I have yet to meet anyone who has achieved location independence at work – that is, the ability to work anywhere they choose – who isn't happy with their decision. Of course, this does not mean that no one has failed at startup life or returned to a traditional position, but many of those who are successful are extremely happy with their new work lives.
So why do some succeed at this? The difference is that the successes are the result of a careful plan that was put in place, followed, and tweaked when necessary. If you are dreaming of location independence, here is a five-step plan that you should put in place.
Determine Which Option is Best for You
There are 3 options for you to consider. Pick the one that will work for you.
- Establishing a business that will provide passive income. If you have a product or service that is clearly marketable, begin to market it now, while you still have your traditional position and income. Yes, this means that you will work many long hours now, to achieve that goal in the longer-term. Once you have an income stream from that product or service, you will be ready to take the plunge. Bu do not think that your income will always be only passive as you relax on that beach in the south of France. You have to keep your brand out there; you have to continue to seek new markets or optimize your business processes.
- Keep your current full-time job but turn it into a location independent one. Here you have the best of both worlds – a steady income with the security that comes with that and yet the freedom to work from any location. This is becoming more and more plausible today, as employers are embracing the concept and as technology fully allows for this.
- Become a Solopreneur/Freelancer. What are you good at? Become an expert. Establish your expertise and become an online authority. Get some clients while you still have your traditional job. Given the fact that you can now maintain a virtual office service for a quarter of the traditional office price and choose to live in less expensive countries, running a successful business on the run is a more lucrative opportunity for bootstrappers.
Options 1 and 3 Will Require a Plan: Here is Your Step-by-Step Guide
- Ask yourself what you can do on your own to make money. What specific skill, talent or expertise do you have? What do you need to do to refine that skill, talent or expertise to turn it into an actual product? If you need more training or more exposure, you need to focus on getting that now before you make your big move.
- Test the waters. On a “moonlighting” basis, start marketing your product, service, or seeking clients. Make your mistakes now so that you can correct them before you make that big move. If your idea is a “flop,” move on to the next one.
- Start accumulating a cash reserve. If you are going out on your own, even with a partner, you have to anticipate “down” revenue periods, and you have to have enough of a cushion so that when you do strike out on your own, you can eat while you work to become profitable. You don’t want to fail just because you did not have enough money to get you over a rough patch.
- Start small but be ready to expand quickly. Once you leave your traditional position, you will need to move quickly to expand your business fast, so that it becomes profitable. Ask current clients and customers for references, recommendations, and referrals. Pump up your marketing campaign and strategies. If you are a marketing expert, you need to have planned for this expense during your accumulating cash step.
- Consider Diversifying for Multiple Income Streams: You only focus on one thing as you launch your startup. Once your revenue exceeds expenses for six months, however, you need to begin thinking about expansion. What other branches of your product or service are available for you to tap into? If you are a freelance writer, what other areas of writing can you move into? If you are a web designer, can you start a related enterprise? Begin to think outside of the box. Richard Branson began in the music industry and look what he does now? The founders of Etsy were just three young men doing web design on a very part-time basis.
No major life change occurs without risk and without lots of hard work. You can eliminate at least some of the risk, however, if you have a real plan and follow it!