Running a business while permanently traveling the world requires a certain mindset.
You’re not a typical “traveler.”
You’re not on vacation, you don’t really have a “home” and you’re certainly not running a business in the usual manner of other business owners.
With this in mind, here are some choice bits of advice I wish I’d known before we took the plunge.
Plan for downtimes.
Focusing on running and growing your own business is hard enough with the best of circumstances.
When you work as you travel there are times when it’s almost impossible – like when you’ve just arrived in a new city, realize you don’t speak any of the language, and your first priority is to find somewhere to live for the next few months.
From a financial perspective, be prepared for times when you won’t feel like working or simply can’t. Make sure your business can cope.
Being able to put your business on autopilot is a great way to sustain yourself during the rough times, so make sure to build it into your business strategy from the start.
Don’t over-commit yourself.
For our first few locations, we booked flights and accommodations well in advance. We also prepaid (yes, our credit cards and bank balances took a massive hit!)
It helped us feel a bit more ‘secure’ about the fact that we no longer had a home. After all, we were traveling indefinitely and it gave us that bit of structure we needed.
The downside was that we had to fork out money to change flights and accommodation plans when we gained more confidence and realized that we are indeed a bit more adventurous.
Now we rarely book things for more than a month at a time so that we can be flexible about where we go and what we do next.
Assess what’s really important to you.
As former city lovers, we persisted with our choices of staying in major cities (Panama, Buenos Aires, Toronto) when we first left home.
It soon became obvious that while each had its charms, we were far away from the experiences we’d set out to find.
If we had taken more time to assess what we enjoyed, what we disliked, what inspired us and what turned us off about each destination, before booking the next one, we’d have saved ourselves the money, stress and hassle of visiting places that were utterly wrong for us.
Having said that, they’ve all been part of the journey and part of our learning experience, so we have absolutely no regrets.
Pack right, pack light.
As usual, the same old advice of “pack light” applies to packing when you run your business on the move.
You need to make sure you take everything you need to keep your business running and earn an income while you travel.
- backup disks of essential software
- an external hard drive of your programs and files should something happen to your laptop
- global travel adaptors
- screen wipes
- digital camera
- and more
I like to have a couple of notebooks to scribble in, a pyramid-shaped rose quartz crystal, a very small portable office kit which includes a mini stapler, some sticky notes, a mini hole punch and a mini highlighter, all in a handy little case.
As a LIP (Location Independent Professional), traveling the world while you run your business is a huge learning experience.
Every single place you go expands your horizons from a business perspective and teaches you something you never knew.
Learn as you go, keep tweaking your business approach and you won’t go wrong.