I started the day in a foreign european city with a dead laptop and no way to charge it. Without the adapter I couldn’t charge my laptop. Without the laptop I couldn’t meet clients work deadlines. If I didn’t meet deadlines, I wouldn’t get paid.
I should have just stayed in Australia.
After riding the 1 hour round trip to the cafe I had left my adapter at, past Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall I had power again! Not so bad after all. Talk about being dramatic.
The idea of living and working in a foreign country can seem overwhelming. You don’t have many of the certainties of home; security, local networks, familiar workplace, friends and family.
Starting a business requires a lot of hard work and commitment of time – so why on earth would you make it more difficult by travelling at the same time? Because there are a host of benefits you won’t get if you just stay at home. Let me share with you just a few of these benefits that I’ve experienced while spending a few months in Berlin.
You’ll Meet Interesting People
Usually when you arrive in a new location you don’t know anyone. You have two options; go out and make new friends or stay at home and be a hermit. Let’s explore the former. I definitely am on the ‘introvert’ side of the equation. The best way I found to meet new and interesting people was by going on meetup.com and looking for meetups that interested me. Marketing, technology, health, socialising, language learning – they’ve got it all. Chances are you will find other people who are travelling and are looking for new and interesting people to meet.
I stumbled upon a ‘Meetup‘ where entrepreneurs got together to co-work. I instantly made friends who were all entrepreneurs and freelancers. In just a few short weeks I had made friends with entrepreneurs who run a digital painting website, a growth hacking website and even a Melbourne based couple who got their online products into the most recent Oscar gift bags! We now meet up to work together and help each other on our business journeys.
But what if you don’t want to make new friends? Let’s explore the living-like-a-hermit option.
You Have More Spare Time
Ok so you don’t want to make new friends, that’s fine.
When I first arrived in Berlin I didn’t know anyone, it was snowing and the days were short. I didn’t even have a tv! I found that when I didn’t have access to the beautiful weather and beaches of The Sunshine Coast, I was more inclined to stay indoors and work. The result: I was able to launch a brand new business in record time.
You will find yourself with so much more spare time. You’ll have no more social outings to attend. Forget birthday, engagement and dinner parties – you’re free to do as you please. While I certainly don’t advocate this approach for extended periods of time, if you’ve got a project that you’d like to make some headway on perhaps it is worth a shot.
When you’re in the same old environment everyday, it can be hard to change. It can be hard to implement new habits and set new directions. It can all feel like a bit of a drag. Travelling brings a fresh feel to things; a new beginning of sorts. Why do you think so many successful businesses use the idea of ‘company retreats’ to inspire new ideas? Steve Jobs famously used this approach when building new products.
When I arrived in Berlin I was really motivated to start my new business. It was something I had been putting off for some time and the commitments I had in Australia just didn’t allow me to knuckle down and make progress.
When you live in a foreign place, you are constantly surrounded by different people and environments which you can pull inspiration from. So much is different to Australia. Groceries, clothing, shops, transport, food and coffee. Who knows what inspiration you will find. Berlin has certainly put new (and crazy) ideas into my head.
Just a week or so ago I had the opportunity to attend Cebit – a massive technology exhibition. I got a free ticket from a friend I had made. I never would have attended a technology exhibition in Australia, but I thought – a free trip to a new city – why the heck not? The exhibition opened my eyes to new innovation from massive companies like IBM and Microsoft. I even watched a robot make a coffee!
A Chance to Test Processes
Travel is the perfect time to see how your new business can run without you. Do you have processes set up to handle work while you are on a plane trip for 30 hours? What if you want to spend a few nights on a midweek trip to a neighbouring country? Will your business fall apart?
I am about to go travelling through some neighbouring countries for 10 days. If I want to keep earning money while I travel, I need to create systems so my business can run without my input. This may include hiring a virtual assistant, scheduling social media posts or automating the customer enquiry process. Ultimately when these systems are implemented it will allow me to spend more time on the business, not in the business. Brilliant.
It’s Unbelievably Rewarding
It’s never been easier to travel and work. You can achieve a full day of work in nearly any location, and it’s only going to get easier as technology improves. Cafes, hotels, airports, planes, trains are all places you can pull out your laptop and start working. The options are limitless. When you take the plunge and start working while you travel you will never look back. You’ll avoid burnout and boredom by the sheer opportunities and new environments you will be experiencing.
I’ve probably missed a stack of reasons as to why building a business while travelling is an awesome idea. Whether you are just interested in pursuing a side hobby or starting your empire – doing it on the road with just your backpack and iPhone will teach you more than you can imagine.
This post was also shared on Elite Daily.