It’s Location Independence Month!

It's Location Independence Month on One Woman Shop!

It’s officially Location Independence Month (or LIM, because we love acronyms) here at One Woman Shop. So, whether you’re currently on the road, dying to travel, or just want to set up a location-independent business to work from where you want, when you want, we’ve got lots coming your way this month.

Note: we know that full-time travel + being a digital nomad isn’t a lifestyle for everyone. When we talk location independence, we mean setting up your business to have more choice in where and how you work. And if full-time travel is something you aspire to, we’ve got your back there, too!

Why is location independence something we’re talking about in July? Well, there are a few reasons:

  • It’s been almost exactly one year since we hosted our first Location Independence Week at One Woman Shop, and we love seeing how things have evolved! (Also, we <3 tradition.)
  • Cristina is almost at her one-year travel anniversary and has become a huge advocate for travel. (For those who actually want to, that is — because life, like business, isn’t one-size-fits-all.)
  • Sara loves the freedom her laptop gives her — and took her business to New Zealand and Australia for 35 days to kick off 2015.
  • We’ll both be exercising our location independence this month, working from Rochester + Portland (Sara) and Guatemala + Nicaragua (Cristina)!

Here’s how to get involved:

Ready? We’re off!

Digital nomad and location independence resources

Resources and Tools for Digital Nomads

It’s Location Independence Week here on One Woman Shop! Join us as we chat with digital nomads and provide you with resources to jumpstart your location independent life. Want more resources via email? Sign up for our location independence interest list!

We’re back with a list of resources and tools for digital nomads. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good jumping off point. If you have anything to add, don’t hesitate to email us!

For learning and getting inspired:

For meeting other digital nomads:

For air travel:

    • Flightfox: “Flightfox is a marketplace of flight experts. [They] use custom built tools and ongoing research to help you travel farther and wider for less.”
    • Skyscanner: browse for flights, hotels and cars via price and location
    • KAYAK Explore: see where you can go for how much

For accommodations:

    • TravelPony: to find steeply discounted hotel rooms
    • Airbnb: a community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique spaces around the world through mobile phones or the internet
    • Couchsurfing: a site for connecting with individuals who host you for free
    • Hotel Tonight: for finding a last minute hotel room
    • Agoda: for discount hotel deals

For budgeting and travel hacking:

    • Trail Wallet: easy travel expense tracker for iPhone
    • Mint: free web-based personal financial management service
    • Chase Sapphire card: a highly recommended card for earning airfare miles
    • Travel Hacking Cartel: a private paid service to help you travel hack (like earning frequent flier miles without flying)

For packing:

    • Rimowa: for sturdy but lightweight luggage
    • Skross: for international adaptors
    • Scottevest: for jackets and vests designed especially for travel
    • Pocketknife
    • Waterproof backpack

For finding paid and volunteer gigs:

    • Working Nomads: curated delivery of remote jobs
    • FlexJobs: a paid service for finding telecommuting jobs
    • HelpX: find places to volunteer in exchange food and accommodation; includes farms, homestays, B&Bs, hostels, and more
    • WWOOF: find volunteer opportunities on organic farms worldwide

For finding office space and coworking spaces globally:

    • Regus: 2000 locations worldwide of executive suites, office space, virtual offices
    • ShareDesk: a global coworking space finder

For running your business online:

    • XCom Global: international MiFi hotspot
    • Tools We Love: a list of tools that One Woman Shop uses every day
    • Asana: a free project management tool
    • Google Drive: an easy way to store, access, and share files via your Google account
    • Dropbox: a cloud-based storage area your files
    • [email protected]: provides “attention amplifying” music channels
    • ScheduleOnce: appointment scheduling software
    • SaneBox: an email management tool that lets you filter your messages based on importance

For miscellaneous things:

    • HappyCow: for finding vegetarian-friendly restaurants

This post contains affiliate links. As always, we only promote products that we think you will find useful. 

Digital Nomad Profile: Susan Shain of The Travel Junkette

It’s Location Independence Week here on One Woman Shop! Join us as we chat with digital nomads and provide you with resources to jumpstart your location independent life. Want more resources via email? Sign up for our location independence interest list!

Today we’re chatting with Susan Shain of The Travel Junkette about her location independent lifestyle.

susan shain travel junkette

Hi Susan! Tell us a bit about your business and how you keep it location independent.

In a nutshell, I’m a travel blogger and digital content creator. I don’t make much money off my travel blog, but it’s my passion project, and it serves as a platform for me to get other jobs. I’ve also recently begun travel coaching.

As a content creator, I help several small businesses with writing, editing, and social media marketing. My clients are all virtual, and I’ve only met a few of them. Our communication is mostly over email, with occasional phone or Skype calls.

What does an average month/year look like in terms of your location (we assume there’s no average day!)?

Well, being a travel blogger, I travel a lot. That’s why I love this career; I can travel all of the time if I want to! But these days, I prefer to spend significant chunks of time in one place. That way, I can get work done during the week, while also going on some weekend trips. (But of course, I still have to sprinkle a few multi-week trips in here and there!).

In 2013, for example, I spent the first three months volunteering in Nicaragua, the summer in Alaska, the fall traveling in Europe, and the winter in California (with a trip to Japan for new year’s!).

How do you handle the logistics of working while traveling (finding reliable internet, being available, time differences, etc)?

When traveling in the States, it’s pretty easy. I have a smartphone, wifi is widely available, and all of my clients are based here.

Traveling abroad, however, can be difficult. Most importantly, I let my clients know that I’ll be traveling abroad and won’t respond to emails as quickly. Since most of my work can be done ahead of time, time differences haven’t been a real issue for me yet — but finding internet can be quite frustrating, especially in developing countries. I just try to do as much work as possible without internet (writing, editing, etc), and treat a good internet connection like a precious resource!

How do you balance making the most of travel while still staying on track with your business?

It’s a tough balance that I definitely haven’t mastered yet — and am not sure I ever will. I think it’s easier when I’m spending a few weeks or months in a place; I can explore a little at a time, while keeping up with my work.

If I’m moving every day, however, I just try to set aside solid chunks of work time. Maybe it’s a few hours each morning, or maybe it’s one day for every two days of travel. Since I enjoy my work, it’s sometimes tough to pull myself away — but once I’m outside enjoying a new place, I remember why I chose this career in the first place!

I also remember that I don’t have to see everything. Just being immersed in a different city or country, visiting coffee shops or chatting with shopkeepers, is often a fascinating cultural experience in and of itself.

Any location independent myths you want to bust?

I’m sure I won’t be alone here, but I’d have to say the myth that location independent workers are “on vacation” all the time, or that we are just “playing on our computer.” Yes, it’s amazing to have such freedom in our work — but it’s still work!

What are your business/travel must haves?

Macbook, Beats wireless headphones, Kindle, notebook + pen, B12 tablets, pocketknife (with corkscrew!)

What are some of your favorite resource sites for affordable travel and/or location independent business?

For travel: HotelTonight, airbnb, Travelpony, and Couchsurfing for accommodation; ITA software, momondo, and GetGoing for flights; and HappyCow for veg-friendly restaurants. (Here’s a full list of my favorite travel resources).

For business: Google Calendar for organizing my brain, Freshbooks for invoicing/time tracking, GetPocket for saving articles, Todoist for task management, Mint for finances, Buffer for social media updates, and Smugmug and Backblaze for backing up. (Here’s a full list of my favorite productivity tools.)

What do you think the future holds for you (staying in one place, periods of travel, being a full-time nomad, etc)?

I’m so happy with what I’m doing right now: finding places to live for several months, then taking a few big trips each year. I don’t think I will ever be a full-time nomad — though I admire those who can do it, I cherish my routines and relationships too much for that!

Questions for Susan? Ask them in the comments!

your location independence journey starts here

Digital Nomad Profile: Jill Stanton of Screw the Nine to Five

It’s Location Independence Week here on One Woman Shop! Join us as we chat with digital nomads and provide you with resources to jumpstart your location independent life. Sign up for updates throughout the week and RSVP for our location independence Twitter chat!

Today we’re chatting with Jill Stanton of Screw the Nine to Five about her location independent lifestyle.

jill stanton digital nomad

Tell us a bit about your business and how you keep it location independent.

We [she and her husband, Josh Stanton] have a few businesses, but our main one is our affiliate marketing business. Essentially we have a network of 24 affiliate sites that make us the bulk of our income. Now these sites range from 4 pages to over 300 pages, with some only selling one product and others selling a variety. We like to keep it interesting!

On top of that we have also started incorporating different products, programs, and services into Screw the Nine to Five which has allowed us to increase our income even more…which is always nice! Ha!

What does an average month/year look like in terms of your location (we assume there’s no average day!)?

We don’t really have an “average” month by any means. For example, in 2013 we lived on an island in Thailand for 2 months, then took off to Malaysia for 2 weeks, headed to China for a week, and settled back in Thailand in a city in the mountains called Chiang Mai.

But throughout the 10 months we lived in Chiang Mai we explored 3 other islands, went back to Malaysia for nearly a month, spent a week in Cambodia and then moved to the Philippines.

Starting in 2015 we are thinking about potentially choosing a country to stay in for a year and using it as a base to travel from – right now we say that is going to be Spain…but that could always change!

Do you call some place home? Do you have a lease or own a place anywhere?

We actually own a condo on a tiny island in Thailand called Koh Tao so I guess that would be our closest thing to a “home”, but we will only ever spend a month or two per year there as it’s easy to get island fever…and we like to explore too much!

We initially bought it as an investment property, so we prefer to rent it out, but it is a beautiful place to escape to here and there 😉

How do you handle the logistics of working while traveling (finding reliable internet, being available, time differences, etc)?

Finding reliable internet is ALWAYS our biggest priority. In fact, we made the mistake of not double-checking the web speed in the Philippines before moving there for 3 months and found that it is something straight out of 1997! Haha!

After that experience we made a pact to only settle in places where the internet is fast, reliable, and will allow you to at least load your email!

As for time differences etc… we are fortunate to run enough of a hands-off business that timezone differences or travel days don’t mess with our sites too much. Just another reason we love affiliate marketing!

How do you balance making the most of travel while still staying on track with your business?

We are big believers in the power of routines. So no matter where we are we always try to get up by 7am (jet lag permitting, of course!), workout, eat a healthy breakfast, get ready and head out to either a co-working space (luckily these are becoming more and more popular!) or a coffee shop and put in about 5-7 hours each day.

We also have an amazing team that works with us and helps things on track and functioning, and best of all, keeps the business growing. We would be lost without them!

Because we have these systems and people in place, we can choose to skip out on work for a week or two if we really want…but we’re currently too in love with our businesses to take too much time off.

Any location independent myths you want to bust?

Yes!! A lot of people think it costs a lot to live this kind of life, travel the world, and run your business, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

In fact, it is because we moved to South East Asia back in 2013 that we were able to hire the different people on our team, really scale up our business, go out for dinner whenever we wanted, take trips whenever we felt like it, and still save money!

We just didn’t have that opportunity back in North America because the cost of living can be quite steep – especially in the big cities!

What are your business/travel must haves?

For our business we have started relying heavily on different online tools to help us keep everything (and everyone!) in line and on task.

We simply cannot live without Asana (a free project management tool), Google Drive, DropBox, [email protected] (a fabulous focus-inducing music service), LeadPages, and of course, WordPress!

As for travel, we really love Trail Wallet, which is a handy little app that allows you to keep track of your budget while traveling. It also has the cheekiest little messages if you go over your budget, which I love.

Finally, one thing we can’t do without—and this may seem so obvious—is a really good (and waterproof!) carry-on backpack with space for your laptop. Because we travel so much, if we are going on a quick 1 week trip we would rather just fly carry-on instead of checking bags and waiting at the baggage carousel.

Having a really solid and sturdy travel backpack makes it all so much easier for us to bring both our work stuff (laptops, cameras, and microphones as we like to record videos on location) as well as enough clothes for the two of us for a week.

What are some of your favorite resource sites for affordable travel and/or location independent business?

I think Natalie Sisson over at Suitcase Entrepreneur does a really great job at listing out a ton of affordable and handy travel resources. That woman travels all. the. time and seems to have found a ton of hidden gems I would have never been able to find.

I also love the website Making It Anywhere which is run by the hilarious couple Mish and Rob! Their site is full of amazing travel and lifestyle tips to help anyone make this life a reality.

Other than her site, we live and die by SkyScanner, Agoda, Airbnb, and the Explore function over on Kayak.

I also really love The Tropical MBA podcast…and of course Screw The Nine To Five! I couldn’t close out this question without pimping my own site! Haha!

What do you think the future holds for you (staying in one place, periods of travel, being a full-time nomad, etc)?

You know, we’ve tried to figure this out, but each time we come to a decision we change our minds! I think we are just going to play it by ear and if we ever find a place that we love enough to stay in permanently then we’ll consider setting up a base there.

But I doubt we’ll ever stop traveling and stay in one place forever….our feet just get too itchy to live that conventional of a lifestyle.

Questions for Jill? Ask them in the comments!

Digital nomad and location independence resources

Digital Nomad Profile + Giveaway: Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur

It’s Location Independence Week here on One Woman Shop! Join us as we chat with digital nomads and provide you with resources to jumpstart your location independent life. Sign up for updates throughout the week and RSVP for our location independence Twitter chat!

Today we’re chatting with Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur about her location independent lifestyle.

natalie sisson suitcase entrepreneur

Hi Natalie! Tell us a bit about your business and how you keep it location independent.

My business is my brand- The Suitcase Entrepreneur. I help entrepreneurs create freedom in business and adventure in life. I do this through my blog, videos, podcast, paid digital products and programs, workshops and events.

I personally have lived out of my suitcase full time for almost four years and run my business entirely from my laptop and smartphone plus a Wi-Fi connection. I choose freedom so this is how I purposefully set up my business to run. I definitely work at it and it can be challenging, but I like challenges and I love what I do and have created.

What does an average month/year look like in terms of your location (we assume there’s no average day!)?

I actually did a podcast episode on how I structure my “typical” non-typical day. This year and last have been pretty nuts on the travel side, visiting up to 15 different countries. My travel is usually based around 3 decisions- is this a country I’ve never visited, is there an event/ conference/ great group of friends where I’m going, is there an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. If it’s all three then it’s won the trifecta.

I don’t stay for any fixed amount of time, sometimes a few days, a few weeks or if I’m going a bit more long term a few months. I try to chase the summers so I’m not in the cold- which my suitcase is not really prepared for as I pack light and a lot of layers.

I attempt to do my most focused and important priority work in the morning, go out and discover during the day, check in early evening if need be, then enjoy the night. When I’m launching something or needing to do interviews or coaching calls I make sure I’m in a place with reliable internet and staying put for a day or so.

How do you handle the logistics of working while traveling (finding reliable internet, being available, time differences, etc)?

Some of that I spoke to above but essentially I plan my work around my travel. So I travel a lot when I’m not launching anything or doing major important work, hosting webinars, calls or live events. During those times I plan to stay put in one place where I know I can get reliable internet. For timezones- I’ll admit that’s still tricky but I love using Time and Date meeting planner and ScheduleOnce–  my calendar scheduling tool of choice to block out times I’m just not available so I can concentrate everything into a few set hours or days.

How do you balance making the most of travel while still staying on track with your business?

It really depends on where I’m going. I just spent 7 weeks in Japan where I’d never been so I spent 70% of my time being a tourist. I hired a few more team members and started diligently handing over to them so that I was working just a few hours a day, and some days not working at all. It also helped that my dad came over for 2 weeks to visit me so I was forced into way more play time which I loved. It’s all about your vision for life and what’s important to you. I love my work and when I work I’m very focused and productive. When I play, I’m all play (although I do have many great creative ideas while out exploring).

Any location independent myths you want to bust?

Yes, I wrote about them in my bestselling Suitcase Entrepreneur book actually, but for me it’s that it’s not all about working from a laptop on a beach in the South Pacific. It’s about living life on your own terms and doing what you want, when you want, with who you want.

To achieve this kind of lifestyle you have to be wiling to work hard but smart, and be very disciplined- which is the key to freedom. You also have to build the right type of business for you and your skill sets and your level of active vs residual revenue streams.

It’s definitely not for everyone as it can get lonely, you have to be open to constant change and planning your next steps and you have to be open to new cultures, languages and things being harder than expected.

In my mind, it’s all worth it but it can be tiring and also make you less tolerant or more lackadaisical if you’re not careful.

What are your business/travel must haves?

Oooh, too many to mention as I love my online tools and smart products. I love Rimowa for lightweight sturdy suitcases; mine is the Salsa Air and it’s taken a beating and has stood the test of time. I love Skross for an awesome travel adaptor. I dig Scottevest for a super useful travel jacket with hidden travel pockets that can reduce a lot of weight from your luggage.

I love my new Chase Preferred Sapphire card for earning me points through my business and travel spend. I’m digging Regus lounges for being able to access a business lounge in tons of countries and have an office anywhere I choose.

What are some of your favorite resource sites for affordable travel and/or location independent business?

My top fave for travel are Skyscanner.net for finding great flight deals and Airbnb for fun accommodation options. I love Dropbox as my online cloud storage solution, SaneBox for managing my inbox like a charm and Asana for project management with my team.

I detail my top tools here and my top travel tools here on my blog and of course all of them are in my book.

What do you think the future holds for you (staying in one place, periods of travel, being a full-time nomad, etc)?

For me, this question is top of mind right now. For 2015 I’d like to have 3 bases and spend the first quarter of the year in the summer of New Zealand or Australia, the next quarter of the year in Europe- likely Spain, and then a few months in the US for conference season and to spend quality time with friends. I’m definitely looking to travel less and have a base…but famous last words.

I’m also going to reduce my time focusing on the Suitcase Entrepreneur now that it’s running like a finely tuned engine, and once I’ve launched my flagship program for online entrepreneurs wanting location independence, I’m looking to start 1-2 new businesses, using all my knowledge gained in new niches just to diversify.

Want to read more of Natalie’s insights? Enter to win a copy of The Suitcase Entrepreneur book!

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your location independence journey starts here

Digital Nomad Profile: Lis Dingjan of The Identity

It’s Location Independence Week here on One Woman Shop! Join us as we chat with digital nomads and provide you with resources to jumpstart your location independent life. Sign up for updates throughout the week and RSVP for our location independence Twitter chat!

Today we’re chatting with Lis Dingjan of The Identity about her location independent lifestyle.

lis dingjan digital nomad

Hi Lis! Tell us a bit about your business and how you keep it location independent.

I run a boutique creative design and development studio and do consulting work on a range of subjects so I’m able to work online from anywhere as long as my laptop is around. Any contractors or clients I work with are based all around the world so we keep in touch with a mixture of email, Skype, shared wunderlists and slack app depending on what project it’s for.

What does an average month/year look like in terms of your location (we assume there’s no average day!)?

I have absolutely no idea! If I’m planned more than a month in advance it’s fairly impressive! I make quick decisions and plenty of last minute decisions. One moment I’m in Cambodia, the next living in the Netherlands, then I find myself in Morocco for a week and suddenly in Belize before I’m somehow in Australia.

I believe in spontaneity and taking chances and opportunities. They’re everywhere when you open your eyes to them. I can’t remember an average year since I was about 11 to be honest! Generally I know I’ll be working, I’ll be studying (this is unlikely to ever stop as I head into a masters – I’ve sat exams all over the world) and that I’ll be travelling. Who knows what countries I’ll see that year or where I’ll end up 🙂

How do you handle the logistics of working while traveling (finding reliable internet, being available, time differences, etc)?

Be really flexible. There are days in Cambodia, or Africa, or wherever you may be where the power goes out and you’ve got nothing. When there’s no Wifi, I spend my time in Photoshop and answering emails (and this is why I love Outlook!) whilst generally being ridiculously productive.

When the battery runs out I’ll sketch up new projects, jot down all my ideas and to-do lists or head into the local community and see what I can do. I have a workflow set on my Alfred App for world times and it’s my lifesaver for all those time changes and summertime/wintertime changed (they drive me crazy!). World Time Buddy is super useful for scheduling time zones that work. I also use a scheduler for all clients which automatically converts to their time zone to book consults.

If I’m on the opposite side of the world to the US (where a lot of my clients are based) that means some late nights or early mornings for Skype consults but generally otherwise I find everything to be easy to navigate in terms of availability. I don’t need to – and am not – on my email 24/7 or work would never be completed! I also often jump on a few blogs in the location I’m at to see if there’s any recommendations for great places to work from. This has been super helpful in some spots!

How do you balance making the most of travel while still staying on track with your business?

These days, “slow travelling” works better with business. I.e at least staying put in a place for a few weeks. If I’m only somewhere for a short time though, letting go of the need to see everything immediately. I remember when I used to travel before my own business, and my days would be jam packed with sightseeing and exploring.

These days it’s much better to set up a little structure such as get up early, work for 6 hours and then go explore with the ability to relax and not stress about that impending deadlines. Some days can be allocated as work only days and you push out 14 hours and others as just doing the travel thing.

Any location independent myths you want to bust?

That it’s easy working from cafes and that you won’t miss a bit of routine and water-cooler-chats. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely ADORE working from quirky cafes but it can be frustrating too. Depending on what part of the world you’re in, sometimes you’ll barely find a power outlet, you’ve got to check the wifi and it’s good café etiquette to drink and eat which means those days in cafes can get pretty damn expensive quick (especially if you’re in Australia).

Some days you’ll crave a creative office space where you can just plunk down your computer, bring your own lunch, chat to people doing similar things in a language you understand and not worry about your battery dying! And uh…that whole image of sitting on the beach working? Sun glare equals a screen you can’t see! 🙂

What are your business/travel must haves?

A water bottle (I never leave without one), 2 power charges, an extension cord, a power converter for all the main types, a Mac Air (you just can’t beat the lightness for travel), a super quality suitcase because you’ll be dragging it around the globe…and for me, a flight escape plan in my mind every time I get on a plane (I’m terrified of flying!).

What are some of your favorite resource sites for affordable travel and/or location independent business?

Even though I’m an experienced flight booker (ha!) flightfox.com has saved me thousands. Who knew at that time it was cheaper to book a return to Spain from Miami just to get to Miami from London? They do!

I’ve actually created a site for finding independent cafes with wifi at laptopcafes.com which is relaunching shortly as a full directory site 🙂

What do you think the future holds for you (staying in one place, periods of travel, being a full-time nomad, etc)?

At the moment I’m actually settling for a few months! I’ve had quite a full on last ten years and have travelled through over 50 countries and lived on multiple continents so I’ve just hired a studio space in Brisbane, Australia to be in for a little while and really knuckle down. Until July…there’s a flight booked to America and what will probably be a detour through London and Cambodia 🙂 I think there will be periods of travel mixed with periods of routine and structure. Maybe it’s time to set up my own airline?!

Questions for Lis? Ask them in the comments!

your location independence journey starts here

Next Week is Location Independence Week!

Contrary to what many people think, location independence is not the dream of every solopreneur. But for some, it’s exactly why they started their online business. Next week, we’re focusing on those who are interested in becoming location independent and taking advantage of that freedom- even if it’s just for a short chunk of time!

On the schedule for the week:

Are you in? Sign up for details and RSVP for our Twitter chat below!



How would you describe yourself?

Will you be able to attend the Twitter chat?