Number 3 – Earning a Living

Traditionally, if you wanted to work overseas you either had move abroad and work as an ex-pat long term or set up some sort of temporary working gig, maybe as a language teacher or in the leisure or service industries. These jobs still tied you to one place.

You may have heard of ‘digital nomads’?


Or the laptop/ Internet lifestyle?

Irrespective of whether you work for yourself or are currently employed, if you work in an office, primarily at a computer, you have a lot of options at your fingertips. A laptop computer was designed to be portable. Having a good connection to the Internet means your laptop can sit anywhere. And so can you.

There are more jobs than you can imagine which allow people to work when and where they like. You don’t have to work for one company; you can have lots of different clients. And then work becomes truly on your terms.
Some ‘location independent’ roles

Database management
Website development
Graphic design
Business strategy
Customer support/services
IT services
Video services
Legal services
Policy development
Social media
Content writing – blogs, articles, web or sales copy
Word Press solutions
Public relations
Software development
Website optimisation

Proof reading
Audio typing
Training or development
Project management
E-learning development
Pricing consultant
Product development
Report writing
Data analysis

Most people have some experience in at least one of these areas. So now you need to get more. You need to learn, gain expertise, develop. You need to prove your abilities and build on your skill set. Make yourself indispensable in the fields which are growing and where people need you, and you will hold the world in the palm of your hand.

Sound too hard? Maybe you don’t want the lifestyle enough. You have to train, learn and grow to get any decent job. This is no different, except it’s all on you. You don’t have to impress an employer into hiring you, you need to impress clients with the ways you can help them so they will keep using you and recommending you.

You don’t need to have a massively successful business. You just need to make enough money to fund the lifestyle you want. And every month, and every year, that will be entirely down to you.

Han waiting for a boat in Koh Phi Phi

Business in a bag

Internet business is one of the very few sectors which is GROWING. Plus it gives you all the freedom you could want. What a great time in history to be in business!

Online business boom - Sky News

Click here to read the full article

So where do your skills lie? What research will you do to see what people are looking for? What will you do to get started?

If you are already a freelancer or business owner there is plenty you can do to untangle yourself from day to day presence at a specific location. If you spend a lot of time in an office it should be fairly straightforward to relocate your desk every so often.

  • Put the communications systems in place to make sure you stay connected and accessible (see section 4 – Technology). Set clear parameters so your clients and business associates know how and when you will be available.
  • Block out time in your calendar when you will be away and make appointments you need to be physically present for to fit with that. (It’s what you would do if you were attending an overseas conference!)
  • Set yourself tasks or identify projects which you know you would be sat for days at your desk to complete. These can be done anywhere, and may well benefit from a change of scene and time away from normal distractions.
  • Assess your business. Are you doing too many tasks which aren’t using your main expertise? Running your own business does make us a jack of all trades in many respects, but there are always tasks which should be outsourced. Think about how you could benefit from a virtual assistant (even if you are already one yourself!)
  • Evaluate whether you are making any of our ‘top ten mistakes entrepreneurs keep making!’ Here’s an overview:
    1) Turning your back on proven ways of making money
    2) Believing a marketing formula will give instant results
    3) Doing what YOU want not what your market wants
    4) Not knowing when to stop….
    5) Being precious about your own role
    6) Massively over-delivering
    7) Not following up or monitoring
    8) Being a perfectionist
    9) Waiting for permission
    10) Having an indecisive or unclear niche


Making it happen

This lifestyle is open to anyone willing to make a start. There is step by step help available to get you heading in the right direction, and ongoing support such as techie help, but you have to do what it takes to get started yourself. Whether that’s joining a group or taking action on your own, it’s your choice. But you have to do something.

Once you have the basics there are all sorts of options available to boost your income like creating passive or residual income streams, joining up with partners to share projects, building networks which will guide your travels as you seek out opportunities to collaborate. But for now we need to start somewhere, and that is:

  • What are you good at
  • What don’t you mind doing
  • What do lots of people need help with
  • What tasks can you do primarily with a laptop, an Internet connection, a phone and your brain!
  • What do you love doing*
  • * is a bonus; get the first 4 right and we can build the last one in later!

Building a business where people pay you to do things you can do ‘remotely’ isn’t as difficult as you might think, but it does take perseverance and commitment. There are some basics you will need to understand to;

  • a) make your business more mobile (e.g. yes you can get by without a printer; no your clients
    don’t need to know where you are every second of the day!)


  • b) get a new business established (e.g. core marketing principles, ways of identifying a target

You just have to be prepared to take on some new knowledge, and keep learning every day.


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