Telecommuter. Remote worker. There are quite a few names that describe people who work from home. And now, there’s a new one: digital nomad. Digital nomads are people who work virtually, and often times from various locations. So one day, you might indeed be working from your home office, but the next might be at a Starbucks, the park, or even from the beach in the Bahamas. Sounds exciting, right?
If you’d like to become a digital nomad, too, follow these tips.
Spruce up your skills.
By its very name, a digital nomadic lifestyle sounds scintillating. But if you’re a working parent or caring for an aging loved one, a disabled worker, or even a military spouse, being a digital nomad really means, in a more practical way, that you can work while you’re at your kid’s soccer game, waiting for your parent to finish with his doctor’s appointment, after your physical therapy visit, or even work from a military base anywhere in the world.
As such, it’s important to keep in mind that even if you call yourself a digital nomad, you’re still employed in a very real job that has requirements, rules, and deadlines, unless you are a private contractor like me. if you are a private contractor, you are your own boss and set your own housrs and only take on assigments you feel fit your skillset and also things that you actually enjoy doing. So you’ll need to make sure that you have the necessary skills in order to work from any location successfully, such as being able to manage your workload, meet your deadlines, and still work well with your colleagues, even if they’re thousands of miles away. Superior communication skills are of the utmost importance, since you won’t ever be working with your boss or coworkers in the same office. And technology should be your bestie, since it will serve as your lifeline to your work and your colleagues, too. Even as a private contractor, you will need to be in constant contact with those who you are contracting for.
Know what potential employers are looking for.
In order to further your digital nomadic dream, you’ll have to know what potential employers want in an employee who works remotely. For starters, you should list any and all previous remote work experience. From freelance work to part-time telecommuting jobs, it all counts in your favor when you’re looking for a flexible job. Even if you’ve only had office jobs up until this point but worked from home, say, during a blizzard or during the holiday season, that experience certainly counts!
Beyond previous experience, potential bosses are also looking for workers who know the ins and outs of virtual communication, such as video conferencing programs, document sharing, collaboration docs, and instant messaging, as well as more “traditional” methods of communication such as phone or email.
Research the work-from-anywhere job market.
As hard as you might search, you might be hard-pressed to find a position that specifically states that the company is looking for a digital nomad. But there are plenty of positions that do work well with a digital nomadic lifestyle. For example, some of the most popular work-from-anywhere jobs include positions like web and software developers, copywriters, communications coordinators, project managers, editors, graphic designers, marketing directors, translators, and even tax accountants and lawyers. Something else to note is that digital nomad jobs range from entry-level to executive, so a job seeker truly has the chance to find a position that fits his experience level and training.
Don’t make it personal.
Sure, you might need to be a digital nomad in your work life because you’re caring for your small children in your personal life. During a job interview, though, you should try to avoid mentioning that you need flex for personal reasons. After all, a potential boss is more interested in what you can bring to the company on a professional note as opposed to your personal plea for a work-from-anywhere job. So in your job application—or during the job interview—be sure to focus on what you can offer your potential employer in terms of your previous work experience, skills, and other talents.
One of the major concerns that a boss-to-be might have when dealing with a digital nomad is being able to find him should he need to. So it’s important to be somewhat transparent when you’re a digital nomad. No matter where you’re working, it’s up to you to be sure that you’ll be able to have a high-speed Internet connection and a functioning mobile office. You can also take the initiative by regularly communicating with your boss, simply to let him know what you’re working on or even to ask how his weekend was. That way, your boss feels like he always has a connection to you, no matter where in the world you are.
Being a digital nomad can fit many people’s needs for work-life balance. So start preparing yourself for this interesting style of work and you’ll be setting yourself up for success for many years to come.
I am a Digital Nomad!