Our home office is located in Clearwater, Florida, for my publishing house. However, I have been working with clients all over the world for many years now. I also use freelancers that work in different countries and time zones, but it wasn’t until now that I wanted to go remote myself. With iPhones, iPads, and Wi-Fi everywhere, many companies and employees can do just that. I literally have worked in the most obscure places even if it wasn’t on the other side of the planet—from doing client calls stuck in Tampa traffic to publishing books on St. Pete Beach. So why would it matter if I was formatting a manuscript in Japan or writing this blog in a cute café in Chiang Mai? I knew I could create an excellent product no matter where I was in the world, but could my clients?
I announced my four-month travel journey to Southeast Asia at our five-year anniversary party to about half of my clients. I got the ooo’s and ahhh’s but also the inevitable, “Is your company going to crash and burn because you’re leaving the States?” If we are working through Wi-Fi, we are working remotely already. So, no, my business is not going to stall at all. In reality, I have been working from Asia for the last 7 weeks and I’ve only seen improvements. My staff is working on projects while I’m asleep. Then I work on items when they are asleep. So now we are working 24/7 all over the globe. I have to do new client calls at night to accommodate the time difference, but I don’t mind that because I’ve always been a night owl anyway. I just change the availability on my online appointment scheduler for a 3-hour window, which for me is 7-10 p.m. I do the calls over Wi-Fi from my office iPhone and no one has any idea that I’m on the other side of the planet because my number still shows up as a 727 area code.
At first, I thought it was important to announce it to everyone that I would be working from Asia for 4-5 months, but now I see that just causes unnecessary panic. I know I can work anywhere and so can my staff. We have been doing it for many years. The office is really just for pomp and circumstance. We have been using a virtual office for the longest time—where you pay a monthly fee for a business address and then pay for a conference room time to meet with clients. It looks like a big bustling office when clients come in for meetings, however those are different companies that have nothing to do with me. Some people think I own the entire building. They’ll ask during our meeting, “How many employees do you have!?” I think it’s hilarious. I wish I owned the multimillion-dollar glass building on the ocean, but most of my work is actually done on my sofa with my cat.
Working remotely is becoming a more acceptable idea recently with the rise of digital nomads. But many people are still stuck in the 9-5 commuting mindset. The fact is—that’s an outdated model. Studies have shown people are more productive at home than in a corporate workplace. I was always distracted when I worked at a regular job. Someone’s always bothering you—asking questions, chatting in the break room, long lunches, and 15 minute breaks. I was lucky to get anything done during those 8 hours. From home, I can crank out stuff for 5 hours straight with no distractions.
In conclusion, I discovered that where I’m located doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t need to be a topic of conversation unless I’m speaking to a client who wants to meet in person. Then I suggest a Zoom or Skype call. I have published books for clients in Tampa that live 30 minutes away from the office that I never meet in person. It’s really a beautiful thing.
If you have a company and you want to go travel the world, my advice is just do it. Most likely there won’t be any issues unless you have in-person stuff you have to do. But think outside of the box. How could you create an online solution? Don’t make it an issue if it’s not already one. Come up with inventive ways you can still service your clients while living the life you have always dreamed of.
*Look for the book coming out soon on how you can run your business while traveling abroad!