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Digital Nomad: 10 Things He Does Differently

Digital Nomad: 10 Things He Does Differently

For the past 4 years, I’ve been living like a digital nomad: working from coffee shops, on my laptop, no fixed hours, no boss. Before that, I was an online entrepreneur, building‒and successfully selling‒vertical portals, in niches like car industry or cooking.

Living “off the grid”‒without fixed hours, without an office and any imposed schedule to respect‒has its perks, no doubt about it. But it also has its fair share of responsibilities. All in all, I confess it’s a beautiful journey. Unfortunately, very few people know what it takes to be a digital nomad. So, let’s see a few things a digital nomad does differently from the rest of the world.

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1. A Digital Nomad Makes Friends Before And After Going To The Toilet

Yep, I saw that smile on your face. It’s ok. Let me tell you how it works: you’re in a coffee shop, had 2-3 cup of tea so far, and you really need to go to the toilet. What do you do with your laptop? Well, you ask someone nicely to take care of it while you’re out there, fighting your own fights. In 4 years, I never had a single “no” for an answer. Even more, I made friends with almost 50% of the people I talked to this way. It may sound like a strange situation, but, believe it or not, people love to care about other people. True story.

2. He Travels Lighter

And I mean, WAY lighter. Most of the time, when I travel in a different country, I have only 2 bags: a backpack for the laptop, and a very small bag‒which some airlines may even consider a carry on‒and that’s that. I learned how to take advantage of whatever I find at the place of destination. If I need clothes, I just buy the minimum from a local shop. It goes the same with shoes, or anything else you may imagine you need to properly function in a given society. To be honest, the most precious belongings are my laptop and my phone, because that’s how I make a living.

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3. A Digital Nomad Immediately Sees All The Power Outlets In A Given Room

It’s a skill. After you work in random places for more than a year, and your work involves powering up a laptop, you kind of learn how to immediately identify all the power outlets in a given room. It may not win you points if you’re at a party, but it can surely save your ass if you’re in between flights, in an airport, and you have to turn in some work in the next two hours.

4. He’s More Disciplined Than The Average Employee

If you work in a normal structure, you have a boss. Or you report to someone. Or you have to do something in a certain way; otherwise somebody will fire you. Well, if you work for yourself, you don’t have that. You’re your own boss. You have to be really tough on yourself to actually get up from bed, go out, get that coffee and start working. Being a digital nomad is not a walk in the park, although it may seem like it from afar. But the good news is that discipline is good for you, in the long term, regardless of how you choose to work‒as a digital nomad or otherwise.

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5. He Smiles More Than You

Let me tell you a secret: the best thing to do when you’re in a foreign country and you are unfamiliar with the native spoken language is to just smile. But do it openly, honestly and cross your fingers. It will amaze you how people around you are doing their best to support you. You’re also free to do the opposite, like frowning, and see what happens. I did both and, believe me, smiling works better all the time.

6. A Digital Nomad Has More Friends Than You

When you work from coffee shops for a few months in a row, you end up making friends with the regulars of that place. Period. And if you do this with a few coffee shops for three to four years, you end up with a tremendous number of people you know and are close to. So, if you’re a digital nomad, your friends circle is likely to be an order of magnitude higher than the average Joe, which is kinda neat.

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7. His Income Is More Or Less Passive

As a digital nomad, you have to maintain a decent work / life balance. Because, in a way, your life is your work. Maintaining a fluid lifestyle, ready for everything, at any given time, means you have to have some safety cushion. So, you may do work for clients, but, in order to make sure you’re not going to be stuck for months in a foreign country because you have no money for the plane ticket, you first grow a layer of passive income. And that’s also kinda neat.

8. He Is A Part Of The “Immediocracy”

“Immediocracy” is a term I coined myself (I guess) and it basically means: “the power of the immediate, of the now.” From taking advantages of instant opportunities, to getting to know first about important events, this new breed of influencers have the ability to always be connected, through social media, mostly, to the most intimate mechanisms of our modern society. If you have to rent parts of your time during the day‒like being an employee‒you can’t really understand this new type of freedom.

9. He’s Healthier Than You

“Nomad” means “always moving.” So, just by the mere fact that these guys are always moving, something better happens to them at the physical level. Diversity is a very good thing. Being it the diversity of the places you live in, or the diversity you get by choosing each day a different work place, you get to experience a lot of it, as a digital nomad. You walk more. You see more. You experience more. So, you build up a better immune system.

10. He Manages His Fears Better Than You

Being a digital nomad is not easier, nor simpler than living a regular corporate life. The mere act of “jumping in” takes a lot of courage, not to mention the amount of self control and discipline needed to actually keep this lifestyle going on is int. But once you’re on that train, once you’re past this fear of being “lost” and once you’re actually making a living, you just realize your “courage” muscles have just been upgraded. And you’re ready to tackle challenges you never ever though of before. And that’s a very, very good thing.

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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