top of page

Money Concerns When Starting Out As A (Nomadic) Solopreneur

One of the biggest concerns people face when considering working for themselves is around their income.

There is an understandable fear around whether they will make enough money or get enough clients to match (or exceed) their previous income.

And this is a normal concern.

Unlike in a large organisation where you’ll get a set paycheck every month regardless of what you do (usually), working for yourself can come with a level of uncertainty when it comes to income.

At the same time, the earning potential you have when you work for yourself as a professional can be higher than in an organisation, where it will always be capped.

Since most people reading this will also want to be digital nomads or have a degree of location freedom, there are other factors at play too.

Read on to hear the key considerations to think about, as well as some practical suggestions that can help.

You can often charge more.

Unlike in an organisation where a lot of your fee is absorbed by the company, you can actually charge more when you work independently.

Let’s say you are a tech consultant or a financial advisor.

The amount the company charges out to the client for your time might be £1000 per day.

But you only get £600 of that when it comes to your salary — not the full amount. This is how organisations make a profit.

But if you are working for yourself as an independent consultant or coach, you can charge the full £1000 a day to your client.

The same principles apply even to industry — you are still being paid less per day than if you contracted independently.

Most corporate professionals with 4+ years of experience can charge anywhere between £600–2000 a day for their work, depending on their area of expertise and background.

Although you might lose out on other benefits when you work at an organisation (e.g still getting paid while on annual leave or unwell) the higher rates you charge should mitigate this.

There are also more and more companies offering similar perks and protection for small business owners too.

You can save more.

Now let’s take into account the nomadding side of things.

If for a few months a year you want to work from Asia (escaping the UK winter) or somewhere in Spain, the cost of living will often be less.

In Thailand, the average monthly rent is £500. And food expenses are next to nothing.

You can now legally work online and live there for 6 months thanks to the new DTV (Destination Thailand Visa) for a modest fee of less than £250.

Meanwhile, you are charging out your services at UK/US rates.

When you put both these factors together, the amount of money you save by keeping your costs low and the rate you charge for your service, it can be even more lucrative.

Of course there are tax considerations to think about here (which can actually be beneficial for you) which is why we offer a Tax and Lifestyle Consultation, working with a specialist digital nomad tax advisor, for those who need tailored support based on their situation.

It’s especially recommended for people who are looking to nomad for over 3 months a year.

The upfront costs are small.

The great thing about online professional services (offering your area of expertise as a coach, consultant or advisor) is that there are minimal upfront costs.

Compare this to if you were starting a tech start-up (been there) or wanting to open a restaurant (not been there, yet!).

You have many more costs to consider. But with online professional services, you can keep costs down. As long as you have a laptop + WiFI you are good to get started.

This means that your profit margin will also be much higher.

With my online public speaking business, the profit margin was at 80%, since most of my clients came through word of mouth and organic social media content.

Time = money

When you work for yourself, you can also set your own schedule.

So if you want to only work 3 or 4 days a week, you can do that.

Or if you want to work 25 hours a week, you can do that.

The point here is that time = money.

Time is an asset that is incredibly precious.

If I had to bet on it, I would suggest most professionals would be willing to take a 10–20% reduction in income if they could work less and enjoy more free time doing what they love.

Chasing money isn’t probably the reason you want to be a solopreneur. I imagine it’s more so you can have greater freedom in your career. In which case, earning slightly less may be a worthwhile sacrifice anyway.

Time is priceless!

Practical suggestions if money is a concern

If money is a concern when it comes to working for yourself, here are some practical tips you can do to reduce the risk and put your mind more at ease.

1.Start while you are still working

This is the main advice I give anyone when starting out. Unless you have a solid cushion of savings, it is probably not a good idea to quit and start from scratch.

Instead, start while you are still working.

Do your research, speak to customers, find your niche, validate, test out your service.

If you can, try get your first early client.

This is exactly what we cover in the ImagineThat Academy. The way the Academy is run (weekly group classes that are also recorded and fortnightly 1:1 coaching with me) means that you can do it alongside your current job.

If you’re interested in joining the September cohort, please message me (there are only 4 spots left!)

2. Build a savings buffer

It’s also a good idea to put some savings aside when you start out.

This can also be helpful if you ever want to dip into it for business expenses, such as paid ads or creating your website.

You don’t need to have a huge buffer, but again, if money is a concern for you, this is a good idea.

If you want to know how much you should save and whether you are ready to start making the leap now, feel free to message me and I am happy to discuss this as part of the Careers Transition Programme.

3. Take a sabbatical

A third option is to take a sabbatical. I don’t hide the fact that this is initially what I did.

I never went back, of course, and 8/10 people don’t. Once you taste the freedom of working for yourself, you’ll do everything you can to make it work.

But it can be a brilliant safety net for someone who may have financial concerns (and simply reduce the anxiety so you can actually enjoy the process of starting your own business and see if it’s for you).

Even if you don’t have an official company sabbatical scheme, you can speak to your employer.

Most will understand, especially if your reason is to travel or pursue personal projects.

So, there we have it.

Although money concerns might be a valid reason to hesitate at solopreneurship, there are many ways to get around this.

And in fact, there are also some financial benefits to it too.

I’m a big believer in “if you don’t try, you’ll never know” and speaking from experience, I don’t regret the choice one bit.

If you found this helpful and would like to chat more or join the ImagineThat Academy, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or send me a message on the website.

You can also join the free community here to receive more tips and advice.


bottom of page