Working Abroad: Is It For You?

There has been a significant rise in the number of self-employed or remote workers that are choosing to pack their bags and work abroad. What might be startling for some, is that more employers than ever are accepting or even actively encouraging this new style of working. This means that there is a significant part of the workforce that can be more flexible with their schedule , living and working from the comfort of their own home. For many remote workers, this gives them the opportunity to spend more time at home with their family, reduce the time spent commuting to work, or indeed,  travel while they work.

If you have considered taking a more nomadic approach to your work life, then you should understand what this might mean for you. Of course, there will be many personal factors to consider before you make the decision to pack your laptop into a carry-on and board a plane, but  there are also significant arguments that should be considered before you make this move. 

Packing up and jetting off to an exotic location for an unspecified amount of time sounds like the stuff of fantasy for most of us, but in reality there are many feasible ways to achieve this and reap the rewards of working remotely. Nonetheless, as well as being incredibly organised and self-motivated, you will also need to have realistic expectations and a pragmatic approach to the new environment you find yourself in. Below we have listed several of the main benefits of working abroad, as well as some of the things you will need to consider and watch out for.

 

Benefits of Working Abroad:

 

 

You can explore wonderful destinations

The thrill of  exploring new places is one of the biggest reasons people choose to travel while working remotely. You can decide to work from wherever you like (taking into consideration the time zones), and with the world more connected than ever before, moving around and staying in touch with people is so much easier than even ten years ago. Working abroad or even in a different city gives you the opportunity to get a feel for a place which you wouldn’t be able to do if it was a holiday. 

 

Saving on your travels

Working when you are travelling means that you can have some of the benefits of a holiday or sabbatical, but you don’t have to feel the same economic pressure.. Unlike many travellers who use their savings to get around the globe, you will not have to worry about a diminishing bank balance as you can pay your way through various cities or countries. Indeed, you may even find you save money, particularly if you spend time in countries with a lower cost of life. The money you spend on commuting, lunch, coffee etc, is likely to be much less if you are living in, say,  South East Asia, for example. Another bonus, and money saving hack, is choosing to wear whatever you are most comfortable in, or dressing appropriately when conferencing.

 

Better balance between work life and personal life

This is true if you can switch off from your work. Giving yourself a plan that you stick to will help you to structure your work/life balance. The good thing about working while you travel is that, if you stick to a good working routine, you will be able to spend more time doing the things you like and visiting the places you want to go to. Getting to decide where you will work from is a huge plus, and means you can work around your own interests and hobbies.

 

You will learn so much as you travel

Immersing yourself in another culture is a hugely enriching experience which will provide you with an understanding of humans and sociability that no other experience could give to you. You will meet people from all kinds of backgrounds who will be able to impart some of their world-views to you, and you will hopefully be able to do the same for them. Learning about other people is one benefit of travelling, and you will also find yourself becoming more resourceful and capable of dealing with stressful situations, probably from sheer necessity! Becoming independent and able to communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds will be skills that you will be able to carry with you throughout your life.

 

You may fall in love with a place you visit 

Where we are born is not always where we will end up living, and the more you expose yourself to other places the more you can find the perfect place to live. When you travel, you get to see so many cultures and ways of life that can help you shape the way you want to live your life and the place or places you want to do so. Many people who travel experience a better sense of satisfaction and sense of control of their life. You may choose to remain in a new environment as a result of travelling, which you may not have even considered before embarking on this adventure.

 

 

 

Things to Consider:

 

You will have to be very independent

Not everyone is comfortable being on the move and adapting to life in a new city. You will have to find a routine that works for you regardless of where you are in the world and which. If you are someone who gets homesick or needs to be surrounded by familiar faces, be that at home or even by your colleagues in an office environment then remote working and travelling may not be for you. You will have to adapt to a different culture and may well experience a language barrier, as you acclimatize to your new environment. Getting used to change is something that you will no doubt have to deal with, and you will either sink or swim very quickly.

 

Prepare for the worst 

Having poor wifi or a stolen laptop will make working that day very difficult indeed! Get good insurance and an understanding employer! If you work for yourself, you will probably have more flexibility, but there may be other people relying on you or deadlines that you have given yourself. Additionally, making sure you are aware of your tax requirements and deadlines, and are keeping on top of this with the help of an accountant at home, will make things so much easier for you. Even if you are an incredibly organised and resourceful individual, you are likely to find yourself in a situation that puts a stop to your work. If your work requires you to meet deadlines or be online at certain times during the day, then you may have to consider only travelling to places that have reliable internet access and carry a smaller electronic device such as an I-Pad.

 

Adjusting may be hard

When you don’t have to go in and out of an office setting it can be difficult to set yourself clear boundaries when it comes to your working hours and your hours. If you are a workaholic, it can be all too easy for you to work long or unsociable hours when your desk is wherever you want it to be. This may mean that you will not enjoy your travels as much as if you had a better routine with clear cut working hours or if you simply took a holiday from work where you could better engage with the travelling experience. Only you know what works for you.

 

Accommodation drama

When travelling from place to place, you will have to go through the process of finding a new home each time or staying in a hostel or a hotel. This can often be quite stressful and may make it difficult for you to properly settle or feel comfortable in this new environment, which in turn may impact your work. Renting a property is an excellent way to avoid the repetitiveness of hotel rooms, particularly if you are staying in a city or country for a longer period. Fortunately, It is easier than ever to find accommodation wherever you are in the world, using property rental websites.

 

Keeping yourself safe

There are a lot of potential dangers to watch out for when you are travelling, particularly when you are taking electronic devices with sensitive information on them. You need to consider if your job is suitable for work on the road and if you or your employer can risk having things lost or stolen. Certain countries are more dangerous than others, and if you are a solo traveller, you need to be aware of potential risks and take suitable preventive measures to keep yourself safe. Always let someone know where you will be travelling to, and providing them with an address of the accommodation your will be staying in for your personal safety, and ensure that your laptop or electronic device you carry with you is password protected and cannot easily be  hacked or stolen.


How To Protect Your Finances As A Freelancer

As a freelancer there are probably a million and one things you have to think about amiright? Job might be a good’un, but there is no such thing as finishing your 9-5 and calling it a day. The health of your business requires you to put in the extra hours and often make sacrifices in order to lead the life you want to live.

While it might not be all sunshine and rainbows, the satisfaction of building your own business up, and seeing the hours of labour translate into something you can be proud of is certainly worth it. 

Setting yourself up for success means more than having a solid business plan, or having the right work ethic and dedication to your service or business. It also means being careful, very careful, when it comes to the way you manage your finances.

The three types of insurance:

There are three main types of insurance for self-employed people:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Employees liability insurance

Public Liability insurance protects you if someone gets injured/ their property gets damaged while working for you or you are deemed to be responsible. It's worth knowing that some contracts with clients will specify that a business they work with must have public liability insurance. Professional Indemnity insurance is a whole other kettle of fish, and will provide cover should you be accused of  providing inadequate services/advice to a client. This insurance covers a wide range of scenarios from loss of goods or money, to unintentional breach of copyright. The third type of insurance you might need is Employees Liability insurance. This is a legal requirement if your business employs one or more people and essentially covers you and your business if your employees are ill or injured at work.

Get organised

If you don’t have your business budget in check  then it's high time you do so. First things first, get yourself a dedicated bank account for your business. There's nothing worse than managing several accounts for different jobs/services and having to try to make sense of your accounting at the end of the quarter. Decide on an accounting system that works for you and make sure you (or a dedicated person on your team) track your revenue, costs, and itemise your assets in any colourful spreadsheet table that suits you.

Set aside a sum each month for tax

It's not likely that you’ll forget to set aside a percentage of your income for the tax man at the end of the year, but do  make sure you are aware of the tax bracket you fall into and set aside a sum accordingly, staying mindful of the tax deadlines you need to meet.

Get yourself an accountant

Navigating the ins and outs of the IRS can be a tricky business. Having a dedicated accountant to help you do this can make life so much easier. Apart from avoiding the painstaking process of filing your tax returns, they can help you find ways to save money as a business owner.

Keep your receipts!

This is pretty basic, but having an organised recording system in place for your receipts can save you so much hassle when it comes to your bookkeeping. Consider investing in reliable accounting software to help you keep track of your bookkeeping. Cloud-based accounting software such as Xero will help you manage your numbers, while Receipt Bank is a great little resource that grabs snapshots of your receipts and invoices, categorising them quickly and efficiently.

And save a little more…

It never hurts to have a little extra put aside for any unexpected costs that might come up. Particularly when you are a new business and still finding your feet. After the initial start-up costs of launching your business, the other costs such as insurance, legal fees and taxes will also need to be met. The little costs that really add up might be administrative costs (laptops,phones,office supplies) or employee expenses depending on the nature of your business.


Why Bristol Is The Perfect Place To Set Up A Business

Apart from being one of the UK’s top cities of culture, Bristol is also a thriving hub for startups and burgeoning businesses.  As a university city, with a strong music and art scene that sees it stand alongside other creative cities such as Brighton, or even London, Bristol also leads the way in terms of technological innovation which makes it particularly appealing to young entrepreneurs.

In 2016 Bristol topped the list of the top ten cities for entrepreneurs following a study by University College London’s School of Management which has as a criteria the broadband speed, cost of central office space, along with the number and value of start-up loans made available. 

There are many examples of businesses that have flourished in Bristol, with some of the city’s best known start-ups including Wallace and Gromit, Ribena, and Dyson.

But what is it about Bristol that makes it so appealing to entrepreneurs?

If you are starting a new business in Bristol you have access to a wide range of new business support services including The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website, Outset Bristol - a free programme that helps you set up and grow your business, and  BRAVE Enterprise - an independent not-for-profit company that offers training and consultancy services.

Getting access to the help and support you need is key to setting up your business and ensuring that once it gets set up, it stays up. Having decent access to grants and funding will certainly help with a new business, but even more important to the longevity of a business is having the right support and systems in place to grow and stay relevant. Having an accountant to assist with your bookkeeping and help you save tax is one way you can stay afloat. Along with the support that Bristol offers to new start-ups, Bristol also happens to be a leading tech hub.

Bristol’s economic landscape has moved on and kept relevant and up-to-date, in part, because of its expansion and innovation in technology, but also because of the diverse talent pool it houses. With a strong tech community and social scene, Bristol attracts young innovators and businesses that positively impact each other. With two universities in Bristol, and two nearby in bath, there is a rich diversity in Bristol that drives it forward.

With the UK as the leading European tech hub, Bristol’s influence in technology is significant, and growing. Bristol Temple Quarter, also known as The Enterprise Zone, is a hub for many Bristol startups, housing many tech, digital, and professional services sectors and has a close proximity to Temple Meads train station. And with London less than two hours away, it is a realistic prospect for commuters.

While creative media, tech and aerospace are some of the cities thriving industries, the potential number and range of startups is almost limitless. With an ambitious and qualified workforce that knows how to network, innovate and grow, Bristol will continue to nurture start-ups and see many of them through to success.