Is Your Location Independent Business Doomed To Fail?

location independent business

Today I have a pretty controversial topic to bring to the table. It’s all about whether you should travel while you’re building your business and be a nomadic entrepreneur…

If you’re starting a business because you want to be location independent, I get it, and it’s one of the reasons I started an online business too.

My take on a location independent business

Is your location independent business doomed to fail? #onlinebusiness #womeninbiz #entrepreneur #solopreneur

Is a brick and mortar business right for you?

Right around the time that I was thinking of starting my business, my martial arts instructor asked me if I wanted to open a tae kwon do school in the city I was moving to.

For a while I considered opening this school because I had seen how successful my teacher had been with her school. She was making a nice steady income from her business.

The reason I ended up not starting a martial arts school and I started my health coaching business is because I didn’t want to be tied to a physical location.

With a martial arts school I would have had to rent space, do local marketing, and if I wanted to move down the line… I would either have to sell the business or find someone to take it over.

All of those things just added to the complexity of starting a brick-and-mortar business.

Up until that point, I had been traveling all over the US, Canada, Europe through internship opportunities and I knew that I didn’t want to be tied down.

I liked the idea of living and working anywhere.

After college, I turned down a full-time job on Wall Street and set off on a four-month trip to China with my guy.

By that point I had drunk the location independent business kool-aid…

location independent businessI thought that I could start my business while we were traveling in Asia.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. I ended up focusing most of my time on learning in the culture, tasting all the food, and just visiting the different places that we were traveling to.

Not to mention that the Internet was spotty, time zones made it tough to schedule things, and sometimes websites were blocked.

So my plans to start a business while traveling didn’t pan out but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it if you really want to.

While we were traveling, we were so focused on where we would be going next, planning our day trips and itineraries, and not getting food poisoning.

So it’s only when we came home that I was able to actually make progress.

I finally had the space and a grounded place to start a business from. It wasn’t until I opened the refrigerator back home that it hit me that I would be starting a healthy food business.

That was my experience, and your mileage may vary!

Tips for The Location Independent Entrepreneur

location independent businessI learned that starting a business takes dedication, and traveling is really not the best time or place to start a business from, if you’re serious about creating a solid high growth business.

If you do want to learn how to set up your business while you’re traveling, you’ll want to check out the Suitcase Entrepreneur book by my friend Natalie Sisson… she goes over how to set up your legal entities and deal with taxes while abroad.

Natalie is a great example of someone who has pulled off creating a location independent business from the start, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.

Personally, I like to have a home base that I can use to launch from. It’s easier to build relationships with vendors and business partners when you’re in the same location too.

And while you can save money by going to another country where the rent is cheaper or expenses are lower, you’ll find that you can usually get great deals by cultivating a local business network.

Now that’s not to say that you should stay home and never travel!

I’ve found that traveling to attend in person conferences and events can be both enjoyable and good for business.

Having a home base to start your business from will give you the most focused time and energy to start that business, with a solid foundation to grow on.

You also won’t have to worry as much about the legal or tax stuff that come from having a 100% mobile business.

On top of all of that, having a hub city that you travel from makes it so much easier to plan trips in advance.

Now once you’ve got your business solidly up and running, it makes sense to make more room for travel, because you have established routines, systems, and the different business foundations.

Plus, once your business has taken off, you can afford to travel in luxury, if you so choose.

So that’s my take on the location independent side of starting an online business. I love that I can work from anywhere and my business can continue to grow even if I were to pick up and move to a different location.

But I am also aware that I was able to grow my business faster and more easily because I wasn’t traveling for months without a home base.

What’s Your Take?

The choice is up to you, and you have to see what works for your values and goals.

In the comments below I’d love to hear what has helped you make this “location decision” when getting started.

 

63 Responses to Is Your Location Independent Business Doomed To Fail?

  1. Great topic!
    My reasons for wanting a location independent business is a bit different, after making it through the 3/11 Great Tohoku Earthquake here in Japan, I realised that if my husbands income disappeared for whatever reason we would be in dire straits. So I moved everything I was doing online so if we ever have to up and leave, we can do so, it is a back up pal, a safety net if you like.
    It also means that I can go back to the UK for extended amounts of time and still be working. I also love having as much as possible automated so that I ma not tied to the computer all day.

    Regarding tax, I live here and it is still a nightmare trying to figure it all out, I can’t imagine trying to do it whilst travelling, no doubt it is possible.

    • That earthquake was such a disaster; bless Japanese people for their resiliency.

      I love that you built your online business to become more independent Jo! I hope it’s going fantastically well :)

      I’m wondering however why anyone would wanna figure business taxes alone!?
      Why not save yourself the time (and headache( and hire an expert?
      You might end up saving a lot of money as well.

    • I totally hear you Jo, and I feel like having an online business is definitely a great way to be versatile and not worry about the impact of local circumstances as much.

      It’s great being able to travel to your home country without losing momentum in your business, too! :)

  2. I’m a nomad entrepreneur and generally agree with the points you make. It always takes me a while to settle into a routine and groove, and having to up and leave within a few days isn’t ideal. I have “bases” in the US and Europe so that I’m never far away from a nest where everything is comfortable and familiar.

    • I love the idea of having a couple of bases, so you always feel like you can hit the ground running when you arrive somewhere.

      Thanks for sharing that great tip Erica! :)

  3. I can’t imagine travelling constantly while trying to run an online business; that would make me 37 kinds of crazy! :)

    I’ve followed Natalie Sisson for a couple of years now, and I love to live vicariously through her travel adventures, but picking up and moving to a different location every few months would be stressful for me; I need more of a stable home base.

    That said, I do tend to move about every three years because I get bored living in one place, which is one of the reasons having an online business is so appealing — you just pick up and move if you want, and so does your business. And there’s the added benefit of being able to take off and do things, such as taking two weeks off over the recent holidays, without having to “close down” your business or lose income. And since I live in on the coast of North Carolina in Wilmington, on those winter days that hit 60 degrees, I can easily go for a walk on the beach in the middle of the day without my business suffering! Do I do that? Umm, not really. But the point is, I can if I want to. :)

    • You’re totally right Kimberly, I’m also in the camp that likes to be able to pick up and move to a different location after a few years. That’s something that having an online business definitely allows you to do! :)

      I’m also in awe of Natalie Sisson, and prefer to live vicariously through her travels. :)

  4. Great minds think alike; I JUST wrote a post about why I like having a home base for my location independent business. Natalie Sisson does a good job of balancing the travel and business and she’s a great friend of mine who I adore, but I know I couldn’t do what she does and live out of a suitcase. I’ve tried it, and I prefer having a home.

    In the beginning stages of my business, I did run it while traveling the world. I can still take my business with me while abroad and I’ve been to over 80 countries, but in the end I made way more progress in my business and started growing exponentially after I settled into a base, consistent schedule, office, etc.

    Location independence also comes with a lot of legal and tax challenges as you mentioned, which many location independent entrepreneurs simply ignore while they are smaller but I’m a big believer in doing things right and “being pro instead of amateur” as Steven Pressfield says. Running your business like a pro means adhering to laws and taxes and all that “stuff” that isn’t necessarily the fun part of being a business owner.

    Great video and topic Nathalie! :)

    • I’m so glad you chimed in here Natalie! I think all the legal stuff is easy to sweep under the rug, but it can leave people with an undercurrent of stress or “am I going to pay for this later?” that can stop them from really growing their business confidently.

      And I love that we can both look at Natalie Sisson and love her for what she does, but also honor our style of business building with a home base. :)

      • Oh my how am I only just seeing this now. Thank you both Nats :) I agree it’s not for everyone and my own travel style has changed and evolved over time too. You have to choose your own level of location independence for sure and how you structure your business around this. There’s lots of freedom in designing your ideal lifestyle business.

  5. As with anything new in life, practice makes perfect.
    I started my web business over 15 years ago from my kitchen. Over the years I have learned that having a routine and system in place helps a great deal. Once your business is rooted with clients and a steady income, you can then travel and enjoy the freedom that comes with owning your paycheck.

    Having an online business has lent me freedom to travel, spend time with loved ones and time to explore other life experiences.

    Great video Nathalie… looking forward to seeing more.
    xoxoxoxxo

    Sandy Rowley

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Sandy, I love that you’ve been in business for over 15 years! We’ve all got something to learn from each other, and you’re totally right that once you’ve got things established it’s easier to branch out and travel more. :)

  6. I really think at what point you have to be realistic and honest as to what you want to focus on & where you want to put your time and energy.

    If travelling (and enjoying your travels) is a priority and doesn’t leave any time for creating a business than enjoy your travels! It’s such a beautiful opportunity to learn about new cultures and most of all to expand your mind… Which in the end will benefit your business greatly.

    Personally, when I take time off to travel for pleasure I’m not interested in carrying along a laptop. I want to disconnect (and reconnect with myself), rejuvenate and let go of all business related stuff. It’s my time to play, have fun and enjoy life. Emptying my mind of to do’s creates space for new fresh ideas & powerful insights. Tuning off the biz enables me to tune into my creativity which is where genius ideas tend to come from (which in turn creates leaps in my business and my life)

    Travelling for business is different: I don’t mind the laptop so much in fact I absolutely appreciate that I can travel & make money at the same time.

    Great topic Nathalie!

    • Thanks so much for chiming in here Caroline. I agree about having to lug the laptop around, and instead being able to unplug when you’re traveling. I’m a big fan of unplugging regularly to tap into your creative well. :)

      This is a fun topic to dive into, and I appreciate you sharing your story!

  7. Great post Nathalie! My wife and I both created online businesses while traveling, and although we have made it work quite well, it makes it very challenging to do say local workshops or network extensively if one isn’t in a place for too long. In fact we are looking to settle down somewhere that would be better suited for my health coaching business, however we enjoy the non GMO food here in Thailand and would miss living on an island :)

    At the same time, my wife ( a writer) started her career this way and it wouldn’t have happened had we not traveled this extensively. My advice to others: create a business first, not while on the road. Do your research ahead of time so you don’t have shoddy internet.

    • Hey Billy!

      I totally hear you on hosting local workshops and events, especially because building up a local following can take time. But ooh that non-GMO Thailand food sounds divine! :)

      Thanks for sharing your experience and story with us, it’s great to see more people and what they’re up to in the world. Literally. :)

  8. Fabulous post Nathalie!! Thanks so much… We are about to go to France next year for six months but we’re staying in ONE place so we can write write write write. I have clients who try to travel and write at the same time, and it takes them quite longer to get their manuscripts done. It’s frustrating for them. Thank you!!

    • Ooh going away for a few months to write sounds absolutely lovely! I agree that staying in one place (that’s different from your regular home) has some of the best benefits, because it’s still fun and fresh, but you get to settle into a productive routine, too! :)

  9. I am currently in the middle of doing the travelling business thing.

    I started my business in my home base of Sydney, Australia and worked on getting a network of clients before deciding that I wanted to live in Paris and travel Europe for a year.

    Before I left I converted to programs and apps that would help me be virtual anywhere in the world and tested out working long distance from my parents home in the country to see if all was in working order before leaving Australia. I must say I do prefer being cloud based and will continue to work this way even when I return home. Next up I had meetings with all my existing client to let them in on my plans to work abroad, with all of them being super excited for me and more than happy for me to continue working with them from Paris.

    The travelling all of Europe is that harder part as I want to make the most of my adventures so I normally advise my clients I’m taking a trip and scale back my hours to about half. I go sightseeing and culture discovery during the day and do work at night. I have been staying most places booked via airbnb.com and find a host who has wifi access.

    It can be exhausting doing both and you have to be more conscious what is the priority at which time, but I love it and it has given me a fantastic opportunity that being in a location based occupation just wouldn’t give me.

    • So cool to hear your story Rachel! I agree that having your business set up in the cloud is a great way to go whether you’re traveling or not. :)

      It sounds like your biggest lesson is to decide when you need to be focused on work or travel, and to be clear on which is which.

      Thanks for sharing!

  10. I’m attempting to have a location independent business…but when I’m traveling I’m usually in places I’ve already lived before…places that are already homes in a way. I appreciate being able to have a diverse business where I can get together with locals and build that trust, so I like to stay in one place for long periods of time. I like to feel like a local, routine is very important to me. When I travel out of country or somewhere new I wouldn’t really work much, I might focus more on writing or listing new ideas or just talking to my people while I’m in a new inspired state.

    • I like the idea of listening for new ideas when you’re in a new place Mera. That makes a lot of sense to me too, kind of like refilling your well instead of being in the creation/work mode!

  11. I think this is a great premise but really it would be logistically difficult for me as I have two school aged kids. I’d have to commit to homeschooling (which would take more time away from my business). Not to mention not only getting my husband and I into a routine but then the kids too.

    Wow! Sounds like a great challenge but I wouldn’t want to do that with young kids. I think the trade-off would be freedom (location independent) for insanity (kids constantly being in change mode). I’d love to hear thoughts from people who have done a location independent business with school aged kids.

    I’m guessing most of them would be homeschooling their kids. This is a great topic/post and really makes me think of creative ways to do this if I ever chose to.

    • Quiana you bring up a super important point about children! I think adding homeschooling and building a business together is definitely another layer of complexity.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation, that’s definitely something people need to think through!

  12. Thanks Nathalie for this post! I live in Perth Australia and I have a high school aged daughter and am at start up stage – being at home is a must has a huge appeal. I am ready to not commute! But I spent my twenties and early thirties in the UK and Greece. My ideal life is to spend the Australian winter (such as it is) in Europe, Canada and America. Plus with Asia on my doorstep I would like short , regular jaunts.
    My daughter has 3 schooling years left, then let the nomad-ing begin! And of course my business will be wildly successful by then!

    • I love how you’re setting yourself up to travel after your daughter is out of school Pip. What a great way to plan ahead for more travel, and to make the best of your “settled” years so you can really build a solid foundation!

  13. So timely with this one Nathalie! I can totally relate to your experience. I took off on a couple months of travel in 2011 right after I started my independent yoga business. I knew I wasn’t going to work while I was abroad, and though I don’t regret the trip at all as the experience itself was so rich, I incurred a lot of debt that I am still working to pay off!

    Now, once again, I am planning for some time away. However, this time I am spending the time up front, before I depart, to build as much of my online business as possible so that business is running smoothly by the time I’m ready to take off. It feels much better to not leave everything up to chance, and to know that by the time I go away I will feel more secure financially and my business will be in a better place too.

    Thanks for sharing this insight with the world! I look forward to meeting you in June!!

    Sasha

    • Thanks so much for relating your story Sasha, and way to go on being prepared this time around. You’re a smart cookie, and I can’t wait to meet you in June, too! :) Woohoo!

  14. Great advice Nathalie. Personally I think you need to have a grounded space from which to grow anything. That doesn’t mean that location independence isn’t on the cards once the business is established, but it does mean that you’ll get the foundations right by not dispersing your energy in too many different directions at once. (Unless your business is about travel, then of course by actually travelling you’re immersing yourself in the very thing you’re selling.) For the rest of us, there’s a real benefit to taking the time to settle into your business without the constant distraction of new, different and unknown. Business building brings enough of that our lives already!

    • You’re so right Samantha that having a young business means more uncertainty and constant change by default, so keeping other aspects of your life more stable is a good idea. I’d never thought about it quite that way, but it’s a great point! :)

  15. Totally with you, Nathalie. I considered doing the nomadic thing a couple of years ago when I was traveling around the US and Southeast Asia for a few months. And, as you know, I still have a dream of splitting my time between two cities (currently, Seattle and NYC); but I can’t imagine having built my business from Bali and Cambodia unless I’d chosen to live there! While I did work some on that trip and continued to meet with clients via Skype, it was really tough to stay focused (particularly when all I wanted to do was practice yoga and eat amazing food!).

    So now, I love having an online busiess + one (or two!) home bases. I can still travel whenever I like, but I get to unplug a little when I do.

    Thanks for your post. I think this is such an important perspective on the location-independent thing.

    • I totally hear you on enjoying the location or doing yoga/eating yummy food! I think splitting your time between two locations is a great way to get the best of both worlds, and the unplugging side of things is so important! :)

      Yay!

  16. Very interesting topic. I’m a long term expat building my business abroad, and have come to appreciate the benefits of having a base. My ideal situation would be so that I can run my business in my residential country as well as my home country at different times of the year. I’ve found there are very specific ways of connecting with people in different cultures and being connected to the people in each country is super important. I guess our personalities also play into how we run our biz too, as I’ve never had much success “working”from my laptop on the beach while traveling. It sounds dreamy but is very hard to do in reality unless you are in one place for a while.

  17. For me, getting business set up and running while at home is definitely the ideal.

    Last year I made a couple of trips to the US (all the way from Australia) to speak at and attend conferences and all I wanted was to enjoy the travel and the experience of the conferences and meeting people rather than be worried about work.

    I was grateful to have my husband at home to keep the business fires burning and it showed us we needed more systems in place for when we start travelling more regularly.

    • I totally hear you Helena, and especially with long trips around the world – you don’t want to be thinking about your business while you’re away. Glad you had your husband at home keeping the ship running. :)

  18. It was really awesome that I was able to run my business on the road while I lived in an RV.

    But realistically, I was barely able to keep it running, let alone grow it. The distractions of travel, let alone adjusting to an entirely new lifestyle, kept me from focusing on my business.

    Now that I have a home base, it’s so much easier.

    I agree with you that the “location independent” reality is often different than the dream.

    • I love your story Pace, because I feel like it’s so much fun to imagine life on the road running a business… And I think you really made the best of the situation and now you’ve found an amazing place to call home, so it’s all for the best in the end. :)

      Miss you!

  19. Hi Nathalie,
    Love this topic! I’ve been living in Manila, Philippines for 2 years while I lived a more frugal lifestyle and started my business. Because I didn’t have that local network you talk about from having a homebase in the US, it took a long time for me to get to a good place in my business and progress was slow. Definitely NOT enough for me to go and travel with. In my head, I thought it would be MUCH easier than the reality and wondered why I wasn’t a location independent digital nomad from the get go. ;) It’s taken a lot of hard work but I finally feel like I’m at the point where I *can* travel and live off my suitcase with my business.. Ultimately, I would love a homebase too, as this isn’t a longterm lifestyle that I can see for myself. (A full year or two of slow travel/living off the suitcase maybe) But I am more attracted to living as an expat, which for me is still a bit like traveling! :) My goal is to expat in Europe, and I’m looking at Germany.

    • I like your distinction between living like an expat vs. living out of your suitcase on the go. It’s amazing how many nuances there is to thing equation, and I’m so grateful that you’re sharing your story with us Janet! :)

  20. So many great points here, Nath! I’ve been location independent since 2004 (when I quit my job to travel), and now run two businesses from the road.

    When I first started my editing business in 2005, I did stay (mostly!) in one place for a while until I was confident that I had a good thing going and would be able to support myself from anywhere, which was the goal from Day 1.

    Since then, I’ve learned a lot, having spent time being completely nomadic, having a home base, doing some hard-core traveling, and some staying put too (mostly abroad).

    Being location independent (and running a business) is not without its challenges, and it’s likely that my businesses would have grown faster if I had stayed in one place, but for me, the trade-offs are worth it, and embracing everything about this lifestyle is one of the reasons I’m dedicated to helping others figure out how to make it work for them.

    Now I have a home base in Buenos Aires, and my husband and I continue to refine what works for us: we’re currently spending time in SE Asia and India, but have spent up to two months in each location so we have time to both work and explore. We’re constantly having to balance the two, being sure we have time off but also making sure that business doesn’t suffer as a result.

    Next month, we’ll be putting our businesses on auto-pilot to an extent so we can focus on exploring here in India, then spending a few months in Thailand (again, working and playing), before eventually making our way back to Buenos Aires for a respite.

    I think one of the keys is to find what works for you (as you have done!) rather than taking on a lifestyle because it’s “cool” or because someone you admire is doing it. Then, it may indeed be doomed to fail!

    • I’m so glad you chimed in here with your years of travel and work experience Amy! :)

      I love that you shared you started your editing business from one place until you felt confident it could go with you once you started traveling.

      And it does sound like you’ve found a great balance between exploring and building your business, and you’re clear on your priorities, which is key no matter which direction you’re going in.

      If anyone wants more tips on travel and work, Amy is definitely a nomad worth learning from! :)

  21. Love the comment thread on this post Nathalie. Some great advice from everyone, and valid points to keep in mind.

    As it happens, hubby and I are off in March. We’re going global and take the business with us while travelling the world. I’m lucky in that I have a very established business with a steady stream of repeat clients and referrals.

    But I’m not blue-eyed enough to think that there won’t be challenges along the way. However, they are meant to be overcome, right?

    Honestly though: this has been our dream for as long as we can think. And we’re making it happen now that we can. Will it work out? I don’t know. But the last thing I want is to have regrets for not having followed my ultimate lifestyle dream.

    I also believe that it is possible to run workshops abroad. It just takes great organisation skills. I also think that the global lifestyle opens up a whole new bucket of opportunities – and the global community is very tight from what I have seen. So I’m confident we’ll meet some pretty amazing people along the way and as long as I have Internet I can do business.

    As far as taxes go. I’m an Aussie. So I pay taxes here, no matter where I am in the world. So keeping fingers crossed I’ll have several income streams by the time we cruise to Japan in March. Woohoo!

    • Hey Monika, thanks so much for sharing your plans and it’s exciting to see you go for your dreams!

      It sounds like you’ve thought things through and are ready to take on the challenges, so I know you’ll have a great time abroad!

      Sending you all the best wishes and definitely let us know how it’s going as you embark on this big adventure! :)

  22. Absolutely LOVED this!

    An enormous part of the reason I wanted to be an entrepreneur was to be able to travel – my (close) family is split between three different continents, so a regular job just wouldn’t allow me the holiday time to see them. But I’ve definitely seen that, whilst I’m building my business, I need some regularity.

    This video – and all these wonderful comments – have been really helpful in working out what I want to do in terms of travel and staying put. Thanks everyone!

    • I totally agree Marsha, these comments are priceless and I love how everyone has a different take and piece of wisdom to share. :)

      Being an entrepreneur rocks – and I’m sure your family will agree when you’re visiting them. ;)

  23. I always struggle to get work done when I’m travelling. I prefer having a home base and planning trips out from there – but sometimes I do wish my client base wasn’t so local. I’m really focusing on working with clients in different parts of the world, both to make my business more location independent and also to learn about business climates in other places. Thanks for the video Nathalie!

    • That’s a great point Jessica – sometimes a local client base isn’t in your best interest, but luckily with the web you can expand out and make your business a little more stable and/or less affected by the local economy, too. :)

  24. For me the question is really: what does location independence mean to you? I think when people start a business that’s intended to be location independent, they forget to ask some crucial questions about what that looks like logistically for them. For me, location independence means that my business is not tied to one location. That doesn’t mean I don’t run it from one primary location, but it means that that primary location is where I choose, and I can choose to change it if I want without thinking twice about how it may affect my business. I hate working while on the road. But I choose to live in an exotic location (Peru) because I can. So I run my business from here, and then travel when I want but I don’t work with clients while I’m traveling. Soon I’ll be moving again after 2 years in Peru, but I’ll be stationary in my next location so I have the stability to run my business the way I know works best for me, and continue to have adventures on the side. Had I been on the road while trying to build this business I would have failed miserably. New entrepreneurs should count on having a boatload of patience as they build toward the livelihood they really want. That’s my two cents!

    • Thanks so much for chiming in Heather!

      I love what you’re saying about the distinction between travel and living in an exotic location. I totally agree too, with being able to pick up and move your business when you move, that’s huge.

      And now I’m curious about where you’re going after Peru! :)

  25. I actually started my business while :IVING IN A VAN, so I definitely know what it’s like to jump all up on the location independent bandwagon… and I know first hand that it’s not al that it’s cracked up to be.

    Starting a business while on the road was tough. I was rock climbing 4 days a week and exploring on the other days, all while travelling with a partner who WASN’T working!

    Now that I’m settled into one location and business is off the ground, I LOVE being location independent because it means I get to change my mind and pick up and go somewhere IF I want to.

    I’m writing this from Chicago (but I live in Toronto). IN 2 weeks I’ll be in Belize, and 2 months ago I was in Holland.. and Morocco.

    I think the key is lowering your expectations of what you will accomplish while on the road. I knew I’d only want to work one day a week, so I came to terms with the fact that my business would grow more slowly, and that when I got home, I would have more time to hustle.

    I think many of us start businesses to we can work LESS, but in reality, you end up working more – usually because you love your work so much that you don’t want to step away for every long!

    Great post Natalie, I think more people need to really think about what they want their life to look like and keep in mind the time that it takes to actually GET to that ideal lifestyle.

    xo becca

    • I LOVE what you said on lowering your expectations becca! I started my business as I was moving to Texas, and since have spent lots of time on the road.

      I agree with Natalie that having a home base can be helpful, but I have to admit…My two week vacation turned out to be SUPER productive. Sure my list building grinded to a near halt due to lack of access to internet, but I got so so much writing done.

      Natalie, great post. And thanks for sharing your insights too becca!

    • Oh wow living out of a van, kudos for making it work! :)

      I love what you shared about getting clear on what you really want you life to look and feel like. I have to admit that I love working on my business, and I also love my downtime. I also discovered that for me actively traveling with my husband is like a full-time gig because we want to see everything.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  26. Hi Nathalie,

    I have a feeling there are two different things being discussed in your video: one, the location free business; two, when to start that business (while traveling or back home).

    A location free business is something I need by default, since because of my husband’s job we move to a different city (or continent) every three years. Sure, during the weeks that are reserved for packing+paperwork, it’s very hard to focus on my business; I try to clear my schedule in advance to allow the time for that.

    But during the three years we are staying put, I work at one location – it just doesn’t matter much for my clients where my base is.

    But while I’m traveling – either moving or on vacation – I seldom have the time or the availability to work, even if my business is location free.

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Ana

    • That’s a great distinction Ana! I think working from a base for a few years is very doable. It’s pretty much what I’ve done too, and yes that month where you’re moving you don’t want to schedule too much – but otherwise it’s a nice way to do business! :)

  27. Excellent point! I find when I travel I have to mostly unplug. First because I really enjoy being fully present, even if I travel 4 months a year. I set up my ezine in advance, use hoot suite to schedule social media posts, and only plug in about once every two to three weeks. Part of this is because the places I go have crappy internet and it is too frustrating otherwise. But really I just need the time to unplug for a bit. It takes a LOT of prep before I go, and I wrap up all 1:1 clients before my extended trips, so I’ve had to turn down potential clients due to travel plans.

    This year I am pregnant and will be traveling a bit less, and I can already see how much better it is for my business to know I’ll be around a lot more – I can plan for trips more easily and also commit to some bigger things like dates for retreats I’ll lead etc.

    My mind is also more at ease knowing I have a bit of predictability over the next few months (at least re:biz…but not baby!). We are still planning a month if the Filippines before I lead a retreat in Hawaii though;)

  28. Ooooh, this is such a great topic!

    I agree with Nathalie that STARTING while travelling might not be the best idea. But then once you’re all set up it’s great to have the freedom to schedule your trips according to your launch and workload plans and to be able to manage work so that you do more when you’re at home, but less when travelling.
    This way you get to enjoy your travels more, too!

    (Completely another topic would be how to switch off and stop working when travelling, especially when going on holiday. With an online business that one is very tricky!!) :)

  29. I’ve run a successful location-independent business for 10 years (and moved from Michigan to Sarajevo).

    However, when I started the business, I didn’t start it to be mobile. The economy was terrible at the time where I lived, and I wanted to be able to get work from anyone, anywhere.

    It worked beautifully … and enabled me to move to a place where the cost of living is much lower than the United States.

  30. Yes Nathalie i totally agree running a business when you are traveling is simply not possible. Because you will have to scarify 1 thing: either you scarify your fun travel time and end up sitting in your hotel room running your business (which is not the best way to do it even if you want to) or you end up having fun and going out and enjoying the food.

    But it is however possible in the later stage of your business, once you get established you can start traveling and do minimal business management stuff.
    And for my 2 cents, i think online business is the best way to combine with travel, and more specifically affiliate business. because if you are an affiliate you can just set your business to run, and just check on it once in a while.
    since in affiliate marketing you don’t do customer services or product support.

    And btw, it seems that you had a heck of a time in China :)