House sitting is one of the best parts of my lifestyle, along the possibility to see great places around the world – and these two are heavily connected. I have been house sitting for last couple of years and it has enabled me to live in three continents in amazing locations around the world. House sitting is great option for digital nomads who can take their work anywhere in the world.
My secret to house sitting success have really been persistence, perfecting the application process and offering superb house sitting services to house owners.
House sitting is pretty competitive business, but saying that is does not mean its not doable. Quite the opposite actually especially for location independent freelancers. Freelancer can offer bit more to the house owner than that just someone who sleeps in the house. I work while I am on the assignment which means that I spend considerable time in the house, meaning its secure and more importantly pets have constant company.
What is my secret to house sitting success?
For me it was first taking time to write my profile to make it as appealing as possible with clear information of what I can offer as a house sitter and what I am looking for as a house sitter. I read many house sitter profiles and learned what worked and what not – what successful house sitters had on their profile. From there I applied to short assignments near me so that I could meet the owner and so one. And as they say, rest is history… I am about to start house sit in wine region in France for the summer.
Is to win first assignment. This may take so time and persistence but its well worth it. You also may need to lower your expectation of your first assignment – it just may not be five bedroom beach house you’ve dreamed off. But that is ok – anything good in life usually takes time and once you have one references its way easier to get second.
So how can you get over that first hurdle? Lower your expectations and try to get assignment that is close to your location so that you can see house owner in person (makes huge difference) and take on short assignments, a weekend for example. Short assignments are generally less popular so you have less competition. Also think about the location – of course its great to have beach house but its not bad being in county side to start with.
Just like when wanting to win a freelancing contract in competitive market its important to stand out. House sitting is no different – it is critical to stand out from the pool of candidates. House owners get hundreds of replies and only reply to those that caught their eye from the crowd.
I recently got an assignment in Southern France, in wine region I might add, because I stood out from the massive applicant crowd. The house owner had 200+ replies to their add, but I stood out and got the owner to open my message and read what I can offer and to make the call to me to talk more. And now in six days I’ll fly to Paris and then take train to the wine region and call it home for the summer.
This does not mean professional in a way the you need to have your resume ready and wear a suit but make sure that all communication you have with owner oozes professionalism, trustworthiness and you being serious about the assignment. Owner is leaving their house, loved pets and basically their whole life to your hands. You would want that person to be responsible who takes pride in themselves. Being a freelancer gives me an added advance as house sitter as since I take work seriously it means I take assignment equally serious.
Here are four of flat mates while house sitting around the world:
House sitting is great option for anyone who wants to travel and reduce costs, and especially for location independent freelancers as you get free home office too! For freelancer its great way to reduce your cost base while living in new location and perhaps work on a new project.
House Sitting Websites:
and many, may more (do a Google search: house sitting website). Membership at house sitting website ranges $20-75 depending on the website. I am currently subscribed to three that in total costs me $150 per year. I find that pretty cheap living cost compared to rental fees for services apartments. Plus I’ve had amazing experience, met great people and wonderful pets.
Of those three I wholeheartedly recommend the first. Why?
Because its only one with a reference system that really puts house owners at ease. I have got many house sits thanks to references from verifiable house owner members of Trusted Housesitters.
Check out great offer to sign up with Trusted House sitters (its less than one night in nice hotel by the way)
How to Live Free Anywhere in the World
One of my secrets for Anywhere Freelancer lifestyle is house sitting. I often get asked about my lifestyle and one of the top question is: How to live free or cheaply around the world?
If you do not know what house sitting is, do not worry as I didn’t either until couple of years ago. House sitting is a service where house sitter lives in a house owners home and takes care of their property and/or animals. It is a free service although I know some house sitters who charge for their services. I do not, because I am ok with just living for free and have an quiet “office space” where to work.
House sitting is great option for location independent entrepreneurs as it offers quiet environment where you can work and getting new office view every so often. Its particularly great for home owners as they have someone in the house all day long – pets have company and house stays safe.
There are numerous house sitting websites on the internet so choose one that features most opportunities in location you are interested in. I have signed up with three different websites but will not renew subscription for two of the sites as I dislike their search/email functions so I never use the site anyways, plus I find enough suitable opportunities in the one site. It is one of the most expensive sites (annual fee of 70 USD) but it also offers best email updates and search functions. I don’t mind payment the annual fee as I get my investment back with just one house sit I do.
I’ve house sat in Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Finland and looked after many cats and dogs, including ever so adorable Chelsea here below. I house sit mainly for two reasons: I love animals but can not have one due to my nomadic lifestyle and I get to live like a local and get to know local lifestyle. I have taken care of many animals and homes around the world all while sustaining successful online freelancing career. I have soft spot for dogs and cats, and love nothing more than to spend time with furry friends and photograph them (my hobby business). Plus having a dog or cat is the best stress reduction I have ever come across.
There is a great house sitting guide “Break Free: the Ultimate Guide to Housesitting” that I highly recommend getting! It is a truly comprehensive and practical guide into house sitting. I have it and used it to get started in house sitting. You learn what to write on your profile and on your application plus long list of websites you can sign up for house sitting services.
I use three websites but there is one that has been best by far – Trustedhousesitters.com
By Nina Kolari
Having a great tool pack is essential as a Online Freelance since you will be relaying on those entirely. So make sure you have good, reliable laptop/desktop, best internet connection you can have, headset with mic and of course the old fashioned pen & note book when modern things fails.
Depending on your background and skills it is good to get to know softwares and apps that are “in” in your industry. Get yourself familiar what they can do and why companies use them – you do not need to buy any of those – but make sure you are up-to-date on your industry buzz words and tools. When client asks – You know Mint? – you want to answer YES! Sometimes in recruiting its the little things that matter.
Tools are essential part of Online Freelancing so do make sure you have at least following four or similar tools:
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Skype.com offers you the ability to call for free anyone anywhere in the world as long as they have Skype account on their computer and/or smartphone. Calls via Skype are decent quality as long as the internet connection is good enough. In addition to audio calls you can have video calls and chat. I do not work single day without using Skype at least once! [/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Paypal.com is convenient, easy and secure way to get paid. Whether you are using online freelancing sites or invoicing directly, Paypal is great tool to keep your bank account happy! Opening a Paypal account is free.[/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Google Drive/Apps is great sharing and collaboration tool – a must have for freelancer. You have tools similar to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and much more. Multiple people can use one document or spreadsheet at the same time. Best of all, its free! Just sign up with Google Account and you get Google Drive for free, as well as many other great tools for freelancers.[/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Dropbox.com helps you share documents, photos, designs, videos etc online quickly and easily without suffocating your inbox. Upload document to Dropbox and simply share the link to the other party. Dropbox offers safe, secure and convenient file sharing. Open free Dropbox account and grow your account if and when necessary.[/four_fifth_last]
I use above tools if not every day but at least once or twice a week. There are alternatives to all above and many of those will be featured on future blogs posts so do sign up to receive updates from the blog.
These are tools that I have tested, tried and have been using and can recommend. As with essential tools there are tons of alternatives out there so it is just matter finding right tool that suites your style. I’m fan on KISS- method so simpler and streamlined it is, the better.
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Trello.com (Organize anything, together) is simple, clear and easy way to stay organized when working with multiple clients. And its completely free! Trello is intuitive, collaborative and adapts to you. You can use it to keep track on projects, share tasks and much more. [/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Rescuetime.com is small tool that helps you keep track on your work. As they say “RescueTime helps you figure out the answer by showing you how you spend your time on the computer”. Great little too to improve efficiency and track time whether it is your own time or your teams.[/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Mint.com is a easy to use and simple financial tool to keep track on money coming in and going out. And its free to use! Not just only record spending and earning but you see great graphics on how things are going.[/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]WordPress.com is great option if you want to have, or really should have, a online presence. WordPress is used on thousands of websites and it is quite easy way to start a blog or website. There are tons of tutorials, themes and other non-techie tools available for WordPress.[/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Toggle.com – insanely simple time tracking! Originally developed as an in-house tool but as it turned out so good it is now available to anyone. With Toggle you can easily track your time to make sure you are invoicing right customer. Check out their fantastic tool and sign up for free![/four_fifth_last]
[one_sixth][/one_sixth] [four_fifth_last]Rememberthemilk.com is an easy and simple way to keep track on your tasks, make lists – basically make sure you won’t forget something important! Milk works together with Gmail, Google Calendar, Evernote and works on top of Windows also on Android IOS, Blackberry. Rememberthemilk.com has free starter account and pro version.[/four_fifth_last]
With above tools you can good start on your Online Freelancing Career and you are already ahead with competitors! Its quite surprising how poorly some freelancers are prepared with regards to tools! Head over to our Blog to see reviews and comprehensive lists of tools.