Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Sections
You are here: Home Focus How to Start a Sole Proprietorship That Can Operate Anywhere

How to Start a Sole Proprietorship That Can Operate Anywhere

Millions of people dream of travelling, especially throughout the European Union (EU), where the countries are diverse, yet small and close enough together that international travel becomes a simple possibility. Unfortunately, career and work responsibilities often get in the way; you can't travel if you're forced to go into the office five days a week.

However, thanks to the widespread availability of internet access and the limitless career possibilities available online, it's possible these days to create a business that allows you to travel the world at the same time. This is especially true if you start a business by yourself, as a solopreneur; that way, you won't answer to anybody, and you won't have a team waiting for you back home.

So how can you create a sole proprietorship that allows you to operate anywhere, and work as you travel around the world?

Step One: Choose the Right Business

Most of your success will depend on your ability to choose the right type of business. You need to select a business model that allows you to be profitable, but also one that allows you to travel. There are some industries that are in demand pretty much everywhere; for example, real estate investors and agents are active all over the world. However, there are certain restrictions holding you back from being a travelling real estate agent; many areas offer their own local real estate licenses, so you would have to do your research and acquire the proper licensure in each new area.

Generally, the best-suited businesses for perpetual travel involve exclusively online interactions. For example, you might run a website that buys products wholesale then sells those products for a small markup. You could also create digital goods, like graphic designed logos or website templates. You can also conduct freelance work, like writing or photography.

Step Two: Create a Plan

Next, you'll need to create a plan - not just for your business, but also for how you're going to run your personal life while managing that business. For starters, you'll want to write up a comprehensive business plan. You may have an idea in mind, like photography or writing (mentioned above), but you'll need to flesh out the other variables that could impact your business; for example, you'll need to define your target audience, look at the competition you'll face, and determine the appropriate amount to charge for your work.

You'll also need to think about the logistics of travel. Are you going to have a "home" in your native country you return to periodically? If so, who will take care of the property while you're gone? And how often are you going to return? How often are you going to travel to new countries and new cities, and how much prep work are you going to do before heading to a new destination?

Step Three: Decide If This Is Truly What You Want

During the planning process, you'll have one last opportunity to evaluate whether this is truly what you want. Travelling constantly while running your own business may sound exciting, but it's also going to be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing; even the most wanderlust-filled people can eventually get homesick, and if you're ever stuck somewhere you don't know the language with no internet access, you may have trouble working and/or getting back home. This shouldn't deter you if it's what you really want, but it's important to acknowledge these potential challenges proactively.

Step Four: Do a Trial Run

Before jumping headlong into this new lifestyle, consider doing a trial run. Run your business at home for a few weeks to a few months to see if you can generate the income you thought you would. Get used to working remotely in different cafes and collaborative workspaces in your native country. How does it feel? Are you able to work productively and generate enough income to sustain your nomadic lifestyle? This is a good opportunity to iron out the weaknesses in your plan, and see if this makes you feel the way you thought it would.

Step Five: Scale and Evolve

Once you've taken a successful trial run and you still feel confident about the potential of your travelling solo business, you'll be ready to execute your plan at scale. Be prepared to make a lot of mistakes; no one is exempt from these, even with a perfectly polished business plan in place. Mistakes are learning opportunities, so treat them as such. Gradually, you'll tweak your business and alter your approach to better suit your needs, and you'll start making more money, with less stress, and more chances to do the travelling you love most.

Document Actions
EU Alerts

EUbusiness Week no. 851
Time to speed up climate action
→ EUbusiness Week archive

The Week Ahead no. 457
EU summit - climate change - long-term EU budget - Brexit - European Green Deal

Subscription options