3 Kinds of Location Independent Businesses


When I talk to people about our focus for Life With A Mission and mention a location independent lifestyle I usually have to follow up with an explanation of what the term means.

What in The World Is Location Independence?

Location independence is being able to travel wherever you want to go whenever you want and not being tied to a location because of a job, school or other obligation.  Career location independence is achieved when you earn your income providing a service someone is willing to pay you for without being physically located in an office, or by having an asset that can generate money without you being involved.

Another avenue to achieving career location independence is to earn the money you need to fund an entire year of living in less than a year.  It doesn’t need to take an entire year to make enough to live on if you choose to adjust your lifestyle to a point where things even out. For example, you live and save for 6 months and spend the other 6 months spending what you saved.

I have to remind myself that although Amanda and I have had this phrase as part of our vernacular for several years it isn’t mainstream. Having the freedom to live, work and serve anywhere in the world you want to is not something people discuss every day.

Debunking The Prevailing Worldview

The North American worldview defines “work” as something that happens locationally in “the office” and temporally from “8 to 5, Monday through Friday.”  This definition carves out a huge block of the week that is dedicated to the task of earning an income not to mention the time it takes outside of work to prepare to get to work. This leaves the fringe of the week (nights and weekends) as free time to be spent on everything else in life like family, travel, entertainment, relaxation or hobbies.  In this worldview travel is something that gets boxed into either this fringe time, two weeks out of the whole year or when you’re old and retired

For people that want to be location independent this method of thinking isn’t enough, so they change their worldview.  They change the way they look at earning money and what it means to work and make it fit their own goals

To challenge the normal definition of work I am going to show three examples of people making their living on the road neither in an office nor during normal business hours.

Brian and Maria: Have RV Will Travel

Maria happens to be a fellow WooNinja at WooThemes and she and Brian have spent the past two years traveling around the US in a 1999 Ford Jayco Class C Motorhome named Stanley.  They have visited 22 states and run The Roaming Pint: a website where they catalog breweries they have visited.

Roaming Pint Map

Places Maria and Brian have visited in the USA are in green.

They earn their income online by working as freelance designers and living frugally.  They are able to work whenever and wherever they like.

Business Type:  Online remote work.  Keep the clients, lose the office.

Amy and Mike from World School Adventures

Amy, Mike and their two sons are currently slow traveling through South East Asia. I’ve read their blog for a few years and followed along through their saga of selling their home, living in an RV and finally departing for their first slow travel trip in Thailand.

They are an example of working only part of the year to earn enough to live on for the entire year.  Mike is a journeyman carpenter and works the warm months in their home of British Columbia.  The rest of the year they are able to travel for a few months at a time to places they love.

Business Type:  Seasonal and transferrable. Although based in a specific location Mike can be a carpenter wherever and whenever he wishes.

Brandon Pearce from Pearce On Earth

I was introduced to Brandon Pearce when he was highlighted as a case study on Tim Ferriss’s blog.

Brandon started Music Teachers Helper which is “Online software to help private music teachers manage the business side of their teaching studios.”  With the income this business generates Brandon, his wife and their three daughters are able to maintain a lifestyle of indefinite travel.  They have lived in Costa Rica, Singapore, Indonesia, and are currently living in Bali.

Brandon is also an example of time independence since he works around 7 hours per week to generate an income of over $25,000 per month.

Business Type: Cash Flow Business. Building an online service that generates recurring monthly revenue that can grow based on marketing.

I hope these three examples inspire you as much as they inspire me.  Amanda and I are excited to translate our own location independent lifestyle into being in different locations.

Are you thinking of creating a location independent lifestyle?  How are you working today toward making that dream a reality?


About Daniel

I'm a web developer, a native Texan, avid reader, a wanna be polyglot and a traveler. Follow Daniel on Twitter @d_espi or on Google+

8 Responses to 3 Kinds of Location Independent Businesses

  1. Maria February 27, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Hey Daniel! Thanks for the mention in the post. We also started out on the 4-Hour-Workweek from Ferris to help kickstart our ‘alternative lifestyle’ and now that we’ve finally ‘broke away’ it would appear there is no turning back!

    So happy to have met you through Woo and look forward to our time in ATL!


    • Daniel February 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      You’re welcome Maria! Agreed, I’m looking forward to ATL also 🙂

  2. Erica Maier February 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Question, totally out of curiosity: When you start your travels, do you intend to sell your house? Or hang on to it at first?

    • Daniel February 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      We’re planning on keeping our house as a home base.

  3. Erica Maier February 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Also: LOVED Brian and Maria’s story! Of course! Hmmmmmm beer, lol. 😉 I actually just sent my husband the link to their pint site, and said, “That could be us someday ….”

    • Daniel February 27, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

      Motivating isn’t it? Love it!

  4. 2 Global Nomads July 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    > How are you working today toward making that dream a reality?

    That is a common misconception necessary for keeping people working for the good of other people, and tie them down to societies. Work does not set you free to travel, it ties you down. Societies depend on people sacrificing their lives for better future which will never come. If you really want to go, you need to let go of the obsession of work first.

    • Daniel July 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      The question was more along the lines of “what steps are you taking toward traveling?”

      Most people aren’t in the position to be able to start traveling immediately.

      And I don’t see work as tying us down. I enjoy the work I do. It provides a sense of accomplishment and provides income for our lifestyle. That I can work from anywhere there is an internet connection is an added bonus.