Becoming a traveling freelance worker isn’t easy for sure, but it’s also probably not as hard as it sounds. I’m a normal guy that started building my lifestyle towards traveling on the road about 5 years ago. It was one of those things that I just knew would was something I wanted since long before that, and somewhat dragged my feet until I finally saw a hint of a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could go back, I would have worked many times harder to make it happen sooner.
Here are my suggestions
#1 – Don’t waste time.
If you’re going to do it, just get started. The beginning is the hardest. Wait…the very beginning is tremendously easy. Buying a domain, thinking about it and searching the internet is easy. Talking about it is easy. It really accomplishes very little though. What’s hard is launching yourself into the realm and sticking with it. Sticking with it is what matters. Now, either stick with it or don’t, but if you don’t then you’re wasting your time and torturing yourself.
If you fall off the horse, get back on asap. Stop wasting time. Each Starbucks latte you drink at home is two delicious meals abroad you could be eating (in cheaper countries anyway).
#2 – Start dabbling, then dabble more seriously.
Dabbling means to ease into it and exploring your curiousity. There is nothing better to dabble with than figuring out a way to make money while doing what you are passionate about. Travel blogging? Not necessary, but maybe a good route for some. I don’t make money from this blog – I make money from my other online ventures. Don’t like web design or computers in general? Then don’t. I’ve met travelers that make money from offering tours in different languages, doing kayak/surfing lessons and even juggling. Two sisters I met were traveling simply from the beatiful necklaces they weaved and sold to other travelers. As a freelancer, you are your own business.
#3 – Establishing A Skill
Getting a true skill takes time and patience…this is potentially your first major speed bump, as was mine and is most other peoples. There are really a few things that you need to consider when choosing which skill to grow:
- Do something you enjoy or could enjoy if you were good at it.
- Do something that his minimal weight. A traveling baker wouldn’t work because you can’t bring your kitchen and ingredients with you easily. Think…can I fit the supplies necessary for this task in a backpack? Now we’re talking.
- Do something that has value…literally anything has value if you’re good and stand out from others.
- Do something you can easily collect money on. Being a real estate agent while traveling isn’t likely. You can’t show the properties, do the deals and then actually get paid out. Getting paid out in cash or quickly online somehow is important.
- Do something you can do repeatedly with little frustration. If you work on the computer but have a shitty laptop…do the work when you can be comfortable. Good assets such as good gear and equipment are important.
Now, with all that said, you haven’t learned how to establish a skill. I can’t get too much into this since skills are as diverse as the fish in the sea. However, here are some tips on learning.
- YouTube the shit out of everything. Don’t just watch the movies, do them as they’re done in the video.
- Learn how the professionals do it. Learn from the best. Copy them. Mimic them. Just don’t steal their work or you’ll be an ass and it will bite you eventually.
- Stick with it. Seriously, one practice round is pathetic. Do it 10 times. Do it 100 times. You’re trying to get good at something, not waste time Facebooking kittens in your down time.
Ok that’s it. Learn, practice, master the skill. Get really good at it, but not so good that you skip the following steps as well.
#4 – Do What You Love
If you don’t love it, you will fail. When money gets tight you’ll throw up your hands and surrender to a shitty job in a place you don’t want to live…or would at least prefer traveling. If there’s nothing you like to do that will allow you to travel then you’ve essentially decided that you’d rather do a boring job in your home town than figure it out so you can travel. Not true? Then try harder. Stop whining. Get your life together and figure this shit out. We live once. Stop wasting your time.
#5 – Identify Your Value
Maybe your skill and creativity allows you to make something differently. Maybe your a graphic artist or painter that uses a unique mix of colors and shapes that compliment the style of the regions you will travel to. Try selling your art. Or maybe you’re a writer and have a specific knowledge about an uncommon topic. You do. Trust me. What you know is not what everyone knows. If you know anything about a specific subject, you know more than other people do. This is value. Skill + Knowledge = $$ to you. Start putting the pieces together. This is your engine, where the core of your muscle will come from that will enable you to travel.
#6 – Getting Jobs (Marketing Yourself)
Once you have a demonstrable skill, you have to test the waters. Get a customer. Push yourself. Sell it online, in person, through a local fair, to local businesses. Sell it to anyone. Sell it anywhere. You’re testing the waters. See where other people are selling the item and sell it along side them if you need to. Self-promotion and marketing takes balls. Are you affraid? Well maybe it’s more satisfying, safe and easy to stay in your home town and never live your dreams. Boo hoo. Get it together. We live once and your clock is ticking like everyone elses.
#7 – Finding Jobs Online vs In Person
Online is almost always the best way to sell in todays world. Selling in person is harder and will make you want to give up quicker, unless you are a natural salesperson or socially friendly with everyone you meet. If you’re naturally a salesperson then you should be selling something, anything. Selling in person is really hard. So anyway, if you’re selling online, simply look at what others are doing, add a twist to your own product to differentiate it (add color, style, uniqueness, etc) and then push your product online. People will buy it.
#8 – Do Quality Work
People that get lazy lose business. They take easy street and not working hard is always just that. Cutting corners in your quality of work will lose you business and cause you to fail. Don’t do that. Work to make others happy. Especially in the beginning, work hard as hell to figure out how to make people happy and be reasonable with them.
#9 – Follow Up
After you’ve done some business, sold some stuff or made some money, reminisce and follow up with your customers. Ask them about their experience, what they liked and if anything could have been improved. This is important. Getting feedback is vital to the success loop. This feedback will act as a catalyst in your mind. Improve yourself, keep building your skills and then sell more of your goods/services to even more people.
#10 – Repeat & Keep Improving
Don’t stop. Work your daily job, keep doing side projects and build your business. Nobody cares about your business but you and maybe a close relative or two. If you fail, nothing happens. You just stay put. It’s ok to fail if you learn from it, kick off the dirt, pick yourself back up and jump back on board. Life is short. Plan now. Work hard. Give yourself some direction and then stick with it. Eventually you’ll be a master of your skills and money will come while traveling…but only if you stick with it. Chances are you will not, but if you do then email me and tell me what a great guy I am for being overly and obnoxiously straightforward about how to actually travel and work as a freelancer.