From a corporate employee, I have turned myself into a freelance writer/online worker/ self-employed individual. I'm still at loss when answering forms that asks for Occupation because I still can't believe that yes, even when it doesn't feel like it, this is my occupation (at least for now). I've been tempted to write non-practicing telecoms professional. I would love to romanticize how the whole decision-making process went, how years of imagining finally became reality, and how it felt to finally take the leap into the giant unknown but you can look that up and I swear I feel the same way as the others who have gone before me.
I'm here to write about the reality of the pursuit and some of truths I have discovered so far.
|Who doesn't want to see this view all day, every day?|
The lifestyle is not for everyone.
Because, of course, there's the monetary side and there are bills to pay.
If you can't figure out how you can earn outside of the four walls of the office, then don't even try. If you can't create self-imposed deadlines and if you can't meet your own deadlines, then stay in the office. If you need someone to help you in setting your career goals and if you are always acting based on mandates, this life is not for you. Being location independent is best suited for self-motivated individuals who can work on his own defined structure. There are no rules and no guidelines to adhere to so it will all be about you and your discipline. It's a process I'm still working on because of the next item.
And there are days when you just don't want to work.
And that's ok.
I've learned to forgive myself for days when I would rather read a book, blog, or hike. Same as in the office, there are lazy days except that in the office, even the lazy days are paid. Since I'm doing freelance writing, all my transactions are result-oriented which means lazy days equal no income days. The key is balance.
But it only looks good in photos.
I'm not saying it can't happen because it can but to work well and to be productive means setting up a good place where you can actually think and focus and where internet connectivity is great. I think it also beats being in the moment. It may not work for me but it can work for someone else. Setting days for recluse and days for making money works for me.
*That's a crappy photo of me failing miserably to work, distracted by the sound of waves. The other guy out front was watching a movie. He knew better than to work with that view.
And you need to have a to-do list. Maintain a calendar.
Or else you can easily be sucked into days of lounging.
A to-do list also helps you keep track of things you have accomplished. Even the smallest things can help you feel motivated. If you go on Google and find the daily schedule of the most successful creative individuals who ever lived, you'll find out that they have set specific chunks of their day to do meaningful work. It's easy to get sidetracked if you don't set your day's priorities.
And start thinking about what's next for you.
Because it's easier to climb a corporate ladder, with the rungs well-defined and you just need to know how to get to the next level.
Self-employed individuals have to sit down and define the rungs themselves because while there are plenty of options, you only have time to pursue a few. It's even harder for location independent persons (or digital nomads) because there's also another question of when and where the feeling of wanting to settle will take place. As for me, I have not figured out this part yet. I'm focusing on learning the ropes, expanding my knowledge, and keeping my world open to endless possibilities.
My own journey is new and so far it has been a good start of self-discovery. Sometimes it feels like a complete struggle but I always go back thinking that this is something I know my future self will thank me for.
Are you living the location-independent life? Cheers to living the alternative lifestyle!