Most dream of the entrepreneurial lifestyle of working from an exotic travel destination without having to be tied down to anywhere.
It’s actually never been easier to work from anywhere. We ran a pilot test last week, running our sports tipping business, MVP Genius, out of Port Douglas for a week with the four of us ‘boys’, aged 24, 25, 29 and myself 35.
If you haven’t read Tim Ferriss’s The Four-hour Workweek, then get cracking.
It’s a great starting point to be aware of what’s possible, and we are lucky to have Tim coming to speak at our Entrepreneur’s Organisation conference later this year in Sydney.
Why it’s never been easier to pick up and work from anywhere…
- Travel has never been so cheap – you can fly anywhere relatively cheaply and at short notice.
- Communication and technology tools have never been better – you can run your business from your laptop or phone with great internet speed, mobile access and mobile friendly sites, free chat tools like Skype and a million other useful free apps.
- Much productive work can be done during non-business hours for certain businesses.
- People buy online from anywhere – access to a global marketplace at your fingertips
- Access to a global workforce – staff can be located anywhere, particularly cheaper outsourced staff
So why doesn’t every entrepreneur live and work on the beach? Sounds so easy!
What our week consisted of…
We hired a car from Cairns, stayed in a five-star villa in Port Douglas, stocked up at Dan Murphy’s and Woolies, brought up the golf clubs, took time out to snorkel in the reef with the turtles, drank cocktails by the pool, partied at the yacht club, indulged in buckets and buckets of prawns, and ordered 24-hour room service at 3am, yet still managed to be productive each day to keep things ticking along and growing nicely.
It does sound too good to be true, but is this lifestyle sustainable? And why didn’t we stay longer?
With MVP Genius – we have set it up so it can be run from anywhere, but only given that we started a solid base and foundation first in Melbourne with staff and suppliers based around Australia and the globe.
We believe that we could work from anywhere or even relocate every three months to a new destination if we wanted, albeit with regular trips required to stay on top of key activities and relationships.
Here’s the reality…
- Starting a business from scratch from the sun lounge would be incredibly difficult and more suited to a one-man band business, by a person who has great experience and tech skills who can sell stuff online while using outsourced staff.
- It’s challenging initially to be able to switch ‘on’ and ‘off’. I tend to work better either being 110% on, or for the most part switched off, so it requires some training to be able to mentally switch from business to pleasure at multiple times during the day even if you good at ‘batching’ activities.
- City slicker mentality – it can become extremely frustrating waiting eight minutes to get a coffee. The pool bar doesn’t operate at the fast pace of global business. In fact, I have experienced living and working on a tropical island for a summer during uni days and it was a dream job, taking sport and recreational activities for guests and partying with them at night. I did, however, struggle to stay ‘sane’ after a while and needed to be around smart, interesting people, which was a battle.
- If you’re single and unattached with minimal commitments, you can do anything anywhere without having to answer to anyone. Three of the four of us could probably pull it off, but I have a two-year-old son in Melbourne, so in reality, if you have a partner, kids, or close family and friends in a location or other personal commitments, then it makes it tricky to pick up and relocate indefinitely. But, yes, you do have a choice and sacrifices can be made.
- Other business interests – I have other business interests based in Melbourne, which is not easily transportable to the Bahamas and requires a CBD or fringe location and regular working office hours. Yes, that’s my choice, which I am comfortable with.
- Living and working in your own a city is also fun if you still get to travel regularly for business or holidays.
- Would you invest in a business run from the beach? Possibly, but unlikely you’ll get $10 million in funding, so the Tim Ferriss model is really for a business to generate enough income to support a lifestyle rather than create massive wealth.
- People, relationships, networks and inspiration – businesses grow fast based on experience, and networks. I believe you need to be face-to-face to grow strong relationships. It would be tricky to lead, inspire and grow teams and strong relationships with staff suppliers and customers from the jungle.
My conclusion is that if you’re single and unattached or with limited commitments, go and live the Tim Ferriss dream.
Leave tomorrow. Work from anywhere and have a crack. Aim to set up a business that can support a fun lifestyle that can be run from anywhere.
If you want to build a big business, aim to keep it agile so you have maximum flexibility without compromising growth, but make sure there’s a solid foundation before moving to run it from an igloo.
Yes, we should have stayed longer and eaten more prawns and played more golf, and we could have; but, hey, I also love Melbourne and coming home to play with my son!