You’re on your third cappuccino with an extra shot, your inbox just keeps growing by the minute and your phone is ringing to remind you that you are already late for your next meeting. I bet this isn’t the way you pictured your life would turn out. Just exactly when did acting like a demon on crack become a sign of success? Time for a Career Break……
Most of us have despaired at life and thought “there has to be a better way than this” or ” I need a Career Break”. In recent years terms like Location Independent, Lifestyle Design and Digital Nomad have become increasingly popular, even fashionable with the dream of being able to work anywhere in the world; but what exactly do they mean or are they just Slogans without Substance?
Is there an Alternative?
Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour Workweek is commonly credited with popularising the idea that we can design our own lifestyle and work anywhere in the world. Developments in technology mean that the majority of us can function perfectly well with a laptop and internet connection on our Career Break, so why the need to go to an office. In fact many companies actively encourage a remote culture through ‘Hot desking’ and working from home for part of the week; so why not take this idea to it’s logical conclusion and work from anywhere in the world?
If you can convince you employer of the advantages and cost savings associated with working this way, you could adopt a ‘Lifestyle’ that allows you to break free from your corporate cubicle whilst retaining the security of a regular salary and benefits. I can’t think of many of us that wouldn’t jump at the chance at this opportunity.
Alternatively, in recent years there has been a growing trend in travelling and working anywhere in the world on a freelance basis. Whilst travel isn’t a requirement for this, it does allow for location independence. This tribe of Digital Nomads support themselves through a variety of virtual jobs from sites such as oDesk, 99 Designs and Elance. They tend to specialise in the knowledge sector, where they can profit from their skills virtually anywhere in the world. Popular virtual jobs include web or graphic design, affiliate marketing and copywriting. You might think that to work this way you have to be some sort of digital samurai; but that’s not entirely true, there is also the need for non-techie skills. The majority of people successfully working this way have developed a ‘Portfolio Career’ where they don’t limit themselves to just the one source of income.
Undoubtedly, the holy grail in this sector is to become a professional Travel Blogger, but whilst there are many to choose from, very few can honestly say that they are able to earn a living this way.
Not everyone is suited to a Nomadic lifestyle and for those with commitments, finding a balance that allows them to work location independent whilst retaining a real world presence is the key. After a year abroad, Sinead realised that sun and sand wasn’t everything and opted for a balance that allows her to spend part of her life in London servicing clients and the rest traveling.
Being Location independent has some real advantages going for it but the common question is how will I support myself? These days it is possible to position yourself as a consultant in just about any field, which could lead to being able to work anywhere in the world. As the global recession shows little sign of recovery, most companies are adverse to recruiting new members of staff which often leaves a them with a skills shortage. Whatever your particular speciality may be, there has never been a better time to market yourself and your skillset as a consultant.
If you consider yourself a luddite or are risk adverse; let’s not forget that there are alternatives such as working in the travel industry and our favourite, teaching English abroad. If you were brought up with English as your native language, you are incredibly fortunate. As the global business world focuses more and more on emerging markets there is an ever increasing demand for Native English teachers abroad. We lived a very comfortable life in Vietnam working no more than 21 hours per week, allowing us plenty of time to explore. We will be covering Teaching English Abroad in more detail in future posts but in the meantime you can check out what some English teachers think here.
A worrying discovery whilst researching this was the sheer number of sites whose sole purpose is to sell you a programme that will enable you to live the dream with virtually no work involved. Whilst I won’t go so far as to call ALL of these sites scams, I would question the validity of many of their claims. As a blogger and entrepreneur I can guarantee that any successful business has taken an incredible amount of work to achieve. As the old saying goes, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
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