How to Work From Anywhere

By on Jan 28, 2013 in Career, Travel | 19 comments

 

work from anywhere

How would you like to work from anywhere?

The following is a guest post from Chris Osborne who thrives on working with passionate people. He is 30 years old and he knows how to work from anywhere. Although he is from London, he has been travelling throughout Asia the past 8 years.

1. Have The Right Business Model

Unless you’re already wealthy, there are basically two ways to support yourself while traveling long-term. You can either work in the country you visit, which normally (especially in Asia) involves teaching. Or my preferred method; create a business that has a strong online component that you can manage from anywhere with an internet connection.

I meet hundreds of people every year who manage their online business while traveling. This group of people once small, is getting bigger and bigger each year thanks to the internet.

Here are some of the most popular business models I see working for people:

  • Copy Writing
  • Web Design + Development
  • Building websites that rely on advertising revenue
  • Affiliate Marketing – Promoting products for a commission
  • Marketing – Driving visitors/sales for clients
  • E-Commerce
  • SAS – Creating a product your customers are willing to pay a monthly fee for.

All of the above business models can be run from coffee shops, hotel rooms and even on long train rides.

2. Decide Where To Visit Wisely

You can easily spend 6 months in Thailand for the cost of one month in Hong Kong or Tokyo due to the living costs. If you’re new to traveling while working and are on a budget or you prefer to reinvest your profits into your business, it makes sense choosing countries that offer great value for the money. Some of my favorite places I’ve visited including Vietnam, Bali, Thailand, Laos, China and the Philippines are also some of the cheapest countries to base yourself in, while offering heaps of benefits at the same time (superb food, nature, events, locals, festivals, side trips).

3. It’s Cheaper Than You Think

One of the big misconceptions of traveling is it’s expensive. But here’s the trick; If you’re wise in where you visit (see above) and are committed to long-term travel, it’s much cheaper than most people think. Here are some examples of my regular expenditure while living in North East Thailand, where I’m currently based:

  • 1 Month studio apartment rental with internet: $120
  • Chicken stir-fry over rice or a bowl of delicious noodles: $1
  • A 2 mile taxi ride: $1
  • Ticket to see the latest flick at the new 3D cinema: $6
  • A flight to Hanoi from Bangkok: $70

If you dedicate yourself to traveling long-term and leave home with no financial pressure (i.e a mortgage), it’s possible to live a very comfortable lifestyle on $1,000/month here in Thailand, as well as in China, Bali and Vietnam.

4. Create Yourself A “Base”

Many of my friends, including me, rent an apartment (or house) for 1 to 6 months at a time. We do this because a) we dramatically reduce our expenses, b) the cost of travel in South East Asia is so cheap that it allows us to keep the rental even if we decide to visit somewhere else and c) the longer you stay in one area, the more familiar you’ll become with the locals (the best part of traveling, in my opinion).

5. Eat Where The Locals Eat

Not only is it cheaper to eat where the locals eat, but it’s often much more authentic and gives you a great opportunity to learn the language, try new dishes and to interact with the locals.

6. Have The Right Mindset

Some people are fine with taking one or two vacations a year, others prefer to spend 6 months away or if you’re like me, once you start traveling you’ll stay on the road constantly. There’s no right answer. But whatever you do, you’ll enjoy yourself so much more if you are open-minded and have a fun attitude.

I can clearly remember seeing skinned dogs hanging at a market vendors stall in China. It wasn’t a pleasant sight, but I understand that we have culture differences and instead of letting it bother me, I shrugged it off. There will be many instances like this where you’ll say to yourself “what the heck!”

7. Watch The ATM Fees

Managing cash while traveling is a lot easier now with internet banking, readily available ATM machines and Paypal. I’m guessing you already know how your online banking and Paypal work, so let’s talk about the one area that many newbies get stung with: ATM fees.

Cash withdrawal fees vary with most banks all around the world, and there’s often fees incurred at both ends; your bank and the bank you’re using to withdraw funds from. It can be a wise and cost-effective move to shop around to check what banks in your country charge while using ATM machines overseas.

8. Check Events And Festivals

Some of my most memorable trips in the last 8 years of traveling in Asia we’re visiting events and festivals. From visiting the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan to the Nationwide Waterfight called “Songkran” in Thailand, there are festivals and events held weekly throughout Asia.

With so many low cost airlines in the Asia pacific region, most places that hold the big events and festivals are easily accessible and if booked in advance, are very affordable.

9. Shared Working Spaces

To accommodate the increase of travelers who work at the same time, Asia has seen many shared working spaces sprung up over the last few years. Most offer excellent facilities including fast internet, comfortable working stations, business centers and snacks/drinks. Most are extremely affordable and don’t require any long contracts, with many of them having daily rates. These shared working spaces are not only great for getting some work done, but also provide an opportunity to network with like-minded people.

10. Dedication

There is a side to working while traveling that requires a lot of dedication. You’ll have times when friends invite you out for day trips, yet a major client issue has just arrived in your inbox so you’ll need decline the offer. You need to be disciplined and put business before fun in order to sustain this lifestyle long term. It’s true… while I get to move around and have a lot of fun everyday, I do generally work longer hours than my friends at home in 9-5 jobs. Is it worth it? Hell yes.

Image Credit: Wandrly Magazine

    19 Comments

  1. These are all great tips! I would love to eventually be a freelancer and be able to work from wherever.

    Michelle

    January 28, 2013

    • Great! If there’s any specific questions I can help you with, feel free to get in touch.

      Chris

      January 28, 2013

  2. Being able to work from anywhere is definitely one of our goals. We talk about it all the time. I we would need is a stable Internet connection. Asia and China aren’t really places that I am interested in visiting. I would more like to go back to Europe.

    Tackling Our Debt

    January 28, 2013

    • I’m a huge fan of Europe too. Where in Europe do you like visiting?

      Chris

      January 28, 2013

  3. Great tips. I agree about the base, having to store your stuff every time you move is painful. Many banks don’t charge for ATM fees abroad, I think in the US charles swab is known for this. Your rent is amazingly low, here in Guatemala a similar studio would start at $250.

    Pauline

    January 28, 2013

  4. These are some great tips! My wife and I run our own business, in advertising, and would love to do something like this once our kids are older. Thanks to things like Skype, you can do a lot of your meetings that way and still be able to travel.

    John S @ Frugal Rules

    January 28, 2013

    • I couldn’t run my business without Skype – Such a great tool.

      Chris

      January 28, 2013

  5. I will be going location independent for a part of 2013 – hopefully I will be able to balance both work and travel to make the most of it! Great list, and agree it all starts with getting the right business model.

    eemusings

    January 28, 2013

    • Cool. What travel plans have you got fixed for 2013?

      Chris

      January 28, 2013

  6. Being able to work from anywhere is definitely something that interests me and something I’m considering working towards. Thanks for sharing the tips.

    DC @ Young Adult Money

    January 29, 2013

  7. Love this concept! I have had the luxury of working in the affiliate marketing field for 12+ years and the benefits are amazing, I literally can work from anywhere with a WiFi connection. But you are right the dedication it takes is the key to success, especially when you work from home. it took me a few years to figure that out.

  8. You are writing what I dream about. I have just started my first blog on personal finance but I wish I could quit my day job a travel around the world while working. I love your tips and advice, and wish to take my business online. Great post!

    Mark Herdman

    February 4, 2013

  9. Its my dream to quit everything, get my finances sorted and just go travel. Its a wild world out there, but I got to sort out my debts and investments before I go anywhere, just hope it doesn’t take too long and the chance pass me by.

    WILDaboutFinance

    February 5, 2013

    • That is awesome that this is something you dream of doing. If I can be of any help to get you there, just let me know.

      Deacon

      February 5, 2013

  10. I love the part about mindset. That truly is the nucleus of doing anything great. Love this post.

    Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce

    February 9, 2013

  11. This is really great info, thank you so much.

    Jamille Stephens

    February 12, 2013

  12. Love this! I actually did a one month experiment living remotely in Oregon and running my business from an oceanfront condo. Since I work via VOIP none of my clients realized I wasn’t in my homebase office. I think more people can do this – you just have to figure out how.

    Suzanne

    February 15, 2013

  13. This is a great post, thank you for the inspiration. I just returned from my honeymoon in Bali and want so badly to spend an extended period of time in Asia. I work for my father’s tech company now and I am all for location independent work, but he is totally old school and thinks everyone needs to be in the office. Anywho, my hubbie and I are working on building our own model. I would like to add that if you enjoy the line of work you are in, and believe in it, it is probably a lot easier to be disciplined. Especially if you’ve worked really hard to create that lifestyle for yourself, the last thing you want to do is risk jeopardizing it. Thanks again :)

    Maggie Lehrian

    April 3, 2013

    • Hey Maggie! That is awesome to hear that you were able to go to Bali for your honeymoon. That seems like it would be a sweet place to visit. I agree with you that if you enjoy your work it is easier to be disciplined. I find that when I wake up, that because I love what I do, I am excited to start working. That definitely wasn’t that case when I worked at some of my previous employers.

      Deacon

      April 3, 2013

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