Freelancers have been called so many names since they have become rather popular – and showed promise to resolve the employment issues of most people. The Internet has called them digital nomads, independent providers, telecommuters, etc. But whatever name you attach to freelancers, we cannot deny the fact the most of them are living the life that some others can only dream of – working from home, or even at times somewhere else more comfortable and “dreamy”.
For a few years of being a freelancer myself, I have enjoyed my fair share of being on the road and still get the job done. I’ve done readings and research while on the commuter bus somewhere out of town and I have managed to leave even my own home office just to get away from the usual surroundings and see a new one, all the while still being productive.
For beginners however, and even the clueless, you might still wonder how you can work from anywhere and basically live from anywhere. Here are 6 simple ways and means to do that – and find yourself a good reason to find time to leave your desk and continue raking in the dough.
1. Cloud Storage can be your best friend.
Google Drive is the best example. It lets you save and edit all your files in the cloud – which means you can easily switch from your desktop at home and your laptop while away. Not only does this save you storage space on your physical drive, but it also gives you an option to access your files whilst using a friend’s or a public computer.
More so, could storage and collaborative systems like Google Drive reduce your effort to attach one document after another on an email. It’s built to let you share your files to your client and even give their own input if you give them access to edit or comment on the file itself.
Google drive has a 15GB free storage but if you’ve got larger files, you can subscribe to a 1TB storage at $9.99.
2. Communication is always the key.
If you’re away from your desk you obviously won’t have access to your desk phone (IP Phone or regular landline, and you’ll probably be concerned about real-time communication with your clients or the team you’re working with. Well, there’s no need to worry anymore. Skype is something deemed indispensable to freelancers. Make sure you don’t forget to login to Skype as often as you check your emails, especially at times you need to talk to someone – whether it’s personal or business-related communications.
What’s best about Skype now is that you can allow a multi-user video call at no extra cost. This feature used to be a premium service but they now made it free, thus allowing you to have real-time voice and face-to-face meetings with the people you need to talk to.
Google Hangouts is also a brilliant alternative for communication.
3. Don’t let yourself be hindered the possible lack on Wi-Fi/Internet access.
If you’re travelling to a place without free Wi-Fi and you’re sort of on a tight budget, consider saving some money for a portable Wi-Fi device that worked on 3G or LTE mobile technology. For something as cheap as $50.00, you can be sure that your Internet connection is covered wherever you go.
Come to think of it, if you’re looking to be at the beach for a few days, most of the hotels will only have free Wi-Fi in their public areas and it is very rare that they have Wi-Fi access in individual rooms.
Alternatively, if you’ve got a rather state-of-the-art smartphone and you’ve got a reasonable date allowance from your mobile provider, you can use its hotspot/tethering feature to get your laptop connected and carry on with your tasks, for at least a couple of hours each day while still enjoying your holiday.
What’s even more exciting about Internet access now is that commercial flights now allow their passengers to access their mobiles in-flight, and some even offer free Wi-Fi access. This means you can either continue updating your Social Media profiles and get a few research done while on the plane. Brilliant, isn’t it?
4. Digitize your signature, if necessary.
Contracts and non-disclosure agreements come along the way as you get freelance projects. This means, you might have to sign them and attach relevant documents or IDs. Always have a scanned copy of a valid ID saved in your cloud storage for your convenience. You can either scan your handwritten signature at home, save it as a JPEG/PNG file, and store it together with at least two copies of a valid identification. You’ll never know when you might need them, so it’s better to be safe.
5. Your calendar must be synchronised.
When you’re working on-the-go, you should be able to mix your personal errands and agenda with whatever task you’re looking to accomplish all the while. You need something that will let you sync your schedules across all your devices – from smart phone(s). tablet(s), and laptop(s). Google Calendar tops the list when it comes to calendar synchronisation but something else might also work for you.
Also, consider the time zone difference between you and you client, so it’s best to find an app like World Time Buddy to schedule your meetings across different time zones with more convenience. This app also syncs easily with Google Calendar.
6. Don’t wait to send invoices to your clients till you get home.
Most freelancers who decided to work whilst on the road would decide to just send invoices to their clients when they’ve gone back home. Actually, you can still do it by having digital payment platforms or creating your own online invoice. While most clients, especially those who hire you for a small or one-time project may opt to send you cheques instead of a direct deposit, you can offer them an option to send their payments via PayPal or other online payment portals.
If you’re working through a freelancing platform such as Elance, oDesk, or other websites that have automated invoicing and payment features, your earnings can be easily and more conveniently transferred. Outside these secure platforms, you’ll have to work something out with your clients.
You can have a look at this post to find out other digital ways of receiving your payments even while you’re on-the-go.
Got other tips to work whilst on the road or on a long holiday? Feel free to give us your feedback on the Comments section below.