One of the best things about being a freelancer is the ability to work anytime and almost anywhere. It’s what draws a certain type of individual to the lifestyle. This freedom allows you to get the housework done, take care of the kids, cook fabulous meals and set your terms and schedules for your work. Let’s face it, one of the biggest draws is also the ability to work in your underwear if you like! Freelancing is great for students, retirees, or just people who want the freedom to take their career into their own hands. You can even travel and still work, not something that is easy to do with most other career paths.
Of course, being able to work and travel at the same time does present the need for a specialized approach to your work. Even the extreme freedom and independence of freelancing has its limitations, but they are easily worked around with a little thought and careful planning. Let’s take a few minutes to look at what it takes to be an effective freelance worker while traveling.
Technology is, of course, the core of being an effective freelancer. The rise of modern mobile technology and improved internet service & access is what has led to the immense boom in freelance workers in almost all creative and administrative fields. You may already have the best laptop computer you can get for your work, and it may serve you well in 90% of your work life, but when traveling this could be a hindrance. The size of most powerful laptops makes them difficult to use on planes, trains, and buses. The expense of your high-powered laptop also makes it an attractive target for thieves and a liability should it become damaged or lost while on the road. Instead, why not invest in a small but capable 2-in-1 device such as the RCA Cambio 10.1” or the Nextbook FLEX 11”. These devices both run full Windows 10 personal edition and have full-scale networking capability. The best part is that they “break away” from their full layout laptop keyboard to enter “tablet mode” for easier access to some content. You can get one online for around $100 so worst case something happens to it, it’s not the end of the world. Keep your full laptop protected in your hotel room, stateroom, or cabin and use the economy device for your out and about work.
Internet access is essential to your life as a freelancer. While you can always find an internet café or some other location that offers a WiFi Access plan why pay for something that you can get for free. No this doesn’t mean that you have to spend all of your time at Burger King or Starbucks to use their WiFi. If you have cable TV and Internet service at home through one of the major national providers such as AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, or Bright House you can access local hotspots in the city that you are traveling for free as part of your service package. Check with your cable internet provider to find out what service access is offered on the go and in what cities you can get access. This also saves you money by not requiring you to burn through your mobile data plan on your phone by using the tether function for your other devices.
If you find yourself in a place that doesn’t have access via your provider, then don’t worry. Invest in a cheap WiFi hotspot and get a prepaid access plan through MetroPCS, Cricket, T-Mobile or Verizon. Charge up your plan with around $50 before you leave on your trip and you will be able to use it when needed. In most cases, the plans stay active for up to 90 days from the last recharge.
These are just a couple of the things that you can do to help make working on the road easier when you are a freelancer. You should also invest in a good backpack and use it just for your traveling and working needs, again nothing fancy or expensive. You just need something that is big enough to take your WiFi hot spot, your cheap 2-in-1, and maybe a cheap android (less than 40bucks on eBay) tablet, along with a basic notebook or binder. The idea here is to make working on the road as easy and hassle free as possible. Enjoy the freedom that freelancing affords you, including the ability to roam anywhere the spirit takes you.
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