Do you want to become a digital nomad? Traveling the world for months and years and earning your money as you go. The ultimate freedom. However, as great as it sounds, this lifestyle is not the right thing for everyone. There are certain skills you need to have to be able to survive on the road and actually enjoy your trip. While I’m convinced that you can learn many of these skills, I also strongly believe that you simply have to be born with some of the characteristics. Not everyone can enjoy such a life and be successful with it. Check out the following list of digital nomad skills and see if that’s the right lifestyle for you.
14 Important Nomad Skills
I know the remote life sounds like the perfect easy life. But if you want to travel AND work along the way, you definitely need a good portion of discipline. To me, this is one of the most important and necessary digital nomad skills.
Trust me, it is not that easy to live right next to a beautiful beach in Thailand with 35 degrees outside and you have to get up early and work all day. But you need the money, right?
Even though you don’t feel like it, you still have to work and you have a responsibility towards your boss or your clients. Without self-discipline, you might enjoy an amazingly relaxed life at the other end of the world. But, unless you have a massive amount of savings which you can live from, you will end up broke sooner than you think.
That goes along with discipline. You need to be able to get things done, preferably as soon as possible. When you arrive in a new country you probably have to organize a few things like a place to live, internet, or a coworking space (if you prefer working from there). Don’t waste too much of your precious time on it. Get it all done quickly so you can hit the beach or start that epic hike. Of course, you can easily spend a few hours comparing the best mobile broadband providers in your new country. But you can also try to be a bit more efficient.
I have dedicated an entire blog post to techniques that help you be more productive. Check it out and learn how to improve your productivity during work.
You need to be good at organizing things! As already mentioned, a new environment means there is plenty to organize: accommodation, internet, phone, transport, taxes etc. If you are the type of person who keeps forgetting things or who is always late paying the bills, learn to work with to-do-lists! The more organized you are, the easier it is for you to get your job done and explore your surroundings.
Having said that you need to be organized, you should also be able to live with constant changes of plans. An Airbnb might not work out the last minute or your main client suddenly doesn’t need you anymore and you have to find a new one. Get used to the thought that you can’t plan anything and that you might have to be a bit more flexible with pretty much everything in your life.
5. Decision Making
Being good at making decisions is another one of the necessary digital nomad skill. This is the one I’m struggling with most, to be honest. Since you don’t have a daily routine anymore, there are tons of decisions you have to make every day. Learn how to make decisions quick and efficient, without worrying for ages afterwards if it was the right thing to do. That also means that you have to trust your intuition more than ever before.
6. Knowing Yourself
When you are traveling around the world and work at the same time you have to face completely new challenges, which you haven’t even considered before. Can you do that super steep 3-hour hike at 3 in the morning? Can you do that senior job position although you only have little experience in it? It is important that you know what you are capable of, what you can do and where your limits are.
The nomadic life is fun and gives you so many opportunities to see and experience new things. Be curious! Soak up all those new influences. Don’t just sit in your hotel room in front of your laptop. Go out and explore the place and get to know the culture! After all, that’s what you are here for.
Communication is always important, no matter what type of lifestyle you have. But when you are a digital nomad, it is absolutely essential. You have to constantly find new places to live, new jobs and make new friends. To be in countries, that don’t speak your language, doesn’t make it easier.
On top of that, you want to stay in touch with your family and friends back home, so you have to rely on online communication methods and deal with different time zones. Hello, challenges!
If you want to work as a freelancer, you will constantly have to find clients. Especially freelancer platforms, such as Upwork, have much competition.That means you need to be good in selling your knowledge and skills. But it’s not only jobs, also accommodation. Some apartments or Airbnb rooms have many applicants. Why should they pick you? You really need to have good self-marketing skills to get along.
Learn more about how you can successfully find and apply for jobs on freelance platforms, like Upwork.
Of course, you will meet new people and make new friends wherever you go. But there will also be places where you will find it harder to meet new people or you struggle to really bond with someone. Unfortunately, this disadvantage is part of the nomadic lifestyle, too. Some people are ok with being a bit lonely every once in a while, some are terrible at it. Prepare yourself to not always have a social cycle around you and learn how to be happy when alone.
Some people struggle a lot with letting go of things. When you live a digital nomad life, this happens to you all the time. You need to say goodbye to friends, you need to leave you beloved room or apartment, your short-term routine changes again and maybe you even need to let go of someone, who means a lot more to you. This can be very hard. We all have our difficulties with it. But it’s part of the lifestyle and the price we pay.
12. Accepting Failure
You will experience failure. No way around it. We all do. Maybe it’s the job you wanted so badly. Maybe your new online business isn’t as successful as you were hoping it would be. Maybe you will feel lonelier than you expected to. Maybe you hate the place where you wanted to stay for a few months and now you have to find a new place.
That, too, is part of the game. It is one of the necessary digital nomad skills to learn how to deal with it and not take anything too personally or seriously. Life goes on.
Especially, when you don’t have a lot of savings you can live from, you need to be able to look after your money. Going out partying every night in Thailand is surely fun and drinks are cheap. But after a while, it might cut down your budget more than you would have expected. You never know how expensive the next place will be or how your business wil develop. Use your money wisely and learn how to not waste it. And yes, I know that goes for every lifestyle but the digital nomad life is even more unstable and unpredictable.
Do you want to know how much money you need when you start a digital nomad life? Check out the linked article!
Very important! A negative attitude won’t get you far as a nomad. As I said, there will be many failures, you will be alone sometimes, or struggle to make an income. But trust me, it is worth it! There will be better times for sure and they are totally worth the negative experiences. Learn from them, grow and stay positive!
A positive mindset will get you more friends along the way and you will be able to find better jobs. Traveling and working all around the world is an amazing experience and you get so much out of it. You only have to be able to see it and trust in good things to come.
How Many Skills do You have?
What do you think: Out of the 14 mentioned digital nomad skills, how many do you have? Do you think you could live a happy nomadic lifestyle? If so, great! Now you can move on to the next step and find out, what kind of remote job you could do, and how to leave your “old life” behind you.
If you don’t have all of the mentioned characteristics, don’t worry too much. As long as you know what to expect, are willing to learn, grow and be open to new situations, you should be able to get along doing it your way.