Digital nomads who succeed with an online business, start by first identifying their key skill sets and aligning this with their passion. They then carefully craft their own personal brand around the product or service they will be delivering.

The most common types of online careers pursued by digital nomads include: writers, graphic designers, educators, videographers, artists, virtual attorneys, physicians, and even astrologers. (This list is not exhaustive). The common denominator here is that all these professionals become experts at content creation and then learn now to effectively market their skills to the global community.

In this article, we consider how to get started and successfully build and scale your business model even while living in remote and exotic locations.

Identify your skill set and match it with your passion

In today’s digital economies, you can have more online business success if you focus upon content creation and services rather than building a business from selling physical products. This is because the days when you can easily make a fortune selling physical products on Amazon or other global marketplaces are long gone.

Today competition in e-commerce markets is fierce and supply chain logistics disruptions from the endless COVID-19 pandemic make dropshipping more expensive and unreliable.

Online Business – Content Creation is King

You can build a successful online business these days simply by focusing on content creation and offering high quality services. This approach can be just profitable as selling physical products used to be previously. This kind of work could include setting up your own blog or offering your services as a virtual professional online (such as nurse, teacher, lawyer, engineer or graphic designer). 

Digital nomads cover all age groups and professions. If you are an engineer, you might want to design a blogging site around your area of expertise – offering consultations and courses. Similarly, virtual attorneys can also offer their legal services and advice to clients online.

However, not everyone should design their content creation niche about their former career or university degree. And there may be other areas that interest you, where you also have expertise which you can share with an audience. To really succeed, you must be delivering a service or working in a field which you care passionately about.

The passion you have for the product, service or work that you do will ensure that you deliver your best work as well as attracting an audience through your enthusiasm.

Before getting started, you have to understand that content creation is also highly saturated and competitive so you have to really niche down to find a sweet spot to enter the market. You also need to understand that the content you are developing must be of the highest possible quality to stand out from the crowd.

Successful online business = high quality and evergreen content

These days it seems as though everyone is a content creator delivering all manner of entertainment and information to global audiences. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram and Twitch mean that potentially anyone can become an influencer. However, competition in all of these platforms is fierce and the marketplace is crowded.

This is where after you identify your particular skill set, you then niche your services offering down to a very specific category. A really good example of this is found in the following Facebook ad where the advertiser has marketed herself as  “nurse/writer” and she has even created courses and material for her audience. You can see that this particular writing product is very particular to that niche – which is not just medical writing, but profession specific: nurse writing.  

Facebook ad for a Nurse Writer

A person who is a “nurse/writer” would be focusing on patient health issues from the specific lens of the nursing profession. This particular niche could be appealing to a potentially large audience.  

In some ways, it could resemble the emergence and popularization of the “Mommy Blogger” niche which first appeared in the early 2000s, gaining popularity around 2010. The “Mommy Blogger” writing niche is very overcrowded (over 150 million sites) and not recommended to enter unless you can further niche down the “Mummy Blogger” to an even more specific category (of which there are numerous). 

Marketing your Skills effectively

In the examples above of the “Nurse Writer” and the “Mommy Blogger”, you can see that both can succeed because of highly effective marketing. Good marketing starts by not just deciding on your information product, but first determining whether a market even exists for it. 

Early adopters are often the biggest winners. For example, the Mommy Bloggers who achieved success in the early 2000 when the market was first emerging could potentially stake a big part of the marketplace longer term. The same could apply for the nurse writer niche which appears to be a new trend.

Online Business – monetising a blogging site

Before deciding on your niche, you can also find lots of free online market research resources to help guide your decision in developing your information product. If you want to develop and, say, monetize a blogging site, you might want to consult groups like Income School who run free and paid courses about how to set up your site.

Income School and similar content creation platforms deliver relevant and regularly updated advice about popular blogging niches. They also advise on which niches to avoid and why.

Income School advises against setting up blogging sites which focus on Your Money or Your Life type issues – including any potential health issues. They argue that unless you can demonstrate authority over those subjects, the Google algorithm will render your site invisible. 

There are endless types of online courses teaching you how to make money online but you should judge the ones you consult on their relative merits. You should avoid websites with “free courses” which usually have endless upselling of questionable content.

Once you have chosen your service/product/niche – start to work on the formal marketing of your business.

Online marketing offers endless platforms where you can share your services/offerings. Most digital nomads will start with the WordPress sites with cross-sharing with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. 

Online business – finding free platforms to launch your content

Sites such as Domestika which is designed for content creators to list and sell their online courses also make it easy to get started even if they haven’t got a home website.

Ads on Domestika for online marketing courses

Being able to list your online course on a platform like Domestika can make the marketing process very easy initially. There are numerous online platforms similar to Domestika where you can market your coursework. Examples include Udemy, Skillshare, MasterClass, CreativeLive, CreativeBug, LinkedIn Learning and Coursera.

All of these sites would be excellent sources of initial research when you are determining your niche and your passion. They will offer ideas of unusual hobbies, activities or talents which may inspire you to create content around.

Scaling your online business

Regardless of which flavor of online business you have, the principles to scaling it remains the same.

  • Make it super easy for your customers to buy your product or service. Keep your website clean and simple. There’s lots of great WordPress plugins to facilitate this. 
  • Track your advertising dollars both in and out. A successful blog will bring in affiliate money so focus on your site’s performance and traffic. You also need to know what your cost per lead (CPL) and your cost per sale (CPS) is. 
  • Raise your profile in the media. This is really about amplifying your message as far as possible to bring in more traffic and customers.
  • Don’t drop the ball if you see success. You can continue to set up email automation sequences which will build and promote your business bringing in more profits.
  • Continue to maintain consistent social media branding across multiple platforms.

As your online business model evolves, think about expanding and hiring staff or upgrade your existing equipment. A growing online business is a signal that you need to keep focusing on what aspects of your brand and your product are driving your success.

Focus on room for improvement and always be looking at ways you can better serve your customer base. Finally, be grateful. Successful online entrepreneurs can be proud of that product or service where they feel that their efforts are most appreciated.