Jason Batansky has worked as an entrepreneur since he was a teenager. At 23 years old he is earning a six-figure income as a location independent professional traveling throughout the world in style, working 20-odd hours a week running 3 web-based businesses. He is the founder of Locationlessliving and FlashpackerGuy.com, both travel sites that discuss the realities of balancing work and long term travel.
Jason Batansky left the United States at age 19 to travel the world solo starting in South America while working full-time as a sole proprietor. His businesses are not the sexy start-up type, but instead as simple as proving a career consulting service, running an online retail store, and selling advertising on his travel website. Despite keeping it simple, his combined income has already reached six figures while only working less than 25 hours per week on his own terms. He has never actually held a traditional job since he pursued his interest in business at age 16.
Batansky did not wait for people to tell him he could travel or start a business. Even without the formal expertise, he created a career services company specializes in writing resumes, curriculum vitae, cover letters, and coaching clients on interviews to an average of 45 new clients each month. The company has created and revised over 2,000 resumes and curriculum vitae since 2007 for everyone from recent college graduates looking for their first job or professionals ready to take the next step in their career.
The second business, an online gift store, provides 15 categories of over 400 products including printed t-shirts, cologne, watches, sunglasses, tactical gear, lighters, and other products since 2005. The store has completed more than 3,000 orders and counting. Batansky was able to start this business with very little capital because he arranged for manufacturers and wholesale distributors to ship products directly to each customer, rather than purchasing the goods in bulk.
The third business, Locationlessliving, is a more than modest income despite a relatively small amount of visitors. He managed to turn this traffic into advertising dollars by purchasing advertising leads from more popular travel writers who do not allow advertising on their websites. Rather than write the sponsored articles, he outsources the writing to copywriters which allows him to continue writing as a hobby. He also receives press passes from tourism boards and companies to review the attractions.
Jason has also managed these and other businesses while traveling and living in 26 countries in countries in South and Central America, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and Africa. He has run with the bulls in Spain only to find a deserted street corner with WiFi directly after the run to work. He has danced with a drag queen in Ecuador on a stage in from of a thousand people. And he has set up a temporary office in some of the world’s most beautiful locations overlooking Thai beaches, Hong Kong skyscrapers, and Colombian coffee plantations.
What are you working on right now?
My most important business is career consulting which means that every day I am personally working with clients to improve their resumes, CVs, cover letters, and interviewing skills. Once I finish this mandatory work for the day, I focus on developing Locationlessliving, the travel website. I am currently working with a web design company in Australia and a programmer in Arizona to complete a new website in order to take this business to the next level. The website’s main purpose will be to take advantage of social media making it easier for website visitors to share the content. Meanwhile, I am churning out travel articles, business articles, and interviews to promote the travel website. As the travel website attracts more visitors I will be able to command a higher price from advertisers.
What does your typical day look like?
Just like any entrepreneur no day is typical. This is especially true because I am constantly changing locations. For instance while living in Colombia I would often work from my bedroom because cafes with WiFi are rare and less safe to use laptops in the open. But in London I could walk to a Starbucks on the BBC campus to work. And in Spain while living out of hostels and even a public park one night, I would set up shop wherever I could which meant bus stations, alleys, and hostel living rooms. Some work takes a lot more concentration and focus than other work so depending on the comfort of the “office”, determines what kind of work I would do each day. The kind of activities I do in my free time and my sleeping arrangements also contribute to what I work on each day because it contributes to my energy and focus. Or whether I will take the entire day off instead.
In general though, an average day would include 3-5 hours of work, 2-5 hours of site-seeing, and often times enjoying the local nightlife. The rest of the time is spent with normal tasks like showers, lunch, dinner, and more. The most interesting things to note are that I wake up without an alarm clock and often work seven days a week.
3 trends that excite you?
Location Independence – Individuals working remotely which allows them to create their own hours while working anywhere in the world.
Independent Travel Writing – More and more writers are creating their own personal travel websites and advertisers are now paying attention. From personal experience this career is growing incredibly fast and becoming very profitable for those involved.
Social Media – Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Couchsurfing are leading people to create and maintain friendships no matter where in the world they are.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Looking back my strategy revolves around hustling to make an idea reality. Often times I write some very basic checklist plans in Notepad and draw up website ideas in MS Paint. If the idea is worth doing I set up the business as fast as I can without trying to reach perfection. Over time I experiment with advertising and marketing until I find a particular strategy that works. Once the business is profitable I put in the time to improve the website design and interface, copy-writing, and spend more on advertising and marketing.
For instance, I had been writing about travel on my own website for years as a hobby. As soon as I figured out how to attract advertisers I wrote a sales email and sent it to dozens of contacts. The contacts provided me with advertising leads and I immediately sent a sales email to advertisers. Within a couple days the revenue started pouring in.
What inspires you?
Individuals who say they are going to start a business and follow through.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I should have dropped out of university. The first two years were incredibly valuable in terms of building friendships, living independently, and improving liberal arts skills such as writing, and working as a business intern. Looking back now the second two years were far less valuable. I had to balance schoolwork that did not interest me, internships, and developing my businesses. Instead, I could have spent that time just working on my businesses and getting a head start on traveling. Who knows how much further along I would be now if I had quit college early?
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Blogging has to be the newest and one of the fastest growing, flexible, more profitable professions to date.
What do you read every day, and why?
I subscribe to over 100 RSS feeds for travel and business websites that I read every day. I also read industry Facebook groups to keep up with the least ideas and technology. And books…not so much!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
I like reading non-fiction. I’m currently reading My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography of Errol Flynn. He was a famous actor but started out as an entrepreneur in Papua New Guinea with a really interesting life story. This is a kind of book that combines my interest of travel and business into a great story.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
Google Canned Responses is a free solutions integrated with Gmail that automated sending responses to customers and advertisers for the most common situations and questions.
Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
http://twitter.com/#!/rtwdave – The founder of GoBackpacking.com tweets interesting travel stories
http://twitter.com/#!/Locationless – That’s me. Enough said.
http://twitter.com/#!/rooshv – Roosh is a successful, self-published writer who tweets interesting social commentary that many people would probably find offensive.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
David Lee from GoBackpacking.com is a pioneer in the travel writing business having turned his travel website into one of the most profitable independent travel sites. He has always created an online course, TravelBlogSuccess.com instructing other individuals on how to create their own travel websites.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.
A 13 year old boy just walked into the fancy cafe where I am writing this to order a double espresso.
As a professional career consultant how can entrepreneurs write their resumes or CVs to take advantage of their business experience?
Many clients think that just because their business did not turn into a success or was never made official that they should not include the experience on their resume. Or many clients do include this experience but don’t highlight what is really important about it. No matter how successful the business, it should almost always be added to the resume. For instance, the business may have lost money but had many visitors come to their website. In that case the client can include statistics about website traffic while not mentioning sales. Another example would be figuring out how to include a business that has no relevance to jobs a client is applying to. If I am a career consultant applying to accounting jobs I would write my job description to include information about bookkeeping and analysis of sales. Or for a marketing job I would simply highlight the marketing strategies with actual figures whenever possible.
What do you own If you don’t have typical things like a house, furniture or car because of your travels?
I own a far from fashionable backpack that holds everything I need. Mainly clothing, toiletries, and electronics. The idea is that I can pack everything I need in minutes carry and carry it all on my back. Clocking in at less than 45 pounds you can take a look at the packing list here. As far as housing goes I either sublet furnished apartments, stay in hotels and hostels, and crash at friends’ homes on occasion. Public transportation is always realistic because I make sure to choose my sublets based on location.
I encourage people to read my travel website which provides travel and business commentary at http://www.LocationlessLiving.com and send me an email at [email protected] with any questions or suggestions.