Quit Your Job: 7 Places In The U.S. So Cheap You Can Afford To Be An EntrepreneurHave you ever dreamed of quitting your job and moving to a place where it’s so cheap you barely need to work? Or maybe you want to start a company and work from home. Or maybe you already work from home and are wondering why you’re still living where you are, when you can live anywhere in the world. Before you pack your bags and head to Thailand, listen to Laura Cabrera’s story.Two years ago, Cabrera and her fiancé decided to quit their corporate jobs in downtown Chicago to work on a tech project together. But they soon realized that the cost of living in Chicago was dragging them down. “We wanted to take more risks in our careers, work from home and start up our own projects,” says Cabrera. “We realized we didn’t need to live in Chicago anymore paying more than $2,000 in rent a month. We could live anywhere.”Laura Cabrera, a digital entrepreneur who relocated from Chicago to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.PHOTO COURTESY OF LAURA CABRERASo the couple started searching for a new place to live. They knew they wanted to be somewhere warmer than Chicago, and they wanted to step off the rat race, which meant striving toward self-sufficiency. At first, they considered Austin, Texas (“but it’s still pretty expensive,” Cabrera says), and they even thought about moving abroad to Thailand (“but we heard you can’t buy property there as a U.S. citizen.”).Their solution: to search for land in the United States with fiber-optic internet. “Maybe we had it backwards before,” says Cabrera. “What if the best places to launch a startup aren’t in the most expensive cities? Perhaps it’s in the cheapest places wired with the fastest internet.”After much hunting, they settled on Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. “What’s unique about Lake of the Ozarks is that it’s a vacation hot spot, so there’s always something going on, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful,” says Cabrera. “For example, I’m joining a friend for paddle boarding and wine tomorrow.”Laura Cabrera, at Kali’a Maluhia SUP Yoga in Osage Beach.PHOTO COURTESY OF LAURA CABRERASince moving to Lake of the Ozarks, Cabrera started a blog, GirlVsGrid.com, where she hope to inspire others to become more self-sufficient and start thinking a little differently, not only about location but also about approaching business. Cabrera has also been working remotely in digital marketing, using smart strategies for finding (and getting) remote work. “I didn’t realize how many companies were hiring for remote work nowadays,” she says.During the search for a new place to live, Cabrera narrowed the list to seven cheap places in the U.S. where there’s a high-quality of living, good weather and fast internet. Here, she shares the places she considered. These are places where the cost of living is so cheap you can afford to quit your day job and become an entrepreneur.Sunset on Truman Lake in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)Lake of the Ozarks, MissouriWhen she first visited Lake of the Ozarks, Cabrera thought, “Wow, this is one of the most underrated places in the United States.” It’s rural and remote, yet fun and beautiful. Restaurants on the lake have pools with swim-up bars, water slides, live music and boat rentals. The east side of the lake (Lake Ozark/Osage Beach) is more developed, but the west side recently rolled out gigabit fiber-optic internet, making this place a freelancer’s paradise. What many people don’t know is that Lake of the Ozarks has more coastline than the entire state of California and you can buy land out here for as little as $2,000 an acre. “If you’ve always dreamed of building your own sustainable off-grid smart home at an affordable price, take a look at this place,” says Cabrera. You can get internet speeds up to one gig through Co-Mo Connect.Downtown Emporia, Kansas.PHOTO BY ICHABOD/WIKIPEDIA – OWN WORK, CC BY-SA 3.0, HTTPS://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=7742202Emporia, KansasThis charming, walkable and bikeable town with 14 buildings on the National Register of Historic places is home to Emporia State University. “And with a population of only 25,000 people, you won’t feel like a number,” says Cabrera, who points out that it’s a great place to be part of a community that has an active main street, restaurants and a bustling performing arts theatre. “You’ll fall in love with the architecture of this town — and who knows, maybe even be inspired to start up your own downtown business.” The median rent is $600 a month and many homes are listed under $100,000. You can get internet speeds up to one gig through ValuNet.A view of UCA in Conway, Arkansas along Bruce Street.PHOTO BY RONNY WILLHITE/WIKIPEDIA- OWN WORK, CC BY-SA 4.0, HTTPS://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=52230456Conway, ArkansasJust outside of Little Rock, Arkansas lies this beautiful town that’s home to the University of Central Arkansas. “Having a university in a town can be such a perk — especially if you’re a coffee lover,” says Cabrera. “There will always be a coffee shop around the corner and it makes it easy to keep your skills sharp, since you can always pick up a class here and there.” Remember American Idol winner, Kris Allen? Conway is his hometown. According to Zillow, the median home value is $144,400, and according to Rent Jungle, the average rent is $620. You can get internet speeds up to one gig through ConwayCorp.A vendor at the Main Street Farmers Market in Statesboro, Georgia.PHOTO BY BY EAGLEFAN7385/WIKIPEDIA- TAKEN BY OUR DOWNTOWN AUTHORITY STAFF, CC BY-SA 3.0, HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=43997074Statesboro, GeorgiaWith a population of 31,000, Statesboro is a charming town that’s home to Georgia Southern University and has an awesome community that does an annual Thriller dance video.”Warm climate year round and beautiful architecture make this a cool place to live,” says Cabrera. “And there are beaches just an hour away.” According to Zillow, the median home value is $156,900. You can get gigabit fiber through Bulloch Co-op.Pedestrian bridge at a park running along the Concho River in San Angelo, Texas.PHOTO BY JOHN TUFTS/WIKIPEDIA, CC BY-SA 3.0, HTTPS://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=15874286San Angelo, TexasFrom great weather to lakes and a brand-new river walk, this beautiful city will satisfy the most diehard urbanite. “What stands out to me about San Angelo is that you can buy a cute renovated bungalow for around $100,000,” says Cabrera. “It doesn’t get much better than this.” According to Realtor.com, median home price is $158,450, and according to Rent Jungle, the average rent for a two-bedroom is $871. You can get internet speeds up to 1 gigabit through SuddenLink.Downtown Sparta, North Carolina during a local music event in 2017.PHOTO BY INDY BEETLE/WIKIPEDIA – OWN WORK, CC0, HTTPS://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=61489096Sparta, North CarolinaAnyone who has always wanted to live in a town surrounded by mountains will want to look into this area. “I mean, how many mountain towns are there with gigabit fiber optic internet and a lower cost of living?” points out Cabrera. According to Realtor.com, the median listing price of a home is $128,000 and the median gross rent is $600. You can get gigabit fiber through SkyBest.Downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee at night. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)Chattanooga, Tennessee“Chattanooga offers the best of urban and rural,” says Cabrera. “You’re bound to find any type of restaurant, from BBQ to vegan cuisine.” Then, if you get tired of the city, just grab your hiking shoes, drive 20 minutes and you’re in Prentice Cooper State Forest. Inside Chattanooga city limits, the median home sales price is $160,000 and the average rent is $1,200. But the further out you get, the less expensive it is. Other nearby mountain towns that are affordable and have high gigabit speeds include Ringgold, Georgia and Dalton, Georgia. In Dalton, the median home price is $120,000, and according to Rent Jungle, the average two-bedroom is $694 a month. You can get gigabit fiber through EPB and CTC.
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