There are more and more people contracting nowadays and the idea soon springs to mind that you’re able to do this anywhere with a reliable Internet connection. You could be sunning yourself in San Francisco or trekking through rainforests – either way, you’d be able to set aside a few hours a day to get some work done. These people are often called ‘Digital Nomads’.
You’re able to live on far less than you think in some parts of the world; India, Thailand, Bulgaria, Czech Republic are just some that spring to mind. Being paid UK wages and living in a place where the cost of living is significantly less is a good way to go. Actually running your own ‘business’ as it were, is a little more complicated than it may seem, so we have compiled five tips to make sure you have your bases covered.
1. Get your contracts in order before you leave
Establishing yourself as a trustworthy and reliable contractor or freelancer before you set off is one of the most important things you can do. You’ll need a steady income coming in – living off of your savings or having just one gig lined up before you go is a sure-fire way to burn through your money.
You’ll want to experience what the world has to offer, and feeding yourself and housing yourself soon adds up, so don’t expect that work will ‘just roll on in’. It won’t. Find work and be the best you can be so you are offered more work over time. You’ll want a retainer contract that you’ll be doing regularly and then taking more work as your time suits whilst you’re away.
2. Finding local clients is challenging, but not exactly impossible
You may be able to wrangle some local work, but you’re going to be paid in local currency. Of course, check your visa allows you to work in that territory first.
3. The Internet isn’t always quick and easy to find
Don’t rely on the idea that you’ll always have access to the Internet. Research well in advance, and definitely don’t commit to work unless you are confident you’ll be able to have access to the internet to carry out the work or hand it in. Most cafes will give you access if you buy a drink and many pubs outside of the UK will also grant you a Wi-Fi connection. Free Wi-Fi is becoming more widespread so you might find a regular spot to bed down and work.
4. Where you sit matters
If you have bad backs or repetitive strain injury (RSI) problems you should be wary about travelling whilst working. This is because you won’t always have access to a comfy chair or a desk to work at. You’ll need to get used to working sat in bed, on a sofa, at a dining table or a booth at a diner. Wherever you are, remember your circumstances will change and this will affect your working times.
5. Plan, plan, plan
Do not expect to hit the road and put in 40-hour weeks. Almost everyone who has tried this has become very distracted at first, often on purpose, and only settled into a good working pattern after a couple months or more. Expect this as a minimum. Using Airbnb to rent cheap apartments is a good way to ensure you have a safe home to work from with Wi-Fi. You’ll naturally get into your own groove, so whether you’re working eight hours straight or three sets of three hours, find what works for you to be the most productive and stick with it.
Be sure you check out our guides to contracting for more information.
iContract connects recruiters with contractors, so you can pre-register here and find new opportunities when we go live soon.