Running your business from anywhere while traveling the world is no myth. Drew Gerber, founder and CEO of Wasabi Publicity, has done it for a good portion of his career.
Growing up in Utah, the travel bug bit him early. Over the past 10 years, he has grown and run his fledgling company from Atlanta, Budapest and eventually Stara Moravica, Serbia. For other entrepreneurs looking to do the same, take a look at the tips below.
Running Your Business From Anywhere
Gain a New Perspective
One of the biggest benefits of traveling is that it can help you see things in a new way. If you’re feeling stuck or stagnant in your business, a change of location could be a huge benefit. Gerber told Small Business Trends of his decision to travel, “I wanted to have a different perspective. Too often in life we get stuck in old patterns, views and beliefs. Changing your location will always shake things up.”
Evaluate Whether You Can Take the Leap
Some businesses are better suited for international or virtual work than others. While Gerber says he reccomends the lifestyle to anyone who isn’t tied to a brick and mortar business, you have to really evaluate whether it’s something that can work for you and your business. Is it something that really appeals to you? Are you able to do most of your work remotely or do you rely too heavily on in-person business?
Take a Trial Run
If you’re unsure about whether moving to a new location or taking your business mobile is right for you, try it out on a short-term basis first. Schedule a trip or two to your location of choice and take your work with you. See how well you’re able to keep up with everything before risking it all to pack up and move.
Have Processes in Place Beforehand
If you do decide to take the leap, you need to do some prep work before you go. There are a lot of little things that go into the early stages of running a business. So building those processes while also managing a move could turn out to be too much.
Build Up Essential Contacts
Building up your contacts and client base is something else that can often be easier when you’re stateside. So include that in your prep work before you actually head out.
Practice Remote Work Before Moving
To ensure that your business can actually survive if you’re not in your original location and available to meet with people in person, act as though you’ve already left for a while before you do. Do all of your communicating online, don’t schedule face-to-face meetings, and see how you’re able to manage everything.
Find a Place Where You’re Comfortable
When considering a place to start your travels, it’s best to choose a home base where you’ll be able to work comfortably. Gerber says of his choice to move to Budapest, “I look at it more like Budapest chose me versus me choosing the location. Everything just lined up in such a magical way; making great friends, finding the perfect flat and making the right connections. I just knew this was the place for me.”
Consider the Cost of Living
Cost of living should be another factor in your decision. If you can save money by choosing a home base that has low rent costs and other expenses, it can help your business in the long run.
Make Business Connections in New Locations
Your business could also potentially benefit by the people you have the opportunity to meet while visiting different locations. Try to set up meetings with people in your industry wherever you visit. Or at least be open to meeting new people wherever you go while running your business from anywhere in the world.
Have Patience When Dealing with Immigration and Visas
Gerber says that the biggest challenge for him when moving from place to place has been dealing with immigration and visas. So you need to plan for this part of the process to take a bit of time, though it can vary depending on which destinations you choose.
Stick with One Time Zone
If you move to a different time zone but still mainly work with clients or partners in the U.S., you’ll need to choose some regular work hours so that you don’t end up with a confusing or tiring schedule. Gerber says, “If you work during the day in Europe and then business hours U.S. time, it’s easy to work nonstop. I recommend that you pick the hours you’ll work and spend the other time off.”
Have a Set Schedule
Aside from just choosing a time zone, you’ll also need to come up with a specific schedule that works for you. Do you tend to be more productive in the mornings and evenings, but not so much in the afternoons? Do you work better with a four-day work week? When you’re running your own company remotely, you have the freedom to choose exactly how and when you want to work, but having a routine is still important.
Block Out Distractions
Visiting new and different locations can be exciting. But you can’t let all of that excitement get in the way of your work. During your set work hours, don’t drift off to thinking about all the fun things you could be doing in your new location. Stick to work and leave the fun for your off hours.
Create a Comfortable Workspace
To build a truly productive schedule, having a dedicated workspace can help. Create an office at your home base that will help keep you focused and comfortable.
Purchase the Right Tools
Your office space should have basically the same home office must-haves that you would use anywhere. But you should also consider some mobile business tools in case you ever take your operation on smaller travels or choose to work from different locations on occasion.
Use Skype to Communicate with Anyone
Skype and similar online communication tools are essential to anyone doing business remotely. Gerber says that Skype is one of his most important tools for running his business from anywhere.
Rely on Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is another important thing you’ll need if you’re going to move your business from place to place. A good cloud storage solution can keep your data and documents safe and allow you to access them from all of your different devices.
Learn to Network Online
Even if you have an existing client base before taking your business on the road, you need to be able to network online to build it even further, and to stay in touch with existing clients and colleagues. Use email, social media, and any other tools at your disposal to nurture and build your relationships online.
Always Have an Internet Backup
A reliable internet connection is essential to working remotely. But finding reliable signals abroad isn’t always possible. So you should always have a backup like a WiFi hotspot just in case.
Enlist Some Virtual Help
Busy entrepreneurs can benefit from hiring assistants to help with things like scheduling and email. So busy entrepreneurs who work remotely can benefit from hiring virtual assistants to help with some of those very same tasks.
Running your business from anywhere in the world and working from new and exotic locations can trick your brain into thinking you’re on vacation all the time. But don’t let that stop you from taking actual breaks and vacations. You need them once in awhile to refresh.
Maintain Your Work Ethic
You do, however, still need to maintain the same work ethic, patience and other qualities that help build a successful business.
Enjoy Your Travels
Overall, the ability to work from anywhere is a great privilege that few ever get to experience. You need to work hard to build your business. But enjoy your life and your travels as well. Gerber says, “It can be easy to get so wrapped up in work that you forget to enjoy the experience. Don’t forget why you traveled in the first place!”
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