Have you ever wondered how other freelancers are able to earn money while they travel around? They seem to have time to visit beautiful destinations, take gorgeous images, post them on Instagram, have fun, meet new people... and still make money! Say whaaaat??
And yes, as impossible as that might seem when you are sitting at your desk without hardly any time to meet your friends, go shopping, let alone hit the gym, believe me: It is doable to earn money while traveling, but only with lots of planning and discipline.
Whether you want to become a digital nomad hopping from country to country in East Asia or you are just willing to spend a longer period of time freelancing abroad, planning your journey ahead and sticking to the plan is essential to keep your productivity and finances up and running!
But before we start talking about planning, let's forget about those social media pics where everyone seems to have the best life ever. They tend to be a bit too perfect, so focus on yourself and forget about the 'Gram!
There are a couple of factors that you should take into account when planning ahead before starting your travel:
- Search for an apartment with a good WiFi connection.
- Having a lively coworking center nearby is always fun - even a coffee shop would do, but the truth is that having at least an Internet connection and some kind of workplace at your new home can be really useful.
- It will help you work at your own pace, especially if you like to work at night, when the inspiration hits, or when you only have reduced time slots to work. We'll talk about time slots in a second!
- When will you travel? Will it depend on the weather? On high-and-low-season prices?
- My advice is for you to choose low-workload times to travel. You'll find it much less stressful if you have the time to make yourself comfortable in your new destination.
- If you can afford it, try and take the first couple of days off, and don't plan any work-related tasks for the first week. Take some time to get used to the new environment, charge up your energy, and get acquainted with all practicalities. What's public transportation like? Will you need to rent a car? Where's the next grocery store? Where can you get a SIM card for your cell phone?
- Just make sure you feel comfortable in your new home before turning back to your laptop!
- Consider the time zone.
- Working a bit later or earlier than usual is fine, but if traveling to Australia means staying awake the whole night every single day, maybe you should consider changing gears!
- Will you be able to deliver your projects within the deadline?
- Do your customers need to keep open communication with you? Do they like to use Slack or other communication channels?
- Will they be OK with you checking your emails just once per day?
- If you work for customers with tight deadlines, let them know in advance that you won't be as available as usual.
- Decide whether it is advisable to let your customers know about your travel plans.
- Will it help you keep some flexibility? This is especially helpful when you need a bit longer to answer their emails.
- Will it stop them from sending you more work? Then you'd better come up with another plan.
- Manage your email checking times.
- Let your customers know how often and when you will be checking your emails.
- It would be a good idea to start right now and see if it works for you.
- If you haven't yet, create a second email account exclusively for your customers. In this way, you won't be tempted to waste your precious work schedule with reading offers from any newsletter you might be subscribed to. Also, you can set notifications on your phone for any work-related email that you may get.
- Set an automated reply detailing the times when you will check your emails.
- Depending on the length of your stay, you may want to take "official" holidays from specific customers that aren't that essential for your business. Telling them that you've been booked for a bigger project by another customer can be better than the whole truth.
- Make sure to finish any open projects that you may have before starting your journey.
- Focus on the most important projects.
- Well-paid projects have priority.
- Avoid shorter projects that keep you engaged with your PC but don't bring much money.
- Get done any admin and tax tasks that you need to do in the next 6 months. Get them off your plate now if you know they can become an issue!
- Make a list of admin tasks that could be done once a month, and forget about them until then.
- If you won't be away that long, consider leaving all admin-related tasks for later.
Great organization and planning skills are always a must to run a successful freelancing business, but you’ll need them even more if you plan to combine travel and work! Why? Because you want your business to keep on running AND you want to enjoy your journey! So hop on to your favorite online travel agency, book your trip and start planning your new adventure! Where is it going to be?