With a growing community of 4.8 million people, the digital nomad lifestyle has become a popular choice for American professionals who want to work and travel continuously. What was once a fantasy for many workers has become more mainstream, allowing talented and audacious individuals to choose their own adventures. However, many aspiring digital nomads often cite the lack of a steady paycheck and a need to expand their clientele as two of the major issues preventing them from joining the lifestyle. Fortunately, digital nomad networking tips are easily accessible.
8 Digital Nomad Networking Tips
With an expansive collection of online groups, forums, seminars, and coworking spaces, digital nomads have ample opportunities to find new business partners, build their clientele, and become their own personal success story—even while traveling the world. If you’re a digital nomad in search of advice on how to forge more professional connections, consider these eight digital nomad networking tips.
1. Tap Into the Expat Community
Language can be one of the biggest obstacles to building a professional network as a digital nomad when you’re in a country that doesn’t speak English. While most Europeans have at least some knowledge of conversational English, this often isn’t enough to build a business relationship or network. In places in Asia, the English-speaking population may be almost non-existent. However, you can usually solve this problem by reaching out to the expatriate community.
Expatriates, also known as expats, are individuals residing in another country who haven’t renounced their native citizenship. The reasons for their move to a foreign country are almost limitless, ranging from a foreign spouse to a cheaper cost of living. Finding expatriates may involve a bit of investigative work around your chosen city by visiting expat hangouts and asking the right questions. However, a far easier way is to locate expats is online.
Social media is an invaluable resource when it comes to networking with expats in your city. With groups for sports enthusiasts, foodies, and professionals of all kinds, you can meet with people all over the world for business purposes, as well as recreation. Not only will this improve your potential for business expansion and job opportunities, but it will also help alleviate any homesickness you may be feeling. Most of these groups also have meetups that allow you to connect with others on a personal basis. This will help you feel more welcomed, as well as provide a forum to ask pertinent or pressing questions you may have.
To find an expat community for networking, Facebook is a surefire option. Use the search bar to type in things such as “Digital Nomads in XYZ City,” “Web Developers in ABC City,” or some other derivation to locate a group that meets your professional goals and interests. The larger the city, the more likely you are to discover all types of groups for your niche.
2. Join an Online Digital Nomad Community
The internet is filled with digital nomad communities that allow you to network with other professionals, expand your social circles, and find sources of inspiration during your travels. Packed with other professionals seeking success and an alternative lifestyle, you’re bound to find other like-minded individuals with whom you can connect. Most of these communities are free to join or have nominal fees that allow you to access their network. Here are some of the most popular:
- Digital Nomads on Reddit – Reddit is a discussion, forum-style website that allows users to post their thoughts and ideas. The Digital Nomad group is a strong source of up-to-date information on the lifestyle, as well as a place to ask and answer questions.
- Nomad List – Nomad List is one of the oldest and largest digital nomad communities on the web. Offering reviews for the best digital nomad cities, live chats with other nomads, and a plethora of other resources, the $149 lifetime subscription might be worth your while.
- Meetup.com – Meetup.com is perhaps the most-used website in the world for informal meetings between people of similar interests. With several dedicated digital nomad groups in places around the world, you’ll find like-minded individuals in a social — rather than professional — setting. Relax, unwind, and get to know digital nomads as people before you talk about business.
- Digital Nomad Girls – The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t always easy for women traveling solo. As the first platform entirely dedicated to women in the digital nomad realm, Digital Nomad Girls provides travel advice and opportunities to meet location-independent girls around the world.
- Nomad Network – Nomad Network is another free platform that allows you to network with digital nomads everywhere. From tips on the best places to eat to finding your next client, there are all types of beneficial advice and resources.
These are just a few of the many digital nomad communities that will help you network. Pop in a few Google searches, and you’re bound to find a group that’s a perfect fit for your interests and career.
3. Don’t Rule Out Hostels
Maybe you saw Eli Roth’s bloody horror film Hostel one too many times. Perhaps you’ve heard horror stories of shared bathrooms and cockroach-infested, dormitory-style sleeping arrangements. Either way, you may not look at hostels for your next accommodation as a digital nomad.
Yet, trends are changing. Millennials, who comprise the bulk of the digital nomad demographic, have embraced hostels as a way to save money and meet interesting people from all walks of life. And why not? For roughly one-third to one-quarter of the price of a hotel room or an Airbnb, you can interact with others on a social or professional level. This is a vital, money-saving tip for digital nomads with little disposable income or those still looking to expand their client base while traveling.
If you’re seriously apprehensive about the hostel lifestyle, you can always ask to see the room beforehand or find a hostel that also offers private rooms with an ensuite bathroom for increased privacy. Few other accommodation options have the opportunity to meet travelers outside of a hotel bar. Seize the opportunity. You never where this type of networking will take you.
4. Attend Seminars and Work Conferences
If you happen to be in the right place at the right time, or you’re ready to head to your next far-off destination, seminars and work conferences are excellent places to network. There are both individuals and organizations that put together events to discuss the latest trends and topics for digital nomads. As a result, they bring together some of the most successful digital nomads and entrepreneurs from around the globe.
The best part about attending these seminars is that you’re surrounded by other people who want to grow a business and need others to achieve their goals. That’s when you can offer your services to others. While they may not need your skillset at the present time, forging a relationship can put you on the radar for future jobs. To top it off, promoters and organizations hold these conferences at some of the idyllic destinations across the globe such as Bali, Bangkok, Sydney, London, New York City, and more.
5. Forget Your Agenda
When you arrive at potential networking opportunities, it’s important to be yourself. This includes open and honest communication, question-and-answer sessions with other digital nomads, and a bit of banter or humor.
One thing you should never include in your networking events is an agenda. Even if you’re desperately seeking work, no one wants to see your desperation oozing out through every word you say. To avoid having an agenda or coming off as though you have one, find ways to interject your services in a helpful manner. In the business world, this is a beneficial soft skill. You provide solutions instead of asking for another person to do something for you.
In this way, professional relationships work much like social relationships. The more you listen and offer ways to improve someone’s business or life, the more receptive they are to your ideas and services.
6. Be Ready for Opportunities
If you’re a social, outgoing person, you may find networking opportunities appear often. Conversely, if you’re an introvert, perhaps these chances don’t come as readily. Whichever personality theory you subscribe to, you’ll need to follow the motto of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts: be prepared.
Before you hop into any potential networking scenario, you should have a basic idea of how to chit-chat and small talk. This is your “in” with other digital nomads. The upside is that you already have similar interests: travel and remote work. Instead of having to strike up a conversation about something generic, you can talk about places you’ve been and the experiences you’ve had.
Once you’ve connected with the other person on a social level, discussing work is the next reasonable step. Discussing what you do, how you’ve found clients in the past, and what your aspirations are for the future is a fundamental method to successful networking. Make sure not to overtly boast, interrupt, or talk about yourself. Listen to the other person, enjoy the conversation, and provide contact information such as a business card, Whatsapp account, or social media profile. By putting these aspects together, you’ll have everything you need to enhance your networking opportunities.
7. Try a Coworking Space
Thanks to the emergence of the digital nomad, coworking spaces are popping up in cities around the globe at a ferocious pace. The way they work is simple. For a monthly fee, you can use a shared workplace that typically includes Wi-Fi, coffee, food, and maybe even some extra amenities such as a ping pong table or gaming system.
While these coworking spaces provide a flexible work environment to complete your tasks, it also opens up collaborative and networking opportunities. Are you a web developer that needs video or blog posts for your client? The person sitting right next to you may have the skills you need to complete your project on time and under budget. You may even find that you can create a partnership rather than just finding contractors for one-off projects.
In addition to finding partners for your projects, coworking spaces also afford opportunities to learn from others. You may find new ways to enter shortcode into a website, edit photos or videos, or improve your writing skills. Not only do these spaces build your entrepreneurial skills, but they also help improve your interpersonal skills and expand your professional network.
8. Reside in a Co-living House
Hostels don’t provide a guarantee that you’ll meet other digital nomads or expand your network. However, the balance between affordability and opportunity is advantageous. That said, co-living houses might be your best bet if you haven’t found any luck at hostels.
Co-living houses are facilities run by third-party companies that provide accommodation, work areas, and on-site recreational opportunities for a small group of people. Typically, 10 or fewer digital nomads reside in a co-living house for anywhere from a month to a year. The downside is that they’re far more expensive than other types of accommodation. But if you have the budget for a co-living house, you’ll find a network that could propel your digital nomad career to the next level.
Whether you prefer the anonymity of the internet or face-to-face meetings, these digital nomad networking tips offer an endless amount of opportunities to expand your social and professional networks. Your next great business venture or close friendship may be right around the corner.
Do you have additional digital nomad networking tips? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to tell us about the digital nomad networking tips you have used to successfully make new professional connections while working and traveling. We’d love to hear from you!
Pexels Photo Credit: 1. Fancycrave.com; 2. samer daboul
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