If you’re an entrepreneur operating a virtual small business, having a location-independent lifestyle sounds good, but it takes a certain level of discipline. Because let’s face it, you could have the best apps and tools to run your business at your fingertips, but if you don’t manage your time, your bottomline will suffer.
So, how can you communicate with customers, attend employee meetings, and process orders and payments while working anywhere in the world?
Check out a few tips below.
Set a schedule — If you’re working from home every day, it’s possible to set a daily schedule, but when you’re on the road, it’s hard to maintain routines and habits, especially considering the time zones. Designate a certain day for routine business tasks, such as coaching clients, writing content, bookkeeping, processing orders, networking, social media marketing, and employee meetings, etc. And if you’re traveling nationally or internationally,Â research locations prior to departure to determine if there are anyÂ co-workingÂ spaces or cafe’s in the area with free Wi-Fi access or designated private areas.
Hire a virtual team.Â “You can’t do it alone.” This is one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to realize. Learn when to fire yourself and hire a virtual team or assistant to do the basics and focus on what you do best.
Manage the day-to-day operationsÂ of your business from anywhere with virtual applications. Nowadays, apps such as Concur, an online travel and expense solution, and Evernote, a digital workspace, make it super easy to run a business from your smartphone.
Here are a few other virtual apps and tools:
- Stay on top of your income, invoices, and expenses with the WAVEÂ or Quickbooks applications.
- Access networks with Express VPN ( virtual private network) when visiting countries (e.g., China, or Turkey) where certain social media networks such as Twitter, YouTube, etc. is blocked. Make sure you set upÂ Express VPN before you depart. Here’s a great infographicÂ on the countries which block social media.
- Eliminate back and forth emails for scheduling appointments, meetings, and interviews. Try Calendly, or Schedule Once.
- Market your brand across social media channels by using scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social.
- Manage your projects and a virtual team with Google drive, a free service which keeps your files in the Cloud, and Asana; a great online platform for teams to manage and track projects, and work collaboratively.
- Conduct web conference calls with your team and clients with conference call software, such as Free Conference Call and UberConference.
- Accept and process payments with Square (in-person sales),Â Stripe or Paypal.
Embrace your freedom, but set boundaries with friends and family – True freedom comes with great discipline. So if you have the ability to live a location-independent lifestyle, you have to realize distractions come easy. Your friends and family may call frequently throughout the day, the laundry needs to be done, the car needs to be serviced and the list goes on. Each week, block out the time or days you need to work and communicate your schedule with friends and family.
Have the discipline to close the laptop and walk away – The hustle never stops. Most entrepreneurs will agree you’ll work way more hours than you would if you were working for an employer sitting in a cubicle. Eventually, you’re phone and laptop become your drug of choice. But if you don’t know how to unplug regularly, burnout is inevitable and, eventually, your quality of work suffers.
Do you have any tips for managing a virtual business from anywhere? Share your tips in the comments section below.