How to Take Your Show on the Road
Last year, after two years of owning my own business and over ten years of loving travel, I gave up my permanent address and hit the road full time with my growing business and my small dog.
It probably sounds pretty unusual, but the truth is that there are lots of people out there just like me who are digitizing their businesses, packing their bags, selling their stuff, and hitting the road with gusto. Statistics say that by 2016, one in five Americans will be working outside an office. And outside an office doesn’t necessarily have to mean from home in your pajamas. If you’re willing to juggle time zones, give up some of the comforts of home, and get creative, it could mean anywhere in the world.
But if working remotely—be it full-time or part-time—is your dream, how do you get there?
The first step (and the biggest one) is to keep moving forward.
Plenty of people will tell you that your dreams—be they full-time travel, owning a business, moving to a new country, publishing a book—are dangerous or even impossible. They told me that too: that I wouldn’t make any money if I pursued a career in writing (wrong), that my business would go under if I didn’t have a home base (wrong again), that I was too young to start my own business (wrong yet again), and that there was no way I could travel the world without leaving my dog behind (still wrong).
The truth is that people have a lot of opinions about a lot of things. And they mostly mean well. They don’t want you to fail.
But people who succeed beyond their wildest dreams are the people who move forward in the face of possible failure. People who make a plan and stick with it. People who politely dismiss the nay-sayers and their negative opinions, and work toward their goals.
Ah…working toward goals. That brings me to my second step. Before you step off the edge, make a plan.
I don’t mean you have to plan out every step or every contingency, but I do mean be smart. Have a financial buffer in place (in my case, I didn’t feel comfortable starting my business until I had 10 months worth of expenses in my bank account). Make sure your clients can reach you. Give yourself enough time while traveling to fulfill all of your day-to-day obligations, as well as enjoy the new culture and landscapes. Get worldwide health insurance. And leave yourself an exit. You probably won’t need it, but it feels good to have one. To know that at any time you can hop on a plane and go back if you don’t love the nomadic lifestyle.
Now that you have a plan, take the leap.
There’s no success without first stepping off the edge.
And it’s that first step, that scary, vulnerable first step…that will change your life. That’s the part where you realize, after all your hard work ignoring the nay-sayers and planning for your dream, that this is real. That you really can travel long-term or full-time. That you really can operate a business. That you really can change your own life. That you don’t have to fit the picket-fence-plus-six-kids-and-a-dog mold. Unless, of course, you want to.
Take a moment to celebrate your successes. Because it’s incredibly brave to step off that edge, especially with the well-intentioned nay-sayers trying to reach out and grab you by the ankles. But you’ve done it. You’ve stepped off. You’re one massive step closer to living the life of your dreams.
And if it feels weird to congratulate yourself, just imagine me congratulating you and breaking out the bubbly. Because if I were there, that’s just what I’d do.