Editor’s Note: Many readers have asked us for tips on how to maintain a freelance writing business while traveling. Our new series, “Untethered,” by Kimberly Weitkamp, shows you how.
Many of us dream of the writer’s life. We want to feel the breeze on the beach while we work on our next project … travel the world and write with a view of the Coliseum or the Eiffel Tower … spend more time with family and still have the ability to earn.
What’s the first step? You need a way for people to contact you, no matter where in the world you are. You could be on a beach … on the Mediterranean Sea … on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast … or in a small town in North Carolina and still receive your important business calls. But how?
Getting an Internet number is one of the easiest and most important first steps in launching your Mobile Freelancing life.
Use Technology to Stay Connected
You can use the Internet to make and receive calls for free or at a low-cost, in whatever faraway places you choose to write. Many apps and programs let you do this. However, most require you and your client to have a specific app or downloadable program.
There are two low-cost options that don’t require your client to use an app: Google Voice and Skype Number.
Google Voice is great if you …
- Are in the United States
- Have a U.S. phone number
- Want to use it mainly in the U.S.
Your account must be set up in the U.S. Account holders who leave the United States can only use the service via their computer.
Incoming calls from the U.S. or Canada are free. You can call most numbers in the United States and Canada for free, too! Google Voice is free to download and use, except when calling internationally.
So what do you do if you have overseas clients? Simply dial from your phone for a low rate of between $.01 and $.06 a minute, depending on the country.
One caveat: Google Voice must be attached to an existing phone number. It’s great if you want the freedom of conducting your business anywhere in the United States. Whether you travel within the States … work from the beach … or hold your business call in a local museum, the number always stays the same. (Note: If you switch phone companies, you need to port your number for $20.)
A Skype Number is your best choice if you …
- Are outside the United States
- Want a business phone number not connected to an existing phone number
It’s $60 a year for the number and a subscription. This gives you unlimited calls to landlines and mobile numbers in the United States and Canada. That’s the same as a single month with a cell phone plan carrier! And you can write it off as a business expense!
You can base your number in one of 24 countries. That sets you up to receive phone calls on your tablet, computer, or smart phone from anywhere in the world … for free.
Both Google Voice and Skype Number require an Internet connection. If you have a local SIM card, you can use data or Wi-Fi without worrying about roaming fees.