31 Location Independent Business Models: Ideas and Options to set you free

Location Independent Business Models

So you want to be Location Independent? Well, you can start with my Location Independent Guide – Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel the World. If you want a taste of the ideas found in the book, check out these Location Independent Business models that you can start today.

This is a long post so you can download the PDF version below

1) Teach Online

Platforms like iTalki can connect you to thousands of potential learners, whatever your native language. You don’t have to be qualified, you just need to be able to write a good profile and nurture a regular set of students.

Here’s a quick iTalki explainer video:

You might think that being an English teacher pays the best, but it doesn’t. Everyone can speak English it seems but fewer people can speak and teach Mandarin Chinese, especially ones with good English skills to communicate with students.

Get Yourself an Online German Teacher

You don’t need to speak any foreign languages to teach your own. Using Immersion Language learning you can make every language lesson 100% taught in your native language. This is the most effective way for the student to learn because it helps them think in your native tongue rather than constantly translating everything you say.

Get paid to help people learn a language

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2) Create an Online Course on Udemy

Udemy is a marketplace for people wanting to learn new skills. From web design to new languages, Udemy offers a wide range of courses. Each course is designed and managed by users rather than Udemy itself, the users take a cut of the course revenues.

Become a Udemy Instructor

If you’re selling an online course you need to market it offsite. You won’t make money money if you create a course on Udemy and hope it sells itself. That’s why Udemy works well for existing authors who sell books and have their own platforms elsewhere. They can leverage these existing relationships with readers to cross-sell courses.

teach yoga courses online

Here’s a video that claims some Udemy authors are making >$1,000,000 a year with their training courses.

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3) Day Trading

Compete against the market by trading in currencies, derivatives and equities. Unlike investing, you’re rarely interested in the underlying economic fundamentals. You can make money by identifying patterns in price trends and either buying or selling your holdings (positions) accordingly. While the differences in daily trends may be small, most trading platforms allow you to exploit margins. Margin trading is where you can effectively borrow large sums of money to buy a trade, paying back the money when you close (sell) your position.

Day Trading can be complex but fortunately platforms like Oanda offer you free practice accounts and online learning to get you up to speed,

Oanda academy

Every day trader made $1,000 in a trade (at least once). Why not brag about it? It seems like an attractive business model. But, like gamblers, you only hear about the successes.

The problem with day trading is that most day traders make very little or lose money. The issue is that you are playing a game against very well equipped teams. Not only against teams but against computers that can execute trades a million times faster than you. Most traders stand to get wiped out. Most do.

But, like professional gamblers, the elite can profit handsomely.You can make money out of day trading for sure and a small elite of traders make a lot money. I’m talking $millions a year.These traders tend to the ones you never hear about. They keep a low profile. There are plenty of people making money out of selling day trading courses and software.

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4) Drop Shipping

You can operate an online store selling physical goods without actually being located in the same market as your customers. Drop shipping allows you to ship from a centralized warehouse. You ship your goods with the drop shipping company who will fulfill your orders when they come in.

Drop shipping allows you to focus on what’s important in your business. Rather than writing out address labels, you are creating and marketing your products. You’ll make less money per sale this way but the idea is that you’ll make more sales in the long run. That’s why you need to work with a product that has a good margin. Drop shipping t-shirts can be difficult to make into a business unless you are selling millions (like Threadless.com!) That’s unlikely to happen so you need to find products that sell for a high price yet are relatively easy to ship (like healthcare products).

Short video explaining how drop shipping works:

I have a friend who makes a lot of money dropshipping goods from his Magic Store (go figure). He sells to conjurers, illusionists and stage performers. Turns out this is quite a niche market and there is a lot of money spent on gadgets and gizmos. Not only are they willing to spend on gear they are willing to spend money on training courses too.

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5) SEO/Content marketing Consultancy

With companies and individuals both at the mercy of Google’s powerful yet every changing algorithm, there is money to be made in showing clients how you can improve their search engine positioning. 2 years ago everyone was selling SEO services, now the goal posts have shifted slightly and people are moving into content marketing. Don’t tied yourself down to one specific label, be flexible as the market changes.

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6) Publishing on Amazon

Amazon is the daddy of all publishing platforms and with its constant push to digital, it makes sense to focus on it as your main distribution channel. Amazon claims it now sells more digital than physical books. Kindle books are the future and you can get published a lot easier than you think. Compared to the world of physical paper, Kindle gives you access to wider audiences and greater royalties.

The challenge facing many authors today is that they aren’t natural marketers. They write a book and then sit back, waiting for the sales to roll in. It doesn’t happen. Writing the book is just the start of the process. Once your book is published you need to go to work promoting it. While the days of traditional bookstore signings become increasingly numbered, promotion work still thrives. You need to promote on your blog, your podcasts, your friend’s blog, your list, your FB page, everyone you know. You need to create promotional material like presentations, videos, giveaways. You need to constantly tweak your Amazon book page to optimize the content, keywords and categories. It’s hard work and a lot harder than most people think because all they see is the more glamorous front end of being an author.

Barefoot Journal Guide to Air Travel

I like Amazon publishing for a number of reasons. Firstly, Amazon does all the heavy lifting for you (I don’t need to send people to Amazon to search “how to create a location independent business”). A line of potential readers are already there. Secondly, a book on Amazon opens the door to many opportunities. People read your book and want more. They go to your website. They join your mailing list. They buy other products, including more books. Books set you apart because not everyone can complete one. They are great sales tools and a powerful way to build your audience in an age where everyone is able to write a blog post or Facebook status.

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7) Translation

Using exchanges like Odesk/Elance you can access a large potential client base selling your translation skills. Selling translation skills can often be a race to the bottom in price. There are many translators out there with good feedback who are willing to do the job cheaper than you. That’s why you need to specialize. Rather than translate websites and articles, are you able to move up the chain and specialize in manuals, sales copy or product descriptions? The more specific you become, the more likely a company buyer will hire you and pay a premium for your service. Remember that company buyers don’t like making mistakes. Being specific helps de-risk the decision for the buyer. If she is looking for someone to translate the packaging of a milk carton into Chinese, she will pay 3-5 times more if your advertised title is “product packaging translator”.

Sample Odesk translator profile:

Freelance translators

Sample Odesk translation jobs:

Freelance translation jobs

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8) Coding & Programming

Outsourced coding is always in demand and the growth of exchanges like Odesk/Elance allow coders to connect with customers all over the world.

Sample Odesk coding profiles:

Odesk freelance coding programmer

Sample Odesk programmer jobs:

Odesk programmer jobs

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9) Blogging

With enough traffic, you can make money through the content on your blog. You can monetize your traffic alone with advertising revenues and affiliate sales. Your business is best combined with the cross-selling of information products or online learning solutions.

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10) Information Products

From ebooks to information packs, if you have knowledge you can sell it online, preferably on your blog. Amazon prefers books listed in the price range of $3-$10 so you’re better off selling more expensive products on your own blog. Manuals, training courses and software can easily sell for $50-$200 a download but you need a lot of regular traffic and strong credibility to make the business work.

Example information product: Nathan Barry’s App Design Handbook (see below)

Nathan Barry app design handbook

11) App Development

With the advent of smart phone app stores like Google Play and iTunes, you now have access to millions (billions?) of potential customers. You can make money designing and selling your own apps by charging per download or selling the advertising space within your app and giving it away for free.

Like book publishing on Amazon, many app developers aren’t natural marketers. We all heard about the millions of Flappy Bird downloads but these are one-offs. Most people make less than $50. The challenge is that you need to market your app offsite. You need referrals, blog posts and lists. You need cross promotions. You need marketing resources if you really want to make good money out of apps. The most profitable apps are designed by teams or companies with large overheads. You won’t be able to compete here. Rather, find niches where these teams won’t go, niches where you have some expertise and drill down into the long tail of demand.

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12) Freelance Writing

Writing is always in demand but there are many types of writing to consider:

Ghostwriting means to write a publication under someone else’s name. You need to be a good communicator and exude patience to make this model work. You won’t be able to charge premium rates as a ghostwriter until you can claim to have written a known bestseller. The challenge with ghostwriting is that your clients often don’t want you to advertise the fact you wrote the book.

Copywriting means to create web or sales copy used in advertising and marketing. While copywriting appears straightforward and easy, there is a science and a distinct learning curve to master. Good copywriters appear to be natural writers but their skills are often based on years of experience. If you’re good, copywriting pays well.

Technical writing means to write technical articles like papers or research. Technical writing requires some kind of domain experience (e.g. medical or legal background) and an understanding of how articles are written in this field.

Blog writing means to write articles for other people. Often the work can be random and you don’t know what to expect. Of all the types of writing this can be the lowest paid and least rewarding.

Sample Odesk freelance writing jobs:

odesk freelance writing jobs

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13) Editing or Proofreading

You need to be the kind of person who likes editing or proofing documents otherwise it can be tedious and boring. If you are good, you can attract regular clients but your earnings will always depend on a regular turnover of work. Copy editing tends to refer to rewriting other people’s work e.g. working through a document and restructuring paragraphs and sentences. Proofing/proofreading tend to be the lower paid component and involves checking a document for errors in grammar, layout or spelling.

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14) Fiverr Gigs

Fiverr is an interesting introduction to the Location Independent scene. It’s a relatively new platform that aims to deliver customers gigs (work) for just $5. You can buy logos, a video of someone singing happy birthday or convert a document for just $5. The money is to be made on building a strong reputation and upselling. Fiverr providers rarely make money on one $5 gig so the key is in encouraging the buyer to buy add-ons. For example, an extra $5 guarantees next day deliver. Or add $10 to get the original source files. You need to have a setup where you can cope with a large volume but if it can be done there is real money to be made. Many Fiverr providers are making over $10,000 a year.

Quick video on how to make money on Fiverr:

Fiverr promises a simple selling experience:

Sell on Fiverr

Sample Fiverr gigs:

fiverr gigs

The real money is made form upselling on top of the $5 product:

how to make money on Fiverr

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15) Video Blogging

You can make money from the advertising revenues of your Youtube channel. While the numbers per impression are pretty lousy, Youtube can deliver big numbers if you have a popular channel. A million views will give you $1,000. If you had a popular channel, a million views a month is not unrealistic based on 1 video a day each getting 30,000 views.

Joseph Garrett of Portsmouth, England, records himself as “Stampy,” and has passed 2 million subscribers and 708 million views. The Daily Mail estimates that his channel currently grosses anywhere from $88,000 to $880,000 a month. A less-watched channel with 140,000 subscribers brings in $5,000 to $10,000 a month.

Producing videos like this on a regular basis on Youtube has made Joseph Garrett several hundred thousand dollars a month:

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16) Affiliate Sales

If you have a blog and/or newsletter you have an audience which you can sell to. If you don’t have your own products fear not because you can tap affiliate networks like Clickbank to sell other people’s networks. You could sell anything from travel accessories to online learning courses. Effectively what you do as an affiliate reseller is do the marketing for the product owner. In return they give you a cut of every sale. Affiliate networks are quite advanced these days and allow you to track your traffic and subsequent sales.

You can search through affiliate network sites like Clickbank to find products that suit your particular interest/blog niche. Here’s a sample of products offered in the travel sector:

Clickbank travel products for digital marketers

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17) Business Consultancy

If you come from a corporate background you can make money selling your skills as a consultant. All you need is a client base (start with your own employer or network) and credibility. Ebooks and videos are a great way to build your credibility. If you are the #1 person in that field in the world, you will attract attention. You will get asked to speak at conferences. Press will want to interview you.

If you are not #1, then redefine your field until you become #1. E.g. don’t just be a “marketing consultant” be a “youth marketing consultant” or a “youth marketing consultant for the financial industry”. The more niche you become, the more limited your audience. But, at the same time, your specificity allows you to charge significantly more for your work and helps you attract less timewasters because potential clients can easily categorize you in a mental box.

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18) Online Design

From web to logo design there is a well established market place out there for design work. The challenge with design work today is that it becomes increasingly commoditized at the bottom end. Logo factories learn how to outsource their work to cheap designers in India. All the while you need to keep lowering your rates to compete. Rather than compete at the commodity end of the business look at how you can increase your rates. Start niching your work. Perhaps you design only vintage logos, or websites for sports or graphic design for Minecraft themes.

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19) Etsy/Ebay Store

Etsy and Ebay are two robust and extensive platforms. Etsy focuses more on craft work while Ebay sells pretty much everything. Either way you get access to a global audience. You do not need a physical store front and you don’t need to be in the same location as your customers. Many suppliers ship from Asia to Europe and the USA at competitive rates. Your location independence, however, depends on your ability to plug this setup into a drop shipping operation. See above.

Here’s a heads up on what Etsy is looking for on its platform:

How to sell your stuff on Etsy

20) Investment

You can invest from anywhere in the world but you need to know that investing is for the long, not short term. If you want to make a quick buck out of the stock market, look at day trading. Investing requires a different mindset. You need money and knowledge of what you’re investing in. Don’t invest in real estate unless you know what you’re doing. Don’t invest in Nike because you think it’s a cool stock. Every day amateurs get taken to the cleaners by teams of qualified investors whose job is to do little more than to play the market. You can make money investing but don’t expect big paybacks in whatever asset you invest in for the first 5 years. After 5 years, you may start to see a good income but it’s unlikely it will happen beforehand. If it does, you got lucky and it’s not something you can repeat.

I have invested in equity markets in multiple countries but generally prefer to invest in what I know. The stock markets are rigged. So much of the apparent value of a stock is nothing more than the speculative activity of day traders and HFT (high frequency trading computers). That means while a stock may be a sound buy long term, you have to sit through a roller coaster ride as the traders have their fun with it (and your money).

Check out this video from BullionVault:

I recommend BullionVault over buying precious metals through a regular trader or bank as they can house the metals in Singapore or Switzerland (avoid housing them in UK or US).

I prefer to invest in what I know – real estate and precious metals. They hold their value long term. There will always be people who want to live in houses and gold has been around for 1000s of years. I can’t say the same about Yahoo or Facebook. Perhaps you can. Perhaps you know something I don’t. If that’s the case use that knowledge to your advantage.

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21) Web Research/Data Entry

Desk based research and data entry work is easy and anyone can do it. That’s why it’s low paid. Workers in India and Philippines will charge as little as $1 an hour. They may even be better at you than doing this kind of work. Don’t entertain it unless you are completely stuck and/or you have a speciality. By speciality, I’m talking about niche again. Perhaps you can research Russian websites because you are fluent. Perhaps you have access to libraries like Libris that the hordes of Odeskers don’t.

22) Network Marketing

Network marketing is a popular business model, especially for those starting out in the business world. It’s like buying into your own franchise. Often the franchisors are well established companies who focus their business on brand building and marketing activities to help you sell. You could be selling anything from aloe to fitness products.

Network marketing is built on the premise that you have your own network of people to sell to. These could be friends and family who may be interested in your products. You could also recruit people from this network to work in your “down line”. When you grow your business, many networks encourage you to recruit sellers to work under you. Like you, they will buy into the training and product start up kits to have their own business out of the box. You take a commission from their sales.

The model works especially well for those at the top. If you are successful you can make a lot of money. Most people however, make nothing. That doesn’t mean you won’t, you just need to set your expectations accordingly. Most people make less money than they invest in the start up but then just because you can start a business doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at it. You need to be constantly selling. Needless to say, the constant hustle can impact personal relationships with people around you.

23) Mentoring

If you have a skill you can mentor others too. Rather than consulting, you can coach. With the advent of skype video, teleconferences and email you can run an effective coaching group. You’ll find that while you may not be able to meet your mentees regularly you can put them in touch with each other which helps build a support group. Mentoring is a profitable business but too many mentors fail because they are unable to sustain their client base and/or they are not able to systemize the offering. While mentoring is profitable, like consulting, it’s a classic case of a back-loaded deal. You take the money up front, spend it mentally and then have to deliver for the next 3-6 months. Mentees want their money’s worth and will end up asking all kinds of petty questions that aren’t a great use of your time. By building a support group you can use the other mentees do absorb much of this communication, focusing your own time on the bigger, more strategic and emotional issues.

I have seen mentoring work in many different circumstances not just the obvious application of business mentoring. I know successful coaches who mentor professional triathletes. They meet once a year but apart from that everything else is done by email, phone call and online. I also know coaches who mentor their clients on health issues such as weight management and diet. Again, mostly done online with the option to invest in further training courses held in various cities around the world. The point is that anything can be mentored as long as people care enough about it.

24) Photographer

It won’t make you rich but you can generate a small income from monetizing your back catalogue. There are plenty of sites like iStockPhoto and Getty Images that allow you to sell your photographs. Stock photography pays peanuts but if you have enough images geared towards the requirements of stock buyers peanuts add up to a small but passive income stream. Expect around 25% royalty on your photo sales increasing to 50-60% if you offer a photo exclusively to the stock site.

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The following list from iStockphoto is a good indication of the kind of photos that are in demand:

Images that iStock does need:

  • Corporate shots: Illustrate the many sides of modern business.
  • Concepts and Visual Metaphors: Go beyond the literal, and help a designer explain something in a new way.
  • Food and Beverages: Cuisines from around the globe.
  • Groups & Teams: People working together.
  • Holiday & Seasonal Themes: Show all the ways we celebrate. Include more than religious celebrations; let’s see local festivals and customs as well.
  • Non-Business Jobs: The word is filled with mechanics, garbage men, baristas, and more.
  • People Interacting: Human interaction is a constant in this world.
  • Religion and Spirituality: The rich tapestry of the world’s beliefs.
  • Science and Technology: Accurate and true depictions of the cutting edge of human knowledge.
  • Social Issues: Poignant looks into the issues that impact us.
  • Sports: For fun, for fitness, for glory. We’d love to see more team sports

Here is a list of the type of photos that don’t sell:

Images that iStock does not need:

  • 3D – Simple Renders: Go beyond the easy and obvious presets.
  • 3D – Extruded Text: Simple 3D text is not enough.
  • 3D – Simplistic Modeling: Spend more time with your polygons.
  • Airplane Wings (& out the window shots): Wait until you land to shoot the vacation shots.
  • Flags: 3D or real, give us something more than the basic flags.
  • Light Blurs: Fun for photo clubs, but rarely is it good stock.
  • Nature Snap Shots: Sweeping vistas and insect macros are great – yet another forest floor is not.
  • Photoshop Backgrounds, Fractals: We’ve all had fun with filters. Designers are looking for images that they can’t quickly make themselves with a few button pushes.
  • People Doing Nothing: Get your models doing something!
  • Shadows of People, Headless People: Photograph people or do not. There is no try.
  • Single Apples (or Green Peppers or Oranges) Isolated on White: The day of the single fruit isolated on white has passed.
  • Sunsets, Cloudscapes, Skies: Be sure the sky really is stunning before uploading.
  • Symbols: !$%@ – Whether rendered or photographed, typographic symbols are less interesting than you think.
  • Your Immediate Environment: There’s life beyond your front door!

25) Telesales

In the 15 years experience I have of growing businesses the one skill I found where demand constantly outstripped supply was sales. It’s not easy finding a good sales guy. When you do find them, you want to hold on to them. Sales is, and always is, the lifeblood of any business. I’ve hired sales guys in many different countries – from the US to India. I’ve paid sales guys up to $30 an hour to hit the phones. With the right leads and the right product, a good sales guy should be able to hit the ground running and start generating income with very little training.

Some of the best sales guys I’ve worked may well have been sitting at a beach side cafe somewhere on a paradise island.Who knows? The point is that with a good internet connection, headphones and a Skype account, the world is your oyster.

Here’s a sample Sales profile on Odesk:

virtual sales jobs freelance

Here’s a sample Sales ad posted on Odesk

Sales and business development jobs for freelancers and location independent

I recruited virtually all my sales guys through Odesk/Elance and it’s a good a place to start as any. There are different types of sales you can do here. Firstly, traditional list bashing aka cold calling. You either love it or you don’t. You are either able to make 100 calls a day, day in day out or you aren’t. My point is that if you don’t have a background in sales and know that it works for you, don’t try it out on the road. The second type of sales is lead generation. You call companies and look for prospects. It’s a little like cold calling but your goal isn’t to secure the sale but to get a name and number. A lot of sales outfits now employ appointment setters you effectively set up phone calls or in-house meetings with their master closers.

If you can sell, you can sell anywhere in the world. Don’t think that leaving the corporate environment is the end of your sales career. It could just be the beginning of a new chapter.

26) Business Advisor

If you have business experience you could be of value to another business out there somewhere. In that case, you could sell you skills as a non-executive to a start up or small company that needs regular guidance or advice. You could charge your time as a flat monthly fee which will cover your monthly Skype call with the team plus unlimited email access.

I have operated in this capacity for a short time while traveling although it needs to be said that while you have no official function in the business, you need to choose carefully. Many advisors are wary of taking on official functions such as the title of “non exec director” because it implicates you in the dealings of the business. Chances are you won’t know 95% of what goes on in the daily business. It’s better and safer to market yourself as an advisor who can sit on an adhoc advisory board.

What businesses look for from you as an advisor is to be able to bounce ideas off you on a regular basis as well as draw from your credibility. I acted as an advisor to a marketing agency in Asia because it gave their brand serious kudos bringing in a known author and consultant from London. My name alone enabled them to open doors and get meetings. In most cases, I didn’t have to be there in person. Just having my name and resume on the website was enough.

27) Lawyer

You don’t need to work in The Firm to practice as a lawyer. The days of clients needing to visit the Firm’s offices are gone. Most law is practiced through email and phone calls anyway. So, if that’s the case, then why not?

If you have an existing client base, then chances are you can take a few of them with you. If your clients prefer working with you and you have good relationships then they may get a better deal out of working directly with you as you travel the world. You can offer better rates as a sweetener and not having to jump through the hoops of Firm politics is a real advantage.

The challenge of working as a lawyer while being location independent is your client turnaround times. Clients expect fast turnarounds on email communications and time zone differences combined with travel may complicate your arrangements. Be upfront and tell them your plans. You may not be at the end of a phone call as much as they’d like but then you have to learn to say no to the kind of work you don’t want to be doing.

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28) Accountancy

Like practicing law, you can also offer accountancy services remotely too.

Perhaps better than legal work is that accountancy may require less face-to-face contact. You don’t need to know much about your client if all they want is their financial year-end prepared. Most accountancy firms outsource their back-end work to India anyway, so all they offer the clients is a glossy front end and some reassurance. But not all clients want that. Not all clients want to pay top dollar to sit on plus leather sofas and receive glossy brochures. While accountants often argue that a good practice will recoup the money back for the business owners in savings, this may not be the case with smaller companies. Small clients may not be making profit anyway. Either way, there are plenty of companies and self-employed people out there who just want cost-effective accountancy.

If most of your work can be done through email and the web then you can do it anywhere in the world. Accountancy clients don’t tend to want the fast turnaround times expected of lawyers. Often client relationships are transactional requiring the submitting and return of documents. You can even outsource this work yourself and focus your role on being a front end to interface with the client and QA the work.

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29) Proposal/Business Plan Writers

If you can write a good business proposal or plan you can provide your service anywhere in the world. The key to this skill is years of experience understanding what boxes to check in the proposal writing process. Often businesses need proposals or plans for specific reasons: raising money through grants or loans or personal visa application processes. If you have experience in this field you have value because it’s a process not easily learned.

30) Online Art Sales

Sell your art online. Platforms like Zazzle now make it easy for you to connect with potential buyers.

Zazzle - sell your art online

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31) Real Estate Landlord

I’ve already written about investment as a location independent business model, but I want to revisit that category, specifically real estate investment. I am a firm believer in the value of real estate in the long term. Sure we’ve had a rocky ride recently but over the long term, there’s almost always a fixed amount of land and a growing amount of people. Basic supply and demand means the pressure on resources will force prices up.

Unlike other investments, you can become a landlord simply by renting out your own home when you decide to travel. By renting out your home you effectively get your tenants to pay your loan interest. Rather than repay the loan itself, you can profit purely on repaying the interest and banking on the fact that the property price will increase over the term of the loan (usually 25 years).

Making money out being a real estate landlord requires a specific mindset. If you hawk your property you will lose precious time (and hair). You will get stressed that the owners damaged the washing machine or there is a leak in the top floor. The worst thing you can do is try to manage the property yourself. Hire an agent. They should charge about 10% of the rental income to fully manage the estate. That means you aren’t receiving phone calls at 2 in the morning because the tenants have lost their keys.

The way to make money by being a landlord is to outsource everything. Sure, you make less money on your rent as they deduct their fees but you can set the property aside and forget about it. Let the managing agent do their job and collect your rental income. You probably won’t make much money out of the property if you have a loan on it but it will provide a regular and reliable source of passive income.

Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel The World

How to Live the Location Independent Lifestyle

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Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel the World: How do you do it?

SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?

location independence - how do you do it

The maxim “fire your boss, sell your car, travel the world” has a nice ring to it, but it’s more than just a catchy phrase. It’s the basis of advice in this book, which I’ll break down for you now.

If you follow the advice I share in my Guide “Fire Your Boss Sell Your Car Travel the World” you are well on your way to becoming location independent. The advice is as follows.

THE 3 COMPONENTS OF LOCATION INDEPENDENCE

1) Fire Your Boss: Set up a location independent business

2) Sell Your Car: Reduce your materialistic overheads

3) Travel the World: Leverage arbitrage opportunities to make your money go further.

You don’t need to make all three work to become fully location independent. Location independence is never a black or white proposition.

You could be, for example, a contractor who decides to take 6 months out to travel. In that scenario, you are 50% location independent. You may have reduced your overheads, you may be able to leverage arbitrage opportunities in travel but you are still tied to one particular geographical area or employer for work. No problem. 50% location independence is better than none. 6 months traveling is better than 2 weeks.

LOCATION INDEPENDENCE IS A MINDSET NOT A STATE OF BEING

100% location independence is the ultimate goal.

Not all of you will make it.

That’s not the goal of my book.

The goal of my writing is to get your closer to 100% than you were before you read the book.

Getting you closer is the first step in the right direction. Maybe you’ll decide that 50% if just okay for you and you don’t want to go any further. That’s fine too. Now you have the option to take a lot of time off, go travel and then return to base.

Maybe 50% isn’t enough for you. But full location independence takes time. It may take several years. Don’t give up hope. Every year you’ll be better. Every year you’ll become more location independent until you’ll reach your ultimate level of happiness.

Location Independence is a journey, not a destination.

Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel The World

How to Live the Location Independent Lifestyle

Get the Book on Amazon today:

If you enjoyed this post, get more insights and Barefoot tips by clicking LIKE on The Barefoot Journal Facebook Page

Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel the World

Fire Your Boss Sell Your Car Travel the World Guide to Location Independence

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How to Create Your Location Independent Business

My Location Independent Start

my Location Independent Business

Several years ago following a trip to India to set up an office, I sat with my erstwhile business partner on a Friday night over beer. We talked about the issues and stresses that were a growing feature of our expanding business and came to the conclusion that the company would be more profitable if there was just two of us.

That, combined with my natural curiosity to see the world and travel, was the spark I needed to think about creating a Location Independent Lifestyle.

If you are interested in this subject, you’ll be pleased to know that I share my experience in detail in my how to guide to Location Independence “Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel the World”.

5 Reasons Why a Location Independent Business Works for Me

Profit is only the byproduct of a Location Independent Business.

Money was never a motivator. The reason why it worked for me was more than the money.

  1. I could focus more time on creative work than managing other people
  2. It’s more motivating when a large slice of your reward isn’t swallowed up paying other people (employees, governments)
  3. You spend less time on the demotivating work like filling out forms
  4. You can shape your business to fit your lifestyle not vice-versa – more time with family, more time traveling creating our own adventure, less time commuting, office politics etc
  5. You can leverage all-important arbitrage

What If Questions

Over the following 3 years we laid off all our staff and became extremely focused. Business was lean. The whole decluttering process got me thinking through many “what if?” questions.

  • What if you don’t need an office?
  • What if you could service your clients/customers from anywhere in the world?
  • What if you could make money while you sleep?
  • What if you could live anywhere in the world?

The trouble is with these questions, they are dangerous. When you start asking “what if?”, everything unravels; the world falls apart… beautifully.

Enter Location Independence

Location Independence is nothing new, it’s just that the internet has made a lot of things possible that we couldn’t do 10 years ago. Along with it, new business models.

You can now live and work anywhere in the world as long as you have the right business model and the right technology (e.g. the internet).

Location Independence doesn’t mean visiting 100 countries in 10 weeks. That’s an option. It’s rather a wasted option if you ask me as there are no prizes for finishing first in this life. Whatever suits you. For me, Location Independence means being able to live somewhere for a year, 2 years, maybe more. If we don’t like it or we feel like a new challenge we can move on. That’s been pretty much our story since we sold everything and traveled the world.

Define Location Independence

Location independence is a growing trend among technology and knowledge workers. A location independent professional—or digital nomad—utilizes new technology to design a lifestyle that allows them to live and work wherever they want —be it from home, the internet cafe, on the beach, or even from the other side of the world.Location independent professionals frequently work as freelance writers, photographers, affiliate marketers, traders, web designers, web developers, graphic designers, programmers and often other working holiday jobs such as teaching English (TESOL or TEFL). Sometimes they simply pick up odd jobs as they travel, such as fruit picking or WWOOFing. Minimalism for the sake of light travel is frequently emphasized, but not required.
(Source)

How do You Become Location Independent?

  • Do Location Independent Work (your business or a contracting/freelance job)
  • Operate multiple income streams

Plant many seeds. Each seed of business will take its own time to grow. Some won’t grow at all. Some may sprout overnight. All require watering. But, don’t hawk your seeds and shout “grow grow dammit!” Sit back, allow things to grow at their own pace but start today. Things will take time.

My Location Independent Setup Today

I have several passive income streams that fund my lifestyle:

  • Real estate property
  • Publishing
  • Consultancy
  • Investment income

Each income stream is very different to the next. That means if I get wiped out in one, I’m still in the game. You don’t want to rely on one income stream or income streams that are too interdependent (e.g. having a Location Independent setup that’s complete reliant on variations of real estate income).

Diversification means focusing your efforts where your efforts are best received. For example, if the real estate market is on a down cycle, there is little difference between spending 10 hours and 100 hours a week on the business. So best to spend the minimum and focus elsewhere.

Types of Location Independent Businesses

A Location Independent Business (LIB) can be anything that doesn’t need you to be living in one specific place. While the type of business is theoretically unlimited there are certain types of businesses that thrive better in this format. Here are a few examples from my own experience:

  • Author / publishing (see this post by Nathan Barry on making a full time salary from a book)
  • App development
  • Consultancy
  • Online day-trading
  • Online teaching (see this post by Sean Ogle on making money from online courses)
  • Ebay & drop shipping
  • Real estate (investment rather than trading)

Sean Ogle expands this to include what he calls “Location Rebel Jobs

  • SEO Writer
  • Blogger (see this post on YTravel)
  • SEO Specialist
  • Copywriter
  • Info product creator
  • Podcaster
  • PPC and Facebook Ad Consultant
  • Web Developer
  • Back Office Manager
  • Social Media Consultant

Other Location Independent Job options

Difference between Location Independent Businesses and Location Independent Jobs

This could be a point of semantic difference, but it’s an important one.

In a lot of cases, the difference is merely semantic. You could be an SEO consultant on the payroll of another company or you could provide SEO consulting services to the same client through your own company. I say that in a lot of cases they are the same because the quality of the work is the same especially for many location independent entrepreneurs who seek lifestyle rather than vast profits.

There are some important differences between a LIB and a LIJ here worth mentioning:

  • A business will take longer to grow but the rewards will be greater in the long term
  • With a business you should be able to control the type of work you receive and be able to say “no” more to clients in the long term
  • A business should make money while you sleep, a job will always depend on the number of billable hours

The ideal setup is a LIB that makes money while you sleep.

In reality, most people will be operating both businesses and jobs to generate cashflow. In the long term, you may be able to stop jobbing and completely focus on business. This is the perfect location independent setup.

How I Define Location Independent Business

I see Location Independent Business as multiple businesses run by one person. These businesses should have a significant passive income element (i.e. they make money when you’re not working on them). By significant I mean at least 20% with a view to expand. You’ll never reach 100% passive income but it’s a goal you can work towards to improve your Location Independence.

What’s Inside a Location Independent Business?

  • Multiple businesses / income streams
  • Offshore formation
  • Offshore banking
  • Internet distribution

Should you Incorporate Offshore?

I did, a number of times.

If you have experience as an entrepreneur, I’d recommend it every time. There is time and cost involved. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it in the long term.

If you are new to business, or just can’t be bothered doing the offshore thing, then you can set up a Location Independent Business in your home country. Be aware that doing so will carry tax and legal implications down the road. For example, if you set up in the US and are living out in Thailand running your business there, you will most likely be taxed in the US (and Thailand too). If you’re happy with this set up, then by all means set up your Location Independent Business onshore.

Some countries are attractive to Location Independent Businesses even though they aren’t typical destinations for the long term traveler. If you live in any of these countries keeping your Location Independent Business onshore may not be as bad as if done elsewhere (for tax reasons mainly). This exception is invalidated if you have local employees. Once you become an employer and run a payroll you carry all kinds of unnecessary risks. Best avoid employment altogether. If you don’t employ anyone and keep a light inventory, you could consider this list below.

Countries where you could feasibly onshore your business:

  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • New Zealand
  • UAE

5 Commercials Reasons Why You Should Create a Location Independent Business Offshore

Let’s first look at the commercial reasons, as highlighted by Streber in this article:

  1. Reduced Tax. Often the most attractive and misunderstood reason. If you set up a business in Hong Kong, you won’t need to pay any corporation tax in Hong Kong on income derived outside the jurisdiction. However, let’s say you live in the US. If you decide to repatriate any of that income as profit (dividend) you will be liable to pay tax on this drawing. Furthermore, the US tax authorities could sting you with CFC regulations (see above) which may deem your company to be taxable in the US (even though it’s officially based in HK).Some jurisdictions have attractive offshore tax breaks. Not the ones you’d necessarily expect. New Zealand and Japan, for example, don’t tax any offshore income provided it stays offshore. So, you could set up a company in HK and leave the money there. These breaks apply to recent immigrants – check for local variations.
  2. Simplifed Accounting. Bookkeeping is a huge chore. Some offshore jurisdictions have favorable bookkeeping requirements. Rather than filing expensive and time-consuming accounts, you simply have to file an end of year return. This would be an ideal situation using a holding company.
  3. Increased Privacy. With a growing number of measures available to countries in Europe and America to access company information, some directors seek out jurisdictions where their details aren’t registered on public records. Personally, I am not bothered by this issue but I know people who do this purely for the sake of keeping out the prying eyes of distant family.
  4. Reduced Liability. Many directors are offshoring purely due to the increased legal restrictions and penalties placed on being an entrepreneur. All you need is one litigious customer or employee to not only wipe out your cashflow but also suck up unnecessary time.
  5. Geographical. You may decide to offshore purely because the country you live in has a poor reputation in the business world. I have friends in Africa who set up businesses in Asia because their clients wouldn’t normally pay them. For that reason, offshoring makes sense.You may also consider offshoring your business to be in a particular region of interest. Let’s say you want to deal with the Chinese mainland. It may make life easier (for example with buying and selling with Chinese companies) to be based in Hong Kong rather than the US, even though you live in the US.

How to Get Started Creating Your Location Independent Business

You can start your Location Independent Business (LIB) today even if you are an employee on another company’s payroll or you already have another business.

If you are currently employed, you are in an ideal position to get started creating a Location Independent Business. LIBs take time to grow, so the ideal setup is where you can bankroll your time creating the business using your employment with another company. I’m not talking about working on your business while at work, but in the evenings and at weekends. You have the security of regular income and are able to take long term decisions to grow the business rather than trying to maximize revenue before the business is ready.

What is an Offshore Company?

An offshore company is a legal entity established in a tax haven or offshore financial center, being protected by specific legislation which guarantees a status of partial or full tax exemption. Yearly maintenance fees range from US $100 to US $1500 or more, depending of the type of the company and its jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, annual company fixed tax is paid to the government such as it is the case with the Republic of Panama. Shareholders and directors of an offshore company may enjoy generally a high level of privacy. In some jurisdictions, offshore companies may trade or do business only outside of the country in order to be tax exempt, while in others companies may do local and international business.

(Source)

What is CFC?

CFC: A corporate entity that is registered and conducts business in a different jurisdiction or country than the residency of the controlling owners. Control of the foreign company is defined, in the U.S., according to the percentage of shares owned by U.S. citizens.

(Source)

Where Should You Incorporate Your Location Independent Business?

Choose carefully. Don’t be seduced the by the images of golden sands beaches and yachts on the incorporation websites. Sure, jurisdictions like Seychelles and Mauritius may offer some amazing tax and compliance free company structures but bear the following points in mind:

  • Reputation. Unless you’re a hedge fund or a gambling operator, your clients may struggle with dealing with a company based in BVI or some remote tropical island. Large clients may have checks in place that prevent any such business contact. You may find it difficult to receive money from accounts departments if they need to wire to such countries.

It might be tempting to go with Seychelles, Belize, Liberia, Vanuatu, et cetera. The problem is the terrible reputation associated with those jurisdictions. The names are synonymous with tax evasion, money laundering, corruption, and – in the case of Liberia – even war crimes. It’s a different debate entirely whether these are deserved reputation and whether other jurisdictions really are much better, but the reality is that they have a poor reputation and are more likely to cause friction with partners and customers than reputable jurisdictions. (Source)

  • Pay some tax rather than none. It’s better to incorporate in a low tax rather than no-tax environment for the sake of having a tax record somewhere.
  • Opt for progressive, robust jurisdictions. Unless you have a strategic need to be elsewhere (e.g. you need to invest in Latin America), I would always favor tier-1 jurisdictions like Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Forget nominees or strict privacy. Not so long ago you could open a company in Hong Kong and have that company 100% owned by a holding company in Seychelles. On the HK register, the company would show the owner as “ABC Seychelles”. The Seychelles register was private and could never be accessed by 3rd parties. Hong Kong has recently introduced a requirement for companies to have 1 human director. Similarly, the practice of nominee directors (i.e. where a registered person acts on your behalf as secretary or director) is becoming ineffective as governments and banks are requesting details of the UBO (ultimate beneficial owner). With all this in mind, the practice of setting up a LIB in a jurisdiction that offers bulletproof secrecy is becoming less effective and also now beyond the scope of this article.

Streber recommends these 4 countries:

  1. Anguilla
  2. Gibraltar
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Mauritius

See the full article for a breakdown of each country’s pros and cons.

Personally I favor Hong Kong for the following reasons:

  • Ease of set up
  • International reputation
  • Access to excellent banking
  • Ease of reporting
  • Robust economy with sound financials
  • Based in Asia

This is only a basic skim through the options of where to incorporate your Location Independent Business. If you have more technical requirements or want to go deeper, I recommend this article here.

Consider Your Banking Options

No good setting up your company in the easiest jurisdiction. Set it up in a country where you can get easy access to banking options.

The following is an extract from Streber’s overview of offshore banking options based on the 4 countries above:

  • If you operate as an Anguilla IBC or LLC, your banking options will be narrow. It is the least reputable of the four jurisdictions here and some banks do not see past it being a Caribbean tax haven, equaling it to the likes of Grenada and Belize. This is unfortunate but it is how it is. Caribbean and Pacific banks as well as offshore-friendly banks in Europe (Cyprus, Latvia) will probably be your best bet. That’s not to say you can’t find banking elsewhere. It’ll just take a bit more convincing (more on that later).
  • A Mauritian company is in a position very similar to Anguilla but may find banking options in the Middle East and Africa more available than an Anguillian company. It’s not uncommon for Mauritius companies to bank in anywhere from South Africa to Dubai. Local Mauritian banks are also available and of generally high quality.
  • Hong Kong companies are accepted almost universally, except for some of the more narrow banks in Europe and South America (Panama, Uruguay). The strength here is that Hong Kong companies are readily welcome at banks in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as Labuan, Taiwan, and other financial centers in Asia.
  • Gibraltar companies, being EU entities, usually have a pretty easy time finding banks across Europe, except for in especially tax haven-hostile jurisdictions or banks. Asian banks tend to accommodate Gibraltarian companies as well.

What about Setting Up Location Independent Business in Singapore?

Singapore is a great location to set up an LIB. I know many who have set up here but I haven’t done it personally. I opted for Hong Kong (see below for reasons). Singapore, like Hong Kong, is a robust solvent economy with a good track record. Setting up a bank account and company is relatively straightforward although not as easy as HK.

When you get down to the details (tax, bureaucracy), Singapore appears a better option for companies that need on-the-ground presence, while HK wins when it comes to location independent companies.

Singapore differs from Hong Kong in that Singapore seems to encourage more of an on-the-ground presence. Yes, the government is well aware that many Singapore corporations are used for global commerce, and that the company has no presence there.

But unlike Hong Kong which actually seems to encourage this type of activity, Singapore treats its businesses more like they are operating close to home. That’s evidenced by the fact that they set it up so almost all Singapore companies pay tax of some form. Source

How to Set up A Location Independent Business in Hong Kong

I choose Hong Kong because my relative ease of success in setting up a business there.

Hong Kong also enjoys a strong reputation in the business world, being both a respected jurisdiction and a country that favors rather than penalizes business with pedantic bureaucracy.

OECD considers Hong Kong to be Largely Compliant. There are a few gaps there but none that are likely to cause friction as an offshore freelancer. The Hong Kong authorities prefer to sign DTAs (double taxation agreements) over TIEAs (taxation information exchange agreements) since DTAs add a business incentive. Hong Kong is likely to adapt to TIEAs very shortly but will continue pushing for DTAs. Source Streber

DTAs: double taxation agreements that prevent you paying tax twice in two countries e.g. if you live in Australia but own a business in HK you don’t want to double-taxed on your income.

TIEAs: automatic exchange agreements. These are recent developments that allow certain authorities the ability to request your tax information from other countries. Countries like the UK and the USA are aggressive in seeking this information but some jurisdictions (like HK) still respect privacy.

As of 2014, you will need to visit Hong Kong to open the bank account. You could set up a HK company and hold a bank account elsewhere. Not ideal but entirely workable if HK is out of the question to visit. You may come across offshore service providers (OSPs) who say they are able to set up the bank account for you without you having to visit. I hear from my contacts that they do this through a video Skype call. I’m not sold on this process as I’ve heard a few horror stories I don’t wish to repeat here, so if you need to incorporate, put Hong Kong on your trip plans.

The first step is to find an OSP to work with.

You can find 100s of OSPs simply by Googling “Incorporate in Hong Kong”

Typically you are looking at set up costs of between US$500 and 1,000. This should include your government fees, your first year registered address (you will need one legally) and any other year 1 service fees. So that basically means for less than $1,000 you can have a Hong Kong registered company with all costs paid for the first year.

You will have to file annual accounts and a return, the cost of which should be no more than a few hundred dollars and cheaper than what you’re probably used to paying back home.

Getting a bank account requires work. If you want a HK bank account you will need to go to Hong Kong for about 3-4 days. You will meet your OSP and sign the relevant documents on day 1. By day 3-4 you should be able to leave with your own bank account. If possible, set up with a global bank like HSBC so you can access your account anywhere in the world and also carry a strong reputation with your clients.

How to Keep Your Location Independence

As you grow your business, it’s tempting to expand the operations too. But, before you go hire a new account manager or seek out a bigger office, a word of caution.

Don’t let the tail wag the dog.

If you want to maintain a Location Independent Lifestyle be aware of the mistakes commonly made by entrepreneurs. Many of these mistakes seem like good business sense but we need to remember that a Location Independent Business isn’t a commonly found phenomenon. Most businesses are highly location dependent and that means we have to think different.

Here are a few tips to optimizing your location independence:

  • Avoid opening an office. If you have to open a virtual office. Better still, get a mailing address, a post box or forwarding address to your home/post box
  • Keep off the payroll. Always outsource the work where possible. It may appear more expensive but in the long run it’s far cheaper and more effective to outsource because you avoid all the dead time with employees who get their feet under the table. If you’re not getting results outsourcing then you are outsourcing the wrong kind of work or outsourcing stuff that’s not going to make any difference anywhere
  • Make the client shoe fit your business foot. Too many entrepreneurs snatch at every client and customer. In the drive to get revenue, they end up with a business that dictates the workload to them. They end up too busy to think about growing the business. They attract bad clients, the kind that drills you down on every item, every deliverable. Learn to say no. Fire the customers or clients you don’t want. In the long run you will be far more profitable.
  • Avoid back loaded work. Some types of work can be attractive. Consultancy is one such type of work. You get a big upfront payment and then spend 6 months delivering the contract. I’m not in favor of these kind of deals. They tie you down to working in a specific location with a specific client. They encourage you to take on extra overhead and say no to other opportunities. They also encourage you to mentally spend the money before you complete the work. The best work for LIBs is pay-as-you-use. A consultancy contract may pay $50,000 and an information product only $50. But how many information products could you feasibly sell in 6 months? 10? 1000? 100,000? The answer is “as many as you can”. You can’t say the same about consultancy.

 

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How to travel long term: 8 ways to spend less, save more money

Save money, keep life simple

People often wonder how I can afford our location independent lifestyle of travel. Well, beyond leveraging arbitrage, there is a lot you can do to make your money go further. Here are 8 tips that I use to manage my money on a daily basis:

1) Rent vs Own

We have a cultural obsession with ownership.

Perhaps it’s the legacy of a bygone era – of stable incomes and jobs for life. We fantasized about being homeowners and having that white picket fence.

I own real estate but I don’t live in it. Someone else lives in it and pays me for the privilege. We live in rented accommodation. That’s great as it suits our location independent lifestyle. But, if we ever gave up traveling, I’d move back to rented accommodation every time.

People say “buying your first home is the biggest investment you’ll ever make”.

It’s rubbish. A complete lie.

The house you own and live in is not an investment. It’s a liability. Look at the bank’s balance sheet and you’ll find that your house is their asset. They own it. When you live in it you get emotionally attached to it. You spend money on extending the garden and excited about property values. Nonsense. Everybody in your street thinks that their house is above the average price in your street right? They’ll tell you why. People always think their house is more valuable than the next guy. They think they know more than the real estate agent. It’s the emotion that comes from ownership. The only way to make money in real estate is to not be emotionally attached to anything. When you get emotional, you make mistakes.

Rent your home. If you don’t own, rent anyway. Save your money and buy a 1 bedroom apartment near the train station. Rent it out to commuters but don’t live in it. In 10 years, it could be worth a lot more money than had you ever lived in it.

The same is true of cars.

Why own a luxury car?

I did. I owned 3 once. Big mistake. Waste of money.

Don’t own anything that loses money while you sleep. Cars, boats, horses… they all suck money out of your account. You end up working to pay off the maintenance fees.

You can rent cars – hire, lease, Zipcar, Uber taxis and so on. You can get by these days. If you need a car, buy a used Japanese one – they hold their value and they are very reliable. *Never ever* buy a used luxury car unless you are happy writing a blank check to your garage on a regular basis.

So why do we own cars anyway?

Because we believe in the lie. The lie tells us that we will be happier and more respected when we own that car. We won’t. We’ll be plagued by troubles. Our neighbors will be jealous. Kids will scratch your car with their keys when you park it in their area. Careless drivers will scratch it in the parking lot and drive away without leaving a note. And you will have to pick up all the pieces.

It all costs money.

It costs money to try and play the game.

It costs money because we are afraid what people may think if we choose to play by our own rules.

2) Turn off the Loudspeaker

The aim of the game is to sell us more stuff.

Turning off the Loudspeaker means not watching TV, not watching newspapers and throwing out magazines. I rarely watch TV. I don’t have much to talk to you about Duck Dynasty or Game of Thrones. The last time I picked up a magazine it was bought for me – a triathlon magazine. It’s just one big advertisement dressed up with content.

I don’t watch the nightly news, read magazines or newspapers. Instead, I use the computer, read books or talk to my family. Life is better without these things. There is less pressure. You spend less.

You cannot watch TV or read magazines without spending more, if you didn’t they wouldn’t exist. You may feel your are impervious to their messages and calls to action but you are less robust than you think. Advertising is a complex and advanced art that seduces us into buying more stuff not through crafting clever ways for us to buy but by undermining our own self-confidence. The premise of all advertising is that we are not “enough”. Look at the magazine covers. “Get ripped for summer”, “The best sex you’ve ever had”. Look at the bodies. Look at the celebrities. By comparison, you are not good enough. But, fear not, redemption is only a purchase away.

A few years ago, my neighbor couldn’t believe we didn’t have a TV in the house.

“What do you do all day?” he asked.

3) Use a buy list

When we sold everything and traveled the world, we discovered a lot of stuff we never really used regularly. Clothes, books and gadgets I bought off Ebay. Impulse buys.

Create a buffer between your money and your impulse to buy.

Rather than buy something outright, store a web link or a note in a document and come back to it later. Much of what we buy on impulse turns out to be wasted in the long run. You can make a better decision.

Amazon has wish lists to help you store ideas (you can also store items from non-Amazon sites in here too). You can create Google drive document and store items there too. The longer you can put off a purchase decision, the better the decision becomes. I find this works particularly well with clothes and books – items which are small enough to buy on a whim but bought regularly enough to make a difference.

4) Pay yourself first

Does a wise man spend every penny he earns?

Of course not, he saves.

Start small with $50 a month.

Everybody can afford that. There is something you are spending money on that can wait – perhaps nights out, perhaps a Cable TV subscription. Which is going to help you realize your dreams long term?

$50 a month may only be $6,000 over 10 years and you may be thinking “why bother?” Well, I bet you’d be happy if someone gave you $6,000 right now, wouldn’t you? Exactly, well you would be in that situation if you started saving 10 years ago. You wouldn’t have even noticed $50 a month from your budget, even if you were a student.

5) Cancel your subscriptions

Mobile phones, TV, gyms – they all add up. You could spend $300-400 a month on these services alone without noticing. That’s $500+ in pre-tax income right there.

Cancel your TV and any magazines for starters. Not only do they cost money they encourage you to spend more money. They also prevent you from working on any Location Independent Business plans you have. If you need convincing, re-read point 2.

I trained for an Ironman triathlon without any gym membership. That saved me $1,000 a year in pre-tax income already. The problem is that we buy these gym memberships and think we’ve solved the problem. Life doesn’t get any easier. We still have to do the work. Learn to run outside. Learn to love the rain. Get a bike, cycle to work. 20 minutes cycling a day is a far better workout than 2 hours crushing it in the gym a week.

Cancel any other services unless your life depends on them (health insurance, internet connection etc). $10 a month may not seem a lot but consider that over 5 years – that’s $600 in after-tax or around $1,000 in pre-tax income.

Think of this exercise like lightening your suitcase until you get to your airline baggage limit. One pair of socks will not make much of a difference. When you take that pair of socks out collect it in a pile. Soon that pile will weigh 2-3 kg (3-5 lbs) and that makes a difference.

6) Get control of your finances

Why have only one bank account? Why stop at 2?

If you can, open as many bank accounts as possible and use them to manage your separate financial concerns. Here’s a typical breakdown of how you could set up multiple bank accounts:
a) daily cashing account
b) account for saving
c) account for paying bills
d) account for investment income
e) account for internet business
f) account for paying rent
g) account for paying tax

Those are just examples, you could have more. The point is, the more accounts, the more able you are to manage your money. There is less place for your numbers to hide. You either have the rent money or you don’t. When it’s there, you aren’t tempted to tuck into it and buy a vacation flight. That point is particularly relevant to paying your tax year-end.

7) Create a financial planner

Create an easily accessible document you can store all your account balances, ingoings and outgoings. I recommend a Google Drive spreadsheet and store the link in your browser for easy access. Set a regular time once a week to go through all your numbers. It may be painful at first but it takes away the surprises from your finances. Get in control.

8) Work from home

I’m amazed how much it costs to go to work every day. Perhaps most of your after-tax income goes on keeping you in the commute and office game. Ironic.

You have your car, maintenance fees, insurance. That’s a good slug of your after-tax income. Most people work 3-6 months of the year just to pay for a car to drive to work in. Why? Crazy.

Then you have your daily food. At work, you buy from the store or the take out or the restaurant. You’re spending twice what you’d spend at home. If that was only an extra $6 a day, that would be $1,500 a year already. $1,500 of after-tax income – so think more in terms of $2-3,000 pre-tax income. Just to eat at work.

Then you have after work drinks. Your work clothing (you can’t lounge around in house pants like I do when I work at home). You need to buy nice shoes, a shirt, a suit. Ladies need handbags. Add another $2-3,000 a year.

If you get the chance, take a job where you can work from home. If you can’t change your job, see how open your boss is to you working from once a week. Start there and win their confidence.

Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel The World

How to Live the Location Independent Lifestyle

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A Quick Hello Video from Okinawa

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Beach. Water. Palm Trees

This was a great place to do a bit of writing. Found a palm tree with shade (weather saidm with humiditym temps “feel like 40C”). Gonna be a little getaway office for serious creative work when I get a wifi card to power up that Macbook air. The Location Independent life on Okinawa! Apart from the storm cloud that rolled over in the afternoon, what’s not to like?

Beach, water, palm trees - my happy place. I spent the afternoon writing my book at the beach before a huge storm cloud came in. Good times.  #wanderlust #okinawa #barefootjournal

Fire Your Boss, Sell Your Car, Travel The World

How to Live the Location Independent Lifestyle

Get the Book on Amazon today:

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More Scary Things About Okinawa

Saw this sign down near the local school.

#okinawa

Okinawa is full of surprises. Only other day I discovered Habushu here in Okinawa – A Japanese drink containing a whole pit viper in the bottle.

Habushu

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