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Our thoughts & tips on small businesses, freelancers and sole traders

Comprehensive Guide to Running Your Business From The Road

Written by on June 04, 2018

Starting a business has its own challenges and rewards. The entrepreneurial spirit inside beckoned you to start your own little enterprise. That’s great news.

The business environment is constantly shifting. But with the available technology, we can adapt almost any surroundings to suit our business’ needs. What I am talking about here is taking your business out from the formal office setting and onto the road.

The allure of setting up office almost anywhere is great. There is less of a need to be stationary in order to stay productive. You may still effectively operate your business while on the road.

In order to start enjoying the benefits that a nomadic lifestyle brings, there are a few things to take into account. This guide will help you set yourself up for success no matter where life, bus, train, plane, or your legs take you.

Is Your Business Capable of Surviving the Road?

Before running business from the road, consider if your business is viable for that.

Before embracing the nomadic business culture, ask yourself this – “can my business survive constant mobility?” You have to realize that not every business is capable of braving the treacherous road.

Entrepreneurs may be quick to jump on the travel-and-work ship before analyzing the validity of those actions. New businesses especially, can be too volatile to be effectively managed from the road. You must be confident in your approach.

I met this Australian fellow in a hostel in Vilnius, Lithuania a few years back. His office was his laptop and whatever quite space he could come across. As a software developer, he could essentially work anywhere he wanted – of course he had to have quality internet connection. That’s just one example of a nomadic business model.

Depending on the type of business you operate, the travel limitations can and will vary. Some entrepreneurs may be blessed more than others in terms of where they can go to, and how often they need to ‘touch base’ back home.

Consider the portability of your product or your idea. You may need to constantly supervise inception of the product and the delivery. Or perhaps you have a great team overseeing the process and you’re able to tackle the big picture tasks on the road.

Tools of the Trade

Tools which you will utilize may vary, depending on your business functions. You may have to spend some time to figure out the necessities that work best for you.

Communication

Maintain constant communication with everyone involved in your operations.
Maintain constant communication with everyone involved in your operations.

While the focus here is operating a business while being mobile, communication is a key element that can make or break your venture.

Whether you’re employing staff elsewhere, or dealing with customers or vendors, you must stay in constant contact. This of course can be done through phone calls or email.

Now there are other communication tools that can make the whole process even more involved and more effective. In other words a more interactive approach to foster quality communication.

For example, Google Hangout is an all-around phenomenal tool that helps you stay in touch with people. It syncs across your devices and allows you to video chat and share files with ease.

Function Fox is another great communication and collaboration platform. With this platform not only are you able to easily share and manage work related files, but also track expenses associated with your operations.

Constant and effective communication keeps you informed of all pertinent information regarding your business. People say that communication is a key element to a successful relationship – that same methodology is applicable your business operations.

Investing In Quality Gadgets

Quality tech may be one of your main lifelines of your business.
Quality tech may be one of your main lifelines of your business.

Chances are if you’re working on the road, your gadgets will be your livelihood. Phones, tablets, and laptop computers will be doing most of your heavy lifting, so invest in quality.

Now not all tech is creating equally and some of it may not be as relevant to your work.

For example, a graphic designer won’t be looking for the same equipment as programmer. There are hundreds of options when it comes to technology that may be more or less suitable depending on what you need to get done.

Creating a Schedule and Sticking to It

When running your business on the road, create a work schedule and stick to it.
Stay more efficient with an optimized work schedule.

When running a business from the road, the fine line between work and play may get blurred – don’t let that happen. Schedules help keep your work and leisure time allocated to their specific time slots.

While creating your work schedule, consider the potential internet scarcity that you may encounter. Depending on where you travel, staying connected may be a bit more difficult so plan ahead. Create a work schedule that if necessary, puts you in position with internet access.

Balance is key when pondering your schedule. While many entrepreneurs boast about their lengthy work-days, you must realize that taking time off is critical. Incorporating off days helps revitalize your brain and is actually proven to boost productivity long-term.

Nomadic work offers the ability to explore places and see things that your typical stationary office doesn’t do. You want to make sure that along with your work, you make time to explore the new places you travel to. After all, if you spend all your time working then you might as well just stay put at home.

Time Zones

When taking the business on the road, consider time zones.
The people you work with may not share your time zone.

Business functions can and are impacted by time zones. The entire world is scattered across more than 24 different time zones – yes there are more time zones than hours in the day.

Part of your scheduling may be influenced by time zones. Again depending on what your business entails, your communication may span multiple time zones. You employees or clients may be halfway across the globe. This means your conference calls, or Skype chats may be conducted at odd hours.

When working on your computer, you may want to keep couple different clocks open. It can inform you of the different times across the globe. Only do so if necessary and if you’re dealing with clients or employees in other locales.

Automation tools that will be discussed later on can also benefit you in this regard. Since you may not always be available to publish posts or send emails, you can schedule them with automation software. Automated tasks will take care of themselves without any additional input from you, no matter day or night.

Location and Getting There

Be careful with travel when taking your business on the road.
Assess your transportation methods before committing.

Where you travel to may have an impact on work availability. The nuances associated with getting there and of course exploring new locations do consume the most precious resource of all – time.

Look into the locations you’re heading to. Weigh out the benefits of transportation methods. Depending on where you’re going and how far, a particular mode of transportation may offer more benefits than others.

  • Driving to location is time consuming and you’re unable to work while driving. On the upside, you can stop on a whim when and where you please.
  • Trains or buses can be used for destinations closer in proximity. This method leaves you free to relax, enjoy the scenery and if need be, to work. Typically newer buses and trains also offer wifi connectivity.
  • Flying is fast and at times can be more affordable than the previous 2 options. Depending on your destination, flying may be the right choice.

Figure out what you expect to get done in any given location – work or otherwise. You may also want to postpone any relocation if there is an important business matter that may need your prompt attention.

5 Awesome Services to Help Cut Business Travel Expenses With increasingly connected commerce, businesses are having to travel a lot. Here are the 5 best web services to help cut down on business travel expenses. READ MORE

Staying Connected

Since the advent of the wheel, humans haven’t been able to live without it. Internet has become the new “wheel” in our lives, and it’s hard to function when we become disconnected from the world. This is especially true if you’re operating your business while on the road.

Having a quality internet connection is one of the most crucial elements of a nomadic business. It’s what keeps you tethered to the ‘comings and goings’ of your enterprise. Without the internet, you are in the dark – can’t track your operations, limited contact with your employees, and your clients.

I previously mentioned schedule creation and abiding by the created schedule. Take the schedule into account when traveling so that you are able to connect whenever your schedule deems necessary. Wifi may be easy to come by in some locations while other locations may not offer you the same luxury.

Operating your businsess while on the road, you will need to have access to internet. Wifi may be your best option.
Countries with the best public wi-fi.

Some simpler tasks can be accomplished on your phone. Phones allow for connectivity even when roaming. Unless you’re in complete isolation, roaming will allow you to stay connected and even tether your internet connection to your computer.

You may want to utilize ‘roaming’ when you’re outside your regular phone service area, i.e. different state or country.

If you travel by plane often, a lot of the downtime associated with plane travel can actually be spent being productive. Airports and most airplanes now offer wifi services. If you are ever on a layover you can catch up on some work in the airport lounge between flights.

If necessary, you can buy wifi services while on a plane. Those long flights can be dedicated to work. When you land, spend some leisure the time exploring your new surroundings…or deal with jet-lag.

Hotdesk and Coworking Space

Co-working space can be the oasis of productivity while traveling.
Co-working space can be the oasis of productivity while traveling.

Hotdesking and co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular around the world. These premises are shared among other individuals who tend to work from home or are independent contractors.

While traveling, finding a quality nook to escape the distractions may be hard to come by. The usual cafe option just won’t cut it; the wifi may be shoddy and the seemingly endless stream of noisy patrons make for a less than ideal work environment.

For those looking to isolate themselves from the outside world and get some real work done, a co-working space could be the solution for you.

Check out the lists of great co-working spaces in the United States and Europe.

Top 77 London Coworking Spaces for Your Startup Coworking is great for small businesses and freelancers who need a dedicated workspace without the high prices. Check our top 77 London Coworking Spaces. READ MORE

Outsourcing Tasks

Filling positions with employees can be an expensive endeavor. Depending on the size of your business you may not even need to recruit permanent staff to fill positions. Many tasks can be outsourced, saving you time and most importantly, money.

Letting go of your business reigns just a bit can be a good thing. What I mean by that is outsourcing some of the tasks you burden yourself with. This will free up your day to deal with more pressing business matters or even leave you to just enjoy the travels.

If this is your first time outsourcing tasks, you may want to start off slow. There is no need to rush and hand over all the workload to others – take it one step a time. This way you can get more comfortable with process and analyze the quality of results.

Some popular outsourcing services are Upwork and Fiverr. On these directories you can search through a list of qualified individuals who are willing to take on the tasks you offer.

Work ranging from simple transcribing to complicated programming can be outsourced with the use of these directories. You are of course welcome to use other directories, or even bring on freelancers you know personally.

Automate What You Can

Automated invoices make online invoicing superior
Automating tasks can make your life just a bit easier.

Incorporating automation into your work routine means you do less while still maintaining productivity. There is a variety of software available for you to use to help streamline and automate business processes.

  • Email communication can be simplified with MailChimp for example. Send out automated emails and newsletters to your mailing list. Schedule any emails to be sent at specific intervals and let the software do its thing.
  • Social media marketing can be easily accomplished with the use of Buffer or EvergreenFeed. These tools let you automate social media campaigns. Any content you wish to distribute via social media can be scheduled for automated publishing.
  • Rather than performing the same action twice, let Zapier give you a hand. You can integrate Zapier with multiple applications that will allow them to work in tandem. One action performed on a platform can echo across multiple other applications.

There are more automation tools you can use. An extensive list can be found here.

Work smart, not hard. If you can delegate the work to automation software, do it. You won’t have to outsource as many tasks, and your time can be utilized for more pressing matters.

You Still Need to Get Paid

Online invoicing solutions can help you track expenses and create finance reports
Online invoicing makes the payment process quick and easy.

Cash flow is mandatory for your business to continue it’s operations. Not to mention the fact that that you have to eat too. Just because you’re on the road, doesn’t mean that your invoicing halts.

Invoice your clients for the work that you do, no matter where you are or what you’re preoccupied with. Timely invoicing guarantees a steady stream of income so you can continue doing what you do on the road.

The one big mistake that some businesses make is not switching to online invoicing. Conventional invoicing methods are not only cumbersome to you, but time consuming too. Think about the time it takes to receive mail that’s coming in from a different country. If you’re traveling, you don’t want your invoices stuck in transit for weeks or even months at a time.

Online invoicing solution such as InvoiceBerry can alleviate all your invoicing woes. You can create an invoice using this software in mere seconds and send it out instantly. Your clients will receive sent invoices immediately.

Let’s also not forget payment methods. There are multiple convenient transaction options for you and your client to choose from on InvoiceBerry. Easy to use and most importantly, secure.

How Online Invoicing Saves Time and Improves Freelancing Income Utilizing online invoicing opens up a lot of opportunities. You save time as a freelancer, and are able to receive your payments quicker with less hassle. READ MORE

Time to Get Moving

It’s not often that people take initiative and attempt to do something a bit more unconventional. In your case, it appears that you’d like to successfully foster a business while on the road. I commend your choices.

You managed to validate your business and your ability to operate it while on the move, that’s great news. The knowledge of how to operate a nomadic business is in this guide. You’re more than welcome to revert back to it if there’s ever a need.

I wish you the best of luck, and safe travels.

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