The idea of becoming location independent sounds great to most people. Who wouldn’t want to be able to live and work anywhere you choose?
The hardest part about reaching your goal of location independence isn’t in having enough desire to do it. The hardest part is earning an income that doesn’t require you to show up to work every day in one place.
Plenty of people are showing that it is possible to be a digital nomad. Many of them are even writing about it and sharing resources to help you break free too.
Which brings us to the question most people have about lifestyle design and location independence in particular. How do people earn an income that lets them live and work anywhere they choose?
Here are three ways people become location independent, along with some resources to help you get there too:
“Entrepreneurship” is a broad category. It basically means you organize a business venture and assume the risk for it. For people who want to become location independent, not just any form of entrepreneurship will do.
Running a franchise, a restaurant or bar, a venture-capital backed company or any company with employees usually requires that you spend a lot of time in one particular place. Those businesses often also leave you with little free time, even if you can get away.
To be an entrepreneur and become location independent requires planning and special attention to the structure of your business. To make it work, you’ll probably need to be more of a microbusiness or solopreneur.
Most location independent entrepreneurs run some form of online business. Countless sites out there will try to tell you how to create “passive income” online. Beware of scams and fraudsters. For some legitimate advice, check out Tim Ferriss’ description of a “muse” in his book the Four Hour Work Week.
Depending on your website development skills, you may not have to buy a special course or pay a lot for information about how to run an online business. You’ll probably need to spend more time convincing yourself that it’s worth leaving your comfortable job behind.
Freelancing is another source of income you may be able to earn from anywhere in the world. Whether you can use freelancing to become a digital nomad depends on a number of things including the type of work you do, and your relationship with your clients.
Being a freelancer doesn’t automatically mean you can work from anywhere. You’ll need to pay special attention to making your freelance career work from long distance.
How do you get started in Freelancing if you aren’t already doing it? There are numerous great guides out there about starting, some even walk you through 30 days to become a freelancer. After you get things set up, you’ll need to find some gigs.
Remote Work Agreements
Instead of quitting your job to start a business or become a freelancer, could you simply negotiate an agreement with your employer to perform your job entirely offsite?
It is definitely possible. Luis Suarez, an evangelist for social computing at IBM is a great example of someone who lives and works anywhere he wants, but is employed by a big company.
Could you negotiate an agreement to work remotely? It depends a lot on the type of work you do. If you’re a knowledge worker, why couldn’t you do everything you need to independent of a specific location?
If you’re interested in pursuing that type of situation, you’ll want to read up about how other people have done it. Here are a couple of guides to check out:
- Practical Advice For Negotiating A Location Independent “Job” With Your Employer
- The Art and Science of Remote Work Agreements: A No-Bullshit Guide
Putting it All Together
The truth is that many digital nomads are working on multiple projects at once. The goal of a four hour workweek is great, but in reality it may take a year of 60-hour weeks to get there. The important thing is that you are actively working to develop the lifestyle you want to live now, instead of waiting to become rich or retire.
What other creative ways can you become location independent while still making a living? Please share in the comments!
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photo by _neona_