As a digital nomad, it's incumbent upon you to always be on the prowl for new and invigorating ways to maintain your lifestyle and earn money. Being location independent when it comes to your career is a fulfilling and exciting journey — but it’s also a responsibility.
It's your responsibility to expand your skillset and stay on track to continue earning money well into the future.
You need to position yourself for success in whatever ways you can. Learning new skills is a great way to secure your future as a digital nomad; it’ll ensure that you are better prepared to expand your capacity to earn money by affording you more ways to do so.
With that being said, here are the top 5 skills that you should use to work online, no matter what your freelance jobs are.
Developing language skills - especially English - is a vital component of being a viable and successful digital nomad. But it’s not just English; language skills, in general, have the potential to make or break your opportunities to find work online.
Digital nomad jobs may be location independent as far as where you can work from, but not how you can work.
Certain freelance jobs will necessitate competency in a given language, they might even necessitate specific levels of competency, especially when doing something language-based like teaching English. In that case, it’s worth looking into your particular level of English knowledge with this guide from Preply.
Whether you're improving your current language skills or learning a completely new language, you’ll no doubt find yourself in a better position to apply for the next “hiring now” post on your favorite job board.
Admittedly, resourcefulness is not so much of a skill as it is a state of mind. A mode of being, if you will.
However, being resourceful does require skills. It requires research skills, comprehension, adaptability, resilience, and effective maneuvering.
Being resourceful is what allows you to stay up to date and continue expanding your opportunities. It’s what allowed you to seek out a new life in the form of being a digital nomad, and it’s that same penchant for resourcefulness that will allow you to flourish.
The only way to earn this particular skill is to continually work at it and chip away at every situation to try and find the best solutions. That means staying up to date with new information, researching diligently, reading books, and listening to podcasts about entrepreneurship and being a digital nomad.
Whether it’s finding new traveling jobs, seeking out good accommodations, discovering new ways to repurpose your skills, or simply looking to save money wherever you can, resourcefulness is an indispensable trait to have as a digital nomad.
Digital Marketing Skills
Digital marketing is what allows you to effectively market your skills and value as a freelancer. It’s a sure-fire way to self-promote and improve your chances of finding well-paying, meaningful travel work.
But it’s not just relegated to promoting yourself. So much of what constitutes digital nomad jobs these days involves the application of digital marketing skills to some degree.
Unless you’re a teacher, a lot of your opportunities as a freelancer will involve new and innovative forms of marketing. Copywriting, or any sort of writing for that matter, will likely require you to familiarize yourself with SEO/SEM best practices or social media savviness.
As someone who exclusively finds work online, digital marketing skills will play an integral role in allowing you to find work and earn money by opening the door to more lucrative opportunities and giving you the right tools to market yourself.
Technological literacy is a necessary component in being able to traverse the realm of remote online work. Technology is what facilitates this lifestyle, so it’s only right that you learn as much about it as you can.
Naturally, you must already be pretty adept at using technology if you’re diving into becoming a digital nomad. What I’m referring to more specifically, is the ability to adapt and utilize newer technologies to optimize your workload and simplify your life.
Granted, a lot of this will depend on your chosen field of work. Nonetheless, there are various technical capabilities involved in every category of work:
- Media Producers: Video editing software, design, audio software, use of equipment
- Drop Shippers: affiliate marketing, order fulfillment, branding, website design, social media
- Writers: SEO, blogging platforms, editing software, sourcing
- Virtual Assistants: might be asked to deal with a variety of tasks including audio transcription, website updates, email outreach, etc.
- Programmers: May include developing, customizing, or tweaking code for mobile applications, HTML5 web-based applications, WordPress plugins, computer software, etc
- Teachers/tutors: online teaching platforms, curriculum, communication
That was just a simple breakdown, yet it illustrates how much goes into each respective job.
The point here is that almost every job you find as a digital nomad not only requires technological literacy today but also in the future. Technological literacy today paves the way for technological literacy tomorrow.
As innovations make old ones obsolete and we continue our collective strive towards the future, it is imperative to stay vigilant of ever-changing technologies and adapt accordingly.
Social skills are a soft skill that often goes under the radar.
It’s not something that is highly prioritized in the educational system, not as a subject at least. The school system is meant to socialize you over time, but it rarely focuses on the efficacy of social skills when it comes to success.
Being location independent is not tantamount to being independent of people. Your connection with people via the internet is the glue that holds your online work together. It allows you to be a digital nomad by:
- Helping you find digital nomad jobs and get hired
- Maintain effective correspondences with your clients
- Negotiating with potential clients
- Make connections and expanding your network
For those reasons alone, it’s worth looking into ways to bolster your social skills.
A great place to start would be self-help books. Books regarding the subject of effectively interacting with people are as old as books themselves. Books like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, among others, are staples of the self-help genre and contain indispensable gems for you to use daily.
If there’s one thing that you should take away from this article, it’s that stagnation will lead you on a road to nowhere.
As I said, being a digital nomad and maintaining that status is a job in and of itself (completely separate from your freelance jobs). It’s a lifestyle that is highly sought after, and almost anything worth seeking needs to be worked hard for.
There’s no question that the independence that comes with earning via a digital nomad job is unparalleled, but that shouldn’t stop you from being proactive and doing everything you can to carve out a pathway to success.
Learning new skills, being autonomous, and knowing exactly how to make your dreams a reality is what will ultimately set you free.