8 Resolutions for Digital Nomad Success in 2020

digital nomad success

Resolutions are a viable part of starting your new year off right, and for those seeking success as a digital nomad, this is no different. Both small- and large-scale changes to your lifestyle or career can make this year one to remember. Whether you are searching for methods of self-improvement or determining how to land that next big client, resolutions for the new year provide a road map to success—and it’s not too late! If you are struggling to come up with ideas for 2020, here are a few suggestions to add purpose, specificity, and structure to your life and enhance your digital nomad success. 

8 Resolutions for Digital Nomad Success in 2020

Below you will find four resolutions focused more on improving yourself personally and four others that will do wonders for you on the business side of things.

Self-Improvement Resolutions for Digital Nomads

1. Read More   

Reading is a gateway to knowledge. The more you dive in, the more likely you are to learn information that can help you make an impact in 2020, or at least boost your score at pub trivia. However, the value of reading is less about what you read and more about how often.

The positive effects of reading are widely studied and documented by researchers across the globe. Benefits may include:

  • Better cognitive function and ability
  • Increased theory of mind and empathy
  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved memory 

Your reading does not need to be tethered to a specific genre either. You might want to read a self-help book to improve your well-being or maybe you prefer to scour the latest digital marketing publication to build your skillset. Even the latest “airport novel” is not a waste of time. The idea is to read as much as possible whenever possible. In doing so, you just might find you are a bit sharper and more relaxed than ever.

2. Write More

Even if you are not a content writer or author, sitting down to your keyboard or picking up a pen remains a window to enrichment and prosperity. Writing stimulates parts of your brain that can remain dormant, especially if you go old-school and pick up a pen and paper. Studies show that writing in this manner can improve neural function, sharpen the mind, and relax you. Writing also makes you a better communicator, something essential to your success as a digital nomad.

Like reading, it’s less about what you write and more about the fact that you are writing on a regular basis. Jotting down your daily thoughts, digital nomad adventures, or even putting together a business idea, can get your brain rolling and lead to positive changes in other areas of your life. Maybe you’re a poet and you didn’t know it, as the grade-school saying goes. Whatever you write, it is a jump-start for your brain, which may lead to increased productivity and a steady stream of new ideas.

3. Start a Side Project or Hobby

To the untrained eye, being a digital nomad is tantamount to “living the best life.” And it can be. It is a world with unlimited possibilities, allowing you to soak up other cultures, live wherever you want, and earn a living doing it. The only problem is that sometimes being a digital nomad becomes a bit static. That is not to say you are not enjoying your life, but if you are constantly immersed in work and exploration, you can get worn out. You need something else.

That is where a side project or a hobby can help. Whatever you decide to do with your free time, try to separate it from making money or stress. You will be surprised how much this can impact your level of success as a digital nomad. Perhaps you want to learn origami, figure out how to play a local sport, or take up crocheting. All of these activities can inspire and invigorate you while promoting structure, discipline, and resilience. Plus, you’ll become a tad more interesting in the process.

4. Learn a Language

Learning a language may fall under the greater umbrella of starting a side project or hobby, but in the digital nomad world, it has farther-reaching implications. When you learn a language, you can connect with your adopted home on a more genuine, immersive basis. Not only can you verbalize ideas and share your thoughts with others when you previously couldn’t, but you foster personal growth in a skill that lasts a lifetime.

Give serious thought to the language you want to pursue. Do not just choose one randomly. Align your travel and temporary homes with a language that allows you to constantly practice and improve.

The advent of online tutoring and teaching makes this more accessible. Learning a language may seem like a huge undertaking, but with daily practice and a drive to succeed, you just might become the ultimate multilingual digital nomad.

Business Resolutions for Digital Nomad Success in 2020

5. Start a Routine

Structure and routine are foreign concepts for many digital nomads. Each place you call home is temporary. With the excitement of exploration and meeting new people, you may not take the time to create a daily regimen.

Avoid falling into this trap.

A daily routine helps align your everyday life with your career and personal aspirations. You can get more done, forge better overall habits, and sleep better. Moreover, you gain momentum. Every day you adhere to your routine, you feel a sense of accomplishment. Complete the routine enough days in a row, and you’ve built up the momentum to keep going. From there, you might notice better work/life balance, increased productivity, or simply the satisfaction of another day heading one step closer to your goals.

6. Seek New Opportunities

Regardless of whether you are a veteran digital nomad or becoming one tops your list for 2020, you need to seek opportunities. As Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” You may not be on the precipice of starting an ice hockey career, but the principle remains the same.

Get out there, and find the next opportunity. Embrace when you feel vulnerable or overwhelmed. Learning how to cope with these emotions will prepare you for the life you are pursuing. 

For the aspiring digital nomad, success starts with completing stressing and taxing tasks, such as gathering resources, saving money, and figuring out where to start. You need the resolve and motivation to turn your dreams into reality. None of this is easy. However, the more you apply to remote jobs, network, and learn about the lifestyle, the closer you get to working from an exotic locale and experiencing what many others do not have the mental fortitude to accomplish.

Seasoned digital nomads may find the idea of new opportunities a bit vague, but rest assured, they are every bit as important. Stagnation as a digital nomad limits your potential, even if you have long-term, trustworthy clients or a superb employer. Around every turn, you just might find the possibility of more income or a project that you’re passionate about. Some opportunities might be dead ends, but keep the wise words of Gretzky ringing in your ears.

7. Brand Yourself

The digital nomad realm, and in particular, freelancing, is not the simplest path to earn a living. It requires a project or client to get your foot in the door, followed by months and years of building a brand and reputation. However, many digital nomads fall short when it comes to branding. Often, this is because they view themselves as an individual, not as a business.

Not seeing yourself as a one-person business is dangerous territory. You become complacent with your work, or you stop trying to contrive ways to earn more income or growth. That is why branding is such an integral part of your success as a digital nomad.

If you have never thought about branding, it is a straightforward process. A basic digital nomad branding blueprint may involve:

  • Buying a domain name and putting together a professional-looking website
  • Creating a portfolio of work you are most proud of
  • Commissioning a graphic designer to craft an eye-catching logo
  • Putting a social media presence together and updating it regularly

This is not an exhaustive list for personal branding, but it will certainly aid in your quest. When in doubt, search the blogs of your favorite nomads, authors, or other individuals to see how they brand themselves. Then tailor tools you pick up to your style and mission. There is no harm in a bit of branding replication, and you just might find that it boosts your business for the new year.

8. Stay on Top of Taxes

One of the most common problems many novice digital nomads face is taxes. They do not know how much to save, how to budget for taxes, or any other relevant tax-filing practices. Floating aimlessly between revenue and taxes, these individuals are typically hit with a massive tax bill at the end of the year and no money to pay it. Success as a digital nomad is hard to achieve when you have the stress of the IRS breathing down your neck. 

Do not let this happen to you.

As a general rule, you will need to save somewhere between 25% and 35% of your income to cover state and federal taxes, as well as self-employment tax, which currently sits at 15.3% of your gross income. State taxes vary, so go to the Department of Revenue website for your state to find the current rate. Federal taxes will also vary depending on your income, so if you are close to entering the next tax bracket, plan accordingly.

On top of knowing your rates, don’t forget to make estimated tax payments. Known as a Form 1040-ES, estimated tax payments break up your total tax liability into four easy-to-manage chunks (paid Jan. 15, Apr. 15 June 15, and Sept. 15). Paying your taxes in this manner not only allows you budget, but it also avoids the penalties and interest if you only pay once a year or at-random. 

While some of these resolutions for 2020 may seem like a generic list for any motivated person, sticking to them as a digital nomad is a different story. The ever-evolving, constantly changing lifestyle is not always conducive to resolution completion. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible. So hunker down, stay on track, and stick to the game plan. With any luck, 2020 is going to be one wild ride.

Do you have additional advice for digital nomads looking for success in 2020Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to tell us. We’d love to hear from you!

iStock Photo Credit: Natalie_magic


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