These days, if I told you that it really is likely to get your dream job and use it to fund a never-ending experience across the world, would you think me?
Before, the idea of this’electronic nomad’ lifestyle — having a location independent job which permits you to travel the planet as you please — was a dream for most people.
Now, however, it’s far more prevalent than you think.
An increasing number of people are waking up to the fact that a traditional 9 — 5 office occupation is an archaic structure, together with employees and employers alike leaning towards flexible working to boost morale, loyalty, and productivity (yep — individuals are in their most productive when they are happy, who understood!) .
A few decades ago, I was among these people sick to death of this office grind.
I’d come home feeling unchallenged and unsatisfied every day, and wonder how I had fallen into this trap of living to work today.
I wanted the freedom to put my own work hours, pick my clients, my income, and to have the time that I wanted to do the things I truly adore.
So, I built a freelance writing business, stopped my job, also began traveling the planet.
Being an electronic nomad is not a pipeline fantasy anymore — I’m 100% confident that it is possible for anybody with the ideal mindset and motivation.
My trip from office worker to spot individual freelancer was not easy, and I will never be one of the cheesy individuals who tell you’I can make your dreams come true’.
I didn’t change my life in a matter of months: in fact, it took months of long days and hard work, and much longer to take my company out of working to flourishing.
That having been said, you will find clear, actionable actions you can take to create building a freelance business of your own a fact in time.
Following are a few of my very best tips for building your own freelance business — and which makes it sustainable enough that you can travel the planet, no return excursion needed.
1. Build your business foundations before you start traveling
The notion of radically quitting your job and hopping on a trip to another side of the earth may seem romantic, but it’s not exactly the best approach to build a sustainable place independent business.
Obtaining your freelance business to the point where it may replace a fulltime income and finance whatever lifestyle you want does take some time, so don’t rush into this and take any dangers (i.e. stop your job) before you are able to afford to.
I worked in my freelance writing business for approximately 4 weeks before I felt confident enough to hand my notice in for my office occupation. In that time, I concentrated on:
- Preparing a professional website for my business
- Building my portfolio by blogging (see the following point!)
- Media on societal websites with different freelancers
- Acquiring clients (and expertise ) where possible, and turning them into long-term contracts.
It was just when I had some long-term customers that made me more than half my earnings from my office job which I decided to leave my job and begin traveling.
2. It’s all about your portfolio
Too many men and women concentrate on finding jobs and making their specialist website excellent when in reality, you ought to be focusing a large proportion of your efforts on developing a solid portfolio in the early days.
I’ve got my own site to show my portfolio, but I also have a PDF with private customers whom I send to prospective clients also.
Your portfolio should contain the best examples of your writing, ideally having been published online by legitimate bloggers and businesses. Of course, the greatest paradox is that you want jobs to build your portfolio, but you want a portfolio to find those jobs.
Thankfully, there are lots of methods to go around building your portfolio as a new freelance writer (traveller or not!).
- Start blogging — You can write about your travels, or about something else completely. As soon as I started my freelance business, I started my first blog at the same moment. This not only gave me a fantastic platform to showcase my writing — but it really brought clients directly to me!
- Do work for free — My next greatest tactic for building my portfolio was supposed to provide free articles to my friends and family who owned their own business. This ranged from upgrading the copy in their site to writing a few great quality blog articles for them.
- Guest posting — If you don’t want a blog of your own, guest posting to get based blogs may be an effective means of constructing your portfolio. You must note, however, that most websites are only accepting articles from other bloggers.
3. Manage your expectations
I’m willing to bet nearly everyone has this vague idea of becoming a digital nomad within their head:
You are at the beach, probably in a hammock or a sun-lounger, laptop on your lap and a cocktail in 1 hand. You are soaking up the sun while you do a few hours work before going back to your beach house and getting ready for a night on the town with your friends.
So, okay, that could be an exaggerated stereotype of a digital nomad, however, it is an image that’s wrongly been depicted to us through blogs and social media.
The reality is, the electronic nomad lifestyle is amazing — but it’s not all glamour. You’ll get views like this sometimes, sure, but it is important to deal with your expectations.
Some days you are going to be stuck in your hotel room all day because there’s nowhere else with great WiFi. From time to time, you’ll have the worst WiFi connection you’ve ever experienced, and you are going to be frantically running around town hoping to meet your deadline.
On some occasions, you’ll go for days without meeting anybody that you connect with, and that may get incredibly lonely.
And if you ever take your laptop to the shore — that will be the last time, because expensive sand and gadgets simply do not mix.
None of that is said to set you off: I really like the life that I have today.
But it’s crucial to manage your expectations and to know that for every fantastic day of freedom you will have, there will be another nightmare situation where you wish you’re in at a comfy desk using a secure online link for once.
4. Ethics and cost arbitrage
Turning into the electronic nomad lifestyle is actually a fantastic move when you’re just beginning as a freelance author.
Why? But if you start your freelance business from home, the chances are that you reside in a state with a relatively high cost of living, with things such as a mortgage or rent, bills, and other expenses that you need to have the ability to pay off.
This means you may need to work long hours juggling your fulltime job and freelance business for longer until you can comfortably replace your earnings.
Travelling, however, gives you the opportunity to live in states with a lower cost of living and so requires the strain of fitting your regular salary off.
As an instance, once I started traveling, my yearly income was half that of my earnings from my office job — because I traveled in South East Asia, my income still more than covered my living expenses.
This kind of price arbitrage is very popular with electronic nomads and is also an effective method to live with a lesser income as you concentrate on building your business up.
But, you should also be conscious of the ethical impact living like this could have on the country you are staying in.
To ensure I was also benefiting the countries I traveled and not just myself, I did things such as:
- Shop and eat in local restaurants to support the community
- Prevent large chain resorts and keep at guesthouses and independent hostels
- Recognise your privilege — you’re extremely lucky if you are in a position to visit a foreign country in any way, let alone remain inside a lengthier period of time. Recognise this privilege and accept that you might need to pay more as a foreigner in certain areas.
5. Know where you’re going
As somebody that has been both a backpacker along with a place independent freelancer, then I could safely state that there are enormous differences(not only an age gap!) From the 2 styles of traveling.
Backpacking can be as spontaneous as you need with real worries about where you are heading next. Working on the street, however, requires a little more planning and preparation.
Ideally, you want every location you visit to possess at least:
- A fantastic WiFi connection
- One or two spaces to operate (especially in the event that you’ll be remaining in loud dorm rooms!)
The above photo taken in Thakhek, Laos, is a key illustration of this — while it could seem pretty sweet to be surrounded by hills and cows grazing only a couple of meters apart, I really had to increase to this little hut every day to get a WiFi connection in any way!
To research this until you decide, hunt online. I always google’destination + electronic nomad testimonials’ or, failing this, browse travel blogs about the destination I’m considering heading to.
These will normally offer you a fantastic idea of where you’re heading, and whether each potential destination is excellent for electronic nomads.
Just remember that not every place will have killer WiFi and an abundance of cafes to work from — but if you at least do a little research ahead, you are able to prepare for those areas that could possibly be a little more tricky to work around.
6. Making use of the location independent lifestyle to grow your business
A great advantage of the location independent style is you will meet so many more folks than you want sitting back in your home office.
When I first started traveling, I would constantly find myself in conversations with people so interested in freelancing, how I built my company, and what type of job I did.
No doubt, you will find yourself in similar discussions too. Take advantage of this curiosity to network and make contacts with people that you meet along the road.
Does the friendly hostel owner you got speaking to need some help with their website? How about the self-employed business owner who is also placed independent, but definitely not a natural writer?
As a digital nomad, you’ve got the exceptional chance to meet people all over the world — and one of these folks is consistently the chance to bring on some great long-term clients.
7. Keeping your clients happy
So, you’ve been traveling for a little while and you have successfully taken on a few long-term customers. Everything’s looking great — so the main thing you ought to be concerned about is maintaining things looking great.
The last thing you want is to your time zone or travel plans to come into the battle with an agreed contract you’ve got with a customer.
Here’s how I look at it: your customer is paying you, so you will need to bend to their requirements. That might mean staying up all night so it’s possible to take a meeting in their deadline — but then again, you are the one which gets to explore the Earth, therefore it is well worth the sacrifice!
I discovered making virtual tools a part of my everyday routine useful for keeping my clients happy when traveling. A few of my top recommendations include:
- Trello — A wonderful job management tool with both paid and free subscription options. It’s possible to share boards with your customers so should they need an upgrade on a job, or want to bring a job for you to perform, they could simply add it to the board for when you next login rather than have to contact you directly.
- Slack — Slack is a great instant messaging service that’s particularly beneficial if you’re working inside a distant group. You can send a message which will then be saved on the conversation until your team members log in and watch.
- Google Hangouts — This really is a great tool for holding virtual meetings and sharing screens with your customer or coworkers when you need to discuss a project in more depth.
- Google Drive — A priceless tool to get a freelance writer! Google Docs save as you write, so you don’t ever need to worry your laptop suddenly dying and taking all your unsaved content with it! It is also amazing as has cloud-based storage so can be accessed from any device, and readily shared between clients.
Over to you
Hopefully, your answer to my question at the start of this guide is yes.
Building your dream business and making it sustainable enough to travel the world long-term sounds like a pipe-dream, however you need the discipline and time to lay the bases, be consistent, and slowly accelerate your freelance business.
Two decades ago, if you told me I would be self-explanatory, running a business I love with the freedom to live anywhere in the world, I’d have laughed in your face.
I wake up every day eager to jump right into a new adventure. Therefore, if you crave the freedom of working on the road — what exactly are you waiting for?
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