Welcome to the first guest blog post of 2016! This is going to be a permanent fixture, with the aim to have these once a month. If you are interested in writing a guest blog post on the OFS blog, shoot me an email and let’s discuss!
If you’ve been wondering how you can travel and be a freelancer, Jorge has got some great info for you. Having experienced a lot of what Jorge mentions throughout this article, I can attest that being a freelancer is one of the best ways to be able to travel and earn at the same time!
If you’re anything like me, you love the idea of exploring new and exciting places around the world. I’ve had the opportunity to work and travel on and off the better part of the past 10 years in over 15 countries.
You don’t need to “strike it rich” nor wait until retirement to travel. There is a science to this method that very few people actually implement. I will show you how you can do the same as a freelancer, what options you have to fund your travels, and how to do it.
Let’s get right to it. There are quite a few variations of ways to work as a freelancer and also travel the world. I have either personally experienced or directly know people that have experienced all of these variations.
Here’s what I will be covering:
- Work to Travel
- Travel for Work
- Travel & Working in Cycles
- Travel with Passive Income
- Freelancing with Local Clients
- Location Independent Freelancer
#1: Work to Travel
Freelancers who Work to Travel are generally more interested in traveling than they are in working. Their income is gained primarily through various jobs taken as they travel from place to place. Examples would be local contract work (i.e. web designing, English tutoring, bartending, hostel management, movie producing, screen writer, etc.)
The duration of each of these jobs can range from a few days to several months or more. These jobs are typically just another means to fund the traveling lifestyle and may not necessarily be the person’s career choice.
I’ve met quite a lot of people from various different countries that choose this method of freelancing to fund their travels.
#2: Travel for Work
Freelancers who travel for work generally have occupations that require travel to other cities, and sometimes other countries. Examples would be flight attendants, pilots, consultants, models, cruise ship staff, DJ’s, musicians, and artists. Since the travel destinations are generally dictated by business needs, these types of freelancer’s typically have little say on where they are able to go.
The biggest benefit of choosing this category is that, if your interests and destinations align, then you will have a fully-funded trip to work in a location that you want to be in.
Those in the aviation and entertainment industry are often included in this category. The downside is that, because you are not always in control of what locations you go to or your work schedule, you may not be in a city that you want to be in or have time to explore.
#3: Travel & Working in Cycles
Freelancers who travel and work in cycles typically work for a period of time, then stop working to travel for a period of time. These periods of time are generally for a span of a few weeks, months, and sometimes years. The reason why this is a popular choice is because, as a freelancer, you have the flexibility to choose when you want to work and what clients/projects you choose to accept.
The key to this type of work structure is to make sure that the income generated during working periods is enough to inclusively cover all costs while you are not working and traveling.
It is very important to account for all major direct and indirect costs, so you're not put in a situation where you’re stuck in a random country with no money and no way out. Careful budgeting and planning is crucial to ensuring that this does not happen.
#4: Travel with Passive Income
Freelancers who travel with passive income are those who have made preparations and worked freelance jobs previously to achieve passive income. Whether it is through sales residuals, author royalties, internet marketing, multi-level marketing, investments, or other methods, the passive income generated is enough to fund their travels.
Generally there is a large amount of initial work that needs to be put into this upfront. There are two aspects of passive income that you should be aware of: duration and amount of passive income.
Duration refers to the amount of time that passive income will last for. If you have contracts or investments producing passive income, this could refer to the contract term or time-to-maturity. Typically these are in increments of 1-3 years, although some may not have a definite expiration.
Amount of passive income is self-explanatory in that it’s the amount of money generated. If this amount is greater than or equal to the amount of your expenses in any given time period, then you will be able to implement this strategy.
#5: Freelancing with Local Clients
A freelancer with local clients is focused on getting clients that are local to the country that you’re in (whether domestic or international). These clients provide business to the freelancer in the form of project contracts or hourly work.
Occasionally, the freelancer may need to visit the client(s) in person to maintain and build relationships to further cross-sell or obtain referrals. The frequency of such visits can vary widely, depending on your business, nature of work, and the individual clients. As long as there is an established level of trust between you and your clients, you are generally able to work remotely.
#6: Location Independent Freelancer
A location independent freelancer is one that has truly achieved the freedom to work from anywhere nearly 100% of the time. This happens when you have established yourself with an ongoing supply of existing and/or new clients which provide you the necessary income to fund your travels. In many cases, the clients do not care where you are located, but rather value the importance of receiving satisfactory work on time.
Daily communication with your clients can occur via phone, email, text, or chat rooms. The nature of certain fields of work (such as writing, application development, design, etc.…) can greatly aid the freelancer’s ability to achieve 100% location independence.
These 6 categories have enabled many freelancers in the past to proactively travel the world in their given field. Whether you are interested in short or long-term travel, the best way is to align with your career objectives, obtain and utilize the required skills, and implement one or more of the above strategies.
For more information, a Work Remote Company list, and a Work Remote Cheat Sheet, please click here.
Jorge G. is an adventurous explorer, average cook (but fast and efficient), and cross-cultural entrepreneur that has traveled and worked in over 15 countries the past 10 years. He speaks 4 languages (fluently fakes 2 more) and founded the Definitive Nomad Guide to help others achieve the freedom of travel while working. Check out his free 5-part mini-course on How to Work Remotely and Travel in Under 6 Months.