Today I have a pretty controversial topic to bring to the table. It’s all about whether you should travel while you’re building your business and be a nomadic entrepreneur…
If you’re starting a business because you want to be location independent, I get it, and it’s one of the reasons I started an online business too.
My take on a location independent business
Is a brick and mortar business right for you?
Right around the time that I was thinking of starting my business, my martial arts instructor asked me if I wanted to open a tae kwon do school in the city I was moving to.
For a while I considered opening this school because I had seen how successful my teacher had been with her school. She was making a nice steady income from her business.
The reason I ended up not starting a martial arts school and I started my health coaching business is because I didn’t want to be tied to a physical location.
With a martial arts school I would have had to rent space, do local marketing, and if I wanted to move down the line… I would either have to sell the business or find someone to take it over.
All of those things just added to the complexity of starting a brick-and-mortar business.
Up until that point, I had been traveling all over the US, Canada, Europe through internship opportunities and I knew that I didn’t want to be tied down.
I liked the idea of living and working anywhere.
After college, I turned down a full-time job on Wall Street and set off on a four-month trip to China with my guy.
By that point I had drunk the location independent business kool-aid…
I thought that I could start my business while we were traveling in Asia.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. I ended up focusing most of my time on learning in the culture, tasting all the food, and just visiting the different places that we were traveling to.
Not to mention that the Internet was spotty, time zones made it tough to schedule things, and sometimes websites were blocked.
So my plans to start a business while traveling didn’t pan out but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it if you really want to.
While we were traveling, we were so focused on where we would be going next, planning our day trips and itineraries, and not getting food poisoning.
So it’s only when we came home that I was able to actually make progress.
I finally had the space and a grounded place to start a business from. It wasn’t until I opened the refrigerator back home that it hit me that I would be starting a healthy food business.
That was my experience, and your mileage may vary!
Tips for The Location Independent Entrepreneur
If you do want to learn how to set up your business while you’re traveling, you’ll want to check out the Suitcase Entrepreneur book by my friend Natalie Sisson… she goes over how to set up your legal entities and deal with taxes while abroad.
Natalie is a great example of someone who has pulled off creating a location independent business from the start, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.
Personally, I like to have a home base that I can use to launch from. It’s easier to build relationships with vendors and business partners when you’re in the same location too.
And while you can save money by going to another country where the rent is cheaper or expenses are lower, you’ll find that you can usually get great deals by cultivating a local business network.
Now that’s not to say that you should stay home and never travel!
I’ve found that traveling to attend in person conferences and events can be both enjoyable and good for business.
Having a home base to start your business from will give you the most focused time and energy to start that business, with a solid foundation to grow on.
You also won’t have to worry as much about the legal or tax stuff that come from having a 100% mobile business.
On top of all of that, having a hub city that you travel from makes it so much easier to plan trips in advance.
Now once you’ve got your business solidly up and running, it makes sense to make more room for travel, because you have established routines, systems, and the different business foundations.
Plus, once your business has taken off, you can afford to travel in luxury, if you so choose.
So that’s my take on the location independent side of starting an online business. I love that I can work from anywhere and my business can continue to grow even if I were to pick up and move to a different location.
But I am also aware that I was able to grow my business faster and more easily because I wasn’t traveling for months without a home base.
What’s Your Take?
The choice is up to you, and you have to see what works for your values and goals.
In the comments below I’d love to hear what has helped you make this “location decision” when getting started.