Australian freelancer Alana Zivanovic recently uprooted her business and relocated to Asia. Here’s how she did it.
Why did you move to Asia? How long will you be there?
Asia chose me. This is exactly the lifestyle I have been working on creating since I started working as a freelancer. I’m passionate about music and about helping people and I’m finally able to do both without letting one compromise the other. Now that that particular opportunity has finished I’ve decided to remain offshore and will be heading to Vietnam this week where I’ll be working out of a new co-working space for the next month. At this stage there is no end date.
What did you do to prepare in terms of moving your freelance business and working from there?
I was already set up 100% remote prior to the move so it was rather simple to head abroad without any compromise. Preparing my clients was actually the bigger factor but fortunately they all embraced my decision whole heartedly, having established such great working relationships while working remote in Australia.
What’s it like working and living there as a freelancer?
It’s different depending on which country you’re in within Asia. China has a few unique limitations I’ve had to work around including the ability (or rather inability) to navigate the internet freely. I decided to take my Australian telecommunications provider with me and have found roaming to be a major asset for both my telemarketing tasks and those related to using the internet, as I tether my phone to my laptop. You have to weigh up the pros and cons. For me, being able to use my roaming service is an absolute asset and any liabilities (eg cost) are far outweighed by the benefits of being able to execute my work to the same degree as if I were in Australia and consistently deliver. It’s also really exciting. There isn’t a big freelancing community where I’ve been living in China but having the chance to explore a new country and culture in between my work has been very rewarding.
What has the experience taught you about the benefits and pitfalls of freelancing?
Aside from exploring new places and cultures I’ve found that working abroad as a freelancer has allowed me to challenge myself and see progress in my own self-development.
Technology is constantly evolving nowadays and fortunately if there are any issues with programmes the response rates are often faster than if you were to visit an actual store eg: if I have a problem with my Macbook, I can have Apple on the phone and the issue solved straight away. Aside from language barriers most of the challenges are still the same as if I were working as a freelancer in Australia eg: I still have to operate in an extremely focused manner and ensure I manage my time well.
Luckily the time zone in Asia is of no issue for those tasks that need to be completed during working hours in Australia. This will be a challenge I tackle further down the track if I decide to work in an extremely different time zone.
What’s the best thing about being a Virtual Assistant?
I have two. Working with inspirational people from a range of different industries and the freedom to work outside the typical 9-5 (Don’t get me wrong, this often means working weekends or evenings on the odd occasion, but I much prefer being able to work when and where I choose, depending on the client brief of course). At the end of the day the client always comes first so as long as I consistently deliver and meet their needs there is no need for me to set a date in terms of when I’ll return to a particular location.