We're closing the office and moving to an entirely remote model. We already have half the team, so with that in mind, I'm thinking of spending time in different European cities. I'll have to be super disciplined about work but does anyone have any tips, experience thoughts they could share? I'm looking for potential issues with this approach and risks to my relatively new business :)
I have been running my agency remotely for over 5 months now and we are built entirely from Slack and Trello boards. Meetings happen only once a week and the rest of time we work while the others are sleeping.
Digital nomadism is a dream a lot of people have. The most important part of building your business while traveling is having a fallback defcon strategy if you end up in place with no internet.
The easiest way to prepare for that is save all your passwords and information in some accessible google drive with your partner or assistant.
From that point, you need to either hire a trust worthy VA or have a work partner who will be able to run actions as you travel.
For instance, if you are starting an ecommerce store, you have to have someone who can within 24 hours to all shipping questions if you can't. Someone should also be able to build out product descriptions that you assign.
Productivity tools and assessment work boards are the only ways to handle this. I suggest making sure your whole team, regardless of role is on Slack and Trello. Every day do some sort of check in and be sure to assign tasks that need specialized jobs done to the right people.
Before you start traveling, test the strategy out just remotely. If you can get by with only checking in once a day for an hour or two, you are ready to start traveling.
I've been living and working around the world for about a year and a half now, and I've been able to steadily grow my business while doing it. I wrote a book on the subject after doing a LOT of research and self-experimentation.
The risks are mostly around the issues of presence. If you don't actively reach out to people, you can fade to the background — and that can sink your referral network.
Also, if you travel too fast, focus is really challenging, bordering on impossible. I'd strongly recommend going slowly (1–2 months in each place).
Work on your rituals. How many things can you make automatic, and use to create a lifestyle that feels like home no matter where you are?
Set up clear lines of communication and set boundaries for managing them. Time zone math can wreak havoc on your life if you're not clear on this.
But mostly: working remotely is the same, no matter where you are in the world. There's a huge difference between living somewhere and vacationing somewhere. If you can avoid traveling like you're on vacation, things fall into place pretty easily.
Just make sure to also enjoy the travel!
If you'd like to talk specific strategies, I'm always happy to help. Hit me up and we can run through how I've kept things growing since I left Portland in late 2014.
It depends on the nature of your business, assuming you have all the paperwork (e.g. visas, residence permit, etc) to stay for the duration you want in each country.
I am Canadian and my company is registered in Canada, however, we have been bootstrapping in eastern Europe to keep our burn-rate super low. Most of my team is based here too and everyone works remotely. We've managed to do very well and spent a small fraction of what we would have in Canada to build up our business and made some strategic partners in our domain thanks to our ability to move around and have actual face-time with people we needed on-board.
From a team perspective be very clear about your expectations and setup ways to monitor progress. I make sure we maintain a regular schedule for meetings and reporting but also make time to do activities together in person.
I hope this helps. If you need any specific advice or want discuss, please feel free to reach out.