For most, it is the dream: running a business you are passionate about that is going to allow you to travel the world, check the laptop of yours from a beach side hammock, send emails from the phone of yours while sipping Malbec in Patagonia, and exchange flirtatious glances with locals at a cafe in Europe, luxuriating in the scent of roasted coffee beans, fresh baked pastries, and freedom.
Unfortunately, creating this type of freedom business – one which provides personal fulfillment, location independence, and financial security – can be a little tricky, and seem nearly impossible looking in from the outside.
You will find a great deal of moving parts, and unless you’ve a great deal of time to work it out through trial-and-error, it is very easy to miss something vital and have the whole thing come crumbling down around you love a nudged pile of croissants in a French cafe display case.
Fortunately, I have had some time to make those mistakes and learn from them, and I am going to share with you the fruits of my experience traveling full time for 2 years, running a couple of organizations from the highway, building my ideal lifestyle and accruing the income to sustain it.
Set a Goal
Before you decide to do something else, it is crucial you identify what the end point of yours will be.
Do you need to travel full time? Simply have the choice to go when you want? Perhaps just re locate and not have to sit down in an office? Is location somewhat arbitrary, and it is most important that you are able to do something much more fun for a living?
Dream big here, and do not be scared to get specific. If the ideal work life balance of yours is actually putting in 10 hours of effort on the personal computer and then spending the majority of your day yachting in the Caribbean, unabashedly set that as the objective of yours. Wherever there is a will, there is a way, and these days we have got access to so many ways it is unbelievable, provided you understand how to access them.
This’s also a crucial step since it assures that you will be spending your time heading in the right path. I cannot tell you exactly how many folks I have met on the road who found themselves in a situation they thought they will love (spending all day on a beach in Southeast Asia, for example), only to realize they were aiming for someone else’s dream, not their own (they prefer cool climates and hamburgers, heat, not humidity, and pad thai).
This goal may change along the way, but spending some time to ensure you are walking in mostly the right direction is actually time wisely spent.
Itemize Your Personal Assets
The next thing is to step coldly and back take stock of the personal assets of yours and list them out the same way you’d itemize a closet full of possessions.
When I say personal assets, I mean everything from the cash you’ve in your bank account to the passing knowledge of yours of how you can play the banjo. An asset is actually anything of value, and in the context, it is anything of value that can conceivably bring you much more value in the future. The cash in the bank is actually earning you interest over time, and your above average rendition of’ Stairway to Heaven’ played on the ol’ 5 string could result in your giving lessons as you travel, or perhaps writing a niche dominating blog on banjo maintenance.
It is crucial you approach this step the same method in which you will approach assessing the importance of an automobile or perhaps house before committing to a down payment. in case the window is actually broken, take that into account, of course, if you truly are not really good at web design, do not add that to the list of yours of personal assets.
On the other hand, in case you come across something that you can easily improve upon that might have a bit of value, spend the time or perhaps money necessary to get that upgrade. Web design courses can be had free or cheap online, and spending a handful of hours fleshing out that skill set might be extremely valuable down the line, increasing your personal value potential out of proportion with the time you invested in it (just as fixing a stuck window could improve a car’s value far more than it costs to have the matter taken care of).
Develop a Personal Business Plan
When you’ve a list of personal assets, it is time to discover exactly how you are able to utilize them to produce value other folks will need to pay you for.
The way in which I love to deal with this’s to take a look at yourself and the life of yours as a business, and start a business plan exactly the same way you’d for any new venture, although one that potentially has multiple revenue streams and straddles multiple fields.
I believe the very best way to explain this clearly is to give you an example of what the personal business plan of mine is like.
Taking stock of the assets of mine a few years ago, I decided that my strongest value producing skills revolved around web development, brand strategy, especially design, and branding . I also had a background in writing (having worked as a columnist in the past), and I assumed I will be in a position to make use of that skill for something income generating. The history of mine of entrepreneurship (and all that entails) also seemed like it will be beneficial in some way, so I figured that into the situation.
I’d a number of other areas on the list, as well, including playing guitar, professional photography and being an above average yo yoist, but I decided that these skills will be a lot tougher to turn into value that others will pay for, so I put them on the back burner. Additionally, I am a great deal more passionate about branding, design, and writing, while playing guitar is one thing I do for fun.
Ultimately, I worked out a plan where I will be in a position to do brand consultation for clients from anywhere in the world, which was important, because the perfect lifestyle I identified included full time travel. I will also provide design and web development services to some clients, but I’d keep that to a minimum, and make use of those skills, along with my entrepreneurial chops, to create businesses that are small for myself around any niche I saw being underserved as I traveled.
It was just a couple of months before I’d an online community, a’t shirt shop, a publishing platform and few ebooks bringing in revenue, each receiving an early burst of traffic from a blog I set up as a hub for the activities of mine as well as in order to keep an eye on what I learned along the way.
Lastly, when I decided I needed to start traveling full time, I was making a great deal of money running a branding studio in LA, but I was also spending a good deal on the overhead created by the lifestyle of mine. Part of making a personal business plan involves identifying liabilities (the opposite of assets), and my liabilities were mostly tied up in that lifestyle, so I determined that a great part of that lifestyle had to go if I needed to achieve my new one. I got rid of the townhouse of mine and high end wardrobe, my 5 computers and the automobile of mine, the hundreds of mine of books. The space and upkeep requirements of these possessions were way too much of a burden for my formula to work, so I eliminated them from the equation only as an office manager would get rid of the surplus reams of boxes or paper of paperclips that never get used from an office’s monthly equipment order form.
Things you genuinely care about – and that are actually a crucial component of your perfect lifestyle – are not liabilities, they are vital elements of what you are working toward. Anything beyond that, although, may be cut out of the picture and make the entire process that much easier. Difficult choices to be made, definitely, but being the own company of yours is not always easy!
Tell a Story
An often overlooked step in building a successful freedom business which enables you to travel is actually figuring out what your story is actually, and then communicating it as clearly as you possibly can.
This’s a fundamental facet of branding: determine what you are all about, refine a message from that, and distribute that message. Doing so brings like minded individuals to you (so you do not have to hunt all of them down), and can certainly also end up in surprising opportunities.
The story I have been telling since I started traveling full time is actually I am a twenty something serial entrepreneur who moves to a new country every 4 months based on the votes of the readers of mine.
Quick, simple, to the point; pretty basic concept, really. And that is the response you want folks to have, you want them to realize what you are all about immediately, and then to ask questions to learn the details (“Why 4 months? What do you do there? What kind of businesses?”). This will give you the chance to tell them more about what you are up to without force feeding the story of yours to folks that are not interested (Seth Godin coined a good term for this particular approach: Permission Marketing).
Your story needn’t be gimmicky, and could be as easy as “I’ve worked as a garbage male in Nantucket the whole life of mine, and I made the decision I want to live in Boston and travel 3 months out of each year, so I began a custom three piece suit business.” Super simple, but one thing that will get folks asking questions and doing what they can to enable you to achieve the dream of yours; when you’ve a story to tell, folks will need to be a part of that story, and will generally do what they can to enable you to reach your happily-ever-after.
The most effective way to tell the story of yours to a much larger audience and rally up support for what you are doing would be to build platforms from which to present it.
Nowadays, building a platform is simple. You are able to create a site or perhaps even simply head over to Facebook, create a profile, and boom, platform built. Time for a beer.
But wait. Before you decide to crack open a cold one, note that although building a platform is actually easy, optimizing it is able to have a little work. Working with a Facebook profile which is actually an incoherent jumble of messages is similar to having a billboard covered in random letters: it is neat you’ve one, but it is not actually doing anyone much good.
You need the platforms of yours to express the story of yours as clearly as you are able to express it verbally, and much more so, if possible. You will have to accomplish this through the copy you write for the various sections, the folks, movements and products you align yourself with, as well as the media you post on your profile or website.
So in case your story is actually you are a former teacher who’s currently selling pre built art history courses to home schooling parents while living in Rome, the profile of yours should reflect this. Post stories to your wall about The like, education, history, architecture, art, and Rome . The photo album of yours should be bursting with shots you have taken of the new home of yours, and there should be links to where individuals are able to acquire the courses of yours, testimonials of customers that are satisfied, and perhaps a sign up form for the mailing list of yours.
This does not mean you cannot be yourself on the platforms of yours – in fact, you definitely should, or perhaps it is not likely to end up an extremely enjoyable experience – but if the very first thing someone sees when they go to your website is actually a photo of a squirrel kissing a plastic dinosaur, or perhaps random quotes from random folks about random things, then you are not very likely to get the attention of a prospective customer or perhaps co conspirator quickly enough. They will move right along, assuming you are just some person whose life in no way relates to the interests of theirs.
Consider this to heart across all media that you utilize, including the sites of yours, social media accounts and business cards. Own that story, and tell it in as a number of ways as you are able to, using what is available to do it.
Enhance Your Network
When you’ve the story of yours and platforms built, you are able to begin to network.
Having a solid network is just as valuable as having a substantial bank account in it gives you access to things you would not otherwise have access to, as well as increases the value of every asset you possess manyfold.
The network of yours is able to help you promote the ventures of yours, give you suggestions and enable you to refine the message of yours, connect you with many other individuals that may be in a position to enable you to get exactly where you want to go, and help you much more effectively utilize the skills that you’ve.
For instance, when I began traveling, I wrote for the blog of mine and for myself, and it was not until 6 months or perhaps so later that folks in my network started connecting me with writing gigs that I would use as another revenue stream.
The latent benefit of having a rounded out network is the fact that you will have the ability to connect with like minded individuals, and surround yourself with support and inspiration. Having the proper folks cheering you on can mean the difference between folding under pressure and persevering despite odds that are great. It is also a good way to be released to a new culture when you travel; these days I seldom arrive in a new country without already having a few invites and introductions through the network of mine, which saves me the time I’d usually spend ambling about, making silly mistakes and spending a lot of money in tourist traps.
Figure Out Your Income
A mistake I see aspiring freedom business owners making is actually to think that they will scrap the current lifestyle of theirs, start traveling and figure out the whole money thing along the way. Surely someone is going to pay them for leading an intriguing life, right?
Unfortunately, I typically meet these individuals as they are on the way home of theirs after several months of amazing travel which has left them broke and searching a new job back where they came from. Do not get me wrong, it is likely that you may make this work, but it is just not very likely, and it is a far better strategy to be prepared financially than to try to deal with all of the lifestyle changes AND financial instability at the same time.
Identify what lifestyle type you would like to achieve, figure out the personal assets of yours and business plan, and make sure you have got some income coming in (even in case it is only a trickle) before you hit the road. Trust me, you will be happy you did later.
Pave a Revenue Path
One challenging aspect of traveling and running businesses from the street is your revenue path; that’s, how do you receive money? And where does it go as soon as you receive it?
And how will you pay your dog sitter from another country?
These’re things that a lot of people do not have to be concerned about overmuch, because in a regular, non-travel-heavy life situation, you work, your paycheck goes right into a bank account and then you spend that money. On the road, nonetheless, it could be challenging to actually get paid, much less make sure that money goes where it should and is actually accessible when you want it.
You will have to take a bit of time to determine how you can deal with a number of different eventualities before you will truly be prepared for anything. Here is what my revenue path looks like:
Whatever I are able to do online, I do. Most of my businesses allow me to receive the profits of mine through Paypal, Google Amazon or Checkout Payments, and once the money is actually in one of those account, I can pay for things online, send the money to other folks, or perhaps transport it to a bank account.
I’ve 3 bank accounts, one which has a killer checking account which allows me to get rid of cash from any ATM in the world and never have to pay fees (Charles Schwab…and ATMs always give the very best exchange rate when you travel, by the way), one which has an extremely high interest savings account (ING), and one that has brick-and-mortar locations I can go to when I am back in the US and need in person help, and a decent reward generating credit card (Bank of America). I’ve each of these accounts connected to my online accounts (Paypal, Google Checkout, Amazon Payments) and to each other, so the cash I’ve in a single location could be in another within one day or perhaps 2, at most.
When a client or perhaps customer for one of my ventures insists of paying me with a check (this still happens, particularly for large amounts), I’ve them send it to an address within the US where one of my family members signs the check and mails it to my checking account (using bank supplied pre paid envelopes) to be deposited one day or perhaps 2 later. You will find services which will do this for you, too, in case you do not have a friend or perhaps family member available in the country in which you do your most business to receive and deposit the checks of yours for you.
This product is INCREDIBLY hard to set up once you have left the country of yours of origin, as there’ll probably be paperwork to sign and submit to connect the accounts of yours and different banks to each other, so be sure you get the pathways all set up and smoothed over before you leave. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the process, also, since you do not want to accidentally send your money somewhere it should not be, or perhaps somehow lose it in transit.
Cope with Legalities
Regardless of how convenient it might be to dismiss it, the law follows us wherever we happen to travel, and those laws aren’t only difficult and confusing, but also completely different in every country, state, city, and block (okay, maybe not block, but still).
Before you leave, you have to ensure you’ve good paperwork filed for any business activities you are actually undertaking, and a great knowledge of what business type you are able to participate in wherever it’s you happen to be going to.
Typically, you are able to do online work from anywhere, but in case you are doing anything profit generating locally, you will most likely have to get the best visa type, file a bit of paperwork and add an additional page or perhaps forty to the taxes of yours for that season.
Speaking of taxes, you will want to make sure to pay them, on time and as accurately as you possibly can. Among the worst things that can happen to you while traveling is actually to be audited; I have not had it happen to me personally, but I have heard lots of stories of long term vacations gone awry due to the tax man come calling. Due to the strange nature of what I do for a living, I have a tendency to overpay to hedge the bets of mine, but getting a good CPA would probably realize the same certitude for less money.