The Work Travel Balance of A Freelancer
How does one balance working and traveling all at once? There are a number of questions people keep asking when they hear what I am doing and they all begin with the word how:
How are you finding this work?
How are you funding yourself?
How are you able to find a balance between travel and work?
How can I do this?
The Work and How
In the words of Mischa Armada “You gotta hustle” every day in this lifestyle. In fact, it was Mischa, an old boss from my LA days that inspired me. I’d see her posting from Cuba, Manila, Bali and I was jealous. I wanted to do that. So one random day I messaged her and we started talking about our lives, work and how working remotely is the future. She told me that it’s not easy and she was right. There is no certainty that 9-5 job can provide in terms of employment. It was Mischa who gave me not only the push I needed but also gave me my first ever contact. That contact turned into my first client and we’ve been together ever since. 🙂
Through my personal network I continue to get the odd job or a consulting project but just this month I have three new clients. They are all except one, month-to-month. That security of next month isn’t there but it’s work and it’s work that allows me to have a fairly flexible schedule. The goal for me right now is I don’t want to work *full time, otherwise, it defeats the purpose of what Sean and I are doing. Knowing this, I also know that I am almost at my limit of work.
Currently, I work enough so that I am not only enjoying my work but am also able to fund these travel goals of mine. I make sure to put 20% of every paycheck from every client away in my savings. I do this not only for tax purposes but also to build up well, a savings. Savings are an important aspect for a freelancer. It is there as a safety net because there might be a month when you only have one or maybe no clients. Always be prepared and one way you can do that is by having a little something, something in your savings.
*It should be noted that I also make more than what I was making full-time with half as many hours of work. It feels really good to feel valued, respected and being paid a salary that reflects that.
A common misconception is that I am off doing something fun every day when that’s just not the case. I have some days that because of the time difference I am working until midnight. I have other days where I’m done after two hours of work in the morning. I try to balance my days like this: Working mornings and late evenings with the afternoon to do things or mornings off working mid-afternoon onwards. If I know I want to go somewhere specific then I will make sure to finish everything I need to do before that day and give my clients a heads up that I won’t be available except for emergencies. The most important thing is that I try to have a schedule or routine.
I make sure I get dressed (most days, some days the PJ and working from my bed are just a bit too strong) and that I set goals. For me, my anxiety helps me in this case as I am constantly creating and updating To Do lists to make sure I don’t miss anything.
Due to having a semi-flexible schedule and use of scheduling platforms allows me a freedom that working full-time didn’t give me. It means that if I want to go exploring for a morning or an afternoon I can and it won’t impact me too much. It is one of the perks of being a freelancer. I just always make sure to check my email. Mail on my iPhone is my best and worst friend these days 🙂
Can You Do It?
If you are considering the jump to freelance then here are a few important questions that I think you need to ask yourself first:
Are you motivated enough to:
Work the hours that you need to work for a client
Constantly be networking for new work and making connections
Stick to a budget
Sometimes having to say no
Actually get up and DO work
Work alone without co-workers
Be comfortable enough to ask your personal network if they know someone looking for services you provide
Valuing yourself at a fair price and not low-balling
Be assertive when it comes to being paid
This is how I got started. If you have ever considered quitting your job and freelancing while traveling and want to know more feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to talk more in depth. Just make sure to do your research and have an honest conversation with yourself if it is something that you want and can do.