Episode #11: Is It Possible to Run an Online Business From The Road?May 13, 2020
For a while now, we’ve had a life goal of living life in an RV and traveling the country to explore new places, experience new things, and visit friends and family. This is a huge reason why running an online business is so important to us. It will give us the flexibility to travel wherever we want while providing the time and income to keep traveling and exploring new places.
Some of you might have similar life goals—in fact, this topic was suggested by a listener who wants to do the same thing!—and some of you may have daydreamed about such a lifestyle, but never considered that it could actually be possible.
In this week’s episode, we’ll fill you in on more details about our plans for traveling the country while running an online business. We’ll also share our insights on some of the most important considerations for running a business from the road, giving you a sneak peek into our plans.
We have a goal called Project 18: when our youngest graduates from high school in 2023, we will sell everything that doesn’t fit into a 30-foot Airstream trailer and hit the road for new adventures! When the kids are “home” for the summer, we’ll rent a house in a place they want to explore for a few months and be home base for their summer jobs.
Project 18 enables us to do more of what really matters in life. There’s seemingly never enough time to really experience the places we’ve already visited—we’ve gotten a taste, but we want to experience it all! We want to have more time to explore and try new things. And we want to have the time and ability to visit friends and family all over the country.
This goal is central to our entire philosophy of business. It’s why we believe so firmly in the 20 Hour Work Week and the importance of running a business online. We want to have the freedom to do the things that really matter to us, and we want to help others have that same freedom.
Key Considerations for Running a Business from the Road
Living life and running a business from the road sounds like a dream, but there’s some work and preparation that needs to happen to make your dream come true. We’ve already been thinking through these considerations, and we’re going to share our thoughts with you.
Reliable internet access is one of the most important aspects of running an online business from the road. Darren has been researching what we’d need already, and he’s created a RV internet setup diagram for you to download and reference if you’re considering making the same lifestyle change.
Essentially, you’ll need a true unlimited cellular data plan and a way to boost the signal when you’re in areas that have weaker cell service. Listen to the episode to hear Darren describe the setup in detail and refer to the diagram for more.
It may seem like a big hurdle, but reliable, fast internet is possible in most locations throughout the country with a little planning and a little money to set it up right.
Making the Most of Tiny Spaces
There’s not exactly room for a full office setup in a 30-foot RV. You’ll need compact, portable equipment and have all your files completely digital to minimize the space you take up. Here are a few key equipment decisions we’ve already made to help us save space:
- Use a laptop instead of a desktop if your computing needs allow it.
- For podcasting, use a lapel mic built for use in the field instead of a studio mic intended for a controlled environment.
- Use the Dropbox Scan Document feature to minimize paper files that require storage space.
Inventory, Shipping, & Handling
We’ve talked a lot about centering your business around e-learning products and services—no physical products required. But sometimes your customers may benefit from physical products! If this becomes true for you, you’ll need to leverage vendors who can store your inventory and handle shipping for you.
One great option is Fulfillment By Amazon. You ship your products to them, and then you can sell on Amazon, with their staff taking care of processing and shipping orders and even processing returns.
You can hear about other examples of these kinds of vendors on the podcast episode!
If you, like Oie, aren’t convinced that you can live your life and run your business 100% paperless, there are a few options to meet that need:
- Tablet with a stylus: This is a way to go paperless while still getting the feeling of physically writing and marking things up. You can edit, sign documents, and even doodle in the margins with this setup.
- Portable printer: There are plenty of options for printers that fit into a work bag, some of them being less than three inches high! They vary in features and quality, so do a little research on Amazon if this will best fit your needs.
- Use a print center: We typically use these for larger print jobs, but companies like Office Depot and Staples have print centers all over the country. You can send in an order and pick it up or have it shipped to your location.
Staying in Touch
How can customers and business contacts stay in touch with you if you’re moving around every few weeks? There are a few clever options so you can be reached through multiple communication methods.
- Email: You only need internet access to check your email, so using our internet set up will help you stay on top of your inbox.
- Phone: With your personal cell phone, you can get a dedicated business number through a service like Grasshopper. It’s $5 per number, and you can set it up to keep your personal and business numbers separate. You can also use a call answer service to handle calls for you when you’re expecting large call volumes.
- Mail: Sign up for a mail processing a forwarding service that emails you scans of your mail. You then decide what to shred and what to forward to your current location.
In the episode, we go into more detail about these set ups and how they can help you stay in touch while on the road.
This one is more perk than preparation. Have you ever wanted to go to an in-person workshop, but found the location prohibitive? In our Project 18 plan, an in-person workshop is a great excuse to travel to a new destination!
If that’s not possible, you can still host or attend virtual sessions through video conferencing applications like Zoom, Webex, or Microsoft GoToMeeting.
Listen to Episode #11 Now!
Running a business from the road is the dream of many online entrepreneurs—and it’s actually possible! With a little planning to make your business successful as it travels, you can spend more time on the things that really matter.
Here are some of the key considerations for running a business from the road:
- Getting reliable internet access
- Making the most of tiny spaces
- Staying in touch with clients and business contacts
- Finding solutions for printing and storing and shipping inventory
- Taking advantage of in-person workshops
Are you ready to learn about the reason behind the original 40 hour work week and why using technology, experts, and the internet to leverage your productivity to work less hours is so important?
Great! Go ahead and listen. Then leave a comment on our private 20 Hour Work Week Movement Facebook Group to help support everyone in this movement.
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