Expat Magazine

How I Become a Digital Nomad in Thailand

By Harvie

Since I start giving away my How to Make Money as a Freelance guide free via email (just sign up anywhere on my website to get it free, I've made it very easy for you).

How I become a Digital Nomad in Thailand

Real life friends and readers have been asking me whether you can still make money as an online freelancer.

If you treat it as a real profession and put in the work to get better, you can earn $50k per year freelancing part-time (20-30 hours per week).

Most of you will never reach that level because you're either too lazy or aren't passionate about being a freelancer, but you can make good money if you make it your art.

In this article, I'm going to tell you about my freelancing story.

How I started

I came to Thailand thinking I'd teach English on the side and run my blog as a side earner.

The teaching dream ended when they saw the color of my skin, and my blog was making no money.

My friend was a freelance writer in Bangkok and he said I should give it a go.

So I did.

Becoming a freelancer


It's as simple as joining up to Freelancer.com and creating a profile.

I failed English and Maths in High School, I can't spell even to this day, yet I've been paid more than $500 to write articles that are less than 500 words (that's less than 1 page of Microsoft Word).

Most people start out as freelancer writers because it's the easiest job to bullshit.

I could not draw or write code, so starting out as a programmer or graphic designer was out of the question.

When I began freelancing in 2013, the pool of freelancers looked like this:

I would say the same applies today.

Most freelancers are dogshit.

Because anyone can become a freelancer and make $500~ per month, people in third world countries take this route as it pays 2-3x as much as a real job.

Because English isn't their first language and the average income rate is so low, they'll work for peanuts but their work reflects that price. This applies to every freelance field not just writing, there's about 85% of trash in all freelance markets.

I quickly realized that if I wanted to make money writing I actually had to get good at writing.

If you want to make good money in any freelancing field, you actually have to be good.

I was trash when I started, I could not write proper sentences or knew how to keep the reader engaged.

When I wasn't writing, I read a lot to see how others wrote and what I could learn from them.

During that time I was getting shit on from all angles, I was making no money because the god damn Pakistanis were undercutting my rates, and my clients were nickel and diming me for every job (damn Jews!)

How I become a Digital Nomad in Thailand

I was like okay this sucks, I can either stop now (this is where most people give up) or I can learn how to write and see how far I can go.

I looked at what the top writers were doing, read their profiles and quickly realized that they claimed to be experts in a single area of writing (real estate, fiction writing, white papers, travel, food, etc).

So I picked my niche and kept applying to all jobs in that niche undercutting everyone on price (take that Pakistan!).

I spent a lot of time working on these jobs to ensure the work was solid and built a portfolio of work at some major blogs.

Now I'm an expert.

When freelancing nobody once asked me for a degree in writing or writing courses I've taken, all they wanted to see was what I've written.

That's the beauty of being a freelancing, people only want to see your past work.

I made my past work epic and upped my rates to something that I considered good money.

As the weeks went on I started bagging high-spending clients and I was making between $2,000-$5,000 per month writing part-time (15-25 hours per week).

That may not be a great amount of money, but being 25 and living in Thailand it was more than enough. Most importantly I had created an online income that allowed me to work from anywhere and still gave me freedom.

That's what freelancing offers, it's a very easy job that doesn't take a lot of stress, can be done anywhere and brings you a modest income which goes a long way in Asia. If you want to be hitting $5k+ per month then you should not freelance and do something else.

Freelancing is one of the easiest online jobs you can do, the downside is you don't make a lot of money.

If you freelance in any field you always want to position yourself as an expert, you'll win fewer jobs but the jobs you win will pay you 10x as much. You're not going to enjoy freelancing if you plan to compete with entry-level freelancers who are happy to work for peanuts.

As I mention in my free Ebook, the real money in freelancing is made when you can find clients away from sites like Upwork and Freelancer where they will pay western rates.

How much can you really expect to make as a freelancer?

You make what you're willing to sacrifice.

If you've never been a good writer and find it hard to put words onto paper, then you'll almost certainly fail to be a freelance writer - so don't even start.

If you're a really good designer and spend hours each week improving your craft, then you could turn it into a full-time job and live anywhere in the world.

I'd say anyone with skills should be able to make $3k per month within 6-12 months if they work hard and be okay with not earning much at the start.

Freelancing is for people with discipline, who can meet deadlines, aren't lazy and are willing to work. If you're lazy, never get stuff done or are a mess, then you'll never make money freelancing.

How much do I freelance now?

The only time I like writing is when I write for this blog (sadly nobody pays me).

Freelance writing is not a big part of my workload now, I spend less than 8 hours per month writing for clients (and that's only because they pay me well), I rarely look for new work as writing is boring for me.

I'm trying to look at other ways to earn money online through my website and other business activities in Asia.

Did you like this post or would you prefer if I stuck to more Asia related topics? I was thinking of writing more blog posts to relating to being a digital nomad in Thailand, but I'm not sure if people want that?

If you're thinking about moving to Thailand and need help or advice, check out my Online Nomad Group by clicking here.

How I become a Digital Nomad in Thailand

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