Lessons I Learned While Running My Business from a Florida Beach
As you may know, I spent most of September and part of October on Siesta Key beach in Florida. In spite of some of the challenges of working and traveling at the same time, I’d do it all over again. But there are a few things I’d do differently.
The biggest failure on my part was to make sure I had a QUALITY Internet connection. I knew the condo we were staying at had a common WiFi connection and I assumed it would be good. Turns out, it was terrible. It was so slow and unreliable it reminded me of working on a 56K connection. It was that bad.
This influenced my productivity quite a bit. I was not able to work as quickly as I normally do. Simple tasks took five times as long.
While this was extremely frustrating, it probably forced me to spend more time on the beach. If any given task was taking too long, I’d often just head down to the beach to play with my kids.
But when I plan my next big trip, I’ll plan better. I’ll make sure I have a quality Internet connection. If that means working at a Starbucks on designated days, so be it. It’s a small price to pay for efficiency.
If you’re planning to travel much, I strongly recommend you read Steve Scott’s article The Dark Side of the Internet Lifestyle. In it, he uncovers six negative impacts of running an Internet business while traveling. He also outlines six strategies for maximizing your travel enjoyment — without adversely impacting your business.
One of the suggestions Steve makes is to complete your work before any trip that will last one month or less. He writes:
This recent trip has reinforced the importance of doing work ahead of time. My original plan was to do the important things throughout the trip. Unfortunately I didn’t anticipate all the obstacles I would encounter during this time.
That about sums up how I felt. Fortunately, I had intentionally reduced my work schedule in anticipation of reduced productivity and unplanned obstacles. So I was able to weather the difficulties without too much trouble.
In addition to the suggestions Steve makes, I would suggest minimizing the number of overnight stops you have to make, especially if you have young kids. Every move to another place is a major ordeal with young kids. Plus, it’s pretty much impossible to work if you’re all sharing a single hotel room.
So: If you have young kids, and you plan to work during your trip, make sure any extended vacation involves staying at a single location for at least a few days and preferably for at least a week.
This is why we stayed in a single location for a month. We were able to save money on our rental; we were able to save money on food by shopping at a grocery store and eating in; and we were able to develop a weekly routine that had a good balance of work, exercise, and relaxation.
Do you have experience running a business while traveling? If so, feel free to share any advice you have in the comments.
-Ryan M. Healy