For the past 80 days (to be precise), I’ve been 100% location independent. I’ve made money solely from online resources.
80 days is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but it so far has given me a good insight into the life of a digital nomad – for want of a better phrase!
I’ve always been well accustomed to endless hours in front of a computer, so the transition was very smooth in that respect.
Running an online business can be very rewarding, as well as being very frustrating.
So what are the Pro’s and Con’s that I can see so far from a laptop lifestyle?
Let’s start with the Con’s – and get these out in the open straight away.
There’s no point in thinking that living this laptop lifestyle has no negatives – it does.
1. Wifi and Internet Connection
Yep, you may think you can wander literally anywhere you like, but in reality you must have access to the internet at some stage.
There’s no way you can go for weeks on end without getting online.
That wouldn’t work. In fact, it could end up costing you a lot of money.
You need to have a reliable connection to the internet every few days. This will allow you to respond to emails, outsource and catch up on work that needs to be done.
2. Potentially Long Hours
Ok, so this varies from person to person. But for me at this moment in time, I’m putting in a lot of laptop time.
It’s necessary for me to put in the time early on, so that I can scale up my business and also work on a few other projects that I’ve in the pipeline.
Sometimes this can be stressful, as things build up if you don’t attend to them regularly.
The long hours are par for the course when you’re starting to build a mini online empire in my opinion.
So I really don’t mind the big effort.
This can be a big hurdle to keep control over. Because you’re on your own time, it’s very easy to become complacent.
Because you don’t have an office to go to and from work(so to speak), you can sometimes find yourself lacking the drive to get things done.
Luckily this hasn’t happened to me yet, but I know it could easily happen if I don’t keep a tight eye on it.
What I find best is to keep a daily “to do” list bookmarked, so that I know exactly what needs to be done for each day.
This gets checked first thing every morning.
This keeps things on the straight and narrow and also helps with achieving targets/goals.
Now this is the big downfall for me personally. Ok, so I’m writing an article about a certain topic. I’m in google doing some research.
Then, 5 minutes later I’m on youtube watching a completely unrelated video about gadgets or some travel video!
That’s how easy it is to get distracted, in my case anyways while working online.
Also, because a lot of my clients are on facebook, there’s the added distraction of messages popping up in the middle of stuff.
Losing focus is never a good thing, especially when you’ve deadlines to meet and targets to try and hit.
Without a doubt, this along with the potential issues of finding suitable internet as I travel are the two main negatives I can associate with working online.
For now anyways!
So the only way I can see myself preventing this from happening is having to log off facebook and social media when I’m writing or doing other things that need 100% attention.
Now, if you work at home then power shortages aren’t going to happen often, but that obviously depends where in the world you live, right?
Well, being a freelance means working from a variety of potential locations, and relying on your laptop means that you need a power source.
Losing unsaved work, files etc could prove disastrous if a power cut hit suddenly.
Ok, so enough with all the negativity and on to the Pro’s of working online!
1. Location Independence
For me this is the dream. Having a sustainable business that you can take with you on the road as you travel is something that can be achieved.
Obviously this only applies to those that actually want to travel. There’s nothing wrong with working online and choosing to stay put.
That’s an individual choice that we all have.
Just because location independence is the number one positive on my list, doesn’t mean it’s the one everyone has.
Far from it.
But needing just the laptop to do your work allows you to have your office in some pretty cool spots.
I’ve worked(only for an hour) from a beach here in Thailand – right on the sand, using the internet from my mobile phone as a wifi connection.
Multiple times I’ve stopped off at starbucks and grabbed a coffee while I munched through emails and blog stuff, and I’ve even done some work on the boat over to Koh Phangan from Phuket!
So as I said, the possibilities are indeed unlimited when it comes to your own mobile office space.
2. Your Own Boss
If you’ve created your own business yourself, then the only person you have to answer to is – You!
This creates a sense of freedom that a conventional 9-5 working for a company can’t provide.
Again, nothing wrong with 9-5 work – just stating the fact of how it differs.
If you work online, but work for someone else, then you’re still pretty much your own boss, as you have to manage your own time.
You will have to answer to someone else, but there’s still loads of freedom to maneuver.
3. Have a Break? Have a Kit Kat!
You get to go on as many breaks as you like, whenever you like.
It’s not like you’re being timed or watched, so you can simply get up from the laptop and go and do whatever it is you want.
If you don’t feel like working for the day, then you can just take it off.
The key here is to make sure that you have some system in place so that things run smoothly when you do this.
So for instance, if you’re on a tight deadline for some article writing that needs to be completed(in my situation), then you can outsource this work to good writers, who for a fee will write the stuff based on the guidelines you give them.
4. Tax Free
While I’m still only very early on in my own online ventures, I do know that the money you earn when travelling around is tax free.
I don’t want to talk much about it at this stage, simply because I’m still finding out more information about it, and I don’t want to say stuff that might not be true.
However, I did want to list it here, as it’s a major plus for people working online and travelling around from place to place.
5. Money Anywhere You Go
So all you need to have in order to get funds anywhere in the world while working online is a paypal account, and a bank account that’s linked to it.
You simply get paid via paypal from clients and then you transfer the money back into your bank account and withdraw it as needed! Simple as that.
Paypal has proved to be a lifesaver in this regard.
In fact, without it, getting paid for online stuff would be a chore if you had to deal with bank transfers etc.
So there you have it. Not an exhaustive list of pro’s/con’s by any means, but enough to give someone an idea of what’s involved by running a business online.
As with most things in life, there’s a balance that needs to be found in order to keep things level.
While it may look all cool and exotic from photos here and there, it’s also a job, like anything else.
A lot of work goes on behind the scene to keep the cogs well oiled.
That being said, I’m enjoying life at the moment and I hope to enjoy it this way for a long long time.
If for some reason, the bubble was to burst tomorrow, then no biggies…..
Reset, Rince and Repeat!!