If you’ve ever dreamed of working away on your laptop, while sitting at the beach and drinking margaritas, I’m here to tell you that your fantasy stops here! First of all laptops and sand? Margaritas and spelling? Neither are a good mix unfortunately. Not to mention the glare from the sun, which makes you unable to make out anything on your computer screen. Believe me, I’ve tried. I had that working by the beach dream too!
But before, I completely destroy your fantasy of becoming location independent, and working from anywhere, I will say that it is possible and highly desirable! It’s not always glamorous, and more often than not, you’ll be working away in a hotel room, but heh, at least the beach is just a 5 minute walk away! That’s something!
As an adventure travel blogger, I could easily be location independent, and while I do work from around the world, I choose to also have a base (Munich, Germany). But I love that tomorrow I could decide to leave on a whim and my business would not be impacted – although the husband and 2 cats is another story! The reason that location independence is possible in so many industries – not just travel blogging, is thanks to some fantastic online tools. All of the online tools listed below are ones that I use in my business and recommend. I’ve found quite a few duds in the process, so have done the hard work of weeding those out for you and presenting my favourite ones to help you create a life full of abundance and location independence, where you can work from anywhere in the world! P.S. remember to send me a postcard!
And if you found this useful, I’d be grateful if you would share it with other location independent entrepreneurs like yourself!
LIFESTYLE: SINCE YOU’RE ALWAYS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST YOUR WORK
I had to start with my very favourite link, since when you’re traveling it’s easy to get out of shape. With Gaia you have no excuses (sorry, but if you are going to be wearing a bikini all the time, you’ll thank me later!). They offer streaming of hundreds of yoga videos that you can watch on any device, along with various programs throughout the year – all included in your monthly fee. Thanks to this site I discovered Kundalini yoga, which I love and do it at least three times a week both at home and on the road. You can try it for just .99 cents to see if you like it. I personally buy the yearly plan which saves me 20% and costs only $95.40 – SO much cheaper than going to yoga classes! (Affiliate)
Guided meditation available online or via their app. I signed up for it when a friend described it to me as meditation for dummies! I feel so much better and am more productive when I meditate consistently. First 10 sessions are free, after that it’s €9.95 /month.
WEBSITE TOOLS FOR LOCATION INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES
While there are a lot of different platforms for you to build a blog or website on, I highly, highly recommend WordPress. It’s user-friendly and if you self-host the site, you are free to customize it in anyway that you like by choosing from a selection of thousands of themes and plugins. It’s by far the most popular platform for bloggers, and it works well on regular sites as well. (Free)
I’ve tried several different web hosts and SiteGround, who I’m currently with on the recommendation of my wise IT guy is by far my favourite! You can register a domain name through them, they provide free set up and/or transfer, and very importantly guarantee 99.9% uptime – something that was an issue with previous web hosts I’d had. There’s nothing worse than when visitors come to your site, but are unable to view it because your web host is down! There are 3 different plans available starting from as low as €3.95 / month. I’m on the GoGeek for €11.95 / month. (Affiliate)
As soon as your website is live, I recommend that you install Google Analytics, which can be done by installing code, or if you’re using WordPress and avoid coding like the plague, you can download a free plugin. Google Analytics gives you a ton of information about how many people are coming to your site, what key words they are using to find your site and how long they staying on your site, to name just a few of the important metrics. I log into Google Analytics on a weekly basis to monitor what content is performing well, or under-performing and then build my content strategy on the information I’ve gathered. (Free)
Your website’s theme is what will really make you stand out – for better or for worse! I’m a huge fan of StudioPress themes which use the Genesis platform. They’re easy to use, come with fantastic customer service and have a great reputation. I’m currently using the Agency Pro theme for this blog. If you click on the StudioPress Themes link and do a search for Agency Pro, you’ll find it, or you may get inspired by one of their other great themes. I know I had a difficult time choosing. (Affiliate)
Alternatively, there’s also ThemeForest. One of the things I love about ThemeForest is that they have over 18,000 themes to choose from, so you will be able to find something, regardless of your industry, and if you can’t, well then, you’re just far too picky! ;). The themes are created by different authors, so be sure to check out the feedback comments left by previous buyers. Insider Tip: Ensure the theme you choose is responsive – so many people use their phones or other devices that you want to make sure your site looks brilliant regardless of which device they are viewing it from. One More Insider Tip: If you see a site that you like, open the source code, then do a search for “theme”. If they’ve used a theme, you will see the name of the theme. If you don’t see a theme, then it has been custom-built. Themes start from $3 and up. (Affiliate)
This is my go-to place for premium plugins. In the past, I rarely used paid plugins, but the old saying You get what you pay for, is often true. Now, I don’t hesitate to buy a premium plugin that has good reviews as I know there’s likely to be fewer conflicts with other plugins and more support if I do run into trouble. A few of the plugins I’ve bought from here include: Interactive World Maps, which you can view on my Destinations page, the WordPress Social Stream, which is featured on my Social Streams page and Visual Composer: Page Builder for WordPress, which I use to create custom pages or posts, like my About page. If you’ve ever asked yourself, Is there a plugin that can do …..for me? Be sure to check out Envato Market! (Affiliate)
One of the biggest challenges that all entrepreneurs face, and not just location independent ones, is finding talented and affordable designers and developers. That’s where Envato Studio comes in. They connect you with hand-picked designers and developers. So, for example if you needed a new logo, you would search the designers offering that service, review their previous work, comments and pricing, then choose one! They have designers and developers that do everything from create Facebook covers, to landing pages to video editing, and even WordPress plugins. I like the large selection of people they have for you to choose from. Rates vary depending on the task. (Affiliate)
If you’re selling anything on your site, you need a quick way for people to pay you – none of this, the check is in the mail stuff! Paypal accomplishes that relatively easy. (Free to set up, but they will charge you fees for each payment processed)
SOCIAL MEDIA/CONTENT TOOLS FOR YOUR LOCATION INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
Dominate Twitter in 12 Minutes a Day
Confession, this is an online course that I designed in response to hearing so many people say I don’t get Twitter and Twitter is such a waste of time. I didn’t get it either for the first six months, I was on it, but then through a lot of trial and error I figured out how to make it work for me. Now it’s one of my top sources of business referrals! The course focuses on getting you results on Twitter and fast. It’s a compact, straight to the point set of tools that I personally developed and use to grow my 58,000+ Twitter following. It will save you time, milk your existing content, and increase your number of followers! (Price: $89)
This is a fantastic tool for discovering the most popular and relevant hashtags for your tweets so that they get noticed and don’t disappear into oblivion. Insider Tip: Use 1-2 hashtags per tweet. Anymore looks spammy and decreases engagement.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
I’m obsessed with this tool. You enter in your potential headline and it gives you a score and suggestions for improvement! I have spent hours revising headlines with this tool, trying to create the one that will results in tens of thousands of people clicking on my post. OK, it’s a great tool, but it’s not a miracle worker! (Free)
GRAPHIC DESIGN AND HOW TO MAKE PRETTY PICTURES OF YOU SITTING BY THE BEACH
Canva makes you look like a graphic designer. I love their pre-formatted templates for Facebook covers, Twitter headers and more. You can either use their photos or upload your own. I use it at least a couple of times a month. Free, and paid features.
Photo editing made easy. This is the place to be if you want to make collages, or add text or special features to your photos. Free, and paid features.
ORGANIZATIONAL TOOLS SO YOU CAN WORK FROM ANYWHERE
This project management tool has changed my life. I now have colour-coded projects and am never searching for my “to-do” list on scraps of paper like I used to do. You can also use it to communicate/manage other team members, although I don’t use this function. (Free)
This handy tool keeps all your notes together and syncs between your various devices. I also love the web clipper tool – so much more effective than bookmarking! There is a premium service, but I just use the free one. (Free)
WHEN YOU NEED MORE HANDS…OR BEACH TIME – NO JUDGEMENT HERE!
Congratulations! It’s a good sign that your business is growing if you need additional help. oDesk is the place to find online freelancers who can do anything from research, to virtual assistant tasks, to updating your social media streams to custom programming your site. Insider Tip: Hire carefully, and take the time to read the reviews and skills to see if the applicants are truly qualified for the position. Better yet, hand select a few and personally invite them to apply for your job. I’ve had much better luck with this method. Note: there are other sites out there such as Elance.com and Guru.com that do virtually the same thing, but I personally use oDesk. (Free to post a job, then you negotiate the rate of pay with whoever you decide to hire.)
Disclaimer: Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission, at no cost to you if you purchase a service through the link. I sincerely appreciate your support.