Travel Dreams: How to Take Your Business On the Road
Ever want to spend some time in a place you love while still running your business? Getting to know a place from the insider's viewpoint is fun, exciting, and opens you up to a whole new experience of your beloved spot.
I started to do this 7 years ago on visits to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Northern New Mexico had drawn me for years, and I longed to feel what it was like to be a local for a while.
So I decided to try it. I packed up the dog and a station wagon of stuff, and spent a month in one of my favorite places, Santa Fe. It worked so well, that I did it the next year. And the next. And the next!
That experience made my later experience of being a full-time nomad seem do-able, even while still running my coaching and consulting business.
Not every business will lend itself to this kind of full transportability, but with so much of our work dependent on the internet, it's surprising how much of it we can take on the road.
How did I transplant myself to a new place and keep my business running smoothly? Just 12 key ways will get you started.
Here are 12 tips for how to make this happen in your own life, so you can choose to spend time in a place that you love.
1. Pick a great spot to live. While you're away, you want to be a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and well-maintained. Your surroundings are important, especially since you'll be spending time indoors working, more than you probably would on an average vacation. Get recommendations for a rental agency that is reliable. Once when I was in Santa Fe, a skunk moved in under the brick floor of my casita (little house) rental. I called the rental agency, and they sent someone right over to capture the critter and rehabilitate him (or her!). Had it not been taken care of so efficiently, I'd have had this nose-y (couldn't resist that one!) companion for much longer than I would have liked.
2. Get comfortable. Bring with you exactly what you need to feel comfortable. You'll be surprised: it won't be a lot. Just a few items of importance will help you settle right in. Pick what is most meaningful for you that you can easily transport. In addition to business equipment (see #3), I brought comfortable clothes to work in, and 2 pieces of artwork that felt home-y, along with my dog's favorite toy.
3. Decide on the equipment you need. It's surprising how infrequently we use some hunks of what's considered essential office equipment, e.g., fax machines. So, no need to bring one! I signed up for an e-fax service, so I could send to fax numbers anywhere from my computer. I managed really well with just my computer, backup drives, and a small travel printer. That last one is really a convenience - I've also been places like Europe without it, and with my memory stick in hand, I can go to any copy place and get something printed if necessary.
4. Consolidate. All the papers and files and books that you have lying on your desk or on your shelves in your office can be sorted, weeded, and consolidated so that you only have with you what you need. A cool program called Evernote lets you capture info like business cards and handwritten notes, and makes it searchable. Scan important papers so you have them on the computer. Download books to your Kindle or iPad. Pull key papers out of their files, and only take with you what you'll need. This extra time spent planning and packing is well spent - you'll be glad you did!
5. Scope out the support you need. Finding a copy and fax place, getting high speed internet set up, locating all the places you'll need in advance will save you a lot of time once you get there. With online resources so readily available, you can have a list with maps all ready to go. If you have an assistant, they can do all this for you before you leave.
6. It's not all about business support either - putting things in place so you can be prepared personally is also important. For example, I located and interviewed vets over the phone when I had my dog Charlie with me, so I knew where to go if he needed care or there was an emergenc