When I speak of location independence, I speak of being able to get up and move anywhere anytime you want. Most people who are “location independent” have online businesses or have enough money to support themselves while they travel. You’ve probably heard people calling themselves “digital nomads” but I don’t care for that term. “Nomad” just doesn’t sound very business-like and has too much of a “dirty backpacker” connotation.
Now the burning question…
How do you achieve location independence?
There are several ways to achieve location independence, some of which are to:
- Get an inheritance and live off the interest
- Save at least half of your income starting at or before 18 and start living off interest by age 35
- Start an online business so you can work from anywhere
- Make money with investments or day trading (if you know what you’re doing)
- Apply for a fully remote or telecommuting job
- Win the lottery and quickly fuck off before the vultures get to you
I have a friend who became location independent by saving for years and years until his savings accounts got fat enough for him to support himself on interest alone. If you are young, make good money, and have plenty of time, you could do it the long and slow way.
Start A Business While Employed Full-Time
However, the fastest and most common way is to start your own business. But is it possible to start your own business while you hold down a full time job?
Yes, it’s possible. I am living proof of that.
However, you will essentially be working two jobs for a while. You probably won’t have enough time for a social life. You’ll go to your 9-5, come home, work on your business until late evening, and get up early the next morning to repeat all over again. Plus you’ll be working weekends. Some days you’ll get slammed at your full time job, come home exhausted, wanting to do nothing except relax, and then feel guilty for not spending time working on your business.
It is a grind and you risk getting burned out. What helped preserve my own sanity was to set a cut-off date. I promised myself I would turn in my resignation at work no later than that date, so the “grind” doesn’t go on forever. Otherwise, it’s a perfect recipe for burnout.
Take A Leap Of Faith
Another but riskier option is to simply quit your job without an alternative stream of income, ride on your savings while you bootstrap your business (or get another job) in your chosen location with a lower cost of living. I have friends who have done this successfully.
Of course, this is only realistic if you have plenty of savings to live off of and a solid plan on how you’re going to make money again. Still, this taking-a-leap-of-faith option is not for the feint of heart.
At the time of writing, I don’t have enough cash flow to sustain myself abroad. I have time to build that up and I’m hoping to net a positive cash flow within 6-12 months.
The Power of Location Independence
It is possible to become an expat without being “location independent”. You could accept a job in a different country, or have your multinational company transfer you to a division overseas. Actually, many people become expats this way.
However, you’ll still be working for a new boss in a foreign country where people may or may not speak your language. You’re just trading a job in one location for another job in a different location. If you’re coming from a first world country with a strong currency, you would probably have to lower your expectations on wages in second- and third-world countries.
And what if you don’t like it?
It sure would be nice to move to a place that you actually like. That is the power of Location Independence.