There are more ways to become location independent than one would think. And no the answer is not to become a blogger, although, you could. There are many ways to work online and for all different industries and remote worker types. So many in fact, I had to create two parts!
Ask your current employer for a remote 9-5
The easiest but also not so easiest way to become a digital nomad is to simply take your current job on the road with you. This could sound like a cop out, but remote 9-5 jobs are here to stay, forever. In fact, due to recent circumstances with COVID-19, more and more companies are going 100% remote with no plans to return back to the office. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, and Wells Fargo, just to name a few.
You may be in a great position if one of these companies is yours. Or you may have a boss that can’t wait til the day that his reports return back to the office. This is where you’re going to have to do a little work in pitching your boss on why you personally should stay remote from the office–forever.
76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.
Quarantine is the perfect time to really step up your game and show your boss just how amazing you are at your job remotely. By being extra available online, getting your projects done in a timely manner, and even taking on extra jobs and responsibilities will prove to your boss that not only can you work much more efficiently sans office, but you’re able to take on more than you normally would.
Your boss may be less convinced that working remotely is the answer, and honestly make him or her a little uncomfortable because it’s just not something they’re used to. It could make them nervous as a manager how to manage a remote team because, well, they’ve never done it before. Hopefully by now they’ve come to an understanding that no, we’re not just watching Netflix all day, and understand that location independent work is a real reality.
To help your case, do your research in and outside company walls. Are your company’s competitors working remotely? Is there a remote culture already set up in your organization pre-covid? Are there other remote opportunities in your same industry? Do your homework. You want to be able to answer any question your boss may fire back at you when you pitch to work your 9-5 permanently.
How remote-friendly is your current role? Are you able to do 100% of your job online through email, zoom, and the different programs needed for your core responsibilities? Or will you need to come up with solutions to be fully location independent? Think about everything you do in your job and how it can be done virtually. I have all the remote essentials to help. It’s always a good idea to also come up with a Plan B as well.
When pitching to your boss, make sure you include what your remote schedule would look like, especially for the long term. Are you planning to travel the world and be in a different time zone than your company? That’s good information your boss will want to know upfront. Will they want you to be online within the 9am-5pm hours of that time zone or will you have some flexibility around this.
Find a new job that’s 100% remote
Whether you’re better structured in a 9-5 setting, contract work (aka work based on project or part time) or want to freelance– there’s a ton of opportunities out there to find a fully location independent position. If you already have a job, then it’s the perfect time to start looking for a new one. Especially if you want to have a remote job, and maybe not at the same company that you’re in.
Whether your current job or even industry is remote friendly, there are ways to make it 100% remote. This means that the job you have right now, and your responsibilities may look a little different when it goes remote. You know how your job title tends to be a little feng-shui-ed depending on the company? Well the same thing applies here. You may even want to shift careers completely, and that’s certainly ok too.
When you go remote, you have much more opportunity in the job market because you’re not limited to the location you’re in. There’s no sense in scrolling to the bottom of the company, pasting the location into maps, and calculating your daily commute before you even apply. All of that is now out the window. You literally could work for ANY company all around the world, and YOU could also work for that company anywhere you want.
The flipside of that, is then there are much more candidates applying to these jobs because again, location is completely off the table. Now is the perfect time to snazz up your resume and hit the ground running and start your search. While location independent jobs have always been there, the world hasn’t always recognized it. But now due to covid, a lot more people have gotten used to the whole work from home thing, and prefer it over commuting into the office. Get ahead on this before everyone else does!
Before you start applying, create a sound system strategy. It’s important to understand your goals, what type of remote career you want for yourself (I have a cosmo-style worksheet to help), and dedicate your time to finding a remote job. What type of company do you want to work for? Do you want a remote 9-5 or freelance for a company? Would you want to work at a startup? What about for a corporation? Maybe you want to test the waters and do some part time work to help answer those questions.
Needless to say, you have a lot of questions to think about before you start hitting the apply button. Check out these 5 steps to jumpstart your remote job search. It’s also important to keep track of who you’re applying to. Make sure you don’t accidentally apply for the same job twice! Although finding a remote job is very much like finding a regular office job, there are still some major differences. I highly suggest tweaking your resume with specific remote friendly key words and phrases. Then, craft new cover letters, and practice speaking over a video call professionally with a friend.
You may want to think about what types of interview questions you may get asked. What type of questions would you ask your hiring manager? Set yourself up for success. If you think finding a remote job is the best next step for you to becoming location independent check out this complete guide. Remote job search sites, job search tracker, helpful interview prep questions, keywords for your resume, what remote employers are looking for in their candidates and everything else you could need are all included.
Start freelancing with your current skill set.
While freelancers have an opportunity to work hourly or by project for a company, they also have a unique opportunity to build their own personal brand and unique service. Traditionally, freelancers were always known for offering a creative service such as graphic design or writing. However, nowadays every industry can have a freelance business. Now that much of our job responsibilities are able to be accomplished virtually, the location independent career opportunities are endless.
As a freelancer of 10 years myself, I always recommend to start freelancing as early as possible and start as a side gig. This way, you can test the waters, build experience, and a portfolio. If you’re a little nervous on how you’ll make ends meet in the beginning, this is the perfect way to start. Of course, this is the typical remote career ladder. Sooner or later you’ll build more clientele, make more money, and be on your way to being a rockstar freelancer.
The main difference between being an employee and a freelancer is accountability. As an employee to your company you are accountable to your boss. As a freelancer, you are accountable to yourself. Not everyone is built to be a freelancer.
Another thing to note is that you will be solely responsible for: everything. You’ll have to pitch clients, handle your own expenses, create proposals, create a personal brand, send invoices, and potentially chase your clients to pay you.
Don’t let these things scare you. There’s a sound system in place for freelancers, and I’m here to guide you through the process. Ten years had to have taught me something right? The best perk about freelancing is you have a great deal more of flexibility than the ol’ remote 9-5er. Besides that, you can choose your clients. You don’t have to work on anything you don’t have to, and you can create a very niche business based on your expertise and what you feel passionate about.
You get to build your freelance career based on who you are and what you were born to do. The dream. If you’re reading this and feeling a little puzzled as to what that is, I have the perfect cosmo-style career worksheet to help fill in the blanks. The more insight you can gain on yourself, the more likely you are to succeed as a freelancer.
The best way to start is to give yourself a skills audit. Write down your hard skills, soft skills, and any other skills you may have. Hard skills are specific to the industry you work in and less transferable to other fields. Soft skills are universal and transferable across all industries, and honestly, what every remote worker needs to have regardless of their worker type. Any other skills, knowledge, or expertise you possess that don’t fall into either category goes here. This could be something from a previous job in a different industry, or knowing foreign languages.
Looking at your list can you better any of these skills? Are you an expert in some more than others? Do you feel more passionate about some over others? Are there any online courses, podcast episodes, or unique training sessions that can help? Remember you don’t have to be good at everything. But you do need to hone in on one specific skill and be an expert in it.
Don’t rush through this process and run out and buy a domain name just yet. Do market research. Take those skillsets and type them into online search engines, and check out the top freelancing platforms. Just see what’s out there. What makes you unique? If you had a freelance company, what type would you be? What would your services be? Why would a client want to work with you over someone else?
How do you feel about these first three options to give you location independence? Feeling fit in the 9-5? Maybe you’d like to start your freelancing business? The remote worker type quiz could give you further insight.
Or maybe these first options don’t feel aligned and interested in the next three ways. When you’re ready head on over to Part 2