Myths about working freelance: you can do it from anywhere

When I mention that I am a freelance worker, many people have the following reaction:

“That’s great! I’d love to have a job that you can do from anywhere in the world.”

Unfortunately…not quite. And anyone thinking about working freelance in Spain should be careful of this misconception, as it is one of the largest out there. Working from home is a great option in the sense that it provides plenty of flexibility – it’s a real luxury to be able to fit in a medical appointment when I need or be around whenever the plumber needs to drop by. However, it is most definitely not all about travelling to exotic destinations with laptop in one hand and margarita in the other.

Reasons why it is difficult to work completely remotely

  • Your working space is fundamental. When you’re working freelance, it’s vital that you’re happy in your surroundings and have a space in which you feel relaxed and are free of distractions in order to be productive. Which are things a noisy, cramped hotel room cannot provide.
  • You do actually have to work. I think sometimes people forget this one! And that’s for at least 8 hours a day if you want to get anywhere. All of which leaves you very little time for sightseeing. Combined with the point below, this makes up my major reason for not working from travel destinations.
  • Travel is expensive. Too expensive, some (me) might say, to not make the most of it and have to spend your time stuck on the internet finishing projects.
  • It’s important to separate work and play. For me, a major reason why I travel is to disconnect and temporarily immerse myself in a different way of life. All of which is hard to do when you’ve got 23 emails to answer before you get back home.
  • What about your clients? I guess this depends on the kind of work you do, but I am committed to regular client meetings which tie me down to one place. And I’m very happy that I do – it’s great to get out and see my clients from time to time. Face time is so important that dropping by and meeting people is a big part of lots of professions, even if you’re not stuck in the office all day.

That said, maybe some people do manage to work freelance from anywhere in the world. And I’m always delighted to be proved wrong. Write in and let me know about your experience.

Text and photos by Penelope

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