Few months ago, I took an important decision for my business and life: allow myself to go abroad for a “workliday”. Travel without putting my business on hold. Enjoy my family and childhood friends, while still serving my clients and contributing to my cause.
And so I decided to enjoy my “digital nomad” work-style: keep on working and growing my business from my laptop, from wherever I am on the planet.
I thus embarked on a few weeks long journey across Europe, spending quality time in Bruxelles, Paris, Lyon and Zurich.
In this article, I am sharing what I took out from this experience, the fears and blocks I had to go over, the outcome for my business and most importantly : 3 key takeaways you can apply as well (if you want to live your life fully and without sacrifice, while developing your activity and keep on contributing to a better world!)
First of all, I want to share with you how grateful I am to have a location independent business, that allows me to be wherever I want and work from anywhere I please.
That’s a huge luxury (and it might become extra handy as Turkey, my lovely host country, might become a dictatorship where I could one day decide to move from… without having to “restart” anything professionally. Which I would hate to have to do, but well, it is an option and I am grateful to have it).
I initially decided to travel to Belgium & Switzerland for the 30th bday parties of two of my childhood friends… and because they were 3 weeks apart, I stayed in France in between to see my family (and especially my 2 years old nephew!).
Travel / connection is part of my well being. And so it’s part of Creators for Good’s sustainability!
What about you? If you could live / work anywhere on this planet, where would it be? With who would you spend time?
Now, let me ask you: do you “limit” yourself and not live the life of your dream because of work? Do you believe deep down that you need to “sacrifise” in order for your impact business to thrive?
Is work/life balance a struggle for you? Do you find it had to set boundaries, and constantly get challenged by your partner/family/friends/clients… and end up saying “yes” to things that don’t serve you/your impact?
I am asking those questions, because in fact they are 100% linked.
>> Yes, you can live the live of your dreams IF you set good boundaries.
>> Yes, you can have an enjoyable work/life balance IF you work on your hustle mindset and stop seeing work as necessarily hard.
I am able to share this lesson with you because I have experienced those shifts in the past.
The former-corporate-high-achieving-employee in me didn’t transform into a fulfilled successful entrepreneur over night (and actually, it’s still work in progress!).
To be 100% honest with you, I was scared that going away from my routine for 3 weeks would damage my business performance. I was afraid to be tired, to miss on opportunities, and not to enroll any new client (I usually enroll 1 to 2 new client every month, so 3 weeks of nothingness would have put a lot of pressure on other months).
And yet, it did not! Actually, Creators for Good THRIVED while I was hitting the road:
- My Instagram following almost doubled (the hashtag #digitalnomad helped a lot!)
- I got to connect in person with my former coach, 3 of my current clients (with who I had never met in real life before!!), 7 entrepreneurs from Creators for Good community (who usually only receive this monday email anonymously, but who I now got to have deep insightful conversations with!!) and 4 colleagues/partners (including Marjorie with who I wrote that amazing blog postit).
- Received 3 media interview requests (to share my message with more and more people!)
- I received confirmation of being INVITED TO GIVE A WORKSHOP IN NEW YORK CITTYYYYY in September :D :D :D It will be for the Under 30 Changemakers Summit, and you can >> learn more about it all here
- I received 5 applications for my mentoring program, thanks to my well-oiled sales funnel and marketing automation (thank you Internet magic).
- I enrolled 3 new clients in my programs – which means that I am almost fully booked – but also it was one of Creators for Good’s biggest month financially even though I worked only 4 days a week!
- I am so excited about those new clients ! They are from France, USA and Australia, and work on wonderful projects in Women Empowerment, Fair Trade Chocolate and Ocean-Plastic-Pollution-Reduction <3
Now, it was not all pink either ^^ I also…
- Missed an international train (and night bus) the 1st week of my trip because of trying to fit too much stuff in a day
- Had a huge fight with my boyfriend (who was travelling with me… and well, missing the last train on a Friday night is a good stress test for a sleep deprived couple^^)
- Did not have the time to follow up on the 3 media interview requests (yet)
- Got confused with time zone and time changes and missed a client session for the first time IN MY LIIIIIIIFE (thank god she “guessed” what was happening and so we could reschedule the session that same day^^)
- Had a huge back pain due to sleeping in “friends bed” and carrying huge luggage to change city every 4 days
All in all, I think it was all worth it :D
Here are 3 takeaways for you, if you want to experience something similar in your entrepreneurial journey:
# 1 – Don’t expect to be as productive as in your routine
It’s OK to work less hours, sleep more to recover from travel, take “buffer” days off even if it’s not the week-end… and long as you balance that with opportunities you would not have in your routine!
> it can be meeting with new people, going to an event or conference, sharing your experience with your community or/and on social media, reaching out to opportunities to create some “momentum”, etc.
# 2 – Set clear boundaries
People around you will not understand that you are actually working… or why you have to. Even if you say so. They will insist to have coffee with them in the middle of the day, take a day off their work to spend time with you, not understand why you stay in front of your computer when you could be walking around (“poor you, you are working during your holidays ?!”)
> get ready to say “no”. I noticed people challenged me when I said “I have to work” and much less when I said “I have a client session”. And so I came up with “I have a client deadline” meaning “Your opportunity sounds amazing but I have to work and it’s outside of my control”… just because most employees don’t understand why I entrepreneur would work without external pressure to do so.
> also, make sure that you really look like you’re working. You cannot be annoyed by people interrupting you if you are wearing pyjamas and working from a couch with your laptop on your nee. Get dressed, set up at a table, open your notebook, put earphones on (even with no music, it give the message : I am not available to hear what you feel like saying to me at random times). It sounds a bit harsh but well, if your friends & family challenge you, you are the one who need to change attitude and set better boundaries!
# 3 – Count on your systems (and team)
If you are at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, you might have no systems in place at all. But if you are a bit down the line, make sure you can automate a number of things in your business, so you can dedicate your time to the most important tasks only.
> You can use automation tools for your social media for instance, so every thing is planned in advance. Same for your blog, or any other communication effort. Brief your team about your expectations for them during your off-routine time!
> Be careful, if you change time zone your calendar will be completely up side down. Gmail (and his friends Outlook etc) will think that you did not take into account your travel time zone when you put down your appointments, and automatically shift your schedule around – without asking ^^. Same with automated emails,calendar scheduling tools etc… You think technology is smart, well, not when you work “out of the box”!
I hope you found this useful!
Now, if you dream to have a business that allows you to work and live however you want, while having a positive impact in the world AND in a financially sustainable way – I could help!
If you want to know more, click HERE >>
What about you? Have you lived a similar experience and what key learnings did you take out from it?
Let us know in the comments below!
Solène is the Chief Empowerment Officer of Creators for Good.
She developed a methodology that allows Global Citizen to start and grow their own impactful businesses from anywhere in the world – and with no need for investors or government support.