I’ll be honest, I get stressed out relatively easily. Unlike most, it’s usually not stemming from my chauvinistic boss or working too many hours; it’s more than likely caused by my on-the-go lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong, being a nomad has been wonderful. I’ve been able to escape the chains of San Diego-priced rent and see corners of the world I never would have had the urge to otherwise. As a freelance designer (doing what I love to do), I’ve achieved a sense of freedom seldom found in one’s career and I’m forever grateful for that.
Being a nomad, however, has taught me many things in the realm of remote work. If you’re a jet setter like me, I’ve come up with some tips along my journey that I hope you also find useful:
1. Power to Paperless
Ditch your printer. Seriously.
We live in the 21st century; a wonderful time that allows us to rely heavily on technology. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I won’t get into but for the purpose of working while traveling, we can certainly use it to our advantage. You will rarely catch me on a flight without my laptop, external hard drive, and cell phone that literally hold the contents of my entire business. If you’re still one that prints out everything, traveling can become a lot more of a hassle… Avoid the “Oh ****, I forgot ____!!” and keep it simple for yourself; keep your files (organized) on your hard drive along with an online backup in the cloud for safekeeping.
2. Don’t be a Pack Horse
If you’re a jet setter, you’ve probably already learned to ditch the 10 facial ointments, perfumes, and unnecessary makeup while you’re constantly on the move. Depending on your trip, a carry-on could save you much hassle while traveling as there’s no risk of losing your baggage, waiting forever at the baggage carousel, or overweight fees. Remember to always pack liquids in their own easily accessible, sealed 1-quart sized bag and to keep each bottle under the standard 3.4oz (100ml).
3. Tell Your Clients
Even if you’re only on a 1-hour flight headed straight for the nearest Starbucks to work in a new city for the day, it’s smart to be up-front with your clients.
Coming from the corporate world, I felt guilty at first for taking time off for re-locating during business hours as that would have not flown in my previous 9-to-5. Now that I’m an experienced freelancer, I’ve learned to suppress the feeling of guilt so long as I’ve been open with my clients of my limited availability for the day. If there’s an emergency, I’ll even take a phone call on a layover or work off the airport’s free WiFi – my clients will be much more understanding of my situation if I’ve told them ahead of time.
4. Give Yourself a Break
Most of us have grown accustomed to at least one night a week spent at home vegging on the couch with our favorite Netflix show. Taking this sort of relaxation out of your schedule while traveling can have its toll on you – and your mood. When you’re scheduling your travels, make sure to give yourself a night to just do nothing once in a while. I assure you it will make the adventurous parts of the trip even better!
5. Have a Backup Plan & GO WITH THE FLOW
As a frequent traveler, you’re well aware that plans can change at a moment’s notice. Your hotel lost your reservation? This city doesn’t have UBER?!? The WiFi is down?!?!?
Because you have clients relying on you, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Do ample amount of research before your trip(s) to make sure you know of the closest public WiFi spots, taxi/shuttle #s, and backup hotel stays. Since I travel to rural areas often, I even upgraded my Verizon plan to include a mobile hotspot just in case (which I’m able to write-off). You’ll also want to prepare yourself mentally for drawbacks – and how you could potentially fix them. It takes the right kind of person to be able to travel and work; you can’t get hung up on the little things like crappy hotel shampoo or hard-to-find hotel parking.
6. Take The Right Kind of Clients
It’s tough to realize sometimes but, as a freelancer, you have the power to choose your clients. Although the money is important, so is your sanity. Make sure to screen the clients you do business with to make sure they align with your business and personality. Take it from me, a nightmare client is NOT worth the $. To make sure they mesh well with your traveling lifestyle, make sure to casually mention something about it during your initial consultation/phone call. You can normally tell right away by gauging their reaction whether they’ll be chill or not chill.