The Best Remote Jobs: Work from Anywhere

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How do you find the best remote jobs out there? The best thing you can do is connect your passion with the world’s needs. Have freedom on top of that by being remote.

 

“Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

Frederick Buechner

 

By the end of 2020, more than half of U.S. workers were doing their jobs remotely at least part of the time. Into 2021, the majority of those remote employees said they wanted to keep working remotely even when Covid-19 subsides.

2021 Remote Work Statistics

This isn’t shocking. Millions of people are finding they quite like working online. There’s a greater freedom to choose your lifestyle, from where you live to what hours you work. The ability to be closer to family and choose your work environment (and of course the lack of a lengthy morning commute) mean that working remotely is finding its way onto people’s lists of requirements.

If you’re interested in remote work but don’t think your current position is going to stay there forever, then you may want to put together a remote work career track for yourself. 

What are the best remote jobs out there?

I firmly believe that anyone who wants to work remotely and live and work from anywhere should be able to do so.  Not everyone’s remote work career track may look the same. The beauty of remote work is that most skills and work experience can translate to an online position fairly well.  Your offline skills, in one way or another, can translate to the online world.  

If you use social media, use a computer, and have a smartphone, for example, you already have a basic skill set that can apply towards getting a remote job.  And, if you don’t know what to do, you can take a course in a field of your choice and at any level to get you on the right track for finding a remote job.  It’s really just a matter of finding the best remote job or career for you. 

And you might be surprised where you fit in the remote job world. Many people look for an exact analog of their current job in the online workforce, when really you could be looking for remote jobs that value your skills and passions more than your current position.

Here are some (but not all) of the positions that excel in the remote working world.  We’ve compiled the best remote jobs that pay well, aren’t work-from-home scams, and allow you to have a healthy income while working from anywhere.  You might be surprised at the diversity of remote work. 

If you’re completely new and looking to build your skill set for remote work, you can also check out entry-level courses to help you learn new skills to jumpstart your remote career or to expand your existing knowledge base.

Writing

Writing gigs have had remote options even long before “work from home” was a phrase. Authors and newspaper columnists were mailing their work in to publishers decades before the internet. Now in the digital age, the opportunities for remote work as a writer have exploded. 

Email, shareable documents and online work platforms like Slack and Google Hangouts make writing from home a viable career path for more than just novelists. Businesses need copy for their websites, content for their blogs and someone to draft social media posts. 

And you don’t just have to look for someone to hire you. If writing is your passion, you can work remotely as your own boss by establishing your own website or blog. There are plenty of ways to monetize your writing

Find the best remote writing jobs on the LWA job board.

Sales

Working in sales is more than just sitting in a call center cubicle. Every company needs product specialists to work with their marketers to get leads through the sales funnel. As a remote sales employee, you may also work to generate leads yourself.

While this might seem like more of an in-person job, online sales positions are actually common. In fact, 16% of companies are completely remote and need work-from-home employees to help them make sales. 

You don’t need to be a seasoned sales veteran to land an online sales job. If you’re interested in sales as a career, brush up your current resume with an eye for transferable skills. “Sales” isn’t really something you’ll see many people with a degree or certification in. Instead, people who work sales come from backgrounds like communication, business or even customer service. 

A good option if you’re looking to burst onto the sales scene is to look for sales work in an industry you’re familiar with. For example, an experienced ghost writer might excel at selling copywriting services. 

Find the best remote jobs in Sales on LWA’s job board..

Tech and customer support

As companies grow, they need dedicated support staff. These positions exist to support both customers and internal staff. “Tech support” might make you think of someone on a headset asking a belligerent caller to try restarting their computer, but there are many positions beyond that. 

Sure, there are those callers and technical issues, but companies need tech employees to handle internal support, as well. 

As for customer support, it’s also about more than helping customers when products don’t work. There’s also product ordering support, which is a huge component of sites like Amazon. 

Customer support has a fairly low barrier to entry and makes a good starter job for someone wanting to test out the work-from-home situation. Here are some of the most common places or industries to find a remote customer support job:

  • Online shopping (Amazon, eBay, etc.)
  • Healthcare / medical 
  • The mortgage industry
  • Airlines (Delta, Alaska, etc.)
  • Travel agencies

Find the best remote jobs in tech and customer support here.

Software design and development

It’s no surprise that a lot of tech jobs have made the leap to remote work very smoothly. And it’s not just tech startups that are looking for remote workers, many established companies are also hiring remotely for these positions.  Some of the best (and highest paying) remote jobs are in the tech industry.  So if you have a desire or knack for tech, you like jobs that are challenging and feel comfortable in an industry that is always changing, look no further.   

Also, there is a definite increase in software engineering teams going remote.  Prior to 2020, before Covid, 13% of engineering teams were fully remote.  As a result of the pandemic, that number has increased to 74% and now 66% of engineering teams believe they will continue to allow remote work after Covid has subsided.

You have options when it comes to remote tech jobs. It’s not just late night coding with 3 big screens, no lights, and a giant pizza box next to the always-full coffee mug at your side. For example you can work in design, product management or project management.  

Design 

There are various forms of design in the tech world.  From graphic design and illustration to user experience and user interface design.  We talk about this a little bit more below for front end developers, which can also be called front end designers. 

Product Management

Every product that’s created needs someone to manage the flow of tasks, project deadlines, features being released, etc. A product manager makes sure that the software developers are developing what the customers want.  This is different from a project manager who makes sure things are getting done on time. Product managers are closely tied in to the development process.

Development

If you’ve got some development experience already, you may be wondering where to focus your skills to land the best jobs. Which coding languages you should master depends on what kind of development you want to do. For example: 

  • Front end developer

JavaScript, Elm, TypeScript.

  • Back end developer

JavaScript, Scala, Python, Go, Ruby

  • Game design

Unity, TypeScript

  • Mobile app development

Swift, Java, Objective C, JavaScript 

Your most sellable trait in the online development space is adaptability. Make sure you’re learning and growing with the times, keeping up with the latest advancements and newest technology. Even if you’ve got past experience, it’s a good idea to brush up on your skills. 

There are many programming and coding schools that will offer courses for more experienced developers as well as complete beginners. Codeacademy is a good example. If you’re not able to invest a lot of money into learning coding right now, you may consider options like Lamba School or Microverse, where they offer the education for free upfront and you pay them back after they help you land a job. 

A coding school is a great way to get started in coding for little to no money and have a nearly-guaranteed high-paying job once you graduate.  

You can find entry-level software jobs on Liveworkanywhere. Already a senior level engineer and need to be matched with the best remote jobs on the planet? Go to our partner site, fullstackremote.

Operations 

This is a good category for anyone with strong basic office skills and business experience. Operations is just career lingo for every position that works behind the scenes to make sure business processes run smoothly. This can be program coordination, office administration and much more. For example, a company may have an operations team that focuses on creating internal training materials and building in-depth client onboarding experiences. 

General positions in operations can include everything from a business operations manager all the way up to a COO.  

If you’re just starting out, you can look for an entry level position as an executive or administrative assistant. These positions are looking for people with a strong grasp of basic office suites like Microsoft or Google products. 

A general operations position might be that of a business operations manager or a company executive. You’ll need more experience and a solid resume for this position, so if you’ve got your sights set on a high remote work position, you may want to get your feet wet in a lower level assistant position first. This will give you a good opportunity to explore a new industry at relatively low risk. 

Find the best remote jobs in operations. 

Virtual Assistant 

Virtual assistant is another term for an admin or executive assistant, but, of course, virtual. And again this can be anything from entry level to more advanced. This is one of the best starter jobs for people who want to enter the virtual workforce but aren’t sure where to start or get experience.  

How does a virtual assistant job differ from the admin assistant positions we just talked about? A virtual assistant involves freelancing multiple clients whereas an operations admin assistant is a remote job where you’ve been hired by one company. There’s even the possibility that a freelance VA gig could turn into a permanent remote position.

Search for the best virtual assistant or admin assistant remote jobs here

Freelancing 

The gig economy is growing. Even prior to the pandemic, freelancing was projected to make up more than half the workforce by 2027. So if you have specialized skills, you can get started working for yourself. You’ll need to brand yourself and gather clients. We talk more about this process here

If you don’t have the time to invest in becoming a completely independent freelancer, you can go to a business for help. Freelancing for a company like Upwork or Fivrr can help get you work fast. There are more specialized sites, as well, like Behance, Textbroker or Content Cucumber.

Marketing

Every company, non-profit and brand out there needs marketing, and marketers have traditionally fared pretty well in online spaces. With tools like 5g tech and the near omnipresence of Wi-Fi, many marketing positions have dropped the in-person requirements. 

You’ll find that many smaller companies are on the lookout for a “jack of all trades” or “full stack” marketer who can do a little bit of everything, from social media, to brand design, lead generation, advertising, messaging and content creation. 

Once you move up towards the larger businesses and corporations, they’ll be wanting marketing specialists. These are marketers who focus on one area, such as social media. You may see these two types of marketing jobs referred to as generalist marketing and specialist marketing.  

If you’re just starting out, you may want to cut your teeth on several varieties as you figure out what best aligns with your skills as passions. Then you can focus in on that specialization. In other words, start off as a general marketer and move towards a specialist track later on. Having a wide variety of skills is great, but in order to move up in your career you’ll want to focus in on an area of expertise and develop that more fully.  

Find the best remote marketing jobs on liveworkanywhere.

Finance

You may be surprised just how many remote finance jobs are out there. While the traditional image of a finance employee might be someone locked in a small work cubicle in a suit at the back of the office building, more and more companies have been hiring out their financial needs to remote workers or even remote finance companies. In fact, more than 70 percent of financial executives outsource at least some of their work remotely.

There are a few paths for a remote career in finance: you can look for remote accounting or bookkeeping positions, a Controller or even a CFO. You can work for startups providing accounting services or even more traditional accounting firms. 

Find the best remote finance roles on our job board.            

Human Resources 

The more that companies go remote, the more support they need for things like hiring and managing remote talent. This means handling benefits, salaries, payouts, employee training materials, onboarding processes and more. 

Human resource jobs can also earn you a nice stable salary, anywhere from 30k-100k/year.

And of course, many companies are looking for H.R. specialists to manage their increasing number of remote employees. Facebook recently hired their first Director of Remote Work to do this very job.  

Find the best remote jobs in Human Resources. 

Legal services

If you have a background in law, there are a lot of opportunities to take those skills remote. Paralegals and attorneys both fit nicely into the remote landscape, particularly for consultations and other services that can be offered over the phone or via Zoom. 

During the Coronavirus pandemic, many legal services (and even full court cases) transitioned to videoconferencing. And while in-person trials and consultations will resume again once things have calmed down, many law firms are finding that keeping remote options available to clients allows them to connect with global legal teams, reach out to more diverse clients and ultimately serve their communities better. 

There’s good room for crossover here, as well. For example, if you have a legal background and writing skills, you may be perfectly suited to an online legal writing position. 

Paralegals and legal support can earn 40-60k/year and attorneys can earn well into 6 figures. 

Find the best remote jobs in legal professions on our job board.

Medical 

Telehealth options have risen more than 50 percent since the CDC recommended these options to areas affected by Covid. However, telehealth was already a rising trend before that. While it’s not projected that telehealth will replace in-person care, it is a helpful tool for hospitals and clinics to have, and many of them are investing long-term. 

This is because telehealth options help doctors and other medical professionals reach a wider audience, including lower-income patients and those who cannot travel. 

Remote medical jobs exist for licensed medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, counselors and physician assistants, but you can also work in this field doing the “behind the scenes” work. This includes scheduling, claims reviews, insurance work and more.

Go to Remote Medical Jobs to get an idea of what telehealth jobs are out there. Or search for the best remote jobs for medical professionals on our site

Teaching  

Nearly all schools had to transition to online when the pandemic hit, but we’re not talking about that. There are many teaching positions that are permanently remote, and were long before Covid struck. 

Of course, if you’re already a seasoned teacher or professor, you can look for remote teaching positions at universities or even high schools. But even if you don’t have a long background in teaching, there are jobs out there that make great side hustles (and can even transition to full time careers). 

Most common are tutoring and teaching English as a second language. The demand for native English speakers who are available to teach remotely is incredibly high. The pay can range anywhere from $10/hour to $40/hour or more. How much you make will depend on who you work for, what experience you have and even what hours you choose to work. Some of these positions may require that you have a TEFL certificate, and these are usually the ones that have higher pay. 

You can often set your own hours for these kinds of positions. However, keep in mind that many English teaching positions might need you to be working early in the morning or very late at night due to the time difference between Asia and North America or Europe. 

Next steps: How to Get Started with Working Remotely

All this might seem overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the remote work scene. To start making progress towards your dream job, you’ll need three things:

  1. Be remote ready
  2. Know your strengths
  3. Know what job you want

1. Remote Ready: How do I prepare for remote work?

Home office

Set up a home office or workspace that’s going to help you be productive. Whether this is a dedicated room in your house or just a desk in the corner is up to you. However, all home offices need strong Wi-Fi and a steady source of power. 

Ready to take your remote career on the road? First be sure to check out our Mobility Criteria to make sure you can successfully live and work from anywhere in the world.

Tools

Your job may supply you with work from home tools or it may not. Applications like Slack, Zoom, and others allow you to be connected with your team and keep on top of your work. You will want to look into which pieces of software are most necessary for your position and then familiarize yourself with how they work. 

Communication

Over-communication is the name of the game here. If you’re silent, your clients or teammates won’t know what you’re up to. Be extra responsive to emails, don’t leave messages on read and reach out to those you work with regularly. It takes motivation to succeed in remote work, so be sure you’re ready to take initiative.

Limited distractions

Working from home can be distracting for some people. Here’s how you can identify and prevent common distractions:

  • Set up your office in a low-traffic area of your home
  • Talk with your housemates or family and explain what your availability will look like on work days
  • Consider getting a dedicated work phone

Calendars and time management

If you’re new to remote work, don’t jump into it without first preparing for a major shift in time management. You’ll be on your own getting your work done with no coworkers or a boss to look over your shoulder. Some people thrive in a self-starter environment and others need a little extra help.

Give yourself every advantage by:

  • Over-communicating 
  • Setting up a work calendar
  • Testing your internet and power supplies
  • Practicing using remote collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.

Not sure if you’re ready for remote work or not? Take a moment to really analyze your passions and your career strengths. 

2. Know Your Strengths: What is the best remote job for me?

Looking for remote work but not sure where to start? It can be overwhelming, but the key is to zero in on what you need. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I looking to transition my current career online or start a new one?

It is easier to search for a new remote position that matches your current one because you know exactly what you’re looking for. But you shouldn’t be scared to jump into something new if that’s what’s going to keep you happy and motivated. 

  • Do I want to be my own boss or work for someone else?

There are varying degrees of independence within remote work. Finding a remote job in an existing company is usually an easier path but may not give you all the freedom you want. For example, you may still be tied to traditional office hours and availability. 

Embarking on a truly independent remote work track means going into freelance work or starting your own online company. Both of these require a bit more of an initial time investment on your part. A freelancer needs to establish credibility and start selling their brand. Starting your own business means coming up with a product, developing your brand, setting up a website and more.

It all depends on what you’re looking for. Which of these paths is going to be the most rewarding for you? Answer that question, and then don’t settle for anything less.

Looking into building your own startup? Go to Anywherestartup.com for more help.

  • What are my current skills and what skills do I want to improve or learn?

You want a job that’s a good fit now but with room to grow. Identifying your strengths as well as weaknesses you want to work on will help you narrow down your search. We’ll go into more detail about skills and personality below.

  • What excites and motivates me? 

You’re transitioning to remote work because of the freedom and flexibility it offers, but it’s not just the “remoteness” of the job that’s important. The work you’re doing matters, too. Settling for a position you’re not interested in just because it’s remote will not make you happy in the long run. Instead, identify your passions and find remote work that lets you utilize them. 

How do I assess my skills?

“What are you good at?” is such a daunting question. If you’re struggling to pinpoint your professional skills and goals, you’re not alone! It can be tricky to identify just what you’re good at and even trickier to match your answers to the language you find in job descriptions. 

An online skills assessment can help you crack the surface. And once you get going, you’ll find that figuring yourself out is an exciting, lifelong journey.

What’s my work personality? 

“What’s your personality?” is even vaguer than the last question, but equally as important for finding your ideal job–online or otherwise. People are diverse and no one fits perfectly into any single category. However, an online personality test might be a good place to start if you need a general idea of the work environment where you’re most likely to thrive. 

3. Know What Job You Want: Where can I find the best remote jobs?

You can find remote work positions practically anywhere jobs are posted. All the common sites like Monster, Flexjobs and Indeed have remote jobs and you can usually filter your search to find just these positions. You can also take a gander at the Liveworkanywhere job board for remote positions in different fields. 

Still feeling lost?

You can start by taking some courses and dig in a bit more into skill development to see which path suits you best.

A career coach may be able to help you get started. If you’re dedicated to finding a new online career but still feel overwhelmed by the scope of your options, talking through your needs with a professional might be the jumpstart you need. However, to make the most out of a career coach, you may want to first  identify your skills and basic job needs and go to your coach with these answers already in your mind.

Remote work 2021 and the Future of Remote Work

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Blue Pot Next to a Laptop Showing a Video Conference | Live Work Anywhere

laptop running online video conference in a remote office 2021

Remote work is more common than ever, and it’s showing no signs of slowing. Remote work in 2021 is more robust and versatile than ever before, and it’s changing the professional landscape as we know it.

With companies like Twitter, Nationwide, Shopify and many others offering remote work options to all employees, it’s clear that what’s happening isn’t just a trend. While the Covid-19 pandemic has obviously spurred things along, the rise in remote work was always on the horizon. Even without the pandemic’s influence, remote work options were still projected to increase more than 80 percent by 2025.

Important remote work statistics 

  • Remote workers save approximately $7,000 every year on transportation, food and childcare (TECLA)
  • Working remotely just half of the time saves people on average 11 days each year by reducing commute time (State of Telecommuting)
  • Remote workers are 24% more likely to report being both happy and productive at their job (Owl Labs)
  • By 2028, 73% of business departments will have at least one remote worker (Upwork)

The three kinds of remote work

Remote work is a very broad term that includes a lot of different online jobs. These positions can be fully remote, hybrid or flex. We’ll go into each type of remote work below.

1. Fully Remote

Fully remote is just what it sounds like: a job or business built with the intention of being remote. 

These jobs will already be equipped with the proper tools for you to succeed virtually. Companies with fully remote positions will likely also have a better understanding of what to expect of their remote employees.

2. Hybrid

The key difference between hybrid remote work and fully remote work is the company. With a hybrid position, some of your coworkers may be in-office, as opposed to an all-remote staff. This changes the general culture of your workplace.

Almost any type of job can be a hybrid position, it just depends on the company. The CFO of a large hospital may be fully remote, so might an entry-level assistant position. No matter what your skills and work experience, there are remote jobs out there for you.

3. Flex

Some positions offer flex work. This means you go into the office some or most of the time, and have the opportunity to work remotely, as well. The number of remote days for a flex position could range from one or two a month to several a week! 

While flex work still requires you live near to your business’s office space, it does offer many of the other benefits of remote work like increased flexibility and the potential for greater productivity. With a flex job, you may be able to travel more, spend more time with your family or just get away from the noise of the office every now and then. 

Forced Remote

One more kind of remote work is forced remote. This is when a traditionally in-person position is forced online due to circumstance. Many people are finding themselves in forced remote situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not all companies were ready for the sudden switch to online work, and without the proper infrastructure and procedures in place, their employees had a difficult time. Odds are you may already be one of the more than a million people forced into online work by the pandemic, and you may have found it frustrating and difficult. 

The good news is that this doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out for remote work. You may just need to find an online position that was designed with remote work in mind. This is where remote first work and flex work come into play. 

The truth about remote work

Remote work requires just as much dedication and skills as working in a traditional office. Sometimes even more so. You need to be self driven and able to keep on top of your schedule and time management. 

And while you can work from anywhere given the right tools, transitioning to remote work probably won’t mean you’ll be putting together that project report from your beach towel. Remote work, like traditional office work, requires good lighting, internet and diminished distractions.

woman with outdoor remote office
Looks fun but full of distractions and shoddy internet.

Is remote work for everyone?

No. As exciting as it is that more and more people are being offered the chance to work remotely, some people–like some industries–are better suited to working on site. According to Buffer, loneliness, communication and the ability to separate work from one’s home life are the biggest challenges that remote workers face. 

The most helpful thing you can do now is make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to time management and remote work. If you’re unsure where to start, try matching your personality type to your ideal remote career.

We also have tips and advice to help you stay productive while working remotely.

General trends of remote work

Industries embracing remote work in 2021

According to Owl Labs, the health industry, tech industry and financial services have the highest rate of remote workers.  But web development, design, copywriting and finance are also big players in the remote space. 

Some industries are less of a good fit for large amounts of remote workers, especially those involving events and activities. For people in these industries, there may be fewer options for remote work. Notice we said fewer, not none. You might be surprised how many traditionally in-person industries have remote options. 

Remote work encouraging exodus from large cities

One of the most exciting aspects of this changing work landscape is how cities and towns are adapting to these changes. Years ago, when remote work was rare, there were many jobs that were locationally locked to certain areas. Once upon a time, your only shot in a given industry might have required you pack up your things and move. Today, this is less and less the case.

With work no longer as rigorously tied to location, we’re seeing something of a migration as people choose to move to more rural areas to save money on housing, to be closer to family or just to get out of the city.

Conversely, this leaves more of an opening in larger cities for people who truly want to live there. People are leaving San Francisco for Sacramento, New York for South Florida, and all in record numbers. According to CNBC, 14-23 million Americans are in the midst of planning a relocation thanks to more flexible remote working schedules. 

Technology is innovating to support the growing online workforce

New innovations like 5g and satellite technologies are making it easier than ever to stay connected to your coworkers and career from anywhere in the world. Today, hopping onto an online workspace is quick and painless, and your team can coordinate work easy through e-mail, Dropbox, shared files like Google Docs. and the hundreds of other companies providing similar tools.

Video conferencing software like Zoom make synchronized online meetings a possibility. These technologies and remote work form a symbiotic relationship: as remote work options grow, bolstered by all these new tools, tech companies are encouraged to innovate even more to keep up with the rising demand for work-from-home software.

Remote work in 2021

  • 16 percent of companies in the world are entirely remote (Owl Labs)
  • 52% of employees work remotely at least once every month (Owl Labs)
  • Approximately 62 percent of employees work remotely at least some of the time (Owl Labs)
  • 18 percent of people globally work remotely full time (Owl Labs)
  • Less than half of the world’s companies (44 percent) don’t allow any form of remote work (Owl Labs)

How to work remotely

If you’re interested in working remotely, you have three options: working from home from your current job, finding a new remote job or starting your own online business and becoming your own boss.  

1. Transition your current job to remote work

Your current job may be able to accommodate a remote work lifestyle. Many companies are seeing the benefit to staffing more of their employees remotely. However, if your employer is one of the 44 percent that don’t allow any remote work, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your skills and experience elsewhere. 

2. Look for a new remote position

If your job won’t allow you to transition to remote or flex work, then there’s nothing wrong with pursuing other opportunities. Go to online job boards to see what positions are available in your field. Since you can work from almost anywhere for a remote position, you’ll likely find you have more options than you would were you looking for in-person work.

You can start your job search here, on the Liveworkanywhere Job Board.

3. Start your own online business

You also have the option to cut completely free of your employer entirely and start up your own online business. The possibilities here are virtually limitless, so much so that we have an entire post on getting your remote business off the ground.

Getting ready for remote work in 2021

home office with laptop desktop and notebook
A solid home office is key to successful remote work. See how you can take yours on the go with our mobility criteria.

What do I need to work remotely?

I’ve learned that although you CAN work from anywhere, you aren’t very productive working from the beach with sand blowing on your laptop and overheating or from your car or from the rock of Gibraltar. This kind of setup puts you at risk of running out of power, losing your internet, getting distracted, or simply not having access to all the supplies you need because you left them in the other room.

A change in scenery now and then can be good for your productivity levels, but it’s best for you to set up a good home office first.  

Necessary home office supplies:

  • Your computer
  • Comfortable/supportive chair
  • Appropriate lighting
  • Good internet (you can write off part of your internet bill on your taxes)

As you work, you’ll find additional home office supplies that make sense for you and your job. Do you need a paper shredder? A filing cabinet? Don’t go overboard buying too many things beyond the necessities until you know you’ll need them.

You can see our full guide on setting up the optimal home office here. 

What does remote work mean for you

Your path into this new work world is yours to make. If you have the desire to embrace online work, then you may find yourself enjoying the freedoms remote work entails. You can write your schedule more freely, travel and live wherever you want to be, and accomplish all your career goals from your own home. 

Even if you don’t switch to remote work, the future is still exciting. As the urban-suburban dichotomy begins to shift with remote workers relocating, you may find an opportunity to seek out an in-person job in a place you never thought you could move to before. And your workplace will likely have more remote employees in the future, even if you remain in the office. 

No matter what your career, the changing work landscape may be your chance to get out there and reshape your career however you see fit.

FAQ

What specific skills do I need to work remotely? 

Remote work requires you to be self-motivated and a good communicator. Without being surrounded by coworkers or supervisors, you’ll need to keep your own schedule and know when to reach out to colleagues. 

As for job-specific skills, you’ll find that nearly all career skills can translate nicely to an online career. Some of the most sought-after skills in remote workers include:

  • Technical and computer skills
  • Writing skills
  • Design skills

Remote jobs exist for all positions, from beginner to expert, so don’t think so much about how you can gain remote work skills, and instead focus on how you can transition the skills you have to an online job. 

What remote work jobs can I get?

The sky’s the limit! Whatever your passion, you can find an online job that taps into your skills and career goals. Some of the most common online positions right now are:

  • Web developer
  • Recruiter
  • Writer
  • Accountant
  • Engineer
  • Finance
  • And even nursing!

Check out the Job Board on Liveworkanywhere to see where you might fit in.

Are remote workers paid less? 

No. Depending on your remote job, you may make more, less, or the same amount as an in-person position. In fact, on average remote workers actually see an annual income that’s $4,000 higher

It can be hard to say for sure whether transitioning to remote work will see you bringing home bigger paychecks or not, because there are so many variables. Some companies pay employees different salaries based on where they live, which means that if you live in a rural area but your coworkers are in the city, there’s a possibility you may be offered a comparatively lower salary. This is a company-by-company decision, however, and you also have to factor in the cost savings of remote work such as:

  • No commute
  • Opportunity to live in a cheaper area
  • Lower childcare costs
  • Home office tax deductions  

How much does it cost to set up a home office?

The answer is as much or as little as you need, depending on your job. You may need $3,000-$5,000 if you’re investing in a new desk, a new computer and upgrading your internet. 

If that sounds like a lot, don’t panic. Many people start off their their existing laptop and phone setup and pay very little for their home office. Doing so allows you to give remote work a try without being too financially invested. If you end up going back to the office, then you’re not out anything. 

Are remote jobs less stable?

No. A remote job is no more or less stable than its in-person equivalent. How stable your remote job is comes down entirely to the company you’re working for (or the industry you’re in if you start your own business). 

Know your worth as an employee and always do your research into a company before applying to work remotely for them. Remote work scams are a valid concern, so make sure you’re ready to spot and avoid them.

 

Personality traits and types for your ideal remote job or career

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Matching your personality traits and types for your ideal remote job or career – Packaging your skills and finding a remote job that suits you 

Having a remote job is a dream for many.  Thanks to COVID-19 the coronavirus global pandemic, we’ve had to shift to remote much quicker than expected. You may be wondering if you have the personality type for a remote job. The good news is that there is remote work out there for you no matter what personality traits you have!

But how do you know which type of remote job is right for you?  When you’re just starting out it can be daunting to figure out what path to take to lead you to the right remote job.  And it makes sense to make sure your new remote position is one that’s well-suited to what you’re good at.  There are several jobs in which you can translate your skills from offline to online.  But first, we decided to take a look at how your remote career maps to your personality type as a starting point to look at the type of remote career that’s right for you.

Mapping a remote career to your personality type

We’re all a little bit different. Knowing your strengths is key to excelling in your remote work.

There are many online resources that can help you build and manage a remote-ready skillset.

We’ve provided a list of courses, broken down by entry level, mid level, and highly skilled, and by area of expertise: marketing, finance, programming, and so on.

Once you’ve found the career that’s right for you, take a look at the Courses on LiveWorkAnywhere to dig deeper into your next remote career.

Have you thought about what skills match your personality type?

Not sure what your strengths are yet? A lot of people don’t think they’re good at anything, when in reality, they’re just not aware of what their strongest qualities are. Taking a quick personality test can give you an idea of what kind of tasks and skills suit you best. You can then identify the personality traits for your ideal online career and see if they match up with your personality type.

This Hubspot blog details seven different career aptitude tests for recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike. General personality tests like this one from 16personalities.com can be helpful, too.  No one test is a perfect representation of you. These are just tools to give you an idea of yourself and your strengths and get you started on your path to a remote career.

Personality types and the remote careers that match

The most common personality and career aptitude test, the Meyers-Briggs test, breaks personality types down by four distinct categories.

  1. Introverted vs. extroverted
  2. Thinking vs. feeling
  3. Judging vs. perceiving
  4. Sensing vs. intuition

Here are some examples of remote jobs that pair well with these broad personality categories.

  • Introverted: Software developer, proofreader, photographer.
  • Extroverted: Screenwriter, Editor, Copywriter.
  • Thinking: Sales representative, project manager, public relations.
  • Feeling: Social media manager, translator.
  • Judging: Managing editor, statistician.
  • Perceiving: Film editor, journalist, archivist.
  • Sensing: Management consultant, sales manager.
  • Intuition: Budget analyst, database administrator.

Of course these aren’t laws! If you find you don’t have the personality type for the remote job you want, that doesn’t mean a career in that field is beyond your reach. Experience with remote work can help you get a feel for how your personality type best fits with your desired career. For example, an introverted person can still work in an extroverted field like copywriting or editing.

How to get started

If you’ve never worked remotely before, then you’ll want to brush up on some of the essential skills. Here are some resources to help you kickstart your remote career, no matter which industry you choose.

Finding a Remote Job

This is an all-encompassing career management course designed to get your remote career off the ground. You’ll learn how to ace remote interviews, the warning signs of sketchy job positions and how to master the technology required for remote work.

Introduction to Personal Branding

This might be especially pertinent to anyone looking to land a freelance position. Selling yourself and your services to online clients requires a masterful grasp of your “brand”. Learn to start leveraging yourself like a company.

Introduction to Time Management

Time management is an essential resume skill for those looking to land remote work. Since you won’t be punching a time card, you’ll need to motivate yourself to get everything done on time.

Also, look at LiveWorkAnywhere courses for general remote work skills courses around productivity, time management, managing remote teams, communication, and skill-specific courses for entry level, mid level, and highly skilled remote jobs.

Remote work traits employers look for 

  • Independent – Independence is essential. You won’t have a supervisor keeping tabs on you all day.
  • Self-starter – Remote work calls for a lot of initiative.
  • Responsive – Keeping track of remote workers can be tricky, and employers want to know they can trust you to be available.
  • Introvert – Introverts handle down time well and are less inclined to feel lonely working by themselves.
  • Extrovert – Extroverts tend to be great communicators, and can keep their remote coworkers informed.
  • Focused – There are a lot of distractions in the world of remote work. Employers want employees who can stay focused.
  • Self-disciplined – Remote workers have to serve as their own supervisors sometimes, keeping themselves on task. Not sure you’re self-disciplined and structured enough to thrive in a remote environment? Don’t worry, you can create this skill set by working hard and establishing a daily routine.
  • Team player – All-remote teams need extraordinary communication and cooperation to function properly.
  • Resourceful problem solver – Remote positions call for adaptable employees. There will be times where you will have to get creative to work around technology failings and other issues.
  • Experience working remotely – While you won’t have this starting out, employers look to see how well you adapt to remote work.  One of the most obvious ways is by having worked remotely in the past, and if you haven’t, proving you have the chops to do so by being communicative, resourceful, and a self-starter.

Are you ready to make the move to remote work? Most employers will be drawn to applicants with previous remote experience. If you’ve never worked a remote job before, then now’s the time to put a remote-ready plan in place.

Remote Work Statistics – Why Remote Work is Here to Stay

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Remote work was once the “Future of Work”.  Yet even a casual glance at current remote work stats shows that the future has become the now and working from home is is the norm for many people.  But just in case you needed some proof, we’ve compiled a few remote work statistics.

Younger leaders are embracing remote work

Remote work stats show that the younger workforce is definitely at the forefront of remote and flex work. As the younger generations come to occupy more managerial positions, remote work options for staff are becoming more acceptable.

  • 69% of younger managers have team members with remote work options (Source: Upwork)
  • Younger managers are 28% more likely to utilize remote workers than Baby Boomers. (Source: Upwork)
  • 68% of graduating college students listed remote work as the top benefit in their job search (Source: After College)

Flex work is bridging the gap

Flex work allows traditional businesses a sort of “practice space” for online work. By allowing employees to work remotely just part of the time, companies retain the benefits of both traditional office work and remote work.

  • In 2015, 30% of the U.S. workforce had the option to work remotely part time. By 2025, this number is expected to rise to 50% (Source: Flex Summit)
  • American Express saw a 43% increase in employee retention by offering flexible work options (Source: Flex Summit)

Remote work is only increasing

Remote work options are now the norm for many companies. Growth in this sector has sped up in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing down. Remote work statistics show remote work options overtaking their in-office counterparts.

  • In the next ten years, hiring manager predict that 38% of their permanent, full-time employees will work remotely (Source: Upwork)
  • The U.S. freelance workforce is growing 3x faster than the overall U.S. workforce (Source: Fast Company)

Companies are seeing the benefits of remote work

Remote work can save companies a lot of money. While guaranteeing the success of remote work does require several unique investments, remote works stats show that these costs often pale in comparison to traditional office overhead.

  • Creative Commons went fully remote with a 25-person team and saved $250,000 (Source: Flex Summit)
  • 59% of hiring managers today are using freelance and contract workers, up from just 24% in 2017. This number is predicted to increase by 168% in just the next decade. (Source: Fast Company)

Culture is the key going forward

Remote work is fundamentally different from in-office work, and needs a different approach. Policies and work culture must adjust to accommodate an increasingly remote workforce.

  • Asking remote employees to “shut down” after work hours yields as much as a 20% increase in retention (Source: Flex Summit)
  • 63% of employers have remote workers, yet most currently lack defined remote work policies

Home Office Setup for Working Remotely

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Home office setup for working remotely - LiveWorkAnywhere

Setting up a home office for working remotely? You’re not alone! Every year, more people are choosing to work remotely, whether that be a traditional office job in their homes or a social media-fueled nomadic lifestyle. In fact, the number of people working remotely has grown 173 percent in the last decade. That’s an 11 percent faster growth rate than the general workforce! 

Working from home: the pros

So what makes remote work so popular? For most people it’s the freedom that remote work affords you. There’s no supervisor breathing down your neck, and you can get your work done your own way with no fear of judgement. Many people thrive outside of a corporate office and find that they get more work done. 

Working from home means: 

  • Increased productivity
  • No commute
  • Fewer distractions
  • Set your own schedule

Working from home: the cons

Nothing in life is perfect, and there are some downsides to working from home. For some people, home can be filled with more distractions, especially other members of the household. Many people unfortunately hold the assumption that because you are home, you are “not really working”. Striking that ideal work/life balance can be more challenging when you work remotely. 

Working from home can also mean:

  • Increased distractions
  • Loss of social connection
  • You may overeat
  • Can be hard to stop working

I attended the Boston Flex Summit in 2019.   At the summit, one of the main talking points was burnout.  Burnout can affect people in all types of work, but it can especially creep up on people who work remotely. Since your home and your office are one, you may start to feel obligated to work past quitting time and to take your work with you everywhere.  There’s no “off” button unless you are very intentional.  

That’s why it’s so vital to set your schedule and stick to it. Take the time to get plenty of sleep, exercise and fresh air. Burnout is an enemy of remote work, but you can tackle it with some determination. It’s up to you to decide for yourself whether the pros of working from home outweigh the cons.  

General work from home productivity tips

While you set up your home office and transition to remote work, here are some additional tips to help you avoid burnout and keep yourself focused and productive. 

  • Do not mix work and sleep

Creating a strong mental association between your bedroom and sleep is essential to getting high quality rest each night. Ideally you should be using your bedroom only for sleep. Bringing work into your bedroom will only make sleeping more difficult. 

Having a dedicated office space is ideal, so you can keep work separate from your home life. This isn’t always possible, depending on where you live, but make an effort to create a separate “work zone”. This can be as simple as packing up and putting away your work supplies every afternoon to help signal to your brain that you’re done working. 

  • Set a schedule and create routines

We humans are creatures of habit. Our brains love routine. In a typical office environment, there’s usually a very rigid schedule and many people take up remote work looking to inject a little flexibility into their work. This is great, but don’t completely do away with routine and schedule. You’ll be much more productive if you budget your time while you work from home. 

Here are some tips on setting up an effective work-from-home schedule

  • Set boundaries with housemates

This might be the trickiest part of all. While most people would hesitate to call your office or stop by your work normally, once you start working from home, there can be some issues with interruptions. To keep yourself productive and to avoid frustration, you should be upfront and clear with everyone else in your household about your work schedule. Make sure they understand that you are at work even though you’re physically at home, and that you shouldn’t be bothered. 

Having a dedicated home office can help with this because you can close the door. Another helpful tip is to set up a simple “yes, I’m in”/”no, I’m out” system. You can use colored cards – red for busy; green for it’s okay to interrupt.  

Home office setup for working remotely 

But one thing remains the same no matter what kind of remote work you’re doing: you need a solid office. 

Ideally your work from home space should meet certain criteria. I’ve talked about these mobility criteria before and they include access to things like: 

  • Power
  • A solid internet connection
  • Sufficient physical space
  • A structured schedule

In an office setting, you would have all of this provided for you, and there would be an unspoken guarantee that you would never be expected to complete a task outside of the capabilities of your provided office hardware. But when you work from home, a lot of the onus is on you to make sure everything is working smoothly. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific hardware and supplies you’ll need to really be able to effectively work from home. 

Computer hardware

A laptop or desktop is a must-have. Which one you go with depends a lot on your job’s specific requirements. For the digital nomads out there, you’ll want to focus on something light and portable. (I’ve been reliably using a Macbook Air for years. IBM Thinkpads are also incredibly durable.)  

Don’t skimp on the power of your machine. If you need something beefy enough to run multiple applications at once, put the money into getting a dedicated machine. 

Make sure your computer is all your own. Don’t try to work on a shared laptop or a family computer. There’s too high of a risk that your work will be messed with and it will cause friction within your household if you’re all fighting over the computer. 

A good chair

You really want to invest in a comfortable, ergonomic chair. You will be sitting at your desk for hours, and if you’re not properly supporting your body, you’ll be sore, tired and achy. Definitely not the conditions for doing your best work. 

Noise-cancelling headphones

Unless you’re working from home in a quaint, European villa (in which case, congratulations!) you’ll likely be putting up with noises and distractions as you try to get your work done. Cars, neighbors, the sounds of the city, there are a lot of noisy distractions out to slow your productivity. 

Get yourself a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones. AirPods and Beats are both fine choices, it just depends on your personal preference: do you just want headphones or do you prefer the feel of a full headset? Having a quiet workplace will make a huge difference in how much work you’re able to get done.  

Software

Consider the apps and programs you need for your remote job. What kind of work are you doing? What pieces of software are essential to your job and which will help you work more quickly and smoothly. 

Internet / Wi-Fi 

Obviously you’ll need internet to work from home, but not all providers are made equal. I know a lot of areas don’t have a great deal of variety, but if you can, look for a provider that offers fiber optic. If there’s no fiber, then sign up for the strongest broadband connection available. You’ll need these faster speeds to remain productive. The minimum you should settle for is: 

Download: 20mb

Upload: 4mb

Not sure what speeds you’re currently getting? Don’t rely on your internet provider to tell you. They’ll give you “maximum” numbers that won’t be very accurate. Instead to go speedtest.net to see what kind of speeds you’re getting. 

We’ve also got a handy guide here to show you exactly what speeds you’ll need to comfortably run video meeting programs like Zoom and Skype. 

In rural areas where great internet isn’t readily available, consider mobile internet or satellite options, like Hughesnet. You can use your phone as a mobile hotspot or invest in a mi-fi device to assist you while you’re traveling.

If you end up using your phone as your sole source of internet while you travel, then I’d definitely recommend a T-mobile phone plan so you can get online without paying through the nose. 

Powering your remote office

When you work from home, you are at the mercy of your power company. If anything goes wrong and the power goes out, you’ll be left in the dark, literally. I’ve had many an important conference call be interrupted because some random event killed the power. 

While your old office job had some guaranteed stability surrounding these things, working from home means you just can’t ever know for sure. So err on the side of caution and set yourself up with some fail proofs. 

Pay the extra ten bucks and get a decent surge protector. Be sure you work on a dedicated outlet to minimize the risk of overloading. If you use a laptop, be sure to have a spare battery fully charged and waiting should the power go out (it’s not a bad idea to keep a fully-charged portable phone charger on hand, as well). 

But even with spare power, you might not be able to work because the internet will be down. It’s a good idea to take one of my travel hotspot suggestions from before and have it on hand in case you ever find yourself without internet. 

Additional tools

Here are some extra remote work tools that you can live without, but which do make your life easier. 

External monitor

Once you’ve experienced working with two monitors, you’ll never want to go back. You can get a second monitor and hook it up to your laptop or desktop fairly easily. 

Ergonomic keyboard

Similar to the ergonomic chair, an ergonomic keyboard may be what saves you from an expensive and bothersome carpal tunnel procedure. 

External USB microphone

You might not need this for regular meetings, but if you host or participate in webinars then you’ll really appreciate the extra clarity of an external microphone. 

External speakers

If you use a laptop, then external speakers are a good idea. Most laptops don’t have great sound to start with and even on those that do, the speakers tend to be one of the first parts of the machine to break down. 

Back massager 

This is a personal favorite of mine, but it’s just an example of one way to pamper yourself a bit. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself and to find things that help you relax and ease any stress tension you may have built up over the course of the day. Maybe you won’t end up with a massager exactly, but make sure you find something that helps you unwind each day. 

Treadmill

Again, you might not need a treadmill exactly, but make sure your home is equipped to help you get some exercise. If you’ve got access to outdoor recreation, that’s great, but if you’re cooped up in a small home without a gym or park in sight, then get a treadmill, an elliptical or some other piece of equipment that allows you to get your heart rate going. 

Summary: 

It’s important to have a home office setup for working remotely that enables you to be productive.  

    • Desk and space in separate area of house/condo/van/boat/RV etc 
    • Ergonomic chair – for the amount of hours you’ll 
    • Upgraded hardware with ability to use the applications you need for work 
    • Software – the applications you need to install for work
    • Ergonomic chair, headphones, mic, monitor
    • Internet – strong internet with backup wi-fi using mi-fi, hotspot, or satellite
    • Power – devices fully charged, backup power, surge protectors 

Remote Work Tools – How Companies are responding to the CoronaVirus

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Company responses to remote work COVID-19 Coronavirus

With the spread of COVID-19, many companies are being forced to adopt remote work options and policies. Even industries with poor remote infrastructures have found themselves scrambling to give employees a way to work from home. 

Even when the dust settles and we are no longer in the midst of a pandemic, I believe a lot of this remote work will stick. When people realize the benefits of working from home, there will be an increased demand for remote work from here on out.

How companies are responding to COVID-19

Many companies are sending employees home with laptops and forcing them to adjust to remote working at an extremely fast pace.

To help this massive transition go smoothly and quickly, several companies are offering their remote office tools for free.

Here’s a list of what some companies are offering to help you work from home

Adobe

Adobe’s Creative Suite (including Photoshop, Lightroom and more) is available for free to students. Adobe’s web conferencing service, Adobe Connect, is now free for all until July 1.

Airtable

For the next three months their online databases and spreadsheets are free for any non-political, humanitarian efforts combating COVID-19.

Atlassian
Team collaboration and project tracking softwares are free for teams of ten people or fewer. There is no “trial” limit to this offer.

BlueJeans
For 90 days, BlueJeans’ video conferencing service is free for all first responders and NGO’s.

Box
The business edition of Box, which allows for unlimited cloud data storage and protection, is also free for 90 days.

Calendly
This scheduling software is no longer charging for integration with remote meeting tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting. Its premium services are now also available for free to all teams working against COVID-19.

Carto
Carto makes spatial-analysis software and these visualization tools are on offer for free to all public and private organizations combating COVID-19.

Cisco
Cisco’s video conferencing software Webex no longer has time limits and can now support up to 100 people on a single call. All this is offered on the free version of the product.

Comcast

Comcast has a few services they are offering to provide people with access to Internet. Xfinity is offering free WiFi for everyone at Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country.  They are pausing data plans for 60 days giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. There are no disconnects or late fees during this period. Internet Essentials new customers receive 60 days of complimentary service.  

Dialpad
Dialpad Talk Pro is a cloud-based phone system and video conferencing tool now free for two months to any business in North America or Japan.

Dropbox
The uber popular cloud content collaboration tool is now offering HelloSign Enterprise, which handles electronic agreements, free for 6 months for qualifying nonprofits and NGO’s.

Enview by Civic Eagle
Enview is legislative policy management software.  Now more than ever with a global pandemic policy is being written daily and Enview is offering its policy software for free through the end of April.

Facebook
Facebook’s Workplace Advanced, which offers video calls and file sharing is free for emergency services and government agencies for the next month.

Google
Educational services can now use the advanced version of Hangouts Meet (which allows for conference calls of up to 250 people) for free. Meetings can be recorded and saved on Google Drive.

Headspace
Headspace isn’t strictly for “work” purposes, but it’s pretty handy for helping you weather the storm of uncertainty and stress as you shake up your life and work routines. Headspace offers guided meditations for those who may never have tried mindfulness before. Here’s a Business Insider article that explains it pretty well. Right now they’ve increased their number of free meditations.

Hubspot
Hubspot helps businesses manage communications and customer support. They’re offering three months of their video software free and decreasing their starter package price from $112.50/month to $50/month for the next year.

Jamm
All of Jamm’s voice and video collaboration tools are free for the next three months.

Krisp.ai
Krisp.ai lets you easily mute background noise so you can get your calls done with minimal “I’m sorry, what did you say?” interruptions. They’re offering 120 minutes per week to hospital staff, students, teachers and government workers.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn hosts professional development videos on working remotely and is offering many of them free of charge.

LogMeIn
LogMeIn offers software for managing the many devices and apps remote workers have to juggle. They are offering a three-month license for free to healthcare, educational and some government programs. Some of these extra tools are available for free to regular site users, as well.

Loom
Through July 1, Loom will no longer limit its free users on how many videos they can make. The free trial period has also been extended to 30 days.

Mailchimp
Governments, schools, healthcare providers and nonprofits will have access to free mailchimp accounts to send newsletter communications out throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Microsoft
There is no longer a user limit on Microsoft Team’s free version. Programs like Word and Excel are free for six months to organizations.

Panopto
Panopto allows users to record and send video content and is free for three months with no limits on content.

Salesforce
All existing customers and nonprofits get Salesforce collaboration software for free through the end of September, 2020. Salesforce is also allowing free access to its Health Cloud service for all response teams and health systems.

ServiceNow
This software helps teams digitize their tasks. ServiceNow has developed more apps alongside the Washington State Department of Health to help emergency agencies manage incident-response workflows.

Shopify
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that is now offering 90-day free trials instead of 14-days.

Slack
Slack’s premium online workplaces and communication tools are being offered as free upgrades to all organizations involved in COVID-19 research or response.

Stripe
Stripe is helping offline businesses transition to online payments.  They are fast-tracking supporting telemedicine platforms providing consultations for COVID-19.  Many businesses in the US can proactively add funds to their balance to cover refunds or chargebacks.

TechSmith
TechSmith Snagit is a screen recording software. The company also provides collaboration platforms for video review. These softwares are both free through June.

Threads
Similar to Slack, this online collaboration tool will be available for free through July 1.

T-Mobile
T-Mobile offers free international calling to help you stay connected to everyone in your personal and professional life.

Vidyard
Vidyard’s new services, a remote video communication tool meant for internal use is free through June 30.

Zoho
Zoho is offering to waive application fees for up to 20,000 small businesses and has created a new set of tools for online meetings, calls, file sharing and more, all of which are free through July 1.

Zencastr
This is a lot like Zoom except that there’s no need for a download. Create videos as well as podcasts with their simple, easy-to-understand interface. All recording limits have been waived.

Zoom
Zoom is a go-to for many companies when managing remote meetings, and now the 40-minute meeting limit has been removed for all students and teachers in U.S. K-12 schools.

 

Do you have a service to add that we missed?  Reach out

Virtual Mailbox: How to Get Your Postal Mail when Traveling Abroad

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How to Get Your Postal Mail When Traveling: Virtual Mailbox - via LiveWorkAnywhere

No one has embraced the all-digital lifestyle more than our band of globe-trotting freelancers and entrepreneurs. We run our businesses on laptops and wi-fi from beaches, villas, cruise ships…and airport terminals, parked cars, and rural bus stations.

We do everything via email, Trello, Slack, and other messaging and organizational apps. We hold conferences using Skype, Zoom or GoToMeeting. We use everything we can to stay flexible, available, and above all, free.

But the rest of the world hasn’t entirely caught up to us.

Death to Snail Mail 

No matter how hard we try, there are still companies and government agencies who insist on sending us snail mail. Paper messages that have to travel to a fixed, physical location, and that often need a prompt response. It’s the one remaining thorn in our ever-roaming paws, and for a long time there wasn’t a good solution.

You can have the post office hold your mail, but when you’re gone for weeks or months at a time the odds are good you’ll miss something important.

You can have your mail forwarded anywhere in the world, but that option has a host of problems: expensive international forwarding fees, mail that doesn’t keep up with your frequent travels and multiple destinations, the need to plan ahead instead of enjoying spontaneous trips.

You can have a friend or family member pick up your mail and look for anything important, but the privacy and reliability concerns are real.

I’ve been doing this awhile, and I’ve tried it all. The best solution I’ve found, far and away, is a virtual mailbox.  Short of not having any snail mail to begin with—which is still a dream of mine, but one the world has yet to accommodate—it’s the best thing out there when it comes to staying up to date with all of your important correspondence.

There are a few virtual mailbox services out there.  I do have a favorite, and I’ll let you know who it is in a second. First, I want to explain the concept of a virtual mailbox just so we’re all on the same page.

(Page! Get it!?…OK, moving on…)

How Virtual Mailboxes Work 

It’s pretty simple, really, like most ingenious things are. You get a mailbox and a postal address provided by your virtual mailbox service. This is a real, honest-to-goodness physical address where the USPS is perfectly happy delivering all of your mail, just like a post office box or private mailbox you can rent from the USPS or any number of private providers—except the top virtual mailbox providers give you a completely unique street address, which looks more professional and inspires a great deal more trust than a PO Box.

The big difference with a virtual mailbox service is what happens after the mail is delivered, though. Instead of simply holding your mail until you either come pick it up or have it forwarded to a new location, a virtual mailbox service opens and digitally scans your mail (ensuring complete privacy, of course), then uploads the digital images to an email inbox so you can read your mail from anywhere in the world.

You can also have your mail forwarded, of course, and packages can be sent along wherever you happen to be, too.  I find that the more we become digital, the less I need to physically forward my mail.  But this is a handy option.

A quick bulleted recap for the article skimmers:

  1. A virtual mailbox company contracts with a physical location to aggregate postal mail in one location, in multiple cities.
  2. The mail is received and the front cover of the mail is scanned.
  3. You then receive an email letting you know that the mail has arrived.

Some Types of Postal Mail You Might Receive (and don’t want to miss): 

  • Client Checks
  • Bank Statements (go digital if you can)
  • Mortgage Statements
  • Student Loan Documents
  • Legal Documents

Virtual Mailbox Signup Process

When you sign up for a virtual mailbox service, here is the signup process in action step by step:

  1. Select an address in one of the designated pick up cities.  For example I have a mailbox in New York.  I live there part-time, but I don’t have to in order to have a local address.  It can also help make your business look more official by having a local mailbox (versus PO Box) especially in a world renowned city.
  2.  Select a plan that suits your needs and budget
  3. Give out your new address to clients and agencies
  4. Receive an email when new mail is received
  5. Decide if you want to open it (have it scanned), download, delete, recycle, or forward to a physical address.

Important:  Make sure to include your MAILBOX number or the mail will not be delivered.

Virtual Mailbox Services: EarthClassMail vs. Traveling Mailbox 

I have personally tried two of the leading virtual mailbox services:

  1. EarthClassMail
  2. TravelingMailbox

EarthClassMail  EarthClassMail Benefits via LiveWorkAnywhere

A catchy name and a service I used for years, EarthClassMail, offers

  • A physical address for your business
  • Mail scanning
  • Secure mail shredding and handling
  • Free physical mail storage for 30 days
  • Check deposits

Prices start at $49/month for residential and $99/month for business accounts.

See a list of virtual addresses for EarthClassMail.

TravelingMailbox 

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhere TravelingMailbox offers three plans that you can pay for annually or monthly.  The lowest tier includes 40 envelope scans and 35 page scans per month, which I’ve found is usually plenty for me. The mail comes in, I get a PDF of each envelope emailed to me, and I decide what I want to happen with each envelope.

Nothing gets opened and scanned unless you select that option, so you don’t end up burning through your monthly scans on junk mail. There’s no additional cost for shredding the mail you don’t want, and forwarding mail and packages only costs $2 (plus postage fees—but by bundling your mail, Traveling Mailbox helps you save there, too).

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhere If you end up receiving more envelopes and/or needing more pages scanned than your plan covers, overage charges are only $0.25 per envelope and $0.50 per scan, and if you’re paying monthly you can switch to a higher plan if you’re expecting a higher-than-usual volume of mail in a given month.

Tip: Save the PDFs of your important mail in Dropbox, Google Drive, and/or on your computer and delete them from your Traveling Mailbox account to avoid going over your storage limit and getting hit with additional charges.

Depositing Client Checks from your Virtual Mailbox – a Quick Hack

Remarkably, I still have clients who prefer paying by check. Traveling Mailbox offers a check depositing service, where they mail your checks straight to your bank to be deposited, but they do (understandably) charge a handling fee and postage.

To get around that, I have the back and front of my incoming checks scanned then use the PDFs to deposit checks through my bank’s mobile app.

The bank keeps a copy of the check handy in case there are any issues, and I get paid without any extra fuss.

  • Client sends me a check
  • I request a scan and open the mail
  • I use my mobile phone banking app to screen capture and deposit the check directly into my bank account
  • I save pdf of the check to my dropbox
  • Lastly, I delete the scan to save space and costs
  • Done!

Which Virtual Mail Service Should You Choose?  

I’ve used both and I prefer TravelingMailbox for three reasons: it’s cheaper for most freelancers and solo travelers, it got my scanned mail to me faster, and the customer service was fantastic (surprising given that they’re the budget option, but hey—some things that seem too good really can be true!).  It may not look as sexy as EarthClassMail but it does the job!

Want to Avoid Paper Altogether?  

Tip: Use programs like Photoshop and Automator on Mac to turn PDFs into editable images.  Use your smartphone camera to make signatures and documents digital, make edits in Photoshop, and combine docs in Automator or Photoshop.

Slowly you can make your life free from snail mail and completely digital, but it starts with postal mail being virtually managed.

Unfettered Travel with TravelingMailbox

Physical mail used to be a barrier to flitting about the world while running a freelance business or entrepreneurial venture, but not any more. Traveling Mailbox is one of my favorite services as a remote working entrepreneur, and saves me tons of time, money, and stress. With my virtual mailbox in place—and virtual phone and fax services set up—I stay accessible across all channels without sacrificing my love of travel.

It sure is a sweet time to be alive and virtual!

Speaking of virtual services, check out RingCentral vs. Grasshopper – virtual phone services and faxing for mobile entrepreneurs.

Is there another service you use or recommend?  Or another hack you have to share?  Let us know in the comments below!

SHH! Finding a QUIET Place to work with Wifi – Get Real Work Done When Traveling

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my-office-space

When you can work anywhere, you can have almost anything at your fingertips. Sun and surf, inspirational views, a mid-afternoon glass of wine or beer (we’re not here to judge).  But when you don’t have a dedicated office—or when you’re traveling away from your home office—there’s one thing you can’t count on “anywhere” to provide: A quiet place to work with wifi to get some real work done.

The term “quiet” is relative.  You may need absolute silence, or you may need white noise.  Everyone is different, and you’ll determine what’s best for you based on your own work style.

You’re less productive when you’re stuck in a cubicle working for a boss and chatting with passerby co-workers. As a nomadic entrepreneur, you need to figure out how to be productive when you work for yourself.  You need to find a place to focus – no matter where you are in the world.  A daunting yet doable task.

Setting Up Shop 

Before we get down to the good stuff, quiet places to work with reliable wi-fi, let’s talk first about getting set up.  Let’s face it – finding a quiet place to work (particularly with good wi-fi) is not an easy task in general (which is the reason you’re reading this article).

So, let’s get set up:

1. Noise Cancelling Headphones

Imagine sitting in an airport (I bet you can) and there are people constantly walking by you.  Or you’re in a co-working space and quiet spaces to work stock photo everyone wants to come up and chat with you.

The only time that noise cancelling headphones didn’t work for me was when I was working in Buenos Aires.  I was in my own apartment, on a conference call, when suddenly, the power company started to jackhammer into the side of the building, unannounced.  The call was dropped when the power cut out… but that’s another issue.

Noise cancelling headphones won’t block out a jackhammer below you, but they will allow you to block out most background noise and allow you to focus intently on your work.  Bonus: People will see you with those giant earmuffs hugging your ears and your laser-like focus and they will tend to leave you alone.

I’ve tested dozens of in-ear headphones and regular headsets and my favorite – based on feedback from people I talk to that can actually hear me and based on the amount of background noise that’s reduced, are the Logitech USB headset.  Tip: The $30 USB headphones are even better for noise reduction than the more expensive wireless version.

2. Mobile hotspot 

Don’t you love sitting down to work in a coffee shop, ordering your coffee and biscotti and sitting down only to find out that you can’t get online?!  When you approach the barista it’s only then that they inform you that the wi-fi is down and the technician won’t be in until the following day.  Bad luck for you.

As a backup, for a nomadic entrepreneur or freelancer, a mobile wi-fi hotspot, also called mi-fi, needs to be top of your packing list.  When you don’t want to work in a coffee shop or place with wi-fi, as we’re about to get to below, you’ll need backup.

I use a Tmobile hotspot that’s pre-paid monthly and I also have a Tmobile iPhone in which I can very quickly upgrade my plan for extra gigabytes and downgrade when I no longer need the wi-fi boost.  Phones as hotspots are nearly catching up to the power of the non-phone hotspot.  However, I have both.  The phone as a hotspot is a great backup but also uses more battery power.  You never want to be without wi-fi, so I recommend both.

3. Get Comfortable, Get Power, Block Time

Quiet usually means you’ll be sitting for a little while.  So plan things like:

  • comfortable seating with back support
  • close to power outlets or power supply
  • check the hours for closing times

4. White Noise  

Get your playlist for your favorite time-to-focus music ready to go if background noise and headphones aren’t enough to keep your attention on work.

5. Plan for Interruptions 

Some people love to talk – no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  Headphones and that laser-like focus staring at your screen will detract a lot of the would-be interrupters.  But, it’s sometimes unavoidable.

One of the best lines I’ve found if someone interrupts you is to simply say you’re preparing for a meeting or that you have a deadline due.  Politely setting boundaries is great when you’re interrupted unwillingly.

Most importantly, get back to work immediately.  Don’t allow an interruption to turn into a break to check email.

Okay… Now that you’re comfy, have your wi-fi hotspot, noise-canceling headphones, are prepared for anti-breaking concentration, and you have a dedicated time where your power won’t go out or the shop won’t close – you’re ready to get into the zone.

Quiet Places to Work (Shh!) with Wi-fi 

If you’re a working traveler (or a traveling worker), here are a few spots to consider when you really need to buckle down and work.

Airports 

I love airports.  Really.  They have everything you need: Wi-fi (if not free, then through partners like Boingo), Coffee, Food, Restrooms, Seating, Power Outlets.  I don’t mind getting stuck on a long layover or even spending the night (as long as I’m prepared) because airports are a great place to work.

With a little preparation, like the noise cancelling headphones and a wi-fi hotspot, you can set up shop.  There are all strangers around you so it’s easy to be ignored.  Find a corner near a plug and get to work!

Co-Working Spaces

There’s probably no better blend of traditional business and the new world of flexible entrepreneurship than the concept of co-working.  Virtually every major city—and many smaller ones—have co-working spaces available, and they can give you an ideal place to work when you’re out seeing the world.

Just in case you aren’t aware, co-working spaces are shared office spaces where you can basically rent a desk alongside other startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies. They tend to be open-plan, modern-style offices, and let solopreneurs as well as bootstrapped startups and growing companies find affordable, dedicated space that workers on their budget.

Much of the co-working industry is geared towards companies who don’t need much dedicated space and want to split other office expenses. They also cater to local solopreneurs who don’t like working out of a home office. And most of them have the odd desk available for short-term rentals…like if you happen to be passing through or visiting for a few days and just need a quiet, professional place to set up shop.

There’s obviously a cost component to consider when it comes to co-working, but you’re virtually guaranteed a place where you can focus on work without being completely isolated. Plus you’ll have a solid WiFi connection (I can’t imagine a co-working space that doesn’t provide one), which you know is a must when you’re working on the go.

Many co-working spaces are divided into separate levels.  Traditional co-working space may also be called “hot desk” – an open floor plan surrounded by several other busy bees like yourself.

The only potential downside to this type of setup, of course, is distraction.  Community sharing is great, and valuable, but not conducive to getting real work done without interruption.

Co-Working spaces will often also have the option for a private office or the ability to rent a conference room.

If you need a quiet space to work, without distraction, then opt for the private space or the conference room.  Tip: If the conference room or office has windows, shut the door and face your back to the windows for least amount of visibility (disallowing interruptions).  If all sides are windows, make sure to wear those headphones and make little eye contact.

Coffee Shops

Wi-fi is all but ubiquitous in coffee shops these days, too. Most of them are fine with you camping out by a power outlet for hours at a time, but only if you order every couple of hours and leave a nice tip!

This might not be the best solution if you need absolute peace and quiet to get work done, but many people find the background buzz aka white noise and people-watching opportunities provide just enough distraction to keep their minds from totally wandering.

Some coffee shops have conference rooms or private rooms that you can rent or arrive early to get a good seat.

Switch it up and find a quiet coffee shop on the outskirts of town or in a new neighborhood – this is a great way to find a seat or a table, unfamiliar faces for less chitchat, and some on-hand caffeine to fool those productive hours.

Find some great crowdsourced coffee shops here.

Rent an AirBnB Studio

Renting a private room, or better yet, a studio, on AirBnb can really help you get some quiet time to yourself.  A studio allows for no roommates or distractions.

Tip: Before you book you’ll want to make sure they have good wi-fi.  To test wi-fi you can ask your potential host to go to speedtest.net.  The minimum connection I recommend is 8 gb down, but that depends on what you’re doing.  If you’re just checking emails or a simple Skype call, 4 mb is fine.  If you’re having video conferencing calls and sending files, then I recommend 20 mb.  Learn more about wi-fi speeds needed for remote work here.

The right accommodations can mean the difference between productivity and lack thereof.  The difference in cost for private versus shared will likely be the difference between less stress and business progression versus delays and less productivity.

Your Car / Boat / Van / RV 

Dead serious.  This one only works, obviously, if your travels include a personal vehicle, whether it’s your own car, a rental, or borrowed from a friend—it’s probably not worth the Uber rates 🙂

Some may object to the cramped quarters and lack of amenities provided by the typical automobile or boat, but there are actually a lot of advantages to using a four-wheeled or floating office.

First, you have total privacy. You don’t have to worry about anyone else setting up rules or causing a distraction. Your space is entirely your own, just like you had your own (small, bathroom-less) office.

Second, you can get a corner office view if you want one. A scenic overlook, the top of a midtown parking garage, on a cliff overlooking the ocean—whatever vista you want to visit, your car can get you there and give you a quiet workspace when you arrive.

Last but not least, your car (or boat, or van / RV) gives you an easy way to get connected almost anywhere. Plenty of businesses, including many big box stores, food chains, and of course coffee shops, now offer free wi-fi to anyone in range. Find a parking spot in close range and you’re good to go.

I’ve spent months working from my houseboat in Seattle, and this morning I was working from my Mitsubishi Delica overlooking the Pacific Ocean.. until the beautiful sunset.  A Tmobile hotspot and a 12-hour (okay…8-hour) battery on my Macbook Air, with a laptop table, a good 4G signal, and a latte and it’s the ultimate quiet spot – with the ultimate view.

Libraries

Once upon a time, libraries were the ultimate place to get work done. Quiet, technologically connected at a time when many businesses weren’t (albeit dialup!), and the best repositories of research material you were likely to find in any given locale. Things have changed a bit—OK, a lot—for libraries in the Internet Age, with virtually all the world’s information now at your fingertips and digital communication with all points on the globe available in your pocket.

But…

Libraries are still great places to get some work done when you need some peace and quiet in and don’t have an office to head to. Librarians are great at enforcing the “quiet” rule, and most offer free wi-fi.  Some even offer private or even soundproof study rooms to really shut out the distractions, and if you happen to want or need a book for some reason – in the age of Google, there are plenty on hand.

Public Parks and Campgrounds 

Though not always reliable wi-fi (hence the mobile hotspot backup), you can still find free networks in many city centers and even parks.  Several campgrounds have wi-fi and once again you can work from your moving vehicle or your picnic table!

If  you don’t have a hotspot or your phone doesn’t have hotspot capabilities….change that. For the traveling entrepreneur/freelancer it’ll pay for itself many times over!

Get Down to Business Without Being Tied Down to an Office

Freedom. It’s what our lifestyle is all about, and it’s what we build our working life around. It doesn’t mean we work less hard or are less productive, it just means we get more creative in the way we do things. Finding quiet places to work in every city on earth—and all the non-cities in between—is just one of the perks of the job.

These are a few solutions to the workplace solitude situation. Is your favorite on the list?  Have any other tips to share? Let me know in the comments, and tell everyone in the world where you’re posting from!

Digital Nomad Quotes

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digital-nomad-quotes

Digital Nomad Quotes for aspiring digital nomads, travelers, and anyone who seeks inspiration for travel.  Here are some quotes that will make your toes tingle and make you want to be on the road now.  Know of any other quotes?  Please add some in the comments or send us some!

1.  I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way – Carl Sandburg

I don't know where I am going but I am on my way

 

2. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list – Susan Sontag

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list

 

3. I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me – Laura

I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me

 

4. To travel is to take a journey into oneself – Danny Kaye

To travel is to take a journey into yourself

 

5. I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it – Alexander Sattler

I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it

 

6. Chris Michel – Everyone Has a Story … It’s your story, you write it.

Chris-michel---everyone-has-a-store...-write-your-own-story

 

7. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving – Lao Tzu

11

 

8. Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been before – Dalai Lama

Once a year go somewhere you've never been before

 

9. The road you travel has twists and turns. The life of an entrepreneur has ups and downs. Hang on and enjoy the ride – Libby Tucker

The road of an entrepreneur

 

10. Every few hundred feet the world changes – Roberto Bolano

Every few hundred feet the world changes

 

11. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

 

A Pre-Travel Checklist – Some things to do before traveling

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Pre travel list - Live work anywhere

There are a few things I do each time before I leave on a trip to make sure that I have no hiccups and can continue to keep my schedule, life, and work – in continuous flow.  Here is my travel checklist and some tips I’d like to share.

1. Check Schedule & Calendar 

Staying productive from anywhere is the true goal of a remote worker, freelancer, or digital nomad.  Your clients, schedule, and calendar matter.

Plan For Existing Meetings

First, take a look at your calendar to see what meetings you have coming up.  Make sure that you plan your flight and all your time in transit around that meeting or call.  Leave yourself enough of a buffer between flights, metro stations, taxis, ubers, etc so that you can get there in time to have your call and actually have the head space to make sure it’s effective.

Everyone is different but you never know if the taxi will be late or overcharge you and your head is in haggle mode when it should be in sales mode.  Be mentally prepared and give yourself the time to focus on the call in a quiet space with good wi-fi.

Set Your Upcoming Schedule

calendar liveworkanywhere pre travel planning Next, decide if you need to schedule any other meetings that week.

Make sure your flight and travel plans are scheduled around your meetings and that you will have strong wi-fi and quiet, low-noise for meetings.

Figure out how you will work around the upcoming meetings.  If you’ve committed to being there, it’s important to show up, and you need to plan accordingly – or rearrange early.

Confirmation Meetings

Even more importantly for travel, confirm your clients or business partners will be there (it’s a pain to reschedule, especially on the road, beside the obvious fact that people need to honor and respect each others’ schedules).

I don’t always tell my clients that I’m traveling.  Not because I’m hiding anything but to keep them from panicking.

This is a double edged sword.  If I say I’m leaving, they tend to panic.  It’s that knee-jerk reaction that we are still programmed to believe that traveling means shutting off.  This is changing.  Soon, clients will just say “okay, safe travels, talk to you at our next meeting.”  Some clients already just know and say something like “… wherever you are in the world.”

Set Expectations & Be Accountable

The truth is – just show up.  Be accountable to yourself and to others.  In general, meetings are canceled or rescheduled all the time.  If you’re not traveling, yet you are in the same city and had to reschedule, it’s viewed as normal.  But, if you tell people that you’re traveling then people tend to think your’e on vacation and you rescheduled for that reason, which portrays irresponsibility and can backfire on you.

Traveling while working personally makes me even more accountable.  I don’t like to waste my own time especially when on the road.

Practicing integrity and being a person of your word, and consistency, is what is important.  Not the place.  Meeting goals, deadlines, and being accountable are what matter most.

2. Bring Food & Water 

You never know when you’ll have an extended layover, the drinking fountain breaks down, or the stores close early.  Make sure you have enough supplies for a just-in-case situation.  Plus, it’s nice to have snacks and not be parched.

First thing I do (after security if in an airport) when traveling is to fill my water bot Brita-Water-Filter-Bottle-liveworkanywhere-pretravel-planning tle.  Even though you have to empty it before security if you’re getting on the plane, you never know when you’ll be stuck without something to drink.  So find a water station and fill up.

Ideally bring a water bottle that has a filter, like a Brita filter, so that you can safely drink most tap water, depending on where you go.

Buy snack food.  Packing nuts, dried fruits and granola bars ensures you’ll never be stuck starving.  They take a long time to go bad, plus you can avoid the $20 dollar sandwich at the airport.

3. Banking & Financial 

Set Travel Alert

Important – set your travel alert with your bank.  Have you ever tried using your card only to find out it’s not working?  It always happens at the worst time – when you’re about to pay for your next meal (that you’ve already eaten!), about to buy that sweater you’ve had your eye on, or need money to pay for a taxi.  Figuring out how to call or contact your bank when you’re out and about overseas can be an especially fun challenge.

Setting an alert ahead of time will avoid all of this!

Reciprocity

Additionally, look online at which bank(s) offers reciprocity so you can save on ATM fees.

bank-reciprocity-liveworkanywhere-pretravel-planning

For example, I bank (partly) with Bank of America.  You can google “set travel alert with <add your bank name here>” to find out if you are able to save on fees with your bank.

There are some credit cards, like the Delta Sky Miles card from American Express that allows you to save on international fees completely.  For ATM cards, check with your bank.  To the right is an example from Bank of America.

https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/manage/how-to-pay-when-traveling-abroad.go

4. Keep Local Currency Pocket Change  

Bring enough cash to cover at least the way to the airport / train station and enough for the return trip when you land.  I usually bring $20 USD or Euros each way for the airport and the subway or bus trip.   If there’s some left over, I get to buy local snacks.   pocket-change-liveworkanywhere

Another $20 USD in my bag for when I land.  Enough for breakfast and a bus ticket.

If I have local currency ahead of time, I usually carry about the equivalent of $20 for when I land.

If you don’t have local currency, all you have to do is pull cash out of the ATM at the airport wherever you land.  The rate of exchange may be a little high (unless it’s on the reciprocal bank list) but it’s generally cheaper than going to the currency exchange bureau.  When I land, I suggest taking out around $100-$200 USD or the local equivalent.  This is enough to get you started with transportation, food / coffee, and a little extra for the unexpected.

Try to pay with a card (now that your travel alert is set) and save the cash for incidentals and until you arrive at your destination and until you know the next ATM spot where you’ll do your next cash withdrawal.

5. Necessities Checklist  

This can vary but for me the necessities are:

  • passport-us-liveworkanywherepassport
  • ticket booked with confirmation (and make sure I check in online beforehand to avoid long lines)
  • credit cards (1 main, 1 for backup)
  • laptop and power cord
  • international power adaptor that covers the country(ies) I’ll be going to
  • money ($20 usd each way)
  • map (or picture of map) of transportation, i.e. subway maps for New York City
  • smartphone
  • contact information while abroad dispersed to family, friends, and clients
  • bathroom kit i.e. toothbrush (though I can buy this when I land if I forget it)

I always have my necessities with me.  I can leave from anywhere and go anywhere at pretty much any time with just a backpack.  What I don’t have I pick up when I arrive, like toiletries.  It’s always fun to buy shampoo in which I recognize the brand but cannot understand the label.

6. Accommodations Check  

I am pretty adventurous but I like to know where I’ll sleep when I land, especially if I am jet lagged from a long i accommodations-packing-list-liveworkanywhere nternational flight.  Usually arranging the first day or first week in a place will give you time to get oriented – and you can go from there!

One day versus one week is very different.  I tend to book only one day if my destination is not so far away and there’s not a huge time or cultural change.  I will book up to one week if it’s farther away, there’s a big time change, and if there is a language or huge cultural change.

I landed in South Africa today, for example, and I’ve booked an AirBnB apartment for 8 days to not only see the city but to get myself situated and talk to locals about where to go next.

So, fellow traveler, what’s on your pre-travel checklist?  Do you have an item on your necessities list that you don’t see listed?  What’s your priority when landing in a new place?