James Ranson: Holding Still to Move Forward

January 13, 2016 |

James is currently based in St. Louis, Missouri, but from July 2014 to July 2015 he was on a road trip around the US. He stopped perpetual travel to focus more closely on building his business. While he can work from anywhere, James has found that he doesn’t have to be on the road all the time in order to be location independent, and he’s created a lifestyle that offers him both the security of having a place of his own and the flexibility to travel when he wants.

Note: Some of the language in this episode may not be suitable for work or children!

Most Memorable Location-Independent Experiences
Going to World Domination Summit for two years has been amazing, and the road trip itself was hugely memorable, but probably the biggest one is this: Last May my father passed on. I was too far away to drive home right away, but I was pretty close to a town he’d visited a lot to broker a deal on a power plant. So I drove there first. I pretty much sat in that tiny town in northern Michigan and said goodbye to my dad. That enabled me to come home a couple weeks later and be there for my family a lot more easily. It’s kind of a small thing in the grand scheme of location independence, but it meant a lot to me.

Biggest Surprise along the Way
How tough it is to travel full time and build a business full time. I kind of took that on in a “challenge accepted” kind of way, and while I made it work for that year (mostly out of pure stubbornness), it was a huge relief to stop the perpetual travel and focus on the business and the business has skyrocketed since then.

Also, that even when you know a lot of people in a particular city or state, sometimes you still can’t find a place to stay until the very last minute (or at all). I never had to sleep in my car, but I did have several experiences where I left for a new city without knowing where I’d stay there, and one night where I sat up in a 24-hour coffee shop because the hostel I planned to stay at was unexpectedly full.

Finally, I surprised myself a lot. It’s like the line in that random Aladdin sequel they made, where Iago the parrot is always saying, “You’d be surprised what you can live through.” Being on the road for so long put me through more tests of resilience and flexibility and positive attitude and patience and resourcefulness and faith in myself than I could have imagined. There were moments where I couldn’t see a way forward. There were moments when I felt completely and totally alone. There were moments where I was so frustrated I sat in my car and cried. And then a month or two later the same thing that set off one of those moments would happen again and I’d be like, “Okay, this sucks, but I got through it last time and I’ll get through it now.”

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In this episode

  • Exploring location independence
  • Becoming an editor
  • The challenges of building a business while traveling
  • How and why he realized he needed to stop moving
  • Hitting rock bottom
  • Getting settled in one place
  • Tips for getting started as a freelance editor
  • And so much more
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Resources we talked about

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