This article was produced by AND CO, the app that automates freelancers’ administrative tasks.
For many, the digital nomad lifestyle sounds like a dream. You get to pack your bags, see the world, and work wherever—and, in many cases, whenever—you want.
It’s envy-worthy, right?
That’s true. But, there’s another important thing to remember: Just because life as a digital nomad is awesome, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always easy.
There are the challenges that come with navigating new cities, of course. From finding your favorite working spot to figuring out public transportation, changing your location on a frequent basis can introduce some stress along with the excitement.
And somehow, you need to figure all of that out while still managing to get your work done well and on time—without a boss breathing down your neck.
As a result, successfully managing the digital nomad lifestyle requires some particular qualities. Do you have what it takes? Here’s what you need to be a successful digital nomad.
1. Sense of Adventure
Let’s start with the most obvious first: a strong sense of adventure.
Being a digital nomad means you’ll be traveling on a near constant basis. Many of them visit anywhere from three to 20 countries each year, often staying in each place for only a couple of weeks at most.
If you’re somebody who doesn’t like uncertainty and thrives with more predictability and stability, the digital nomad lifestyle will likely be more draining and exhausting than exciting and fulfilling.
Making it as a digital nomad also demands a pretty high level of flexibility. Whether you need to work at odd hours to accommodate other time zones, stay in some less-than-desirable housing, or work in different places just to get reliable WiFi, you need to be able to roll with the punches (and, ideally, enjoy them!) as a digital nomad.
You love to travel—that’s what drew you to the digital nomad lifestyle in the first place. You imagine days spent eating croissants on the banks of the Seine or exploring Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico.
You absolutely can do all of that as a digital nomad. But, there’s a catch: You need to be able to get your work done too.
Living a successful (and profitable!) life as a digital nomad demands a high level of self-motivation. You need to have the discipline to sit yourself down at your computer to answer emails and meet deadlines, even when you’d rather be exploring whatever city you’ve found yourself in.
Are you a procrastinator who quickly caves at the sight of temptation? Being a digital nomad could prove challenging (and, unfortunately, less than lucrative).
3. Proper Money Management
While the majority of digital nomads will tell you that they know how to stretch a dollar, there’s no denying that a life of constant travel and unpredictable work can make keeping an eye on your wallet difficult.
As a result, you need to have the ability to establish and stick with a monthly budget for yourself. It’s also helpful to have some basic accounting knowledge to predict your income and make tweaks accordingly (such as finding cities with lower costs of living!). Having a way to keep your income and expenses organized (hey, AND CO can help with this!) is also helpful.
You can make things work on very little as a digital nomad—the exact amount you need will vary based on where you’re planning to travel and your own financial goals.
However, the important thing is to have the commitment to keep a close eye on your bank account. Like it or not, you’ll need to worry about your money.
4. Communication Skills
Remote work is at the very core of the digital nomad lifestyle—which means you’ll very rarely be communicating with the people you work with face-to-face.
To work successfully, you’ll need to be able to effectively communicate and collaborate with people without relying on more traditional methods like in-person meetings. Through emails, phone calls, and video conferences, you’ll have to be able to get your point across and share necessary information.
Don’t pride yourself on your written and verbal communication skills? Getting your work done as a digital nomad could cause some headaches for you—as well as your clients or employer.
Sometimes you need to chase down work. Other times you need to figure out how to make ends meet when you’re practically searching the couch cushions for spare change.
As a result, being a digital nomad means you need to be scrappy. You need to be willing to take risks and put yourself out there. The more innovative and resourceful you can be as a digital nomad, the better off you’ll be!
Living as a digital nomad is thrilling, but making the most of it also requires some distinct qualities and personality traits. Possessing the above five will make your life as a digital nomad easier, as well as far more enjoyable.
Did we miss any digital nomad traits that you think are necessary? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet @Workfrom using #digitalnomad.