Many people have a dream of becoming location-independent, and it's easy to see why. After all, it means you can travel without sacrificing your work or other responsibilities. The process of getting a remote job and planning your life so that you don't have to be in any particular place is a mystery to many. But people solve it every day, and many more can.
One of these people is Anna Sabino, who worked on Wall Street before starting her own jewelry company. Since then, she's become a full-time entrepreneur who splits her time between New York and Hawaii. In her book Your Creative Career, she lays out how others can also become location independent.
"If you want to become location independent, consider getting ready for this lifestyle ahead of time," Sabino tells Bustle. "You could of course quit everything, pick up, and go, but this is a risky approach. Once you decide you’d like to create a remote lifestyle, do make sure you start acting toward making it happen by being mindful about how you invest your energy and time."
Here are some things you can do now to start building a location-independent life for yourself, according to Sabino.
1Get Rid Of Stuff (And Stop Buying New Stuff)
If you want to be able to pick up and go as you please, you need to own as few possessions as possible. "Storing things is costly, and as a digital nomad, you want to keep your expenses low," Sabino says. Sell your stuff on Craigslist or eBay, or just donate it to charity. Even if you can't get much (or any) money for it, that's better than paying to keep it in storage.
2Pick Up Skills
There are a ton of jobs that you can do on the go, but nobody's going to hire you to do them if your skills don't stand out. Jobs you can do remotely include coding, coaching, photography, writing, graphic design, and social media marketing, says Sabino. You can take online courses in all of these things. Make sure you get familiar with the software for each. The sooner you start learning, the sooner you'll be able to make a career out of these professions. "Observing what remote skills are in demand and honing yours is important if you want a successful remote career and lifestyle," says Sabino.
3Look For Remote Jobs
When you browse job listings, most will say whether or not the job can be done remotely, says Sabino. Or, you can start looking for freelance work using a site like UpWork. Sabino recommends getting a full-time remote job or establishing a steady freelance clientele before quitting your current job. You don't want to be left without an income stream. "Just like with any new endeavor, there’s a learning curve and it may take some time for your remote career to take off," she says.
4Or, Talk To Your Boss About Working Remotely
You may not need to make a career change. Many companies are open-minded about letting their employees work remotely. If you want to ask your boss to let you work remotely, Sabino suggests bringing up examples of successful companies with a large remote workforce (Amazon, Apple, and Dell are just a few). Mention that you'll be able to devote more time to work, since you won't be commuting, and think of any other advantages you can. You could even suggest a trial period where you work remotely part-time while still living nearby. That way, you can prove that you can do it.
5Find A Nomad-Friendly Place
Once you have location-independent work, you need to go someplace you can do it from. Before booking your flight, make sure you've chosen someplace where it's easy to find a good WiFi connection. It also helps to go places with strong digital nomad communities so that you've got people to socialize with, says Sabino. You can refer to Engadget's list of best cities for digital nomads.
6Let Go Of Your Expectations
When you throw yourself into a new environment, things aren't going to go as expected. "Your internet may not work or you may discover other issues stemming simply from the fact that you’re now residing is a country that’s less developed that you’re used to," says Sabino. "The taken for granted comfort of having things accessible and available may not be there anymore, and you may have to lower your standards and expectations. Having an embracing attitude of being open to the new is the way to happiness in nomadic lifestyle." For the same reason, she adds, "those set in their ways with high expectations may not be happy living remotely. Constant search for what they know and are used to will only make them frustrated."
Being location-independent does not mean being on a constant vacation. "Everyone who starts this lifestyle has to put some serious hustle into making it happen," says Sabino. "Especially at the beginning, it takes a lot of time to learn the tricks of this new career. Setting up any new business is costly. It takes a lot of time and energy to get a start on it, be efficient, and start generating income. That iconic picture of working on a laptop from a beach is rarely true."
Even though being location-independent doesn't mean your life will be a vacation, it will probably make your life more exciting. You just need to balance your thirst for fun and adventure with a commitment to working hard and pushing through uncomfortable situations.