a good way of combating the loneliness that often creeps up when you arrive in a new place for the first time.

And of course, meeting a new person can cause a chain reaction and get you introduced to others.

So then, what are some good digital nomad communities?

You can find a good list of them digital nomad communities here. However, the following are what I’d consider my “favorites”.

Nomad List

You could say that Nomad List is more than just an online community for digital nomads. It’s also a tool – a database of 2000+ cities from all over the world. In addition, it offers to connect users with 100,000+ digital nomads who live in these cities. Additionally, Nomad List offers a remote job board. There’s a basic, Slack-style chat room that you can openly see and sign up to. Topics are segregated by a hashtag (#) under names like “#Toronto”, “#Crypto”, “#United-States” and “#Startups” (there’s obviously FAR more than that).

To actually participate and chat, you have to create an account and login. Luckily, you also get access to their other features. This can be great for scoping out new places to live.

Global Digital Nomad Network

There are also quite a few not-so-great digital nomad communities out there… Often what makes them bad is simply the fact that there aren’t many active members. That’s what’s great about the Global Digital Nomad Network (from WebWorkTravel). What’s more, they’re on Facebook. Yes, Facebook is still relevant in a lot of cases!

Flylancer

The focus with Flylancer is on meeting people “offline”. So of course, you can create an account, login and chat to people. Not everyone on Flylancer is a digital nomad: but many of them are freelancers and remote workers. What does this mean for globetrotters? It’s means that there are some excellent options when it comes to networking.

Meetup.com

Meetup.com has been going for quite a while. Unlike other communities on this short list, it’s not specifically geared towards digital nomads. However, you’ll find interest groups of almost every type here. Looking for friends? See if there are any social activities happening in the city you’re currently living in.

And… if there’s a demand for something, you can create your own group as well!

Conclusion

If you just want to meet new people, its important to pull out all the stops. Networking and gathering new contacts for job and business opportunities may require you to join a different type of community whereas expat groups may be good for just meeting friends. Whatever the case may be, you need to understand your own needs before choosing a community.

 

Can You Make Money Freelance Writing? – Well…

The broad term “freelance writer” applied to me way back when I began my career. I had just moved to a new country. I survived off odd jobs and savings. One of those odd jobs was writing articles online. Although the dollar I got in return (especially when converted to euro) wasn’t much… it upped my income significantly.

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I was still earning peanuts… but enough to get by.

As I wrote more and got paid more, I slowly started to appreciate the situation I found myself in. The feeling of freedom and independence was intoxicating. So, I made freelance writing my full-time pursuit for the next few years. Like a lot of writers these days, I started at the bottom with low-paying clients (read: horrible content mills).

The desire to earn more money pushed me to market myself and find new opportunities (all online). I thankfully landed myself a handful of well-paying clients. Being treated like an actual person (what!?) was… refreshing.

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My first “content mill”… Not as fancy as its name.

“Can you make money freelance writing?” comes up a lot on Google, forums and social media. Successful freelance writers and bloggers have already answered this with a resounding Yes!

Those (successful) bloggers and freelance writers are right. You can make money as a freelance writer. The thing is… That’s not the question you should be asking. In fact, forget that question entirely. It would be more relevant to ask…

Can I make enough money as a freelance writer to fund the lifestyle I want?

By “lifestyle” I’m not referring to yachts, chauffeurs, multiple residences and 35+ servants. I mean a good standard of living: the ability to comfortably pay your rent/mortgage, cover basic expenses (healthcare etc.), save money and occasionally travel/go on holiday. I’ve seen many freelance writing projects advertised that wouldn’t cover the cost of a Happy Meal.

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All that work and not even a toy…

The answer to this question is trickier. You see, there’s something many budding freelance writers forget and it’s this: freelance writing is a business like any other. Don’t have business aptitude? Well, you’d better acquire some.

DON’T quit your day job – What to do instead

Forget the cliché of quitting your job to do the thing you love. Unless you’re independently wealthy or have another source of income, that kind of bullshit doesn’t fly in the real world. The first thing you need to do is know your expenses.

Back when I was starting out, I’d bring in US$1,200.00/month on average (that was a bit less in euro). I had luck on my side: I lived in a “cheap” city and in general, Germany’s cost of living (groceries, going out, etc.) is relatively low. On an hourly basis, I could earn between US$10.00-20.00. It seemed like a good wage at the time – until I factored in how much I worked. Some days, it was 10+ hours. Others, I barely worked three.

If you aim to be a proper professional (as you should), the standard fee a freelance copywriter should charge is around US$50.00 or more.

For anyone starting out (especially if you don’t have much experience), that can seem like a lot. Almost too much, in fact.

Well – get over it.

You’ve got costs to pay. Just like any other business. Even though you’re mainly running it from your laptop, you should consider…

  • The cost of equipment: This includes your smartphone, laptop and other add-ons such as a comfortable place to work (desk & chair – if that’s how you roll) as well as Internet and phone bill (mobile data if you work on the go a lot), hosting for your blog/website etc.
  • Health insurance: Varies by country – but for most people, you’ll have put some money away. One of the few exceptions I know of is the UK – unless you opt for private insurance.
  • Income protection: Again, some countries may have sufficient social welfare to fall back on making this not so much of an issue.
  • Contributions to social welfare/security: Even in countries with good social welfare, you’re required to pay contributions to social welfare.
  • Pension scheme: Even if your country has a state pension, it’s still good to put some money away for retirement.
  • Taxes: Obviously!
  • Other business expenses: Meetings with clients (if they insist on physically meeting in person), etc.
  • And of course, your own wage: How much can you comfortably live on once you’ve subtracted everything else?

Once again, the exact amount you should be charging also depends on where you live. If you’re in Scandinavia, it would cost you a lot more than it would in Thailand. Either way however, US$50.00 per hour is the minimum you should charge.

Will Clients Really Pay Me That Amount?

Any client who tries to stiff you for the lowest amount isn’t a client worth having. There is of course nothing wrong with your client negotiating a slightly lower rate. There’s also nothing wrong with being a little bit flexible, but don’t go too low. Not only does this ruin things for other writers, but it also means lowering your own expectations.

Good clients will pay good rates. The real challenge is finding those clients. That’s where the “business” part of freelance writing comes into play. You are a business and you are selling a service. Get out there and do your marketing!

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Feel free to yell at people with a megaphone if you think that works. Personally, I’d recommend networking, blogging and getting creative online.

It’s easy for me to say that any client who tries to stiff you isn’t a client worth having. I mean, it is true – but there are certainly times when you’ll feel desperate. However, that’s where having a business plan comes in. That’s why you shouldn’t quit your day job: you may very well need that job to help you get your freelance business up and running.

Making a living as a freelance writer is far from impossible. Many writers consider it a rewarding career. Yet the takeaway here is to never stop thinking of yourself as a business. The job of a writer is more than just typing and sending documents. Work won’t fall into your lap, at least not in the beginning.