From the picture above, you can see that Lea Woodward does not have a typical office. She runs her business, Kinetiva, from locations around the world.
Natalie: Lea, tell us more about yourself and your business, Kinetiva.
Lea: I’ll start with the real basics. I’m 32, was born in HK, adopted by British parents and grew up mostly in the UK but travelled a lot as a child. I’m married to Jonathan and I’ve also recently become a mother to Mali, born on the 4th of July!
As a pretty independent and head-strong kind of person, running my own business was always something I think I was destined to do although I started out as a management consultant for the world’s largest consulting company. I now run Kinetiva with my husband, Jonathan.
Initially, Kinetiva provided a full range of business services to micro and small businesses. This included graphic design, web design and development, business consulting and tech support to clients in the UK, US, Dubai, South Africa and other various countries.
However, we’ve been changing the focus slightly and are now focused on growing, supporting and enabling a range of different online progressive communities. The common theme for all the communities we’re building is the fact that each community shares the goal of helping members move towards the career and lifestyle of their choice.
Natalie: You and your husband run the site, LocationIndependent.com. Can you tell readers more about being location independent and what exactly that means to you.
Lea: Location Independent is a concept we created around the lifestyle we accidentally designed and built for ourselves a few years ago. Having decided we no longer wanted to live in the UK, we decided to hit the road and look for our “ideal home” whilst continuing to run our business via the internet.
However, along the way we realised we quite enjoyed the nomadic life and coined the term “location independent” to describe what we were doing.
To me, the meaning of being location independent covers many different scenarios, not just the nomadic lifestyle. It can apply to someone who wants to live somewhere specific without having to consider the job opportunities available. It can apply to someone who wants to work from home or the coffee shop down the road. Or it can apply to people like us who want to travel the world and live in multiple places.
It’s basically about having the freedom to choose and not having to be tied to a specific location for any reason. It’s not for everybody but it works for us.
Natalie: What countries have you run your business from and do you have a favorite place?
Lea: Since we started doing this, we’ve run our business from Panama, Buenos Aires, Grenada, Toronto, Italy, HK, South Africa and Thailand. We don’t have a favourite although we absolutely loved South Africa – beautiful country, great quality of living, really good value and lots of things to do. I highly recommend it.
Natalie: What are the steps an entrepreneur can take to make their business location independent?
Lea: The basic requirement is that the actual work can be done from anywhere; this can be easier than it sounds but sometimes you might need to be creative to make it work.
If you service customers and clients, you will obviously have to manage them through the transition. This is an important step if you run a service-based business.
There are a few other things which can make the transition to a location independent business simpler and more successful:
- Becoming more tech savvy and leveraging online services, tools and resources to run and manage your business.
- Learning about marketing yourself on the internet using social media and learning how to leverage social networking tools to connect with your audience.
- Adding additional streams of income to your portfolio to spread risk – this can be done by “productising” your servicesand knowledge or by adding consulting services if you run a product-based business. It really depends on what you already do but diversifying your income streams is always a good idea.
Natalie: Congratulations on your new baby! Will having a baby change your decision on where to live and moving around?
Lea: Yes, definitely – we will no longer head to the jungles of the world or go trekking in the wilderness. 🙂
We do still plan to be nomadic but will choose places more carefully, especially to begin with whilst our daughter is still young.
We don’t typically move around every week so will continue to stay in most places for 1-3 months which I don’t think will change with our daughter, unless she finds it too unsettling. We’re pretty flexible so we’ll just have to see how it pans out!
Natalie: I’m sure there is no “typical” day for you but what is a day like for you?
Lea: It really does depend where we are and whether we’re having a “work” day or not. But a typical work day usually consists of a late start in the morning, followed by a couple hours work, then some lunch. We’ll then do a bit more work and finally, if we’re somewhere near a beach or nature, we’ll head out for some play time before dinner.
It’s not always an exciting life – we have found that a nomadic life requires some elements of routine to remain productive, healthy and happy so it’s all about finding harmony between the different aspects of things that change and things that stay the same.
Thank you Lea! It has been so interesting learning about this location independent life that you and Jonathan have created for your family.
Follow Lea in her adventures on twitter @leawoodward.