Guide to Becoming Location Independent

Location independence or digital nomad refers to a career that does not require your presence in a specific location to complete a job. Workers usually only require a connection through technology, and with the prevalence of the internet in even the furthest reaches of the globe, that can mean anywhere.

The many expats and travelers enjoying location independence is a testament to the viability of these careers. Whether it means you are starting a new career or transistioning from what you are doing now, the most important thing to remember is that it is possible.

    Top 3 Reasons to Become Location Independent
  • Save money, time, and stress skipping a commute to work.
  • You can make your own hours and dress code. Are you a night owl? Work late. Have kids that you want to spend more time with? Work while they are at school. Want to work in your slippers? Go for it!
  • Offers the opportunity to explore the world. Either slowly with long-term travel, or simply to relocate to a place you would love to live.
    Top 3 Mistakes or Misconceptions
  • Being your own boss takes discipline - lots of it. This kind of atmosphere simply isn't for everyone.
  • You take your job everywhere, all the time. Weekends and holidays can lose meaning when you have a deadline to meet.
  • Location independent jobs are commonly high in freedom and low on pay, especially at first. While plenty of people make enough to live, few get truly rich doing it.

Location Independent Career Options

  • Translating
  • Photography
  • Online marketing
  • PR
  • Writing and copywriting
  • Virtual assistance
  • Publishing
  • Sales
  • Coach
  • Music composer / sound designer
  • Software development
  • Professional poker player
  • Online community manager or community consultant
  • Consulting services for organizational development
  • IT project management and regulatory compliance
  • Jewelry Designer
  • Professional Barterer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Voice-Over Artist
  • Game Designer
  • Financial Planner
  • Illustrator
  • Crafts
  • House-sitting
  • Pet Care

Starting a Business

In many ways, starting off a location independent career is starting a new business. This includes many challenges and rewards that you need to be prepared for. Here are some tips to help you succeed.

1. Do what you love. As the CEO of your own company, it is important to understand that you will need to be the motivator and workhorse behind any project. That will be close to impossible unless you love what you do.

2. Create a support system. There will be hard times ahead and you will need someone to complain to, help you, and possibly a shoulder to cry on. This could be your friends and family, or you can build like minded networks through social media forums like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Linkedin, and more.

3. Prepare While You're Still Employed. Realize that you may need to live on your savings so build up a fund to hod you over until you make a profit. Also use this time to build a clients or customer list.

4. Create a Business Plan. It is exciting embarking on a new career, but many people make the mistake of treating a new business like a hobby versus a real career. A business plan helps clarify what you need and what you expect to succeed.

5. Get professional help. Identify any areas you may need help with and realize your weaknesses. Just because you're starting a business, doesn't mean you have to be an expert on everything. If numbers aren't something you are confident about, look into hiring an accountant or bookkeeper. If you need to write up a contract and you're not a lawyer, hire one. In the long run, this can save you invaluable time and resources.

Resources for Becoming Location Independent

A great resource for those looking to make the move is the Location Independent website. It provides information on how to get started in different careers, resources, and organizations that can help you find your way.


    Tips for writing:
  • There are many people interested in selling their writing, so find your special little niche.
  • Consider your market. Your writing could be published in print publications, blogs, expat resources, etc.
  • Treat your writing as a business and create a strategic business and marketing plan.
  • Building relationships with people in your market. They can offer you valuable advice.
  • Don't rely on just one source for your income. The more streams of revenue you can create, the more stable your financial planning will be. Consider coaching/mentoring, teaching, reviewing work, etc.
  • Be a ruthless critique of the quality of your work. Have other's review it and provide feedback. Pinpoint weak areas and work to improve.

Daily Writing Tips is a helpful website for aspiring writers.


  • Prepare your portfolio. This is the most important element in attracting clients. Limit your portfolio to only your best work.
  • Be receptive to feedback. Show your portfolio to people in the business and be open to feedback.
  • Invest in your own development. Spend money to improve yourself or services.
  • Network with people or companies you respect. They can offer you valuable advice and help you identify what your market is.

Copyblogger offers invaluable articles concerning the art of copywriting. Consider their tips on Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy.


  • Do not accept a project which you know is not within your abilities or impossible deadlines.
  • Ask questions. Guessing what a client wants results in mistakes.
  • See the text before agreeing to a contract. Also form a relationship with your client so that if issues do turn up, you have an open line of communication.
  • Form firm rates that are competitive. It is important to assess proper value to your work and maintain a consistent rate. Do not sell yourself short.
  • Keep detailed records and correspondence. It is important to provide a professional demeanor and keep track of emails, faxs, invoices, and contracts.
  • Read every clause very carefully before you sign a contract.

The article, 101 Tips to Succeed as Freelance Translator, from expat Smart Translate is an excellent resource.