Most of the time, I love living the freelance lifestyle. One of the biggest reasons I like being a freelancer is the location independence.
No matter what is going on in my life, it’s possible for me to earn money to support my son and me comfortably — and I can do it from anywhere.
Digital Nomads and the Freelance Lifestyle
Because many freelancers today work online, it’s possible to make money from the beach, your couch or the local coffee shop. The growth of technology has given rise to the “digital nomad” who lives wherever s/he wants, and who can manage a business from a laptop or even an iPad.
Digital nomads don’t usually have a set location. Many of them travel the world, living in one location for three months to a year before moving on. I know digital nomads who make their homes in adopted countries for two or three years before trying something different.
This lifestyle can be appealing to those who want to work from a beach in Thailand for a few months before experience the fjords of Norway for a while, and then heading to the mountains of South America. As long as there is a good Internet connection and you can do a little each work from a coffee shop — or if you have a data plan or WiFi hotspot on your phone that goes with you everywhere — it’s possible to support your location independence.
Location Independence and Choosing Where to Live
My freelance lifestyle manifests in a different way. Location independence for me right now is the ability to choose where to live, and how to create a lifestyle that works well for my little family. When I first started as a freelancer 10 years ago, I thought I would make enough to pay rent and supplement my husband’s student loans while he worked on his Ph.D. and I stayed home with our son.
After a couple years, I realized that I was the primary breadwinner, and my husband didn’t need any more student loans to provide the necessities of life. When he began applying for teaching jobs after finishing his graduate work, I didn’t worry about where we might end up because my career offers location independence. I can keep doing it no matter where I am. We moved to Philadelphia, and that worked out well.
However, when my husband asked for a divorce, I had to make another choice. I loved living in Philly, but did it make sense for my son and me and our lifestyle? After running the numbers and considering my support system, my son and I moved to Idaho to be near my family. Once again, the move didn’t affect my ability to earn a living for my small family.
In fact, for those of us with families, location independence often means the flexibility to choose where to live. I know a couple of fellow solopreneurs who moved to Tennessee because they like the feel and want to raise their kids there. They also took into consideration items like cost of living and taxes. When you have an online business, it’s possible for you to choose where you want to live, and base your living arrangements on criteria that matter the most to you.
For me, the move to Idaho was tough, but I wanted to live close to schools for my son and live close to my parents for their help and support. I also wanted a low cost of living so that my son and I can maintain our lifestyle and continue to travel. The move to Idaho has been great for us. Our finances have improved, I still have as much work as ever and we get to spend more time with family. For us, it’s a winning situation.