You Too Can Be a Chief Executive and Wear Pseudo-Uniforms like Michael Jackson
You can become the monarch of your own kingdom. You can raise an army, collect taxes, issue revenue-producing stamps, sell titles ("That's Sir Doofus to you, varlet!"), provide a haven for offshore bankers, register international cargo shipping, collect foreign aid from the State Department, issue currency, declare war, and invite Paris Hilton and Denise Richards to your royal soiree.
There are serious roadblocks, however. Results are somewhat mixed, leaning towards disappointment.
In England, Michael Bates successfully adopted an abandoned anti-aircraft platform on stilts built just off the mouth of the Thames River during World War Two, presumably beyond the international limit, and could not be legally dislodged. Sealand was regarded as an independent country.
On the other hand, in 1972, a group of Californians declared the Republic of Minerva on the site of a couple of reefs that appear at low tide. To this day they claim the reefs, although the neighboring Republic of Tonga early on dispatched it's tiny army to exert unopposed control over the island reefs then went back home, presumably for a victory celebration. Plans are unshaken to one day establish a sea resort called Sea City. Meanwhile, Morris "Bud" Davis operates his principality from his Gustine, California home.
Humiliating failure is the likely outcome for anyone who establishes an island kingdom anywhere near a country that decides it doesn't want the company.
You first must have a defined location and a population to meet the most basic qualifications.
You also need to be able to defend yourself. Another prerequisite. Obviously, there are practical limitations to this matter based on who your enemy is. There is a difference between a face-off with the United States Department of Defense and the neighboring island's three-man Drum and Bugle Corps and Immortal Killers.
If it's U. S. Marines, I suggest you abdicate. Have one of those James Bond Villain getaway boats handy.
Bottom line: realize that someone is almost guaranteed to test your defense potentital eventually.
if you establish an independent nation on an unclaimed island (continental property for a new nation being unavailable) you are, at the least, threatening the status quo. The threat you represent increases as you begin doing things, such as licensing casinos, offering tax havens, providing sanctuary for unsavory characters, and making every night Mandatory Wet T-Shirt Night at all public bars, restaurants, and casinos.
In fact, regardless of how low-key you are, there comes a point where you will be perceived as an intolerable presence to someone and the party is over.
On top of that, if you manage to achieve some measure of early success in achieving your goals, you reach the crunch point where you must deal with the mob, drug smugglers looking for a secure layover, or some power-hungry multinational that doesn't want to have to deal with intermediaries. Your best bet here is to forget the whole deal, allow yourself to be bought off, and get out of Dodge.
Look at the record. How many successful micronations are there?
There are practical alternatives. Ships that fly a so-called flag of convenience issued by a nation that has minimal regulation of its maritime fleet can be useful. In all but title, you gte to operate as an independent nation aboard ship and do pretty much what you want.
Do not forget the issue of upsetting the status quo ion your zeal to exert your independence. The Coast Guard years ago boarded a ship in international waters that was operating a pirate radio station broadcasting to New York City. This does not detract from the potential of operating completely independent of all national claims, including, for the most part, that of the country whose flag you fly.
Another proposal involves going off in the woods to establish your own hidden community, in all but fact, operating as an independent nation. Think Shyamalan's "The Village" but without phony monsters.
You can establish your own nation in your own home. This sounds mondo geeky but it is perfectly feasible. You are no threat to anyone as long as you avoid making the neighbors nervous. Merely pay due taxes and conform to all American laws and don't actually try to operate as if you are a completely independent nation. You can fly your own flag, establish your home as the executive mansion, wear all the braided Michael Jackson uniforms you want, issue coins and stamps. Just don't try to use it where it would get you in trouble. To paraphrase Bill Murray in Ghostbusters II, just don't scare the straights.
Finally, you can try the online approach. You can create a virtual micronation. No need for a physical location nor a population prior to start-up. Forget a Department of Defense with bloated budget. Check out the Micronational Cartography Society or The League of Micronations. Theoretically, you could perhaps begin networking through cyberspace so that you could transfer your cyberspace micronation to a real island when ready. But we've already been through that.