The Digital Nomad Scam

  • Ross Edlin
  • 27th Nov 2020

Are all digital nomad’s liars, scam artists and broke?

No, but… some are.

I'm a digital nomad myself, a successful freelancer, I make money online by making my clients happy.

Me working for my client at a coffee shop
Me working for my client at a coffee shop (2017)


I won’t lie to you, you have a lot of rubbish out in the world.
Many people are pretending they’re much more successful than they really are.

The number of times I’ve seen people acting like they are living the “life” only to “go home” 3 months later because they're broke is staggering.

Now... I have absolutely nothing against people risking everything and trying out the digital nomad life.

In fact...

I support people taking risks, being a digital nomad definitely gives you a lot of freedom.

What I don’t support is people pretending they are much more successful than they actually are and THEN convincing others to do the same thing.

It’s wrong.

What is the Digital Nomad Scam?

The Digital Nomad Scam is a magic pill.

It goes like this.

  •  Quit your job.
  •  Move abroad to a super cheap country.
  •  Setup an online business and profit.

They make it sound SUPER easy, they'll bang on about how cheap it is, the VALUE you will get from being in the environment.

All true.

It is very cheap in countries like Thailand, Vietnam.

I've lived in both so I can agree.
You'll also meet lots of other digital nomads, some... Successful.

Nomad Summit 2019
Nomad Summit (2019)

Above is the Nomad Summit, I'm in this crowd... Somewhere... and I met a LOT of successful digital nomads at this event.


Most people at this event would agree that step 3 is NOT easy, making money online is HARD.
And this is where they try to SELL you an online course telling you how to do it.

They offer a blueprint to making money online at a small investment of 300-500 USD.
They'll convince you that you'll make your money back using the techniques they'll teach you.

90% of the time, it's a scam.

This is the Digital Nomad Scam.
It is HOW they are making money themselves.

So... Is everyone doing it?


I've personally purchased a few courses from people I trust because I've met them in person and seen their results, or because it was obvious they are successful.

The ones that do understand what they are doing, do not offer a magic pill but instead offer advice which requires significant work behind it.

If you're curious who I personally recommend, scroll down to the bottom or click here.

The YouTube Hype

One of the big problems that supports the Digital Nomad Scam is all the YouTube Hype.

When I first landed in Chiang Mai, Thailand back in 2017 as a Digital Nomad, a huge part of that reason was because of all that YouTube Hype.

I believed a lot of it.


I wanted it so badly that I ignored certain signs, avoided reading certain blog posts which pointed out what I’m writing about years later.

To put it bluntly.

A lot of the YouTubers are not as successful as they appear.
And... when I say, not as successful... I mean, they’re running off of savings.

They’re not even earning $1000 per month, which is what you need to live in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

And yet, all over YouTube, they’re encouraging people to move to Chiang Mai and live as a Digital Nomad just like them.

I followed one particular YouTuber for quite some time back in 2016.

Now... he never outright lied.
But he implied more success through only showing success.

But in reality, the entire of 2016 in Chiang Mai, he was barely surviving.
He was not earning $1000.

I know this because when I landed in 2017, I met a few people who knew him personally.
They told me he was using his savings and didn’t have a stable job making money for most of 2016.

He even got fired for his first job remote job.

And yet…

He was telling people to move to Chiang Mai, encouraging people and acting like he was successful.
I personally felt like he was lying to his audience.

Acting like he was living the dream.

Drop Shipping

If you google the word, “Dropping Shipping” and look at some of the online courses selling the dream of going remote, setting up a drop shipping store and making money.

You’ll suddenly see all these drop shipping adverts on YouTube, Facebook, etc…


“Listen to me, I’m not lying”

“Look at my figures”

I swear it's literally hundreds of people selling you Drop Shipping courses, trying to sell you the dream.

I’ve met successful Drop Shippers. When you look at their numbers, they’re only making about 5% profit.

You hear the brag, $10,000 per month, profit.

To get that magic $10,000, you need to be grossing, $200,000 per month or $2,400,000 per year.

2.4 Million Dollars!

That’s not easy, not in the slightest.

I went to an event once in my early days of being a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai. The speaker asked the audience to raise their hands if they had a drop shipping store.


Half the room put up their hands.
We had about 100 people at the event.
It sounded impressive at first, but then I went and spoke to some of these people.

I asked one question.

How much are you making??

The most common answer was: “Oh… Uh… I’m not there yet, I’m still in the early stages”
This became a pretty typical response from someone who’s trying but not yet succeeded.

I’m not saying they won’t succeed, but apart from the speaker, I didn’t meet anyone at the event who’d even made $1000 total, let alone $10,000 per month.

Yes, I know people have made drop shipping work… But these people worked their arse off, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week and treat it like a true business.

This isn’t the 4 hour work week.

Is anyone successful?


A lot of people I’ve met over the years are very successful, me included.

But the truly successful and decent people will tell you it’s not easy.
And often don’t brag about their success all over YouTube.

I work significant hours, following a good routine, getting up at 7am most weekdays and aim to be at my desk by 8:30 to 9am.

Often working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
I exercise and eat healthy because I know I’m paid on results, not hours.

The difference is... I get to choose my clients, I get to choose my hours, I get to choose my work.

And so... I enjoy my work so I don’t mind working those hours.

The best part about my job is the freedom.
I choose my work place, whether it's my home, a co-working space or a cafe.

Another country.

The choices are endless...

Who do I recommend?

So now I've got all the negative out the way, I will list 2 people below who I've personally worked with and purchased their courses.

These really work, they're not a magic pill and require significant work to see results.

Tom & Anna from Adventure in you.

They’ve created a roadmap for building blogs called the Blogging Fast Lane.
Honestly, this is one of the most comprehensive online courses I seen.

Adventure in You has over half a million unique visitors per month.

I’ve personally used their course and had excellent results.
But they will stress to you, it’s not easy, it’s not a quick fix.
They give you a year plan... Yes... a year!

That’s how long they think it’ll take to see results in blogging.
They focus on "value" and being "strategic" about what you write on your blog.

They're also very active in their Facebook Groups, often doing live stream events with Q&A's and answering every question people post.

Course Creator Pro from Parker Walbeck.

Parker teaches you how to create online courses using knowledge from Full Time Film Maker.

He’s awesome.

His YouTube channel has over 1 million subscribers, and he has tons of free content.

He's very active in their private Facebook group and many of his students have made significant money using the methods he teaches.

The other good thing is, Parker doesn't promote scam like methods, it's all long term, value based methods that require significant work.

Parker himself is an exceptional film maker and his first course, Full Time Film Maker shows people how to become a film maker.

He's also worked with countless big brands.

You only need to watch a few of his YouTube videos to know he's the real deal.


To finish this off.

Don't believe it unless you can see obvious results.
Instagram pictures don't count.

I'm talking results from money side of things.

Have you met them in person and seen results directly?
Have you been recommended by someone you truly trust?

Only then would I consider parting with my money.

I hope this insight has helped you to make better choices.
Let me know in the comments if you've had a similar experience.

Until next time.