22/07/2015 07:14 BST | Updated 21/07/2016 06:59 BST

Five No-Brainer Strategies to Work Less and Travel More

Quitting your job without some kind of game-plan might sound exciting to some, but for others it brings on palpitations and hives. The perfect solution for you exists somewhere along a sliding scale where risk is directly proportionate to the degree of freedom you desire. Here are five strategies to help you decide on the right one for you.

AKA The Corporate Misfit's Incremental Guide to Freedom

Quitting your job without some kind of game-plan might sound exciting to some, but for others it brings on palpitations and hives.

The perfect solution for you exists somewhere along a sliding scale where risk is directly proportionate to the degree of freedom you desire.

Here are five strategies to help you decide on the right one for you.

#1: The Built-In Backup Strategy

Alternate one and three-year contracts in esteemed companies with long periods of travel.

Ideal for: 20-somethings not yet sure what they want to do with their lives but not yet willing to risk throwing away a corporate career.

What you need: Adequate funds for travel and a transition fund to cover you for up to three months while you find another job.

Pros:

  • This strategy has an in-built 'back-up' plan because it builds your experience and CV over several years.
  • Build a portfolio of experience more quickly without being typecast.
  • You gain a level of maturity and wisdom beyond your years.

Cons:

  • After a few cycles you may be perceived as a flight risk to prospective employers.
  • You never know how fast you'll get another job when you come home.

#2: The Risk-Minimiser Strategy

Pick a country or continent you would love to explore and find a job there.

Ideal for: Anyone who wants a deeper real-life experience of another country or culture but loves the perks & opportunities that come with a secure job.

What you need: Strong personal and social networks, head hunters or recruiters, a great relationship with your current employer {for transfer}, or a self-starter mentality.

Pros:

  • Minimises career and financial risk completely.
  • It can lead to citizenship or a fast tracked savings plan when you depart. {Claim back pension & tax refunds if you can't retire there.}

Cons:

  • It can cost your friends and familys to visit you.
  • If your company sponsors your business visa, one wrong move or lost client and you could be back on the plane pronto.

#3: The Freedom-Seeker Strategy

Register yourself as a sole proprietor and pursue contracts of any length, any time you like.

Ideal for: A seasoned pro or a confident 20-something who loves short-term project work. Highly social people who can integrate fast in any culture or lone wolves.

What you need: Excellent client testimonials and a gleaming track record.

Pros:

  • Work on a project by project basis; build your experience and portfolio quickly.
  • You can establish a name for yourself and high demand for your services fast.
  • You'll be in demand during recession while permanent employees are laid off.

Cons:

  • You must be diligent about invoicing & receiving payments.
  • Your salary is gross so you have to factor in the cost of tax.
  • You're not eligible for company benefits like medical, holiday & sick leave.

#4: The Ultimate Freedom-Seeker Strategy

Position yourself as a consultant when you're a bonafide expert in your field.

What you need: Proof of high calibre problem-solving skills and innovative thinking.

Ideal for: Those who have achieved guru status in a specific area of expertise and feel confident charging a premium for it. Great for Millennials who master cutting-edge technologies and processes fast.

Pros:

  • Freedom to choose who you work with while charging a premium.
  • You can charge value-based fees for your services because of the high-impact nature of your contracts.

Cons:

  • Forget about working 9-5. You might work long hours to meet tight deadlines.
  • If your area of expertise is highly specialised it might be months between contracts.

#5: The-Make-Money-While-You-Sleep Strategy

Transform your expertise into digital products & services that people can buy online from anywhere in the world.

What you need: Entrepreneurial drive, and products & services that people want to buy.

Ideal for: Self-starters who love the opportunity & challenge of starting up and being their own CEO.

Pros:

  • Complete control over your time and business size & direction.
  • Breathe life into your ideas and have an impact on the world around you.
  • Complete control over work-life balance over the longer term.

Cons:

  • Work-life balance is hard at first; fledgling entrepreneurs work 24-7 which quickly becomes a lifestyle.
  • No control over size or timing of commercial success; threat of failure can be paralysing.
  • Startup cash flow can run out fast.

Start with the level of risk you're willing to take and slowly increase it to move closer towards absolute freedom.

As Emerson said:

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

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