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How to Decide if You're Ready to Work Remotely

by Lea Woodward Sep 24, 2007

Earlier this year, my husband and I took the plunge and left the UK to run our businesses on the move.

We struck out to find our ‘ideal world’.

What we’ve learned along the way is that we’re not ready to settle down yet. In fact, our ‘ideal world’ lies in moving from place to place, going wherever we fancy next and continue to earn a living as we go.

As long as we have an internet connection, of course.

If you daydream of becoming a Location Independent Professional (LIP), there are a few questions to consider before making the leap.

1. Can you still earn a living if you just pack up and wander off?

This is the crucial one. If the answer is “no”, then it’s something you need to work on unless you’re happy to with few options other than teaching English, picking grapes or working in a bar.

A LIP life is different – it’s not the usual “traveller” lifestyle but a permanent way of life for people who run professional businesses that can be done from anywhere.

Consider learning professions like graphic design, illustration, coaching, web design or any other service that can be provided ‘virtually’.

2. What ties do you have at ‘home’?

Think dependent family (elderly parents, young children or needy friends), property, location dependent businesses and possessions. While these are not deal breakers, you will need to think long and hard about what to do with each one.

Do you sell or let your property? Do you store or sell your possessions? Can your family manage without you? Do you want them to? Can you sell your existing business or turn it into a location independent one?

Any ties that you do have will need to be properly dealt with before you head out on the road.

3. Where do you want to go?

While this is usually the exciting bit, you need to ensure your chosen locations will enable you to continue to run your business and support yourself.

Trips to more exotic locations can appear appealing in the early stages, but the lack of internet access or infrastructure may make it a bigger challenge previously considered.

The last thing you want to do, having made the move to go mobile is run out of income, destroy your earning potential and have to go back home.

4. What are you looking for?

We left originally because we knew we didn’t want to settle our ‘home’ in the UK. We’re now on the lookout for the few places in the world that feel like home – the places you instantly feel at ease, that energize you and that excite you.

Aimless traveling can be great but if you’re running a business at the same time, then you may find that too much uncertainty and flux will have a negative effect in the long term.

5) Are you mentally ready to live out of a suitcase…permanently?

Hard core travelers are no doubt screaming “YEEEES!” but seriously, living life as a LIP means having no real “home” to go back to.

It means rationalizing your possessions so they don’t drag you down or cost you the earth to store and living a totally nomadic life.

From owning a 1,500sq feet loft apartment with expensive, designer furniture, all our worldly possessions now fit into a 45sq feet storage room and a 90 litre suitcase.

It’s a lovely feeling of freedom but hoarders beware!

The life of a location independent professional can be an enviable one but it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

If you do all your homework, take care of your ‘affairs’ before you leave, then the world is literally your oyster…go and enjoy it!

Lea Woodward is a Business & Technology Coach and the creator of Lea also writes regularly on her personal blog Success Rocks!

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