How to Be Location Independent in 5 Easy Steps

Location independence, defined as the the freedom to live and work from anywhere, is without any doubt the Holy Grail of the Millennial era.

You see, our parents were taught to prioritize stability and how hard work is the key to a successful life but us?

We were taught to prioritize our freedom and to learn how personal development is the most important thing in life and that working hard is meaningless if it doesn’t bring happiness to our lives.

The Ozoud Waterfalls of Morocco

The Ozoud Waterfalls of Morocco

Achieving personal development is more important to us than creating wealth and this is why most people of our generation are disappointed with the jobs they currently have thanks to their unrealistic expectations about how they would find their dream job after graduation.

Sure, most universities can teach how to be a good employee or how to build a successful local business (and there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your cup of tea) but none can teach you how to create your own dream job in which you’re location independent.

Luckily for you, I have managed to summarize the last year of my life as an online entrepreneur in this 5-step easy guide about how to be location independent.

Are you ready to take the leap and quit your job now?

The Clavadistas of Acapulco, Mexico

The Clavadistas of Acapulco, Mexico

How to be location independent #01: Find your calling

The number one step is to understand why YOU want to be location independent and the sacrifices you’ll need to make. If your current 9 to 5 job is making you unhappy, you need to rationalize first WHY you hate it and to analyse what’s your true passion in life.

The reason why most freelancers fail during their first year? They don’t follow their passion and instead focus on doing the same job they hated only that in a exotic location instead of an office cubicle. Can you imagine how boring that is after a while?

Trust me, you need to find your calling first and then build your new career abroad around it. In my case, my passion is travel and photography and that’s why I created Journey Wonders and no, I’m not telling you to follow my own personal dream.

I’m telling you to follow your own.

Tips for Being a Digital Nomad

Tips for Being a Digital Nomad

How to be location independent #02: Know your skill-set

The second step is to analyze the skills you currently have and whether or not they are needed in the global market place. In my experience, freelance writing is one of the worst paid jobs in the entire online world since you’ll be competing against writers willing to do 1000-word articles for 5 USD.

As an online entrepreneur, the world is your marketplace now and your country’s average wages are irrelevant now. To a client’s eyes it doesn’t matter if you come from Canada or India, what matters is that you can do the job and that you can do it right. One of the best websites for freelancers to use is Upwork (formerly known as Odesk).

Some of the better paid entry-level online jobs include web and mobile developing (I started by charging 300 USD for a website back then), any type of online consultancy (I currently do Social Media and Marketing Consultancy), teaching English abroad (you can get your TEFL certification here) and of course, being a virtual assistant to other online entrepreneurs.

Remember my friends, it’s never too late to learn a new skill.

The water palace outside of Jaipur

The water palace outside of Jaipur

How to be location independent #03: Take the leap 

Step three is the most important one and before spreading your wings, you need to make a financial plan for the first 12 months of your new life as a location independent road warrior: Savings + Earnings – Expenses = Profit. (Read here about how to save money to travel more.)

In order to succeed, it is important to budget wisely for an entire year of accommodation, food and travel (500 to 2000 USD per month depending on the country) and no, there’s no shame in moving to a cheaper country in order to save money (and in case you want to take something big with you, try out an oversea shipping service such as Shiply).

In fact, Chiang Mai is a city well-known for its community of Online Entrepreneurs who relocated there to save money (rent in Chiang Mai is 200 USD per month).

Yes, there are many sacrifices that you’ll have to make during your first year and sometimes it’s going to be very hard to say no to the temptation of blowing your monthly budget in a epic yacht weekend in Croatia but remember: delayed gratification is the best and you really don’t want to end up broke and scrubbing toilets do you? Do you?

PS. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t break even a couple of months. It happens!

The wonders of nature in Sri Lanka

The Wonders of Nature in Sri Lanka

How to be location independent #04: Achieve sustainability

Step four is all about making sure that you will actually have the free time to enjoy being location independent. My best recommendation is to focus on building a sustainable business model in which your income exponentially grows along with your free time. In other words? Passive income.

Ideally, 12 months is the make it or break it period for any type of business and if you’re not financially successful after one year, chances are that you won’t be afterwards. For every inspirational story (such as Johnny Ward who built a 1 million USD business) you will find thousands of online entrepreneurs who were simply not good enough to build a sustainable lifestyle.

There are many ways in which you can build a consistent flux of passive income (but more on that on a future article) and my favorite strategy is to create win-win situations with local businesses (read more in this interview I did in Adventures Around Asia) since you’ll be helping the local economies and creating new jobs.

Don’t work for the money, let the money work for you.

Diving with Mantas in Komodo National Park

Diving with Mantas in Komodo National Park

How to be location independent #05: Relax

In the end, the last and final step is to enjoy your new lifestyle and remember that work is not everything. To this day, it baffles me how some of my freelance friends are so stressed about deadlines, revisions and other trivial stuff that they aren’t able to fully enjoy the feeling of being free.

Freedom is a state of mind and it’s sad to see how some people just changed one set of chains for another and now are slaves to their computers instead of their cubicles. Just relax and live life to the fullest my friends! After all, you only have one!

Are you location independent? Would you like to? What is your own personal dream? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think! Until next time my wonder friends!

PS. Don’t forget to subscribe to obtain the latest updates of wonders and be the among the first to receive my upcoming e-book “How to break the chains of the local economy and earn a global income”.

5 Travel Tips for Digital Nomads

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2 Responses

  1. Rashad Pharaon

    Great article! You’re so right, writing jobs can truly be terrible. I know many article writers that not only are making peanuts per article, but the client is giving them such a hard time about each and every word. Just not worth it, unless you can nab some high-paying clients like Valerie did (Words You Want) on Upwork. She made half a million in the last 12 months–with a team, of course. But like you said, you just need to take the leap. These risks are what make us stronger and whether we fail or succeed is irrelevant in the short run. We can always try again, and again.

    Thanks for the link, Raphael :) Stay safe in your journey of wonders!

    • Raphael Alexander Z

      Thanks Rashad! I’m lucky that the few writing gigs that I’ve done were for good clients that paid on time. I cannot even want to imagine the stress of chasing after late payments! :o