Working from Anywhere and Everywhere: Part II

Location independent careers tend to fall into three buckets: entrepreneurs, freelancers and telecommuters. Each has its own intricacies and requires that the professional possess certain qualities to thrive without a traditional office.

As an entrepreneur you are own boss. You call the shots but you also take the hits. But simply being an entrepreneur doesn’t automatically give you location independence. Many industries are clustered in geographic conglomerates and are relatively immobile (although that is changing). Entrepreneurship becomes mobile when the entrepreneur is able to see and act on business opportunities and market needs as they ebb and flow around the globe. Successful location independent entrepreneurs are generally inventors of items or technologies, import/exporters, or pioneers of business ideas that are marketed virtually.

Both entrepreneurs and freelancers tend to be self motivated and organized. They are self starters who can take ideas and run with them. Freelancers differ from entrepreneurs in the nature of their work and who they work for. Freelancers take on projects for multiple clients and work across a mishmash of industries. They may be writing and researching one day, consulting for a start-up the next. Freelancers may be generalists who feel comfortable in many roles, from online marketers to business strategists. Many sell their brand as “business services” and take whatever work comes their way, outsourcing when they need more specialized expertise. The great thing about freelancing is the variety of the work, networking with a range of clients, and the ability to set your own schedule and workload. I consider myself to be a freelancer, although I boast a mean entrepreneurial streak and am perpetually cursed with wander-lust.

Rounding out location independent professionals is the telecommuter. I feel a special bond with these work from home guru’s because I lived with one for several years. Let me tell you from experience, working in sweatpants is worth it. Telecommuters usually work for one boss or company, but have the flexibility to work from home (or anywhere they can sign online and connect with their office server.) Many companies now offer “flex schedules” as an employee incentive, which allow workers to spend several days a week from home. It saves the company money on office space and gives the employee freedom from sitting in a cubicle 40 hours a week. As more and more companies work to reduce expenses by outsourcing and increasing productivity, telecommunting is becoming even more popular. Telecommuting and freelancing go hand in hand. If one company decreases your hours to cut costs, it’s possible to pick up a side job to supplement your income. Bam! Your working from the beach before you know it.