Dreaming of retiring and living the good life as a world traveler? You don't have to wait until your 9 to 5 permanently ends--you can embrace travel now.
According to the Small Business Association, 52% of small businesses are home-based. And in a world where apps, devices, and digital communication make working anywhere easier than ever, there's really no reason to be chained to a desk, or even a single location, until retirement.
Live the life you want now by creating a portable business that can sustain your life of travel. It doesn't have to be overly complicated, or even expensive.
AirTreks shows that a reasonably comfortable around-the-world trip can cost between $20,000 and $30,000. Even if you play it safe and double those costs to travel more luxuriously, earning upwards of $60,000 is totally doable.
Here's how to create a portable business for a lifetime of travel.
Figure Out Your Tax Home Base
Before you do anything else, figure out where your home base is going to be for your business. It could make all the difference in staying on top of your cash flow come tax time. For starters, ask your accountant about how much you could save by incorporating in a state with no income tax, like Florida or Texas.
But if you're planning on endless, worldwide travel with few touchdowns in the United States, don't assume you're off the hook with the IRS. Intuit warns that U.S. citizens are still required to pay taxes even on income earned while living abroad. Ask your accountant or tax attorney for advice on next steps and how to better structure your business and available deductions, including avoiding double taxation in another country.
The whole point of a portable business is to be able to pick up and go. You don't need costly equipment, office space, or even staff holding you back. Slash as much overhead as possible, with your focus on travel.
Rent office space from a site like ShareDesk to book a single desk or entire conference room only when you need it. Hire contractors from UpWork when you need help with a project, or retain a virtual assistant from a site like Zirtual to help run your business while you're on the go.
Take the time to automate everything, from backing up your devices on Mozy, to sorting out direct deposit and investments before you go. The less stress you have in your business, the more freedom you have to enjoy the lifestyle you really want on the road.
Get Innovative with Your Skills
Not all businesses are easy to pick up and go. Property managers and builders can't exactly sneak away for weeks and months abroad and hope no one needs anything.
Work towards becoming a landlord instead, and outsource the duties to a property management company while you're on the road. Look to invest in commercial real estate with a company like RealtyMogul.com for as little as $5,000 for vetted deals. Not only will you have expanded your skillset and income streams, but you'll suddenly have developed passive income to fund your next destination.
Put Your Income on Autopilot
Once you've figured out how to expand your skillset and identified a profitable business model, put as much of your income on autopilot as possible. Teach others how to solve a problem or form their own portable businesses with a platform like Teachable.
You can also earn additional income as a silent partner in a business, or through peer lending with site like LendingClub. Although setting up passive income can be a ton of work up front, it pays off on the back end as your income steadily lands in your bank account.
Turn Work Into Pleasure
Working on the road requires a certain mindset to stay productive and get the work done on time, whether you're visiting works of art in Rome or enjoying the quiet countryside in France.
Make sure you actually enjoy the work you're doing and embrace it as a pleasure. You can help the process along by creating rewarding experiences that involve you in your travel community. Join a local TedX event, meet locals at a Meet-Up, speak at a convention about your business, or volunteer your services to positively impact your host community.
Simplify Your Workload
There's no point in traveling as a lifestyle if you're working too much to enjoy it. Simplify your workload by outsourcing, and get your time back in exchange. Hire a virtual bookkeeper from Bench or inDinero, select virtual copywriters from Problogger, and find marketers on Guru. Keep your team connected with an app like Asana or Slack to go over day-to-day operations and keep tabs on projects.
Take advantage of online tools and resources to work remotely and simplify the process. Move your files, photos, and graphics to the cloud with a resource like Dropbox or Mozy. Asana or Basecamp can assist with project management headaches, and Acuity Scheduling can keep your appointments and even charge clients for your time in advance.
Take It Offline
Online businesses don't own the market for mobile industries. You can use the time offline to drum up new business. For example, I spent a month in 2015 traveling Europe for speaking events and workshops that paid for my travel. I'm also going to be in Australia this month doing 8 back-to-back speaking engagements and workshops.
The scheduling will keep me crazy busy, but I embrace it as an opportunity to work on my business while generating customers for my startups like ContentMarketer.io and Narrow.io, as well as leads for my consulting and training business, Bootcamp.ContentMarkter.io and Contentmarketer.io/agency.
Keep It Simple
There's no need to overcomplicate your portable business and lifestyle. Prioritize what you want most, whether it's landing in a new location every few months, or steadily building up a base of clients. Work towards those primary goals that best simplify your life.
For example, don't offer 10 services in a panic over where your next paycheck is coming from. Instead, focus on a few with the most profitability and promise, and see how you can make them work through outsourcing and reducing overhead. If you find you're working more than you're seeing the sights, then it's probably time to reevaluate and recalibrate.
Are you dreaming of creating a portable business for a lifetime of travel? Share your experiences and tips below: