*This is a guest post from Marianna Boguslavsky who runs a Dubai based digital strategy agency while traveling the world as a digital nomad. Here she provides advice on how you can do the same. Take it away Marianna…
Last year, my husband and I did something rather unconventional – we packed our bags and went traveling through Bali and South Africa for ten weeks. We both run our own businesses so we are lucky we had the freedom to do that and that everything fell into place so beautifully with our planning so we could do that.
I run a digital strategy agency (Boguslavsky & Co) based in Dubai – it is a small yet dynamic niche digital agency with a team of less than ten (some of them based remotely). Our core services include digital strategies, consumer trends research, social media, website design, email marketing and SEO (so all things digital). I work with clients regionally and internationally so I knew it would be a challenge on a number of levels to travel, continue running my business, AND manage clients’ expectations (a.k.a keep them happy).
It was an incredible experience – there is nothing quite like working from the rice fields of Ubud, the beaches of Sanur, and the sushi restaurants of Cape Town. I completely fell in love with Ubud as it has health, wellness, and peace at its core. You can’t help but feel completely centered when you are in Ubud. Which is rather fantastic for productivity and creativity.
Another added bonus to traveling Asia and South Africa (countries with quite weak currencies) is that I was still earning in Dirhams but my spending had decreased by about 70%. Accommodation was around $50 a night, and food/travel was a total of about $300 a month (and that is with eating out twice a day!)
If you are contemplating setting off on a similar adventure but not quite sure how to prepare and juggle the demands of running a service based business whilst enjoying travelling, below are some of my tips gleaned from my own experience:
Tip #1: Transparency
Transparency with clients is key. Once you have booked the trip and know the exact dates, make sure to communicate this information and your travelling plans to your clients, especially if they are used to dealing with you directly. I went as far as giving them the option to let me know if they had any major issues with this (luckily none of them did).
Tip #2: Manage Your Time…Zones
Plan your sightseeing and traveling activities around the time difference. Vital to take the time difference element into account when planning your working schedule and client liaising. If you are traveling Asia like I did, then you have the morning to go out for breakfast, do a yoga class, or go on a tour of the temples, before your clients even wake up.
Tip #3: Still Meet Face To Face
Skype will become integral to your business. Whilst my clients were used to seeing me face to face, I still gave them that opportunity via Skype so they did not really feel any kind of difference when it came to personalized attention and staying in touch and up to date.
Tip #4: Research Potential Internet Issues
Research any limitations of working in the country where you are traveling – be it from a patchy internet connection at your AirBnb house or a social media website being blocked in that region (Vimeo is blocked in Indonesia – this would have been a major problem if we were utilizing that channel for any of our clients at the time). You can always ask your airbnb host or apartment owner to do an internet speed test and send you a screenshot before you book.
Tip #5: Get Inspired
Finally, make sure to draw inspiration from your surroundings and the people you meet on your travels to inspire the work you do for your clients.
Traveling is truly phenomenal for creativity so set time aside to brainstorm and conceptualize new ideas and strategies for your clients (they will thank you!)
The Last Word
If you have an opportunity to travel whilst you are running your own business, grab it with both hands and don’t look back. Otherwise, seek one out – those 10 weeks from last year were magical and ones that I feel have made me a better business owner and person.