If you want to run a business while consistently traveling, there is a reality of having to stay productive while you deal with constant change.
Let's face it, it's not always easy to stay on top of things when you're catching flights, experiencing tech issues and dealing with language barriers. This is something I actually learned the hard way on a recent trip. However, it can be done.
In fact, several people have not only done it, they've killed it. One of those people is Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur. Over the last few years, she's built a multiple six-figure business while living out of a suitcase and visiting 69 countries.
She and her business are the epitome of working from anywhere in the world, and as a result of her own experience, she's learned a thing or two about what it really takes to stay wildly productive when you're constantly traveling.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with her and take a behind the scenes peek of how she runs her online empire. More specifically, I was able to see how she manages to stay productive when she's always on the road.
Be a Leader, Not a Micro-Manager
Like many successful entrepreneurs, Sisson has learned that she can't do everything herself. That's why she has a team behind her which helps her do anything from managing customer service emails to podcast editing.
"Learning to be a leader to my team instead of micro-managing has been very helpful because I can rely on them while I travel," she says.
When asked what the difference was between leading and managing, she responded by saying that she gives her team flexibility and helps them feel empowered. This encourages them to take the reigns and handle anything that may arise while she's on the road.
Granted, you have to manage to a point because you have to track goals and projects. However, that is not the same as micro-managing which is a mistake Sisson sees many entrepreneurs making when they begin to delegate.
Use The Right Tools
Sisson is a big fan of online tools. They're such a huge part of her business that she has several podcast episodes dedicated to the online tools and apps she uses to help her run her business from anywhere in the world.
These tools help her stay mobile, they allow her to communicate with her team and they allow her to automate parts of her business so that she can make money without necessarily having to physically work. This comes in handy during travel changes or when you simply want to explore the new country you just landed in. It's also just smart business.
When it comes to email marketing, a CRM and e-commerce Sisson uses an all-in-one system like Infusionsoft. This has allowed her to automate email marketing, sales, payment processing, product delivery, upsells and follow-ups - most of which is done via automatic email campaigns she and her team have created and uploaded onto the system.
Asana connects with several apps Sisson uses to run her business including Google Drive for collaborative projects.
She reserves Slack for when she needs instant answers from her global team. "Slack has also allowed us to get rid of email," she adds. This alone can help business owners and their team members focus on growing the business instead of working in the business.
Make a Plan
"I know not to have a big launch around the same time that I'm having a big adventure," says Sisson.
Part of the beauty of running your own business is the ability to adjust your schedule accordingly. Want to go hike Machu Pichu in Peru? That's probably not the best time to launch a new product. On the other hand, if you're hanging out in cafes in Paris then you can probably get a lot done.
"Some people think that planning goes against the idea of having freedom, but that's actually not true," states Sisson.
In fact, it turns out that Sisson is quite the structured planner. She knows some of her travel ahead of time and plans her launches and company projects around what her itinerary looks like.
There's also one area Sisson plans out which she says many entrepreneurs don't do. She's planned out what her ideal day looks like. According to her, this exercise has helped her build her business, hold a vision and stay productive while she creates the freedom she craves.
Sisson has dedicated her life to teaching others how they too can remain productive while creating a business that allows more freedom - whether that means traveling the world like she does or simply having more control over their time.