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Reflections On Freelancing: Trends In 2017

On-air: Me with my buddy and former colleague Brett Finn in 2012

This is a fast-paced industry. Freelancing is a constant hustle, and to stay on top of the game it's important to keep up on current trends. I'll admit, this is something I've been really working on for the past year or so.

Being on top of business trends in your field is especially critical if location independence is the goal. Work and income levels are going to fluctuate. It's a constant ebb and flow, and there's a fine line between being location independent and being unemployed. Here are four trends in location independent freelancing this year.

The power of coming together is driving location independence

I know, I know. This sounds like an oxy-moron. But think about it: what are the biggest factors that contribute to a successful entrepreneur or freelancer? Hint: It’s not locking themselves away in a home office.

For those who’ve left the time clock behind, the need to network and be amongst like minds is stronger than ever. Subscription member communities, co-working spaces, conferences, and even local happy hours are among the most popular methods for connecting location independent entrepreneurs.

Sure, you can park behind a MacBook and land some clients without leaving the house. But to really grow, face-to-face contact is essential. Despite the increase in remote work options, people are moving into cities at an incredibly high rate (180,000 per day).

Why? That’s where new opportunities can be found (even if that city happens to be on the other side of the globe).

Video is the future, and the future is now

I recently sat having drinks with the publisher of a leading travel magazine. We were discussing the current state of media, and he said something that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since. “Video is the future of media.”

I've been slow keeping up on this. I bought a GoPro a couple years ago and have gotten decent at using it. But my blog here only has a couple videos on it. I'm going need to get better and more active at shooting and editing video. This summer, I plan to do extensive practice both with by GoPro and with a drone that an in-law just bought.

Why? Newspapers, ad agencies, travel blogs – they’re all incorporating video to draw attention and increase engagement. Adobe recently reported that 51.9% of marketing professionals note video as providing the best ROI.

Digital nomads are driving the trend, both on social media and through standalone websites. Webinars and live broadcasting on social media platforms have become standard practice for many location independent businesses. According to, Facebook recently reported 8 billion video views per day across its platform.

It’s no accident that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have livestreaming capabilities.

Location independent workers are maximizing the value of their personal experience

When the standard resume is no longer a barrier to entry, the power of a varied collection of skillsets begins to shine. If you’re a follower of blogs and podcasts related to location independence, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme that most digital nomads have in common:

It took a wide variety of skills to get to where they are.

Many (I’d venture to say most) of us didn’t have remote work on a laptop as our top priority when we entered the workforce. Personally, I just never seemed to fit in in a typical work environment.

The road to location independence is a long and winding path that ultimately results from a desire to break away from the traditional concept of what a career is. Etching out a living independently requires a diverse collection of skills not learned in a cubicle.

A bit of business savvy, the ability to live on next to nothing, and a fine-tuned level of self-discipline are essentials. But you may just find yourself using the sweet-talking skills you picked up working as a restaurant server to put the closing touches on a new copywriting contract.

What skills have you picked up over the years that helped (or can help) you build a location independent lifestyle?

Apps are where it’s at

“Slack me, bro!” These days, it seems as though every blogger and publication has a post about business and travel apps. A good old phone call or email hardly seems to be enough anymore.

Apps have changed the way nomadic workers communicate with clients and coworkers, and there are so many to choose from that it can be overwhelming. What I’ve found to be most effective is to choose the few that are most appropriate to your line of work, and master them.

Here is another list of apps I love, but the below apps in particular are a driving force right now in the location independent community:

  • Sidekix- Neighborhood guides and travel tips, downloadable from the app.

  • Team communication apps such as Ryver and Slack. These apps allow teams to communicate instantly no matter where they are in the world. Perfect for B2C communication as well, providing your client is hip to the current trend.

  • Café WiFi. Finally, we can locate the nearest free WiFi. Potentially the greatest invention for digital nomads since the MacBook. Once connected, this app displays WiFi speed as well.

  • Project management tools like Asana and RedBooth allow remote teams to work together on projects, assign and review tasks, and stay up to date on everything work-relateds

Dig this article? Please share! Love to hear your thoughts on what trends are killing it right now, or just a note to say hi:

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