Andddddd now we pack our lil duffle bag….. I’m hitting the road again from almost ALL of July to 4 tentatively 5 countries ALL while working, consulting, running a 2 Week Online Mastermind and hosting meetings. And as I’m organizing my schedule to be gone- I got one REALLY big question over and over…. ” How do you run your business while traveling the world?”
What I can tell you CEOs, is that it is not easy, it requires a lot of planning, some flexibility because all the planning in the world is still not without obstacles AND it’s really good to network with people outside of your immediate area ( blog post on Global Networking coming ! )
So, in addition to planning and organizing, there are some staple tools that I use to keep everything running smoothly, consistently meet with my clients,
So how do you run a full business online?
MUST Have Digital Tools for the Traveling CEO
- Some type of video conferencing. I like to use Google Hangouts because it can be recorded and I can do screenshare to discuss documents with my VA. I can also use it for client meetings. I also use Skype- not for client meetings so much but to make free calls to family while I’m traveling the world to save on the phone bill.
- Some type of cloud storage software like Google Drive or Dropbox or both. While traveling, I’m always approving designs, videos, proposals, forms and client work. There is no way I could stay on top of this without having all of our files in the cloud. Also, with all of our work files being digital- I can grab any device ( phone, iPad, iMac or Macbook) and get to work without having to bring a portable hard drive. Also- ninja tip– I save all important proposals/presentations on my iPad or laptop in the case I need to present and I find out last minute that my presentation room doesn’t have wifi ( happened to me in Chicago for a presentation in front of 300 women 🙂
- Software or an app to keep your calendar organized. Traveling across time zones will really have you missing meetings ! I use ScheduleOnce to make phone appointments with potential and current consulting clients – and the software makes sure that you are ALWAYS on the right time zone. This tool is a MAJOR lifesaver for the CEO who has to meet with clients online. Another GREAT tool that works with your Google Calendar and have some AWESOME features is YouCanBookMe.
- Another tool to keep yourself, your team and your meetings on time even with being in SEVERAL different time zones is WorldTimeBuddy
- While traveling, I keep my receipts in a highly secure place ( ziplock bag) and have found that sending them in to ShoeBoxed for them to organize, file, make copies of my receipts and put into an IRS acceptable document- it BEST for me to stay ready for tax time. I learned this lesson the hard way- needing to expense a very costly piece of equipment and when I found the receipt…. the ink had worn off. Learned a hard lesson.
- Paypal or Stripe connected to Wave Apps. These tools allow me to get paid anytime, from anywhere, send invoices and check who has paid.
- Hootsuite... Seems like I’m ALWAYS on Social Media eh? Nope, 90% of my posts are planned and scheduled. I was one of their first users of the hootsuite platform and I still utilize this platform to schedule my posts. There is no way to travel, hit different time zones, and experience sketchy wifi and still stay “social ” without a good scheduling tool. Also check out Buffer and Edgar.
- While we are talking about scheduling, you absolutely MUST use a tool that allows you to schedule your email blasts to your audience. For the same sketchy wifi and time zone reasons your email software needs to handle this. I used to use MailChimp for a few years until our database reached over 2000- then we switched to Aweber which has more features but works very similar to MailChimp.
- Docusign has saved me a MANY times. The first ( and only) time that I have left the country 5 years ago with the goal of running my entire business from my iPad- I got a big deal while at the airport and about to board the plane. There I was, with my iPad, plenty of wifi, no printer, but a BIG need to make some corrections to a document- then sign it. I found Docusign then, and have used it many many times since. While you’re downloading docusign, you will also need to download some type of scanning app for your phone or iPad to copy documents and contracts on the road.
- A Virtual Assistant is one of the BIGGEST ways that you will be able to take your business on the road. You can find your VA in MANY ways like a referral, Elance or Upwork. The ABSOLUTE best advice that I can offer when hiring an assistant ( or any position for that matter) is to BE ORGANIZED and know exactly what you want them to do. Usually, when an assistant and an entrepreneur don’t work out- I ask, did you give her step by step and organized instructions on exactly what you wanted done? If the answer is no- then you went into it wanting them to “figure” out what you wanted- when truly- they can only follow directions in the beginning. So a bit of advice before you jet out of town- take some time to create simple documents of what you need done and list everything the VA needs to know to help you as much as you need her to.
BONUS Tools: Many of the times that I travel, I am speaking as well, and even though it is in my contract to have a lapel mic, they don’t always have one ( or one time it was broken) so I’ve learned to have my own lapel mic. Also, you may want to purchase a portable wifi box so that you can always be connected to the internet for your presentation or for any last minute errors that you need to correct.
These are some of the MAIN tools that I use to keep Women CEO Project running and clients happy while touching as much of this world as I can. Again, the MAIN objective is to be as organized as possible.
If you have meetings at 12pm, don’t start checking your internet connection at 11:30. If you are doing a presentation and they say that you will have wifi- get to the hotel early ( and download a copy of your presentation on your computer) just in the case that the wifi doesn’t work, they change rooms etc.
When you are on the road- you are expected to give the same presentation and quality of work and whether you are traveling or not- you MUST deliver. These tools will help you do it.
What digital tools do you use when you travel?