Financial Travel Tip #94: Before You Quit Your Day Job…

by Nora on August 23, 2013

There’s something you need to do before you quit your day job and take off into the wild blue yonder. (Actually, there’s a few things you should do).

This particular requirement isn’t a dire necessity, but if you plan to nurture a location independent career to financially sustain your travels, it’s a strong suggestion.


Before you quit your day job and embrace your location independent career freedom, establish the foundations of your new career or business venture first.

To some, this may seem obvious. To others (including myself, to a point), maybe not.

Leap of Faith

I took a (responsible) leap of faith when I decided to travel full-time. I didn’t know where I’d go, what I’d do, or how I’d financially sustain my travels.

It wasn’t until about six months in that I connected the dots and realized I could transform my passion for writing into a location independent career as a freelance writer.

But from conceptualization to construction to eventually cruising, I had a long, long road ahead. Meanwhile, I was already abroad and learning how to travel full-time, carving out my own personal style – which is something of a full-time job unto itself.


Timelines: Setting Expectations

I’m entrepreneurially minded enough that I realized no income from a freelance writing career would appear overnight. In fact, I gave myself two years to establish a writing portfolio that could generate enough income to live on – and it indeed took two years of hard (but thankfully rewarding) work for very little pay.

A reader emailed me saying she was about to embark on a trip with her friends and was hoping to make money to fund her trip with a blog. Her departure date was two months away. I answered her question in my newsletter – you can read it here for yourself, but suffice it to say I had to dole out some harsh advice about setting expectations for how long a business like a blog takes to generate income.


Multi-Tasking Travel and Business while Learning

It’s hard enough to strike a happy balance between travel and work and life when your location independent business is established and stable – it’s exponentially harder when you’re not only learning how to travel effectively in your own style, but also building a business from the ground up.


Don’t do it to Yourself

I was lucky; I had a small income from the sale of my prior business to float the two years it took for me to build my career as The Professional Hobo. So at least I didn’t have financial concerns on top of everything else.

But I cannot emphasize enough how wise it is to get the foundations of your business in place….before you quit your day job to travel.

You can thank me over drinks on the road sometime.


Don’t Do it Yourself…Part 2

I mentioned above that it took me two years of hard work to develop my online career to the point that it could financially sustain me. These days, although there’s more saturation and competition in the online arena, there are also ways to learn what you need to know so you can get your business going much faster than I did. Check out some of these resources below if you want to shorten your learning curve….substantially.

Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom

How to Start a Travel Blog (aka: Learn From My Mistakes)

Want to Make Money Blogging? This is For You! 





{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christopher August 23, 2013 at 11:53 am

How timely. I recently quit my full-time job to pursue a location independent career. Right now I’m focusing on figuring out the mechanics of self-employment and building up a base of clients. I’m giving myself *at least* a year before hitting the road with this crazy scheme. It’s hard enough right now trying to juggle all the elements of a new career and freelancing. I can’t imagine trying to figure out how to travel well on top of that.

As an aside, reading your blog was pretty much the initial inspiration for trying this. So, thanks!


2 theprofessionalhobo August 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Hey Christopher – Wow, Thanks! Glad to know I’m a positive inspiration. (blushing)
Good job on giving yourself a year to get set up. If you focus, and depending on your line of work, that’s very possible. Then you can hit the road and start up a whole new learning curve (traveling)!


3 Turner August 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

YES. Thank you for the followup.


4 Deborah Harmes August 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Wonderful advice. We made certain before we launched ourselves from Australia to Europe for several years that we had a secure nest egg in the bank in case of unforeseen problems. That gave us such peace of mind!


5 theprofessionalhobo August 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Hi Deborah – Indeed! Having a cushion to fall back on (for any reason) provides peace of mind; because you simply don’t know what will happen on the road – it’s half the excitement, and opportunities abound, but you need to be ready for them…


6 James Shannon August 25, 2013 at 7:50 am

While I may not have that long of a runway from the outset, I am beginning my path towards becoming location independent after putting it off for so long. After I fled an ESL job in South Korea after I found out that I was getting cheated out of money and benefits (in addition to getting treated badly), I’ve decided to use the experience to get my business activities off the ground.

I could have just went home and gotten another job, but using the savings I have through teaching and from before I came to Korea, I’m dedicated to making enough money to support myself over the next few months. Failing this, I’ll at LEAST begin to build the connections and the systems necessary to get a self-sustaining income started that will eventually be able to support me anywhere in the world that has reliable internet. In the event of the latter, after my savings dwindles below a critical level, I’ll book the flight back home, and begin looking for a day job again.

Ideally, everyone should build these systems and connections at home while they still have a job, but there’s also something to be said for freeing your time through strategic unemployment, and using said time to crush it!


7 James Shannon August 25, 2013 at 7:52 am

Addendum to the above: I am presently in SE Asia to keep my $$$ burn rate low, and to perserve a modicum of a quality of life while I get my long-repressed business/freelance ambitions off the ground.


8 theprofessionalhobo August 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm

HI James – Great plan! Even though you’re on the road while developing your business, you have the advantage of already being familiar with travel, having lived abroad teaching ESL. And by taking advantage of a low cost of living (and thriving digital nomad community) in SE Asia, you’re probably in the best possible position to get that business going!

Good for you as well, for setting a financial limit beyond which you will go back home to generate some more cash. You don’t want to dip into emergency reserves.


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