How to be a digital nomad with no skills

How to be a digital nomad with no skills

It certainly isn’t the easy way.

You want to travel at your leisure. You want to explore the world, take in new sights and record new experiences into the history of your life. You want to do all of this while working, but you don’t think what you do translates all that well into a nomadic lifestyle. You want to know how to be a digital nomad with no skills. But really, you’re asking for the wrong thing.

Here’s what you should be asking

“How can I develop skills that are compatible with remote work?” That is step one, really. Step two of two, then, is getting them. If you want to work while traveling, you need those skills. You can’t do it without them, unless your plan is to simply get a new (very brief) job locally every place you travel. In my experience, you’ll have a very tough time making that happen.

Skills are your lifeline in case things don’t go to plan. They give you options — for instance, the option to get another job (hopefully a remote one) if you don’t do enough freelance business or your boss won’t let you work remotely. Or the option to freelance if you have a lot of faith in your abilities. If you embark on a digital nomad journey without skills, just hoping things work out, you are likely in for a rude awakening. Don’t do that.

Searching for skills? Try your passion

Think about it for a bit. What’s your passion outside of work? Does that translate into an all (or mostly) digital career? List out the things you enjoy. If the first passion doesn’t fit, try a second, then a third. Can you run a remote business doing that for a living? Do you feel like you’re skilled enough in it, or do you think you still have some learning to do?

If it’s the former, brainstorm on how such a business might work. Put a digital spin on it. If you’re a gifted sushi chef, parlay that into a how-to website or a YouTube channel. If makeup is your thing, put together guides on how to use products properly. Turn those into lead magnets. Build up an email list. Then try to generate affiliate revenue from the items you use or new ones you’re checking out on behalf of your community.

If it’s the latter, it’s time to learn.

Or educate yourself

Again, you do not want to know how to be a digital nomad with no skills — trust me. You’ll flail without some talents to fall back on. So if you don’t have them, you need to learn them. Look into some educational resources online to try and beef up your skillset. Take courses on a site like Treehouse. Do a bootcamp. Watch a metric crapton of YouTube videos. Do what you have to do to learn as much as you can.

If you have free time, spend it on getting really good at something. Maybe it’s coding in PHP. Maybe it’s writing landing pages. Maybe it’s setting up Shopify stores for other people. Something you can do from anywhere, and something people are likely going to pay a professional to do. Then hone that skill.

Digital nomading is not the dream you think it is

You’ve probably read all sorts of articles that romanticize the idea of the digital nomad. So often, they’re startup folks who travel to a cheap country to try and build a new product while living it up at lower costs. Or they’re yoga instructors or travel bloggers or consultants of some kind. People who make it all look easy — so much so that they’ve made you think you can do what they do with absolutely no plan. No plan at all. Isn’t that wild?

The truth is, the digital nomad lifestyle is hard. And if you’ve ever struggled to get a job in person, or felt like you had to scrap for the odd job here or there, imagine doing it from a foreign country where failure can make your life very complicated very quickly.

It is not advised you try to be a digital nomad with no skills. Instead, build a set. Nurture them. Perfect them. Practice them before you embark and be absolutely sure you can put yourself in a position to succeed. Only then should you think about doing the nomad thing. Only then.

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