Many entrepreneurs have an adventurous spirit by nature. Not only do they put their livelihood on the line to pursue the dream of self-employment, but this same exuberance usually drives them to explore new cultures, ideas and experiences.
In the past, running your own business meant being tied down most of the year and buried in work. However, with today’s incredible array of online tools, the modern-day entrepreneur can work almost anywhere at any time they want, becoming a Digital Nomad or Expat Entrepreneur. You might still have the same workload, but at least you can chip away at that workload at home in the Caribbean or at a coffee shop in Bali.
But don’t pack your bags and buy your plane ticket just yet. A smart entrepreneur also knows there’s plenty of value in planning ahead before taking off on year or more of remote work. Here are 10 things to do before you start your journey as a nomadic entrepreneur:
1) Create Your Brand and Website
Since your laptop is your mobile office, your website is your mobile storefront. Your business name, logo, Pantone colors, slogan, voice/tone and font all flesh out online as your brand to potential customers. Your website is what ties all these elements together and brings your company to life. With a professional brand and website, you’re more likely to get clients that will help fuel your digital nomadic travels. So, spend some time creating (or paying someone to create) a great website for you. A popular option is SquareSpace since their tool has drag-and-drop widgets to easily build a website if you’re not a website designer. WordPress is also a universally great option for the back-end of your website.
2) Determine Your 30-second Elevator Pitch
It’s been said that first impressions are made within seven seconds. To create a positive, lasting impression on people who could become paying customers of refer your business in the future, you’ll need an excellent elevator pitch. This is your micro-commercial about who you are, what you do and why a customer needs your service or product. A strong pitch shows passion, organization and direction.
3) Create Business Cards
Do people still use business cards in this digital age? Yes! Hand one to the person who just heard your elevator pitch, so they’ll have a way to find you and your business afterward. People may forget your name, business name or website after a quick conversation, but giving them something tangible will jog their memory and provide a way to get in touch later. And, a small box of business cards is easy to add to the one suitcase or bag you’re bringing with you from the states. A popular option for high-quality business cards is Moo.com.
4) Choose a Business Structure
No matter where you live and work, there’s a government that wants your money and potential risk with doing business. Choosing the right entity type can protect your assets, give customers confidence that you’re a legitimate business and provide legal protection if you happen to have partners or investors. An LLC is a great choice for digital nomads.
5) Get Accounting and Business Expense Software
Dealing with the bookkeeping side of your business can feel like a full-time job on its own. Fortunately, you have a plethora of amazing accounting and business software options to choose from. PC Magazine has a great list of 2017’s best accounting software where you can find the one that best fits your needs. The right accounting software will set your business up for success, ensuring you get paid on time, track your business expenses and have time to explore the city you’re traveling.
6) Sign up for Remote Work Websites
You have the ability to work anywhere in the world, but you’ll also need a dependable workload to fund these adventures. The good news is now that working remotely is increasingly more popular and entrepreneurs are setting out for distances unknown, there are a ton of websites dedicated to remote job listings. While some websites focus on a specific industry, others have job boards for endless opportunities. You might want to check out FlexJobs, We Work Remotely, Working Nomads and CloudPeeps (to just name a few).
7) Determine a Communication Platform
Whether you’re keeping in touch with clients or calling your mom, you don’t want a sky-high phone bill. Skype is the old standby that works great and syncs with your mobile phone, but there are also great alternatives like Join.me. For a small fee, you can add members to conference calls, record the conversations and incorporate a variety of helpful tools.
8) Get a Bank Account That’ll Work Internationally
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right bank for your business: you may have an ecommerce business with international customers, need to do all of your banking online or have a small business that requires a cost-effective solution with minimal fees. It’s also important to find a bank that’s going to allow you to relocate full-time outside the U.S. if this is your plan (for example, Simple does not). And, fees like Foreign Transaction Fee can add up, so check if you’re bank charges these types of international fees. Spend some time researching what bank will work best for you while traveling internationally. Discuss your needs with a representative before handing over the cash.
9) Buy Extra Electronics
You have a conference call in 10 minutes, but your computer is about to die; the power cord prong is bent and won’t work. How are you going to access that Google Doc to see your client’s proposal? Here’s the answer: you go back in time, think about what could go wrong and buy an extra power cord, battery, headset, phone charger and anything else you need to run your business consistently.
10) Join Online Networking Resources
Stepping into the unknown can be terrifying, but having support as you plan your journey can feel like the best kind of safety net. Check out these helpful resources: The Digital Nomad Empire is like the ultimate guidebook written by those in the know. Tons of digital nomad networks have been created such as NomadList, Nomad.Network and Web, Work, Travel.
Pursuing one dream doesn’t mean you have to give up on another. With planning and the right tools, you can live your dream of traveling the globe while building a business that you love. Who could ask for more?