When I tell people that I fund my travels around the world from freelancing gigs, they are both shocked and intrigued. Initially, I was confused by their shock because location independence was one of the main reasons I wanted to develop a financially successful career as a freelancer. I love to travel, but found it very difficult when working my typical career due to the constant demand to be in one geographical location. I decided to quit my traditional career, and embark on a new path of freelancing, so I could finally live my dream of traveling indefinitely. I was determined to learn how to make money while traveling.
The first step to becoming a freelancer is to identify what skills you possess that can benefit the lives and businesses of other people. If you can add value to someone’s life, they will happily compensate you and usually return for more work in the future. The basic concept of freelancing is leveraging your skills to help others in exchange for your desired compensation. I have always been extremely passionate about writing but never wanted to make a career of it because of the stereotypical artistic temperament, wanting to have complete creative control and direction of my craft.
What I soon found was that I could choose projects that I was passionate about to create the career I desired. When I first started my world adventure I researched hotels and restaurants near my first destination and propositioned them with an opportunity that would benefit them. The secret to freelancing is that you must give people a motive to desire your skill. You have to create the demand, and I grew to be very good at this. Another quality I leveraged was my ability to speak and write in English. The majority of the world does not speak English natively, yet they cater to many English-speaking customers. Are you starting to see the demand here? I would offer to write English menus for restaurants in exchange for free meals and English advertisements for guesthouses and hostels in exchange for accommodation.
It may seem less than ideal because it is not actual cash, but it was the perfect start to my freelance career. It taught me that people were willing to work with me, that my skill was valuable and could be leveraged. I continuously grew this model and launched a blog to document the journey. The creation of my blog was more than a place to share my journey; it was also a new skill to leverage, because I could now build websites. Once I used the collaboration of my English, writing and web design skills to cover all of my necessary expenses in face-to-face transactions I thought of ways to expand my career. The Internet was naturally the most effective and efficient way to accomplish this because of its ability to connect people from all over the world who desire my skills.
I search for people I can help online the same way I discovered restaurants and hotels in person. Knowing that all I had to do was find one person I could help, made my mission much easier than I imagined. My first online writing gig was for a hostel in Europe with a website that needed a great deal of editing. Once I noticed they used the same platform for web design that I did, I knew I could easily edit their website. A quick message to the hostel from the “Contact Us” page of the website led to several emails discussing what I could do, why I was qualified and how much it would cost and benefit them. I cannot stress how important it is to focus on improving someone’s business rather than how much money you will make from this improvement. Freelancing takes some serious selflessness, and to be successful you must embrace this.
Wherever I travel, I leverage my skills to help businesses and people in the surrounding area, in exchange for my necessities while finding freelance gigs online to pad my pockets. Eventually, I made enough money from my online opportunities to cover my entire lifestyle. I could complete my work from anywhere in the world, so that is exactly what I did. I have been traveling for over a year now, visiting over 10 different countries and completing work for clients all over the world.