A few years ago, I took a random trip to Northern California to visit a friend.
It the first trip since quitting my job to run my business full-time where I planned to actually relax a little – something that creative entrepreneurs direly need every once in a while.
It was on that trip that I realized the importance learning how to keep a business running while I travel. After all, the whole reason I wanted to run a business from my laptop was precisely so that I could travel.
Earlier this year I published a post entitled 40+ Tools to Organize Your Business, Your Finances and Your Life where I lay out all the stuff I use to keep me organized.
I realize that 40 is a lot of freakin’ tools. Overwhelming, actually. So I promise this list will be shorter.
Hiring a VA
It was right before I took this trip to California that I hired my virtual assistant, Lynn. Some of you actually had the pleasure of meeting her at The Financial Blogger Conference this year. My, we’ve come a long way!
The cool thing about VAs is that they themselves are business owners, so they know how business works! This is totally different from hiring someone and just telling them what to do. It’s like you have a strategic partner instead of just an assistant.
I can rest easy knowing that Lynn will be watching emails and letting me know if anything needs my dire attention. She’s also the one who uploaded this post on to WordPress after I wrote it and can handle the social media stuff I may not be able to get to.
Click here to check out my post about how to hire your first VA.
While it’s not as bad as it used to be, I used to have epic battles with my internet service provider. Additionally, sometimes the internet while I’m traveling isn’t that great. Again, it’s not as bad as it used to be and I’ve gotten in the habit of mapping out WiFi cafes if I’m traveling abroad (I actually did this in Mexico earlier this year).
Either way, I’ve invested in a mobile hot spot. Actually, since I have T-Mobile I can just use my phone as a hot spot. The only downside is I can only do that in the U.S. Unfortunately, their free data in a bunch of countries doesn’t seem to include tethering.
Client Relationship Manager (CRM)
Up until recently, I was a spreadsheets kind of girl when it came to keeping track of leads and follow-ups. Needless to say, my business was growing to a point where I could no longer do this effectively.
When Lynn and I started working together she suggested Capsule CRM and I fell in love with it. We both used it to keep track of leads, who I’m talking to, what clients I’m currently working with (and what they need), and who needs a follow-up. If any correspondence needs to go out while I’m gone Lynn can see it and take care of it. Oh, and did I mention it’s free for the first 250 contacts?
As my business has grown I upgraded to Infuisonsoft which is an all-in-one system that can handle email marketing, e-commerce, and CRM stuff. You can read my full review of Infusionsoft here.
Project Management System
A project management system is an absolute must if you want to keep your business running while you travel. This is what keeps you and your team connected.
I’ve used both Basecamp and Asana depending on the project. For example, whenever my web designer is working on a project for me, we use Basecamp. Reason being Basecamp is great for designers. We used Basecamp when we were designing the cover for Make Money Your Honey, we used Basecamp when we rebranded this entire site and, most recently, we’re using it to work on the new sales page for the Make Money Your Honey Academy.
Asana is more for internal stuff between Lyn and I. I find that it works better to keep track of the multiple projects we’re working on like freelance writing for clients, coaching client correspondence, affiliates, product development and administrative stuff.
Just because I may not be available doesn’t mean people can’t set up appointments. Thanks to TimeTrade I’ve got a schedule that integrates with my Google Calendar. All a person has to do is visit the link and sign up. TimeTrade also connects with Infusionsoft so these people get added directly into my CRM.
Overall you can travel and still have your business run smoothly without you needing to be totally present. For more on this topic, check out a piece I wrote for Inc called How to Run Your Business From Anywhere In The World.