Freelancing, whether as a writer, photographer, or programmer, is a career that affords a great deal of freedom. Not only are freelancers not constrained by a set time schedule, by specific wardrobes, or by office politics, but they’re also free to work from wherever they can get an Internet connection – and in some cases, freelancers can even work without an Internet connection, only stopping at an Internet café every week or two to mail out work and accept new assignments. If you’re a freelance writer or photographer and would like to work while traveling around your country or to other countries in this vast world, there are a few things to keep in mind.
You will need regular to semi-regular work, depending on your payments, budget needs, and savings. Depending on only one client while living abroad is dangerous unless that client has a track record of on-time payments and regular work. A combination of residual income from online content sites, as well as regular work from private or corporate clients, is the ideal situation.
Your clients should ideally not require daily communication; the best clients either have an online system to gather and submit assignments, or communicate a week/month’s work of assignments at once. If you are dependent on needing a daily Internet connection, your freedom to travel around and to certain locations will be limited.
If you only travel within your home country, this shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re traveling around a foreign country, however, you will need to make sure you have access to your payments and a way to withdraw the money. For example, if you are paid via a check in the mail, you will need to see if they will do a direct-deposit instead of a check; if the company or individual is unwilling to, you will need to have a trustworthy individual gather your check each week/month and deposit it into your bank account.
Internet access if your mobile office – if is the way you communicate with your clients, the way you access your work, the way you send in assignments and deal with grievances. If you are staying in your home country, you will likely be able to get mobile Internet in the form of either an addition to your current cell phone bill, or by a prepaid Internet subscription, such as Virgin Mobile’s Broadband2Go. Mobile Internet is slower than normal Internet, and will not work in every location. Be sure to check coverage maps for the areas you plan to visit. Also, print out a list of Internet cafes in the locations you plan to visit, and make sure that you can upload your work files to email.
For most work, you should be able to work entirely from your laptop, and perhaps from an office in your trailer, vehicle, or inside hotels/hostels. Sometimes, however, you may have to send a fax or mail a form. If this is the case, you should always have some envelopes and stamps on you. Local libraries can provide printers and copy machines. Set up a fax account online so that you can send and receive faxes from your laptop.