The laptop lifestyle has been all the rage since Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4 Hour Work Week hit the scene in 2007. Twelve years later, a lot of entrepreneurs are still applying his principles. Even Tim admits he works way more than 4 hours a week, but what we all learned from his book was that being chained to a desk isn’t the future of work. This collective eye-opening has resulted in a vast majority of entrepreneurs and employees alike giving it a go. Lucky for us, technology has dramatically evolved, enabling more people to work on their own terms.
The laptop lifestyle is needing only your computer, phone and an internet connection to make an income. It really doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, a remote employee or a freelancer - if you can do your work from any location, you qualify.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you are considering this type of work, though. Here are the four golden rules you must follow if you want to live the laptop lifestyle.
Technology has come such a long way and even more so, advancing the ability for people to work from anywhere. Lean on technology to keep your organized, automate tasks, track your time and communicate with team members or clients.
I recently spoke with my friend, Kate Erickson, partner at EOFire. Kate and John Lee Dumas moved down to Puerto Rico and while in the process of moving, nothing in their business or any scheduled podcasts were interrupted. Heavily relying on technology allowed them to move across the world without worrying that their business would come to a screeching halt.
There are so many apps and software that make life a lot easier and will keep you organized. You must learn to lean on them if you want to be location independent.
Choose A Niche Comfortable With Remote Work
Some industries are more comfortable working with someone remote, and some aren’t. You will need to choose to work in a field that is quite comfortable not having you in the physical office. More and more jobs are becoming more location independent, however, that doesn’t mean everyone is comfortable with it yet.
Choosing a niche that isn’t ready for it will be an uphill battle. Choose to work in a field or find clients that are already on board with this kind of working relationship, so you aren’t spending your time fighting the good fight rather than on your actual work.
Be intentional with who you choose to work with, it will make all the difference.
Clarity in Communication
The majority of our communication is through energy, tone, body language and expression. When we aren’t sitting in front of one another and only communicating via electronic messages, those are lost. It’s crucial that communication is clear. Clear to the point of ridiculous even. You will need to take the time to over communicate in order to make sure communication is clear for everyone.
Again, leverage the technology around you in order to achieve this. Using Skype or Zoom to do video calls, use Google Docs to create shared files, or Loom to capture simple screen recordings.
Jaime Masters, founder of Eventual Millionaire, has a communication escalation plan implemented within her team. It outlines in which circumstances you communicate and with which communication devices. For example, if something big like the website goes down - call her right away. If it’s a typo on the website, save it for the next all-hands meeting. If you are location independent, your team members could be in a totally different time zone and saves you from getting a 1am phone call to tell you about a website typo.
Communication about when and how to communicate - brilliant.
When you work for yourself, you must always be selling. Sales is not something you can take a break from or your business will die. Even if you are a remote worker - you still need to be “selling” yourself to your boss. That face to face time isn’t baked into your everyday working relationship and can result in lost connection.
You need to keep prospecting, keep building your network and working on getting more clients or keeping conversations open. If you are totally swamped with work and can’t take on new clients - keep selling yourself to the ones you have.
The laptop lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it certainly is a dream for most. It’s definitely achievable with the right technology, a great communications plan and the right clients.