How to Become a Location-Independent Entrepreneur

Location independent entrepreneur

Location-Independence: How Far Can It Take You?

Becoming a location-independent entrepreneur can take you as far as your ambition. But it is not something that everyone can do.

For every Matt Ruttenberg, founder of SureLI, an online life insurance company whose location-independent business began in an RV in 2020 — hundreds of others struggle to make more than pocket change.

So the reality is that you need to work hard, have some essential skills, and have some luck to make it as an online entrepreneur.

If you follow the tips in this article, you’ll be one step closer to leaving that boring 9-5 office job and having the freedom and flexibility to work remotely anywhere.

Become a location independent entrepreneur

What Does Location Independent Mean?

The term “location independent” refers to a person with a career or job that doesn’t require them to be tied to a specific location.

Often, digital nomads are also referred to as location-independent professionals, as they can work anywhere they want to as long as they have the necessary technology. 

There are three types of location-independent careers:

Types of location independent careers

1. Freelancers: Freelancers work for themselves rather than for a company. However, they do have contract work for companies and organizations. Instead of working for an employer, they perform service-based work for various clients.

2. Remote Workers: These are regular employees with a contract, performing full-time or part-time jobs for a company. However, the main difference is that they can work from home or anywhere else.

3. Location Independent Entrepreneurs: Being this type of entrepreneur means you have a business you can run from anywhere.

Let’s say that you want to build a marketing agency; if you wanted to be a location-dependent entrepreneur, you would go and seek out office spaces where you would be working every day.

But if you want location independence while running your business, you can do it from home, a café, a coworking space, or any place you want.

Location Independent Entrepreneur vs. Digital Nomad

Is a digital nomad the same as a location-independent entrepreneur? I mean, they both get to travel the world, right? However, they are not the same.

In the first place, not all digital nomads are entrepreneurs. According to The Broke Backpacker, only 18% of digital nomads own their own companies, while 35% are remote workers, and 28% are freelancers.

Secondly, being a location-independent entrepreneur doesn’t mean continually traveling the world as a digital nomad. A location-independent business can be handled from anywhere, so they can travel while working. But they could also have a traditional business setup that can be outsourced and managed remotely.

📚 Note: If you’re interested, you can learn more about digital nomads and how to become one in this article

Skills You Need to Be a Location Independent Entrepreneur

To be a successful online entrepreneur, you should develop diverse skills and a mindset to manage and grow your business effectively, regardless of your physical location. Some top skills to consider include:

  • Time management: Prioritizing tasks, setting deadlines, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance are crucial when working independently.
  • Self-motivation and discipline: Since you’ll often be working alone, staying motivated and disciplined is essential to remain productive and focused on your goals.
  • Digital proficiency: Familiarity with various digital tools and platforms, such as project management software, communication tools, and e-commerce platforms, is essential for managing your business remotely.
  • Networking: Building and maintaining relationships with clients, customers, and peers is vital for your business’s growth and development.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for collaborating with team members, clients, and other stakeholders.
  • Adaptability: Adapting to different situations, time zones, and cultural norms is crucial when working as a location-independent entrepreneur.
  • Financial management: Understanding how to manage your business’s finances, including budgeting, invoicing, and tracking expenses, is essential for long-term success.
  • Marketing and branding: Developing and executing marketing strategies to promote your business and build a strong brand presence is crucial for attracting clients and customers.
  • Problem-solving: Any entrepreneur must think critically and creatively to address challenges and find innovative solutions.
  • Knowledge of your industry: Staying up-to-date with trends, developments, and best practices in your chosen field will help you stay competitive and offer valuable services or products to your clients or customers.

Pros and Cons of Being a Location Independent Entrepreneur

Pros and cons of being a location independent entrepreneur

Pros

  • Flexibility: One of the main advantages is the flexibility to work from anywhere, as long as there’s a stable internet connection. You can design your work environment and schedule to meet your preferences and needs.
  • Lower overhead costs: Running a location-independent business often involves lower overhead costs, as there’s no need for physical office space. This can result in higher profit margins and more financial freedom.
  • Access to global talent: Being location-independent allows you to tap into a worldwide talent pool for hiring or collaboration, enabling you to choose the best people for your projects without geographical constraints.
  • Expanded market reach: A location-independent business can cater to clients and customers from different regions, increasing revenue potential and expanding your market reach.
  • Improved work-life balance: The flexibility of location-independent entrepreneurship can lead to better work-life balance, as you can adjust your working hours to accommodate personal needs and interests.
  • Personal growth and development: The opportunity to experience new places, cultures, and perspectives can contribute to personal growth and development, making you a more adaptable and well-rounded individual.

Cons

  • Unstable income: Depending on the nature of your business, location-independent entrepreneurship may not always provide a consistent income, especially during the initial stages, making financial planning and budgeting crucial.

💡 Pro Tip: When it comes to income, as an entrepreneur, you need to find a way to make your money work for you. Read this guide for more entrepreneurial finance advice. 

  • Legal and taxation challenges: Navigating different tax laws, regulations, and legal requirements across countries can be complex and time-consuming.
  • Time zone differences: Managing clients and team members across various time zones can be challenging, requiring effective communication and collaboration strategies to ensure smooth operations.
  • Loneliness and isolation: Working remotely and traveling can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which may affect your mental well-being. Maintaining a strong support network and finding ways to socialize becomes essential.
  • Building a stable client base: Attracting and retaining clients can be challenging for location-independent entrepreneurs, especially when starting. Establishing credibility, trust, and a solid online presence is vital for long-term success.
  • Distractions and self-discipline: Staying disciplined and focused can be more challenging when working in a location-independent setting, as distractions may be more prevalent. Developing strong time-management and self-motivation skills is critical.
  • Internet and technology dependency: Being heavily reliant on technology and internet access means that connectivity issues or technical problems can disrupt your work and business operations.

After considering the benefits and drawbacks of online entrepreneurship, if you’re still keen on taking it on, follow these steps.

Steps to Start A Location Independent Business

1. Know Your Niche

According to Forbes, one of the primary reasons businesses fail is that they don’t have a defined niche.

A niche refers to a target market or area of specialization. Instead of trying to attract everyone, you focus on one specific group of people who are likely to purchase your product or service. 

By defining your niche, you also clearly understand your “why” and “what.” The “how” comes afterward. When you’re able to transmit to people that your product or service is more than a product or service, you’re establishing your brand, and it’s easier to define who your buyer personas are. 

Let’s imagine that you’re an independent business owner who wants to build a remote travel agency. However, instead of creating a travel agency for everyone, you specialize in one particular group: digital nomads. 

This means that you will focus on finding accommodation and activities for people who are also location independent but want to find affordable places with reliable Wi-fi. In short, your niche is digital nomads.

So the advice I would give service-based businesses is to work on your branding first and foremost.  This can involve niching down to solving problems for one very specific type of client and being THE person in your field that everyone knows is THE person for that problem.  In my case, it’s being a geeky wedding photographer, I literally shoot at least 5-6 Harry Potter weddings every single year, even for destination weddings outside of my state.  I make geeky couples feel at ease, I can talk to them about their hobbies during shoots, and of course I can incorporate their geeky hobbies into photos as well.   Gary Pope, Founder of Gary Pope Love Long and Prosper Photography

2. Set Your Goals

Once you define your niche, it’s time to define your goals. What’s the main goal of this new business? Do you want it to become your primary source of income? Or do you want to do other projects simultaneously?

Considering important aspects like this will help you understand how much time, effort, and resources you need to invest in your business. If you want to be your own boss and live out of your business, you need to determine how much money you need to earn for this.

3. Create Your Business Plan

This step is where you define your “how.” You know your niche, why you want to build your location-independent business, and what you offer. But now, you need to develop a plan to make this possible.

One of the first things you need to consider when creating your business plan is knowing where you will establish it. Pick a location that suits your business best, and then take it anywhere. For this often, it’s best to seek professional advice regarding legal and taxes matters. Fortunately, as this GovDocFiling review shows, business formation services like Inc Authority can walk you through registration, legal compliance, and even tax planning and consultation.

Also, running a location-independent business will require you to:

1. Pick the right tools

You need to evaluate your needs and see what technology you need—communication applications, project management tools, and HR systems, among other aspects.

These are some essential tools for the location-independent entrepreneur: 

Remote work tools

2. Insurance

Figure out what type of business insurance your business might need. And if you plan to travel or relocate continually, it’s always best to ensure you are covered for travel and healthcare insurance.

These are some great options:

  • World Nomads: Perfect for remote entrepreneurs who are constantly traveling and doing different types of activities.
  • Gadget Travel Insurance: Suitable for tech entrepreneurs who travel with expensive gadgets such as laptops, microphones, phones, or other tech devices.
  • Axa Health: It’s ideal for It’sl remote business owners who want to cover their team’s health insurance needs.

🤝🏻 Take action: Want to exchange ideas and tips with people who are already there? Discover the best subreddits for remote entrepreneurs!

3. Organize your business finances

This step has two parts. On the one hand, you need to find a method that will enable you to organize your expenses and your income. And you need to keep track of this in order to measure results and see how things are going.

You could opt for a simple Excel spreadsheet or use software applications such as Quickbooks or Rydoo that help you organize your accounting.

On the other hand, for the services or products you offer, as your business is location-independent, you will need to consider what methods you’ll need to pay for certain services (let’s say employees), get paid from clients, and where to hold funds. These are some international payment and transfer applications:

  • Wise
  • Paypal
  • Payoneer
  • Venmo

4. Build effective processes

When you have a fully remote business, whether you work individually or have other employees, you need to keep track of everything that happens in your business. Keep track of your clients and results: you need to experiment and see what process has worked for you since the start.

And you’ll need a process for everything: hiring, making business decisions, choosing new tools, etc. So make sure that when you’re finding out what works best for you, you document everything. This will help you define how effective a process is.


“Mailmodo was born during the Covid era, which forced us to become a remote-only company. Surprisingly, this turned out to be an advantage as we could hire globally without any location barriers. To make remote work successful, we focused on creating robust documentation and processes for every aspect of the business, promoting cross-functional collaboration. We created detailed Notion documents outlining our mission, product vision, and onboarding procedures for new hires. This approach facilitated the evolution of our ideas while promoting transparency throughout the organization and building trust with our employees. Aquibur Rahman, CEO at Mailmodo

4. Prioritize Your Sales

The main challenge for location-independent business owners is to make money. You can organize your goals and business plan perfectly, but money will never come if you don’t find ways to get more clients.

When starting a business, it’s easy to lose sight of your sales strategies as you also have other things in mind. But remember, if you don’t get sales-focused from the start, your business will fail.

Go from micro to macro. This means starting with what you can change; evaluating your current strategies to get more clients.

If you made zero clients or leads in the past month, ask yourself what you can change to avoid this from happening again. How can you reach out to more potential clients? Is your website working correctly, or do users find it hard to navigate through? Do you need a better social media presence?

Questions like this can help you define better and more effective ways to reach potential clients. If you have no idea how to build better strategies, then ask people who are experts in the subject.

5. Network

Networking is one of the most important steps when starting a business as a location-independent entrepreneur. The main benefit is getting potential clients, but you can connect with like-minded people by networking. Also, you can meet potential employees who could fit your business well.

Networking starts in your inner circle of family and friends. Start telling them about your new business and why it is valuable. They can also tell their family and friends and so on.

With platforms like LinkedIn or Meetup, networking is easier than ever before. You can gain solid connections with people who could help your business grow.

Other networking ways are local events, social gatherings, joining entrepreneurial groups in different communities, and social media.

With LinkedIn, you don’t have to wait for a networking event to make meaningful business connections.   You get one chance to make a great first impression so make sure every section of your LinkedIn profile is complete, with no blank spaces or gaps.  Include a professional head shot and powerful headline followed by a summary with highlights of your personal brand, what you do well and how you can benefit potential clients. Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

6. Define your Purpose and Be Consistent

Being an entrepreneur, it’s not an easy road. It will be filled with ups and downs, and, in most cases, growth won’t be linear. You must be prepared for challenges, uncertainty, and taking risks. That’s why having a clear purpose and knowing your “why” is key. 

Finding inspiration and being disciplined on a daily basis is what will make the whole difference. 

8 Location Independent Business Ideas

Location-independent entrepreneurship seems attractive, but are all businesses suitable for these flexible structures?

If you’re looking for location-independent business ideas, here are the top 8:

1. Digital Marketing

Marketing is one of the perfect areas to specialize in to become a local-independent entrepreneur. All businesses need marketing; you can offer your services as an external agency and still work 100% remotely without having to attach to a company or a physical location.

For this industry, you need a lot of experience in digital marketing, email campaigns, social media, SEO and SEM, data analysis, brand marketing, and all the other aspects that help a company increase its digital presence.

Average annual income: From $80,000 to $140,000 (Digital marketing institute)

Resources to learn more about digital marketing:

Books

Courses

  • Fundamentals of digital marketing by Google (Free)
  • Digital marketing full course bundle by Reliablesoft (Paid)
  • HubSpot Online Marketing Courses (Free

2. Online Teaching

Online courses were a thing before the pandemic. But now that most institutions have closed their doors, online courses have become increasingly popular. If you have experience in a particular area or subject, you can offer online courses and get paid.

For example, if you’re an expert in environmental business, you could create a website where you offer online classes. The same happens with the translation and language business, where teachers provide language services via Zoom.

Average annual income: $57, 894 (Glassdoor)

Resources to learn more about online teaching:

Books

Courses

  • Online Teaching Courses and Certification by Alison (Paid)
  • Teaching courses by Future Learn (Paid)
  • Learning to Teach Online by Coursera (Financial aid available)

3. Blogger

Being a blogger is almost a 24/7 job. You need to have exciting stories to tell and be constantly in the creative zone to develop different ideas. However, a lot of influencers have Instagram pages and websites.

Not only do they get followers interested in their lifestyle, but they also earn money by promoting products & services.

Brands reach out to bloggers to pay them money to advertise their products, and that’s how they earn money: their business social media accounts. 

Average annual income: $37,073 (Indeed)

Resources to learn more about being an online blogger:

Books

Courses

  • Build to blog: Get Your First 10,000 Readers and Generate Six-Figure Blogging Income by Ryam Robinson (Paid)
  • Building a Successful Blog by Pinal Dave (Paid)
  • Blogging courses at Udemy (Paid) 

4. Graphic Designer

If you’re a graphic designer, you have a high probability of landing a remote job without any problem. You only require your computer to do the job! Yet, if you want to stop working for someone and become an entrepreneur, offering your services is also a good idea. Many companies require graphic designers’ help for their websites, logos, advertisement, and other aspects.

All you need is your designing programs, good Wi-Fi, and other office gadgets, but that’s it!

Average annual income: $58,90that’sssdoor)

Resources to learn more about being a graphic designer: 

Books

Courses

  • Graphic Design Specialization by Coursera (Financial aid available)
  • Introduction to Graphic Design by Udemy (Paid)
  • Great Graphic Design, Create Emotional, Gripping Typographic Art by Skillshare 

5. Business Consulting

There are a lot of business consulting firms that don’t have a physical office but work from a safe home office. They can be managed 100% remotely, so if you have experience and knowledge in the business area, why not go for it?

You could build your own business consulting firm and help companies that are struggling with certain areas to be successful. 

Average annual income: $75,000 (Indeed)

Resources to learn more about business consulting: 

Books

Courses

  • Business Consultant Certificate Course Online by IAP Career College (Paid)
  • Management Consulting by Harvard University (Paid)
  • Management Consulting Essential Training by Udemy (Paid

6. Build Websites

According to the Website Set Up Organization, there are over 1.7 billion websites. Building a website is the perfect strategy for most companies to increase their digital presence and offer customers (and potential customers) a great experience, increasing their engagement and loyalty.

To build websites, you need to have programming knowledge, but if this interests you, there’s a wide market looking for website developers. You could create a business that offers web development services for companies.

Average annual income: $68,078 (Indeed)

Resources to learn more about website development: 

Books

Courses

  • Become a Web Developer by Codeacademy (Paid)
  • Computer Programming by Khan Academy (Free)
  • Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python by eDx (Free)

7. Become an eBook Writer

If you love writing and dream of publishing a book, nowadays, it’s easier than ever before. You no longer need to go with a publisher, but you could take advantage of the digital-book market. Anyone can publish an eBook and sell it on Amazon websites completely free. 

The best part is you can write your book anywhere you want! However, it’s advisable that you have in-depth knowledge in certain areas to write an ebook and be clear about your audience. The smaller the niche, the better.

Average annual income: $55,778 (Indeed)

Resources to learn more about eBook writing: 

Articles

  • How to Create an Ebook from Start to Finish by Hubspot
  • 9 Powerful Tips for Writing Your First Successful eBook by The Write Life
  • How to Write an Ebook: 21 Dumb Mistakes to Avoid in 2022 by Smart Blogger

Courses

  • Damn Fine eBooks: The eBook-writing Course You’ve Been Waiting For by James ChartraYou’veid)
  • How I Write an eBook in 1 Day with No Fancy Tools or Tricks by Udemy (Paid)

8. Build a Stock Photography Business

Stock photography is a business that has become popular in the past years. All types of websites use visuals to attract users. From news companies to finance businesses, photography is a core strategy for their websites. And because of this, stock photography has become a profitable business.

While you need to be familiar with intellectual property, local laws, and tax codes, being a stock photographer is a great way to transform your hobby into a location-independent business. 

You can take advantage of the places you travel to, take breathtaking pictures, and take photoshoots of specific situations (for example, nowadays, remote work pictures have become popular). 

Average annual income: $36, 991 (ZipRecruiter)

Resources to learn more about stock photography: 

Books

Courses

  • Online Stock Photography Classes by Skillshare
  • Sell Photo Online: Beginners Guide Stock Photography by Udemy
  • Shooting for Stock Photography by Geo Rittenmyer 

💡Hungry for more? Read our list of Online Business Ideas for Beginners

Begin Your Journey to Online Entrepreneurship

One of the most important things to consider before becoming a location-independent entrepreneur is the why.

Why do you want to build a location-free business?

Ensure that the reasons that answer this question are solid ones. “Working on Pjs,” “Doing whatever I want,” or “Working at the beach” are good reasons but not enough to start this type of lifestyle. Any remote worker can do all those, but building a business requires passion, perseverance, and a lot of patience. 

Being scared of adventuring to the unknown is part of the process, so don’t let that paralyze you. All it takes is a good idea and the skills above, and you’re ready to become a location-independent entrepreneur!

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