There is a noise I keep hearing. A collective noise that grows louder and louder each year. It’s the children of the 80’s calling and they want their time back.
They are bored to tears, depressed, on anti-anxiety medication, and from what I can tell…they are all just dying for an adventure.
The good news is that the opportunities for working and living in a different way is totally doable if you are willing to think outside the box, and realign your priorities.
Once you’ve realigned your priorities, you need to figure out HOW you are going to work (ie. what kind of business model you like) and what TOOLS you are going to use to help you get set up to start taking clients.
It’s simple. And it’s also some major work up front, so grab a coffee and get reading.
There are multiple ways that you can work and be location independent.
You don’t have to put yourself into a box to get into working remotely. In fact, the whole point is to take yourself OUT of the box and to think creatively. Here are a few outside-of-the-box options.
ONE: Work in an industry that allows you to travel.
My friend Jenn is a great example of this first instance. She works on privately owned yachts and works in the service industry.
This girl has been ALL over the world. She makes amazing money, works her butt off for 2-3 months and then takes a month or 2 off before hopping on her next boat.
Similar to this, the private jet industry is also an option. Both of these require some training in the hospitality industry and some connections.
Canadian and Americans who work in the yachting industry usually make most of their connections in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, and go from there.
If you’d like to learn more about this industry, I can put you in touch with my friend Jenn. Just email me at email@example.com and we can take it from there.
TWO: Start Your Own Service Based Business.
My friend Sara is a web designer who travels in Canada and the States looking after and visiting hobby farms. It’s pretty neat to see her both kicking butt as a web designer and going after her dream of being a hobby farm owner. It’s pretty fun that she can be where she loves while she is still building up her dream!
And there are plenty of other service based businesses that are easy to take on the road. Graphic designers, digital marketers, administrative assistants, travel agents, bookkeepers etc. The list goes on.
Starting a service based business takes some legwork upfront. You need to identify your service offerings, build a website, find your clients, implement your systems and processes for things like client onboarding, financials etc. The list goes on.
For anyone who want’s to start a service based business and has an aptitude for the risks and ups and downs of entrepreneurship, it’s game on…choose your own adventure.
To learn more about starting a service based business, check out Create Your Laptop Life. I co-founded the Network part of CYLL with Julie Stoian, Digital Marketer extraordinaire, and it’s a great place to get your feet wet in the digital world of service based businesses.
THREE: Get into affiliate marketing.
If you are familiar with the online business scene, you’ve probably heard of this thing called affiliate marketing. Basically, you become an affiliate for a product or service you love, promote the heck out of it, and get a referral fee in exchange for sending business their way.
You can combine affiliate marketing with a service based business rather easily. For example, if you become a web designer you can become an affiliate for a webhosting company, have your clients sign up via your affiliate link (you have to tell them of course) and then get a kick back.
To learn more about affiliate marketing, you need to talk to my good friend April Lewis. Not only is she an expert at this whole thing, she also takes her work on the road travelling full time throughout the US and Canada.
FOUR: Start a Consulting Business.
This is what I do. I am a consultant who works with clients all over the world. Because my work has low overhead and few technological and software requirements, it’s super easy to pick up and take my work on the road.
In fact, as I write this I’m sitting in Rossland, BC, where I am on the first part of a Cross Canada Roadtrip, Victoria -> Halifax. And I’m working the whole way. Writing. Doing the admin stuff we all love. Working with my clients.
Again, getting set up is where the upfront work is. You need to assess the corporate skills and experience you already have, and then translate that experience into something you can consult on. For me, I started with Executive Assistance and Project Management services, and then translated those skills into a program, working with others who wanted to do the same (this turned into Create Your Laptop Life, mentioned above).
If you are burning out in corporate and want to take your experience and apply it to a consulting based business model, we should talk, because consulting based businesses are my jam.
FIVE: Don’t want to start your own business?
The point is, if you are looking for a change, and ready to make an investment in both time and money to get yourself set up with the tools, technology, and training you need to get started, then there is no reason why you can’t go on that adventure you’ve been craving. And there are plenty of ways to do it.
There are also a zillion tools out there that help you build, promote, streamline and automate your business, so you can pack up and go when you want.
These are some of my favourites:
- WordPress. Great for building websites, blogs etc. My website was built on WordPress by the lovely Sarah Kay Design, so if you aren’t super technically inclined she’s a great contact for getting a website up and running; her branding partner Amber Clark is amazing as well.
- Acuity Scheduling. This one if great for streamlining your calendar scheduling with clients and prospective clients. It hooks up to your google calendar and let’s people choose a time that works for you AND them without all the back and forth scheduling emails that drive us all nuts.
- Google Drive. My whole business runs on Google drive. It stores my files, including spreadsheets (Google Sheets), documents (Google Docs) and presentations (Google Slide), and makes switching from device to device super easy. Sharing files with your collaborators or clients is super easy to. And if you’re clumsy like I am, and spill water all over your laptop, you are never at risk of losing any documents or important information because it’s all on your google drive on not on your hard drive. All you need to get access to google drive is a gmail account.
- LastPass. Stores all your password information. Enough said. My husband, also a freelancer, uses this tool and it’s saves his life every day.
- 17Hats. I use this program for capturing leads (aka the contact form on my website). When people fill out the contact form, 17Hats automatically sends them an email thanking them for reaching out, and invites them to book a phone call so we can chat more about their business. Once I do my phone call, I can send my prospective clients a proposal for working together, a contract, and finally, an invoice. It saves all my email templates, contract templates, and proposal templates so the whole process is streamlined and super easy. One of my favourite parts about this program is that you can set up payment plans on your invoices, so that clients get auto-reminders each month to pay you for your ongoing services. I call this feature my automated bookkeeper! It’s super handy.
- Gmail. I have multiple email accounts, both personal and business, and I use gmail for all of them. It’s easy to switch back and forth between accounts, you can easily set Out of Office notifications, it hooks up to your google drive, google calendar, has a canned responses lab which is great for creating email templates, and I LOVE it.
- Google Calendar. Can you tell I love all things google? My calendar runs my life, and if it’s not on the calendar it doesn’t exist. My calendar hooks up to Acuity, sends me reminders when I have meetings, and makes planning out my weeks and months super efficient. Planning upfront has always saved me time in the long run.
This is what I use to run my consulting business. There are other programs like ConvertKit and Zapier that are great when you want to grow into something big, create a movement, and really amp things up in terms of lead generation. But when you are just getting started, the list above is a great place to start.
SO NOW WHAT?
So there you have it. There are plenty of ways to work location independently. And plenty of tools to help you do it.
If you feel both inspired and terrified of making a leap, don’t worry. It’s totally normal. We’ve been told for years what being ‘successful’ looks like. Quitting your corporate gig and giving up your benefits and financial security is probably not quite what you had in mind when you started climbing your corporate ladder.
But if you do nothing today, where will you be one year from now? Still sitting in your cubicle? Still feeling deflated and uninspired? Maybe. Probably.
Assessing our priorities in life is one of the most important things you can do. NOT doing this can mean you end up in a life that doesn’t inspire you and fill you up in a way that your 20-something self dreamed of. If you want to travel and work, now’s the time to start planning to do so. Life’s too short.
If you are ready to learn more, check out some of the resources I included above. And if you think a consulting model is the right fit for you, then we should talk.