What kind of jobs lend themselves to location independent careers? Time and time again, we’ve heard the rumor that location independent employees “ all work in the tech industry”, “are fluent in coding”, and “glued to their computer screens”. We’ve even seen people say that location independent workers are only young people who haven’t yet figured out their direction in life.
Location independent careers (and the employees who work in them) are so much more than these generalizations. As a company that’s spent the past three years helping a diverse group of like-valued people take their traditional roles remote, or create their own location independent careers, we know that remote work doesn’t have just one face.
Location independent workers come from hundreds of different industries, including but not limited to tech, fashion, health, entertainment, and even the culinary world. It’s true that great work in many shapes and sizes can be done from anywhere.
Without further ado, here are the 11 most common location independent careers.
Are you surprised? Many location independent workers start as freelancers or transition into these roles later on. We’ve seen people who are freelance writers and designers, software developers and even freelance voice talent. That’s the great thing about being a freelancer in today’s world - you can find work in nearly any industry.
Why it works as a location independent career:Freelancers tend to be in charge of their own schedules, and can do their jobs from anywhere thanks to technology. Work and travel programs are a great way for freelancers to grow their professional networks and even potentially find new clientele. They can count on being inspired by the variety of destinations that they live and work in while on the program, and can rely on their community to keep them productive and focused on their passions.
Entrepreneurs are smart, savvy and often very scrappy. They have minds that were meant to challenge the status quo, which makes them perfect for a location independent lifestyle. No matter the industry - we’ve seen every iteration of entrepreneurship from online fitness moguls to cryptocurrency tycoons - business owners can find success while on a work and travel program.
Why it works as a location independent career: To put it simply, entrepreneurs don’t have to answer to anyone. They are their own bosses, and the ones who decide whether it makes sense to work outside of a traditional office. If they can run their business effectively from a purely digital perspective (most can), they’re on the road to an effective location independent career.
The title “consultant” can cover a lot of different bases, which is why it may be one of the more popular location independent careers. While, yes, some consultants are in the tech industry, we’ve seen others come in from the legal, marketing, and financial fields.
Why it works as a location independent career: Consultants do a lot of traveling even when they work in a traditional office, so it’s simple to see how location independence can fit into a consultant’s lifestyle. In fact, becoming a fully-remote employee can be a benefit for a consultant. Instead of travelling to and from a home base whenever they need to meet with a client, they can move from location to location, using their time effectively and saving themselves from jet lag. Finally, a majority of a consultant’s job takes place over the phone or via email, and when a more personal touch is necessary, a video call can do the trick!
Today’s accountants have a unique opportunity to embrace location independence as much of their work can be done online. Whether you’re a personal finance expert, or the manager of a global account, accountants of all types can make a remote lifestyle work for them.
Why it works as a location independent career: Gone are the days of accountants manually balancing credits and debits. The finance sector has embraced the digital age, making many traditional accounting offices obsolete. Accountants can manage their clients’ finances through online systems and, when applicable, meet with them over a video call. These factors make accountants the perfect candidates to explore working remotely from anywhere in the world.
Education is an integral part of any person’s upbringing and, until recently, that education has taken place inside of a traditional classroom. However, with the advent of more accessible WiFi and advanced digital tools, teachers have been able to take their skills on the road. Whether teachers are pursuing unconventional education opportunities or an ESL position, remote education has become a relevant option.
Why it works as a location independent career: Teachers are no longer confined to working within the four walls of a classic educational institution. Although teachers do not have as much flexibility to determine their own schedules as other positions on this list, they can still enjoy the benefits that come from working from inspiring places around the world. Technology has advanced so much within the past few decades that educators can now not only teach their students effectively over the internet, but they can also maintain an emotional connection with their pupils through face-to-face interactions over video calls.
Though many teaching positions are still based in a classroom, there are a few different kinds of education-based roles that can be done remotely. For example, online K-12 schools are becoming mainstream and there are many online ESL educator openings available. If you’re looking for a higher-level position, some adjunct professors have the ability to teach online. Some people have even created their own e-courses and started a business from their passion for education.
Business Development Manager
Business development managers are known for operating independently. Their main responsibilities are to locate and lock-in new clients for whatever organization that they work for, and they typically do their jobs on an individual basis. Because of the relationship-building that needs to occur to secure these major business partnerships, their jobs not only require a healthy dose of self-motivation, but the ability to travel to wherever potential clients are.
Why it works as a location independent career: Business development managers need to travel out of necessity. Why not make it an integral part of your lifestyle? In fact, becoming location-independent can even help business development managers fast track their success. By being available around the world, they can open their potential client list to include anyone, anywhere, instead of being tied to a local geographic region.
Software developers are some of the OG remote workers. Because they are masters in coding, troubleshooting and technical thinking, software developers have seemingly always found a way to work where they are most creative and productive. As they create new programs and systems for their clients, they are also creating new processes and potential for their lives.
Why it works as a location independent career: We’ll make this one simple: software developers can do 99% of their work online, from anywhere. Excluding the occasional meeting to determine project’s goals and pain points, software developers can work independently to create a final product. Whether they are a part of an internal team of developers or work at an agency for external clients, this is one of those careers that makes total sense for a remote life.
Customer Service Representative
Customer service representatives make a living by listening to other people’s problems and providing them with the necessary solutions. They are peacemakers and creative thinkers, willing to do whatever it takes to make a customer satisfied. Often, customer service representatives are relegated to working in call centers filled with others but, with the evolution of new communication technology, they now have the freedom to determine their place of work. For a job that requires so much energy and compassion, why shouldn’t customer service representatives be able to work from a place that gives them joy?
Why it works as a location independent career: Much of a customer service representatives’ responsibilities fall under communication. Whether they are experts in digital communication via software like Zendesk or Drift, or are focused on phone or video calls, these employees have a great case for working remotely. Since their jobs do not require them to meet with their customers, or even their teams, in person, they can rely on digital communication methods and forgo reporting to a traditional office environment.
Content creator is another one of those terms that can be used to describe a multitude of jobs within a variety of industries. A content creator could be someone who writes blog posts, interviews people on a podcast, takes photographs, shoots video... the list goes on and on. These people are usually wildly creative and often find working in a corporate environment to be stifling.
Why it works as a location independent career: Content creators are prime prospects for location independence as they often find it difficult to can’t do their jobs to the fullest extent in an office environment. For example, a photographer will need to scout locations and find the perfect backdrops for their shots. A podcaster will need a soundproof studio and a writer will need to work from wherever they feel most inspired. Content creators often have to travel to their interview subjects or on-location job sites. Think of it this way: does it make sense for a videographer to report to an office if they have to leave once they’ve arrived in order to head to their shooting location?
Graphic designers are not only responsible for creating traditional sales and advertising collateral anymore. Many designers use their skills to break into user experience design, while others venture into social media, website, or mobile application design. Whatever the case, there is a key factor to this job that makes it ideal for location independent living: the word ‘graphic’.
Why it works as a location independent career: Graphic designers create many (if not all) of their visually appealing projects on a computer or a tablet. They are not beholden to traditional studios or workspaces in order to do their jobs successfully. In fact, the only aspect of a graphic designer’s position that would normally require them to commute would be meetings with client teams, or meetings with internal marketing team to discuss a proposed design. By switching to video meetings when they’re needed, graphic designers can still actively participate in these important discussions, while maintaining a flexible lifestyle.
Marketing Manager/Social Media Manager
Marketing managers and social media managers make up a sizable cohort within the location independent community. These messaging and visual gurus are in charge of teams within their organization that create consumer-facing marketing materials. Although though their influence stretches to nearly every medium, marketing managers and social media managers can certainly become location independent and do their jobs from the road.
Why it works as a location independent career: So much of what marketing and social media managers do can be done online. They are in charge of coordinating a team in order to create a desired result for the company, and much of that communication and organization takes place over email or instant messaging applications. Once these employees open their minds to taking their meetings over video instead of in-person, they will realize that their days open up and allow them to think about big picture strategies, not just the details of a project.
Location independent careers aren’t just for the tech-savvy anymore. As our society becomes more interconnected, and more reliant on the digital world, we’ll see even more careers pop up in the location independent space. In the future, offices may become obsolete as professionals flock to the areas of the world in which they feel most inspired, not just where their corporate office is. For now, if you’re interested in pursuing a career that would allow you to be location-independent, this list is a great place to start.