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  • Writer's pictureAll Hands Taiwan

Work Where You Want Follow Up

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

We may already be well into summer, but we’d like to take you back to the beginning of May and panel discussion on the many aspects of location independent work (sorry, we’re legitimately very busy – see all the event pics here). The panel raised many interesting questions about what it’s like to be a location independent worker, solopreneur or remote professional based in Taiwan. With its flexible variables of work/life balance, location independent work has gained a lucrative edge over the past decade, particularly targeting those who long to break free of the nine to five office grind and base themselves elsewhere in the world.

Thank you to Red Room and Manav for the venue and organization, as well as to Jasmine for the great photos. Feel free to reach out to any of the panelists and connect with them if you’d like to know more.

A digital nomad, a location independent and a remote employee walk into a bar…

To jump-start your memory, our panelists were an ambitious, multi-cultural blend of Taiwanese, North American and European with varying professional and personal backgrounds. They were: Emily Wu (Founder of Ghost Island Media), Claudia Wild (Managing Partner at Lemoncube, Digital Marketing and E-Learning sectors), Tim Hillebran (Greenback Expat Tax Services), Heinz Henner (Henner & Partner, Digital Marketing).

Why location independence?

Location independence is a way of life shaped around freedom of movement as opposed to the conventional form of geographically stationary professions. Our discussion began with the reasons each panelist had for embarking on their location independent journey.

Claudia – Values the freedom that a location independent lifestyle affords, as well as the power to choose the clients and projects you want to devote your time to.

Tim – Aims to takes things a step further by further “futureproofing” his career. As a married man with kids, his decision to become location independent wasn’t influenced by the freedom to travel, but rather by future orientation. Tim works for an American company, which would allow him to relocate back to the U.S. if need be.

Heinz – After working full-time for a Taiwanese company and not enjoying the experience, he started doing client work on recommendations from his social circle. This resulted in Heinz starting his own company in Switzerland and opening a representative office in Taiwan. He loves choosing his clients and projects and location independence excites him with the prospect of working from all kinds of places.

Emily – Stumbled into remote work and location independence. Her past jobs involved work in media and film, then remote work for a company that spoiled her with travel for work. She then segwayed into freelancing and loved the freedom. Emily says she loves freelancing and now building her own company, but she could go back to full-time employment as she enjoys having a team atmosphere and having the resources of a company.

The panel discussed how, theoretically, Tim is kind of employed, in a sense that he is a remote worker tied to one company, whereas the rest of the panel are freelancers/entrepreneurs. Remote work as a salaried employee for one company affords you a dedicated team with the perks of brainstorming and collaborating. One of the reasons Claudia went from freelancing to being a managing partner is because it does get lonely and challenging not to have others to bounce creative ideas off of and channel motivation. Freelancing can be soul sucking.

A crowd shot of the event

You could be in Chiang Mai or Bali. Why Taiwan? Or why not? A critical rundown.

The first Google search hits on “digital nomad” tend to generate Insta feeds framing Chiang Mai, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia as the trending spots to live the location independent life. Meanwhile, Taiwan lies off the beaten path where location independence is concerned. How does Taiwan compare? What are some important factors that people looking at this option in Taiwan should consider?

Taiwan isn’t as touristy and Thailand and Indonesia, especially Chiang Mai and Bali. These places tend to be overrun, overrated and the internet is not as great as many imagine. The speed and connectivity in Taiwan is superior, though Taiwan lacks a certain dedicated digit