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How to Run a Business While Travelling

Thanks to technological advances in recent years, there’s a new kind of entrepreneur that’s got some envious glances headed their way - the “nomadic entrepreneur”.

Imagine visiting a new town every day, skipping from one country to the next. It sounds like a great way to spend a holiday, but it makes for an even better job.

As we delve deeper into social media, blogging, affiliate marketing and online stores, the opportunities for making money while travelling are many. As a result, an increasing number of people are making the decision to become location-independent - “digital nomads” you might say. Even those with long-standing businesses that were formed long before the digital age are making the switch to becoming more mobile.

What is a “digital nomad”?

The Internet has revolutionised the term ‘work’, bringing new opportunities and employment that didn’t exist until recently. For those willing to embrace it in its full capacity, the Internet is an opportunity to combine work and seeing the world.

The term “digital nomad” is frequently overused and can be used to describe those hacking around in cheap accommodation with a small level of income to keep them going. But it can also mean, for some folks, a career that successfully combines power, money and the freedom to travel on your own schedule.

A quick online search and you’ll have access to a plethora of business success stories, which have all been managed from the skies or road.

Matthew Kepnes - aka Nomadic Matt

If you’ve recently been researching accommodation, things to do or travel advice, chances are you’ve come across Nomadic Matt. The successful travel writer teaches others how to travel on a budget and while based in New York, he rarely resides at home. Instead he’s off seeing the world from every angle and then sharing tips on how others can see it too.

Matt’s advice: If you want to travel more, go do it. If it’s not realistic, try to negotiate with your boss a four-day week and take short trips around your area in the three days you have off. Travel doesn’t have to be about going someplace exotic, it just has to be somewhere “new”.

Kisha Mays - CEO of Just Fearless

Kisha Mays is the founder and CEO of Just Fearless, a  business development consultancy that helps women entrepreneurs expand into international markets. While she’s based in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, she spends around 8 months of the year out of the office, working on projects from Malaysia to Singapore to Italy to India. With a team of 17 staff, plus freelancers, her company’s annual revenue was around $US 5 million for 2015 and Mays estimates she gets to take home about 70% of that due to the low overhead costs of running her business. Because she travels so extensively for business, many of her living and transportation expenses are tax-deductible.

Kisha’s advice: Hire freelancers and outsource. At the same time, allow employees to work from home, or the office.

Dan Andrews - Tropical MBA

Tropical MBA is a popular podcast and blog dedicated to the growing movement of location independent entrepreneurs worldwide. Dan Andrews, together with friend Ian Schoen, started a product design and ecommerce company in 2007 that grew to multi-seven figures in annual revenues. They left the business in 2015 but have continued to share their journey via their blog and podcast - discussing topics such as old-school business know-how, the permanent travel lifestyle, team building, culture and management.

Dan’s advice: Spend time with people who are getting things done. Having a network of like-minded people around you will be great support when growing a business.

Scott Leonard - Founder and CEO of Navigoe

Scott Leonard grew up sailing, and the fact he was running a full-service financial planning firm wasn’t going to get in the way of his dream of heading off into the sunset with his family. To buy his boat, he sold his home along with most of his belongings and set to work preparing his employees. Then for three years he managed his financial firm from the seas.

While his 100 or so clients were nervous at the time he set sail, Navigoe has continued to grow. Aside from flying back for ten days every quarter to meet with clients, the rest of Leonard’s time was spent aboard or off exploring with his family. Today the business has 125 clients, six employees, and a revenue of around $US 2 million.

Scott’s advice: If your business relies solely on its CEO, there’s something wrong with it. A fundamental trait of “the liberated CEO” is to trust in the capabilities of employees when you’re not there.

As you can see, many people are making a go of being a “digital nomad”. So how can you do it? How can you successfully manage a business when travelling?

9 tips for managing a business from a hotel room

1. Transparency

Transparency is the key to keeping clients happy. Be sure to communicate your plans with your clients and keep them informed of how you are managing things away from the office.

2. Research potential Internet issues

It’s important to know that you will have access to good Internet while travelling, so research any limitations of working in the area in which you are visiting. These limitations could be patchy Internet, no Wi-Fi or a ban on a platform - Vimeo is blocked in Indonesia for example. (FYI - Swiss-Belhotel International provides free High Speed Internet for our guests).

3. Manage your time-zones

Plan your sightseeing and travelling activities around the time difference. It’s important you are reachable and accessible during your main business hours.

4. Get used to Skype or Google Hangouts

Skype and Google Hangouts are both fantastic tools for managing both staff and clients that still require face-to-face contact. With tools like these, there’s very little difference when it comes to personalised attention.

Google Hangouts in particular allows you to easily communicate with collaborators and share documents. You can see each other, making it more personal, plus you can take part from your smart phone.

5. Be inspired

The beauty of travelling while you work is that you have this endless source of inspiration. Draw this inspiration from your surroundings and use it to grow and expand your business. To do this, however, you will need to set aside time for brainstorming and conceptualising new ideas.

6. Make use of management tools

Management tools, when used appropriately, can be powerful enablers of change and actions in a company. They can, for example, help define and execute strategy, engage with customers and employees and monitor performance.

7. Automate

With a wide-variety of automation tools available, putting your business on autopilot for tasks such as document and records management, invoice management, CRM and social networking can save you a great deal of time. Freeing up time on common tasks allows you the opportunity to dedicate time on the things that can’t be automated or performed by someone else.

8. Set a goal

Rather than just wing it, set yourself goals for when you’re away. This could be a goal to add two new clients or it could be a goal to have five tasks automated by the time you return. Whatever it is, a goal helps you direct your time appropriately.

9. Stay focused

It’s easy to get distracted when travelling, but to successfully manage business life on the road it’s crucial that you stay focused and disciplined. If mornings are the prime time for you to do business, this might mean having to say no to that sunrise sky dive.

If you’re going to be on the road completing business, you’ll need to choose the right accommodation option for your business needs - Swiss Belhotel International offers excellent facilities to those working while travelling. Find a hotel in your destination city through our website today and enjoy your time away from home in comfort.

How to Run a Business While Travelling