The Problems We Face Becoming Location Independent

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.

Business formalities

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.

Rob over at Making it Anywhere has been really helpful and pointed us in the right direction several times. They offer loads of tips for the digital nomad. He’s an all-round good egg and him and his wife Mish are in the same ‘Location Independent’ boat as Eloise and I!

(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 CafΓ© 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!

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6 Responses to The Problems We Face Becoming Location Independent

  1. Colleen Eakins November 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I don’t know if this is helpful or not, since I’m not sure of all of your banking needs or UK regulations, but something that is helpful for me is using a virtual mail room that also offers check depositing services. That way, no matter where I am, I can have clients that need to pay by check, mail them to my “address” and have them deposited into my account. I use Earth Class Mail for this. For the most part, clients pay me through Paypal either with their account or their credit card. I have the debit card associated with it to use to pay bills or get money from ATM machines. I also use Freshbooks for cloud accounting/invoicing. They allow the invoices to be paid with either paypal or amazon payments.
    Colleen Eakins recently posted…Branding Series: Brand AwarenessMy Profile

    • Stuart Edwards November 23, 2012 at 6:10 am #

      It’s very helpful thank you Colleen! I’ll check Earth Class out, sounds like a really good service. Just out of curiosity, is you debit card you use for paying bills and withdrawing money from ATM’s business related? I’d say the majority of payments are PayPal based, so we’ll have a look into Freshbooks too! Thank you very much Colleen.

      • Colleen Eakins November 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

        Great! I’m glad the info might be helpful. Yes, the bills, etc I pay with the debit card are business related. I have a few auto debits tied to the card for business services I use and sometimes I prefer to use cash for small purchases like coffee for meetings or client gifts. πŸ™‚
        Colleen Eakins recently posted…Branding Series: Brand AwarenessMy Profile

        • Stuart Edwards November 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

          Sounds like you’re well organised Colleen! I’m really irritated we didn’t get anything final set up before we left the UK. Going to be a real struggle trying to set up some sort of business banking while I’m away, unless I bump into my long lost identical twin brother in India… πŸ˜‰

  2. Heidi Reyes November 24, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    When I read this post, I remembered a website on location independent work which is owned by a couple in the UK. I’ve been getting their email newsletters, as I want to work abroad at some point. The site is http://locationindependent.com/. There is a section on money and finances, which might be helpful. I’m not affiliated with them. I’ve just found their tips helpful. I hope you get the banking sorted out!
    Heidi Reyes recently posted…If You’ve Ever Sold a Used iPod, You May Have Violated Copyright Law – The AtlanticMy Profile

    • Stuart Edwards November 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Hi Heidi! Thanks for the helpful link. There’s some good stuff on there! Still facing a bit of a nightmare with our financial situation. I’m still looking for a solution though. Thanks again! πŸ™‚

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