• How to become a digital nomad

    The 2020 pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named forced businesses all around the world to take their teams remote where they could, and while some countries tentatively step back into some kind of normal, the success that many businesses have found with remote working may mean it’s here to stay. Indeed, companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Shopify have already made the change permanent.

    This presents a great opportunity for aspiring digital nomads to take the bull by the horns (or, say, the camper van by the steering wheel), and work on the road. Sure, international borders aren’t all open yet, but many countries around the world, including the UAE, Estonia, Croatia and Dominica are prepping for the uptake in remote workers with tantalising visa options.

    While working from anywhere in the world sounds like a dream, digital nomad life takes *SO* much discipline – namely sticking to a working routine that allows for regular income and ensures you maintain the work-mode/holiday-mode balance. What happens when you want to take the leap of faith, but also want to keep the job you love? Given the increased willingness managers have to let their staff work remotely, there’s a chance you may be able to get the best of both worlds. Here are some tips to help you with the buy-in.

    Step 1: Is your career even suited to nomad life?

    Sure, you could work remotely for the better part of last year, but is it sustainable for the job you’re in? If your job is in sales, for example, can you build and maintain trusted relationships with clients on the road, or is there more success to be had in face-to-face interactions?

    A good way to work this out is to start with a list. Write down your key roles and responsibilities. Next to each, state whether you’d have the resources to still complete these tasks if you worked remotely – be it at home or on the other side of the world. Do you have access to company emails? Do you have all the software needed to do your job? Are clients comfortable with video call consultations?

    Step 2: Negotiate remote working

    It’s far easier to switch to the digital nomad life if you could keep the job you have, so before you have The Talk with your manager, there’s a few things to think about. Firstly, step into your boss’ shoes. What concerns, if any, would they have about you being able to do your job? Anticipate what your manager might worry about and be ready with solutions for those challenges. For example, if you want to move to a different time zone, have a plan of how you intend to work the same working hours, if it’s necessary to do so. Planning solutions also demonstrates how carefully you’re considering the shift and how much you’d like to stay with the company (retention is always a win).

    Also, don’t be afraid to cite your performance (which is awesome, obvs) as an argument in your favour. It’s *SO* much easier to negotiate if you can demonstrate that you’re damn good at what you do. The sooner you have this convo with your boss, the better, so you have plenty of time to sit and plan together.

    Step 3: Ace your base

    Once you’ve mapped out what your role will look like in a full-time remote situation, it’s time to consider the place/s you’d like to work from. Whether you’re looking to move to another place for an extended time or be on the move more regularly, make sure that wherever you end up has good phone and internet connection.

    It may help to seek out co-working spaces in places you’re looking at, or at least research the internet//phone connectivity so that you are confident you can do your job while on the road.

    Step 4: Test it out

    If you/your manager needs further convincing that working remotely will actually work, see if you can arrange a trial run first. Try working remotely for a month or two to test out your nomad plan and iron out any other bumps that you might not have thought of at the start. Most importantly, a trial run will help you work out if you’re fully committed to the digital nomad life.

    Photo by Alizée Baudez on Unsplash

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  • Why soft skills are important for the future of work

    A post-pandemic workscape has shone a spotlight on the importance of interpersonal skills. Here’s how to identify and qualify your soft skills set.

    The professional value you bring to a role is not just about technical skills (although for many of us, the financial commitment to attain these is hard to forget!). Technical capability definitely affects things such as productivity and performance, but have you invested as much thought into your ‘soft skills’?

    If The Year That Shall Not Be Named has taught us anything, is that attaining success – indeed now and for the future – comes down to fostering authentic connections. In a post-pandemic world where remote teams and completely digitised work processes are the norm, Innate human skills such as relationship building, fostering team camaraderie, an ability to problem solve, communicate well and adapt to change are more in demand than ever before.

    While hiring managers and leaders regard soft-skills as highly as technical ones, it still seems odd to to *say* you’re a great team player with an ability to work with all personality types, without actually being able to qualify it, right?

    So, if you’ve got the skills, how do you market them in a professional setting?


    The first step to qualifying your soft skills is to actually conduct a skills audit on yourself. What sort of soft skills does your job require that you have developed over time? Are you required to manage relationships with stakeholders or among your own team? In what ways do you contribute to team culture? Are you a clear communicator? Do you manage your time well? Do you manage work stress in healthy ways?


    Once you have identified your skills you can qualify them. Here are two ways you can do this.

    • Courses

    Plenty of colleges and universities offer short courses in soft skills such as customer service, communication, project management, and leadership. Platforms such as LinkedIn Learning and Skillshare are more budget-friendly (some courses are free!) and also cover off a range of soft and technical skills, with badges or certifications that you can add directly to a digital portfolio or LinkedIn profile. And if you’re in the world of digital marketing, Google and Facebook have free short courses and learning hubs available for anyone to access. It’s also worth checking in with your employer to see if your study can be subsidised or whether they have special access to courses for employees to upskill.

    • LinkedIn endorsements + recommendations

    It’s well worth spring cleaning the Skills and Recommendations sections of your LinkedIn profile, where you can list up to 50 skills and highlight three key ones. You can also ask current and former colleagues and clients to write recommendations around your soft skills where appropriate.

    Feature image: Alvaro Reyes/Unsplash

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  • Why imposter syndrome is a superpower

    Superheroes. They seem ridiculously perfect at first instance, but dig a little deeper and there’s a weakness to be found: Superman’s kryptonite, Wonder Woman’s fragile skin, Hulk’s unpredictable rage (hey, Big Guy, we’ve all been there).

    While imposter syndrome isn’t among the weaknesses of our fave comic book heroes, it is a weakness for many of us highly qualified, trained, experienced freelancers. 

    A reflection exercise for you: you’ve managed to score a top new client on retainer, a published piece for a dream masthead, or had a fee accepted by a client that was much higher than your usual rate (and FOR ONCE on par with your skills and expertise). Hands up how many of you have then felt personally victimised by Regina George these phrases?

    • I don’t know enough to do this job
    • They are going to find out I’m not that qualified 
    • I got this job on pure luck

    Mmhmm. Same. 

    The trickiest part about imposter syndrome is that it’s entirely internal. That battle with self-doubt; a fear of being ‘caught out’ as underqualified; that nagging feeling that you just *got lucky this time*.

    Imposter syndrome was first identified in high-achieving women (surprise, surprise) in a 1978 study by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes. Recent studies demonstrate the prevalence of imposter syndrome among professionals in general, and in particular Millennials, which could be attributed to growing up among rapid technological advancement and increased societal pressures via social media and the subsequent strive for perfectionism.  

    In short, imposter syndrome can be crippling to confidence and productivity. But, there’s a way to harness those feelings of inferiority into a positive force of change. 

    Room to grow

    The truth is, no one knows their job inside-out, and professional growth simply *can’t* happen without room in your role to actually, well, learn. Feeling like there’s always room for learning is a very good quality to have. There’s only so much books and tertiary study can teach you before you go out into any job, and there’s nothing quite like learning on the fly. Jumped into the deep end? Channel the doubt into a driver to seek out mentors, extra training and workshops. Ask all the questions (sooner, rather than later).

    And remember, even CEOs feel the fear. Take Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes, who famously engaged in a Twitter tête-à-tête with Elon Musk regarding Tesla’s proposal to solve South Australia’s power crisis with a giant battery.

    “Within 24 hours, I had every major media outlet texting and emailing and trying to get in contact with me to get an opinion as some sort of ‘expert’ in energy,” he explained in a 2017 TedTalk. “I knew I was miles out of my depth. But instead of freezing, I tried to learn as much as I could, motivated by my fear of generally looking like an idiot, and tried to turn that into some sort of a force for good.

    Taking ownership

    Don’t know about you, but my imposter syndrome is comorbid with a (frustrating AF) inability to accept accomplishment. That is, a successfully completed task is only successful because of blind luck. Whenever you’ve completed something, try journaling a reflection that sort of evaluates the journey, and lists all the steps you had to take to get there, and the feedback you received along the way. Then read it again. Get into the habit of doing this to train your brain to take ownership of the work you’ve done and how your skills have developed over time. 

    The power of empathy

    There’s value in lived experience with imposter syndrome, in that can equip you with a strong sense of empathy – considered an essential skill of successful leaders. Listening to others and sharing your own experience can open up a host of opportunities in mentoring, peer support and even training. Everyone has to learn from someone, right?

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