If you often dream of being able to get paid to travel, then you may want to consider becoming a freelancer. To that end, here are some things you need to know about starting a business, what to expect as a freelancer, and some travel tips.
Starting a small business usually means working more than the average amount of weekly hours. After all, you are likely your only member of staff, and that means you are the HR department, the sales team, the workforce, the CEO, and the person who makes the coffee. It’s a lot to take on board (especially if you’re fussy over how you like your coffee).
Let’s take a look at some of the common business and travel tips you’ll need to know if you hope to stand any chance of surviving year one as a travelling freelancer.
Plan & Track Your Time
Do you know who you can complain to if you find yourself working too many hours as a freelancer? Nobody. You need time tracking software for small businesses.
Not only will the software help you to manage your hours, but you’ll also be able to see at a glance where certain clients are demanding too much of your time. You’ll also be able to see where you’re not spending your time wisely on other projects, which could be why you don’t feel you’re achieving the same results for all clients consistently.
Time tracking isn’t just a tool for the sake of creating more work for yourself. It can genuinely help you to map out and see where your time goes. Without it, you could be wasting huge amounts of your day on not very profitable areas of your business without even realizing it.
Do What You Do Best
You need to pick what it is you actually want to do in terms of freelancing. Once you’ve figured the hard part out, you can get some clients on board and then perhaps even build up a portfolio to showcase what it is you can do. Consider what you can offer to people through digital means and then take action.
Here are some ideas for you to consider:
- Blogging/Freelance Writing
- Social Media Management
- Graphic Design
- Teaching English Online (or any language you speak but there is a high demand for English teachers)
- Online Translator
- Web Developer
- Any remote job you can find online (provided you can stick to the working hours the business wants – this might not be ideal for a lot of travellers but it is something to consider if you want to solidify a steady income whilst you’re away)
- Online Virtual Assistant
Decide what it is you want exactly, how many hours you’re willing to work, and then you can figure the rest out as you go along. It’s usually a better idea to have this sorted out before you set off on your voyage but if all else fails, there are often jobs you can find to do in person whilst away, such as hospitality work, farming, au pair roles etc…
However, it is always best to have a plan and a backup plan. This way, you can handle any unexpected surprises along the way. Take your laptop, find accommodation with a good internet connection, and enjoy the beauty of a freelance-travel life!
Develop Popular Themes in Your Work
This point can perhaps be best illustrated by assuming you wish to become a travel blogger, for example. Blogging to a niche audience about obscure concepts is unlikely to help you get found by companies who wish to pay for content on more standard themes.
As much as you want to desperately – and solely – blog about the lesser spotted greater crested newt, you might want to open your angle slightly wider to include the more popular theme of marine conservation. See how that works? Give the people what they want.
Another example might be travelling as a freelance musician, or even taking a gap year to freelance around the world as a graphic designer. Make sure that what you offer can add value to a broad audience, or you will limit your number of paying clients to below that which you need to remain financially viable (to put it another way, nobody will pay you and you will go broke!).
Make First Name Contacts With Every Client
Being a freelancer can often mean that clients try to give you the cold shoulder when it comes to paying their bill. They will put you on hold and tell you someone will call you back, but they never will.
One of the greatest weapons you can have in your arsenal against such game-playing is a person’s first name. Ask who will be in charge of the task. Get their name. Get their email. Get their phone number. Ask the right questions. Otherwise, you may be relying on a switchboard to guess who you need to speak to.
As well as this, always be prepared to network with prospective clients. One of the best freelance travel tips we can offer is to talk to people you meet along the way about your work. You never know, they might just be in need of your services – and boom! You’ve found yourself another client, just like that.
Know Your Worth
Set your going rate and stick to it – especially if it’s work you don’t particularly enjoy. This is your time to be exploring a new country whilst funding your trip, so even though you need your clients, don’t sell yourself short just for the sake of a little bit of extra cash.
Clients come and go, which is something you need to keep in mind. Ask yourself if the job is worth it, how long it will take you, and if it is something that you mind doing. Then come to a decision as to whether or not you want to go ahead with it.
One of the best things about freelance work is that you have so much control over your work and schedule. Use this to your advantage.
The reason people travel and freelance simultaneously is to get the most out of their experience. Therefore, the best travel tip is to make sure that you don’t bog yourself down with too much work. You don’t want to leave yourself unable to properly enjoy your trip.
Learn that it is okay to say “no” sometimes. You’re only human and you don’t want to look back on your trip and just remember your time spent in front of your laptop. Take into consideration all the business, freelance, and travel tips and remember that it’s all about finding that perfect balance!