Free to Roam: The Life of a Location Independent
Whether you are a homebody or a world traveler, the freedom that comes from working location independent can be appealing. Instead of being tied to a building, a town, or even a country, workers around the world have found a way to achieve their career goals without the traditional boundaries of an office environment.
Location independents make the most of their flexibility. They don’t miss their niece’s ballet recital. They cash in on last-minute flights to Bali. The freedom to work from anywhere allows them to work around the more strict schedules of others. This ability to be present for others can result in a more lucrative work life. A digital designer that is readily available to work all night to churn out a logo to accompany an urgent press release becomes a huge asset for a company whose go-to guys close up after dark.
Without the traditional social interactions inherent in an office setting, location independents place great importance on networking time. From grabbing drinks with friends to scheduling an in-person lunch with a client when an email could do, location independents are creative when it comes to staying connected. Many location independents spend a significant amount of time working in crowded cafes and coffee shops. Feeding off the energy of the bustle around them, location independents appreciate the rat race from a distance, and many find their chance encounters with strangers to be fulfilling and exciting.
For most location independents, one of the first challenges they face is being adjusted to life outside of the 9-to-5 grind. The ability to work from anywhere at anytime is not conducive to a routine, and people can struggle to maintain their productivity without the structure associated with the traditional work environment. However, learning to embrace the flexibility can pay off. Most location independents work from a daily or weekly to-do list that allows them to pre-schedule the tasks they need to complete. Work becomes task-based instead of hourly based. As they become more familiar with their natural work rhythms and identify the times of day they are most productive, location independents develop their own style. From taking midnight conference calls to working in 9 AM naptimes, location independents thrive under truly unique schedules.
Money management is also a struggle for many location independents, especially early on after their transition from 9 to 5. A lucky few work for companies that provide a steady stream of income but allow for complete flexibility. Most other location independents own their own companies or engage in freelancing on a regular basis. With these less structured jobs, income is often cyclical, and month-to-month income can vary by thousands of dollars. Learning to prioritize purchases, getting out of the feast or famine mindset, and budgeting often help location independents adapt.
The decision to transition to location independence can be a difficult one, but even the most risk-averse 9-to-5 loyalist can make the jump with a bit of research and preparation. As the world market becomes more and more global, the fascinating path of location independence is bound to spread like wildfire.