10 steps to taking your business out of your office and into your dream location!
Let’s assume you run your own business; you work with your partner or they have plenty of freedom in their role; you long to travel or have more time away from your normal life; you have an income, even if it’s not quite as much as you would like; you don’t have too many ties.
The obvious question is; what’s stopping you?
Now before I start, anyone who is reading this and thinking, ‘well this doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have any/all of that list above,’ –you are just at a different stage. The key element in all this is the desire to live and work more flexibly. Once you have that, you can put plans in motion to accomplish the rest.
So where to start?
- Decide on a location. Remember, this isn’t a holiday; you are going to be relocating your office. What can you get excited about? A vibrant capital city? A picturesque coastal resort? A quaint cottage in the rolling countryside?
- Look at your workload over the next 6 months. What do you have planned? What work will you be hoping to get? What do you already have in place? Pick a month when you have minimal ‘on-site’ commitments or these can be shifted because you have plenty of time to give notice.
- Work out how much time you have. Can you be away for a month? Although it’s easier to establish a routine over a month (committing to work without feeling you are missing out on exploring your new local area), you may feel more comfortable starting with 2 or 3 weeks.
- Plan what work you can accomplish in that time purely from your laptop or on the phone. Maybe choose tasks which you have been meaning to do for a while but not got round to, or more creative pieces which would benefit from a change of scene. Remember, if you suddenly got a big new project you would block out the time needed to deliver it; have the same mindset here.
- Start your research. What’s your budget? What accommodation can you find in the area you like? Remember, out of season is cheaper, but your most important question is ‘do you have a high speed wireless internet connection!’
- Book your accommodation. That’s going to be your remote office. Once you have committed you know you are going to do this, and it will feel scary, but great!
- Don’t be tempted to shift things around. In the coming months you may be asked to do pieces of work during the period you are away. You have two options. You can explain, ‘I’m working off site during those dates so I can do it either before then or on my return.’ Or, ‘’I’m working off-site during those dates but I do have an associate who will be able to help you’. An associate can be someone who works in your field and who you can train/ trust to manage your commitments in your absence. The client will remain yours; the associate will deliver the work and you will pay them to do so, keeping a % of the fee.
- Make sure you have everything you need to run your business. Catalogue all the things you need around you to manage your work over the coming weeks. Start saving key files onto a memory stick. (We can cover more specifics of what you need, plus more sophisticated remote file access systems in a later article).
- Set expectations. If any clients are likely to need to get hold of you during that period make sure they are clear that you will be working off site but will respond to any messages they leave on your usual number as soon as possible. Again, if you were attending a conference or delivering a project they would accept that you would be unavailable, and so would you. This is no different.
- Plan how you will achieve a balance. You don’t want to spend your entire time in your new destination working! Research the area, work out what you would like to see and plan how you will spend your weekends. Work for 3.5 or 4 days a week and get excited about what you can do in your well deserved leisure time. The R&R time will help you work more effectively when you return to your ‘office’ (which just to warn you, will probably be a dining room table!)
Our first experience of running our business abroad was 3 weeks from a Gite in the French countryside. It was an idyllic location in late May, surrounded by fields and hills.
French fields and hills
Chris suffered terrible hay fever when the neighbouring farmer decided to decimate his hedges, the pool was freezing and the wiring highly unreliable! But we ate fresh food from the market on the patio every night, took long country walks through the hills and explored the local villages.
View from the top of the hill after a long walk
There were internet issues (there always are!) and we were suddenly inundated with enquiries and deadlines we hadn’t expected (this ALWAYS happens. Be prepared- when you absent yourself, the business will take off!) But it worked. It was a breath of fresh air and it gave us our first taste of what we could accomplish. The next trip was the much more ambitions but this one was the spring board.
If you are reading this with mounting objections, maybe the timing isn’t right for you, or it just isn’t enough of a priority. If you are getting a tingle of excitement in the pit of your stomach, pay attention! This could be just the nudge you needed.
If you would like more information or have a question please do leave a comment below.