Whatever is your purpose to become location independent; be it that you wish to travel around in the world, becoming part of a real-life community of location independent entrepreneurs and project creators (that’s what we have in mind with Economadia) or you simply wish to not leave your dog at home day in, day out for 8 hours straight and go more often for a walk with it. One of the basic conditions for all that is – yep, you guess it – to actually be location independent. That said, welcome to reality. Welcome to Economadia. We are talking about an entire lifestyle of its own if you take this whole thing really serious. I would like to have a few words about it if you are rather still at the beginning of the whole journey.
The big advantage of being location independent is obvious: you choose the place, not vice versa. And whatever name you give it, digital nomad, remote work, home office, the core element is the same. This of course covers quite a range of people and hence different lifestyles that come along. The single mum that is able to do a computer job on the side while watching over her baby, the young adventure seeking traveler doing an editor job, a programmer living in a completely different part of the world as her employer, a translator who started out of a regular in-house job into his own small business…..
I am sure we can come up with a very long list here.
You choose the place, not vice versa.
So here are some bad news and some good news for those who wish to become location independent: the good one is that you don’t need to be a solitary programmer, coder or any other kind of IT specialist to get yourself location independent but there is a huge variety of other jobs or activities that would allow this. The bad news: being in this mention IT domain especially with specific skills makes the whole thing definitely easier.
Yet, this should not hold you back from doing what you really wish to do and where you are good at, much better than average. The topic of how to find this sweet spot is a whole different area that I am not going to touch here now. Some people have a pretty clear picture of what they wish to do and are confident about their skills, others are much more struggling with this.
That also depends in which time of your life you are at. A 20 year-old might still need to experience a bunch of different things, is eager to test himself in various domains and still needs to learn many things about the world; a 36 year-old can have a completely different approach to the whole topic.
Having IT skills is helpful to become location independent but should never hold you back from doing what you love.
Alright, so what does take now to start becoming location independent on a proper base?
To begin with, a few things must be in place: let’s pretend that you find yourself in proper conditions where all the infrastructures are given and working well. I am talking about things that you might take as granted such as relatively fast and reliable internet, your computer doesn’t suck completely, you have a roof over your head so it doesn’t rain into your place, etc. Also, you find the space and time which actually allows you to sit down and to make plans and then to take actions.
It’s much harder when struggling with slow internet or constantly being in charge of helping family members and/or friends, leave alone being under society pressure to fulfill certain things that are being expected from you. Those are issues that especially women might have to deal with on a daily basis; a middle-class white boy is more likely to be free from those burdens.
It then comes down to your personal mindset and how willing you are to take over responsibility and initiative. Yes, you will have comfort zone challenges where you will have to put things which you took for granted into question, you will have to put yourself in a vulnerable position where you realize that you are lacking certain skills or even you put out an offer with the risk that no one likes it (no worries, at least your Mum will be proud of you).
And yes, you will find those people that apparently already made it and now live every day of their life to the fullest (so they say!), have 3 business and 12 passive incomes already up and running while you receive now every other day a long email that YOU can also make it. Don’t hang on or throw your computer against the wall or simply let your envy taking over.
You will have comfort zone challenges, you will have to put yourself in a vulnerable position or even you put out an offer with the risk that no one likes it.
There is a bunch so-called digital nomads trying to sell the dream of freedom and financial independency. I don’t say that some sort of guidance is wrong and some proper orientation, especially in the beginning, can fast forward a bunch of things. Reinventing the wheel is not needed, get rid of your false pride. However, you should be really picky about which course, product or tutor you buy into. Just because x person of LIVE-YOUR-FINANCIAL-FREEDOM-WHAT-HOLDS-YOU-BACK-DON’T-LISTEN-TO-ANYONE-BUT-ME-I’M-RUNNING-OUT-OF-EXCLAMATION-MARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! writes the catchiest emails or piece of articles (attention, they just got certain marketing strategies pretty much figured out) doesn’t mean that they really know what they are talking about. In fact, if they really did and had a solid concept, chances are they would not have to yell BUY-MY-STUFF!!! every other day into your inbox or post it on Facebook.
There are some people who just had a click in life. They woke up one morning, sold everything they owned, left their old life behind and started traveling through the world and eventually ended up becoming location independent running their own business that they built up on their own along the way while having visited more than half of the countries in the world. What they probably didn’t tell you or what you don’t see are all the downsides and setbacks they had and have to deal with. Those people had to deal with all those days when they’ve worked for 12+ hours a day having almost no interaction with the outside world except maybe with the pizza delivery guy (doesn’t sound that fun/easy, right?). Yet, the majority of people need some sort of community with peers to interact with, exchange ideas and find inspiration, persistence and patience.
However, a kamikaze move is most likely not a recommendable way of becoming location independent. That is to sell all of your stuff, get a hipster-digital-nomad-perfectly-designed-backpack with a flash Mac and buy a one-way-ticket to [put your digital nomad hotspot here] with your last 2000 bucks in your pocket. Especially when you first need to go partying and traveling and any sort of serious effort of building up a business or job hunt is not part of your daily activity you better call a spade a spade: you want to go partying and traveling, with no actual interest in dealing with the hard stuff, lot less is becoming location independent in a solid way on your bucket list. That’s okay, you wish to have fun and to explore the world, which is absolutely fine.
Leaving everything behind on a kamikaze move with no specific goal is not a solid base to becoming location independent.
It’s all too easy and even dangerous when you constantly jump around on Facebook or Instagram where people only show you the perfect high gloss pictures of their coworking space today, their cocktail slurping out of a coconut with beach in the background next to their laptop while you are sitting somewhere in your office chair on a grey Nordic winter day not really knowing what to do.
In case you weren’t aware of it: they are playing with your dreams…
…and longings trying to make a business out of it. Yes, YOU can have exactly the same no-worries-easy-breezy-ever-happy-lifestyle, it just takes this little course that they sell. Of course with time-limited discounts so buy it rrrrrright now before your time fades away, just to find out soon after that there is a lot of extra material waiting for you which will then accomplish your goad (paid content of course, just to be clear here).
Dangerous here is that you might end up paying a lot of money believing that it just takes this one more book or workation that will eventually mean your long-awaited-well-deserved-and-heavenly-justified breakthrough, the world was just waiting to finally hearing from you.
If then this doesn’t happen for some unexplainable reasons it makes you believe that it’s all your fault. You are having the wrong mindset, you don’t allow yourself your ideal lifestyle, you are guilty about your mediocre (if at all) everyday life. YOU suck!
No you don’t actually. It’s only that the uncomfortable truth often looks different.
It is about you overcoming your anxieties, your fears of not being good enough, not being expert enough, feeling overall unable, simply too unfit.
There will be a time where you HAVE to make the first step, where mistakes will happen. Hell, did you worry about this when you were a kid trying to ride the bike for the first time?! No, you just tried over and over again, not caring about what others were thinking.
It is about understanding that it takes persistence, perseverance, self-motivation… it is about you getting out of the couch and learning new skills.
It comes down to you facing yourself as an individual taking the time and the opportunity to give yourself and your dreams a try – a real (often painful) one.
So here we go: it’s about a healthy and realistic mindset. It’s about being persistent, determined and patient. It’s about getting up again when you were knocked down, asking for help where needed (and you will need a lot).
Being location independent is not a world full of colors and smiling people where everything goes easy-breezy but it involves hard work, setbacks are part of the story, you will have to put yourself into question, many many times.
If you have the chance, start out meeting those people who already are in a position you would like to reach. They are actually pretty normal people; some are definitely a bit crazy and peculiar.
Listen to what they have to tell and you will see that it’s not just about endless holidays and traveling from one sunny place to the next one. Everyone has a story behind, it took maybe some attempts to become location independent, and more often than not they had and have certain strategies behind all of it.
All that can lead you to a very exciting and inspiring, but at times also disillusioning and staggering path.
But as the old saying goes about life: a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.