Isn’t it great that for the first time ever more and more people are leaving the corporate world to start their own business, leaving college and not even bothering with the graduate milk round, and in some cases not even bothering with college at all.
The travel lifestyle is enabling corporate misfits, college students and fledgling entrepreneurs to not only satisfy their craving for more freedom and adventure, but also follow their ideas into entrepreneurship.
Still considered risky or irresponsible by old-school corporates and even some career coaches, frankly to be the change you want to see in the world and leave the world a little better than you found it, entrepreneurship is the golden ticket.
Here are the 3 surprising ways travel can help you grow your startup:
- More time
- More money
- More freedom
Let’s get into it!
#1: More time for yourself, your business and your own life
Since according to Bloomberg 80% of startups fail within 18 months primarily due to founder burnout, having time to take care of yourself is obviously a strategic imperative.
But how does travel help you do that? Far removed from your day to day concerns and obligations, travel literally clears your calendar to make room for yourself and your ideas to flourish.
For starters you’re far away from family and friends.
You might think this is a bad thing at first but your personal community can be one of the largest drains on your personal time and capacity for self care.
Week after weekend is filled with birthday, Christenings and engagements, not to mention expensive and time-consuming hen and bucks weekends in Barcelona and Amsterdam.
During a recent conversation with a friend I asked how her juice business was going. ‘Oh, she replied, ‘not much happening at the moment, I have a wedding on for the next 6 weekends.’
Cutting back on the time you spend with friends can bring up a lot of guilt about having to prioritise yourself over them. While balance doesn’t mean cutting them out completely, if you can’t allocate 2-10 non-negotiable hours a week on your business while you’re still working, or have trouble putting yourself first on weekends without succumbing to peer pressure, travel will solve that for you.
Keep in touch via Skype, have friends visit you for weekends in certain hot spots and visiting home will helping you cultivate deeper relationships with those that really matter.
And beyond that, you’ll also find yourself liberated from certain routines and habits that you don’t even know you have.
When you travel you sift out the dross and distraction, the pottering and procrastination, because you’re in new places and cultures, so you’re either out exploring your new surroundings, or pouring out your ideas with notebook & pen or laptop at your new favourite cafe/ virtual office.
When I started traveling and living abroad I stopped watching TV. I started jogging on the beach in the mornings and radically changed the way I structured my day, bookending it with the beach and planning a lot of space in my diary to enjoy sunsets and the cultural hours, like the late dinner hours in Spanish cities.
There’s something about being in a new place that makes you not want to waste your time on the shit you think nothing about doing at home.
Life becomes less busy, more full. And you begin to feel enriched by it rather than depleted by it.
#2: Longer financial runway to support you while your business grows
Of course money is another reason many startups, businesses and fledgling entrepreneurs quit. Not just literally running out, but the fear and shame around running out.
Since it’s inevitable that you’ll run out of money at some point, developing a healthy mindset around money as an enabler of your life and work (versus grim reaper with scythe at the ready to slice through your dreams) is critical if you want to sat in the game until you get the results that you’re looking for.
While running out of money signals the end for many – it’s merely a pause that invites some introspection, change of direction and the accumulation of more moolah!
That said, one of the ways to make your money last longer while you have it is to reduce your living costs, and travel can be an excellent way of doing this.
Living in large capital cities around the world is high not just because of the cost of food and rent, but also because keeping up with the lifestyle costs oodles and oodles extra, too.
There is so much reassure and expectation from the outside world to have the latest fashionable clothes, cosmetics, skincare, gadgets…. You might even be one of the people who queue up overnight for the next apple product unveiling. For women there’s tons of pressure to look good so there’s waxing and manicures, and expensive yoga and workout clothes.
I’m not even going to pretend I know what pressure guys are under to look good, but I know you lot love your indulgences and guilty pleasures just as much as we do. Cutting back on your expenses while living the same life is as hard as quitting coffee or alcohol… it feels punishing.
When you hit the road you have the chance to declutter your stuff (sell, giveaway, give to charity), cancel all your subscriptions (internet, phone, gym). Whatever you spend on restaurants, lunch-on-the-go, buying a round for all your friends at the pub… all this vaporises as you simplify and head off with a single bag.
If you do your research you can either use exchange rates to go somewhere more economical for your currency, or completely shift your life & work to a country that is dirt cheap all the time, whatever your currency.
Pick countries on your bucket list, counties that you’re always fantasised about living in or traveling through and you’ll realise: you don’t have to wait ’til your 60 to have the adventure and freedom you’re craving. You can have it now!
When I wrote my first book in 2012 I didn’t want to worry about money running out so I spent 4 months in Mexico.
My total expenditure was US$400/ month. Accommodation, food, travel social, everything. My weekly grocery bill was 8 pounds. And I had no bills because I was renting a cabana. Had a great monthly phone plan so I could tether for internet. Sweet!
Two years ago I spent the summer in Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain, $558/ month renting a cavernous one-bedroom apartment, internet included. My groceries were 12 euros a week. (That’s organic, thank you)
My living cost back in the day in London was $2,323. All rent, bills, food, social, gym, yoga etc.
Wow. Apple and oranges, right?!
I literally save US$2,000 a month by traveling.
Which I can use to lengthen my personal financial runway or invest in my business. Just FYI my business is 100% online & as lean as possible, it has very low running costs (I’m going to talk more about this in a minute.) That could be spent on 5 months living & working on my business in Mexico, or a premium online business course.
Throw your fears, shame and excuses about running out of money under the bus, and get yourself on the bus so you can tick of your bucket list while growing your business.
*Drinkers note: You’ll have to factor your alcohol expediture on top of this. Admittedly I’m not a party animal. When I make new friends we hike up a mountain to see the annual butterfly migration, or beat our way through the bushes to find a hidden beach. The travel lifestyle is not a the same as a holiday where you might drink yourself silly in the hope of kissing a stranger. (Hello East Coast Australia).
#3: Location freedom for your life and future business
The best advice I’ve ever given anyone is to start your business while traveling.
Especially if you want location freedom.
Because if you want to design a travel lifestyle then it’s way easier to design a business around that than to Take an existing business on the road. It’s possible, but not as easy because it will require significant changes to various components of your business model.
So why not start as you mean to go on?
Build your business while you’re traveling. You’ll be able to figure out exactly what you can do, and how to make your ideas happens while you’re traveling. Location-freedom will be the DNA of your business.
On a side note: There’s no blueprint #workfromwherever #locationindependent travel lifestyle. Many choose to backpack with their laptop, choosing to go from place to place every few days, pit stopping for longer occasionally or returning home for long periods. This suits the photographer or the blogger. But backpacking is a different story.
The travel lifestyle is simply about immersing yourself in new cultures, diving deep under the surface of the city, beyond the cathedral tour and the 360 revolving restaurant view.
It’s about living. Slow living if you like, but normal living.
So you will have an internet connection. You will have a beautiful house or apartment to live in. You will exercise every day. You’ll meet up with new friends, have visitors. You will likely have co-working spaces to go to (they have them all over Asia, Africa and Central America).
You will still feel passionate about your business to want to work on it every day. But you’ll have so many new things to explore in between your work sessions. And that’s what makes it special. You don’t have to be constantly on the road. That’s a myth.
The flexibility & freedom to stay anywhere for as long as you want is at the core of the travel lifestyle.
So when I refer to your business model, it’s more around your processes, systems, the kind of team you grow (employees versus freelancers), training for your teams, software, hardware etc
- Working with coaching clients – work with clients on Skype or turn your program into a self study online course?
- Product based business – engage a cloud-based company that has distribution for local fulfilment or start selling e-guides and live online challenges?
- Service-based business – train clients to work with you remotely or grow a team of local freelancers you manage from abroad?
When you grow your business while traveling you’ll be more inspired to create a lean model, more likely to bake passive income streams into it and eventually have a more sustainable model that can run with or without you. This is key for becoming Leader and CEO in your life and business rather than just another employee working for yourself.
Currently I travel with:
- Mac Air
- Mini microphone
- Purple Pen
- Yellow Highlighter
This is my virtual office. My business fits in my handbag.
You don’t have to travel forever, but having a location-independent business sets you up for a freedom life.
Whether you still live in one place and go on 5 weeks holiday a year, or travel non stop (like me) you have the freedom to live and work exactly how you want.
If that doesn’t convince you to pack your bags right now and set off for more freedom and adventure, I don’t know what will!
Image: Averie Woodard via Unsplash.com
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See you there, and see you next week on the freedomphilosophy.com