One of the biggest benefits to working as a freelance blogger is flexibility.
You can work when you want and where you want. But how often do you actually take advantage of this location independence?
My guess: not enough. Many freelance bloggers want to travel more — but they don’t know where to start.
How will you communicate with clients? How will you get your writing done? How will you do all the little things it takes to keep your business running, while traveling at the same time?
As a travel blogger and freelance writer, these are problems I have definitely struggled with. And though it’s often been a challenge, I can say without a doubt it’s also been worth it.
If you’d like to start traveling more, here are 12 tips for keeping your freelance blogging business thriving from the road:
1: Inform your clients
Once you’ve decided you’re going to live out your travel dreams, it’s time to let your clients know.
If you’ll have intermittent Internet access, inform them that although you’ll be working, you might be slower to answer emails. If you’re only traveling for a set period of time, work with them to submit the bulk of your assignments before hitting the road.
As always, clear communication is key to keeping your clients happy, so ensure they know what to expect from you (and what not to expect) while you’re traveling.
2: Pre-schedule as much as possible
Whether it’s social media, blog posts or email newsletters, scheduling things ahead of time will remove a lot of pressure. You can use Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule social media updates, WordPress and Mailchimp to schedule blog posts and email newsletters, and Boomerang to schedule emails.
If you plan to travel for an extended period of time, it might be wise to hire a virtual assistant to help you with these tasks. Just be sure you have ample time to train them before taking off.
3: Set up reminders and an autoresponder
Between long travel days and changing time zones, it’s easy to lose track of deadlines. An organized system, therefore, is key to success as a traveling freelance blogger.
Google Calendar automatically switches to the time zone you’re in; record all of your meetings and deadlines there, and then set up reminders so you don’t forget about them. You can also use the tasks feature, which lets you keep track of little things you have to do. Other popular list apps include Todoist, Wunderlist, and Trello — or you can just use a good ol’ fashioned pocket agenda.
Unless you want to be tied to your email the entire time you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to set up an email autoresponder explaining that you’ll be slow to answer non-essential emails. It’s also smart to include links in your message to things you’d like to promote, like your services page or newest product.
4: Back-up and insure your laptop
As a traveling freelance blogger, your laptop is your lifeline. So prepare properly by backing it up and insuring it before you leave. You can use Backblaze or Carbonite to back up your hard drive automatically. Check with your insurance provider to see if they insure electronics; if not, try State Farm’s personal articles policy, which insures your laptop (and camera) in case of loss or theft.
5: Save everything to the cloud
Besides your laptop, cloud computing services will be your best friend while you’re on the road — so if you don’t already use the cloud, it’s time to start. Try Google Drive for writing and sharing your freelance blogging assignments, and Dropbox and WeTransfer for sharing files and photos.
6: Prepare for time offline
Yes, saving things to the cloud is essential — but realistically, there are going to be times when you can’t get online. Make sure you don’t lose valuable hours of productivity by having some offline work ready.
Save notes in a text document so if (or when) you lose internet access, you have guidelines for what you should work on. If an article requires research and you know you’re going to be offline for a decent chunk of time, you can even open up tabs with relevant resources. Or, simply process your emails using Gmail Offline.
7: Pack a pair of good headphones, a journal, and an eye mask
These three items are essential for a traveling freelance blogger. Headphones allow you to work in peace wherever you are, a journal lets you write down your brilliant blog ideas on the go, and an eye mask means you can get the rest you need — even on a red-eye flight or in a bright hotel room.
8: Make finding new “offices” an adventure
Though staying in accommodations with good wifi probably goes without saying, take the time to leave your hotel room and find new places to work. It can be really fun to camp out in new coffee shops and learn about the local scene.
Download Wi-Fi Finder to find wifi wherever you are, or consider investing in Karma if you’re traveling within the United States. If you really need to focus for a day, look for a coworking space that offers day passes.
9: Work a set amount each day
Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t have a routine. Think about what time of day you work best, and dedicate that time to writing each day. I’m an early bird, so I try to work from 6-10 a.m. each morning; then, I have the rest of the day to explore.
Create your travel schedule around your productive period. Once you know you’ve already done your work (or will be doing so later), you’ll be able to enjoy your time off more fully.
10: Travel slowly
It’s tempting to try to see as much as you can, but that’s a sure way to end up exhausted and overwhelmed. Take advantage of your location independence by traveling slowly, and staying in each location for a week, or month, or more.
Though a great practice is to find a temporary apartment through Airbnb or Craigslist, you may not have the time or patience. If you prefer to move locations every few days, resolve to dedicate every fourth day entirely to working and catching up on your freelance blogging assignments. Trust me: If you want to avoid burnout and panic, it’s essential to literally schedule this into your travel itinerary.
11: Get on the app-wagon
Tons of apps will help you run your business from the road — so use ‘em! Here are some of my favorites:
- SignEasy: Sign contracts and other documents without the need to print or scan them
- Pocket: Save interesting articles for later reading
- Dragon Dictation: Transcribe your thoughts on the go
- CubeFree: Find good spots to work remotely
- Lucent, 7 Minutes & RootsRated: Don’t neglect your health! In order, these apps help you meditate, squeeze in a quick workout and find outdoorsy activities
- TripIt: Organize all your travel information and itineraries in one spot
12: Do what you can, when you can
This was something that took me a really long time (too long!) to learn. Even if you only have 20 minutes, you can still get something done.
Whatever you do, don’t say: “Oh, I don’t have long enough to accomplish anything meaningful, so I’m just going to watch TV.” Instead, commit to finishing one little thing; you’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve in these short bursts.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget to enjoy it!
This is the last, and perhaps most important, point on the list. You’ve worked hard to create this freelance blogging career for yourself — so now’s the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Don’t spend all day holed up in your hotel room working. Go outside, explore, and have crazy adventures that will inspire your future writing. If you fall a little bit behind, it’s okay; that’s what your catch-up days are for.
Bottom line: Have fun and remind yourself why this location-independent freelance blogging life is worth it!
Do you dream of taking your freelance blogging business on the road? What other tips or questions do you have?