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20 Mindset Skills of a Digital Nomad

Mindset Skills of a Digital Nomad (Online Entrepreneur)

In this Article we will examine a detailed list and explanation of the various traits and qualities that most Entrepreneurial people possess. The qualities and descriptions have been sourced from psychological, social and business studies, and while not complete, offer a general consensus of the traits that are important for the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Each different type of business, including the four hour work week online business will find some of these qualities more and some less important. The following selection of personality traits and mental skills are divided into four main groups as follows.

  • Personal characteristics.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Critical and creative thinking skills.
  • Practical & Business skills.

We will examine each Mindset Trait or Skill in more detail, 1st in a table that will highlight the quality and provide you with some basic questions to ask yourself to identify if you have this quality. This article uses examples specifically directed towards the type of business someone following the principles of the Four Hour Work Week (Tim Ferris) – but can be applied to any business endeavor

 

1) Personal Characteristics

First, examine your personal characteristics, values, and beliefs. Do you have the mindset that’s typical of successful entrepreneurs?

Quality
Questions to Ask
Optimism Are you an optimistic thinker? Optimism is truly an asset, and it will help get you through the tough times that many entrepreneurs experience as they find a business model that works for them
Mission & Vision Can you easily see where things can be improved? Can you quickly grasp the “big picture,” and explain this to others? And can you create a compelling vision of the future, and then inspire other people to engage with that vision?
Initiative Do you have initiative, and instinctively start problem-solving or business improvement projects?
Desire to Lead Do you enjoy being in charge and making decisions? Are you motivated to lead others?
Drive and Persistence Are you self-motivated and energetic? And are you prepared to work hard, for a very long time, to realize your goals?
Risk Tolerance Are you able to take risks, and make decisions when facts are uncertain?
Resilience Are you resilient, so that you can pick yourself up when things don’t go as planned? And do you learn and grow from your mistakes and failures?

Optimism

Optimism is a mental attitude or world view that interprets situations and events as being best (optimized). Being optimistic means that in some way either now or in the near future (which factors may not currently be fully understood), the present moment or near future is in an optimum state. For the digital nomad, having an optimistic attitude allows them to be open to the possibility of success and the positive belief and attitude leads to behavior that is more likely to bring about a successful conclusion.

 

 

Mission & Vision

The ability to not only see your future direction (a strategic plan) but also to be able to convey it clearly and concisely to other people.

Mission: Defines the fundamental purpose of an organization or an enterprise, succinctly describing why it exists and what it does to achieve its vision. For example, a lifestyle design online business might have a mission statement as “Rebooting the brain with a Digital Nomad Mindset“. Mission Statements are the inspiring words chosen by successful leaders to clearly and concisely convey the direction of the organization. By crafting a clear mission statement and vision statement, you can powerfully communicate your intentions and motivate your team or organization to realize an attractive and inspiring common vision of the future.

Vision: Outlines what the organization wants to be, or how it wants the world in which it operates to be (an “idealized” view of the world). It is a long-term view and concentrates on the future. It can be emotive and is a source of inspiration. For example, a lifestyle design online business might have a vision statement as “No Nomad left behind“. The vision communicates both the purpose and values of the organization rather than bottom line measures (profit, traffic rank, number of employees etc.)

Initiative

For the digital nomad this quality is defined as the behavior characterized by the ability to analyze problems or situations as or before they occur, come to a decision about what remedies are required and take self-starting action in a proactive approach. Showing initiative is the ability to do things without being told or seeking confirmation that your actions are correct and by being persistent in overcoming difficulties that arise in pursuit of a goal. Initiative has always been important for the lifestyle designer, success and opportunities come to those who can think on their feet and take action without waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Initiative is part of the innovation formula and required to overcome competition.

Desire to Lead

With so many lifestyler designers and digital nomads being solo-entrepreneur, the traditional form of leadership (a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task) is not so much as important to use. Although through business growth the ability to lead is  an on going to be essential. We can however apply the traits of leadership (situational interaction, function, behavior, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence) towards ourselves and our productivity and for the application of outsourcing to other contractors. Leadership qualities are however required to establish an aura of being the ‘expert’ in the area of our business.

Drive and Persistence

Drive and persistence are qualities we would define as aspects that make up your level of Self Motivation. Self-motivation is complex, it is a psychological feature that causes the entrepreneur to create attitudes and actions that act towards, control and maintain a desired goal. It can be considered a driving force; a psychological one that compels and reinforces actions toward your set goal. Your drive is that inner sense of need and desire to make things happen, it has both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can stimulate or decrease the desire. Persistence is the ability to stick to the tasks at hand even though the internal drive may not be sufficient to compel actions. For example, you may have stumbled upon a fantastic new opportunity or niche, you have done all the research and it looks feasible; you are strongly motivated to take action and make it happen. The initial self motivation is easy because everything is exciting, but small hurdles and learning curves that require more time than you planned can lead to a drain in the intrinsic motivators. Your persistence, that ability to keep going is required to maintain your level of self motivation.

Risk Tolerance

Defined as the ability to make decisions quickly without all the facts or information required to conclude that your chances of success are guaranteed. Entrepreneurs are famous for their risk taking activities, often in the retelling are made out to have the courage and conviction to make a decision or go on a hunch. More important however to the digital entrepreneur is the ability to make quick decisions and act upon them. After all, the reason you hear such stories of the high risk actions of infamous business decisions; is because they succeeded despite the probability it should have failed. While these types of gambles usually have a higher reward, this quality is not one the solo operator should value. The same strategy applied to different settings (gambling, or sailing in rough seas) clarifies how foolish this quality is. For the digital nomad, the most important factor is the ability to make decisions and act upon them.

Resilience

Resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to cope with stress and adversity then adapt and bounce back to a previous state of mind or simply not allowing negative effects when things don’t go as planned. Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, and not a trait of an individual Resilient people don’t wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward. They have a positive image of the future due to solid goals and a conviction in their abilities. Being resilient means being empathetic to others and their needs, but little concern for how others perceive them. They take personal responsibility for who they are and what happens, knowing that while it might not have been their personal input that contributes to a failure – by accepting it, adapting and moving ahead they will advance towards success.

 

2) Interpersonal Skills

As a successful entrepreneur, you’ll have to work with people, You will need to build great relationships with your team, customers, suppliers, and your inner self

Quality
Questions to Ask
Lead and Motivate Can you lead and motivate others to follow you and deliver your vision? And are you able to delegate work to others? As a successful entrepreneur, you’ll have to depend on others to get beyond a very early stage in your business
Communication Skills Are you competent with all types of communication? You need to be able to communicate well to sell your vision of the future to investors, potential clients, team members, and more.
Listening Do you hear what others are telling you? Your ability to listen can make or break you as an entrepreneur. Make sure that you’re skilled at active listening and empathetic listening.
Personal Relations Are you emotionally intelligent? The higher your EI, the easier it will be for you to work with others.
Negotiation Are you a good negotiator? Not only do you need to negotiate keen prices, you also need to be able to resolve differences between people in a positive, mutually beneficial way
Ethics Do you deal with people based on respect, integrity, fairness, and truthfulness? Can you lead ethically? You’ll find it hard to build a happy, committed team if you deal with people – staff, customers or suppliers – in a shabby way.

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Lead and Motivate

Entrepreneur Skill Leadership

The digital nomad has to be able to lead their team and themselves and motivate both to follow the vision for the business. Motivation is the intrinsic feeling and drive to reach the goals set, to behave or act in a certain manner. It is influenced both at an unconscious and conscious level the “ultimate”, unconscious motivation may be evolutionary calculation, the conscious motivation could be more benign or even positive emotions. For example, while it may be in the best interest of a nomads time to increase the money for satisfying their basic needs, our employees can be motivated by feeling as if they are making major contributions to something that will change the world.

Communication Skills

Communication is more than words, it is the expression of values and ideas that must present a congruent concept that is understood by both the person explaining, and the one being explained too. Everybody processes the world through a combination of visual thoughts, feelings and self talk, with many people favoring one modality over the other. The successful online entrepreneur needs to combine all systems not only into their presentation of their business online, but also to themselves and others so that the message is understood. It is always the responsibility of the one doing the communication to match the modality (Auditory, Visual or Kinesthetic) of the person or people receiving the message to ensure effective understanding in their communication

Listening

Listening is an active process, and one of the most important skills you can have. We listen to obtain information, to understand, for enjoyment and to learn. Most of us only retain 25-50% of the material we hear when needed for later recall, and many entrepreneurs minds are so active they internally move on to the next possibility of discussion and fail to play an active role as a listener. A skillful listener also understands that people will communicate using their primary modality of how the process the world. For example a verbal person will use big and description words, a visual person will speak very quickly attempting to express the images in their heads and the kinesthetic person will talk slow and deliberate as they process their feelings into words. Being a good listener means that you understand that there are different communication styles For example, while you may process your world with images, and to you the slow pace of a kinesthetic person talking can be annoying because of its speed, that you take the time to hear what is being said. You will also adapt your communication to fit into the world view using words that they are more likely to understand.

Personal Relations

The ability to develop trust and rapport among people, to accept and understand (although not necessary agree with) the differences that make up people in communities. The effective online marketer knows that everybody is different but at the same time falls into various categories of behavior and expression of personality. Having knowledge of basic personality types, their internal motivations and an understanding of the personality dynamics between the different systems; you are able to adapt your own reaction to others in a way that builds bonds, trust, charisma and working styles. The flexibility to consider it important to convey qualities such as to be likability, express personal warmth, expectations and status to people from different cultures and backgrounds is a personal trait that might require study into the environment you are working with. For example you will have some employees who are motivated by knowing what needs to be done, they will require step by step instructions and will thrive on positive feedback (the Asian culture here is an example). Where as, someone from the west is able to handle a more direct critical evaluation without it offending themselves and diminishing your relationships

Negotiation

Negotiation is a dialogue between yourself and one or more people or parties, intended to reach a mutually agreeable understanding and conclusion. It can include as part of the process, resolving point of difference, producing an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, and to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests of people involved. Negotiation is a process where each party involved in negotiating tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process. Negotiation is intended to aim at compromise. An entrepreneur makes an effort to ensure that all negotiations not only benefit themselves but the other party as well. There are many strategies employed in negotiation, and many business and psychological models detailing the differences in style and approach. You should have a basic understanding of the various models, and the methods contained within each system. A digital nomad should especially be aware of the various cultural difference that will impact on the style used. For example, the hard pitch of a stereotyped used car salesman or insurance agent is likely to immediately raise suspicions among those of us in the west, yet this ‘all or nothing’ approach to bartering is common and expected in SE Asian, with street vendors and business alike.

Ethics

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. Ethics is a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms people, our business and our customers. Knowing your personal creed of ethics allows the digital entrepreneur a guideline of business practices, marketing and even product or service selection. Because our morals and ethics are based on individual values and rules (obtained unconsciously during the course of our lives), not many people are consciously aware of, let alone able to verbalize their own individual code or guidelines. Having a conscious awareness of your world view, its hierarchy of values and the rules you apply to define the value, allow you to commit to your business ethics in a congruent manner. For example, knowing what is acceptable to you at a personal level sets a benchmark for your business activities. The inability to verbalize this aspect of your personal traits makes it more likely that you will find justifications for conducting business practices that might be considered ‘black-hat’.

 

Mindset Skills Essential to the Online Entrepreneur

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3) Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

As an entrepreneur, you also need to come up with fresh ideas, and make good decisions about opportunities and potential projects.

Quality
Questions to Ask
Creative Thinking Are you able to see situations from a variety of perspectives and come up with original ideas? Can you think outside of the Box?
Problem Solving How good are you at coming up with sound solutions to the problems you’re facing?
Recognizing Opportunities Do you recognize opportunities when they present themselves? Can you spot a trend? And are you able to create a plan to take advantage of the opportunities you identify?

Creative Thinking

Creativity is the ability to manufacture in thought and expression something new and valuable, novel or useful. Generally a creative endeavor will construct a concept that is totally new, or a modification and improvement on an existing concept. The act of creativity is the ability to think outside of the box of ordinary thinking, in one or more domains. Having a talent in one domain for example, artistic creativity, marketing creativity, product conception; does not necessary cross over and many digital nomads recognize this and outsource to others who have gained a reputhation as an expert in their creative areas. Creativity is a skills that can be learned and enhance and is the cornerstone of many digital ventures. It is primarily a function of your subconscious allowing ideas and concepts to flow to you characterized by originality and expressiveness and imaginative.

Problem Solving

Filling in Self Identity Gaps

The term problem solving is used in many disciplines, sometimes with different perspectives, and often with different terminologies. For instance, it is a mental process in psychology and a computerized process in computer science. Problems can also be classified into two different types (ill-defined and well-defined) from which appropriate solutions are to be made. Ill-defined problems are those that do not have clear goals or solution paths, while well-defined problems have specific goals and clearly defined solution paths. The entrepreneur tends to have a more diverse ability to find solutions to problems, and in many cases redefine ‘problems’ as yet to be discovered opportunities. Problem solving traits tend to flow naturally into the next quality Recognizing Opportunities.

Recognizing Opportunities

Define as a favorable or advantageous circumstance or combination of circumstances, the ability to recognize opportunities is one of the skills that makes the digital nomad ultimately successful. Entrepreneurs tend to have a sixth sense regarding the possibility of potential to make money from the solution to their (or others) problems. The ability to recognize opportunities is another of the cornerstone personality traits of the digital nomad and one of the skills that develops with real life experience and the ability to tap into the available creative resource of the mind. For the online entrepreneur, this ability is the primary source of product or service development.

 

4) Practical & Business Skills

You also need the practical skills and knowledge needed to produce goods or services effectively, and run a company.

Quality
Questions to Ask
Goal Setting Do you regularly set goals, create a plan to achieve them, and then carry out that plan?
Planning and Organizing Do you have the talents, skills, and abilities necessary to achieve your goals? Can you coordinate people to achieve these efficiently and effectively? Do you know how to develop a coherent, well thought-through business plan, including developing and learning from appropriate financial forecasts?
Decision Making How good are you at making decisions? Do you make them based on relevant information and by weighing the potential consequences? And are you confident in the decisions that you make?
Business knowledge Do you have a good general knowledge of the main functional areas of a business (sales, marketing, finance, and operations), and are you able to operate or manage others in these areas with a reasonable degree of competence?

Goal Setting

Goal setting involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted (S.M.A.R.T ) goals. Goal setting is an effective tool for making progress by ensuring that you are clearly aware of what is expected from yourself and within what time period. Goal setting is so vital it often features as a major component of personal development and business management literature. The Entrepreneur understands that by creating and writing down goals, they become real and solid in the mind. By reflecting on your goals these written instructions give your subconscious a clear blueprint on what automatic behaviors it needs to create to complete them. Goals are not always absolute – the smart digital nomad knows that they can be altered, changed or dismissed at any time as reality or circumstance deem it necessary. Your goals do not need to be set in stone, but having them written down and knowing what they are is essential

Planning and Organization

Hand in hand with goal setting (establishing a clear blueprint for your objectives) is the ability to plan and take action on the series of steps that you will need to do in order to complete the tasks you set yourself. While the very simplest projects can be managed easily by applying common sense and just getting on with things, projects that are more complex can need a great deal of planning, and benefit from a formal, disciplined management approach. Organization skills include the effective planning and use of your time and resources – ensuring that tasks are done with the least amount of delay and resistance. Being able to plan and organize keeps the entrepreneurs drive, optimism and commitment high, while a system of chaos and dis-organization produces ineffective direction and wasted time and productivity.

Decision Making

One of the most recognized qualities of a successful entrepreneur is their ability to make quick decisions and have the confidence to stick with them. Decision making can be regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision making process should produce a final choice. The effective decision maker knows that the majority of people make their choice at an unconscious level, reacting to an emotional response (irrational decision) to the objectives at hand. Effective decisions are made using a logical and rational approach that seeks to determine as much information about the situational factors and predictable outcomes as possibly. Entrepreneurs understand that often their first (or gut) response is one that needs to be examined under the light of reason to avoid making a decision on a lifetime of emotional and cultural bias. Over time and with training in logical thinking these first reactions can often be taken for granted and trusted – but the beginner should avoid making the assumption that they automatically make good decisions

Business Knowledge

Business knowledge includes having a fundamental understanding of how a business works. These include but are not limited to a good general knowledge of the main functional areas of a business (sales, marketing, finance, and operations), and the ability to operate or manage others in these areas with a reasonable degree of competence. Many digital nomads fail to understand the importance of this skill set, more often than not, without any previous employment history or academic education a lifestyle designer will go into the world promoting their expertise in a specific area (web design, php programming, SEO etc) and neglect to address the basic requirements of having a business. Not having a good skill set in business practice is often the reason for failure of a business long term. Many people will use an ego defense mechanism and justify this lack of expertise by building a business to sell it, or reflect on how success comes along with failures. The smart entrepreneur understands that more often than not, the bottom line is a lack of knowledge in how to run a business effectively that causes past failures, and can use this as a sole judgement to not do business with someone.

 

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt the digital nomad is a person flavored with the entrepreneurial spirit. They naturally have some or many of the traits listed above and generally have a keen interest in growing and expanding their current skill set. Few lucky people have these qualities from birth, for the rest of us these skills, mindsets and personality traits have traditionally be taught or learned in the development of our previous career paths, or from extensive study and self directed trail and error experience. For those nomads who have not had the benefit of these life lessons from a previous employment, or for the lifestyler looking to improve certain areas – the good news is you can learn them quickly. All of these abilities and qualities can be defined as a mental mindset, which in turn is a result of the default way your unconscious responds to life with its programmed responses. You can think of a mindset (the per-cursor to the skill, abilities and traits) like a computer program. A little bit of this code, a little bit of that – put them together and you have created a set of instructions that are designed to create a consistent outcome. And like a program, it makes little difference who the operator is, the results of the code make the program run the same on any computer.

For mental mindsets, the program is created in, and controlled by the Subconscious Mind. In much the same way as you install a word processor to create documents, you can install pre-programmed mindsets using behavior and attitudinal changing modalities such as Hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming. Additional details on how to develop these skills and traits can be found in ‘The Skills’ menu

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