PART 2: The Nitty Gritty Details of A Nomadic Life and A Location Independent Business
My post from last week was on how to know if you’re ready to be a location independent entrepreneur. Many of you have commented with great questions around being a traveling entrepreneur and running a business from the road. This post is dedicated to answering some of those questions on the more “day-to-day” details of a location independent entrepreneur’s processes.
BUT FIRST, I wanted to give a little bit of background I didn’t mention in my last post. As you may know, I lived in five countries last year. And I’ve learned that getting hired before you move somewhere can be truly beneficial. It can be the extra push to get you somewhere exotic so you will be working while you’re adventuring. You can pitch yourself as an on-site consultant because of your flexibility and bring along your partner or your children – just make sure to inform the client.
AND I want to give a shout out of my deep gratitude to the main influencers and communities who inspired me in my location independent journey:
How Do I Choose Where to Go? And How Long to Stay?
This is part of the fun of a location independent lifestyle. Where have you always dreamed of going? Where is there an experience or place of interest? Is there a budding entrepreneur community somewhere? You can travel anywhere with decent internet and some travel hacking miles. I love going on websites and Pinterest to find locations that entice me. You can work from the mountains of Peru, the beaches of Bali – anything you want to see, you can live & work from there. (Just do a little research on the wifi speeds first :).)
Embrace the flexibility, you can choose to stay in a location longer because you have nowhere else to be and you love it there. If you’re getting in a groove somewhere, why not stay six months to a year? This is YOUR lifestyle business- you’re in charge of your schedule and your homebase. You can work from anywhere!
How Do I Arrange Housing As a Location Independent Entrepreneur?
Often, I’m set up with housing through the client. As some of you know, I work with a lot of tourism based companies, yoga retreat centers, villas and resorts. If you’re traveling to see a client who runs a tourism business, they may be able to set something like this up for you. I’ve even built into contracts a place to stay with my on-site clients – this has proven easiest -especially those with a spare room or ability to acquire a room/apartment readily. It saves me the hassle of potential language, hefty security deposit & credit-check barriers.
If your visit to a country looks to be lengthy to adventure around and you do decide to stay longer, I found that renting an apartment is so much cheaper for any stay longer than three months. Three months leases aren’t easy to come by in all cities, so do your research before. Book a hostel or Airbnb for arrival and do local research once you arrive if need be. I find most travel destination usually have flexible living options to cater to your needs and time frame.
Lynan’s Recommendation: I try not to stay in hostels anymore- one or two days tops, but I have found basic types of nice hotels that are a bit more home like, and guesthouses a perfect fit. Sometimes I do book AirBnB as well, for a proper kitchen, again depends on the length of my stay in a city.
How Do I Decide Where to Go When I Have No On-site Client Commitments?
I follow my own desires. We only have this one life to live – we have this one life to see the entire world! And we’re so fortunate to live in a time when you can really work from anywhere in the world because of the internet. I am beyond grateful to live the life of a digital nomad.
Also, I’m just getting into travel hacking – getting the right credit cards and building up points. Its great to find out where your points can take for $50! And before, I’ve been vigilant about finding the cheapest flights on the internet. I’m the QUEEN of finding ridiculous prices for flights. Plus, I have a fair amount of miles already accrued from travels before my entrepreneur life, so I’m still using those up. I’ll keep you all posted on my adventures into travel hacking as that grows. [And please feel free to share your tips in the comments! ]
Where Do I Store My Things?
Some nomads sell everything except for what they can carry on their backs. Others, like me, do keep some items in storage (or at your parents or in a friend’s garage), though I will say that a location independent lifestyle is an amazing practice in minimalism. Letting go of the excess stuff that accumulated in a stationary life.
For me, I have a closet at my parents’ home in California and a box of things with my former roommates in NYC. When I travel, I bring just one large Asprey backpack full of clothes, shoes, etc. and a small backpack, which contains my “office.” I never let go of my ‘office’ backpack because it has my laptop & iPad in it and all of the necessary papers for running my mobile business.
Having animals and children is a different challenge, of course, that some of you asked about. I have several friends who travel around the U.S. with RV’s and dogs, or even RV’s and babies. It is harder to go internationally location independent with children and pets but again totally doable if you want to make it happen. It’s about encouraging the adaptable, flexible way of being with your kids and your animals.
How Do I Ration Work vs. Non-Work Activities?
This is one of the more fantastic parts of living in so many wonderful locations. If I wasn’t in a place where I wanted to experience the community and culture and city, I’d probably sit inside all day, working sometimes and bide my time. But there’s something about knowing you want to create time to explore a new city that puts a real fire in you to do your work in a short amount of time in time to go adventure.
On a typical nomadic day, I wake up relatively early, have my morning self-care time, work for the morning-emails, calls, etc. and go out in the afternoon and evening. Or, the opposite – I’ll go out into the city in the morning and for lunch, and then I’ll back to wherever I’m staying, find a nice cafe and work for the rest of the day. It’s nice to find places that are open late, or even better, open 24 hours, especially if they have a good Internet connection. This is not possible in all countries but so exciting when you find it. And most apartments hook you up with nternet all night long!
And again, as a traveling entrepreneur, the ratio between work and non-work is up to you. If I’m in a gorgeous city, but in the middle of a launch, I may limit my daily exploring to just going out for a meal, maybe getting in a little bike ride or jumping in the ocean, but I’m mostly working. And that’s okay – part of life as being a location independent entrepreneur is living your life on vacation, and letting work be a vacation for you too. I love my work and I am a-okay with working all day long from a condo in Italy or Croatia. I am blessed to get to be there!
What Are My Intentions for Living a Nomadic Lifestyle?
I believe in truly embodying a lifestyle, a way of life. So I won’t pick just one intention, but I will say that when I started out as a lifestyle entrepreneur, I really wanted to see if it was possible. Could I run my business while traveling around the world? And I figured out that I could. And if I can do it, so can you!
For me, being a traveling entrepreneur with location independence is about pushing my edges, seeing what’s possible for me and meeting this whole powerhouse community of people around the world. I don’t want to limit my friendships and business contacts to one continent – I want to experience the planet. Sharing my gifts & knowledge around the world and really experiencing a variety of cultures are the main guiding lights for me. I can honestly and truly say that I lived in all of these cities: Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica; Santiago, Chile; Monopoli, Italy, and that means so much to me. When I am old and grey, I want to look back on all of these immersive adventures and know that I soak up every drop of experience that I could.
How much time do I spend alone?
Location independence, especially for a solopreneur, does involve a bit more alone time than a “traditional” lifestyle.
As an introvert, I love to spend a fair amount of my time alone. It helps me reflect and create, and it’s not really something I feel like I need to cope with. It’s actually a gift when I want to immerse myself in a city or country. But magnificent people are part of this journey too. I recently traveled to Europe with my business partner/operations manager, Amberly, and that was absolutely amazing. Adventuring around Italy & working in chic cafes! And now I do now seek out travel partners and look for ways to meet people along the way. I also connect with other travelers on nomad communities to see if they are nearby and I can hop a train or bus to meet them.
I’m actually looking for a long-term travel partner right now, and I’m trying to find the time to stay in one place to connect and root. It’s great to make new friends in gorgeous locations, but companionship is a key part of life as well. The journey is always evolving.
How Do I Manage All My Info?
Google Docs is great to have digital files of everything and get all the thoughts out of my head. I also bought the pro version of Dropbox for storage, and I use Asana and Trello to track my team’s tasks and projects we’re working on with a client.
We’ll address the essential adoption of minimalist living as a nomad, through a how to avoid clutter and live simply in another future blog post/video.
…And the Admin Stuff!
My business is registered in the United States, in the state of New York (where I used to live), and all of the companies I’ve done international business with had a base in the U.S., so they could pay me that way. This can get a little tricky if people are paying you internationally. One of my trusted financial advisors told me that Singapore and Puerto Rico may be good places to register in, so I’ll keep you all posted on how that develops moving forward. As a nomad, you have options about which state to register your LLC or Inc in, if you haven’t already. States like Utah, Idaho, Montana are cheaper, and don’t have TOO many rules for registering there- you may need to set up a P.O.Box or a bank account. I am just learning about these details now and supporting clients as they register as nomads. I will keep you updated with details on this part of the travel business foundation journey.
As far as health insurance, I have travelers insurance, and that works well for now. I’m still playing with the bank stuff. I’m not super in love with my current bank, but it works. Check to see about your banks travel policies, how much are the ATM fees and credit charge fees. Some offer free ATM-use at affiliate banks around the world and some travel credit cards waive foreign transaction fees. And I do carry a spare, unactivated ATM card at the bottom of my backpack just in case, because I have had my ATM card stolen in Peru where I learned this lesson the hard way. Remember it can be impossible (or lengthy) to get a new one shipped to certain locations. It always pays to think ahead and be prepared.
There are a few more tricks like this that I will likely address in a future blog. Maybe even make a little tips resource sheet!
For now, I hope I’ve answered a few more of your questions – keep sending them in! And best of luck on your adventures as you grow your impactful online business as a nomadic entrepreneur!
Share your experiences below and let me know what you all are creating for your location independent future.
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