While social media and the internet may portray being a freelancing nomad as all glamorous, I have found that this is far from the truth. Working and traveling is tough work! It requires organization, discipline, scheduling, balance, and budgeting. At the same time, it can also be amazing!
Here are six tips to help you be able to live a successful freelance and nomadic life:
- Try to plan as much as you can in the beginning. Start freelancing part-time if it fits in your schedule. When I worked at Harvard, I only worked 7-3 PM, so I was able to take on part-time freelancing jobs. I worked at night and on weekends while still working at my 9 to 5 job. This enabled me to save money and also experience a taste of what it would be like freelancing before I quit my 9-5 and went full-time. It also helped me start my client base.
- Travel to Central/South America or Asia. Starting out as a new freelancer is exciting, but also has its challenges. One of those challenges can be money. If you choose a cheaper location to live, such as Asia or South America, you can start ahead of the game by not having to worry too much about finances.
- Speaking of finances, create a budget. As much of a pain as budgets are, when you are traveling with a new job and limited funds, it is important to know where your money is going. Do some research into a new city before you go to get an idea of food/lodging costs, transportation, activities, etc. This will save you time and money in the long run. I recommend reading How to Travel the World on $50 A Day by Matt Kepnes. There are lots of good budgeting and travel tips in there for each part of the world.
- Setup a schedule for yourself. When I travel, but still have work to do, I try to get as much work done as I can before I leave for the new city. When I arrive in the city, I write out my schedule in my agenda so I know when I have calls, meetings, time to work, and time to explore. What usually works for me is getting up early to work in the morning and then heading out in the afternoon to explore. I am also fortunate that most of my work is flexible as to when it is completed, so that is something to keep in mind when you are deciding what type of freelancing you want to pursue.
- Don’t forget to take care of you. Traveling can easily cause an imbalance in the way you eat, the amount of exercise you get, reflection, meditation, etc. Make sure you are walking or carve out time for exercise. It is exciting to try local foods in a new city, but make sure you are eating your fruits and vegetables too. This has been the hardest part of being a traveling freelancer for me.
- Listen to your gut. Of all of the things I have learned traveling, this is the most important to me. Your gut always knows the way. I used my intuition for leaving an unhealthy relationship, leaving my 9-5 job, leaving situations that may not be safe in a new country, and many more circumstances. If it doesn’t feel right to you, it likely isn’t. Being a solo traveler teaches you to trust yourself and your instincts so don’t ignore them!
I hope some of these tips are helpful to those of you who are just starting your journey to being a freelancing nomad. I am always open for questions, comments, advice, etc, so please do not hesitate to reach out to share your story or ask a question. You can follow my travels on Instagram @Blondie_Without_Borders. You can find my work page at @freelancenfreedom