Well before I embarked on my trip to Europe to further my goal to visit half the world, as well as attempt to run my business in the process, I had discovered Lea Woodward.
I believe it was a tweet I sent saying `Who is a great example of someone running a business while travelling the world?’ and Lea’s name came up several times.
I looked her up and realized she had built an entire business around living a Location Independent lifestyle with a blog, a huge community and some fantastic go-to resources to allow others to do the same.
I thought it was a longshot to reach out and ask if she’d be open for an interview but I’ve generally found if you approach people with a genuine reason they’re often more than open to it. Within less than a day Lea had responded back saying she’d be delighted to.
She even went so far as to shoot a short video for me (given both our internet connections were unreliable and our respective travel itineraries were making it difficult to arrange a Skype interview).
So without further ado, let me introduce to you the very down to earth nomad, business woman, mother and living proof of how to live the lifestyle that so many people can only dream of. She tells us what it’s really like, how you can achieve it too and what opportunities have come her way as a result.
What was the biggest transition you had to make to be location independent?
Becoming an entrepreneur after being a corporate rat racer for most of my life. Running your own business & working for yourself requires a totally different mindset from that of being an employee and that’s the one area I’ve always worked hard on and still work hard on!
What key piece of advice would you give someone wanting a location independent lifestyle?
If you want to be location independent, you need to do two key things to give yourself everything you need to be able to live & work from anywhere you choose:
1) Continuously work on your own skillset (tech, entrepreneurial & marketing)
2) Create a sustainable, profitable business which you can run & manage online from anywhere
Once you’ve done that, the world is your oyster and you can add travel and a nomadic lifestyle to the mix!
What have been the main challenges to building your business while on the road?
Time & a decent internet connection. One of the biggest misconceptions about this lifestyle is that you’ll have more time as soon as you quit your job and start working for yourself while travelling.
In the past 3-4 years of doing this, we’ve found it’s been the exact opposite (even more so now we have a 1 year old) – we’ve had less time to focus on our business. A lifestyle of permanent travel means you will have to spend extra time researching destinations, organising travel plans, booking flights/accommodation, insurance and other travel administration tasks.
Plus there’s the time it takes to settle in and pack up each time you move somewhere new. Not to mention the psychological/emotional effort it takes to deal with the stress of travel & entrepreneurship. It’s an exciting, rollercoaster adventure of a lifestyle but it’s not always easy!
What have you enjoyed most about running your company?
The people we’ve been able to meet both online & offline. One of the benefits we’ve recently enjoyed of being location independent, is that we can spend time with friends we’ve made online – which is currently what we’re doing, based in Edinburgh for the summer. We’ve been fortunate to meet some really cool people globally – both in real life and online and it’s making these connections which has opened up all sorts of opportunities.
You’ve clearly achieved what many dream of, what’s your recipe for success?
I think the most important thing that’s helped us get where we are (although we’re not “there” yet in our own terms!) is that we just keep moving forward – both physically and in our businesses/personal projects.
One of the things that stops most people from making progress is paralysis – they either don’t know what to do next or they’re afraid of what to do next, so they don’t do anything.
I’ve always said that the most important thing to keep progressing is to make a move…any move, and only then will you know if it’s the “right” one or not. And if it’s not, then you at least have a new perspective on which to make new decisions for your next moves!
How long did it take you to become profitable enough to support your lifestyle?
Once we decided that we wanted to leave the UK and move overseas (that was our first goal – we didn’t actually set out to become nomadic, we just realised we enjoyed it once we’d started), it took 6 months to get our business to the stage where it could support us with a guaranteed income for at least the first 6-9 months.
That was the criteria we set to leave and we gave ourselves 9 months to get there – it actually took 4 months from a business perspective, the rest of the time was spent selling our apartment, getting rid of our possessions and other personal admin tasks.
Where did the inspiration come to grow the blogs and the resources?
The initial blog (at www.locationindependent.com) started off as more of a journal to record our experiences, our travels and what we were learning about our lifestyle. It was never really meant to be anything more than a place to share our personal story – but then it started to gain some traction and I kept getting messages saying how cool a concept it was.
Finally in 2009 (2 years after I first started the blog), I decided to make a business out of it and started to expand and add sites and resources to create the network as it now is.
My mission for the project has also evolved and it’s now all about creating the “go to” resource for anybody wanting to create a location independent lifestyle for themselves, and spreading the word about the concept to as wide an audience as possible (thanks to Womanzworld for helping us do that with this interview!).
If you were to suggest the three main tools you need to be able to work and travel what would they be?
- An entrepreneurial skillset – which includes marketing, tech and strategy skills
- An open mind
- A laptop
Which inspires you more – your travels or the communities you’ve built?
Both inspire me in different ways. In fact our travels & lifestyle fuel the resources we create for the communities we run, but running and growing the online communities we currently have is a daily inspiration to keep going, even when it gets tough.
All three communities we currently run are tied together because they are all about helping people create lives enabled by their passions – that makes it fun, worthwhile and challenging to us all at the same time.
What are some of the top books you’ve read that have made a personal difference to you and influenced you and why?
I love You Squared by Price Pritchett – it’s more of a pamphlet and isn’t that well known but it’s been one of my favourite motivational reads since I discovered it a few years ago.
Despite my professional background as a management consultant, I loved The E-myth Revisited which is essential reading for anybody wanting to build a business and not just a job for themselves.
What’s the most exciting thing that’s happening right now?
So much! Our daughter is about to turn 1, I’m also about to celebrate my 33rd birthday and we’ve got some really exciting plans to grow all of our communities for the rest of this year. Oh and we’re also about to release our next major resource for our communities – The DIY Design & Branding Toolkit which is being created for bootstrapping entrepreneurs who can’t afford to hire a professional designer but still want their stuff to look good.
What is your key piece of advice to anyone considering a location independent business?
Start building it NOW…whether you’re in a job still or not, there’s never a better time to start adding income streams to your portfolio than now.
If you want to live this location independent lifestyle then check out Lea’s fantastic ‘Location Independent Business Guide’
The Location Independent Business Guide is a online programme which gives you everything you need to create, build and grow your own profitable location independent business.
What you get in the guide:
- A PDF tutorial with key takeaways & easy-to-implement knowledge (all options)
- Sample templates and example documents (all options)
- A 30-60m audio tutorial with additional examples and tips (Premium & Premium Plus only)
- A summary slideshow of the key points in each module (Premium & Premium Plus only)
- Additional “recommended resource” lists (Premium & Premium Plus only)
- A 60m Skype/IM Text consult (Premium Plus only)
I totally recommend it!