One of the things I love about being a freelancer is the flexibility when it comes to location. Even though I have a “home base” (I’ve got a son in school, so the digital nomad lifestyle doesn’t make sense for me), I know that I could easily work from anywhere. In fact, after my divorce, I could have chosen to live anyplace I wanted. In the end, I decided to make a new start in a town with a low cost of living. Because I don’t need to live in a large city center to be successful, I decided to live somewhere smaller, where my son could benefit and where I could be near my parents.
Not only can I live anywhere I choose, my location independence also means that I can travel if I want. This is fortunate because I enjoy travel, and my son and I enjoy trips. However, making sure that you and your business are prepared for location independence takes a little work. In order to be successful with your location independence, you need to lay the groundwork ahead of time.
The Right Hardware
First, you want to make sure that you have the right hardware. I have a laptop because, as a writer, I find it difficult to work effectively on a tablet or small notebook computer. The laptop is more comfortable for me to work on, whether I’m in a hotel room, on the beach, or in an airplane. Make sure that you have the right hardware for your needs as well. If you can run everything from your phone, or from your tablet, that might be all you need for location independence. Carefully evaluate your needs and get the equipment you need to work effectively no matter where you are.
Access to the Internet
Without the Internet, location independence would be impossible. While I don’t usually connect to the Internet while I’m on a plane, I do like to have Internet access when I’m in a hotel, or sitting by the pool, or staying at someone’s house. Internet access allows me to complete my research, turn in assignments, answer email and complete a host of other tasks. I can even invoice clients and transfer money between accounts no matter where I am as long as I have Internet access.
Most of the time, I rely on hotels and hotspots for Internet. However, I also like to know that I’ll have access to a secure connection wherever I am, so I have a personal hotspot with my cell phone. As long as I have cell coverage, I can get on the Internet and take care of business in a secure manner.
Apps and Cloud Services
Finally, I like to use apps and cloud services to make sure that I have access to my work. I save a lot of my work automatically in Dropbox so that I can get to it no matter where I am. This also makes it easier to manage the situation when I start a project on my desktop, but then need to access it remotely using my laptop. Invoicing apps, and word processing apps on my phone also help me address emergencies that might arise. I once used Google Docs on my phone to take care of a problem for a client while I was at an amusement park.
Consider what you might need while working remotely, and make sure you have access to everything you need so that you can manage your business — and keep your clients happy — from anywhere in the world.