How to Become a Digital Nomad in 5 Steps

So, you’ve had it with long commutes, long office hours and your own long face in the bathroom mirror every morning?

It is time for a change, a new direction in life, so your plan is to become a digital nomad? Let’s dive into the steps to get you there!

Step 1: Choose the right profession

First off, we suggest you take up one of these professions: web or app developer, digital or SoMe marketer, customer services rep, SEO specialist, travel blogger, digital entrepreneur or programmer. In a post-COVID world this list will only grow longer as employers experience that remote working, in fact, works.

Some of these jobs may be more or less glamorous than others. Some demand extensive studies whereas others ask for little more than a learning attitude and self-discipline – two traits that are general success factors for really any remote worker.

Step 2: Have the right mindset

When deciding to «go remote» there are some challenges you need to take into account: the lack of everyday human contact, less opportunities for direct learning from coworkers, how to update your skills, keeping up with deadlines and getting enough leisure time (!). The latter might seem unnecessary, we become digital nomads to enrich our lives not to work ourselves to the ground, right? True, but it can become a challenge to separate the «on» and «off» time from the computer.

Step 3: Learn to disconnect

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being always connected. Having clearly dedicated on and off hours is highly recommended. Your boss or client should respect your «office hours», and then one can always choose to go that extra mile (or extra hours) when it’s really crucial. Being disconnected in your leisure time will help you recharge your batteries as well. Having one offline day a week is one recommendation.

Step 4: Have the right tools

This might seem like an obvious one, but how many of us haven’t faced virtual meetings or workshops with faces frozen in various grimaces, sound falling out or feedback worthy of a 1970s rock concert? It shouldn’t really need saying, but a fast and stable wifi connection, a workstation where the wifi actually reaches with a noise-free environment (sound and vision) is requisite.

Other online tools for your toolbox, Slack for team communication, the Google G-Suite or Office 365, cloud storage (Dropbox etc.) and a social intranet (Yammer and the like) when working in a larger team. Furthermore, project planning tools like Miro (esp. for designers), Monday, Zoho Projects or Wrike for instance.

Step 5: Find the right workspace

The late great American poet Charles Bukowski wrote: “air and light and time and space have nothing to do with it and don’t create anything except maybe a longer life to find new excuses for.” For those of us with less of a poetic inclination, air and light and time and space are really pretty important for getting work done!

It’s easy when you work in your home environment just to end up in a rickety lawn-chair with your laptop, but right lighting conditions, a quality chair etc. not only help you to optimize your work but also your physical condition.

What to look for in a Coworking space 

If you land in a city of a certain size chances are you’ll have a number of different coworking options. Make sure to test the space before committing. Sometimes you get sidetracked by cool hipster design choices and the well-stocked fridges, but we ask you to pay attention to 3 key factors;

  1. Test the chairs – Sometimes those “cool” design features include chairs that are useless for a day’s work in front of a screen. Make sure the Coworking has invested in high quality chairs!
  2. Check out the perks – A serious Coworking should have serious perks. Percentages off on gym memberships are great, but career-advancing ones are even better.
  3. Check out the networking  – find out what your fellow coworkers are doing. Part of the motivation for paying the fee is to network with like minded professionals, for career opportunities as well as practical tips on your work, or even where to get the best sushi in town.

How to face the challenges of a digital nomad

To be successful in your endeavors to become a digital nomad you need to find the right strategies for how to handle these various challenges. You possibly already have a profession well suited to this work-lifestyle, now it’s all about taking the next (right) steps to a truly flexible and independent existence!

>> Feeling ready? Learn more about coliving

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