Issue #25, Volume 1
November 3, 2021
Sometimes you can get away with flying by the seat of your pants. Sometimes you really can’t.
Today’s subject is not the most exciting, but it can totally make or break your Anywhereist experience.
I’m talking abut digital infrastructure.
What does “digital infrastructure” mean?
We all need tools to run our businesses. When you work from anywhere, your tools should be available:
- Wherever you are
- On all platforms you use
To have your tools available wherever you are, forget old school paper files and desktop computers. You need to go light, portable, and digital.
Not every business needs the same tools, of course — if you’re a software engineer, you don’t need the design tools that are important to my business. These are the tools of your trade, and I trust you to know what they are and learn how to use them.
No, the tools I’m talking about are the ones you’ll use to create the basic digital infrastructure we all need.
When I started my WordPress business back in Panama in 2012, I didn’t have any of this in place. I was making it up as I went along, flying by the seat of my pants.
Fortunately, I already had a business bank account, which I had set up for my freelance writing before we left the US. It could have gotten dicey if I didn’t already have that in place. Also, I took the path of least resistance at the time and set up as a sole proprietor.
There’s nothing wrong with that approach unless you let important things fall through the cracks on the way. However, even if you want to take your time figuring out things like how to manage your projects or handle client communication, I strongly advise you to put the legal and money pieces in place up front.
You really don’t want to jump through the hoops that might be required if you try to set up a bank account from another location, or create a US-based PayPal account when your IP address tells them you’re outside the country.
First Things First – Legal, Invoicing and Accounting
What will your business structure be?
Sole proprietor is the easiest if you’re doing some kind of freelance work, but does that leave you open to liability? Perhaps an LLC, or another corporate structure would be better.
Action Step: Seek advice on how to structure your business, then take the appropriate steps (hire a lawyer, for example), to do so. Make sure you understand the financial and accounting obligations that go along with it.
Every business needs a way to tell clients/customers what they owe, collect the money, and access it. It doesn’t get much more basic than that!
First off, figure out how you’re going to handle your money from anywhere.
Do you want to get paid in US Dollars and convert to a different currency? How will you set that up?
Do you want to get paid in the currency of the country you’re living in? That’s fine if your clients are also in that country, but what if they’re not?
Action Step: Establish a bank account in your home country that you can access from anywhere (foreign ATMs, for example). You should have a separate account for business and for personal use – make sure you can easily transfer funds from your business to your personal account from anywhere, and with minimal or no fees.
Action Step: Establish at least one way for clients to pay you digitally. PayPal, Square, and Venmo, are possibilities. Or maybe you need to set up credit card processing through an organization like Authorize.Net.
You’ll need some sort of accounting system. Depending on your business structure, you may need a system exclusively for your businesss. However, if you’re a sole proprietor, there are solutions that let you track both your personal and business in the same program (though your bank accounts should be completely separate).
I use Quicken Home & Business (if you use this link, you’ll get 50% off for six months!).
Whatever you choose, you should be able to use it to invoice clients or customers if you’re a service provider.
Other Systems You’ll Need
Once you have the money-related systems and tools in place, it’s time to think about the rest of your digital infrastructure, including:
- Managing projects and to-dos
- Managing your time and your calendar
- Client communication and collaboration
- The technology you’ll need to run your business (which is in addition to the technology you need to handle the tools of your trade!)
- A system for managing assistants and subcontractors
These are more forgiving, and you have room for some trial and error here. If you start using a project manager that doesn’t meet your needs, you can switch to another one — unlike banking and finance.
I have lots to say about the systems listed above, and some specific recommendations to make. But it’s too much for this newsletter.
I’m in the process of turning this wealth of information into a mini-course, that I can email to you once it’s ready. And no, there’s no charge. . .
I’m calling it Are You Ready to Work From Anywhere? All the Information You Need to Get Off to a Flying Start.
To get it as soon as it’s available, click the button below.
Tips & Tools
Outside Magazine isn’t on my regular reading list, but a friend recently steered me to this article.
Author Heather Hansman is concerned with our reason #7 to become an Anywhereist, and worried that climate change might force her to stop traveling and to give up a lot of her favorite things. Then she found this study. . .
It turns out that my spiraling brain may have gone a bit too far, at least when it comes to the link between climate action and misery. A new study published in Social Indicators Research in April found that the happiest countries in the world are also the ones closest to meeting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which map a more environmentally viable, equitable world for all.
And for those of you with SE Asia on your lists of travel destinations, here’s some good news.
It’s not just for artists and “artistic types.” Creativity is important for everyone.
Change — any type of change — requires creativity.
creativity matters for three big reasons: it helps you see things differently; it allows you to find wonder in the world; and it helps you express yourself in unique and powerful ways.
Read: Why Creativity Matters
Ryan Holiday has written 12 books in 10 years. He’s come up with 23 rules for being productive as a creative. (Because creativity alone isn’t enough.)
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. That means, if you click and purchase, you pay exactly the same amount and I’ll earn a small commission. These fees help me to keep the free information flowing.
In Case You Missed It. . .
How do you start a freelance business?
I’ve spent a good part of my life as a freelancer of one sort or another.
I was a freelance writer for several newspapers and magazines. Then I ran a business for a while where I combined writing with design, creating newsletters, brochures, and such-like. This was back in the pre-internet days.
When the internet came along, I added web design to my portfolio.
When the economy melted down in 2009, I was catapulted back into freelance writing – against my will.
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