After years of trying to find a way to travel and getting nowhere but frustrated, I was struck by inspiration. Maybe, just maybe, I could create a business that paid me to travel. The more I played with that idea (which seemed outrageous at the beginning), the more determined I became.
Gradually, it started to happen. I wrote motivational articles and, after a while, invitations to speak at seminars began to come in. That, of course, meant traveling.
Those of us who have been bitten by the travel bug want more of this good thing, not less. What many of us have discovered is that finding a way to travel and make money at the same time is as useful as a passport.
Whether you’d like to create an occasional income—or profit center—to take on the road or build one from a new location, there are countless ways to make that happen. This is, after all, the age of the virtual office which means you can set up shop on a Caribbean beach, in a cozy Swiss chalet, or on a rainforest riverbank.
Imagination and a sense of adventure have always been the best travel companions. Both of these qualities are also important for running a business. Creating a business that you can run virtually anyplace takes a bit of pre-planning and initiative, but once you’ve considered the possibilities, you’re bound to find one that suits your talents, skills, and travel plans.
If you already have an intimate relationship with some favorite part of the world, sharing your insider’s knowledge can be a natural venture for you. Expats Sam Hilt and Pam Mercer regularly welcome groups to their adopted home in Tuscany, as well as leading groups to other areas of Italy and France. They also offer personalized travel planning services for visitors from abroad.
Think about knowledge you already have, perhaps something you take for granted. Let’s say you love photography and Ecuador. You can create photographic walking tours, showing visitors off-the-beaten path spots where they could create unique photo memories of their travels.
Bob Walling, who has lived and worked in several spots around the globe, points out that people everywhere are eager to learn English. “You could land in a city today, put an ad in tomorrow’s paper or on flyers offering your services, and be in business immediately as a tutor of conversational English.”
Although creating a portable business may seem risky or frightening if you’ve never been self-employed before, keep in mind that you’ll probably feel more confident in a strange environment—where nobody knows you—than you would at home. There are, in fact, benefits to being anonymous.
With a bit of before-you-go research and an idea or two that you like, the odds are in your favor for creating a business that will not only bring you income, but can grow over time.
Even better, once you’ve mastered running a portable business, you’ll find you’ve given yourself a wonderful gift—a vehicle that makes it possible for you to travel as often and as far as you like.
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