From Cubicle To Poolside – 5 Tips To Finding Success As A Laptop Nomad


As I write this I’m soaking up some sun after enjoying a refreshing dip in a sparkling swimming pool in Los Angeles, California. I know, I can hardly believe it myself.  This is what my life is like now that I’ve embraced the freewheeling lifestyle of a traveling writer.

You read that correctly, I get paid to write, and in turn I use that income to travel to new and exciting locations. Through careful coordination with contacts around the world I’m able to arrange long-term living arrangements of two-to-four months in exchange for a few hours of volunteer work each day. This bartering arrangement allows me to indulge my passion for learning new things while also allowing ample time to meet my creative deadlines. Much of the volunteer work is labor intensive, but so remarkably rewarding that I wouldn’t change it for the world.

It Only Sounds Like a Simple Plan Because it’s So Easy

I get it, making the transition from a steady job that barely pays the rent to a be-your-own-boss, call-your-own-shots income is daunting. I was in the same boat, myself. Six weeks ago I thought it was virtually impossible to have a career that feels more like play than work. But here I am, living the dream.  I can think of no better method of multitasking than earning money while basking in the sun and cultivating a few new freckles.

Don’t Just Use Elance to Find Work, Put Elance to Work For You

  • Take a few cheap and easy gigs in the beginning – Don’t quit your day job just yet, it takes a little bit of time and effort to become established as a credible contractor in the eyes of Elance.  The early stages of competition can be fierce, so don’t be afraid to quote a little less than you think you’re worth.  The important things to focus on at this stage of the game is making contacts, meeting deadlines, and earning repeat business.  The money will come so long as you put forth the effort.
  • Evaluate what’s important – it can be tempting to bid on each and every job that looks appealing – don’t. Be mindful of getting yourself overextended with multiple deadlines. The potential money is great, but it’s hardly worth the effort of stress-induced writer’s block.  Instead, start by selecting two or three topics of particular interest to you, subjects you feel you could write about with confidence, and go for those opportunities first.
  • Outsource so you can take more duties – As you grow more established as a writer, consider subcontracting your work to people you trust.  This will allow you to earn an increased income without the headache of being directly responsible for the entirety of your massive workload.  Because you’re a consummate professional, be sure to hire subcontractors that are qualified to complete the job on time with a quality of work to rival your own.
  • Communicate with your clients – Life happens. Things crop up from time to time that may throw you off course of completing tasks on time.  Should you find yourself bogged down with too much work and too little time, keep your clients informed.  Remember, they have deadlines too and their success often hinges on your professionalism.  Even when you’ve completed a job without any issues stay in touch with your clients, provide them with honest feedback and foster a relationship which will lead to repeat business in the future.
  • Get outdoors for a fresh perspective – Nothing’s worse than being cooped up all day, tied to a desk, attached to a phone.  For many corporate servants this constant exposure to the same scenery day in and day out is a source of low-grade stress which eventually leads to serious health issues.  The good news is you can easily combat this by working online, finding a wi-fi hotspot, and working to your heart’s content. Trust me, working with the sun on my face is a whole lot more pleasurable than most desk jobs, no matter how tasty the benefits package.

Yes We Can Can is More Than Just a Song by the Pointer Sisters

Success doesn’t happen overnight, which is why I had been building a foundation of successful freelance writing gigs before retiring from the corporate grind completely. With a little motivation you too can begin making strides, like taking server administrator courses online, that allow you to see real, measurable progress towards the goals you’ve set for yourself. My advice offered here is only the tip of the iceberg, but I hope it inspires you enough to realize that you can be doing this exact same thing, telling other people how awesome their life can be while sitting poolside with your laptop.

With her netbook in one hand and a pina colada in the other, freelance writer Rachel Cook is blogging her way to success one article at a time. She enjoys lounging poolside while writing motivational pieces for other’s enjoyment, which is reflective of her giving and generous nature. An avid supporter of all things geared towards professional growth and personal development, Rachel can often be found advising  friends and colleagues alike to take advantage of the wealth of information available at

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