7 Simple Steps to Become Location Independent Today

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

Becoming location-independent over 15 years ago was the best decision we ever made. But it didn’t happen overnight. There were a series of important steps that we had to take to realize our digital nomad dreams and these are the same steps that anyone would take who might be interested in getting into this lifestyle.

In this post, I’m going to share with you 7 simple steps that you can take today toward a location-independent life. Even if you’ve never worked anything besides an office brick-and-mortar job, I hope this post will help give you some inspiration. Becoming a digital nomad may just be the best gift you can give to yourself.

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What Does it Mean To Be Location Independent?

Location independence means that you have the freedom to work and live anywhere in the world. This is different than digital nomadism in that you can still have a base somewhere, without constantly traveling as the word “Nomad” implies.

7 Simple Steps You Can Take To Become Location Independent Today

Alright, here we go. Here are 7 simple steps that you can take today to start on your journey towards location independence. And to get started, of course, you’re going to need some money.

1. Budget & Save

save money to travel

I’m not just talking about penny-pinching here. When Dariece and I were planning our first leap into location independence, we wrote our wage after tax at the top of a page, and below that we subtracted every expense we had.

From phone bills and gym memberships to Starbucks coffee before work and our electricity bill… everything was on that list.

You’d be surprised at how many unnecessary things appear on your credit card bill every month. Cut out coffee and make it to-go from home. Change your gym membership for free YouTube HIIT workouts. Ask a friend or family member to add you to their family plans for their streaming services, or share multiple accounts between you.

Once you have enough subtracted from your bills that you’re saving each month, add back on $50 per week for entertainment (or however much you feel comfortable with), and stick to this budget religiously. This is exactly how we were able to save tens of thousands of dollars in a single year.

2. Ask For More Work or Remote Work

ask for remote work

If you’re trying to save up some money to have a nest egg to support your first few years of location independence, overtime pay and extra hours can be a godsend.

But while you’re at it, why not ask your boss if you can do some extra work from home. This will plant the seed for the potential for more remote work down the road, once you decide to go fully remote.

Dariece and I both did this to an extent. I took on as many overtime hours as I could, working as much as 80 hours per week while we were saving to leave Canada for good.

My job was physical labor, so it didn’t allow me to work remotely, but Dariece’s did and she picked up extra hours working evenings and weekends from home, earning more than double her normal hourly wage.

3. Pick Up a Side Hustle

working as a freelance writer taking a course online

There are lots of side hustles you can pick up while you’re working your regular job and the great thing about these, is that some of them are remote jobs so you can continue them once you leave your home and become location-independent.

I’ve personally tried countless side hustles over the years. From freelance writing to managing social media for businesses.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably have guessed that my favorite side hustle, turned full-time career, is blogging. It earns us far more than our jobs in Canada ever did while working way fewer hours and having the freedom to choose our hours and work from anywhere. I really can’t recommend it enough.

If you’ve always considered starting a travel blog, but figured it was too complicated or you’re not tech-savvy enough, check out this post and follow the steps to have your own blog up and running in less than 14 minutes.

After you’re done, you’ll also get our Blogging Kickstarter Course ($199) for free and the course will show you exactly how to write blog posts, add photos, and design your blog like a pro, even if you’ve never seen the backend of a website before. This course is so simple.

4. Start House Sitting

house sitting paris

House sitting changed our lives. When we first started over a decade ago, I remember sending photos to my family of the luxury house sitting jobs we received in Costa Rica and the Caribbean and they didn’t even believe me when I told them we were staying there for free.

When I told them that there are dozens of house sitting websites that you can join and get amazing house sits within just a few days, they were blown away.

If you’ve always wanted to become location independent, but you also want to stay in stunning accommodation without spending a fortune, then house sitting is the ultimate stepping stone.

Sign up for our House Sitting Roadmap and you’ll get 20% off of the best house sitting platform, plus you’ll get the exact steps to take to sign-up for house sitting, create the perfect profile, and land your first house sit.

5. Start Racking Up Credit Card Points

travel hack credit cards for travel

To date, we’ve earned around $10,000 worth of credit card points from our credit cards and as Canadians, we don’t even have very good points cards.

If you live in the US, you could easily earn a lot more than this in points. Some credit card sign-up bonuses are worth upwards of $1000, and many of the best credit card hackers out there are flying around the world in business-class seats for free and staying in luxurious hotels for free as well.

If you’re like me and you just want to dabble in the world of credit card points, find out what the best points cards for you are locally (in the US this is likely Chase Saphire Preferred, in Canada it may be TD First Class Infinite) and then start spending as much as you can on those cards to get points.

6. Tell People You’re Going

This is one of the best ways to give yourself accountability and a healthy amount of pressure to follow through with your location-independent dreams.

Simply tell your friends and family that you’re going, and tell them where you plan to go, and when.

This simple psychological mini-commitment can have an enormous impact on your likelihood of actually taking actionable steps toward location independence.

When we told our friends and family, they had so many questions about it and they were so intrigued, that from that point on we felt we had no choice but to follow through and go.

7. Book Your Flights

An airplane cruising in the clouds

I’m not talking about this being the final step out of all of the steps listed above. I honestly think that you should book your flights as one of the earliest steps in your journey so that you have the push to go.

When we first quit our jobs and left Canada, we booked our flights before we even sold our house or our car. This seemed crazy to a lot of our friends, but in reality, it meant that no matter what, we were going.

This helped kick us into gear and take all of the necessary steps towards our dreams.

If you also decided to sign-up for house sitting (highly recommended), then your flight can be booked to the city of your very first house sit. That way you know that when you get there you have a comfortable place to stay and maybe even a furry friend to keep you company.

FAQs About Becoming Location Independent

What if my job doesn’t allow me to work remotely?

If your job refuses to let you work remotely, or you work in a field that’s not conducive to remote work, you can find other jobs on the side that allow you to work from home or on the road. Try those out and if they end up becoming an income-replacement, you can consider a more permanent life change.

What are the best ways to earn money on the road?

The best ways to earn money on the road are freelance writing, teaching English online, starting your own blog, or proofreading

Where do I pay tax if I’m not living in my home country?

This is a question best reserved for a tax accountant. If you’re planning a massive life change like this, it’s worth paying a small fee to chat with a tax accountant and explain your situation. Usually, if you’re going to be moving somewhere else for longer than 6 months, then you’ll become a tax resident in that country and pay tax there. For Americans, there will still likely be some tax implications at home.

What do I need to be location independent?

Basically, all you need is a laptop or tablet, a stable internet connection and a place to work from. That’s the joy of becoming location independent and working from your computer, you need very little and you end up having a lot more freedom.

What is the best paying job I can do remotely?

Pretty much any computer-based job can be done remotely these days, so you might even have the opportunity to take your current job on the road. As far as new businesses you can start and ways to make new income streams, proofreading can pay up to $40/hour and there are plenty of blogs out there earning tens of thousands of dollars per month.

Start Now!

Becoming location independent and working remotely was the single best decision we ever made in our lives. It led to us starting this blog and others, and between our different websites, we have almost unlimited creative freedom and expression and we work very few hours… on average fewer than 20 hours per week.

On top of that, we’ve had the pleasure of working from incredibly exotic locations like Bali, many islands in the Caribbean, mountain towns in South America, and historic cities in Europe like Rome and Paris.

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

Written by

Nick Wharton

Nick is the co-founder, editor and author of Goats On The Road. He contributes to numerous other media sites regularly and shares his expert knowledge of travel, online entrepreneurship and blogging with the world whenever he can. He has been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and has more than 10 years of experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship.

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