So where do you get all the money from? This is probably one of the questions I get asked all the time. What many people don’t know is that people who travel long term work a lot. Luckily, we were just able to find something we like, make a career out of it, and travel the world at the same time. I work all the time, and it’s sometimes a struggle not to work on the weekend. In a period of one year, I was able to travel to multiple destinations like Morocco, South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, and a lot more.
And no, I don’t have thousands of dollars in my bank account, and I didn’t become rich overnight when I was working in my banking career. I’ve done it all and still doing it by being a travel writer. Here are some steps that I did to have a successful freelancing career:
Step 1) Find something that you’re good at
If you want to be a successful freelancer, then it helps to love what you’re doing and be good at it. There are many freelancers out there, who are going to do any work they can get whether it is article writing, web development, logo design, etc. It’s great if you can make money doing different things, but this won’t keep you on the road for long. Most hiring companies are also looking for people who are experts in a certain skill. When you think about it, would you hire someone if you’re looking for a writer who has 600 reviews of writing projects alone or someone who has reviews of every skill you can think of? If you think your skills aren’t that great yet, begin learning and improving yourself. Many excellent online tutorials available online can help out. The only barrier would be your lack of effort.
Step 2) Begin building your portfolio
When I first started writing and didn’t have that much experience, I did some free, and low paid work just to start building my portfolio and profile. People and hiring companies won’t be able to assess the quality of your expertise and services if you don’t have anything to show them. You’re not going to be the most famous writer, web developer, overnight. Remember that we all need to start from somewhere. When you start getting more jobs done, and your portfolio starts piling up with reviews and samples, this is when you can start asking for the payment rate you deserve.
Step 3) Master Marketing
Freelancing and outsourcing sites are great, but one of their drawbacks is that they can put against cheaper competition from around the world. They are great to have profiles and reviews in but one thing I do is that I always reach out to magazines, bloggers, online newspapers, and ask them if I can write for them. Of course, this is only for people who have been freelancing for a while and already have a thing going for them on outsourcing sites. You’ll be surprised that they will get back to you. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that they’ll come running for you but out of let’s say, 100 e-mails I sent out, at least 3 got back to me. With all the freelancers and competition around the world, this is a good amount.
Step 4) Begin the transition slowly
Finishing two jobs and having some money doesn’t mean you need to quit your job, pack your stuff, and move across the world. I didn’t leave my job until I was making a regular income from freelancing writing for about eight months. I also didn’t travel to an expensive country and spend all my money there.
Remember that the primary key to make your freelancing career work is building a strong foundation for your profile, brand, and client base. This won’t happen overnight and will need time to grow. Start with countries with low living costs or places that are close to where you’re living right now.
Step 5) Keep up the good work and communication
Always putting out excellent work and staying in touch with your clients is key when you’re travelling. Having an excellent portfolio or becoming well-known isn’t an excuse for you to give them crappy work or not reply to their e-mail or messages. When you’re travelling, things do happen, and there are times where you don’t have proper internet access. You need to update clients with the progress and inform them if you’re not going to be available for a couple of days. Trust me, many clients don’t mind as long as they stay informed.
Step 6) Balance is key
Working and travelling the world requires balance. When I first started travelling and freelancing at the same time, there were moments where I was so absorbed in my work that I wondered why I was even travelling in the first place. Find what works for you. If you prefer waking up early in the morning, finishing some work, and then going sightseeing, then this is what you should do. If you prefer going on with your day and exploring the city you’re in and then coming back and working, then that’s up to you as well. There isn’t a right or wrong way; it’s about what works for you. Also, make sure you take a break. I always make sure that I give myself a day of per week.
Here are some websites that can help you get started. Please note that I have only personally used freelancer, elance, guru, and upwork. Take the time to read each website and how they work.
- 99 designs
- Hire my friend
- Freelancer (my personal favourite)
- demand media