We’ve always had the dream of being Location Independent. I define that as:
Being able to work and earn money regardless of location. Ideally on an exotic beach somewhere warm!
We know this dream is achievable, but it’s not as easy. It’s taking a lot of hard work, time and patience. Ironing out these work flow problems will hopefully help us on our path to becoming location independent.
Lack of reliable internet connection
Lack of Wi-Fi, or any sort of internet connection is a massive hindrance in our plans to becoming location independent. Relying on the internet as our means of communication with the outside world simply means that we need to be near a Wi-Fi connection. We recently had a stint up in Northern India and were unreachable for about 3 weeks.
We missed out on a time sensitive advertisement deal, and someone we contracted on elance got panicky with our lack of communication, making a complaint.
To commit to becoming location independent we have to factor in availability of Wi-Fi when it comes to our choice of destination. While this may not be a problem, it’s something that is critical to our decision making process when we choose our next travel location.
Being in a location long enough
We need to be settled to get any sort of productive work done. But what happens when our current destination isn’t that great for whatever reason (dodgy Wi-Fi, constant power cuts)? We move on. We’ve researched into companies like Airbnb and Trusted House sitters to try and find a suitable base from which to work from. Preferably by a swimming pool or near the beach would helpful…
Hopefully this will free up a lot of worries when it comes to us being stable for a while and allow us to focus for a while.
Starting a business for the first time, whether abroad or at home, can be a struggle without relevant expertise. Choosing what type of business you wish to operate is up to you. Sole trader or Partnership. Private or public limited companies can be formed quite easily (in the UK). You can work with online accountants remotely through Skype and email, making sure your tax and VAT issues and general accounts are completed at year end.
Our problem lies in setting up business banking from abroad. Due to money laundering and cross-border crime, banks require face-to-face confirmation of who we are – Meaning I have to get myself back to the UK if I want my business based there. Not easy!
The UK Business Forums is a gold mine for those wanting to become location independent. Information on business formation, tax, finances, marketing, services and idea sharing to name a few things.
(Any help or advice on how to set up UK business banking while abroad while travelling would be massively appreciated!)
Wanting to travel
We want to travel too! You definitely need to put the hours in to become location independent, but we want to enjoy the sights and sounds that travelling is all about! There is so much inspiration out there, it would be a shame to have our heads stuck in our laptop screens and miss it all.
Finding the work/pleasure balance on the path to location independent is difficult, as I’m more ‘I just want to get it done!’ type. But this can result in hours of solid work, and while I might be sat on a beach somewhere, I can’t enjoy it as much as the guy next to me with a cocktail in his hand. It’s all about finding the balance!
The Café Conundrum
The problem with going to places that have Wi-Fi, it that you usually have to buy something. If you keep on revisiting a place to use their Wi-Fi facilities, the owners may get grumpy if you don’t spend enough cash, as you may be taking up a valuable table sipping your cold coffee for several hours every day.
What happens when you need the toilet? I recommend you buy a laptop security cable so you can anchor your laptop to something via the ‘Kensington lock slot’ (see Wikipedia) built into your laptop. You’ll need to go and pee sometime!
Online time management
When we can only access the internet occasionally, we tend to have a back log of things to catch up with. Personal things: Emails, catching up the with parents and friends, Facebook and Twitter updates, building my wedding photography portfolio and general browsing.
Throw in more work related internet activities, such as site development and management, social media strategies, article writing and research plus a whole load of other stuff – Then we’ve got some time management issues to sort out!
Knowing when to stop and smell the roses
We’ve established we need to put the hours in to become location independent, and I can happily work away all through the night on one project or another. But what about travelling and enjoying where we are, living in the moment and going to bed at a normal time?
- Work too hard and we burn out, getting wound up and irritated at whatever task we’re doing.
- Work too little and nothing gets done, we feel guilty and know we should be putting more effort in.
Being more relaxed and rested, we’ll be happier, more focused and less stressed. Resulting in a better productivity and output of work. Again it’s about finding the happy middle ground where we’re comfortable!
I’m sure all digital nomads face these problems at some point when on their quest to becoming location independent, and any tips from would be hugely appreciated!