It’s easier than ever to start a business without having a physical office. Location independent businesses, a.k.a. remote businesses or digital nomad businesses, are companies that can be run from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. There’s no physical office or fixed location, and often includes employees or contractors who work remotely.
Businesses with this level of flexibility have allow for several benefits for entrepreneurs. They can work from anywhere, which means they can travel the world, spend more time with family, and have more control over their work-life balance. In addition, remote businesses like this often have lower overhead costs because they don’t need to rent office space or pay for utilities.
However, running a location-independent business also comes with its own set of challenges. It requires a great deal of self-discipline and motivation, as well as strong communication and organizational skills. Nonetheless, with the right mindset and strategy, anyone can build a successful location-independent business.
Service-based businesses are an excellent option for those with specialized skills or expertise (or sometimes, very little). As long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you can offer your services to clients from anywhere in the world. Here are some popular service-based businesses that you can start:
Virtual bookkeeping and accounting
Many small businesses and startups need help with their bookkeeping and accounting tasks, but they may not have the resources to hire a full-time accountant. As a virtual bookkeeper or accountant, you can offer your services remotely, providing financial reports, tax planning, and other accounting services to your clients.
Many businesses (especially small businesses) struggle to keep up with the demands of managing their online presence. As a social media manager, you can help businesses create and execute social media strategies, manage their accounts, and create engaging content to attract more followers.
By now, we all know what this is, and like it or not, a career as an influencer can be quite lucrative. In a nutshell, you would leverage your social media presence to impact your followers’ purchasing decisions and trends. Usually, this involves creating content within a certain niche. Fashion, travel, and fitness are all common industries that have a wealth of influencers in them. Success in this field requires a strong personal brand, the ability to connect authentically with an audience, and staying up-to-date with trends in your niche. If you already have a following that can be grown, and you’re good at managing business relationships, this might be a great location-independent option for you.
Copywriting and content creation
Content is king in today’s digital world, and businesses need high-quality content to attract and retain customers. As a copywriter or content creator, you can offer your writing services to businesses in various industries, including blog posts, articles, product descriptions, and website copy.
Virtual assistant services
Virtual assistant services are in high demand, especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses who need help with administrative tasks. As a virtual assistant, you can offer services such as email management, scheduling, research, and data entry.
Online tutoring and coaching
Online tutoring and coaching are excellent options for those with expertise in a particular field. With video conferencing tools like Zoom, you can connect with clients from anywhere in the world and provide one-on-one coaching sessions.
With businesses operating in a global economy, translation services are in high demand. As a translator, you can offer services such as document translation, website localization, and interpretation services to help businesses communicate with their international customers and clients.
Data scientists analyze large sets of complex data to extract meaningful insights and inform business decisions for their employers. It involves a mix of statistical analysis, machine learning, data visualization, and predictive modeling. Strong skills in programming languages like Python or R, along with a deep understanding of statistical methods, are essential. Data scientists work in all kinds of industries, from tech and finance to healthcare, and must be adept at communicating their findings to non-technical stakeholders.
In my experience, it’s not as common for this role to be freelance, but in-house instead. That said, a great data scientist is invaluable, so if you’re great at this already (or can get certified by a reputable institution) you have a great chance at building this location-independent business on your own.
Virtual reality (VR) experience designer
In the age of advancing technology, there’s a growing demand for professionals who can create immersive VR experiences. This could involve designing virtual tours, educational programs, games, or simulations.
Online language coach
Beyond the many online language tutors, a language coach takes a more holistic approach. They help learners overcome psychological barriers to language learning, set personalized goals, and provide strategies for effective learning. You can also market yourself as more “authentic” if you’re based in the same country that speaks the language your client is trying to learn.
Remote personal trainer
Yes, this is absolutely a thing. Especially after COVID, with the rise of WFH fitness. A remote trainer provides personalized workout plans, track progress, and offer motivation and support through video calls and messaging. This is another role that is very closely tied to client management. Training people is surprisingly intimate, as you have to be involved in your client’s diet, workout regime, and even sleep habits.
In this role, you would engage in the buying, selling, and analysis of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other coins that come onto the market regularly. It involves keeping a very close eye on market trends, understanding blockchain technology, and making predictions based on market data. Similar to trading on the stock market, this requires a strong grasp of financial principles, risk management, and the ability to make quick decisions (all while in an extremely volatile market). Being a cryptocurrency trader or analyst also means staying updated with regulatory changes. Your clients would expect you to know the regulations inside and out. In such a new industry, this would likely take a huge portion of your time by itself.
Digital nomad consultant
As more people become interested in the digital nomad lifestyle, there’s a need for consultants who can provide advice on how to transition to this lifestyle. This includes how to find remote work, manage finances, and navigate legal issues related to visas and taxes. Good examples of this are Traveling with Kristin, and Nomad Capitalist.
An eco-consultant helps businesses or individuals reduce their environmental impact. This could involve conducting virtual audits of a client’s practices, providing recommendations for improvement, and offering guidance on how to implement sustainable practices.
With the rise in popularity of podcasts, skilled editors are in high demand. A podcast editor is responsible for cleaning up audio, editing for content, and sometimes even adding sound effects or music to enhance the final product. It’s quite a bit of work to get the style and format right, but these roles have a low turnover for the same reason.
Also known as a penetration tester, an ethical hacker is a professional who uses their skills to find and fix potential vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, or web applications. Many companies hire ethical hackers to ensure their systems are secure.
Virtual home stager
Real estate agents and sellers are increasingly turning to virtual staging to help sell homes. So much so, that there’s debate as to whether this will completely replace actual home staging! A virtual home stager uses digital tools to create realistic images of what an empty property would look like when furnished and decorated.
Online art therapist
Art therapy has come a long way in recent years. Art therapists use the creative process to help people explore self-expression and, in doing so, find new ways to gain personal insight and improve their mental health. Online art therapists can work with clients remotely, guiding them through creative exercises and discussing their work and feelings.
Product-based businesses are a great option for entrepreneurs who want to sell physical or digital products online. Here are some popular product-based businesses that you can start:
E-commerce businesses are online stores that sell physical products. With platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, it’s easier than ever to set up an online store and start selling products. You can sell anything from clothing and accessories to home goods and electronics.
Dropshipping is a popular business model that allows you to sell products without holding inventory. You simply list the products on your online store, and when a customer places an order, you purchase the product from a supplier who ships it directly to the customer. This eliminates the need for warehousing and shipping products, making it an attractive option for those who want to start an e-commerce business with minimal investment. As with the e-commerce idea, dropshipping does require some understanding of maintaining websites.
Digital products businesses
Digital products businesses sell products that can be downloaded online, such as e-books, online courses, and software. Digital products have low overhead costs, and once you create them, you can sell them over and over again without having to restock or buy more inventory. This makes them an excellent option for those who want to earn passive income.
If you have a talent for making handmade crafts such as jewelry, pottery, or textiles, you can sell your products online through platforms like Etsy or your own website. Handmade crafts have a unique charm that sets them apart from mass-produced items.
Print-on-demand (POD) merchandise allows you to create and sell custom products without holding inventory. You simply design the product, and the printing and shipping are handled by a third-party company. POD products can include t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more.
Subscription boxes are a popular way to receive curated products on a regular basis. You can create a subscription box around a particular theme or niche, such as healthy snacks, pet products, or beauty products.
Health and wellness products
Health and wellness products are in high demand, as people become more health-conscious. You can sell products such as vitamins and supplements, organic foods, fitness equipment, and natural skincare products.
Custom digital art prints
As an artist, you can create digital art pieces and sell them as downloadable files. Customers can then print these at home or at a local print shop. This eliminates the need for physical inventory and shipping. If you plan on travelling regularly, you can even get inspiration from each new destination you visit!
Eco-friendly travel gear
With the rise of sustainable living and travel, there’s a market for eco-friendly travel gear. This could include items like reusable water bottles, solar-powered chargers, or biodegradable toiletries.
3D printing designs
3D printing isn’t quite the hot topic it was 5 years ago, but it’s still pretty big. If you have skills in 3D modeling, you could sell your 3D designs online. Customers can purchase the designs and print them on their own 3D printers.
Digital planner templates
Digital planners and journals are becoming increasingly popular as more people switch to paperless planning. You could create and sell customizable digital planner templates for different needs, such as productivity, wellness, or budgeting. Having said that, this market is incredibly saturated so you need to make sure you have done your research before putting all that work into creating the templates themselves.
Choosing the right location-independent business
Choosing the right location-independent business is crucial to your success as an entrepreneur. It’s essential to assess your skills and interests, research market demand and competition, identify potential clients or customers, and set realistic goals and expectations. Here are some tips to help you choose the right location independent business:
Assess your skills and interests
Before starting a location-independent business, it’s important to assess your skills and interests. Consider what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. You may have expertise in a particular field, such as writing, web development, or social media management, which could lead to a successful service-based business. Or, you may have a passion for a particular product, such as handmade crafts or eco-friendly products, which could lead to a successful product-based business.
Research market demand and competition
Once you have an idea of what type of business you want to start, it’s important to research market demand and competition. Determine if there is a need for your product or service and identify your target audience. Research your competition and identify what sets you apart from them. Look for gaps in the market that you can fill, or areas where you can offer a unique value proposition to your customers.
Identify potential clients or customers Identifying potential clients or customers is crucial to the success of your location-independent business. Networking and building relationships with potential clients or customers can also help you grow your business.
Set realistic goals and expectations
Finally, it’s important to set realistic goals and expectations for your location-independent business. Determine how much money you need to make to cover your expenses and pay yourself a salary. Set goals for revenue growth, customer acquisition, and other metrics that are important to your business. Remember that building a successful location-independent business takes time and effort, so be patient and persistent.
Starting a location-independent business can be a rewarding and fulfilling way to make a living. If you’re considering starting a location-independent business, I encourage you to take action now and pursue it. A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. Take an honest inventory of your skills, then combine that with your interests to come up with a business that you have a passion for. Remember that building a successful business takes time and effort, but with the right mindset and strategy, anything is possible.
Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.