Categorized | Location Independence

Location Independence: Adam Finan of Tropical Nomad

Tropical Nomad Diving Great Barrier Reef

Today we’ve got a very special guest in Adam Finan, travelling the world and building a location independent business as he goes. Here he discusses exactly where he’s been, where he’s going and how exactly he’s doing it. Great to have him on board!

1. Hi Adam! Thanks so much for speaking with us. Could you introduce us to you and your blog with a brief introduction?

Cheers guys, I’m an Irish travel blogger who took the leap into the digital nomad lifestyle in the last few months. I started a travel blog seeing as I had been on the road for four years and have some stories and tips to share. I travel with my partner Amanda and started Tropical Nomad in February and the snowball effect has happened. Tropical Nomad is a blog about the trials and tribulations of a living location independent lifestyle while traveling the world. I share my videos, photos, travel tips and online business pursuits as I ‘Travel, Be Happy and Hustle’…

2. Why did you initially decide to make the leap into location independence?

Honestly, I have always wanted to be my own boss. I hate working as an employee for other people and despise getting up, sitting in traffic, having to deal with all the bs that comes with a regular job. I figured working online would give me the freedom to work from Thailand, the Mediterranean or wherever I see fit.. I get up when I want, go to the gym/pool, then hit up a local coffee shop with good WiFi and get to work. The location independent lifestyle is a good life!

3. Give us a brief rundown on some of the destinations you’ve lived and travelled in thus far?

When I was younger I traveled to a good few European countries and recently spent three years in Australia before moving to New Zealand for the first seven months of 2013. Previous to that I jumped between Spain and New York and traveled Thailand and Indonesia.

bamboo tattoo thailand

4. What were some of the initial trials and tribulations that you faced when you first took this lifestyle upon you? Are there any ongoing challenges that come with this particular lifestyle abroad?

Taking on to many projects and not seeing them through to their full potential. I had to take a step back, evaluate what was not worth my time anymore and move on. My main source of income is freelance writing at the moment and I am looking to expand into building niche websites and affiliate websites.

I have read Smart Passive Income and Niche Pursuits for far to long not to have a proper go at this now. One of the biggest on-going challenges is going at it as a lone ranger. My girlfriend helps me out but I would love a good mastermind crew who work together and help each other out. I build my own websites, do the writing, video editing, social promotion, SEO, link-building…

Sounds stupid when I write it down but I did hire my first virtual assistant a few days ago to take over some of the monotonous work. Doing the slow and non money-making tasks is becoming a pain so I am outsourcing this now to focus on what makes dollars. It’s a business at the end of the day.

5. When did you first get interested in location independence and start exploring it is a worthwhile pursuit?

Honestly I have only really applied what I learned in 2013 and it is going well so far. I currently live in Chiang Mai and it was definitely a worthwhile pursuit. I see the potential to expand and have a few really good clients who give me regular work so I am good for now and do not have to chase work. That is the hardest thing for newbie freelancers. I think having a blog really helped get me started.

6. What have been some of the biggest, major highlights of the past years living and working from wherever you are in the world?

Well the location independent lifestyle has only just begun for me! I loved the random jobs, people you meet and places you end up when travelling and working odd jobs. For instance, I’ve worked as a PR on the streets in Spain, cooked for a Masterchef judge in New Zealand, catered for a wedding in the artist Ivan Clarke’s house and also climbed 10 metres up a sewerage pipe in the dark and dirt in Australia.. All part of this travelling business!

Construction Australia

7. What things should people who want to move abroad, travel and have a similar experience to you know about doing this based on your experiences? What advice would you give them?

Be willing to do whatever it takes to keep on traveling. It is different if you are going for the long haul. You will have to go through the motions in every new place you move to – find a place to live, apply for jobs & make friends. Don’t ever expect things to be the way they are at home. Do not limit yourself to a certain type of work, be willing to try different jobs, completely obscure to what you may have done at home. Save what you can when the money is coming in and don’t blow it all in expensive bars and clubs.

8. How can someone get started with location independence right away? What things should they be looking to explore/do?

I think you need to find something your good at and go from there. Ironically, I had never been a writer and just decided that I wanted to be a freelance writer one day and here I am. There is a call for so many skills that can land you location independent work. If you are good at Photoshop you can do logos and graphics. WordPress skills are a must, even if you are a writer start learning how to use WordPress now. I get half my work based on writing PLUS WordPress management. I go in to the website and edit my writing, apply headings, fill out SEO Yoast plugins, apply images and post. Having strong WordPress skills will help you out so much. Video editing is another great hustle.

Create a profile with Elance, Freelancer, iWriter, oDesk or whoever! Start a blog, get a portfolio together and start pitching your services. It SUCKS at first.. But there are sneaky ways to boost your profile like getting family/friends to hire you to get your ratings up.. Nobody likes hiring Joe Soap with zero reviews. I am not advocating this but just saying its an option when you are getting started. You will loose 8.75% of the fee to Elance but it takes you from never hired to 5*…. If you can’t write then make videos.

Get involved with online communities. I am regularly meeting people now who are like, ‘I know you from somewhere’ when I meet them.. This is because I joined lots of Facebook groups, travel blog communities and commented on lots of blogs for months on end. You have to be proactive. Nobody is going to hand this lifestyle to you, you need to work hard to get it.

Be prepared to work harder now than you ever did for other people when you start out. I remember finishing articles at 2am and having to be up at 6am for work in New Zealand. Mostly my fault for poor time management but lesson learned.


9. Any last words for people out there interested in living abroad, world travel and LIP

If I can make it from a slurry pit in Australia to penthouse living in Thailand you can do! Your desire, attitude and thoughts will create more than you can imagine if you just get started and stay positive. Do not accept failure as an option. Be willing to work for lesser rates to become established. Keep clients happy. Come and live in Thailand for a few months.. The community of bloggers and digital nomads here is huge. Just being around people who do what you do will get you motivated and have synapses firing with ideas after a coffee chat. Also, this is where you can pick up work and network with even more successful peeps.

As far as travel goes, just get out there! If you start by doing a working holiday then so be it. Websites like HelpX can have you fed and housed in almost any country, especially Australia and New Zealand. If you really want to do it you can, no excuses!

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