No, that’s not another hipster term for some obscure practice. A digital nomad is simply someone who makes use of technology so that s/he can either conduct business or do their jobs without having to stay in a single place.
In a way, it’s a bit like being a perpetual tourist. Many digital nomads trot across the globe, discovering different locales while supporting themselves via all sorts of paying gigs or remote jobs. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet and technology, such a lifestyle outside the usual 9-5 has never been as doable, or as widespread.
So, what does it take to be a digital nomad? Read on and find out if you’ve got many of the following traits that this extraordinary way of life demands:
1. An Independent Attitude.
Digital nomads usually work independently, so if you want to be successful as one, you’ll need to have a great deal of initiative.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to be involved in a long-term, remote project, you’ll probably have to keep booking gigs throughout your travels in order to have enough funds. To do that, you need to master lead generation and customer conversion. (It helps if you pluck up the courage to contact potential clients directly through the said leads or through job or freelance portals.)
Lastly, being independent can also entail being comfortable with being alone, as you’ll probably be on your own for long periods of time.
2. A Working Knowledge of the Relevant Technologies (or at least, a willingness to learn the same).
Remote work would be impossible without the Internet or without tools like Skype, Google Docs, or Trello, so knowing how to work these is key to carrying out your tasks well and on time.
These apps are fairly straightforward, but should you be completely unfamiliar with any of them, there are plenty of helpful guides and tutorial videos online.
3. The Drive to Keep Learning Useful Skills and Improving on Them.
Graphic design, video animation/editing, content writing, project management, and website/app/software development are all skills that are very much in demand in the digital workplace.
If you’ve got two or three of these on your CV, good for you, you’re probably off to a good start. Fret not if you don’t since as with many things on this list, these skills can be learned (and perhaps even mastered) in due course.
4. Improvisation Skills.
One downside of working remotely is that you’re basically on your own if there are issues from your end. The most effective digital nomads are usually the ones who always manage to find ways to deal with these despite little to no external assistance.
For example, an Internet connection is the lifeblood of many a digital nomad. Having a plan B or even a plan C in case yours gets disrupted in the midst of an important project would thus be essential. The same goes for being unable to access a critical document or file because you’re logging in from a different location. Keeping a calm head and being able to think of a solution on the fly to either of those two situations are good indicators of how suitable you would be for the life of a digital nomad.
5. An Open Mind.
Last but not the least, being a digital nomad is all about being open to new things, new ideas, and most of all, new ways of doing things.
The very world of remote work itself is constantly evolving, so you’ll probably face a whole lot of changes and being open to such is the only way to weather them with as little pain as possible.
While being a digital nomad can be quite freeing (imagine not having to turn up at the office everyday, or working on a sun-drenched beach for weeks on end), it still comes with a unique set of responsibilities. The good news, though, is that just about anyone can develop the right mindset to handle them, as the list above shows.