Like most people, I read Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week and thought: “I want to live like that!” I re-read it earlier this year, just before I transitioned my business to solely offering copywriting, and found that parts of it really resonated and influenced my medium-term goals.

However, for a lot of people this seems an impossible dream. The financial benefits to small businesses of working with freelancers are well-known, but people still have the old-fashioned idea that if you’re not physically with them, you’re not really working. My brief spell as a virtual assistant certainly bears that out.

For employees, it looks even more unlikely. Managers are frequently driven by performance targets and service level agreements, meaning that staff are under pressure and need to be seen in the office. Not to mention that any extra work can be given to whoever’s nearest, and working late and unpaid to meet deadlines is common.

So, can it be done? Certainly some industries, such as IT support, are moving towards allowing staff to work from home, and there’s an argument that if a role is not customer-facing, staff don’t need to be on the premises. Forward-thinking managers are also seeing the advantages. Tim Ferriss provides a handy guide to persuading your boss to let you stay at home, and has case studies of people who’ve been successful.

It seems that a lot of this happens with digital or tech workers, where what they do is specialised and requires only a good computer. Most companies are still miles behind what their employees want (and need for a healthy work/life balance).

It may be that those in public sector, administrative roles will be able to work from home, but I think that this shift will come about from necessity, as offices become overcrowded, and possibly at the expense of some of the perks for public sector workers.

And what about location-independent working? This is the ultimate goal. I’ve read a lot about people who do it and they seem to fall into one of the following categories: web developer/coder/programmer, social media expert, business/lifestyle coach, blogger selling advertising and affiliate links on their website.

I don’t come into any of those groups. Sometimes I get excited when I stumble across a site where people seem to be doing things differently, but then I read that they have funded their lifestyle by selling their home, or had a high-flying job in their previous life. Despite the low living costs around the world, it seems you have to have quite a bit saved up before you go!

Having said that, there’s nothing more portable than writing. There are no overheads, no special equipment and you can do it as you travel (provided you’re not driving!) I’m experienced and qualified and confident in my ability to write well. I’m adaptable, I learn quickly and I like meeting new people.

Working traditional office hours doesn’t suit me and I’m often insured to write at odd times (I actually wrote this post at 11.30 on a Sunday night, following an epic cooking session) so I can work to short deadlines and fit in with other people’s timetables. I believe in the long run we’d all be better off working in a way that suits us, as far as this is practical.

Fresh, original copy is undoubtedly something people need regularly, wherever they are in the world and if English isn’t their first language, a professional writer could help. Words may also be a part of their primary offering – for instance, many location-independent entrepreneurs provide online courses – so getting this right is vital.

I think I need to work out the best way to approach this and it would be great to speak to people who already do it. With a little perseverance I could be independent and international in no time!