Freelancer Expat: Double Delight

Published on 2016-11-04 at 08:19
Expatriation involves a great deal of adventure and uncertainty. Freelance work too, comes with a lot of freedom, flexibility, and creativity — all leading to an unconventional reality that can make or break you. Moving abroad is already a challenge when there's a solid employment contract waiting for you, let alone when there's no company, support network of colleagues, and steady income. But you know with all your heart that freelancing is what you want to be doing, and you want to be doing it abroad. Here are a few things to consider before you pack your laptop.  

Cost of living


Whether you are a veteran freelancer, or you have just set your foot in the industry, one thing you have noticed for sure  — financial instability. No two months of the year are alike for freelancers, and planning ahead is every freelancer's asset. Don't be seduced by the picturesque sceneries, or the cosmopolitan lifestyle reproduced in the tourist guides — not until you have completed a research in depth on the price you have to pay to enjoy all these. Choose a country depending on your current workload and income, and maybe count on less than that — don't inflate the numbers swiped by enthusiasm and wishful thinking. At the end of the day freelancing isn't about making lots of money — it's about seeing the world through the lens of being independent. You can find extended information about the cost of living in different countries in our forum.


Wireless network


Freelancer's' best friend is WiFi, and your second favourite spots (comfy couches being number one) are cozy cafés filled with gentle jazz music, and the aromas of organic tea and coffee. But not all countries can offer the right setting for you, or have the infrastructure for fast internet. According to The Daily Dot's latest graphs, Hong Kong, Singapore, Romania and South Korea have the fastest download and upload speeds when compared to the rest of the world. But Lithuania, Croatia and Estonia offer the best public WiFi experience based on Rotten Wi-Fi's findings. It's up to you to decide depending on how impatient you feel while waiting for that page to load.


Coworking spaces


The life of a freelancer can become lonely at times, especially in a foreign country, and when you are not under the umbrella of a corporation, and the social circle that comes with it. Such a mood can be detrimental to your work, and cause stagnation and luck of motivation. With more people worldwide turning into distance work, freelancing, and entrepreneurship, coworking spaces have gained ground as spaces to exchange ideas, meet like minded people, take part in lively debates, and yes of course  — produce work. Explore the coworking options in the country of your desired destination, and — why not — introduce yourself to a community that is keen to include you.


Freelance specialisation


Before you book your flight out, can you tell if the country is familiar with what you are working on? Even if your aspiration is to be global, it's good to make a brief evaluation of: How aware are the people in this country with your project? Are there other freelancers or companies providing the same service? Is your work of interest to them? Will it make an impact in this country? For example, if you are passionate about ballet, and you are a freelance writer with focus on ballet theatre reviews, then maybe you should consider London or New York City. But that's just one way of looking at it  — specialisation (although not necessary) may haven't come to you as yet, and you may need to find the country first.


Balance between work and personal life


Last but not least, free time is as important for freelancers as for full time contractors. Don't underestimate fun, and aim to create a healthy balance between your career passions and personal life — leisure, family, friends etc. When you are researching the countries you would possibly like to move to, choose the one that's not only promising for your professional development, but also for your personal. So, ask yourself: Will it be good for me to move to a country with heavy winters when only the thought of one-digit temperatures makes me sick?