I'm sure when you started your business you had a dream of how life would be and how your business would contribute to that.
Common ambitions when starting out include:
- having more time to spend with your family
- having more flexibility to work when you wanted, ie. shorter days to do the school run or longer holidays when the kids are off school
- earning more money because the boss wasn't taking the biggest cut
Unfortunately for many people the reality is quite different and they end up spending more time at work, ladened down with responsibility and earning a fraction of what they earn't as an employee.
I'm sure you've heard people say that a dream isn't a goal unless it's got dates and actions attached to it. In other words, you can't just have a dream bubble floating above your head like the cartoon characters, you actually need to work out what you're going to do to make it happen.
I have to admit to being someone who has gone round in circles a bit in this regard as I didn't have any firm ambition or direction, but through trial and error I did end up a couple of years ago getting much clearer on what I wanted and consequently I've been able to make some strategic business decisions to make that happen ... and the test is in 2 weeks time!!
15 years ago I went on a 3 month tour of Western Europe in a motorhome and ever since I've wanted to be in a position that I could do that again but I didn't have any firm plans of how that was going to happen.
3 years ago we bought a motorhome so I felt like I was a good way towards the goal but in reality it has been an expensive ornament on the drive rather than my tool for travelling more.
I realised that to be able to have longer periods of travel I needed to be able to work from anywhere and whilst a large part of my business enabled that, I had got more reliant on a consultancy service that required me to go to my customer's premises, so I needed to refocus my business and think through the logistics a bit more.
Consequently over the last 18 months I have ensured that:
- I don't have an office
- I have a remote team
- I'm not central to doing the customer work so I have flexibility of time
- My business model is such that the work I do can be done from anywhere
So in just under 2 weeks I'm off to test the dream ... I am going on a 17 day road trip.
Now I know that doesn't sound like a very long time travelling but this the first test. It's not a holiday, I will still be working - I will be meeting up with business friends and attending a number of 4Networking meetings around the country, as well as doing my day-to-day tasks and quite a bit of driving!
The real test is whether I can get the flexibility to mix business with pleasure:
- technically will I be able to work from anywhere (will the wifi booster and 4G Dongle be enough to keep me connected everywhere?)
- will I get the time to explore some of the places I'm going to visit as a tourist whilst still having enough time to get my work done?
You will be able to keep track of my progress on a special Facebook page set-up to keep a blog diary (as long as I can get online!).
So my question to you ... is your dream just a bubble floating above your head or do you have a plan to make it happen? Better still, have you succeeded in making it happen? I'd love to hear from you.