5 Digital Nomad Blogging (and Life) Mistakes and Corrections

March 26, 2017 35 thoughts
Me stopping by a Thai Vegetarian restaurant during early evening cardio in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

The dude who we rented our motorbike from here in Chiang Mai has a 70% digital nomad client base.

 

Our neighbors have met ample digital nomads during the years they’ve lived in CM.

 

From hearing some harrowing horror stories with my ear focused on local scuttlebutt – and to the cyber ground – to observing common blogging and digital nomad errors over the past 6 years I want to help you identify, embrace and correct these big time boo boo’s.

 

Note; of course I made all these errors in the past. You know how we roll. And trust me, it was Pure Dingbat during some lean ass days.

 

I righted my blogging – and digital nomad – ship. So now I’m sharing practical tips to help you dissolve your struggles and enjoy a prospering, fun life as a digital nomad blogger.

 

1: Being a Digital Nomad for the Wrong Reasons

 

I have met enough folks here in Chiang Mai who have observed the digital nomad scene for the past 5 years. This is kinda the digital nomad capital of Planet Earth.

 

Failing digital nomads – and digital nomad bloggers – became digital nomads for the wrong reasons. Some desired just to live cheaply. Others attempted to sprint from problems in their home lands. Others greedily just wanted to make a bunch of money and sit in front of a pool every day.

 

If you choose a shitty driver you will live an unfulfilled, unhappy life. And you will struggle with your blog. And you will struggle to become a digital nomad.

 

As a guy who has circled the globe through blogging for 6 years, I can say that blogging predominantly for fun, with love, helps you build a freeing lifestyle anywhere on earth.

 

Blog mainly to have fun. Blog with love, helping and serving others.

 

Blogging is an energy game. Having fun and blogging with love magnetizes you to fun outcomes.

 

That fun energy will bleed through your blog, brand and life, magnetizing you to fun, happy, loving, successful outcomes.

 

2: Not Telling the Rest of the Story

 

Scrap the same old played out Instagram photo of your home office for the day (usually beside a pool or tropical beach), then asking your followers “Wanna know how I live this life? Email me!”

 

Tell stories of how getting vicious diarrhea and vomiting on a Burmese bus ride taught you 7 blogging lessons.

 

You can never accuse me of being full of shit; namely, because I left my lumpy dumps beside cow paddies somewhere on the road between Bagan and Inle Lake, Myanmar (I owe Aung San Suu Kyi a letter of apology for that one).

 

Tell….the REST of the digital nomad story.

 

Sharing the ups and downs, dreams and nightmares, wins and losses, successes and failures of being a digital nomad makes you:

 

  • credible
  • trustworthy
  • believable
  • authentic
  • genuine

 

Sure you can post images of living in – and working from – tropical paradises. Goodness knows I’ve enough selfies in stunning locales to make you either want to worship me or slap me silly, depending on your happiness level. But I also share how I nearly danced with death in India, how I REALLY danced with death while helping slay a spitting cobra in Bali, and how cultural differences and language blocks have created…..interesting….situations on the road.

 

Shop from the Blogging From Paradise Store on Amazon.

 

Be real. Blog real. Entertain, educate, inform, and let folks know what to expect if they intend to be digital nomads.

 

3: No Diverse Monetizing

 

Some digital nomads expect to earn a full time, steady income via 1 income stream. Dangerous strategy. Because it ain’t abundant.

 

They see Rob Cubbon killing it on Udemy, create 1 course, and expect to net a fortune with this 1 course. Or even with a single strategy/income stream.

 

Meanwhile, as far as I know, Rob has opened these income streams:

 

  • selling courses on Udemy
  • selling courses on Teachable
  • selling eBooks on Amazon Kindle
  • selling T Shirts

 

Pretty sure he’s opened more income streams than that. Because he is smart. He thinks and acts abundantly. Which is why he’s an established, successful digital nomad.

 

I opened these income streams:

 

  • selling courses through Selz, Teachable and Send Owl
  • selling eBooks through Amazon
  • selling eBooks through Selz
  • sponsored posts
  • paid links
  • freelance writing
  • blog coaching
  • paid tweets
  • affiliate marketing
  • selling audio books through iTunes, Amazon and Audible
  • paid guest posting

 

If you’re going to up and move to some far off locale….please don’t attach to 1 product or 1 income stream to build a steady income while you acclimate to your international hot spot.

 

Open multiple streams of income. Add one income stream every 3-6 months after you learned the in’s and out’s of the prior stream.

 

4: No Planning

 

Some digital nomad bloggers all but show up in Bangkok with a stick and knapsack over their shoulder, holding a “Digital Nomading It” sign.

 

This lack of planning is not only delusional; it’s outright insanity. This coming from a guy who does things more intuitively than any digital nomad on earth!

 

This large toad hopped into the backyard in Chiang Mai. Then he sat inside a dust pan. I missed the symbolism.

 

At least:

 

  • research your intended digital nomad location; do due diligence (Double D’s not enough for me) on the culture, climate, visa requirements and currency exchange rates….and do some research on internet connection speed too in your intended apartment or hotel or house
  • research and establish 2 to 3 online income streams; if you want to travel with a set of balls, start traveling before you build a steady income (not for the feint of heart, personal experience talking)….or build a full time income before you become a digital nomad…..all depends upon your tolerance for being uncomfortable (my tolerance in this area is kinda high)

 

Do some light prep work. See what you’re diving into.

 

5: Building Your Blog and Brand Around Slumming it

 

I love sharing images of my $1 USD lunch at a local Buddhist vegetarian restaurant in a Thai neighborhood. Way cool.

 

I also love having the option of paying $15 or $20 USD if I want to eat out at a “snazzier” restaurant in Chiang Mai. I like being able to take road trips. I dig spending money on extending our visa, on flying versus taking 12 hour bus rides (this AFTER the nauseating Burmese bus ride) and on NOT having to live on 100 Baht a day.

 

1 USD a dish at our local Buddhist veggie haunt. But I will spend TWO dollars on lunch, if need be! Or 10. Or 20.

 

Guys; you can enjoy a low cost of living without being a POS Slumming Digital Nomad who has an intimate relationship with their latest tape worm, said tape worm acquired by eating $2 seafood platters at less than hygienic street stalls.

 

Shop from the Blogging From Paradise Store on iTunes

 

Build your digital nomad lifestyle, blog and brand on being abundant. Help people. Open income streams. Brag about eating lunch for $2 a day – for 2 – but also drop $100 freaking bucks on a motorbike for the month. Go to the movies. Shop at nice grocery stores. Drop a hundred bucks to fly for 45 minutes versus paying a few bucks for an excruciating bus ride.

 

Ever since the Thai coup of 2014 and more stringent visa restrictions, the Dirt Bag Trail of Tears has slowly migrated to Cambodia but a healthy number of slumming ex-pats, tourists and digital nomads still slink around Thailand….especially in Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

 

Let’s give our Thai hosts the creme of the digital nomad crop. Aspire to live on more than 100 Baht a day. Meaning, more than $2.89 USD a day. Set up your life, your blog and brand on an abundant, prospering vibe. Sure you can do house sits and save a crap load of money as a digital nomad but you’ll enjoy life more – and convey a better image to locals – by spending more dough, by making ample money and by choosing this life to have fun, to free yourself and to bring the world together.

 

Your Turn

 

Fellow digital nomads, have you made these mistakes?

 

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Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who's been featured on Richard Branson's Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Positively Positive, Life Hack, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you build a successful blog with the 11 Fundamentals of Successful Blogging Audio Course.
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35 Comments

  1. Hi Janette,

    Awesome. Sometimes it helps to see someone else share the full story. Or, the complete story.

    MSI is the way to go. Because diversifying taps into abundance, helping you extend and cash in.

    I checked my Paypal a few minutes ago. I received monthly payments from 2 separate income streams. Add in my online courses and eBooks and audio books and multiple services and other streams, and the totals increase as the cumulative effect of having MSI pays off. Literally.

    I think he hit the road šŸ˜‰

    Thanks for commenting šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  2. Hi Tom,

    Fab comment dude!

    The thing about Tim is he does HIGHLY uncomfortable stuff that makes him and his empire grow like a weed. Most humans avoid doing this stuff. But they still expect to see “4 Hour Work Week” results. I recall reading the book while flying to Lima, Peru. Inspired stuff. But his idea of leveraging involves going right to the top, craftily getting by gatekeepers, connecting directly with celebs, and he started doing this stuff before he was super well known. I believe in endless possibilities but hey, these type of actions are no joke! Kudos to him but 99.999999% of digital nomads ain’t doing these things LOL.

    So happy you had a chance to sample Thailand. And that you share the rest of the story. This helps aspiring travelers to make an informed, educated decision for themselves.

    Thanks for the rocking comment Tom šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  3. Tom Andrews Says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Fantastic read, especially since I visited Thailand in January and have been toying with the idea of moving to Chiang Mai as a digital nomad.

    Your second point really struck a chord with me.

    How come?

    Because whilst I loved the majority of my time in Thailand, there were times I started missing England. Like you, I also share the “downs”, as well as the “ups”, because it allows people to see the real you – meaning you can form a deeper bond.

    As for your third point, you’re spot on.

    I can’t believe how many people think they can create one product or course and then live off it. People buy into this dream of the whole 4-hour work week, where they can put something out there and expect the money to come rolling in, almost on auto-pilot.

    The thing is, Tim Ferris (author of “The 4 Hour Work Week) was already mega-successful by the time he started introducing the concepts he taught in there.

    By all accounts, he was (and still is) EXTREMELY hard-working. In fact, I remember hearing he didn’t even like the name of the book. But he ran a split-test and it came out miles on top, so, like any good marketer, he listened to his market and ran with it.

    Anyway, wannabe digital nomads read books like this and think “great, I can go to Thailand now, work an hour a day, and then sip on a margarita by the pool from 10am – 8pm whilst the money comes rolling in.

    They’ll unfortunately learn the hard way it doesn’t work like that.

    Fantastic article, Ryan.

    You’ve shone light on the truth, good and bad, about being a digital nomad.

    Tom Andrews

  4. This is very real advice, Ryan and that is the best sort. I think the consensus here is to tell it like it is and I’ll now feel more comfortable doing that.
    Multiple streams of income is a very wise path too, because not everything is perfect and roses. Diversifying in all things is a strategy I’d endorse. Even if you have a lot of investments, investing in an income stream is another form of diversifying.
    Hope the tummy bugs leave you alone from now on.
    Jan

  5. Hi Caleb,

    Weird, right?

    I get saving some dough but if you can live well and save, so much more fun to spend some money while enjoying your travels.

    Thanks much for commenting šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  6. Caleb Says:

    I never understood why someone would risk slumming it in a far away country where it’s a lot cheaper to actually live Good there at the same time?!

  7. Hi TS,

    I have no idea but never heard anybody use it before I shared it with my wife šŸ˜‰ Always gets a little laugh out of people too LOL.

    Thanks for commenting and hey, cool website you have!

    Ryan

  8. Hi Spindrifters,

    Yep; we see some rain during monsoon season šŸ˜‰ That’s what makes life interesting. The contrast.

    Thanks for commenting šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  9. Always refreshing to hear some honesty in a post! It isn’t always sunshine and roses but that’s the whole point!! Thanks man

  10. Thai Shares Says:

    Dirt Bag Trail of Tears. Nice turn of phrase. Did you coin it?

  11. Hi Dan,

    True true. We can apply to blogging, or life, for all entrepreneurs.

    Thanks for commenting šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  12. Great article and your 5 mistakes extend beyond the digital nomad. Some of these lessons should be applied to all Entrepreneurs.

  13. Hi Amar,

    It is more fun follow those blogs, right?

    I recall reading an awesome guest post on Pro Blogger by a travel blogger who got a book deal. She blogged like me – covering all aspects of travel – and left the sight seeing posts behind…..as I have, mostly at least. More interesting, more fascinating and a truer representation of what we experience on the road.

    Thanks brother šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  14. Amar kumar Says:

    Hey Ryan,

    I personally prefer following bloggers who discuss all aspects of travel and the digital nomad lifestyle, rather than only focusing on the travel and sightseeing part. You have explored very nicely mistakes and corrections regarding nomad blogging. Thanks for sharing.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  15. Hi Lisa,

    These tips work well for any blogger, really.

    Keep it real! LOL…the only way to be. Makes us human. Makes us genuine. And credible.

    As for culture research you can ease your transition with 5 minutes of reading.

    Looking forward to see you hit the road Lisa.

    Thanks for commenting šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  16. Hi Melinda,

    Amen to that. On both counts LOL.

    Thanks for commenting šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  17. Hi Sherman,

    A drag indeed!

    Why blog unless you enjoy the ride? And I know you are having fun. And I betcha we meet in some far off tropical locale one day šŸ˜‰

    Thanks for your comment šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  18. Hi Jean-Christophe,

    Excellent add. Because here in Chiang Mai we are actually making offline friends….aka, meeting real people.

    Big time mistake we made for years. We lived cyber-style, friend-making wise. Lesson learned. We meet and greet offline, socializing, chatting and yep, we will follow the online forums idea you share too.

    Thanks much šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  19. Hi Sandum,

    Appreciate the comment bro šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  20. Thank you for sharing this information with us. It very much difficult to find this kind good article
    on these kind of topics. It very much helpful and thank again for sharing with us.

  21. Hi Ryan,
    One great mistake (available for anyone who works at home), is to stop meeting real people.. friends. When you live abroad, the language barrier is a great challenge. But you might find people from your home country via meetups or online forums, then you can attend the real-life meetings. This will prevent you to leave the “real world” little by little.

  22. Hey Ryan,

    Having fun while having multiple streams of income is right up my alley. Without having fun kinda puts a drag on blogging. I’d rather enjoy what I’m doing than trying to force it. And if I happen to hop around the world like you’re doing then that’s an added plus!

    Great share Ryan!

  23. I’m a big fan of being authentic. I think most of my life I wasn’t.

  24. Lisa Sicard Says:

    Hi Ryan, I’m not a nomad but I love your tips especially the one to find multiple income streams. The second one to keep it real! Thank you.

    Also wise to know about the cultures before picking places to go. I hope to do more travelling in the coming years so again thanks for the advice here.
    Enjoy the rest of your day Ryan.

  25. Hi Donna,

    These ones do apply across the board. For any blogger.

    LOL on dodging those fam members hahaha….gotta admit, I love family more than anything but it feels good to get entirely lost off the grid in a place like this šŸ™‚ You never know….being open to those intuitive nudges can lead to some incredible experiences. But hey; you know this already šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  26. Hi Ryan,

    I like the way you tell it like it is. Sometimes in my wildest dreams David and I talk about moving to a place where we can get more bang for our buck (and hide away from the family members lol) Who knows….we might find ourselves in an exotic place one day.

    If one is a digital nomad or not, the principles you have given are smart….have fun, be authentic, trustworthy and credible. This is the core that is so important. From that point and only that point can we grow just about anything we want.

    -Donna

  27. Hi Corey,

    Aha! A distance runner. I can only imagine the volume of poop stories you have to share LOL šŸ™‚

    Being on the road – literally and figuratively – puts us in a compromising position at times. When nature calls….it REALLY calls.

    Thanks a bunch šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  28. Hi Rob,

    Amen to that. Just the other day, a waitress tried to return the tip Kelli offered her, thinking she overpaid. But more times than not, farang and locals are tipping because this happens less often.

    It comes down to being generous, acting abundantly and valuing the amazing land of good old Thailand. If I can leave a tip with every meal I keep the Baht flowing, brighten up someone’s day a little more and spread the love I’ve been blessed with. Everybody really does win.

    Thanks for the insights and for your shining digital nomad example dude.

    Ryan

  29. Hi Robin,

    Thanks much for reading and commenting bro šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  30. Hi Emily,

    You know it well, being a traveler for many years. A cosmic balance exists šŸ˜‰

    Sure we sell a brilliant dream. But doing so without selling the REST of the story leads to big league shocks and a trust divide that disconnects you from your true power.

    Being a young chick in the Caribbean, Central America or South America can be agitating I reckon. I regularly saw young women – locals and tourists – being hit on in places like Nicaragua and on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. If I was not with Kelli I know she’d get it too. Annoying at times and yep, just another aspect of travel.

    You are well on your way Emily! Next stop: full time digital nomad career/life.

    Thanks for commenting šŸ™‚

    Ryan

  31. Rob Cubbon Says:

    Hey Ryan, great article. Great advice about spending good money in Thailand. I like to do this as much as I can. I leave tips even though it’s not expected and I’m not a cheap charlie. This reminded me of something your better half, Kelli, said: maybe the folks who try to live here on 100THB a day don’t value the country and that’s why they’re not so happy with it. I try to love and respect my host country as much as I can and I am and will be happy to give back in any way I can.

  32. Corey Hinde Says:

    poop stories – lol As a distance runner, I’ve heard many quality poop stories, and they never fail to amuse! Nice story telling anyway Ryan, always enjoy reading your stuff.

  33. Hi Ryan,
    I do believe that the above five reasons are worth using and I will be deeply thinking about it.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a good day ahead.

  34. Emily Kydd Says:

    Awesome advice Ryan, I’m a huge supporter of the “Be Authentic” point. So many people out there romanticizing everything, travel, beaches, blogging, digital nomadery etc. Being an ex-pat isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, here in the Caribbean I get harassed on the street almost constantly, and then when I don’t respond sometimes I’m called out even more. But that doesn’t come out too much in the shiny blog posts, so every so often I do a “Real World/Truth Fish” type post! Even paradise has it’s drawbacks.

    I haven’t made the big step into true digital nomad-ship quite yet, though I hope to soon! Right now I’m laying the ground work and hoping putting in that energy. Wish me luck!
    cheers,
    Emily

  35. I left a thought.

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