Being able to see the world while at the same time managing a successful business is something that captivates the hopeful imagination of many entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals.
There are two very attractive ideas related to freedom for those who dream of traveling while running their business: freedom of movement and financial freedom. However, these lofty ideas can turn into less-than-ideal situations for globetrotting business owners. The problem that many suitcase entrepreneurs face is that traveling takes them out of traditional business structures, and this can present disastrous results.
To become a successful traveling entrepreneur, you will need to focus on certain business processes and factors that will essentially serve as a management structure for your company.
Effective Communications: After money management, communications is one of the most important business processes for any company, and you should make it a priority whenever you are not in the office. Before setting off on a new trip, you must figure out the communications tools you will use while on the road.
Moreover, these tools should be tested. Skype is a popular choice, but you should not assume that it will be available anywhere you go; a simpler messaging service such as Slack could be more realistic.
It is also very important to have some kind of backup hardware when you travel. Think about what would happen if your Surface hybrid is lost, stolen or damaged while on the road. Will you be able to use your smartphone?
If you are used to setting up your smartphone as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, how would you connect without it? Does your laptop or tablet feature SIM card connectivity?
You should also think about investing in rugged devices and carrying solar battery chargers.
Project Management Tools: Think about a trip as a project you can manage with apps such as Asana, Trello and even Slack. You do not have to be at the office to manage company projects; what you need is a project management tool that allows you to track progress, assign resources and analyze goals. The projects that you choose to manage while you travel should not be too complicated. Whenever possible, choose the simplicity of a task list on Evernote over a complex Microsoft Project file.
Planning Ahead With Task Automation: You probably do not take full advantage of automation while you are in the office, but you should certainly do it while traveling. The key to effective automation is to streamline tasks as much as possible.
The next step is to look at your business processes and figure out what can be automated.
One example in this regard would be taking a look at your email and calendar utilities. Don’t assume that synchronizing with your mobile devices will cover all bases when you are on the road; you should also set up some “If This, Then That” (IFTTT) rules to reduce your workload.
Virtual Assistants: There will be a time when Apple Siri and the Google Assistant will advance to the point that you will be able to trust them with complex tasks. In 2018, however, human assistants are still some of the best allies for traveling entrepreneur. If you only have one or two employees or associates who are busy with their own workload, think about retaining the services of a remote virtual assistant for few hours while you travel.
Hiring the Right Staff: If you plan on being a remote boss, try hiring workers who will be comfortable being part of a remote staff. If you plan to travel the world, think about hiring international staff members who are able to work remotely from just about anywhere in the world. This will make it easier for them to understand your goals.
Maximizing the Use of Cloud Services: Before taking off, try to give yourself time to review all the features that your Dropbox, Google Drive or Office 365 subscriptions offer. You want to rely on portable storage as little as possible.
Ideally, your company documents should be stored in the cloud with collaboration and permissions enabled so that your associates can work on them. If you must store sensitive documents on a flash USB drive, be sure to protect them with encryption.
While it is possible to run a successful business while traveling, you should not forget that companies could fail even when owners are constantly in the office. The business factors listed herein cover only the basics. It is up to you to figure out how to possibly expand your business to the locations you visit.
Author Bio: Jen McKenzie is an up-and-coming author from NY. She usually writes on business, marketing and HR subjects. When not at her desk, you can find her taking long strolls in the countryside or enjoying her free time brushing up on photo editing. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie