One of the joys of being your own boss and working in an almost completely online world is the ability to do it from anywhere. Right now, I’m writing this while sitting outside my tent, next to a lake in NSW, wearing my togs, ready to jump in that lake as soon as I’ve done my work tasks for the day. We’ve been on the road for two weeks now (of a six-week trip) and here’s what I’ve learned so far…
1. Have internet, can work.
There’s a lot to be said for totally switching off for a period of time, but if you’re one of those people who finds that the work is in your head until it is done, then getting up in the cool mornings, doing an hour or two of work then having the rest of the day off is a pretty good compromise. As a small business owner, it’s vital to keep things ticking over, and just checking in and doing a few things for clients as they need them is pretty handy. I don’t feel that I’ve missed out on anything, and have earnt a little bit of money to help fund the trip.
2. Passive income helps too.
While we are away, we’ve rented our house out on Airbnb. Because we are camping, the income we are making from our 3-bed house easily covers the fees for a campsite, and a few other costs too such as fuel and groceries. That’s given us a bit extra for some fun stuff with the kids and also taken the pressure off the number of hours we need to do to top up the bank account while we are away.
3. Tell your clients what you are doing.
If I was expecting work from a client during the time I was away, or they are on a retainer, then I’ve made sure I’ve told them what I’m doing. If anything, I’m more available now than usual as my husband is around 24/7 to take the kids away for a bit when needed (and vice versa when he needs to work). The key is to have a chat and emphasise that you are working (and want the work!) and make it clear that you aren’t kidding – you really do want them to bother you while you are on “holiday!”
4. Sort out the practicalities and test things before you go.
If you are staying in an apartment on your trip, then you won’t need to worry about pesky little things such as power. But for us, to turn my laptop on, I need a power source, which is a combination of two deep-cell batteries, two solar panels, an inverter, an in-car laptop charger, a mobile internet modem with a plan with plenty of data and a booster aerial for areas where reception might not be so good. Thankfully we are travelling in summer so sun is plentiful and the solar is cranking. That all sounds pretty complicated, but if you have the kit it all works pretty well.
5. Tell your family what you need.
Each evening we talk about what we need to do for the next day. Which one of us has work to do, if any, how much, what time of day we prefer (I’m all for the mornings, husband prefers the evenings), if we can do it with kids milling around (or if we need to engage brains). Also tell the kids so they understand that you need some work time for a little bit and after that you are all theirs. Luckily our kids are used to us working from home a lot so they know the drill.
6. Find that work-life balance
Stick to your to-do list, and segment your day – when you are working, you are working; when you are playing, you are playing. It has taken a bit of time to find the right routine, but once you work it out you find you look forward to the work as much as the play.
On that note, I’m about to jump on my paddleboard and explore the lake!
Happy New Year!