Working and making money from anywhere if you haven’t yet tried, might seem like a distant world or something you could never do. The thought of having more control of your lifestyle by be able to work from home or any location you choose might not even enter your reality. Perhaps you can’t fathom a lifestyle where you don’t have a place of work to show up every day. Maybe the thought of going it on your own as a freelancer or entrepreneur scares you to death.
But with an ever expanding global communication and social network the reality of working from anywhere is becoming an everyday occurrence for those who want a more flexible lifestyle. Yes, it is very possible to join the droves of global citizens that have this lifestyle – but it won’t be without sacrifices – especially in the beginning. You’ll have to change your mindset about how you currently live and work; and you’ll probably have to reorganize your lifestyle – perhaps by cutting back on luxuries and expenses to make the transition possible. You’ll have to think differently on how to approach your day to day schedule, and because though it will be more flexible, you’ll have to also be more focused and directed with your time to be successful as a mobile freelancer or entrepreneur.
Ready to dive in? If so, read on.
Basic Tools You’ll Need to Make Money from Anywhere
Whether working at home, the local coffee shop or in a country of your choosing, the idea is that you need to be two things: 1) connected; and 2) mobile. All the basics here revolve around these two factors.
Whether you can convince your current company to let you work with a “remote work agreement” or you choose to go it alone as a freelancer/entrepreneur, you’ll need some basic tools.
Here are four basic tools you’ll need to get started:
A Sturdy Laptop: you need something that’s fairly durable as it will be your workhouse traveling with you everywhere. I recommend something sturdy with a great warranty package – I suggest 3-yr full coverage plan if you can afford it, and especially if you are mobile. I don’t recommend a netbook because the hard drives tend to be much smaller and also have tiny screens that strain your eyes and small keyboards that strain your hands. You’ll want as large of a screen as possible. You might complain about the weight of it, but remember this is your mobile office, so the extra weight is worth it. Make sure that both a webcam and mic are built in, and most laptops come with these integrated.
External and Online Backups: I can’t stress this enough DO BOTH. That means buying a spare external hard drive for local backups, and also using an online backup service like iDrive which gives you up to 2.0 GB for free. Do both types of backups daily. Losing your work, particularly if you freelance or run your own company can be devastating to your business.
NOTE: if you have sensitive information on your computer always make sure to password protect or encrypt those files, especially if doing online backups. You may not want to back up those online for security reasons.
Solid Internet Connection: This usually isn’t an issue in modern countries, but it may be if you are in a remote location or a country with a lesser infrastructure. If you are really serious about connecting from anywhere, you’ll want mobile broadband card. Mobile broadband cards will be cheaper in whichever country you are living/travelling. For most situations for connecting to email, chat and basic VOIP, you don’t need more than 1.5 to 6.0 Mbps anyways which mobile broadband can get you. Obviously, the more bandwidth you have the better.
Yourself: yes, you and your trusty skills, and don’t forget your brain, please!
If you work with small business owners or become an entrepreneur yourself, you’ll have a lot more flexibility with using some of the free tools like VOIP. In working for a corporate company/clients you might have a more difficult time being able to use some of these tools, because of corporate standards so make sure you know what those standards are.
Now that you know what the basic tools are – let’s take a look at some of the jobs and business ideas that can potentially allow you can work from anywhere.
1) Writer/Editor: With so many websites out there needing content, with more and more magazines and newspapers going online, there’s no shortage of requests for talented writers. Being a writer is also great for a mobile lifestyle because you can be totally offline until you need to submit your work. You’ll just need to gather your research and resources ahead of time to work offline.
2) Web Developer: Got a knack for or an interest in programming for websites? This is quite easy to do from anywhere unlike a number of other jobs in the IT industry. Everything a web developer does is code-related and can be done remotely. As a developer, you will most likely interface with clients over the phone for more advanced requests, so investing in a Skype or similar VOIP service will be very handy.
3) Virtual Assistant: This is great for stay at home mothers, but also people who want to be their own bosses. There’s no limit to what tasks you’ll be asked to do, so be prepared for requests from the mundane to the zany like customer services call, making reservations, research, data entry and more. Some even move on to managing their own teams of virtual assistants and outsourcing to other VAs.
4) Blogger: Ah, the ever popular blogging profession. Not a business for the faint of heart. A blogger is not just a writer, she is a business owner. As a blog owner you will do your share of writing, but also a large part of your time will be spent networking with other bloggers, posting on both your blog and theirs, and doing whatever you can to attract readership and traffic. How you do make money with blogging? The most popular form is by selling advertising. You also might be able to sell your products or other people’s as well. At some point, when you start making money at blogging, hiring writers and editors to help will probably be a good idea as you grow.
5) E-Commerce Store: Have a product line or industry you are passionate about? Maybe a product of your own you want to develop and sell? Opening an E-Commerce store online could be the way to go. You can often find someone willing to drop ship products you’d like to sell, so you don’t have to store inventory anywhere. You will be taking orders online (possibly by phone), handling customer service requests and returns.
6) Graphic Designer: Now that virtually all graphic design is done on a computer, this is a perfect mobile job or business. Everyone needs a logo, ads designed, website images and more. If you’re artistically talented and can deliver to client specifications, graphic design might just be for you.
7) Translation (Writing): If you are a linguistic expert in one or more foreign languages, then you can do written translation work from anywhere quite easily. Many businesses from those that sell products to finance companies to law firms need translators for such a purpose, and if you can charge a lower rate by telecommuting or by the fact that you live in country where the cost of living is lower, you can probably beat the local guy who needs to be there in person.
8) Virtual Project Manager: With Outsourcing being such a thriving industry these days, you could be a remote team manager for a variety of different businesses that have projects in the works. Check out oDesk.com for a look into this type of work, they actually are seeking people just for this role. This might be something you could do along with freelancing on a site like oDesk.
9) Bookkeeper: If you’ve a talent with numbers and enjoy math, why not be a remote bookkeeper? Take some accounting courses and learn how to do the books. Or maybe you’ve been working for the man as an accountant for too long and know you can go it on your own. Although be careful about giving tax advice if you are not a CFA (certified financial accountant).
10) Data Entry: Probably the least glorious of all, but still always a necessity for businesses someone’s data always needs to be entered, combed, adjusted and cleaned up. Just make sure that the data entry opportunity is legit and there are no upfront fees for it sometimes these jobs can be scams. Again a freelance job website like oDesk or Elance is a great place to start finding legitimate work.
“Scammy” job listings to avoid: filling out online surveys, assembly jobs (assembling gifts, etc), multi-level marketing, anything that asks you to pay upfront “training costs”, envelope stuffing, certain data entry jobs. There might be some legit opportunities with some of these, but be careful in general.
Remember – if you live in an area with a lower cost of living or even another country, you have an advantage over the local workers as far as cost is concerned. If you can provide quality service and product to your clients, you’ll be in the running for sure.
When to Form Your Own Business
Once you begin to make money regularly, you’ll probably want to consider setting up an LLC, S-Corp or other business entity to protect you and your work. You can do this beforehand as well, but that all depends on the type of work you are doing and your financial resources at the time. You can save money by forming an LLC or other simple business entity online just make sure you do it correctly. If you are unsure, it’s always great to check with a local business or entrepreneur organization for some free advice.
So let’s wrap it up.
Now you know the basic tools that you’ll need to begin a work from anywhere lifestyle, along with some job or business ideas to get you started. Rest assured there will be a lot of work involved, and it may not be easy. But that never stopped anywhere from doing what they really wanted, now did it? So don’t let it stop you if you really think it’s right for you.
Have ideas that weren’t covered here? Feel free to comment below for any ideas, questions or experiences you’d like to post about making money from anywhere.
David Hamilton (aka FPT Guy) is owner and author of Financial Planning Tips - where you can find sensible information on personal finance for the Average Joe or Jane. Besides being passionate about his finance blog and helping others keep their finances in check, David also enjoys playing music, staying healthy, spending time with family and friends, and traveling the world.
Hi, Thanks for this nice article. I have just created an account on 99hours.com and waiting for my first job there. I am already an active user of good freelancing sites like oDesk, Elance and Guru. Thanks,
Thanks for the article! These are some great tips. Opening an e-commerce store is definitely the way to make money. Just avoid using ebay with all its hidden fees. I opted for Main Street Fair (www.mainstreetfair.com), an online auctions and free classified ads site that offers some of the lowest listing fees online. Find a site that works for you and go for it!
Steve M Nash - good point! Though being a web developer has nothing to do with running a blog or content website! You can outsource for cheap to get web dev work done.
Beth - great point! Yes I agree to always check with an accountant about tax implications, especially starting off as a sole proprietor.
Rodger - Yep writing is a very quick way to start making money, but yes the workload is tough, as is the competition with outsourcers to make good money, esp. for mid-grade content. However, I think it is difficult to make good money at blogging right away, in fact you'll make little to none in the first several months, depending on the approach. The low entry point of getting into the biz of blogging or content creation makes it competitive, though most won't stick with it. Stay in it for the long run and it can become very lucrative!
Nice write up. Writing articles is probably one of the quickest ways of making money online; there are a number of sites that people can go to and get started right away. Major drawbacks probably being the workload.
Blogging isn’t as difficult as you make it out to be, as long as you provide your viewers with quality information, something that seems to be rather rare these days, then you shouldn’t have problems building the prestige of your site up. A little SEO knowledge helps also.
Anyway, excellent post.
Good tips! One thing I'd like to add is that you'll need a sound knowledge of the tax implications of working from home and/or having your own home-based business. You'll need to account for the additional income according to your state/province/country's laws.
I'm not sure what it's like in the U.S., but where I live people can claim their home office space and other related expenses on their income tax return if they spend the majority of their time working from home. It's an added bonus for virtual employees.