Top Tips for Becoming Location Independent and Living Anywhere

Published 2012-08-07 12:34:46

Connected: USA. Arizona. Page. Horseshoe Bend. Man with notebook © PictureArt - FotoliaMany people dream of running away from their corporate jobs and indulging in travel, freedom and independence. So why don't they just do it? Leases, family, property, and jobs can all seem like inescapable obligations. But with an increasing number of people choosing to be Location Independent, more people than ever are finding happiness abroad.

Location independence or digital nomad refers to a career that does not require your presence in any one place for your job to be done. You are geographically free! However, location independence usually requires you to be tethered through technology. The vast world of the Internet allows you to connect with employers or clients from around the globe.

Vibrant expat communities, like those on the forums and expat blogs are a testament that you can take the leap and work anywhere in the world. Whether it means you are starting a new career or transitioning from what you are doing now, the most important thing to remember is that it is possible.  

    Top 3 Reasons to Become Location Independent
  • Save money, time, and stress skipping a commute to work.
  • You can make your own hours and dress code. Are you a night owl? Work late. Have kids that you want to spend more time with? Work while they are at school. Want to work in your slippers? Go for it!
  • Offers the opportunity to explore the world. Either slowly with long-term travel, or simply to relocate to a place you would love to live.
    Top 3 Mistakes or Misconceptions
  • Being your own boss takes discipline - lots of it. This kind of atmosphere simply isn't for everyone.
  • You take your job everywhere, all the time. Weekends and holidays can lose meaning when you have a deadline to meet.
  • Location independent jobs are commonly high in freedom and low on pay, especially at first. While plenty of people make enough to live, few get truly rich doing it.

Location Independent Career Options

Still interested? Here are some of your options.

Entrepreneurs & Freelancers

Though there are significant differences between freelancers and entrepreneurs (like that entrepreneurs create their own market, and theoretically can make an unlimited amount of money), the important similarity is that they are each their own boss. This may include creating your own product, site, or service. These types of location independent people tend to be inventors of items or technology, import/exporters, writers, translators, artists, and creators.


A telecommuter usually works for one boss or company, but has the flexibility to work from home. "Home" can be anywhere that provides the technology necessary to complete their tasks. This can be both a great fit for the company and employee as the employer decreases costs of work environment and maintains productivity, and the employee gets increased freedom and flexibility. If this option is offered part-time it is known as "flex hours".

This can be the perfect way to transition into location independence. You can keep the security of a familiar company and tasks while starting to branch out geographically. From this point you have the option to try to step out into a new career as an entrepreneur or freelancer without the risk of financial insecurity.

People Working in Location Independent Careers

For some people, moving abroad has forced them to find a new way to make a living. For others, the need to start a new career moved them abroad. Here are some examples of expats working in location independent careers.

Cath Cellier-Smart - Translator

Blog: Smart Translate
Twitter: @Smart_Translate

Catherine is a freelance translator that grew up in London with a 17 year stop on Reunion Island, a French island in the Indian Ocean. She has now been living and working in Seoul, South Korea. She says, "(Translating) is a portable career which also allows me time to travel, which we do for about 4 months of the year at the moment."

For more tips, check out her list of 101 Tips to Succeed as a Freelancer.

Raymond Walsh - Travel Blog & Freelance Writer

Blog: Man on the Lam
Twitter: @manonthelam1

Ray left behind his cubicle-shaped cell to see the world. He now runs a successful travel blog and is a freelance travel writer. He hopes to inspire others to "shake the shackles and escape through travel".

Learn more about why Man on the Lam made his move in his post, "Growing Old Before My Time".

Linda A Janssen - Freelance Writer

Blog: Adventures in Expat Land
Twitter: @in_expatland

At first Linda focused on settling her family into a new life in the Netherlands, but has since started a writing freelance. She has contributed to the Amazon #1 bestseller for Women & Business "Turning Points: Twenty Five Inspiring Stories from Women Entrepreneurs Who Turned Their Lives and Their Careers Around" and is now working on her own book on the importance of emotional resilience in expat life.

Find out more about Linda's book and how you may contribute at her site.

Sarah "Miss Bea" - Jewelry designer

Blog: Working Berlin Mum
Twitter: @workberlinmum

After encountering difficult work conditions in Berlin and trying to make it as a single mum, Sarah is now building her own jewelry business: "...I am now building my own jewelry business with shops on Etsy and Dawanda and plan to open a bricks and mortar shop at some point in the near future".

Evelyn Simpson - Expat Coach

Blog: The Smart Expat
Twitter: @thesmartexpat

Coaching is a relatively new field in which people with experience can offer their tips on coping with homesickness and culture shock, staying focused on their goals and overcoming the emotional and motivational challenges of expat life. Evelyn has been leading the life of a serial expat for over 20 years in six different countries. She provides a rigorous program for organising an international move, making the move as seamless as possible and maximising the benefits from other service providers.

Find out more about The Smart Expat's Coaching and Consulting and Expat Seminars.

Aisha Ashra - Freelance Writer

Blog: Expatlogue
Twitter: @AishaAshraf1

After working a variety of jobs in a variety of places, Aisha reignited an old flame for writing while living abroad. Her articles can be found in a variety of Expat Resource websites as she describes herself as: "A perennial misfit, I've crossed geographical, cultural & religious borders in a life that reads like an Amazon bestseller, and give a frank account of the journey here on my award-winning blog Expatlogue, where I cover topics as diverse as censorship in Islam, mental health taboos and cross-cultural relationships".

Find out more about Aisha and what makes her writing memorable in her testimonials.

Adam - Travel Blog

Twitter: @travelsofadam

Adam quit his job as a graphic designer in Boston and went on a 15+ month trip around the world. He is currently settled down geographically, but runs a hipster travel & lifestyle blog that shares personal experiences and alternative & indie travel tips from around the world. He says: "As my round-the world travels wound down...I made a difficult decision: do I return to America and look for a job there? Or do I try my luck one more time and pursue my dream of living in Europe....As of January 2012, I'm living in Berlin and continually traveling around Europe and the rest of the world".

Learn from Adam about "why i blog".

Gringos Abroad - Online Media Company

Blog: Gringos Abroad
Twitter: @GringosAbroad

Bryan & Dena Haines sold their ad agency and home in Canada and moved to South America. Their site is a collection of experiences and tips that help others follow in their footsteps.

Robert Schrader - Travel Blog

Blog: Leave Your Daily Hell
Twitter: @leavyrdailyhell

This sometimes expat, full time traveler has been all over the world and offers informational posts on destinations, budget, and how to go anywhere. He says,
"Location-independent income is simply income you earn from wherever in the world you are. Once your income is location-independent, your lifestyle can be too".

Find out from Robert how he is location-independent.

Find stories of other amazing travelers and expats in the BlogExpat directory.

Location Independent Career Options

  • Translating
  • Photography
  • Online marketing
  • PR
  • Writing and copywriting
  • Virtual assistance
  • Publishing
  • Sales
  • Coach
  • Music composer / sound designer
  • Software development
  • Professional poker player
  • Online community manager or community consultant
  • Consulting services for organizational development
  • IT project management and regulatory compliance
  • Jewelry Designer
  • Professional Barterer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Voice-Over Artist
  • Game Designer
  • Financial Planner
  • Illustrator
  • Crafts
  • House-sitting
  • Pet Care

Resources for Becoming Location Independent

A great resource for those looking to make the move is the Location Independent website. It provides information on how to get started in different careers, resources, and organizations that can help you find your way.


    Tips for writing:
  • There are many people interested in selling their writing, so find your special little niche.
  • Consider your market. Your writing could be published in print publications, blogs, expat resources, etc.
  • Treat your writing as a business and create a strategic business and marketing plan.
  • Building relationships with people in your market. They can offer you valuable advice.
  • Don't rely on just one source for your income. The more streams of revenue you can create, the more stable your financial planning will be. Consider coaching/mentoring, teaching, reviewing work, etc.
  • Be a ruthless critique of the quality of your work. Have other's review it and provide feedback. Pinpoint weak areas and work to improve.

Daily Writing Tips is a helpful website for aspiring writers.


  • Prepare your portfolio. This is the most important element in attracting clients. Limit your portfolio to only your best work.
  • Be receptive to feedback. Show your portfolio to people in the business and be open to feedback.
  • Invest in your own development. Spend money to improve yourself or services.
  • Network with people or companies you respect. They can offer you valuable advice and help you identify what your market is.

Copyblogger offers invaluable articles concerning the art of copywriting. Consider their tips on Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy.


  • Do not accept a project which you know is not within your abilities or impossible deadlines.
  • Ask questions. Guessing what a client wants results in mistakes.
  • See the text before agreeing to a contract. Also form a relationship with your client so that if issues do turn up, you have an open line of communication.
  • Form firm rates that are competitive. It is important to assess proper value to your work and maintain a consistent rate. Do not sell yourself short.
  • Keep detailed records and correspondence. It is important to provide a professional demeanor and keep track of emails, faxs, invoices, and contracts.
  • Read every clause very carefully before you sign a contract.

Are you location independent? Share your tips, tricks, and questions below.

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Work & Business

Author: EasyExpat
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