Working at a fancy building from 9 to 5 doesn’t seem as attractive as years ago. It doesn’t matter if a company offers you unlimited amounts of coffee, nap pod rooms, or beer pong tournaments. Sometimes, flexibility is all you want. And while you have the option to work remotely in some cases, you feel the urge to build something on your own. Imagine working wherever and whenever you want while being your own boss. Sounds good, right? Becoming a location-independent entrepreneur can give you all these benefits and even more.
But let’s get real for a second. Considering to embrace the location-independent lifestyle isn’t as simple as choosing what to eat for breakfast. You still need to be willing to give up the comfort and safety of your corporate job to face the uncertainty of entrepreneurship.
If you’ve set your mind to start a different path that moves along your dreams and desired lifestyle, you came to the right place. In this article, we will tell you from A to Z about what location-independent entrepreneurship is about.
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:
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 perform their jobs 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, this means you can do it from home, from a café, from a coworking space, or from any place in the world you want.
Location Independent Entrepreneur vs Digital Nomad
Now, you might be wondering, 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 company, while 35% are remote workers, and 28% are freelancers.
Secondly, being a location-independent entrepreneur doesn´t mean continually traveling the world as digital nomads. A location-independent business can be handled from anywhere, which means they could travel while working, but they could also have a traditional business setup that can be outsourced and managed entirely remotely.
First 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 have a clear understanding of 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 of people: 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.
2. Set Your Goals
Once you define your niche, it’s time to start setting your goals. What´s your main goal with this new business? Do you want it to become your primary source of income? Or do you want to do other projects simultaneously?
Keeping important aspects like this one in mind 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 make the numbers of how much money you need to earn for this to happen.
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 that will make all of 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 get professional advice regarding legal and taxes matters.
Additionally, 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. Things like communication applications, project management tools, HR systems, among other aspects.
These are great tools that will help you get started:
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 make sure 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 small remote business owners who want to cover their team’s health and travel needs.
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 you could 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:
4. Build effect 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, the results you have, and for this, you need to start experimenting and seeing what process works for you the best 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.
4. Prioritize Your Sales
The main challenge for location-independent entrepreneurs is to make money. You can get your goals and business plan perfectly organized, but money will never come if you don’t figure out ways to get more clients.
When starting a business, it’s easy to lose sight of your sales strategies as you have other things in your mind as well. But remember, if you don’t get sales-focused from the start, there’s a high risk that your business will quickly be in danger.
Go from micro to macro. This means starting with what you can change; evaluating the strategies you are currently implementing to get more clients. If in the past month you made zero clients or leads, then 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 properly, 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 out to potential clients. If you have no idea how to build better strategies, then ask people who are experts in the subject.
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 by networking, you can connect with like-minded people. Additionally, you’re able to meet potential employees that could make a great fit for your business.
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 from people who could potentially help your business grow.
Other ways of networking are through local events, social gatherings, joining entrepreneurial groups in different communities, and social media.
8 Location Independent Business Ideas
The whole location-independent entrepreneur idea seems attractive but are all businesses suitable for these types of 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 for you to specialize in if you want to become a local-independent entrepreneur. All businesses need marketing; you can offer your services as an external agency and still be able to 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:
- Digital Marketing Strategy by Simon Kingsnorth
- Digital Marketing for Dummies by Ryan Deiss
- The Digital Marketing Handbook by Robert W. Bly
- 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, of course, get paid for it.
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 offer language services via Zoom.
Average annual income: $57, 894 (Glassdoor)
Resources to learn more about online teaching:
- Teaching in the Online Classroom by Doug Lemov
- How to Build Your Successful Online Teaching Business by Vladimir Raykov
- Online Teaching At Its Best by Linda B. Nilson
- Online Teaching Courses and Certification by Alison (Paid)
- Teaching courses by Future Learn (Paid)
- Learning to Teach Online by Coursera (Financial aid available)
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 come up with different ideas. However, a lot of influencers have their Instagram pages and websites. Not only do they get followers that are interested in their lifestyle, but they also earn money through 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 is their social media accounts.
Average annual income: $37,073 (Indeed)
Resources to learn more about being an online blogger:
- Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho
- Blogging All-in-One for Dummies by Susan Gunelius
- One Million Followers by Brendan Kane
- 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 yourself, 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 to have is your designing programs, good Wi-Fi, and other office gadgets, but that’s it!
Average annual income: $58,903 (Glassdoor)
Resources to learn more about being a graphic designer:
- How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and every (once in a while) change the world by Michael Bierut
- Interaction of Color by Josef Albers
- Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler
- 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:
- Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies by McKinsey & Company Inc.
- HBR´s 10 Must Reads: The Essentials by Harvard Business Review
- Flawless Consulting by Peter Block
- Business Consultant Certificate Course Online by IAP Career College (Paid)
- Management Consulting by Harvard University (Paid)
- Management Consulting Essential Training by Udemy (Paid
Do you already have a business and are looking for more ways to make money work for you? Click HERE to find out how!
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:
- Fundamentals of Web Development by Randy Connolly
- Web Development and Design for Beginners by James Webb
- 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 your dream is to publish 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:
- 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
- Damn Fine eBooks: The eBook-writing Course You´ve Been Waiting For by James Chartrand (Paid)
- 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 during these past years. All types of websites use visuals to attract users. From news companies to finance businesses, photography is a core strategy of 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:
- Stock Photography by Blair Howard
- Taking Stock: Make Money in Microstock Creating Photos That Sell by Rob Sylvan
- How to Shoot Stock Photos that Sell by Michel Heron
- Online Stock Photography Classes by Skillshare
- Sell Photo Online: Beginners Guide Stock Photography by Udemy
- Shooting for Stock Photography by Geo Rittenmyer
Must-Have Skills for Location Independent Entrepreneurs
You want to build your location-independent business, but do you have what it takes? Here are the must-have skills for those entrepreneurs who wish to have the flexibility of managing successfully their employees from anywhere:
1. Level Up Your Communication
Communication is a fundamental skill for entrepreneurs, whether they are location-dependent or independent. However, when you’re running your business from a remote environment, you need to level up your communication skills. Let’s say your team has 5 people in different locations. To avoid misunderstandings, you need to be clear regarding what your communication processes and tools are.
Try building all the processes in the most transparent way possible. And keep them documented in a way that when someone has questions, they don’t need to reach out to you constantly to solve them.
2. Organization Skills
One of the first tasks you need to do as a location-independent entrepreneur is to get organized. Don’t leave the basic but boring tasks ‘for tomorrow’; get all the basic things ready. Of course, you can hire someone to do all this, but in the first instance, you need to be on top of everything as this is your business.
Take time to set the foundations; if you’re disorganized from the start, you’ll later find yourself searching through piles of information to find one single document. Get the right platforms and tools to keep all the different areas of your company neat and organized. Consider organization skills as those who will eventually help you save time. And we all know that time = money.
3. Be Money-wise
Financial skills are also fundamental for your location-independent business. Especially at the beginning, you need to have a specific skill set related to revenue, costs, taxes, cash flow, etc.
Eventually, you will find the right person to handle all this for you but for now, make sure you invest in learning these skills as one small decision related to finances can make you lose a lot of money, especially if you aren’t so involved in finances.
4. Embrace Uncertainty
As a location-independent entrepreneur being able to adapt is the name of the game. 2020 was the year that taught everyone how adaptability is an underrated skill that becomes a lifesaver when unexpected things happen. And as an entrepreneur, unexpected things happen on a daily basis.
And yes, embracing uncertainty sounds more like a cliché phrase than a skill, so how can you, as a location-independent entrepreneur, embrace uncertainty?
- Build the right team (people you trust).
- Information is power (Keep up to date with the latest changes in your industry).
- Accept the fact that you can’t control everything.
5. Upgrade Your Networking Skills
As we mentioned above, networking has been a necessary skill since the beginning of time. When technology was not around, people networked at the grocery store, buying bread, waiting in line to pay for something. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever.
As a location-independent entrepreneur, you don’t need to go to events to network. You can build an extensive network remotely!
Think about networks such as LinkedIn, where you can find professionals, business owners, employees, etc., and get in touch with them easily. Keep in mind that different social networks and communities will work differently for various businesses. The key is to find the right platform for your business model that can help you grow and connect with different people.
Final Things to Consider Before Becoming a Location Independent Entrepreneur
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!