Jumping into a location-independent career and lifestyle isn't as simple as packing your bags, selling your possessions and hitting the road. Before you start your remote business, you need a clear roadmap of the business you plan to build and how you're going to build it. You'll need to ask yourself tough questions around how you plan on sustaining yourself. In this article, we'll be discussing six points to consider when putting together a location-independent business plan.

1. What kind of business do you want to start?

Before you even consider ditching your 9-5 for the dream of remote work, perhaps the most pertinent question you need to ask yourself is "what kind of business do I see myself running?"
Aspiring nomads can choose from a variety of business models, whether it be consulting-, service-, or product-based, each with their own pros and cons. At the outset, take stock of your skills and ascertain which avenue would suit you best. Jobs like writing and content creation tend to fall under the freelance banner. Here, you could look at doing services like copywriting, branding, design, translation, proofreading, video editing – the list is endless. Consultants would advise clients in various fields ranging from business development to online advertising. Product-based businesses tend to play in the e-commerce space, which comes with its own set of rules. The key is finding a field which aligns with your skillset and your passions. If you hit gold and find the "ikigai," as the Japanese call it, then you've conquered the first hurdle in building your location-independent business.

2. How much will you need to invest to get your business off the ground?

Starting a business depends heavily on two things: time and money. In the initial stages of building a remote business, you'll need to ask yourself exactly how much of an investment – both in terms of finances and time – you're willing to make to get things off the ground. This will then determine the rest of your roadmap for creating a location-independent lifestyle. Whereas the start-up costs for freelancers and consultants might be quite low (all you might need is a laptop and Wi-Fi), the prospective cost for an entrepreneur trading inventory would be higher, with returns perhaps far later down the line. With that in mind, it's crucial to figure out your costs upfront, as this can save you a lot of challenges later in the game.

3. What's the earning potential?

Once you've made the first forays into digital 'nomadery,' the next question you need to ask is: "Can my location-independent business fund the lifestyle that I desire?" An inevitable part of starting a business, especially a remote one, is figuring out how to make it sustainable over the long term. This becomes all the more relevant when you have dependants involved or long-term financial goals that require serious thought.

4. Will your business require you to keep upskilling?

While some fields might not involve a massive learning curve, there are specific disciplines which require a degree of continuous upskilling to remain relevant. Take copywriting, for example. This is generally something that you wouldn't need a refresher on too often, as the basics rarely change. Move to a field like Facebook Advertising, however, and you're dealing with a continually evolving piece of software which requires you to stay abreast of the latest trends and updates to deliver maximum value to your clients. You need to keep the cost of upskilling in mind, as this could impact your business at some point, either in monetary or time terms.

5. Do you have the administrative chops to keep your business afloat?

The administrative side of business might not be the most glamorous, but it can make the difference between staying afloat and throwing in the towel. Things like personal finance management are a crucial part of ensuring that your remote business functions smoothly. Pay careful attention to business laws in the countries where you operate, as you won't want to fall foul of the local tax authorities. If you run a small team, how will you handle payroll? These are all issues that generally don't come up when discussing location-independent business, but that doesn't make them any less critical.

6. Do you have a network and support system?

It's all good and well packing it in and heading to your dream destination, but what about your health and mental wellness? Healthcare presents a bit of a problem for remote workers, as some countries do not offer quality state-subsidized medical services. International health insurance then, is something worth considering, as the last thing you would want to be is disabled when you have a business to run.

You also want to ensure that you have a supportive network that you can count on – whether they be friends that you meet along your travels, colleagues at co-working spaces, or simply companions back home. Finding resources which cater to your mental and physical wellbeing can ease the stress of running a location-independent business. Some co-working facilities are explicitly geared towards this, with massages, swimming pools, and beautiful living spaces.

Creating a location independent business isn't as difficult as it seems, but it does require you to answer some probing questions. There's no doubt that it's a rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle. Keep these six points on your checklist, and you'll be ready to weather any storms on your road to becoming a digital entrepreneur.

Written by Stuart Hendricks