Create Your Location Independent Business the More Practical Way

Jason Batansky from Locationless Living
Coconuts for sale. Photo by Michael Burm
Coconuts for sale. Photo by Michael Burm

Editor’s Introduction: Anyone who enjoys traveling, or has had their dreams haunted by picturesque places, has most likely thought to themselves, “If I worked for myself, I could just hop a plane for destinations unknown”. Sadly, and all too often, the alarm clock rings or the boss walks in or something snaps us back into reality. Honestly, there are those out there enjoying the fruits of location independent business opportunities and Jason Batansky is one of the fortunate. Here, he shares his beginnings, his dream business idea and what he has learned about making location independent business ventures successful.

Location Independence in Seven “Easy” Steps

1) Real Motivation

Why do you want to start a business? As a small business consultant for my state’s office, I met with one lady who invested US$20,000 into producing her salad dressing on a large scale in order to win a trade show award. This is a common occurrence for people I encountered to invest their time and money into a business for a main reason other than being profitable.

…I met with one lady who invested US$20,000 into producing her salad dressing on a large scale in order to win a trade show award. This is a common occurrence for people I encountered to invest their time and money into a business for a main reason other than being profitable.

Another popular idea is to create a business to help others. That’s a great concept but it can only become the main priority after the business is in the black.

A business is not fun — at least not for a while anyway. Initially, if a business is to become successful, making headway towards getting into the black needs to be top priority. Now if that award were to greatly affect the salad dressing woman’s ability to market the dressing and thus increase sales, then I would say she is justified. But more than winning an award hardly anyone’s ever heard of, her first goal should be on making some money on her investment.

The second task that comes along with that is to figure out is what to do with any profit. For myself, I would use it to pursue my hobby, traveling. For others, it may be investing that money to charitable causes. The main idea is that your goal must be to operate a profitable business and to know exactly what you will do with that income.  How else will you stay otherwise stay motivated?

2) Brainstorm Business Ideas From What You Already Know

Many people can imagine operating their dream businesses. For some, it might be a café where they can host bands that play their favorite type of music. For others, maybe it’s a record label. After traveling for a bit, I decided mine was to own a hostel. But the reality is these ideas are often impractical for most of us because of a lack of professional background in the given area.

A business will go much further if you start developing ideas using what you already know. Are you a nurse? Start a mobile patient advocate business. Are you a Financial Analyst? Start a financial planning business. An Accountant? Start a tax preparation service. A Web Developer? Well, now I think you get the point. The main idea is that you will have the vision of what the beginning stages will look like so that you can start making money almost immediately. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t force an idea, though.

If you don’t have a professional background in a certain industry it’s okay to copy ideas from other people because ideas are just that. They’re nothing but a small spark in the air. If you can take a similar idea to someone else’s and make it successful, then you have yourself a business. For example, I resell a popular brand of clothing on an internet forum as one of my side businesses. This was not my idea. I registered myself a wholesale account with the popular clothing brand and started selling the clothing on the same internet forum as others, but I did it better. I responded to questions more quickly, and I made sure I shipped out the clothing faster. Since then, two other sellers have tried to compete with me. But four years later, I am the only one still selling, generating $500 to $1,500 a month just from this.

3) Start Small And Hustle

Don’t quit you’re day job, don’t write a 100-page business plan, and don’t register your business with your government. Don’t kid yourself. You don’t need to hire an accountant, a lawyer, or register an LLC before you have made your first sale.  That will all come later when you are earning revenue. Instead, you should grow your business until these things become necessary.  For most mobile businesses, all the inventory you will need is a website and your hard work.

For most mobile businesses, all the inventory you will need is a website and your hard work.

At age 17, I opened my first online store selling sports jerseys. When I made a sale, I would forward the order to my supplier. While I only raked in less than $4,000 in sales that year, it led to much bigger things and gave me a taste of working for myself. I haven’t looked back.

4) Find The Right People

It’s more likely that you have no background in much of what you will do to start your business and keep it growing. Are you a Web Designer? Can you program a website? Do you know how to set up a legit accounting system for your business? Probably not. But many people do. And some are willing to either help you out solely on goodwill.

I presently run two main web-based businesses. A Career Consulting business and an online retail store. I am not a web designer or programmer. I don’t even write my own cover letters. But what I am good at doing is finding great resources and building business relationships. I am self-taught in writing professional CV’s and resumes, but chose not to write my own cover letters and instead delegate that task to others.

I have a few go-to guys that have been invaluable to my success. There’s a web designer in Australia and another in the U.K., a programmer in Arizona, a content editor in California, a personal assistant to ship some of my inventory and answer customer questions in The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Pennsylvania, an MBA student to help brainstorm ideas in Pittsburgh, an accountant in New Jersey, another assistant in Bangladesh, a French translator from Canada, and countless others throughout the world that are willing to provide constructive feedback and assistance in their respective specialties.

You can meet these kinds of people in real life, on internet forums, social networking websites, blogs, or any number of places. But the reality is you had better find them because there is no way you will know the answers to everything you need to know. You won’t have the time either as your business grows. But together in a network with many people, you will.

5) Create Other Options For Yourself

What if your business doesn’t work out? If you follow the other steps, you won’t be financially ruined because all you would have invested is your time. But part of your investment in time should be in getting varied experience. If your business fails miserably or if your business succeeds fabulously, you will have other connections and options.

As someone who has been in business consistently since age 16, I have made it my priority to try new things that could possibly be of benefit, but mostly activities that excite me. After my first year of college at age 19, I traveled independently to South America to work an unpaid marketing internship. During my sophomore year of college, I applied for a paid small business consulting internship based on my experience at my previous marketing internship and also from my own business experience. During that time, I struggled to create a killer resume/CV and sought help from various outlets. In the end I did my own research to create one, and I landed the job paying $10 an hour as a sophomore in college. Oh yeah, and I majored in Anthropology — unlike everyone else working there who were business students. Then what did I do? I saw someone providing resume writing services on internet forums, so I decided to try that, too. Now, that’s my primary business. As a result at age 21 I am making an income I could have only dreamed of when I was 16 and I have all the time in the world to travel. I fly to Ecuador on a one-way ticket in less than two weeks.  This is all possible because as I see an opportunity I act.

6) Expand As Necessary

If you listened to Step 2, you will see that it’s fine to start small because everything works in a natural progression if you are willing to confront any obstacles head on. You can start big, but do realize that by doing that you are risking much more.

You can start big, but do realize that by doing that you are risking much more.

As long as you are taking advantage of your free time, your resources, and you are working smartly, you’ll get a feel for your business and you’ll know when to make all of the paperwork official.

When I started my career consulting business at 19 years old, it was through an internet forum. As I grew the business, I created a website and registered my business as a sole proprietorship. Since then, I have made significant changes to the website infrastructure and started advertising in different and sometimes more expensive ways. As a result, I average upwards of 45 new clients each month compared to the 5 to 15 clients on average during my first year in business.

7) Get It Done

“I’ve been pretty busy lately.” I hear that all of the time and it annoys me to no end. Do you want to know why you’re busy? Because you save things for the last minute, always playing catch up. Or you’re not willing to work “hard.” Or your priorities are out whack.

Compare writing that essay a few nights before it’s due to writing half a page a day for one week. Or maybe since you are working a part-time job 20 hours a week and then taking the average 15 credits a semester of class you figure you can’t possibly find the time for anything else. Let me guess you have to cook dinner for your family. Or maybe since it’s important for you to participate in your weekly bowling club, you have too many commitments.

The reality is you can get almost anything done, providing you are willing to work efficiently for it. No excuses. When I studied a semester in Argentina, I took 21 credits, ran two full-time businesses and a side business full-time, and still went out four or five times a week. If I can do it, so can you.

So get started — now.

About the author:

Jason Batansky is a 21-year old location independent traveler running two web-based businesses. His blog, Locationless Living, is a mixture of writing about his travels in South America and business topics.

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Discussion »

  • #1Cambridge Who's Who

    Number 7 is absolutely the truth, I find myself saying it all the time. “I’m busy” usually translates to “I’m disorganized” or “I’m behind”. Especially when you put it that way, half a page a night instead of it all the day before, makes you look at yourself and realize how lazy you are being.

  • #2Ant

    “As a result at age 21 I am making an income I could have only dreamed of when I was 16″. I did not see that sentence coming, I had expected the above scenario to have come from someone much older, so all credit to Jason for acting so efficiently. I’d like to ask Jason two things — firstly, where do you see yourself in 5, or 10 years time? And secondly, was becoming location independent a goal, or simply a side effect of your success?

  • #3Jason

    Thanks for the comment Ant.

    I have many ideas of what I want to be doing in 5-10 years but if I continue exactly on my current path I don’t think retiring would be out of the question. But doing exactly what I am doing now in 5 years is not likely to happen because plans change so easily. I could be married for all I know. I could get sick, etc.

    Doing what I do now is somehwhat a combination of my success and my goals. My goal since high school has been to live abroad. For instance, my internet favorites is a collection of links to overseas job postings that I have collected for years. If I were not self-employed I could likely be working abroad right now whether teaching English or working for a multinational company. But when I started working for myself I had no capital and had no time during the day to run a business that would require set hours due to high school. So if I wanted to start a business it would have to be flexible and has become just that today.

  • #4Celina

    Hello Jason,
    Your blog caught my attention at right time and I read it carefully what its trying to say. Actually I do own a hotel and its doing business also but I am looking for more clients or visitors to visit my hotel. There are lot of things I need to learn about this. Your article served some of the purposes.

    Thanks
    TC

  • #5Toffee

    Hey, thanks for the post, practical down to earth and honest advice.

  • #6ralph

    Your blog post describes well how to create a business. a bit off topic right :) > ?

  • #7traveller

    thank you jason. i want to motivation my work. this post good.

  • #8Joel

    Jason,
    Thanks for a truly excellent article. As someone who is trying to build a web-based business I really appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

  • #9Brad

    Love reading this. It reminds me alot of how I’ve progressed over the years. I now run 5 web based companies and am able to travel more and more each year which is my real passion. It takes time and dedication but you can do it with the right motivation and goals that are not to high in the sky.

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