5 tips to becoming location independent
I'm sitting writing this post in the garden. The sunshine is finally out (could this be summer at last?) and I can hear the birds singing in the trees.
This is what being a solo-preneur should be about. The freedom to work from wherever we want to - a garden, the beach, on top of a mountain.
When I made the move towards self-employment I knew that I wanted to design a business that was location independent - I could work from anywhere in the world as long as I had an internet connection. Having spent so many years restricted to working around London I knew I had do things differently - my vision for the future includes travels and adventures, it includes visiting family and attending retreats and conferences. For some location independence can mean backpacking round the world, working as they go and never staying in one place for too long.
All around the world designers, writers, photographers, teachers, coaches, crafters, artists, marketing specialists, social media consultants, (the list goes on...) are earning a decent living whilst being location independent. So, just how is it done? Here are 5 steps to you can start to take today:
1. Work out your vision
Do you want to backpack your way through Asia? Chill out on a beach in Australia or hit the slopes in the French Alps? Getting clear on your vision will help you work out what business model you need and identify any obstacles.
2. Get creative with your business plan
A location independent business relies heavily on the internet so it's important that you ensure your digital skills are up to date or build connections with professionals who can help you. Running a purely digital business requires you to think of creative ways to get your message across - Using social media, creating video content, offering teleseminars, blogging, contributing to forums.
3. Start building your brand
Your individual brand will underpin all of your marketing efforts so it is important to get clear on what you have to offer. Be authentic - don't pretend to be something you are not or get hung up on what everyone else is doing. Carve yourself out as an expert in your field, find your niche and then sing about it.
Setting up your digital presence is fairly cheap and easy. You will need:
- A website or blog - For most types of business this doesn't need to be complicated, a simple website that shows off your offerings is best. A blog is essential, creating fresh content often helps drive traffic and increases your visibility.
- A social media presence - Whether you tweet or not, being present on social media is essential to running a business these days. One mistake I see solo-preneurs making is to have an account on as many networks as possible and simply churn out the same material to all. It's not all about how many followers you have but rather the quality of followers. Find out where your clients hang out and online and be there - give them original, thoughtful content that they will find valuable.
- A mailing list - This is a great way to keep in touch with your clients (and prospective clients) from afar and let them know what you are working on.
4. Remember you are not alone
Being location independent can sometimes seem like a lonely plight but it doesn't have to be. Sure, you don't have an office of colleagues around you everyday but all around the world there are like-minded individuals. Join online networks, have Google hangouts with connections, Skype. Meet up with other solo-preneurs in your location.
You also don't need to do everything yourself. If you have amazing web design and copywriting skills then great but if not there lots of other location independent professionals out there who can help - designers, virtual pa's, bookkeepers, copywriters, communication experts, coaches, you name it.
5. Test it out (and evaluate)
Set up your website, start making connections, upgrade your digital skills. Location independence doesn't happen overnight, it involves a lot of hard work but if you start with some small actions today you will quickly make progress.
Evaluate your progress - what did/didn't work? What can be done differently? Tweak your business model and test again.
Do you run a location independent business? I'd love to know your top tips so leave a comment below!