One of the reasons I wanted to run my own business was so that I could work from anywhere in the world. For my entire adult life, it's always been one of my dreams to create a career that only required a WiFi connection. That way I could get on a plane whenever I wanted to without worrying about whether or not I'd be getting paid.
I'm not the only millennial who craves this kind of flexibility. On career survey after career survey, the millennial generation often times cites flexibility as being the most important factor in a career. Having access to the internet means they have no reason to be bound to an office or spend any less time enjoying their personal lives - whether that means traveling the world or taking a midday nap.
My First Attempt At Running a Business From a Foreign Country
Just recently, I took my first international trip while attempting to keep my business running from my laptop. I was staying with a friend in Mexico, who also runs her business from her laptop and had just spent the last couple of months traveling with her husband.
Since this was my first time traveling internationally while trying to maintain business as usual, I have to admit I felt a bit frazzled as I tried to meet deadlines from airports, on airplanes and wherever I could find some WiFi.
It was obvious that my colleagues were definitely more experienced in this arena than I was, so I asked them what tips they had for aspiring world travelers who need to work while traveling.
Have an internet backup plan.
"Probably the biggest factor I see people struggle with is allowing for infrastructure like Internet, services and amenities not working as you expect them to," says Natalie The Suitcase Entrepreneur.
Sisson has been on the road while simultaneously running her online business since 2006. In that time she's visited 69 countries, lived out of a suitcase and built a multiple six figure business.
Her backup plan? She buys a local SIM card so she can access data.
You also have some internet options in more remote areas. "You can get WiFi hotspots to rent for a certain period of time," says Cat Alford, freelance writer and entrepreneur. She's going to Iceland in May and has already contacted a company there so that she can rent a hotspot during her stay..
Leverage the tools at your disposal.
"There are so many powerful scheduling tools nowadays that you almost don't need to do anything in real time anymore," says Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks.
He suggests leveraging tools and systems ahead of time so that they can run while you're on the road. This will help free up your time while ensuring that things still get done.
According to Wang, once you get rid of real-time work then the rest is simply a matter of managing your time and finding a good WiFi connection.
Make sure your team is ready.
Speaking of finding a good WiFi connection, I had to send a desperate message to my virtual assistant from 30,000 feet in the air when I couldn't log into our social media manager to meet a client deadline. Since the connection wasn't great all I could manage to do was send a message delegating the task to her.
The more you travel the more you may be relying on your team members when you aren't as available as you normally are - especially if there's a shoddy internet connection. That's why it's important that your team knows exactly what they need to do while you're on the road. Set the expectations before you leave, map out everything that could go wrong and create a plan.
Invest in good technology.
I took my more than five-year-old Macbook Pro to Mexico and quickly learned I needed an upgrade. Unbeknownst to me, the WiFi card in my Macbook was damaged, which would explain why it was torturous trying to connect to the internet at the Atlanta airport.
Good technology is paramount if you plan on working while on the road. "Finding tech support when you're in a new place can cost you weeks or months worth of work if the tools you use aren't up to date," says Rachael Kay Albers web designer and digital strategist who has run her business from Mexico, Kenya and anywhere she happens to be.
It's easier than ever to work while traveling the globe, you just have to make sure to account for any bumps in the road by having good technology and some systems in place. Can it be frustrating when you run into tech problems? Sure. But I'll take internet cafes in developing countries if it means I was climbing Mayan ruins the day before.