I had reached the top position at my job and was ready for a change. I wanted to work from my laptop anywhere, anytime, so I quit my full-time job and pursued the life of a freelance graphic and web designer. It became clear that God was also moving my husband, Tyler, in a new direction with his job, so he resigned and became a freelancer too. Quitting the nine-to-five work routine was the best decision we made for our family because it made us available for what God wanted to do next.
We soon realized that as freelancers, we could carry our talents with us wherever we wanted to go. We could work from anywhere, which would enable us to travel at leisure and live in other places to experience cultures more deeply. We also wanted to contribute to God’s kingdom no matter where we lived, so it was essential that we found a way to use our talents to further missions wherever we landed next.
It was essential that we found a way to use our talents to further missions wherever we landed next.
After a bit of research, we decided to move to Prague. Once we arrived, we could stay there for three months as tourists while we obtained long-term visas. We connected with a local Czech (through Expats.cz) who helps foreigners apply for long-term visas. They translated our documents and directed us through the process, and we now have a business trade license and a one-year visa, so we can own and operate our business here as freelancers and contractors. Tyler works with a design agency in Prague and with various other clients, and I work with clients I retained from the States.
Being a part of Prague’s business world has helped us interact with Czech culture and be more relatable. We’ve found other avenues to interact with locals through a church planting team called Plant Czechia, a group our missions pastor connected us with before we arrived. Tyler and I continually look for ways to use our graphic design and web design skills to assist this team and other local churches with promotional materials and websites.
Working alongside them also has given us opportunities to be a part of organized events, many of which provide valuable services for Czechs. We help in English Camps and Mother’s Clubs (clubs that teach English and American culture), and we serve as one-on-one conversation partners with Czechs who want to practice English. These outlets enable us to share our culture while we also learn about the Czech way of life.
How Can You Make This Work?
If you want to work as a freelancer abroad, start by making it a priority. Set goals and determine actionable steps to get there. Indeed.com is a great resource for finding freelance or contract positions. You can set the search location to “anywhere” or “remote,” which usually yields a lot of open positions. Indeed also posts listings for countries outside of the United States, so you can narrow your search to a specific country.
Before we moved to Prague, I read blogs and listened to podcasts about how to be a digital nomad. I found three podcasts useful for answering my questions about finding work, coping with life abroad, getting insurance, and helping my family adjust to the transition: The Suitcase Entrepreneur, Zero to Travel Podcast, and The Nomad Together Podcast. For learning language, I used Audio Tutor and CzechClass101.
Tyler and I also did a Google and Facebook search for “Prague expats” and found online communities where we can ask questions about everything from where to buy brown sugar or a couch to which insurance company has the most doctors in its network. A website we frequently visit is Expats.cz, which has items for sale, meet-ups for expats, jobs that are available for foreigners, and answers to many of our questions.
Our Job Is to Trust Him
There is no way to be completely prepared for everything you will encounter when you freelance abroad. As someone who likes to have a general plan and guide, my best advice is to prepare as best you can, but leave yourself completely open for change and be ready to switch trains when God leads you a different direction. Jeremiah 29:11 is a great reminder that God has plans already worked out for us and will take care of us.
It’s been crucial on our journey to remember that things happen in his timing, not ours. There have been days when our fears could have—and at times have—overtaken us. Moving abroad has made us extremely vulnerable and put us in a position of being completely reliant on God.
Learning to depend on him has been our greatest lesson—and struggle. We’ve had to trust him as we’ve sought new clients and housing, gotten rid of all of our things, and learned a new language, culture, and foreign ecosystem. But this has been a rewarding experience, and we would never go back on our decision to trust God through it all.
Britt Powell is a freelance graphic designer based in Prague, Czech Republic.
To find out what’s required for a freelancer visa in Europe, visit sites like the EU immigration portal, Expats.cz, or Berlin.de/en. To find more information about working with European Peoples, click here.