Who would have thought 10 (or 3 — thank you, pandemic!) years ago that there would be this many opportunities to earn a living as long as you have a solid wifi connection. The question is: should you find a remote position with a company or dive into entrepreneurship? Both options offer the freedom to work on your own terms, explore the world, and enjoy a work & travel lifestyle.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between remote work and starting your own business. Or if you’re really ambitious, maybe you’ll do both!
Remote Work Pros
Flexibility: Remote work offers major flexibility. You can almost always set your own hours, work from anywhere (Airbnb, coffee shop, beach in Bali!), and even take breaks throughout the day to recharge. Most employers won’t mind that you do any of them, as long as the work gets done. Of course there are some exceptions to this, like if you have to attend meetings or answer client calls.
More Time: Without a daily commute, you can spend more time with family and friends or pursuing your hobbies and passions. For expats, this also means you can travel and explore different cultures while still earning steady income from your job.
Cost Savings: Beyond the money you would spend on commuting, working remotely can save you tons of money on office attire, buying your morning coffee, or eating out for lunch multiple times a week.
Remote Work Cons
Isolation: Remote work can be isolating, especially if you’re truly working alone. There’s no more office chats over coffee or after-work drinks at your usual spot. You may miss the social interactions! A sense of community is important for career fulfillment, so keep in mind that it’s fairly limited in remote work environments.
Distractions: One of the biggest downsides to working from anywhere — distractions. This is a big one since you probably won’t have a “proper” office set-up that promotes productivity. You may find yourself tempted to go exploring or attend a local event during work hours.
Lack of Structure: Without deadlines and other rigid aspects of regular work, it can be hard to stick to a routine for long-term success when you work remotely. While a flexible schedule sounds great, in real time you have to have a lot of self-discipline to ensure you don’t fall behind in your work.
Freedom: Entrepreneurship offers the ultimate freedom and control over your career or business. As an entrepreneur, you are your own boss, and you have the freedom to pursue your passions without having to answer to anyone else. You can use your time to focus on projects and initiatives that really excite you — and create something meaningful.
Creativity: One of the major perks of being an entrepreneur is creative freedom. Starting your own business allows you to flex your creative muscles and bring your ideas to life. When you’re the one in charge, you have the ability to explore different strategies and experiment in ways that may not be possible when working for someone else.
Unlimited Earning Potential: As an entrepreneur, you have the potential to earn as much as you want, without the constraints of a salary or hourly wage. Having your own business can also generate a significant amount of money over time, and even be sold as an asset in the future.
Risk: There’s no denying it — starting a business is risky business…and there’s no guarantee of success. When starting a business from scratch, you may even go into debt to get it off the ground. It’s important to consider your risk tolerance before deciding to take the leap.
Responsibility: As a business owner, you are responsible for everything. From marketing and sales to finances and operations, business owners wear a lot of hats. This level of responsibility can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. Entrepreneurship requires working long hours, sacrificing personal time, a willingness to take risks, and make tough decisions.
Lack of Security: Starting a business can be stressful, especially if you’re relying on it as your sole source of income. My advice? Work a 9-5 until you’ve nearly replaced that income through your business! This is especially important if your goal is to travel, which comes with a price tag. The last thing you’ll want to worry about is pinching pennies to get by.
How to Decide What’s Best for You
So, how do you decide which option is best for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Consider Your Personality: Are you comfortable working independently and managing your own time? Or do you thrive in a more structured environment with clear guidelines and expectations?
Assess Your Skills: Do you have the skills and experience to start your own business? Or would you be better suited to a role that leverages your existing skills?
Evaluate Your Financial Situation: Are you prepared to take on the financial risks and responsibilities of entrepreneurship? Or do you need a more stable income stream from remote work?
Determine Your Short & Long-term Goals: What are your long-term career goals? Do you want to build a business that can scale and grow over time? Or do you want the freedom to travel and pursue other interests while maintaining a steady income?
Ultimately, the decision is up to you – neither is right or wrong, and there are pros & cons to both. You have to ask yourself which route aligns best with your goals, skills and future plans. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what will bring out the best in you…and what type of work environment you can thrive in.
Honestly, no matter which way you leap, I promise you it might be the kind of thing you’ve always longed for, the chance to live your travel lifestyle dreams!