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Working Remotely

Thanks to the internet & airplanes it’s pretty easy to travel around the world while earning an income online

For the past four years I have been living outside of the USA while running a small marketing company for law firms. My employees are completely outsourced. I started the business in 2012. Shortly after starting the business I moved to Brazil to live full time.

In June of 2015 I started a 18 month around the world trip to 18 countries with my wife and young daughter. We traveled to some amazing places including Iceland, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Fiji, Tonga and all over Europe.

Over the last 4 years I’ve spent a total of less than 4 months in the USA even though 100% of my money is earned from American clients. So how do I do it?

Phone Calls:

For speaking with my clients by phone I use Skype. It works well. I’ve tried other services but Skype is still the best in my opinion. And it works on my laptops and mobile phones.

I also have a Skype To Go phone number that gives me a USA number to hand out to my clients when I want. I can take the calls on my cell phone or even forward them to another number if I prefer.

I typically don’t give out my personal Skype number but rather have a different virtual number that is setup with a team of virtual secretaries in Tennessee. They take the calls and can route it to my outsourced employees, route it to me or simply take a message. I have chosen to never have them route the calls to me directly but that is an option. The voicemail messages come to me by email. There are many companies offering this kind of service. I am using this one: https://www.gabbyville.com/

I try to avoid speaking with clients by phone. For new customers this is not always easy but for established customers I can typically get them to put forth their questions by email.  Most new customers I refer to an outsourced sales rep to answer their questions.

My business is simple and I have things dialed in very well.  I average just 1 phone call per week so phone calls are not a big part of my everyday life.

Postal Mail:

I have all my postal mail sent to a virtual mail box where letters are opened, scanned and uploaded to my online account. I can even forward any piece of mail to any address I choose. And checks can be mailed by them and deposited to most any US bank. I’ve been using this company for over five years now and the service has been good: www.MailBoxForwarding.com

Changing Time Zones:

One of the biggest pluses of putting yourself in a remote environment is that you focus better on work because you tend to work less.  Less time means working faster when you need to get things done.  And typically working faster actually results in less errors and better overall production.

Our time zones were completely flipped while we traveled through Asia.  During that time I worked the fewest hours. But I never got behind or felt like I was missing out. And my clients didn’t either.

Bank Accounts:

There’s no need to change bank accounts.  Your debit and credit cards are going to work just fine anywhere you go.

Taxes:

If you stay out of the USA for a full year directly you can potentially gain a large tax credit on your taxes.  It’s called the “Foreign Earned Income Exclusion”.  Learn more about taxes while living outside the USA here:  http://www.efile.com/foreign-earned-income-and-income-exclusion/

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I don’t have any detachment about working from outside the USA.  The ability to travel when I want is an incredible feeling.  And after seeing so many other countries, I can’t imagine a scenario where I would ever want to live in the USA again.

For me it was very easy to leave the USA on a mad dash for anything new.  But for most the biggest hurdle with working remotely is to detach yourself from your current situation. It means abandoning most everything around you.  My advice is to just do it and later you can always go back if you want 🙂

 

December 14, 2016 0 comment
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