How to be Location Independent as a Writer

September 25, 2014 in Digital Nomad, Guest Posts

High quality Wi-Fi is the life blood of the digital nomad traveling to any part of the world that has a steady stream of electricity. Hotels are picked based on their suitability for an office, not on best view. This group blends in with the backpackers who are fighting to make their minimum budgets stretch from coast to coast. They may be grungy roamers, but they have a credit card, and PayPal deposits twice a week. These deposits are minimal but it fills them with pad-ka-pow, covers them with a bamboo roof, and gets them on the next flight to Bangkok. How do these “suitcasers” make a living writing online? How do they remain location independent?

The Big Mango - Jake NeedhamIn the Beginning

Often when someone thinks of a freelance writer, they get images of best-selling authors like Jake Needham. They think that a career in writing belongs to the elite. While these authors are busy writing books, somebody has to write web content. In fact, the qualifications for entry level content writing are very low. Did you pass English in the 10th grade? You are probably qualified. Low qualifications always correspond with low pay. Entry level content writers make one cent per word. Assignments will typically be around 500 words. If you could write an assignment in an hour you would make a whopping five dollars an hour. The problem is a new writer won’t even be able to write an article in three hours let alone one. Add in the time finding work and editing returned assignments, you will probably make $1.50 an hour. Never fear, it goes up from here.


Freelance writers need to constantly improve their writing abilities. The more practice you have had putting thoughts into written words the quicker they will pour though your hands. The more time you have spent contemplating the difference between the colon or semicolon, the quicker you will become in selecting correct punctuation. Practice outlining articles and researching subject matter will also improve your word count per hour.

Speed is only going to get you so far. If you ever want to be paid more than one cent per word you need to be able to write accordingly. Content mills grade the quality of your articles. Editors are not only looking at your grammar they are seeing if you can follow detailed instructions. Master this, and you may see your rate turn into three cents per word.


Ultimately you want to get away from third parties. They take approximately 35% of your potential earnings. After enough networking you may be able to drop them permanently. One way to do this is simply by writing an email to your client. Just to let them know you are available. If they like your writing style they may choose to work with you in the future.

Guest Blog

Write articles for free, on subjects that interest you. This is a good way to start a relationship that may become profitable.

Start a Blog

Many potential employers are going to want to see examples of your writing. There is no better way than having it displayed on your own website. Alternatively, why not see if you can publish your story on Medium.

Stay Free!

Remember the main goal is to stay location independent. Don’t accidentally turn your Freelance job into slavery. The only problem with becoming a proficient writer is that people may actually want you to write.

Freelance Jobs

This guest post was written by Ryan Johnston in Phuket, Thailand. He reached out to me when I commissioned some blog posts for a client. He has spent the last few years location independent writing for clients on Textbroker and playing poker online. Playing poker online? Yes, another, slightly unorthodox way to be location independent. More of this in another post…

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How to be Location Independent as a Writer