You know the benefits, but do you know the downsides of freelancing?
One of the main benefits of being a freelancer is having the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. This allows entrepreneurs with wanderlust to venture around the world and see the things they want to before the golden years of retirement.
However, while traveling while freelancing is great on paper, it can be difficult in practice. Here are four tips for traveling as a freelancer and finding that elusive balance between work and play.
Nail Your Time Management Skills
To be able to do everything you want to, you’ll need to be brutally efficient. That means having the organization and determination to make every moment of your work count. For example, if you know you have a major deadline coming up that might coincide with a day trip to Machu Picchu, you had best be able to get that work done in advance.
Time management is essential for entrepreneurs, regardless of where they work in the world. As a freelancer, the need for this skill is compounded by the desire to have a flexible schedule while maintaining the funds that make these experiences possible. Use time-blocking and lists to outline what needs to be accomplished every day. Identify an MIT (Most Important Task) to do first and cross it off your list. Use techniques like the Pomodoro method and apps like Forest to keep you focused and productive.
Invest in Travel Insurance
As a freelancer, insurance is your best friend. If you’re spending a lot of time outside of your home country, you’ll want reliable travel insurance to cover the unexpected. An emergency hospital trip, even for something as simple as a bad stomach, can cost a lot of money when you’re in a foreign country.
While everyone should have travel insurance, it’s even more important as a freelancer. You work for yourself, and if you’re not working, there’s no money coming in. A hospital stay might not only cost you thousands in medical bills, but it will also result in lost work. The last thing you want is to get stranded somewhere without the means to get home.
There’s fine print when saying that as a freelancer, you can work from anywhere. That fine print is that you can work from anywhere that has internet. While it’s hard to imagine places in the world that lack a connection to the world wide web, depending on where you go, the quality of your connection could be a challenge.
When looking for places to stay, prioritize wifi over all other amenities. As a safe backup plan, look for places near your accommodations that have a public wifi connection. Additionally, it always pays to have a great data plan in case you need to connect in a remote area and have work downloaded for travel purposes.
Set Office Hours
While it’s your responsibility to meet deadlines and deliver on the work that’s promised, you can also set healthy boundaries with your clients. Too many people are used to the 24/7 connection that remote work has introduced. You can get around this by setting office hours and managing expectations.
Outline the terms of your communication with each client, and ensure they have a clear understanding of how to get a hold of you. You can tell them that you check emails at a specific time and respond within 24 hours. Feel free to provide an emergency phone number at which they can contact you, so long as they aren’t abusing it. Finally, let them know in advance when you plan to be in poor internet areas or offline.
No matter where you decide to go and how long you decide to stay, there’s always a way to balance your love of travel and the work that funds it. Careful planning, strong client relationships, and excellent communication skills are the key to your success.