22 Essential Qualities of a Successful Digital Nomad

22 Essential Qualities of Successful Digital Nomads

It’s an interesting world, that of the digital nomad. It’s exciting and risky, and it’s growing. And it’s not just millenials who are joining the trend. I see new travel blogs cropping up daily by individuals and couples of all ages and backgrounds. They all have the dream part down. They had the courage to take the leap. But they won’t all achieve a sustainable life of traveling full-time and working on the road.

It takes courage and belief in yourself to get started, but what does it take to succeed? Below I’ve listed what I believe are 22 qualities required for any digital nomad’s success. While it’s not a comprehensive list, these are characteristics I’ve observed time and again not only in Ian and myself, but also through networking with other successful entrepreneurs in the digital nomad community.

Want to succeed as a digital nomad? Devote some time to developing the qualities listed here. 

Successful Digital Nomads are…

resourceful

The ability to research is essential to digital nomad success. If you don’t know the answer to a question, you have to be able to look it up. Simply knowing how to use Google Search will help you overcome a ton of obstacles. If you need to acquire a new skill, you should be able to find a way to do it quickly and affordably online.

motivated

Having the intrinsic desire to succeed is key to success as a digital nomad. External motivators can be helpful, too, but an internal drive is usually most effective.

passionate

True passion should be a major factor in whatever you decide to do. It will show in the quality of your work, and customers will be drawn to that passion.

intelligent

The ability to learn and analyze information are important skills for any entrepreneur. Excellent spelling and grammar skills are usually essential, too.

open-minded

Keeping an open mind is essential when you’re developing a business. Being open to hearing others’ advice and looking at things from a different perspective can have a huge impact on your success.

confident

You have to believe in yourself and what you do. If you exude confidence, people are more likely to listen to and support the message you’re sending about your business.

focused

When you’re relying on yourself for financial support, you have to get things done. Focus is key to productivity and staying on schedule.

energetic

I don’t know a single successful digital nomad who’s lazy. All of them are spewing with energy, excited about the latest or next step in their business.

well spoken

When you’ve got the attention of an audience, you want to keep it. To do that, you must be able to speak or write clearly and concisely. This applies to marketing, blogging, and public speaking.

skilled

If you’re going to be a blogger, you should be good at writing. If you plan to blog about sewing, you should be awesome at sewing. If you’re going to sell a video e-course on graphic design, you should be good at speaking on camera, and you should be an exceptional graphic designer with an education and portfolio to prove it. You don’t have to have all the required skills when you come up with your idea, but you should be ready to acquire and polish any skills you’re missing through practice, an online class, or a YouTube tutorial.

interesting

When’s the last time you read a boring blog post or watched a poorly edited vlog? Did you read or watch the whole thing? Probably not. And you probably didn’t subscribe either.

creative

Many digital nomads start their business with little or no budget. Bootstrapping and alternative marketing strategies are necessary, and creativity helps greatly with both. It also helps when coming up with business ideas in general.

experimental

Trial and error is an inherent part of digital nomad life. You’re creating your own path to online business success, which means you have to experiment with different ideas for your business. Successful digital nomads stick with what works and get rid of what doesn’t.

tech-minded

Digital nomads make a living via their laptops and phones, so you must know how to use technology efficiently and effectively. This makes it easy for us to research questions online, effortlessly filtering through spam in our search results to find the information we’re looking for quickly. It also helps in acquiring new skills quickly, like web development, social media marketing, etc.

instructive

Being a good teacher or mentor is an important trait for many digital nomads — bloggers especially. You have to be able to look at any information you’re presenting from the perspective of a student. If explaining or showing others how to do something is any part of your business, you should be awesome at presenting the information in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand.

eager to learn

Being a good learner is even more important than being a good teacher. You will never have all of the information and skills you need to succeed. You need to be willing to actively educate yourself so you can have the expert knowledge you need to run a successful online business. This is one of the most important qualities on this list.

productive

Getting things done is of the utmost importance for anyone who’s self-employed. Successful digital nomads are awesome at identifying what work needs to be done and doing it efficiently.

adaptable

Our world, technology, and the fields we work in are constantly changing. Digital nomad businesses should be in a constant state of evolution to make money and stay relevant to the current demand for their business.

informed

Successful digital nomads keep themselves informed about the current state of external factors that have the potential of affecting their business. Competition, local business and tax laws, and current trends in one’s field of work are all things to stay on top of as a digital nomad.

engaging

Whether it’s through marketing, blogging, vlogging, or any other means of communication with an audience, sparking interest and conversation is key to spreading your message. Your attitude, language, and follow-up interaction will all factor in to how engaged your audience is.

inspiring

This one goes hand in hand with passion, because if you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll tend to inspire others as well.

well-rounded

Every successful digital nomad I know has an amazingly extensive skill set, is well spoken and intelligent… and really, everything else on this list. To say successful digital nomads are well-rounded is an understatement.

To those of you looking at this list who currently lack one or more of these qualities:

Every quality on this list can be learned, improved, and refined.

You likely won’t have all of these qualities at the start of your digital nomad quest, but it’s good to be aware of areas where you have room for improvement. There’s no better way to improve on your weaknesses than to acknowledge their existence and make an active effort to conquer them.


Are you, or do you know, a successful digital nomad? Do you have any traits to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Read my other posts on digital nomad life.

About the Author

Diana Southern
In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.

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