The Importance of Taking Your Work Seriously when Working Remotely

Many people think that working remotely from abroad is not really ‘working’, so in this blog I want to make one thing very clear: working abroad still involves ‘working’; it’s just that you are working from a different location.

You may have read a lot of information about earning so-called ‘passive’ income online. Many people love the idea of setting up a website to earn a steady stream of income for them while they use the money to travel the world and enjoy themselves. But the truth is that this has very little to do with true remote working.

Instead, I think it is worth putting things into perspective and going over a few home truths about working remotely so that you don’t go into it with false expectations.

Home working © by marthax

Working Remotely Still Involves Real Work

You need to work to get the most out of your time abroad. If you want to live in another country or travel the world then you will need the money that enables you to live your chosen lifestyle, and you may not be able to earn this from passive income alone.

Instead, most people who are successful location-independent workers are those who have a real job and take their work just as seriously as they would if they were living at home or working in an office.

Not Every Day is Going to Be an Adventure

Just like in any job in any location, you will have good days and bad days. You may have some days where you do little else than stare at your screen all day. Although the main aim of your trip may be to work in a foreign country, that does not mean that you will be off exploring every day. You have to work some time, and some days will not be that interesting. It is a good idea to know to expect this when you become location independent to avoid disappointment.

The Secret to Successful Remote Working is in the Planning

Despite the above points, don’t let these stop you from starting up a location-independent existence. Working remotely is an excellent lifestyle choice, and it can be much more rewarding than working in an office. The secret to success is in the planning.

If you travel to a country where the cost of living is high, the danger is that you may not be able to earn enough money to enjoy yourself as much as you had hoped. The beauty about remote working is that you can choose your location, so try to choose a country or city where you know that you will be able to enjoy a good standard of living on the amount of money that you are earning.

Even if you do not earn very much compared to an average wage in your home country, there are places around the world where this could be considered a very healthy income. The key is to do your research and compare the amount that you earn to the opportunities available in different locations.

Find some expat blogs and forums focussing on your chosen destination and start asking questions. Make sure you find out how much you can realistically earn working a set amount of hours a day, and then compare this to how much you will need to live on in your chosen destination.

Live the Dream – But Plan First

Forget about passive income when you work independently, and start focusing on earning a real income. That means a real job that you take seriously and that you can do from anywhere.

Start researching different locations and find somewhere where you can get the balance right. The short time that you spend researching could really make or break your experience overseas. If you choose somewhere too expensive, you can end up working twelve hours a day, every day, just to pay your rent – and that’s no fun at all!


  1. James Morrison
    February 1, 2013

    Hi Phil,

    I wonder why you say that passive income has “very little to do with true remote working” (or perhaps I have misunderstood you). I am an LIP and work remotely but have outsourced a lot of my job, which means my income is half “active” and half “passive”.

    Great website, by the way.

    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      February 1, 2013

      Hi James

      Many thanks for your comments and kind words!
      When saying passive income has very little to do with remote working, it’s meant in the context that they are different things. It’s great that you have built a wonderful lifestyle for yourself that involves both, that’s a credit to you. But it’s also true that some people will create passive income and never work remotely and also that some will work remotely and never create passive income. The latter fall into a growing group of people very happily conducting their jobs with a new freedom found through remote working. Hence, all in all, remote working and passive income are different things, one does not require the other necessarily.



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