Do you ever dream of being able to run a business from anywhere in the world? Have you ever found yourself looking online for different ways you could travel abroad and somehow make an income while you were halfway around the world?
Over the past decade I have been perfecting this skill. The truth is that it is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially true if you are used to a 9 to 5 standard day job. The dream of one day quitting that job and breaking free from the chains of the corporate world can be elusive and fleeting.
When I was 22 I left the country for the first time. I signed up for a study abroad trip to Spain, paid the money and prepared to leave home. To be perfectly honest, this trip wouldn’t be my first time out of America, I frequently went to Mexico in my teen years growing up in San Diego. None of my trips to Mexico had any real cultural importance. In fact, I don’t even really remember what transpired during most of those trips and never really made farther the Tijuana bars on Revolution Blvd. This trip was going to be different, I was with college kids, and there was some structure, so I figured that was a good place to start.
I remember getting off the plane in Madrid. I was bustled away from the group with my host mom who didn’t speak a lick of English and was given a room in her little apartment. I was super jet lagged and had never been on a flight that long in my life, so I passed out immediately. When I woke up it was dusk outside. I walked down the 4 flights of stairs and sat out on the sidewalk in the neighborhood. I was listening to all of the sounds of the city, and taking it all in. The smells, the cars, the food, everything was different, I didn’t know anyone around, and I was far from home. I was in LOVE.
This first encounter of Wanderlust was intoxicating to me. I vividly remember it and I was so grateful to be in that moment experiencing life again in a new way for the first time.
I thought to myself, what if I could do this all of the time, what if I could just travel a lot? It was sometime on that trip that I decided I was going to need to find a line of work that was going to allow me to do this. About a week before the program ended, I told my professors running the program that I wouldn’t be accompanying them back to America. I stayed in Western Europe an additional 4 months, traveling around Spain, Italy and France.
Once I ran out of money, I came home. At that time I was running a Mortgage office which surprisingly was still standing after my almost 5 months of me being gone. It didn’t matter though because I came home in September 2008 just in time to watch the housing market collapse completely. I was screwed. I had done really well for a kid who dropped out of college to get rich but it was all backfiring now and traveling was the last thing on my mind.
After the dust settled, I was about $190,000 in debt and in need of a new career. I had decided to go back to college a year earlier and had about a year and a half left for my undergrad degree so I figured I would spend the next 2 years finishing college and finding a career that would set me up to travel the globe and make money while I was doing so.
The first business that I found that worked really well for me was multi-level marketing. It seemed like a great fit. I was recruited into a company that sold me the dream, saying that if I spent a couple years working hard at building an organization, it would eventually take off and continue to pay me residually. This was PERFECT. I could build the business for a couple years to about $100K per year then disappear to Indonesia
For a first timer in MLM, I did incredibly well, and I build that $100k per year income in a short amount of time but it was short lived. The first company I was with asked me to leave, and the second company I joined eventually went belly up. Also every time I would leave the country on a trip, I found myself on my phone or laptop the whole time putting out fires, and that was just stupid.
When I finally walked away from the industry I decided to put my entrepreneur hat back on. I had raised some money for a tech start-up, and was actively learning how to trade currencies in the FOREX market.
I never lost sight of my desires and dreams of being able to make money from a Laptop. I just needed to be a little more resourceful. I found that as long as I can offer real value to a client, even being a great distance away, that my capability to earn money anywhere in the world would be there.
So over the past 5 years, I have been doing just that. Most of the consulting work that I do is never from an office. I do keep an office at the Currency trading school that I have a long-term contract with, but they have always been cool with me leaving and making my own schedule. Again, I attribute that leniency to the results I am able to deliver. The moral of the story is that there is a million ways to make money and add value to a person, place or business, however you need to be resourceful if you are going to do this from a laptop half a world away.
I have put together my top 5 tips to finding your own way to take your business on the road with you for good. Be sure to look for my next post, “Top 5 Tips to Working remotely.”