Off the beaten track – Become location independent

Have you ever considered traveling for a long time, as a lifestyle? What stopped from leaving the country right away? Most probably the fact that you can’t leave your job, your ‘life’ behind so easily. You are bound to your desk.

What if I tell you that it’s possible to work from anywhere in the world, online?

There is a new approach to working; becoming location independent. It is for everyone who ever considered traveling as a lifestyle. Breaking away from the traditional ways of life is scary as hell, though, and it’s not easy at all. But with some devotion and a lot of hard work, you can also become location independent, within a year. Removing the anchor of your workplace is a liberating accomplishment; no more day-to-day reporting to you boss, no more commuting hours, and no more requirement to wear pants.

My story short

Let me start with my story first, to show you it’s possible, even from an area where people earn so little money; Eastern Europe.

I was born and raised in Budapest, and got spoiled by the opportunities I had when I was a university student; I studied abroad for a semester and to work in the US for a full summer. After these experiences I know I wanted more: I wanted to travel and see the world.

My university degree, however, wasn’t really suitable to start an online career. So, after graduating, I spent a couple of months of trying to find myself at different workplaces. When I realized there was nothing for me in my field, I gradually started to study online marketing on my own. After a while, due to my inner motivation and a kind friend of mine, I left my last job and became a location independent SEO writer.

Shifting from regular work to online writing

At this very last normal workplace, I was lucky and unlucky at the same time. I was a marketing manager at a Hungarian company, located in a dusty old run-down building from the Soviet era, that would have been totally abandoned if our crew didn’t go there every day. I hated that place. On the other hand, there was hardly any work, but the salary was okay, compared to Hungarian standards. Soon I started to be bored at my desk; So I took this free time a put together a decent Upwork profile and started to apply for location independent jobs.

Then, I got my first writing job. First, I was writing from home, and as the workload increased, I started to spend down times during my working hours productively. So I had 2 jobs at the same time. After a while, it was impossible to keep on doing this so I quit being a marketing manager, and became a full-time content writer. At the beginning, I didn’t earn too much with it; if I hit $500 a month, I was happy. But it was a good start.

When you considering traveling for a long time, a location independent income is crucial. Fortunately, there are many ways apart from working from an office to get regular income. Let’s see one of the most common location independent business ideas out there with which you can earn money without having to be physically present in a particular place.

Option #1 – Establish a passive income stream

One of the most preferred ways to become location independent is to create a passive income stream – who wouldn’t like to get paid passively after all? To be honest, usually, it requires a lot of work before you start earning some money. But when a well-performed plan and SEO hits in and you start to earn the first $’s, that feeling is indescribable. So let’s see what are the best options to start earning money passively.


Affiliate marketing

This is one of the easiest ways to start earning money online. Basically, you partner up with retailers who offer an affiliate program and advertise their goods, make people buy them and you get your commission of the purchases. There are all kinds of retailers to partner up with; some of them offer more, some of them offer less commission after every purchase. It’s generally a good idea to select a specific niche and only affiliate for products in that particular area. This way, you’ll gain authority and people will trust you, thus they will be convinced to buy that particular product that you are advertising. Note, that you’ll need a good traffic on your site to earn a reasonable amount of money, which requires a lot of work; online marketing, email marketing, SEO, emit quality content and so on. But after a while, you can keep up the conversion rates with a relatively small amount of work.


Dropshipping is an exciting fast-lane business model. It’s a retail fulfillment model, where you, the merchant doesn’t store the products you sell in a store. Instead, when a customer buys the product from your web store, they actually buy them from a third party who ships the product directly to the customer. By this, you are basically advertising the third party’s products, and you never have to deal with inventory or stock levels. This system can also be automated after a while, however, it requires continuous work to keep finding customers. The best thing to do is to outsource all those areas that can be done by a third party, for example, the customer support or the order completion.


Make an upfront investment into something you find lucrative. However, you need to research a lot to develop the skills to pick the right financing deal at the right time. You’ll also need a good network of referrers and agents to keep it rolling. You can start small, but in order to have a good return, you’ll have to invest a relatively large amount of money.

Sell advertising space

Build up a good website in a good niche with real content, get a reasonable traffic and domain authority. Then, start reaching out to businesses in the same niche, and offer them visibility on your website. Forget the old-styled banners. There are much smarter methods to sell advertising; businesses seek opportunities to get noticed by more and more readers and to earn an increasing amount of links to their specific pages to improve their Google rankings. Therefore you can offer the sponsored posts on your site as well. We, in my link-building job, sometimes bump into sponsored posting offers, which – depending on the quality of the site – might cost up to hundreds of dollars.

An easier way in link inclusion, where retailers ask you to add their link to one of your relevant posts. A similarly effective way for the retailers to reach people.

Another thing I’ve just learned about is to sell widgetized advertisements on your site. For example, an Airbnb booking widget in the sidebar of a travel blog. Thus visitors can start the buying process from the travel blog’s sidebar, then they will get redirected to the advertiser’s site. The engagement factor and click through rates of these interactive widgets are pretty high. It’s a great way to earn some money online.

Create a niched up stock content library

If you happen to be a professional photographer, designer or a musician, put your work up in a niched up library and live off the royalties. You can do this by building up your own website, or join major sites like iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, or anything similar. It’s pretty passive, however, you still need to have those materials ready to share with the world.

Review websites

Build up a website where you start publishing product reviews and product comparisons for your readers. People tend to love these kinds of articles and video content. First, you’ll need to gain some authority to have your readers trust you. Then, add affiliate links in your content and you are good to go. These kinds of articles have a great click-through-rate (CTA).

You can go crazy with your ideas. There is, for example, https://www.50em.com/, who are specialized in comparing the two software Ontraport and Infusionsoft. The site itself consists of 7 pages, but with their ultra-focused approach and master-class product reviews drive a great traffic. The information they share in their hyper-targeter content (not only written) help visitors select from these two automation tools. Then, when they make up their minds and buy one of the software, 50em gets a commission.

Sell an e-book

Are you an expert in something? Have you mastered gardening? Are you an experienced chef? Write an ebook in the area of your expertise, and get it published by Amazon! Writing a book is definitely not a passive activity. However, when it’s done, publishing your book takes less than 5 minutes and your book appears on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours. Publishing has never been so easy.

Option #2 – Convince your boss to employ you remotely

The first time I read about this option was when I first read Tim Ferriss’s The Four hour workweek. Check out chapter 12 for a step-by-step guide how to show your boss that you don’t really have to be physically present in order to fulfill your job. In a nutshell:

  1. Increase the amount of money invested in you, by attending courses
  2. Prove that remote work increases your productivity
  3. Present the idea of home-office as a beneficial business decision, due to your increased productivity
  4. Propose a withdrawable trial period for home office
  5. Extend this trial period
  6. Tadaa

If your job is something that you feel you can do from home, it’s worth trying method. That is the easiest way to shift after all, with the least change in your career. Not all the jobs can be done remotely, though.

Note, that these steps are not interchangeable. In 2014, I worked for a big multinational company, and I received my first own business laptop. I was too enthusiastic and started to rush this process, which resulted in failure. First of all, I had only been working at the company for approximately 3 months, which obviously wasn’t enough to show how indisposable I was as an employee. I did the first step, kind of skipped 2nd and 3rd, jumping to the 4th, thinking I can prove my values while already having the opportunity for working from home. My boss quickly turned this attempt down.

Option #3 – Find an online company to hire you full time, remotely

I’ve already written about jobs you can do remotely. Being a remote worker is not an uncommon thing anymore; many large companies employ remote workers. It’s the future. If you can find a location independent full-time job, your monthly income is set and you are able to work from anywhere in the world! Isn’t that awesome?

Personally, I’ve always been struggling with the standard 8-hour workload. An 8-hour shift is still the major part of your day, so there’s no point of traveling to a surf paradise of your dreams if you have to work during the day anyway (It’s still better than nothing, though). However, I always try to get part time positions, with slightly higher hourly rates. Then, if the money isn’t enough, I can still take up some projects from some old clients or find new ones from one of the platforms listed here or here.

Option #4 – Become a freelancer

This is probably the most difficult and most beautiful options of becoming location independent. It’s hard because you will have to establish a clientele first to have enough income, but beautiful as you will most likely be doing something that you are interested in and good at. Not to mention the beauty of establishing your own business.

What are your strengths?

Before thinking about becoming a freelancer in any field, consider your expertise – can you do that remotely? If yes, awesome. If no, think about ways to modify it to offer it through the internet.

For example, many of my friends are coaches. Once, we were talking about online working options. They were telling me that they felt like they didn’t have a skillset to work online for a company like I do. Then, I told them how much I envy their expertise as they could definitely start providing some kind of online service; training sessions for some busy entrepreneurs, for example. There’s always a way to offer your service online.

Present yourself as an expert

I recently attended a meetup in the Impact Hub in Budapest, where Jay held an entertaining speech about the importance of getting noticed. He claimed that first, you have to show you’re present in the field, so build your own authority. This step is crucial as people want to hire the best, and most professional freelancers. And now I am linking to his website. So it works!

So go ahead – know your shit and start holding speeches, courses, visit companies to talk to the services you can offer, create tutorial videos and comprehensive guides about how to [insert your expertise].

The importance of referrals

This is pretty straightforward. Apart from authority, people looking for freelancers also look at the testimonials and the referrals you got from your previous clients. They want to make sure you’re not just a scam. So make sure to collect the most and best referrals possible.

When having a client, make sure to support them is everything they hired you with. If you can solve their problems, and make sure they know what’s happening with their precious project at all times, you’re almost ensured a good referral.

Make that decision

Starting a location independent career is not easy, but it’s not a witchcraft either; it’s a clear, well-thought decision you can make. When you have decided, all you have to do is to work towards your goals, as you would do otherwise in case of having a regular, ‘offline’ career too. The question that has to be answered here is whether this lifestyle is the one you want. Do you want to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and decide if you’d like to wear pants on a Wednesday morning? If the answer is yes, take the first step, and never look back.


About the Author Andrea Papp

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