Naked Ambitions – Entrepreneurs Discuss their Location Independent Lifestyles

June 12, 2015 in Digital Nomad, News & Reviews

Perry Stevens - Location Independent LifestyleFor this inspiring blog post, Ive reached out to my circle of friends on Facebook who, like me also live location independent lifestyles. Generally when you read these kinds of posts you usually get stories by Digital Nomads, people who work online and earn an income from managing social media accounts, web development or some kind of Internet marketing. But the truth be told, there are many ways to earn a crust, build a business and live where ever you want.

Yes, in this post you will read enlightening stories by web developers but also comedians, explorers and startup entrepreneurs to hopefully inspire and open you up to a whole new world of opportunities, happiness and new horizons.

Aidan Killian - Location IndependentName: Aidan Killian

Current location: Dublin Ireland

Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? Comedian Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. I was a banker in Japan and decided I wanted to be a comedian, so I did. Why Dublin… because my family here and I love Ireland. I usually escape for the winter though.

Can you describe your morning routine? I get up before 8am, I meditate, have a green drink, do a little yoga, some press-ups and then check my emails and hopefully start writing or crafting jokes, but I don’t do that every morning to be honest, sometimes I go have coffee or green juice with a friend or on my own.

What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? Writing a new show with my mate Sam in Phnom Penh AND hanging out with fellow human Greta and fellow comedian Craig Campbell in a really expensive place in Singapore where Singapore Slings were invented drinking really expensive Singapore Slings before we went on stage to a beautiful gig.

Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? I have a pillow room and a projector…. HELLO LADIES

What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? Irish People don’t give a flying fuck about comedy.

Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? No. Well maybe a little farm with kids and trees and flowers and lots of lettuce 🙂

What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? My brain and my heart and my body.

What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business? Taking steps towards creating the life that chose to live is extremely empowering, invigorating and your spirit will become contagious. be careful you may suffer from moments of extreme Joy.

Aidan Killian can be contacted via his website www.AidanKillian.com

Dave Schneider - Location Independent LifestyleYour Name: Dave Schneider

Current location: Boston MN USA

Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? I run a software startup called NinjaOutreach. It’s a blogger outreach software that helps businesses find influencers in their niche.

Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. A few years ago, back in 2012, my girlfriend and I decided we wanted to quit the 9-5 rat race and travel. This wasn’t going to be a permanent thing. It was supposed to be two years of intense backpacking followed by business school.

While we were on the road our travel blog started to take off. We were earning money by working with advertising agencies, and eventually started paying for the entire trip. This instilled in us the belief that we could earn our own living and have way more fun doing it. We’ve been traveling and working online ever since.

Can you describe your morning routine? It’s not terribly exciting and the main difference is there is no commute. I wake up and check emails, usually on the look out for support tickets which I assign the highest priority. Then I check in with my partners and employees, have some breakfast and go to the gym. I find if I don’t go to the gym right away, I can easily get sidetracked and miss it completely. 

What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? Can I say a 6 month US road trip? I realize that’s a bit of an extended period of time, but as a whole it was amazing. I’ve been to over 40 countries but the US really blew me away in terms of its natural and historic sites. Despite being from the East coast, I have to say the West coast (and not just Cali but also Oregon and Washington) is so nice!

Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? Honestly running a startup has a lot of ups and downs but one thing I know we’re really lucky to have is the ability to be location independent. In September were going to go to Costa Rica – just because. We’ll rent an apartment on the beach for 1-2 months and then travel around the area a bit. It’s just amazing to have that kind of flexibility.

What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? It’s extremely hard to work and travel simultaneously. You’re constantly faced with opportunity costs – do I work or do I go out, and this can be frustrating. I really don’t recommend trying to travel hardcore and work at the same time, but instead to separate each as best you can.

Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? Nope!

What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? Well my computer, obviously. I do use quite a bit of tools like Lead Pages, HootSuite, of course, NinjaOutreach. But to be honest, tools like Skype, Hangouts, and Google Docs are things I use everyday and really can’t live without.

What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business? I would probably suggest starting out gradually. See if you can start a business on the side. Focus on just making $1k a month – a service based business is probably a good way to get started since they are cheap to get off the ground and you can learn a lot about marketing that way. You’ll feel a lot less stressed than if you were to quit tomorrow with nothing and just some deadline to make it work.

David Schneider is the co-founder of NinjaOutreach, an innovative new Blogger Outreach software for marketers.

Nik & Dusty Green - Location IndependentYour Names: Nik and Dusty Green

Current location: Austin, TX

Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? We are filmmakers/videographers/adventurers, specializing in videos for the travel and orthodontic industries.

Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. It all began when we decided in 2006 that we’d quit our jobs, sell off our possessions and get a new, fresh and exciting start on our lives together. Though we had good jobs and made decent money at the time, we’d become dissatisfied with the routine that defined our lives: we’d wake up, go to work, come home, and pray for a restful and enjoyable weekend. We felt trapped. Like we were attached by ball and chain to our jobs and our stuff. And we wanted more out of life. So we left it all behind – and found excitement, fulfillment, freedom and joy.

Can you describe your morning routine? That’s the beauty of our lives today. There really is no set routine! Some days we wake up early and get a head start on the day’s activities, some days we sleep until 10 a.m. It varies according to where we are and what we’re doing at the time. But there is one constant in our mornings, however: coffee. Lots of good, strong, black coffee. Can’t do much without it.

What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? We’ve been fortunate to have done so many awesome things in the past year. But our favorite was probably the trip we took to Ecuador last fall to film a series of travel videos. We spent a week living with native peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and followed that up with a week-long cruise in the Galapagos. So, yeah. That was an epic time.

Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? Easy. We’re free. We simply don’t have many of the responsibilities that “normal” folks have to worry about. We live where we want, generally for as long as we want. We travel extensively and are able to see so many beautiful places and experience so many fascinating cultures. Most everything we need to work and earn a living will fit into a backpack. And each day is a new adventure.

What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? Our biggest challenge by far is being able to access the internet. Our business (and our lifestyle) depends greatly on our ability to connect with clients and our audience and share our videos and our stories from the road. But even in today’s tech-infused society it’s often really tough for us to find a good connection. Which is frustrating beyond belief. And it’s also a challenge trying to convince others at times that we do actually work very hard to maintain this lifestyle. Many people believe we’re just living on permanent vacation with oodles of money sitting in a bank somewhere. Far, far, far from the truth.

Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? When we’re old and gray.

What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? The internet, as mentioned, is vital. Can’t do anything without it. Beyond that, there’s our gear: our cameras, laptops, and all the stuff necessary to do our jobs.

What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business? Always, always believe that it can be done. So many people think that a location-independent lifestyle is just flat-out impossible. Others might consider the idea but never really commit, and as life goes on they then just fall back into the daily grind. But you can do it! It’s hard work and stressful and frightening and frustrating at times, but it’s also rewarding, fulfilling and incredibly liberating. And we wouldn’t change it for the world. Just decide to make that change, and commit over time to doing it!

Nik and Dusty Green can be contacted via their Websites: www.TwoForTheRoad.com and www.Ortho-Media.com

Koen Van Dieren - Location Independent LifestyleYour Name: Koen van Dieren

Current location: Bangkok, Thailand

Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? I design, develop and maintain websites for small to medium sized businesses that are located all around the world.

Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. Before I started travelling I was working at a TV station as a video editor, something I didn’t see my self doing abroad because of the language barrier. So I decided to learn about webdesign and website development by participating in courses and by doing an internship at a webdesign agency. I like to be my own boss and, because I like to travel, the idea of working anywhere with an internet connection.

Can you describe your morning routine? After getting up and breakfast I get behind my laptop about 08:30. I start with answering e-mails that require a quick response, than I pick a nice tune and start working through my tasks of the day.

What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? I had been working pretty hard for a long period so I allowed myself to take a few days of and travel to Koh Phangan, a beautiful island in the gulf of Thailand.

Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? Because I work from home instead of in a company at and office I save a lot of time with cutting out office politics and commuting.

What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? I sometimes miss the creative environment and the feedback that you would get in an office. Because my business is always evolving I believe it’s important to stay in touch with people who are in the same business as I am in, this in order to keep up with the latest developments. I’ve build a network of like minded people by joining Facebook groups, being active on twitter, following the news specific to my area of expertise and visiting a meetup every once in a while

Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? I am always looking to grow my business, perhaps in the future I will hire staff and open an office.

What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? My Macbook, it’s the best thing ever invented!

What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business?
Start with getting some work on the side of your regular job. Once you feel confident that you can have a little stream of steady income and you see potential in your business, just take the step and get out of the 9-5 grind.

Koen van Dieren can be contacted via his website: www.KoenvanDieren.com

Freelance Jobs
 

Tom Coleman - Location Independent LifestyleName: Tom Coleman

Current location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? I run a Search Engine Marketing company called Search Lab. My expertise is in Google Adwords management and landing page conversion rate optimisation. My main clients are digital marketing agencies in Australia who offer different types of marketing services and every time they have clients who need PPC I take over the work and they deal with the relationship management of the client so I can focus on the work.

Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. When I was around 21 I went to Thailand for a 3 month holiday and that 3 months turned in almost 3 years. From then I made the decision that I didn’t want to do the traditional career and being location independent and traveling is what make me truly happy.

It was hit and miss for a few years while I was living overseas, I lived week to week and most of the things I tried didn’t work out, but I had a great time trying, and I learnt a hell of a lot about myself and about business. It’s really only been the last 18 months or so that things have worked out really well for me, and I now feel like I’m officially a location independent/digital nomad.
Can you describe your morning routine? My morning routine is extremely important for me and since I’ve been following certain rituals it has boosted my productivity 10 fold.
I set my alarm for 5:45AM every morning. I meditate for 15 minutes, and then exercise for 30 minutes to an hour. When I’m home from working out I pull out my plan for the day that I wrote out the night before and add anything to it I may have missed the night before, then in the same note pad I write out 10 ideas about anything and everything I can think of, I read this in a book called choose yourself by James Altucher and the way he explains it is creativity is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. After I’ve done this, I get a very strong coffee and start my work day, usually at 7:30 to 8:00AM.
What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? The best thing I have done in the last year was to go back to my home town in Sydney for a year and get in the best shape of my life. I joined an awesome muay thai gym called 8 limbs in Bondi, I learned crossfit, competed in muay thai and would train twice a day.
Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? I love to mix my work environment up so no 2 days are ever the same. I work from home maybe 1 day a week, I work from a co-working space a couple days a week to be surrounded by like minded folks, and the rest of the time I am a cafe whore going to 3 or 4 different cafes in an 8hr period.
What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? I have an awesome group of mates in my hometown and made some more friends whilst I was back home so thats quite hard to leave, as every time I hit a new country I have to start over again. I suppose that is a part of what makes location independence exciting as I’m forced outside my comfort zone to try and meet new people, and being quite a shy person, I think it is good for me.
Also the internet!! Sometimes its a pain in the arse depending on where you are. Ho Chi Minh City have had some connection issues the last week or so and its been a little frustrating. The authorities said a shark ate the cable out to sea…Yeah right!!
Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? At this point in time in my life, absolutely not. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, and the fact that my whole life fits into a sports bag and a suitcase excites me. I can literally go anywhere I please at anytime because I have nothing holding me down, it’s awesome and I hope I stay a nomad for as long as possible….But who knows, you never know whats around the corner so that could all change, only time will tell.
What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? My Macbooks. I’m a bit of an apple geek and now have a 13″ macbook air and a 15″macbook pro retina that Accompany me in my travels.
I’m extremely passionate about my health and well-being so wherever I travel to I always make sure there is some sort of fitness facility near where I’m staying.
I’ve also recently discovered trello which is a web based organization app. It helps me a lot as I have been known to be incredibly unorganized and forgetful.
What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business? It’s so possible for everyone, If I can do it, anyone can do it all you have to do is break free from the mindset of the 9-5 grind and open your mind to the possibilities of being location independent.
You also need to hussle and work hard. When i first started doing this I had the mindset of, because this is online work I won’t have to work very hard, and to be honest I had a really bad work ethic. When I realized that I still had to work just as hard everything changed. I work hard in my business and go above and beyond for all my clients, but I love it, and I love the lifestyle I’m able to live because of it.
*Tom Coleman 19-10-1988 – 22-09-2015. Only the good die young. RIP buddy.

 

Gio Greenard - Location Independent LifestyleYour Name: Giovanni Greenard
Current location:
Bali, Indonesia

Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? I’m a Local SEO consultant, mainly in the dental field. Essentially I build digital real estate on page one of Google to increase my customers client base. Most recently I have been delving into group tuition in the form of a membership site.

Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. Destiny I guess. Writing a car off  (as a consequence not being able to travel to work), coupled with some personal problems gave me that I have nothing to loose push. Consequently I jetted out to Thailand within 10 days  to take a friend up on job offer.  It’s wasn’t quite so straight forward in the end, but it all panned out perfectly.

Can you describe your morning routine? It’s pretty much like clockwork now. I wake at 530-6 ( it gets hot here later in the day, and I’m more productive in the A.M). I brew myself a strong coffee and normally work from home until 10 am. I then head to the co working space to get out of the house.

What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? I’d have to say spending time in Bali, as it’s so varied here, and there are so many cool people who also work online. In February I popped over to the Gili islands for an amazing 3 day beach festival. Whilst there I met a chap who believed he was Merlin the wizard, not everyday you meet a wizard is it.

Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? Well has to be that I can work from anywhere in the world as long as there is good Wi-fi. I normally spend the summer in Europe, but as the cold weather approaches I migrate to warmer climates.  Just read that back, wow life’s good!

What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? Not often, but internet can be a bit of a problem. You also have to think ahead when dealing with visas for particular countries. I occasionally miss meeting mates back home  for a cold one down the local as well.

Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? I sincerely hope not, I have a problem with authority lol. Jokes aside at some point I hope to find a place I settle down on a more permanent basis, but lets have a look around first 🙂

What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? Laptop, smart phone, sunglases, coffee, shorts and vest.

What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business? I think I took quite a radical approach, as I was kind of forced into that position. If I was starting over again, I’d say work on an evening and a weekends until you get enough money together from your side act to subsidise living in a cheap country such as Bali (there are many more).

With a 600-800 pounds a month you can make that move and dedicate yourself fully to building your empire. Ultimately you just need to give things a whirl, there will be hard times, set backs  and frustration along the way it beats sitting on the M25 sat in traffic drinking your Costa coffee.  What’s the worst that can happen?

Giovanni Greenard can be contacted via www.BeLocalBeSocial.com

Graham Wooding - Location Independent LifestyleName: Graham Wooding

Current Location: Bangkok
Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? I am a comedy performer, writer and promoter with a sprinkling of English language tuition.
Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. It all started in the UK and started again after 2 years relaxing and traveling in Asia. I became location independent as a result. My job has always involved traveling so location independence is a gift and burden, the former ruling the later. I am multi-locationized for short periods
Can you describe your morning routine? My morning routine consists of waking up. Coffee. Walk the dog and think about the day. Coffee again.  I always try and write a little as its a time when my brain is energized. But being a night owl the morning is not my most proactive time.
What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? Best place I have been this year is a new Phuket Comedy Club in the stunning Royal Phuket Marina. Hanging out amongst million dollar Yachts and wonderful sunsets from a Penthouse rooftop Jacuzzi. Speedboat ride for a Canadian comedian was his first time, he had never seen a real speedboat up-front let alone been slammed along the choppy waters at full speed on one, his massive red beard Kung Fu kicking in the wind. Brilliant times.
Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? I do not want to generate envy only creativity, love and laughter. Maybe the above might green some.
What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? Challenges I face are small immigration woes and and non uniformity of paychecks.
Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? Define regular. We all live regular, just some more regular than others.

What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? I cannot live with out the world, in terms of giving me things to laugh at and my brain to compute that into a performance. Also a computer to write my blah blahirous content.  Other things are cheesy, loved ones and my dog. I also cant live without air and water, how deep do you want me to go?

What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business? My advice is challenge yourself to release from the grind. I have accepted less and gained more.  Thailand has been good to me in this respect, I have enough money for a nice home and a  Pick-up truck and good food, in London the car would be as less as the food and house.
Graham Wooding can be contacted via his website www.BangkokHilarious.biz

 

Ryan Roth - Location Independent LifestyleName: Ryan Roth

Current Location: Hong Kong

Can you briefly explain what you do for a living? I’m a cultural entrepreneur and with an art gallery, who sells art and works on various companies focused on making a cultural change/impact.

Describe how it all began for you and why you decide to become location independent. Just because your born in a place, it does not mean your suppose to be there your entire life. Travel allows you to grow in so many ways.

Can you describe your morning routine? Wake up between 5-6am – Coffee, exercise, shower, breakfast work. Start working around 8:45-9am

What is the best place or most fun thing that you’ve done in the past year? Spoke at the Chinese National Stadium (The Birds Nest) about the future of design.

Tell us something that will make us green with envy about your setup? I’d never like to make people envious of anything I do and there is nothing to envious of. I love my life and believe everything should spend time doing the things they love.

What are some of the biggest challenges or frustrations about your location independent lifestyle? none.

Do you ever see yourself leading a more regular life in the future? What is regular?

What resources or tools do you use you can’t live without? Comp and mobile.

What advice do you have for people who are tired of the regular 9-5 grind, and want more independence and freedom from a lifestyle business? Parents, peers, friends and advisors will advise you on on a new business and or decision, based on their experience. They are not you, they will not live with the consequences. In the end if it goes right, they will say they always believed in you, but if it goes wrong, they will say they warned you. Listen to advise, but make your own decision.

Ryan Roth can be contact via his website www.Roth-Mgmt.com.

Women are severely underrepresented in this article. Not because I don’t know any location independent women but because none I approached replied. I would like to interview women for a future posts to get their unique angle on this lifestyle. So if your a digital, nomadic woman and want to tell the world about your adventures in commerce and travel, please get in touch.

If you are currently living a location independent lifestyle or are feeling inspired, we want to hear from you too. Leave your comments below.

All graphics by PS Graphic Design.

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Naked Ambitions – Entrepreneurs Discuss their Location Independent Lifestyles


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.

Development

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.

Contacts

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