You have probably seen examples of people that take their careers on the road and make money online while traveling. It looks like they’re living the (or your?) dream and you wonder if those people are super-humans or if you, too, can become a digital nomad too.
In this post we answer one of the most urgent questions of everyone that want to make the location independent lifestyle happen for them:
- How to become a digital nomad without prior experience?
- Specifically, what skills do you need to become a digital nomad?
After 1.5 years of full-time travel and a continuous journey of redefining ourselves and our business, we share with you what is really important to make it as a digital nomad.
These tips are for you if you are tired of working to build somebody else’s empire and you want to finally get started to take your life into your own hands.
This post is not a list of the most popular digital nomad careers. Instead, we want to help you make the first and most important step in your journey of how to become a digital nomad: Adopt a mindset that will get you to change your life and become location-independent.
If you are looking to learn more about the various ways to make money online as a digital nomad, these blog posts are for you:
- Digital Nomad Guide to make money online
- 19 Most popular ways to make money online
- 8 Trending business ideas that let you work from anywhere
📌 Save this post to your Digital Nomad board on Pinterest for later!📌
6 Skills for how to become a digital nomad
Let’s start with the elephant in the room.
What hard skills do you need to become a successful digital nomad and make money online? We hate to disappoint you, but this is not the question you should be asking.
Sorry, but not sorry.
Yes, there are certain job profiles that are more obvious to be monetized than others (think of the forever-sexy web developer).
However, luckily for all of us who want to live location independently without being forced into a certain career path, there are a million and one ways to earn money while traveling.
In the following, we break down which soft skills will help you to sustainably build a flexible life in which you can work on whatever, whenever, and wherever you want.
1. Think in opportunities of how to create value
As mentioned before, becoming a digital nomad is not about ticking a box of having the right “job profile”. Luckily!
Whether you are in tech, marketing, social science, or any other area, you can become location independent. There are various ways.
Remote work. You can convince your employer that you can do your job remotely from anywhere in the world.
Freelance. You become self-employed and offer your services to clients on a project-basis.
Online business. You decide that you want to do your own thing and startup your own online business.
Becoming a digital nomad means thinking entrepreneurially how you can use your existent skill set to make money online.
To do that, you need to answer only one very important question: How can you create value for others?
If you are skeptical, think about this. In your “normal” job, you were paid to do something. This is because your employer valued the skills and expertise you bring to the table.
Your skills are worth something to somebody.
If you want to live a lifestyle that is different to most others, you need to start thinking differently.
Make a list of skills and knowledge you have and think about who would benefit from them. Then, go out and tell the world about what you can do for them.
Wonder how? Keep on reading.
2. Be sharp & persistent in your communications
One thing that we had to learn the hard way is that no matter how brilliant you and your offering are, nobody will give a damn about it if they don’t understand what is in it for them.
They will smile and move on with their lives.
Communication is key.
Identify where your audience is hanging out online and show up every single day. Make sure that your potential customers understand how you can help them and why they should work with you or buy from you.
Here is a golden rule for you: If you can’t explain your business in one 1 sentence, you shouldn’t bother trying to explain it in 10.
Once you have a clear value statement, be persistent in marketing yourself.
Reach out daily. Repeat yourself. Yes, it will feel awkward but it will also do the job of educating people about your services and your brand.
Don’t be shy, just do it! Once you get into their heads, it will pay off.
3. Keep a positive mindset
The strongest factor for success is to believe in yourself. If not you, who else will?
You will agree with this. To most people, living a flexible location independent life seems too good to be true. It’s something that very few others can do, but not them.
Believing that you can do it is the starting point. But it’s also where the journey will end for many digital nomad beginners.
It can be hard! Becoming a digital nomad means having to deal with situations when you will question yourself and consider giving up.
- People might not understand your business value
- Your loved ones might not support your lifestyle choices
- Money might get short
- You will have bad days
That’s normal. And while being aware that you will have lows will not prevent self-doubt, it will prepare you mentally for what’s to come so that you can deal with it when it’s happening.
What helps us in challenging situations is to fall back on personal mantras. Whenever we feel low on the road, we remind ourselves why we are doing what we’re doing and how far we have come so far.
Here is a little exercise for you: WHY do you want to become a digital nomad?
Write down your answer to this question and come back to it whenever you think that you can’t do it. After that, shoot us a message and we’ll convince you otherwise. We can do it together!
4. Train your self-discipline & time management
If procrastination is your thing, it’s time you start working on improving your self-discipline and time management skills.
With freedom come responsibilities. As a digital nomad you have to be on top of your time.
Being in all those amazing places can make it hard to skip the beach and focus on work instead. You will have to keep your time and schedule in check, or else you will have serious trouble with project deadlines and business milestones.
What helps is to set up a basic routine for yourself that you can follow everyday – before you leave. Of course there will be days in which you might plan trips or commutes. However, being conscious of your time is important to keep yourself organized.
If time management doesn’t come naturally to you know, think about how you can train those skills before you set out as digital nomad. There are useful apps (we love Trello for planning To Do’s) and trainings that can help you.
Another post that might interest you is How to deal with FOMO while traveling.
5. Be financially smart with passive income
Alright, when you think about a life as digital nomad you don’t want to be stressing about money. I mean, the whole point is to have a healthy work life balance and not chase after every dollar.
However, without money, there is no travel, and there is no fancy digital nomad life. As simple as that.
The problem is that although you might not like it, but your 9 to 5 job brought some nice benefits with it. You would go to work, spend half your time day dreaming about a better life, and still get a nice salary at the end of the month.
As a digital nomad, your money matters are entirely your responsibility.
So, if you want to be financially safe and create the best work life balance for yourself without stressing about your monthly income, you need to start generating passive income.
Having money coming in passively every month will give you peace of mind, even in months when revenue is low.
There are various passive income streams you can think of. It’s not only one way and you can also choose multiple passive income sources based on your interests and skills.
We hear you. Probably you don’t know how and where to start.
Don’t worry, we can assure you that it’s possible to generate passive income, even as a beginner.
We started learning about financial freedom about 4 years ago, and have since then managed to grow our passive income to about $25,000 a year – as total beginners.
There are proven basic principles for how to generate passive income and if you’re looking for an easy introduction into passive income, read our 12 Steps to Financial Freedom for Beginners post.
In our opinion, starting to think about how you can create passive income should be your highest priority if you want to become a digital nomad.
6. Use your social skills to expand your network
Being a digital nomad can be lonely sometimes. Especially if you like to travel and change locations.
You will need to get used to new surroundings, new people, new everything.
Being by yourself can be nice but if you don’t want to spend most of your days alone, you will need socialize.
That doesn’t mean that you need to magically become an entertainer when you’re actually the introvert type, but it can help to know where to find like-minded people.
For that reason we love to find co-working spaces wherever we go. You don’t only get a good work environment with strong wifi, but you can meet other digital nomads.
Now, you don’t need to wait to meet digital nomads until you’re one yourself. We actually encourage you to start networking while you are still at home. Find co-working spaces or meet-ups in your area, join digital nomad Facebook groups, whatever works best for you.
Socializing with other digital nomads is not only fun for grabbing a drink or lunch together.
It’s a great opportunity to meet clients, mentors, and just in general, expand your professional network.
We are at the moment writing up detailed co-working guides to some of the places we worked at around the world. If you are interested to stay in the loop for any new guides coming out, make sure to to sign up to our free Resource Library. You will be notified first thing when new guides are out.
If you are thinking about co-working in Bali, here is a review of our favorite co-working pace in Bali.
If you wonder how to become a digital nomad, you shouldn’t feel discouraged if your skillset doesn’t fall into the typical “digital nomad skills” like web-design or digital marketing.
Instead, think creatively outside the box and ask yourself how you can use your existing skills to make a living online. To create a sustainable lifestyle or work and travel, there are a number of soft skills that can make your journey as beginner digital nomad easier.
- Try to think in opportunities and ask yourself how you can create value for others.
- Be sharp and persistent in your communication and personal marketing.
- Keep a positive mindset.
- Train your self-discipline and time management skills.
- Be financially smart by creating sources of passive income.
- Use your social skills to expand your personal and professional network.
Learn how to escape your 9-to-5 & live a life of freedom!
Are you ready to start living a life of freedom?
We mean real freedom! Not living your 9-to-5 life somewhere else in the world…
In The 9-5 Escape Plan, you will learn how to stop trading time for money, and earn more money with only a fraction of your time.
We teach you everything we have learned that made it possible for us to earn 35% of the combined income of our cushy 9-5 careers entirely passively. With real estate investments, investments in the stock market, and by setting up our freedom based freedom business where we currently serve 15,000 freedom seekers on a monthly basis.
You will understand how you can make money passively from anywhere in the world and free up time to do the things that are important to you.
No matter what your current financial situation is, in the program we work with you to start your journey to living your dreams through financial freedom.
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