Two years ago I set out on a journey to find out if the laptop lifestyle really could work for me. To make that happen, we sold a home, moved to smaller digs, pinpointed countries and cities we wanted to visit in the next two years, and took the technology steps necessary to create a laptop lifestyle.
Two years later, I've personally worked from about 8 cities in the United States and from 16 countries. The countries were as close to the United States as Costa Rica and as far away as you can get — New Zealand.
it isn't that hard to work remote anymore. Here are a few questions I get asked about having a laptop lifestyle, or, as I call it, being a mobile entrepreneur.
Isn't it more comfortable to just work from home?
The entrepreneurs who ask me this picture themselves wandering through a city or a foreign country looking for an Internet cafe or coffee shop. The truth is, I never go searching for Internet in a coffee shop. I could, I guess. But it's usually too noisy for me to work with clients virtually in a coffee shop, and often the Internet is too slow.
- I bring my own hotspot. In the United States I use an external hot spot (not my phone, because I often need my phone to do other things while I'm working). Outside of the United States I purchase Internet services for that particular country on a short term card or SIM for my iPhone. It's MUCH cheaper.
- I work from wherever we're staying, whether that's an apartment or hotel room. We often have a longer term rental that is just as comfortable as home, or a hotel room with working space in the room.
For me, the laptop lifestyle adventure offsets any kind of discomfort. The way in which I travel gives me my creature comforts anyway.
- We use a credit card (for which we pay) that offers lounge access in airports. It's a great way to be comfortable while waiting for flights, get a bite to eat without waiting for a table in the airport restaurants, and working comfortably.
- My laptop lifestyle business fits inside a small Eddie Bauer backpack. From that backpack I can pull out anything I need, replicating my desk at home.
- We keep bottles of water from a corner market in our hotel room or apartment wherever we are, so that I can grab a quick drink as I work or talk to a client.
Can you really pay attention to your business when you're also sightseeing?
Owning and running a laptop lifestyle business is just like anything else you create. It takes discipline, planning, and focus. When I travel, I have set days for working with clients, handling the back end of my business, and talking with my team members. Sometimes, I can be flexible. Sometimes not. Our master calendar is marked with travel days, sightseeing days, and work days.
Since I work with clients both in the United States and overseas, sometimes being a mobile entrepreneur means that I'm in a nearby time zone instead of 6 to 8 hours away, so client consultations are actually easier. Not to mention, I get to meet up in real life with clients I have only met either by phone or virtually in my Zoom Room.
I think if you have the entrepreneurial spirit in you, you also by definition have the spirit of adventure. After all, if you didn't have an independent streak to begin with you'd probably still be working for someone else. I take delight in knowing that I am completely self-sufficient. I can go anywhere, I can continue to make money no matter where I am. I'm free to stay in my home or pack up my backpack and hit the road.
I think being a laptop lifestyle business makes me a better entrepreneur. I have a larger world view now. I understand more about the cultures of the countries where I have clients. If you've been thinking of creating a laptop lifestyle for yourself, I'm betting you can do it.
If you've got a laptop lifestyle, I'd love to hear your own tips, so please share them below.