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How to become a Digital Nomad in Spain

If you want to move to Spain permanently, you’ll probably need to find some kind of work to support you and your family.

Getting a job in Spain isn’t easy. The unemployment rate is high, you will usually need to speak fluent Spanish, and will more often than not be behind native Spanish speakers in the recruitment process. On top of that you will need to obtain a work visa which can be hard to come by as you will need to find a Spanish company to sponsor you and offer you a job.

The non lucrative visa doesn’t allow you to work, so unfortunately isn’t an option for many people under retirement age.

The solution could be the new Digital Nomad Visa currently going through Spanish parliament. This visa hasn’t yet been confirmed, but if you are really dreaming of living and working in Spain, now could be a good time to get ready for it. You can read more info on it here.

We’ve worked as freelancers since before we moved to Spain in 2019, so if you want to get started as a Digital Nomad here are our tips…

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Get started now

Whether you plan to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa for Spain as soon as its ready, or in a few years time, its important to get prepared ahead of time.

The criteria hasn’t yet been confirmed but it’s likely that you will need to provide proof that you have already been earning a decent income from freelance work.

You’ll also want to make sure that you can earn enough money from freelancing to support you and your family in Spain, so getting started before you make the move and while you are still employed in the UK is a much safer option.

Pick something that interests you…and that you are good at

Being your own boss is great in many ways, but if you’re doing something you don’t enjoy just because it can be done remotely you won’t be any happier than continuing to work for someone else.

You also need to pick something you’re good at, otherwise why would someone hire you over other freelancers? You need to be able to justify your fees so picking an area that you already have plenty of experience in will be a big benefit.

Brush up your skills

Depending on the line of work you choose, it might be a good idea to take some courses to brush up on your skills.

It can be difficult to get clients without the backing of a larger business, so if you can show qualifications or credentials it can help you to get more business.

Some good places to take free or low cost online training courses include:

Master of Project Academy – for IT courses and training

Creative Live – for design, photography, music, craft and business courses and training.

Udemy – for video courses in design, web development, photography, IT and more.

Use freelance sites to build up experience and references

Getting your first clients is one of the hardest parts of being a freelancer, especially if a lot of your time is currently spent working full or part time. There are lots of freelance websites out there where you can pitch for jobs to get started on. The rates are usually quite low but you’ll be able to build up a portfolio and references which will help further down the line.

We have had good success with the freelance platform People Per Hour, and even gained some long term clients from it that we still work with years later.

Other freelance sites include Upwork and Fiverr.

Tell your LinkedIn connections

If you already have a lot of business connections on LinkedIn, let them know about your freelance plans. If you don’t want to announce it publicly you can send direct messages to relevant contacts.

Tell them what you’re doing, ask if they need your services, and offer an introductory rate. Once you have done some work for a client you can also ask them to leave you an endorsement or recommend you to their connections.

Check out the tax rules for Spain

Each country has its own tax rules and Spain’s are definitely not the best. Tax is quite high for autonomos or freelancers/sole traders so you need to make sure you are earning enough.

At the moment it has been reported that those on the Digital Nomad Visa will have to pay 15% tax though this has not yet been confirmed. This is a lot less than freelancers with permanent residency in Spain (they pay 25%) so keep an eye on this figure until its officially confirmed to make sure you can afford it.

Make sure working remotely is for you

Working remotely and being a freelancer isn’t for everyone. It sounds like the dream set up, but not having a regular pay check is stressful, as is having to source your own clients.

You may not enjoy working alone day in day out with no colleagues to talk to. And if you’re working remotely with your partner, make sure that you don’t drive each other crazy being together 24/7!

If you give freelancing a go before you take the giant step of moving abroad to be a Digital Nomad, at least you can work out if it’s the right solution for you.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do and we hope you get to live your dream of living in Spain!

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How to become a Digital Nomad and live in Spain | Our Spanish Adventures

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