Q. What’s one big hurdle that you had to overcome in your quest to becoming a nomadic entrepreneur and how did you do it?
Victor L., San Jose, CAThe following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). Founded by Scott Gerber, the YEC is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
A. Realigning Is Hard
If you’re running a business before you start traveling, chances are you’ll have to scale it down a bit before you can hit the open road. This was a tough concept for me, as my business was big and growing, and my dream was always to run a big studio. Eventually I realigned my business with my wants, and realized scaling would give me more freedom, which I wanted even more. I’ve never looked back.
A. Define Your Work and Play Schedule
Traveling is meant to be fun and enjoyable. However, sometimes the allure of exploration can supersede business obligations. I suggest scheduling in advance so there is a clear division of work and play. This decreases the guilt-factor of “playing” during what would normally be “work hours” while simultaneously increasing your focus when working.
A. Release the Fear of Income Uncertainty
One of the biggest hurdles I faced before quitting Google, renting out my condo and moving across the country in my quest to become a nomadic entrepreneur was the almost-paralyzing fear and uncertainty around where my next income would come from. Part of being a nomadic entrepreneur is accepting a life unplanned — embracing serendipity and spontaneity, and trusting that opportunities will come.
A. Leave the Right People Behind
Empowering the people you work with is the key ingredient to allowing you to be absent from your business. Before you can think about traveling, you need to give your staff opportunities to problem solve without using you as a resource, so they know (and you do, too) that when the occasion arises, they will be able to find a solution that works for the company and the customer.
Vanessa Nornberg of Metal Mafia
A. Let Go of Your Security Blanket
Making the decision to give up a steady paycheck is hard, but world-class opportunities don’t come without a measure of risk. If you have a dream you want to pursue, don’t give in to fear of where your next paycheck will come from. While you do need to make shrewd and profitable business decisions, having a solid idea and the conviction to see it through will put you on the path to success.
A. Redefine Success
Mark Sanborn says that how you keep score determines how you play the game. It’s important to redefine what success means and what’s important to you. I had to shift my thinking and move “freedom” ahead of many other success factors on the list. Know what’s important to you and use that to make decisions.
A. Master Logistics: Mail, Phone and Home
One of the hardest parts of becoming an nomadic entrepreneur is the logistical nightmare. It does not have to be difficult if you use the right services. I use MailBoxForwarding.com for all of my mail, which scans my mail for me while I’m gone. I set-up a Skype line and Voice Message system for my calls and put my house for short-term rent on AirBnB. These have been essential for longterm travel.
A. Recurring Revenue
I knew that I needed a certain amount of profit every single month to be able to travel anywhere in the world that I wanted, and if I was going to do that, I needed to add on an additional recurring model. I now have certainty that every single month I have a certain amount of money to live on even if I didn’t find new clients. That is freedom.
A. Managing Expectations
One major challenge when going nomadic is managing your clients/staff so that they know what to expect. If you manage their expectations correctly then no one feels unsatisfied. If you try to maintain the appearance of being local or available clients/staff are upset when problems arise from your travels. Know what you can and can’t deliver while being nomadic and you won’t upset people.
A. Getting Others on Board
To run any business you need a strong team. I was most nervous about managing a team virtually while abroad. It started with getting my business partner on board with a virtual system and then building out the virtual team. It was an adjustment. After overcoming that hurdle all that was left was to move out of the office and choose the first adventure as a location independent entrepreneur.
A. Don’t Forget to Have a Homebase
One big myth I had in my head was that to be a lifestyle entrepreneur I couldn’t have an office, I had to be “nomadic.” For me, not having that homebase to return to between trips was tough and made me feel less connected to my community and my mission. So, once I got an awesome office (around other young entrepreneurs) I felt less nomadic and more like an entrepreneur who just travels a lot.