Many people consider it a dream job: work from anywhere in the world, any time you want. In many ways, the location-independent job truly is wonderful. You can take your job with you as you head off to explore unknown territories, take your family on vacation, or simply move to a different city or country. This lifestyle, however, has its own set of pitfalls that can be frustrating and can make you long for the days of a quiet office with a desk. Before quitting your job to become a location-independent worker, take advantage of these tips to help you navigate the challenges.
Before you head off to parts unknown, plan how long you’ll be gone and what work will need to be accomplished. Determine where you’ll be going and what tools will be available for you when you arrive. Is there reliable Internet? Will a computer and printer be available for use or will you need to bring a laptop? Can you use WiFi or will you need to have a mobile Internet hotspot connection? Do you need a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate, or can you make do at a library or coffee shop? Are there resources that you need to take with you, or can you upload files to cloud-based storage for access from the road? All of these issues should be considered during the planning stage of your trip.
Whenever possible, work ahead and finish projects that can be completed before you make a trip. Try to free up your schedule and avoid having to worry about making phone calls, handling mundane matters, or dealing with daily tasks. Speak with your clients about re-scheduling due dates as needed or find out about the possibility of changing dates to accommodate your travel plans.
If you’re taking a longer trip and working ahead isn’t possible, evaluate your workload and determine how many hours you will need to spend working while you’re gone. Share this information with others on the trip to avoid frustration when you tell them you’re skipping the sightseeing tour to get some work done.
As a location-independent worker or entrepreneur, it is tempting to become a full-time tourist. The sights and sounds of each new place are enticing, and work can quickly take a backseat. Be realistic about what you plan to do during your trip so that you aren’t over-scheduling the fun and under-scheduling the work. Remind yourself (and others) that the work is what makes the fun possible, so there needs to be a balance.
Expect the unexpected.
Despite the best-laid plans, unexpected things happen. The promised WiFi isn’t available. Your battery charger stops charging. Files don’t operate the same way on mobile devices and your laptop breaks. If there is a chance for something to go wrong, it probably will. Your work, however, must still get done. Be prepared with back-up files, additional batteries, power packs, and mobile hotspots to ensure that you are able to keep working. Before you leave, back up all of your files. Utilize cloud storage so you are able to access anything you may need from the road. Create an emergency contact list and leave a set of instructions for anyone who may need to fill in for you in a pinch. Make sure your log-in information is available to those who need access to your files.
Communicate with clients.
If you already work at home, chances are that your clients, employer, or customers know that you work remotely. Let them know that you’ll be away from your usual workplace and may have delays in communicating, but that you will still be available and working. Not only will this let them know you are on the move, it will help if things go awry. If something happens and you are unable to meet a deadline, let them know how you plan to get the work done.
Finding a way to work from anywhere in the world is one of the best advantages of having a location-independent job. If you’re drawn to the shore, you can sit on a balcony overlooking a beach and hold conference calls. If you love the mountains, you can find yourself in a cabin near a stream talking about web design with your client. It truly can be the life of your dreams—as long as you are prepared to deal with the struggles that come along with the benefits.
No matter what type of work you may do, the opportunity to work on your terms is one of the most attractive benefits of becoming an entrepreneur. And today’s marketplace is becoming more accepting of virtual workers, with companies seeing the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely. Technology advances are making the world a smaller place—take your laptop and go explore it!