Achieving Location Independence

The First Step For Any Aspiring Expat:

Becoming a Location-Independent Remote Worker

Achievement unlocked! I feel like I’ve summited a mountain because I’m nearly two months into my new life as a remote worker who is no longer dependent on any location. I’ve written a couple of blogs so far about how I did it for those interested. I pivoted from a career as a broadcast journalist to something more modern and remote-friendly — digital marketing.

You can learn more here about how I made a necessary pivot to remote work this year.

Now that I’m location-independent, can I graduate from Aspiring Expat Kindergarten now?

I think there’s a level you’re at when you first become interested in expatriating, becoming a “digital nomad,” or just someone more capable of traveling. You fall down a rabbit hold of information about how to make a passive income, become your own boss, open an Amazon store, sell low-content books, and so on. There’s a ton of information out there about how to make a living on the go.

You can become location-independent using what skills you already have or you can pick up new ones. I choose to do both.

Moving to another country isn’t going to happen overnight and neither is landing a remote job or some version of being able to make a living online. There are many paths, like convincing your company to allow you to work remotely, landing a remote job like I did, or maybe you’re simply an entrepreneur already.

How I Became Location-Independent

Hint: it took time & effort, not a lot of money.

I took the skills I already had, which were SEO copywriting and solid professional writing skills as a journalist and asked myself, “What can I do with this?” Then I looked at hundreds of job ads on LinkedIn. I’m not kidding about that — I endlessly read the job postings for anything with the word “writer” in the title.

I realized no one wanted to hire a person with my skills. No one wants to hire “just a writer” anymore.

I could have become fragile about this and had some kind of mid-life crisis. Instead, I took a deep breath in order to reset and I asked myself how to get those skills. Digital marketing skills are surprisingly easy and cheap to come by, so I began to work towards obtaining them. I spent more time and effort learning than I did money on this.

I re-did my resume and LinkedIn profile frequently to see what kind of results I’d get from different keywords. (If that’s not a marketer at heart, I don’t know what is). I rebuilt my portfolio of writing samples on my website, which I finally converted from a free WordPress site to hosted with a URL and everything. I then looked and applied for only remote work. I was focused, diligent, and tenacious about it. I did a bunch of job interviews until I landed the job I have now.

Leaving the USA-style, 9-5 Rat Race

If you’re looking to land a job in another country, good for you. That’s not me or what I’m about. Having my residency determined by an employer doesn’t seem very freeing to me; I left the 9-5 to become less dependent on an employer. I did think about it about it last year and decided — though it may be helpful to get me out of the U.S. faster — it takes too much out of my control and would actually tie me down more. The goal is to get off the teat, which I’ve now done.

Much has changed for me in what’s now been a year since I started this site.

I caught COVID-19 and became extremely ill. I’m still recovering and not quite ready to hit an airport and travel. For now, I’ve ditched the idea of fast travel as a digital nomad. A year ago, the idea of spending a month or two at a time in a country traveling and playing the visa game appealed to me. That goal may take more time.

My next step is let my lease run out and find a place where I can continue to pursue better health. Leaving the 9-5 rat race has been a big part of that. I would love to head to Mexico or Poland when I’m ready. (I’m working on my Spanish & Polish). For now, I am using my time freedom to continue to recover from covid and make investments into my future skillset.

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