Location independence has become one of the big buzzwords of the working world. Computers are portable, wifi is everywhere and finally all those travel dreams can become reality without having to ask your boss.
Since many online teachers dream of becoming location-independent, I asked travelling teacher Gabby Wallace to join me on a webinar and talk about how to be successful on the road. Here are the best tips she shared in this exclusive inside view into what it takes.
Tips for Becoming a Digital Nomad
1) Become a Minimalist
"The things you own own you."
If you currently own some furniture, an extended four-season wardrobe, a car and two pets, you'll have to shed some belongings before taking up life as a digital nomad. Gabby tells the story of how she started fitting all her belongings into one travel backpack and gave up her apartment in Tokyo. Life on the road is not about what weighs you down, so consider a few serious giving-away sessions before you let go.
2) Drop the Idea of Getting Paid to Have a Holiday
The mindset that all travel is a time of leisure is not for that digital nomad. Instead of blowing through your cash in hotels and living off room service, you'll have to mix business with normal life on the road. Take out extended leases or housesitting agreements instead of hopping from hotel to hotel, so that you can enjoy lower local living costs and save up on cooking your own meals.
Gone are the images of sipping margaritas on the beach, as you and your team have to keep money coming in. While life on the road is not the same as a year-long dream holiday, Gabby says that the personal growth and amazing experiences are well worth the tough times.
3) Build Routine Into Your Day
When you travel a lot and don't live at a fixed address, you miss out on many invisible advantages such as being a gym member or meeting up with your hobby clubs on a regular basis. Gabby advises that keeping routine as a core part of your day is absolutely essential to maintaining productivity.
Quick Tips to Build Routine:
- Make sure you get up and feel ready to work hard every day, have morning and evening routines.
- Join online mastermind groups and entrepreneur circles that you can access from anywhere.
- Establish positive eating and exercise habits that set you up for success, so that the crazy changes in your environment don't tip the scales toward making you lose focus on your business.
4) Back up your computer
Ideally you want to back up your computer twice. The first backup can be a physical one, for example using an external hard drive. But for absolute peace of mind, use a virtual backup service such as Backblaze. Gabby told me several stories of stolen laptops - if that has your only project draft on it, you'll be lost. The cost of a laptop can be replaced but it's a different story with your precious work and data.
For those of you who are particularly worried about how to start backing up, here's a website detailing the spectrum of what is on offer. Personally, I back up to an external flash drive with my Mac's Time Machine software, with added cloud storage for my most essential materials.
5) Use Great Software
It's not difficult these days to find free software that is perfect for setting up and running your online teaching business. If you don't know where to start, here are our must-haves.
Trello is a staple of every well-run online business. From editorial calendars to curriculum building, this software will bring some order into any busy teacher's chaotic desk.
Google Docs are another essential. You can watch how to set up a shared folder and resource files for your students in my Udemy course Live Lesson Strategies for Online Teachers & Tutors.
Skype (duh!), Google Hangouts and Facetime are the cornerstones of how we work. For group lessons, the new kid on the block is zoom.us, a nice and lightweight software.
6) Remember You Can't Have It All
Freedom comes at the price of security, and the other way round. So when you're planning to become location-independent, think about what this really means for your life and how you'd like to enjoy it in the coming years.
If you don't want to fully give up your home base, that's absolutely okay. Working independently doesn't have to mean 24/7 travel.
What Do You Think?
Is location-independence for you? Do you wish you could travel more? Or are you a total homebody who loves a cozy nest?
And here's something for you if you want to learn more about working independently: To get the full webinar with Gabby Wallace and more amazing insights from the awesome How to Reach More Students in 2016 conference, all you need to do is hop over to Gumroad and check out our exclusive bundle today.