A Thought Experiment in Working Remotely

Sep 10, 2016 | Freelance

Tyler Fleming is a branding strategist and design consultant in Dallas, TX. Click here to learn more.

A Thought Experiment in Working Remotely

What if instead of working 60 hours a week in Dallas, TX building a freelance business I was able to work 20 hours a week while living on a beach in Nicaragua? What if by working 30 hours a week in Peru I was actually able to save money as opposed to just keeping up with bills and paying rent in Dallas, TX.

If I were to work the same amount of client work, eliminate most (if not all) monthly expenses, and rid myself of distraction for an extended period of time, would I not be able to save enough time and money to take an amazing trip, go on an adventure, feel comfortable working remotely, or all of the above at the same time?

I pushed this little “thought experiment” to the extreme and have taken my freelance business “on tour” this year as I experiment with working remotely. My wife and I have taken off on an 8-9 month road trip from Dallas, TX through Central and South America to Patagonia, Argentina. We have started a travel blog called www.wandersouth.com and couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.

Sure we were a little scared about what might happen. Will we have enough money? Will we be able to live only with what we can fit in our car for 8 months? Will we be safe? What will this do to my business? What will this do to our marriage? But after weighing the pros and cons and visualizing the possible outcomes, we thought it would be more risky NOT to give it a shot.

Maybe we would love it! Nothing fuels my creativity like travel and seeking adventure and inspiration by exploring new places. And this adventure might even attract clients who can relate to my wanderlust and respect taking this type of risk! At the very least, we would have an amazing gap year before eventually settling down and starting a family. This will be an adventure I never would have been able to afford if I worked in an office and tried to save up for a vacation.

Really it made sense to leverage my flexibility and make every dollar count. My efforts and income will go much further living simply in Panama than they would in Dallas. We might even SAVE money going on this trip!

The hardest thing for me while freelancing in Dallas was building margin in my life/business – I felt like I was constantly working and could never get it all done in a normal workweek.

By adjusting my lifestyle to working remotely full-time, I’m constantly eliminating menial tasks and time-wasters that eat up precious minutes of my day and using those minutes for things I actually enjoy like surfing or exploring a new city! I am officially the freelancer that I wanted to be and still working as many projects as I was used to at home. The only difference is, I’m writing this blog post from Antigua, Guatemala after spending the weekend at Lake Atitlán and exploring the rainforest versus hustling in Dallas just to pay the bills.

My hopes for this little experiment is to inspire other “creatives” to get more creative with their freelance business and not only use their design skills for client work, but to focus on their lifestyle design. Pixels can build pretty websites and perfect logos, but time and energy are the building blocks that make up your life. Be a little more intentional about where you are investing them and you might surprise yourself with what is possible… Click the image below to follow our Panamerican road trip to Patagonia.

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