After more than a decade of starting up a few businesses here is my not so short list.
There are a wide variety of work-on-the-road scenarios:
Starting up your own small business – Seen a gap in any market? can this become a business opportunity? This may be just about anything, including offering consulting or training programs or starting a store on eBay, Etsy or local markets. Or aiming at the market you are in such as; travel, cleaning, managing caravan parks etc. Find your strength or better still a passion and go with it 100%.
Telecommuting – this can be when you work on the road and communicate with a workplace via phone email, skype, electronic messaging or by all of these methods. If you already or have worked with a company that’s progressive then have a talk to your manger or contact about a working-on-the road arrangement, this would be not much different to a people that work from home. If you never ask you will never know what can be done.
Self-employed or freelancer – as a freelancer you bring in your own earnings out of contracting out your trade or service. For example a school tutor, handyman, healer, counselor or freelance writer. You charge by the hour or for the completed work.
It’s Too Good to Be True?
Working on the road or from home is great but do not get tricked into a scam, there are many around – I see a lots of ads for get-rich-quick fraud both online and in papers. Any offer that seems to good are usually a scam and the only person getting rich is the scammer. That said, there are many great businesses and work offers out there but always do your research, a quick google search should be enough. Never sign up to anything without spending time on finding out more about the offer. To check out offer use sites like SCAMwatch.
Prepare to Plan or Plan to Fail
For a lot of people, working while travelling is not a problem as many people save for years or use super to hit the road and see our great land, but other people need money while they travel to keep on trucking along. Being able to see Australia, meet new people and work while doing this is a dream of a life time.
Before you leave your current job, or start up a new business, think about what you want to do and more importantly, your skill set. If you enjoy social interaction in your current job, or love working in a team environment, then working or starting your own business may not be for you. Starting a new small business or freelancing demands self-discipline, determination, organisation and time management that not everybody will have, after all we are all different. Essentially, any work that does not demand a large amount of supervising, face to face client contact could work on the road.
Also, don’t be fooled into thinking working on the road will also solve looking after kids. Children never stop nagging for food, playtime or anything else and it drives you mad. So with kids in tow it’s better to first work out how you will home-school or who will home-school them and look after the non-stop needs of the kids. It’s hard enough to work for yourself without having kids screaming in the background while you take calls or just try to get anything done. I know all about this as Mindy and myself have worked from home for over 10 years and brought up 4 kids under 10 years old in that time.
Working on the road Pros:
- Less distractions and NO office politics
- Freedom and having control over working hours around your own routine or family obligations.
- Opportunity to have a lot more family time, or alone time if you’re lucky enough.
- Tax perks – running your own business often allows you to claim lots of stuff
- No need for wasted time commuting
- Choose when you work and play
- Work in the most beautiful place as you travel
- See this great land and never get bored
- Meet like-minded people and have fun working
- Best Pro is you only live once so have fun no matter what you do
Working from home Cons:
- Family disruptions
- Can you deal with the kids when you’re working? What do you do with the ankle bitters in work hours?
- Can be a lot of adjustment to travel and then more so if starting up a new business or job.
- Lack of family support
- Challenging to separate work from travel (fun) life
- Need to be self-motivated
- Space to work in bad weather or no reception to the normal world
- Hard to hold stock or travel with tools of the trade that may be needed, weight and space is always an issue when travelling
- Start-up cost or time to setup a new venture
- The surfs up and the fish are biting?
Always make time for you, don’t ever forget you are trying to see this great country at the same time, so balance is key
Before you Start, Get it Right
Spend some time witting a working on the road business plan, work out the market, hours required and overall costs to setup. A business plan should include who your target market is, how to reach them, projected profits, when to call it quits.
- Work smart not hard, outsource when possible, sites like fiverr have a great cheap network of other freelance that might save you time and money.
- Always calculate your risks before making any large investments
- What makes you different from your competition?
- Genuine passion is key in maintaining any business or work
- Make sure the work you do is something you can honestly see yourself doing it long term, maybe even if you stop travelling
- Plan your daily routine and try to stick to it
- Work out a marketing budget and push hard in the market, sometime free is better than paid, like social media etc,
- Avoid losing time and money to Scams; again if it’s too good to be true, then it is not real
- Don’t give up easy, Success doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen with hard work
- Always do your taxes or other admin work, don’t cut corners
- Do you need a license and insurance?
- Focus on your customers or client base
What you May Need to Work on the Road:
- A PC or laptop
- Email access
- A working internet connection
- A mobile phone
- Comfortable chair and work station
- An accounting program like XERO, xero is the best thing ever! If you don’t know what it is then look it up NOW! It will save you money and more so time
- Tools, stock or whatever is needed to work in your chosen field
- A passion for the work and plan ahead
- Network, groups like Aussie Travellers Networking Group (ATNG) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1652635681668207
Planning your time is key:
Make sure you have time to eat regularly and that you can get a good night sleep. No point in panicking and overloading as this will cause burnout and depression, be healthy, eat healthy and exercise.
Finding time is hard but there are many ways to save time on the road like, bulk food prep, when cooking make leftovers for lunches or dinners, some sand on the floor can wait, don’t look for extra work to do. Have dedicated time for leisure, don’t waste time on fun things like Facebook when you should be working :] Now you have your own hours, do you work better in the morning or night? There are so many ways to time plan and save time but again balance is the key to being happy and loving all you do.
Before you go to bed write a list of everything that needs doing tomorrow, Order the list by importance, Next morning start at the beginning and work through the list. There is a great book on time management called “Eat that frog” by Brian Tracy, it talks about doing the big, difficult jobs first, then everything else seems easy
You may need to do eighty things in a given day, but rather than rush and possible add more problems to the day, just get the most important done first and do them well, then work through the rest. We put family time and leisure first! It is easy to forget to allocate enough time to get groceries or even make some healthy food,
Balance and Adaptability is truly key to a Happy Working and Family Life on the Road
A few years ago, our eldest son got very sick and needed medical attention, When your child suddenly becomes very sick, it’s like nothing you’ve ever encountered, being pushed through different hospitals and doctors was life-altering and changed how we work and also family time. We learned that you have to take care of yourself and family first, or everything else gets out of control including work. We all like to think we have control of our time but at any moment this can change without warning, so when you run your own business it’s important to have some backup plan or support so you can deal with things that pop up and get over them while still maintaining both the family unit and work. It’s important to have support and be supportive of other people. Don’t be shy and ask for help.
Running a business is not a walk in the park. There will always be ups and downs, disappointments, frustrations and missed opportunities but stay strong and put in the time and you should get the best of both worlds, travel and work in one big ball of fun and experience.
Safe travels and love what you do.
What is your one piece of advice you’d give to anyone thinking of working while travelling?