5 Steps to Going Location Independent and How You Can Get a Taste : Under30CEO 5 Steps to Going Location Independent and How You Can Get a Taste : Under30CEO
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

5 Steps to Going Location Independent and How You Can Get a Taste

| November 2, 2012 | 22 Comments

I finally did it.  I’m free.  Here I am sitting by the pool in Bali.  “Working.”

Today, I surfed.  I watched the sunset.  I drank Balinese Coffee Luwak, I’m trying to learn two new languages… and still managed to put in about 10 solid hours of work in.

I’m in paradise, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.  In the last three months I’ve seen 6 different countries on 3 different continents.  I can’t even explain how excited I am to be alive.

I worked 3 long years, chasing Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week…. my work week still has a zero on the end of it, but still, I earned it.

How I Did It… (and you can too!)

Step 1:  Work your ass off.  

If you think the sleepless nights of community building and blogging at Under30CEO were tough, try monetizing it.  If you want  the lifestyle, you’re going to have to put in the work; especially when you are trying to set up your business so that it can be run from anywhere.  Pay close attention to processes and how day to day operations can run smoothly with or without you physically present.

In 2009, when we started the site, my mom lost her home, and my dreams of building a business from her basement were shattered.  Instead, I dug ditches 12 hours a day with Mexican migrant laborers to pay our rent and bootstrap this very business.

By the way, even though I’m in paradise, I’m still tied to the same constraints as any business owner.  Even more challenging, I’m 12 hours ahead of EST.  Last week, we had a major cashflow crunch, and I woke up every two hours to respond to emails, negotiating with vendors.  Not fun.

Step 2: Convince your business partner.   

Jared still isn’t convinced.   We often miss our  mandatory 9AM and 9PM calls because of the timezone, he can’t respond to an iMessage to save his life, and he misses seeing my flowing hair everyday.  In all seriousness, this has been a battle.  It came down to being happy.  I told Jared I needed to see the world and that I’d still work my ass off.  (See step 1).

We started Under30CEO to inspire every entrepreneur on the planet.  We’ve done the speaking tours, mentored countless entrepreneurs,  did the conference circuit, and organized events.  We have LIVED our passion.

Now, with our Under30Experience trips, our mission is to show young people that life is all about experiences.  We host adventures to beautiful places in developing economies, learn how entrepreneurship happens globally, and see how we can make impact.  I have to LIVE that mission too.  Jared agrees.

The most important thing in making this relationship work is setting expectations.  Plan out your goals, deadlines, agendas for calls, deliverables, and find out what communication methods and tools work for you.

Step 3: Go Minimalist!

Sell it, store it, junk it, give it away, I don’t care what you do with it–get rid of it.  I’ll save you from a long winded minimalism rant, but what do you want to collect at the end of the day: material possessions or memories?

I didn’t need an apartment in Lower Manhattan (now underwater) with Hudson River views, a rooftop terrace, gym, and stainless steel appliances.  So I got rid of it. The scary part is, I’m actually saving money traveling.  Breakfast costs me between $2-4 in Indonesia, Costa Rica, or Nicaragua, where I’ve spent most of my time.  I’m staying 4-Star for $60/night.  Figure it out.

Step 4: Do Meaningful Work

“Okay, jetsetter”, you’re thinking… we can’t all just lounge on the beach and blog about it for a living…

You’re right.  The most important thing is that you are doing something that you are truly passionate about.  Remember– you can make money and do good at the same time.  This isn’t just a pipe dream.

We felt that our Under30Experiences needed to have a socially conscious mission to them.  In our two trips to Iceland, our group of entrepreneurs participated in the re-birth of an economy crippled by the Global Financial Crisis.  In Costa Rica, our attendees will learn about the business behind sustainability, renewable energy, GREEN lifestyle, and carbon neutrality.  We’re even working on a Microfinance Surf Camp to Nicaragua.  (Join the list! http://under30experiences.com)

Be sure that what you’re working on is meaningful to you personally.  You don’t have to save the world, but think about how you can carve out your little piece of history.  It’s your legacy at the end of the day.  What do you want to be known for?

Step 5: Get Inspired Now!

I remember when it happened.  I was watching the sunset over the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.  It was the first time I’d been overseas in years.  I simply said, “I need to figure out a way to do more of this”.  

Sure enough, we did it.  Our Under30Experiences has given us the privilege to bring amazing entrepreneurs to Iceland twice this year.  We’re headed to Costa Rica in December for our GREEN Business Tour, and we’re planning Lake Tahoe, and Nicaragua this winter and spring.

Do something everyday that scares you, gets you out of your comfort zone, and makes you think.

Now, it’s time to find your opportunity…

Maybe it’s in Costa Rica on our next Under30Experience, or maybe it’s not, but one thing is for sure, it’s not going to happen just sitting there…

We’re taking twenty young entrepreneurs to Costa Rica to look for the next big thing.  Join us December 5-9, 2012 for our Under30CEO GREEN Business Tour Costa Rica.

-Learn why Costa Rica is Time Magazine’s Happiest Country
-How Costa Rica became a leader in clean technology and alternative energy
-Why real estate investors are betting on this tropical paradise at the heart of eco-tourism
-Opportunity to meet some of the world’s most forward thinkers in sustainability
-How Costa Rica plans to become the first nation to be carbon neutral by 2021
-Lifelong friendships through our global community of entrepreneurial minded thinkers

Sign up for more information for future trips at http://under30experiences.com and email matt (AT) under30ceo.com a paragraph on why you should be considered to join us in Costa Rica.

…and most importantly, keep the dream alive.

Author bio: Matt Wilson is Co-founder of Under30Media and is looking to help every young entrepreneur on the planet.

About the Author: Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO. After two years traveling and working from his laptop, Matt's official title became Adventurer in Residence, heading up Under30Media's travel company Under30Experiences. If Matt is around he will be easy to spot as his long luxurious hair is generally flowing freely in the breeze.

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: ,

Category: Startup Advice

  • http://www.PuraVidaMultiMedia.com/ CAELAN HUNTRESS

    There is nothing in the world like going location independent. It’s scary, and unsettling, but once the decision is made to do it, all of those difficulties are easy and manageable. Because the reward: amazing sunsets in a tropical location, and the ability to work (in your prime) from a place most people dream to retire (when they are old).

    I went location independent just over a year ago, and you’re right, Matt, the difficulties of being a business owner are still there. But they are a LOT more manageable from Costa Rica.

  • claff

    Under30Experiences is hitting an incorrect link, the sans “S” version. Cheers

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks for pointing that our Claff!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Caelan, glad to hear you’ve going location independent and are truly enjoying it like I am. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The difficult part is committing, telling your friends and family, finding a way to support yourself, and going for it. The bumps along the road business wise / communications wise are easily solvable.

    You are right– most people dream of retiring to Bali and will probably never do it. I’m not going to defer those dreams and am going to go all out while I’m young. Thanks again for the comment Caelan. Cheers.

  • heather

    I have one business that unfortunately is NOT location independent- in
    fact I am a service provider, bu this last year I started a location
    independent business. It was interesting getting all the ducks in a row
    so that I could actively monitor the business without being there, but
    I’ve LOVED making money without showing up to work. Look forward to
    doing more of that. And he’s right- just b/c you’re not physically
    there doesn’t mean your not working your rear off.

  • http://thefablifeproject.com Amber J.

    I’ve been learning all that I can about location independent living for the past two years. Slowly, but surely, I’m putting the pieces in place!

  • http://twitter.com/projectmaven Deborah Pannell

    Outstanding, Matt. I’m so inspired…

  • http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/ Natalie Sisson

    Matt congrats! I had no idea. How long will you be out in Bali? I’m heading to South East Asia in Jan to visit and live in several countries after soaking up various locations in Europe for the last 5 months. Would love to meet up `on location’

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Natalie, thanks for taking a peak at what we’re doing. I’m coming home for Thanksgiving and then heading out to Costa Rica for our http://under30experiences.com. Where are you going in SE Asia?

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks Deborah, been inspired by your recent contributions to Under30CEO!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Glad to hear it Heather. Keep perfecting your processes… hope you get the chance to make the leap soon.

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Become a Happier Entrepreneur : Under30CEO

  • AngeIina Fomina

    Matt this is very inspirational, especially for someone who would like to live this lifestyle one day and knows how motivational it can be to get a little taste first. Thanks for writing these great steps that make the dream of traveling and working seem more attainable and not so out of the ordinary.

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    “Get inspired now” thats the most catchy one, now or never, now before it is too late. Inspirational steps toward success. Thanks for the insight.

  • http://twitter.com/spreestudio Spree Copywriting

    Matt, I absolutely love this post. It’s pretty inspirational to know that after working your ass off, there will be a “relaxation” period. I’m still in the “work your ass off” stage

  • Pingback: The Digital Nomad's Guide to Finding an Office Anywhere in the World : Under30CEO

  • Pingback: 17 Lessons from 17 Books to Learn From in 2013

  • http://www.danrichey.com/ Dan Richey

    AWESOME, thank you thank you thank you Matt!! This is inspiring to me in many ways.

    #1 I love how brutally honest you are about how hard you have to work to achieve your dreams and goals.
    #2 I LOVE that you made it to your goal of becoming location independent. (I share the same goal, just haven’t gotten there yet.)

    #3 I recognize the value of pursuing something meaningful. Couldn’t agree with you more. It is in the pursuit of meaning that we end up giving value to others and rise to a level we couldn’t have achieved by ourselves.

  • Pingback: The Number One Metric of 2013: Quality Time

  • Pingback: The Number One Metric of 2013: Quality Time | Cesar's Journey

  • DaveErin

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with “do meaningful work”. I think this is the reason why people fail. I feel you cannot just try and chase the life without having work that you care about. It is the same as going for a promotion in some corporate office just for the extra 4k a year. Pointless.

  • http://2globalnomads.info/ Global Nomads

    Meaning work sounds funny. Everyone thinks their work is meaningful, but if you ask them whether they would do it without any pay, nobody would.