Finding location independent work online

Saturday, June 17, 2017

One of the best ways to fund long-term travel is by finding location independent work. By being able to work from anywhere in the world (provided there is a close-to-decent internet connection), you are now free to travel as much or as little as you desire at any given moment. No more begging your boss for that extra vacation day or pitching your sabbatical for the third time. By working location independently, you just take your work with you wherever you go. The only true hurdle lies in finding location independent work. To help you with that, this post includes some tips on how to find location independent work online:

Start freelancing

A great way to make money while staying location independent is by doing freelance work. Sites such as Upwork allow you to create a freelancer profile and connect with clients for free, only asking for a percentage of your earnings in return. There’s a wide variety of jobs out there, from writing and photography to designing and programming. But, freelancing will not make you extremely rich, especially in the beginning. Starting out is hard; be prepared to take some low-paying jobs just to build your portfolio and get reviews. Once you get your foot in the door and find some (well-paying) clients you want to work with long-term, working as a freelancer can provide you with some pretty steady income.

Specific job boards

If you have a specific skillset that you would like to generate a location independent income with, check out the online job boards. If you’re into IT for example, check out job boards regarding your field and set the search settings to “remote”. All jobs that are available for location independent work will pop up. Just nail your application and you’ll be ready to pack your bags (and laptop).

Find companies that hire location independent workers

Companies are starting to see more and more value in location independent employees. Some companies – 37signals for example – actually prefer remote work over the traditional office setting, as it allows them to find the best people for the job, no matter where in the world they might be. If you currently work for a company, check the possibilities for your position with your boss. Who knows, if you pitch it right, maybe you’ll be designing the next website from a beach chair in the Bahamas.

working in Uganda on a local project on site
working in Uganda on a local project on site

Start your own company

It might seem counter-intuitive to pack your bags and get on a plane right when you’re about to get your startup off the ground. But, it can actually be a great technique to save money and see a bit of the world while you’re at it. If you start you company online while living in countries where the cost of living is very low, you’ll be less likely to end up completely broke within the first month. You can easily sustain yourself on savings or a temporary (freelance) job for some months while your startup takes off. As soon as it is on its feet and starts generating income you’ll be free to travel outside the low-cost countries as well, meaning a completely location independent life with a steady income online – one you created all by yourself. Now tell me, wouldn’t such an accomplishment feel good?

Start your own website/blog

No, being location independent does not automatically mean becoming a travel blogger, but it is of course one of the possibilities. If writing and photography are your thing and you don’t mind spending some time building your audience, travel- or food blogging might be the perfect location independent job for you. Be ready for some struggle in the beginning though, because competition today is tougher than ever. A professional-looking site, great photographs and of course amazing content are an absolute must if you want to keep up with the big dogs - not to mention the sponsorships you might want to get… It will also take quite some time before your blog will generate income, as you’ll need to build an audience, and that simply takes time. No-one becomes “internet famous” overnight. But, once you’ve gone through all the struggles in the beginning, writing a blog can be a very rewarding way of earning your money. You get to share your experiences, stories, tips and tricks with your readers. You don’t have to rely on any clients telling you what kind of writing they expect from you this week, and your schedule is completely up to you. That does require quite some discipline, and you’ll have to take into consideration that to make money you might end up selling products or advertisement space on your site. But, as long as you stay authentic, this does not have to come in the way of you telling your story.  

As you can tell there are many options out there – probably even more than could fit into this post. There is no “one perfect way” to work location independently that will suit everybody, as we all have different skill-sets, talents and weaknesses. So follow your gut, choose the one that feels right to you, and before you know it you’ll be enjoying your nomadic lifestyle with the location independent job of your dreams.

Adrian Sameli founder and editor of aSabbatical.com
Travel mindfully to meet local people around the world and embrace new cultures. Get inspired and inspire others!