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5 Must-Have Skills to start with a successful career as a Digital Nomad

You can quickly learn basic digital nomad skills to replace your office job, start your journey as a digital nomad and open your path to a location-independent life.

It depends on your background and what you were doing before deciding to step on this road. I still remember my transition, which was fun. I gave my CV to Leo for review as I was applying to open remote positions on Upwork and other platforms. He was laughing when he saw the skill set that I mentioned in the skills section of the CV. Since I was working in more old-school corporations, the skills that I gained there were different from what he was used to.

I had to dig into my mailbox to find the older version of my CV, and here are the skills that I had back then:

A snippet of Maja's skills from CV

Yes, with this only, it's hard to start with a freelancing business. But with my open mind, I quickly learned additional skills that were way more helpful, and, more importantly, looked better on the piece of paper representing my academic and professional life.

I have to admit that in the beginning, we also added some tools and services that I didn't master yet at that time, but it's not quantum physics after all. It's already a lot if you know what they do and basic functionality. The same goes for skills.

The vital part of this transition is that you are open to trying something new and keep a good level of curiosity. And even more, you need to believe in yourself as you can learn many things very fast. So, if you see a job ad for a remote position that you like, and they require experience with a specific tool or particular skills that you don't have, don't walk away saying: ah, I don't know how to do this. Instead, dig in, check tutorials; for sure, there are many videos on Youtube, and invest some time in learning.

The list below includes some hard and soft skills, combined with opportunities that could open for you if you start acquiring those. I'll also include some tools and services that you should get a good grasp of, as many small organizations use them for daily work and communication. I tried to pull out the most important ones, and of course, this is my subjective list, mainly for the work I do.

Writing skills

If you're good at writing many opportunities will arise for you. If you are not good at it, it's about time to start working on it and practicing.

The first thing you could do is make writing a daily routine - build a habit of writing just a little bit every day to get into the rhythm. Leo and I went through these steps, or better, we are still going through with a challenge of writing 500 words daily before noon or lunchtime. 500 words is a nice limit, as it's enough that you have to put some effort in, but not too much that would be annoying you.

Read (and listen) more - Books, e-books, audiobooks about the topic. Find blogs or articles that interest you, and you see yourself writing about. In this way, you will go through the topics of interest that will help you get in touch with different styles that others are using and help you build your unique style.

Don't be afraid to write bullshit. Sometimes you don't feel inspired to do much; don't be too strict with yourself in these moments. I have days when I can't find inspiration to write anything good for the blog. When this happens, I don't just skip writing, but I make a dump file of my thoughts and write 500 words of bullshit. Even the title of the article is bullshit. This helps me to keep the streak of writing.

The last and not the least tip - disconnect yourself from all the distractions and learn to focus. Put your phone on flight mode, turn on your fav music to focus, and write. It's not easy and it seems to be overwhelming to get started. You will often run out of hours, as you have to try a lot, learn a lot. But keeping your focus sharp is the way to make progress.

Make a plan and stick to it at least for 3 months. Do not follow every shiny object, if you spread your energy too thin you will not get anywhere.

Improving your writing skills will help you start your digital nomad career, possibility to create passive income, or get some remote jobs. Here are some examples of possible career path opportunities:

  • Content Writer
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Freelance Writer
  • Copywriting
  • Editing

Tools, that I use daily, and help me with my writing skills:

  • Notion
  • Frase
  • Grammarly

Communication skills

Working remotely is all about effective communication. It doesn't matter how good you are at what you're doing - if you don't know how to communicate appropriately with your team or clients, you will not be successful at what you do.

It also highly depends on your communication skills how you present and position yourself in this new environment. For example, suppose you offer your services to certain remote companies. In that case, you have to expect that you will not even meet your 'boss,' client, or people you work with in person, so having good communication skills is necessary to do your job well and stay in contact with the people daily. You will have daily calls with clients, communicate with them via email, video, different chats, etc.

Improving your communication skills will open new opportunities in the digital nomad career like:

  • Virtual assistance
  • Customer Support
  • SEO
  • Social Media Manager
  • Digital Marketing
  • Sales

Tools:

  • Slack
  • Discord
  • Zoom
  • Skype

Organization and planning skills

Becoming a digital nomad means giving up your home environment, and all the routines that you built over the years. It means living from a suitcase and building your remote office in laptop-friendly coffee places, Airbnb apartments, airports, poolsides, etc.

You will have 24h per day that you need to use wisely and get your work done. This requires a lot of willpower and excellent organizational and planning skills. It helps if you create a setup that works for you best and use tools that help you to stay on top of your tasks. For all the planning and organizing our life, we use Notion. You can use Google Calendar to start, or any other apps that are made to help you organize and plan your work like Trello, Monday.com, ClickUp, etc.

Acquiring organizational and planning skills will help you be good at what you do and make planned progress. And what is more, you can offer these services to others as a virtual assistant.

Constant development

Offering your services for different clients, acquiring new clients, building your business, and working as a digital nomad will require constant development. This space is very saturated, and things are happening faster than in some corporations where you can work on some position for several years, and nothing changes.

Let's take the crypto-world as an example. This is an entirely new and complex world that is becoming part of our lives. With spreading popularity and becoming part of our daily lives, it also opened new income possibilities and options to offer services to others. However, if you are not somehow familiar with the topic or learning about it, you can be left behind and miss the opportunities that come along.

Flexibility

Constant development brings us to keeping flexible and open to changes. Working as a digital nomad has fewer components that you can keep control of compared to regular 9-5 jobs. You are more dependent on your clients that can come and leave at a point. There is not much guarantee. You need to have your eyes open for the opportunities, and you can't just rely on one client. You should spread your eggs in multiple baskets to ensure that unpredictable changes don't put you out for good.

If this lifestyle is something that you want and you have a passion for what you are doing, it will be easier for you to adapt to the ever-changing environment and be open to new opportunities.

So are you ready to start learning these skills, or are you already halfway there? Just start with small steps; these are not skills you need to have a comprehensive, professional education. Instead, these are efficient skills that can be learned at any time and age.

Once you figure out the direction you want to go to, you can slowly start looking into possible services you could offer and start looking for clients.

One great platform for starts is Fiverr. You can create simple gigs for some essential services. The point is to get into it and kick off your freelance business. You can first search for similar gigs that you want to provide to find the most popular ones and get inspired to create your own. It's a great first source of income and a way to test the market.

Leave a comment on how your journey is going!

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