Many professional poker players around the world call April 15, 2011 as “Black Friday” when the U.S federal government had charged some of the largest online poker sites with fraud and money laundering. You may think what is the relation between poker and travel? Just wait a bit; good things are usually slowly unfolding. Anyway, so, when the U.S government brought indictment charges against the founders of world largest online poker websites, many professional pokers – some of them earn five digits earning, moved to Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and some other far flung places to salvage their accounts and keep playing. They soon built a poker community and worked during the day and met up at night and on weekends to party. Life suddenly turned into a location independent work with money flowing in with perks of varied experiences.
Location independent work – is it real?
Now, probably you have got it why I have started the story with poker. Become location independent employee is a non-negotiable part of managing finance. I don’t buy all those false narratives – “travel without money”, “travel free” etc. Those are extremely misleading stories and impossible, at least for a decent guy like I and you (I hope you are a decent guy like me). For long I fulfilled my travel objectives by doing freelance content writing, but not everybody has the required skill set to do high-paid content writing. For those who wish for long-term travel (a few months to a year), a steady income is unavoidable unless he or she is rich. However, the path to get a location independent work is stressful, frustrating and sometimes scary.
What options you have?
Options on paper are plenty, but practically there are a few things you can actually do. There are principally three common ways you can work without being present physically in a particular locale.
Create a passive income stream
|My Workplace in Pondicherry (at Auro Beach)|
It is the most important part of your process of earning while traveling. The planning should be started very early – from the very beginning of your job when you start making money out of some sort of passive income such as freelance work, share trading, online selling, affiliate marketing in your website or blog, translation or language related jobs, teaching online lessons, doing market research for companies, selling photographs and so on. Remember these are all one way or other passive source of income unless you do it full-time. It is also advisable to take these jobs as passive income source because you need to build a steady client base for your fulfill your future travel goal.
Convince your company/boss to allow you to work remotely
10 years back it was an impossible proposition, but now it is quite feasible option to negotiate with your company or boss to let you work remotely. As my personal experience I worked with a company for a year or so as ‘Work from Home’ option and traveled different parts of the country and South East Asia. Of course I was good at job and created a good impression. Also, I negotiated on money part so that the company had more profit keeping me for the work with less pay than recruiting another person. The most important thing is to stay in a company for a few years and create a proposal that will clearly benefit the company.
Work remotely as a freelancer
That’s the most common method to work without any fixed location. Freelance means you are hired for particular job for different companies for different projects. For example, freelance developers or freelance graphic designers. However, you need to develop a skill and know how to sell the skill. Top freelance websites to look for are Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer, Cloudpeeps etc.
Some Unconventional Methods To Work Location Independently
|From my balcony @ Dharamkot (Himachal Pradesh)|
No matter how much it sounds exciting, creating a base for a location independent work requires time, and therefore people who have succeeded in this domain prepared themselves for years before they completely left the job. Even if you have an idea, significant fund and lots of enthusiasm, the correct measure is to create your base while continuing your regular job. Almost everything you plan, even freelance writing, you need to create a solid base first, which requires time.
Start your own business
It will take time and a labor of love to doing it successfully. There are numerous ideas to start an online business and work it remotely. It is a hell of a job to earn money from the business initially but if you start it early, you might succeed in the business.
Dropshipping means you are a retailer without having an inventory. Instead it purchases the product from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. So, you will never see or handle the product. The difference between dropshipping and retail model is that selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory, so you will be location independent. You buy it from a wholesaler or manufacturer and sell it to the buyer through the inventory from a third party.
Less fund is required to open an ecommerce store without having to invest lots of money. It is also easy to get started because you don’t have to manage or paying your warehouse or packing and shipping your orders. You also don’t have to do the complex process of tracking inventory for accounting reasons.
Low margins are the biggest drawback of this business. There are inventory issues emerge because you don’t manage your own inventory and source from multiple warehouses so inventory changes on a daily basis.
There are many companies providing a platform for your own online retail store. For example, Hothaat, Seasonsway, Bagsvags, Snazzyway, and other some others.
|Working @ some Thai Restaurant|
Trading is a wonderful way to be location independent and earn lots of money. Although it sounds exciting, it is quite tough to start as a day trader if you don’t have any experience or knowledge about equities and market. I work on day trading and it’s been now a steady passive income source for quite number of years. Unfortunately, I lost lots of money also in day trading, but since it is my passive income source, I consider those lose as my sunk cost.
If you are good in poker or card games, you can try online poker playing in variety of websites. Poker is lucrative and you can earn lots of money, even after giving 30% of government tax. Every day there are hundreds of tournaments going on in multiple poker sites, and you can start it from Rs. 100 to unlimited amount. Needless to say, you must first go through free roll for months to understand the game, and develop an interest in it. Poker is a skill based game, so don’t think it is a pure gambling. There are lots of strategies involved, game plans etc.
Productivity v/s Procrastination
|My personal room @ Sohra (Meghalaya)|
Believe me, traveling on road is a tough job. It is frustrating when you see other travelers enjoy, drinking, chatting and you are in the middle of finishing a project. The pressure is probably more than office because you are a sort of mercenary and people who pay you never listen to your excuses. It is very important to maintain a routine on the road so that you never miss the work. Every new place brings some unique challenges to work, so you need an impeccable discipline. It sounds glamorous working from road, but realty is far from fantasy.
- Assess your strength how much your can work, and how much money you need daily for sustenance and save. Don’t forget to save money because freelance or passive income sources have no security.
- Don’t run after money because it will rob happiness from your journey.
- As mentioned repeatedly first create a solid base of whatever you want to do. Proper planning is important for freelance work. Gaining trust from clients is important, so even if you take a few days leave, they will understand it.
- Make a strict schedule. For example, early morning work is better if you complete everything or at least 80% of work.
- Do not procrastinate on work. Remember all friends or travelers you meet in the journey are temporary. You have to manage yourself. If you have committed yourself to a certain freelancing style, don’t just leave it.
- Limit your browsing time on internet. Open your computer only for work. Block all those sites that are potentially time wasting such as Youtube, Facebook etc. if you work demands those websites then it’s okay but limit yourself to your professional work only.
- Try to finish your work first then go for exploring the place. There is no joy in traveling if you keep thinking about your work. After all you are traveling for your own peace, and not to pretend that you are enjoying your life.
Important Tips for Working on Road
- Carry multiple SIM cards
- First figure out when and how you work best
- Create a productive playlist
- Buy an international outlet adapter
- Have a back-up plan for internet failure (particularly in India)
In my life I worked and traveled at the same time plenty of times. I worked at roadside restaurants in India, in minus degree temperature Himalayan regions, and also working in the middle of happy go lucky hostel mates, all were enjoying and I was working. In all my experiences, I never regretted my decision but I confess it’s really a tough job. I want to give you a true picture, and try to help people who live in a fantasy that traveling and working together is a wonderful concept.
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