The Future Of Location Independent Work
Working in an office building has been the hallmark of white collar work in America… but this is changing rapidly.
More and more workers are picking up their briefcases, handing in their resignation letters, and choosing to work from wherever they choose.
Finding work on websites like Odesk.com and similar websites has allowed a new form of worker, the ‘digital nomad’ to roam the earth indefinitely while earning his wages via his or her laptop and some WiFi.
With the possibility of earning upwards of $80 per hour becoming more and more attainable, the reasons for keeping to the tried and true career path our grandparents took for granted are becoming slim.
The Office Setting
The office as most of us understand it has left a lot to be desired….
Daily commuting time averages 30 minutes each way for those traveling by car and 45 minutes for those traveling by public transportation.
Low trust in the office can leave managers feeling that they need to watch their employees carefully in order to make sure work is done correctly and employees feel negatively about this micro-management.
The office is often full of distractions and fellow employees with a constant desire to gab. According to a recent article by Atlasssian, less than 60% of time spent at work is spent on tasks of any real importance.
Last but not least, when you start out working in an office setting you will likely get (at most) two-weeks vacation per year. Working at a company for years will maybe get you up to four weeks.
The Location Independent Alternative
The location independent, on-demand model of work has many benefits that the standard office model doesn’t provide.
Commuting – Consider your commute a thing of the past. If you want to ‘commute’ to the coffee shop in downtown Chiang Mai, Thailand to get your work done then by all means feel free! (The Wifi in your room will be enough however if you prefer the room from your apartment window)
Trust – Your boss won’t care how you get your work done so long as you provide the desired results. If you like to sleep in and work late into the night then by all means, do so. No one is watching you, but if you break your employers trust there are consequences just like in an office setting.
Distractions – Work where you work best, whether that be in your apartment or at a local cafe. Your time management is all on you, so if you work hard and finish everything by noon you can go take a hike for the latter half of the day.
Vacation – Why dream of traveling to distant locations 50 weeks out of the year when you can live wherever you want year round. All that matters is that you have some way of connecting to the internet and the willpower to actually do some work for a portion of the day.
But What About The Pay? Won’t I Be Living On Peanuts?
During my first week as a freelancer I earned over $600. This is roughly $30,000 per year.
I worked 30 hours that week, which means my hourly rate was a little over $15 per hour. This is much better pay than most young Americans earn at more ‘typical’ jobs.
Since my first week I’ve found work that has paid me extremely well. I earn roughly $80 per hour writing blog posts for one of my current employers.
Within just a few short weeks, I have already begun asking for and receiving raises from my employers. Just last week, I received a 33% pay increase from a client I write for on a monthly basis.
This pay is more than enough for a single male to live comfortably in the United States, but the most exciting piece of the puzzle is when you consider location independence.
When traveling in Asia, for example, it is possible to live comfortably on just $600 per month. With the ability to earn this sum in just a week, ‘digital nomads’ can decide between three weeks worth of work-free vacation per month or three weeks of disposable income in their pockets.
Call me old fashioned, but I will always feel safer with a nest-egg. I’m currently maxing out my IRA contributions every year with the help of me freelancing dollars. I’m saving roughly $200 per month, which is more than enough to help me rake in over $2,000,000 by the time I’m 65. (Calculated my savings here)
But… How Long Does This Take To Set Up?
If you’re anything like me…. (a college student with no prior experience as a writer) the entire process should take roughly three days.
I spent my first day creating my Odesk profile and applying to jobs. I spent my second day waiting for replies to my work offers. On my third day I started working for my new clients and earning money.
With virtually no experience in my freelancing field I made $600 in my first week and the story continues from there.
Are There Any Downsides To On-Demand Location Independent Work?
There are a few downsides to working remotely from anywhere on the planet, but most of them can be eliminated with a little planning and forethought.
No Company Benefits – Though some employees have been able to work out a plan with their companies to work remote, most ‘digital nomads’ either work as freelancers or run their own companies. This means that the usual ‘dental and medical’ perks that come with an office job must be paid for out of pocket.
These costs may add up to thousands of dollars per year, but with a little planning they can easily be managed. As a freelancer, you can expect to earn pay close to and often higher than $80 per hour. Many freelance writers earn upwards of $3 per word! With the sheer amount of gross profit you are able to take in, it is not too challenging to pay for the old company benefits on your own.
Lonely Work Conditions – Some people enjoy working in an office for the camaraderie and feeling of team effort. This is something that comes inherently with work in an office but must be sought out as a freelancer.
Cities all across the world are providing ‘co-working spaces’ where groups of freelancers come together to work in an office setting with all the amenities (Fast Wifi, printing services, unlimited coffee, etc.) for just a few dollars a day. Everyone in these spaces has a plethora of their own adventures to share and you’ll have no shortage of human interaction.
Interested In Leanring More About The ‘Digital Nomad’ Lifestyle?
Sign up for my newsletter to learn my tips and tricks of traveling the world.
The journey is exciting, I’d love to have you join me.