Do you have to drag yourself into your office every day? Maybe it’s not your job but its location. Perhaps the office life is not for you. But don’t despair, with today’s technology it is possible to get away from your desk and work from anywhere in the world.
Becoming location independent isn’t for everyone of course. “In my experience working for a company that had remote employees, not everyone is cut out to work remotely. You must be a highly motivated individual that does not need supervision. You also must be okay missing out on the social component of working in an office. Working remotely can become lonely if you need to have face to face interaction to feel connected,” Kristina Portillo, founder of BusinessTravelLife.com, explains to MadameNoire.
So if you have an adventurous spirit, are very organized, flexible, and patient it could be a good way for you to world from some of the most beautiful destinations worldwide.
“I don’t work in a traditional office space. My goal has always been to have a mobile business that I can do from virtually anywhere in the world. Some places are more of a challenge than others but quite honestly while I travel, my business comes with me,” Margie Jordan of Jordan Executive Travel Service tells MadameNoire.com.
At last count there were between five million and six million American expats living and working elsewhere. There are many career pluses to working abroad. In fact, a survey by Global Professionals On The Move, in which 100 percent of women asked said that working abroad was a proven method of improving your career.
There are three basic ways you can hit the road and still work, reports remote working expert Jason Lengstorf: Create a passive income stream (investments, selling online services such as consultant, affiliate marketing); get your current company to allow you to work remotely; or work from anywhere as a freelancer.
Working outside of the U.S. can have many benefits on your career — and you — as well. “The key to survival, in any walk of life, is adaptability. Working abroad helps you hone this quality, molding you into a multifaceted, versatile and resourceful individual,” reports Elite Daily.
Just imagine how working overseas will increase your network system. Now you don’t just have contacts in the States, but globally. And having more contacts is always a great thing, not only for networking purposes but also to glean from the experience of others from different cultures.
Working outside of the States can also boost your creativity. A Harvard Business Review study found that workers who have international experience are actually better problem solvers and possess more creativity.
Of course there are some downsides to not working in your native country, like different time zones. “If your business is conducted in U.S. time and you find yourself, say, in India, you have a huge gap of time where you aren’t available to your potential client,” notes Jordan. This can sometimes work on your side. If like me, you are just three hours ahead of your clients, this can give you a jump-start on projects (sometimes).
After you have set your mind to hit the road, prepare.
Make all your files easily accessible via Internet and look into Cloud storage. “You must be able to go paperless in order to take your work on the road and have a solid laptop or tablet that you can travel with and use as comfortably as a desktop computer,” says Portillo.
Set up a communications strategy. You can find some pretty good global cell phone plans, such T-Mobile’s Simple Global, which will give you unlimited international text and data available in more 120 countries. “There are services like Convoi that let me make calls over Wi-Fi with my existing cell phone without using roaming or my current U.S. cell provider service. Of course there’s Skype, MagicJack and a host of other services as well,” notes Jordan.
It will also be important to be able to do face-to-face video calling which will give more of an in-person feel. Skype, FaceTime, even Facebook can be used for to give you sort of a physical connection even though you may be thousands of miles away.
Make sure you are digitally connected. Internet access may be difficult or iffy in some locations. “The other downside is using public Wi-Fi networks for business. There are security risks. Also, you’ll need to be aware of the countries that restrict internet access like China or you’ll encounter countries where internet isn’t as important to them as it to us in the US. If it’s slow or down, no one really cares as much,” notes Jordan. You might want to consider getting a a hotspot, like a T-Mobile HotSpot.
Since you are away from home–and your industry hub–it may be difficult, but not impossible, to network. Connect with those in your field via social media, join Google+ and LinkedIn groups. “In terms of industry networking, with the advent on social media, finding online groups to network with is quite easy. From Facebook groups to LinkedIn professional groups, you can still keep up with your industry and get the opinion and advice of other professionals at any hour of the day,” says Jordan.
Getting paid can be simple as well. Since most likely the U.S. company you are dealing with will not want to make international transfers, you can get payments with services like PayPal. It is a good idea to keep a U.S. bank account (use a trusted friend or relative’s address).
“To begin with, maintaining your USA account keeps your American credit score alive and well (as long as, of course, you pay your American credit card bills on time) by proving you’ve been financially active in the U.S. even though you’ve lived elsewhere. If and when you return to America, this will ensure that you have no problem obtaining a mortgage, car loan, or other loan that requires a credit history report,” reports Expat Info Desk.
And, if you use a financial institution such as ETrade, your debit/credit card will work at ATMs worldwide. One bank to consider is Charles Schwab, which offers ATM usage worldwide with no fees if you have their online checking account. HSBC also has special offerings for expat banking.
Once you figure out a way to make money and how to stay connected with U.S. contacts, living and working overseas is very doable. And if you don’t want to work for someone else, there is one other way to work outside the U.S. You can become a “destination entrepreneur.” It might actually be less expensive to start a business abroad than to have no job in the U.S.
“Many developing markets are extremely under-served and lack competition, and therefore offer a low-cost entry point into the business world. Just make sure you have patience, because things may not move as quickly as you are used to,” reports Fast Company.