What would you say if someone approached you today and said “Hey, would you like to fly to the Caribbean with me and go on the adventure of a life-time for two months?”
I hope you’d say a resounding “yes”! If your initial reaction is that you couldn’t possibly leave your business for that long then you need to take action today, to move towards a business that allows you to work less and earn more.
As a small business owner you wear so many hats. You’re the CEO, the marketing director, financial planner, sales guru, customer service department, HR and often more. It can initially be hard to give up those roles to others, but if you want to take time off and still have a business that runs seamlessly without you, that’s what it takes.
The trick is building a business around your lifestyle, not a business that takes over your life. A business that does not depend on YOU entirely to be successful. It may sound like an impossible task but I can assure you it’s not.
If I can take off to Africa for over 2 months to cycle 6,445km from Nairobi to Capetown, and know that my business will practically run itself, then you can surely do the same. When I set up my business I wanted to ensure it encapsulated my values of freedom in business and adventure life.
I wanted to go on this type of adventure and not worry myself sick about every little detail. I worked hard to set up systems, strategic objectives, and documents that outlined exactly how to run each aspect of 80% of my business, without me.
I did this to gain freedom and I’m sure that was what you initially set out to have more of when you began your business, right? I recently surveyed my Suitcase Entrepreneur community and it was one of the main reasons cited for starting a business, along with being your own boss and making a difference.
Build Your Brand, Not Your Business, Around You
Aside from me, Laura is the perfect example of an entrepreneur who’s built a business she can take virtually anywhere and that can run without her. Even though she is the face of her business, she has systems in place that allow her to go and live in Argentina for a month while her business continues to thrive.
She’s a savvy delegator. She’s built a team of competent people she trusts and she empowers them to do the work when she’s not around with just two words `Your Call’. She and her team use a series of online tools that make it easy to streamline the day to day activities, and save them time and money.
Take Your Business Virtually Anywhere
The play on words was deliberate, so is the meaning in this statement. This is about you defining the terms of when you take a vacation. Thanks to a plethora of online tools available to you, there is no excuse not to be location independent, and take off at a moment’s notice with just your laptop, smartphone and passport.
If you’ve set up the foundations for your business, you should be able to access everything online and in the cloud, in just a few clicks. Start out by introducing the right tools for your business each week, until you have simple systems that work for you. Here are my favorite tools I use to run my business and live out of a suitcase:
Google Apps: A whole suite of free tools that you can literally run your business with, including online document editing and storage, shared calendars, email, forms (for customer surveys), and so much more.
Dropbox: This cloud storage system will change your world. Simply drag and drop files from your computer into the desktop app and it automatically syncs online. Now you can access every file from your smartphone or any other computer you can log into. No more losing your laptop and losing everything!
Asana: Simple and intuitive project management tool that you can use to assign tasks to yourself and your team and manage every detail with ease. Acts as a virtual assistant, by highlighting your priorities for the day.
Highrise: CRM web-based contact manager keeps your client information safe and sound online so you can access it whenever you need. Add profiles, documents, follow up notes, appointment reminders and more. Don’t ever lose track of your important customers and give your team access so they take over accounts and ensure nothing is missed when you’re away.
Boomerang: A life-saving email tool that allows you to answer an important email straight away, but send it a day or so later so people don’t think you’re too accessible. Plus you can ‘boomerang’ emails for another date, so you don’t lose track of them, but you can read and action them when it’s really necessary.
So how are you going to set up your dream lifestyle business from today onwards?