About six months ago I quit my corporate job at one of the largest tech companies to explore remote work opportunities. Since then, I built a profitable online business helping clients from 5+ countries with their digital marketing strategies while working from co-working spaces and cafes around the world (currently writing this from beautiful Porto!).
In this weekly series, I would like to share my experiences and observations as a location independent professional over the past couple of months and provide some insights into the opportunities of remote work for both companies and professionals.
Earlier this year while still grinding my 9-to-5 (or rather, 8-to-7…) job, I remember thinking:
- Why work from an office cubicle if I can do my job from anywhere?
- Why stick to a work schedule when I’m more productive working different hours?
- Why save up for retirement to enjoy life after age 65 while life should be enjoyed now?
Turns out… I was not alone. In fact, Linkedin data shows that 40% of Millennials and Gen Z professionals are motivated by work-life balance, which often means designing your own work schedules and working remote, and 96% of professionalsdon’t aspire to have a corner office at all (well, that’s a shame of the billions of $ invested in new office spaces!)
Ultimately, what you want is to spend less hours in the office and more hours enjoying the lifestyle you’re supposedly chasing – am I right?
“People don’t want to be millionaires – they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy” – Tim Ferriss
With the rise of the gig economy, where 43% of the US workforce is predicted to freelance by 2020, companies are shifting towards a more “remote-friendly” workforce (in fact, the #2 location for jobs at companies in the 2018 LinkedIn Top Startups list can be done from anywhere!) and leverage gig-based work from freelancers and remote employees.
So, what does that mean for you as a professional? I’d say it is time to get on this fast train to pursue a career path outside of the traditional office and stay ahead of the competition (the best part: it allows you to live anywhere & travel the world!)
In this series, I’d like to shed some light into the world of remote work, the most in-demand skills for remote jobs, and how to transform your office job into a remote position, but for now let’s kick-off with 3 paths you could take to start your location independent career:
1. The Remote Employee
As a remote employee you work for a company which allows you to work from anywhere (usually from home, a co-working space, or a nice cafe). You can practically work wherever you want as long as you have a laptop and a good Wi-Fi connection.
LinkedIn recently launched a product update which allows its members to search for remote jobs at companies, and with almost 90,000 remote jobs currently available this is a huge step forward. “From our own research we know most of you value flexible schedules and work-life balance – so we wanted to create an experience that made it easier to find employment that does not require you coming into the office.” Thank you, LinkedIn!
2. The Flexible Freelancer
A freelancer is someone who is self-employed and gets paid by the hour or per project. He or she usually has a portfolio of multiple clients and is responsible for sourcing their own projects, or “gigs”, through platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, or LinkedIn. They are usually short-term contracts for a specific task or skill, so it is important to identify what skills you still need to develop if you want to pursue a career as a freelancer.
I personally decided to start out as a freelancer to get relevant skills (in fact, “learning a new skill” is the #1 goal professionals are in it for in 2018), build my portfolio, and being able to work from anywhere while traveling the world – in the past six months I’ve worked from a co-working space in Bali, a cute cafe in Porto and alongside a pool in California – needless to say, I wouldn’t want to go back to my office cubicle!
3. The Passionate (Online) Entrepreneur
An entrepreneur is someone who usually turns a passion project into a business with the goal of creating a profit machine so he or she can automate or outsource their work.
If you’ve read the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris (if not, I highly suggest you buy a copy now) then you’ll know that there’s two types of entrepreneurs: those who trade time for money (active income) and those who build recurring income streams (passive income). The holy grail of location independence and freedom is to build a portfolio of passive income – so eventually, you can enjoy life with the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility.
“The only difference between a rich person and poor person is how they use their time” – Robert Kiyosaki
In order to start creating passive income you often have to start an online business, such as a professional blog, an e-commerce store, or an online advertising agency. You will most likely have to work incredibly hard in the beginning, often with little to no income. But after a few years you’ll (hopefully) start to see your business take flight and, who knows, you might even be able to stop working all together at some point…
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