The challenges of working abroad
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This week’s episode is all about how you can work from anywhere in the world. This was a question asked to me by one of my ‘Pretties’. Last year we decided to extend our holiday to escape lockdown in the UK and stay in Spain until Christmas.
This taught me so many lessons that I’d love to share with you in this episode. What do you need to think about to do this? Is your digital business truly online and can it at a moments notice see you work from anywhere? What tech you need and the mindset needed to do all of this.
Welcome to this episode. Today we’re going to answer Jackie Walker’s question that she left in Social Pretties, our free Facebook group. She asked me, What are the challenges of working abroad? Is it easy? Can you do it? So this is a really joyful question for me because it means I get to tell you all about how we escaped lockdown at the end of 2020. We flew out during a travel corridor and didn’t come back until Christmas. And that was something that we decided upon whilst we were out there, we made the decision whilst we were out there, which surprises a lot of people when I talk about it, because I am admitting that I went away with only an iPad and a mobile phone and was still able to maintain you know Management Director status of my businesses, whilst sunning myself on a beach. You know in a lovely sunny area of the world.
And it gives me great joy to talk about that. Because as a leader, a thought leader, I’ve been talking about the Nomad lifestyle, I’ve been talking about working and travel, the digital and online space and how you actually can conduct yourself in that way you can give yourself more freedoms in your life and business than ever before. But I had only demonstrated it in, you know, in a very, very short term way previously, and I certainly had always done so in a very intended way. In terms of what equipment I had with me, and the pre planning for such things, there was no pre planning this time, there was no equipment, I actively kept my laptop at home because it was meant to be and it was at the beginning a family holiday. So I didn’t want to be distracted, the temptation to work is so strong for me that I have to be really strong with myself with things like that and I did not take a computer out with me to be able to jump on and do anything. The whole point was that I wouldn’t be able to jump on and do that stuff. I’d have to have the space and time to actually relax with my family.
That being said, it was incredibly easy for me to continue running my businesses and being in touch with my team. So my clients and fulfilling my side of all of my contracts for where I was. Because of the business model that I had already created for myself, I’d already put the things in place without knowing that, you know, I would use them in this way, all of the things that I needed had already been previously set up. So for instance, from a practical standpoint, all of my business information, that is important information, lives in some secure cloud, you know, we have access to it, it may be an internal process, but we have access to it from anywhere in the world where there’s Wi Fi. We can gain everything that we need from our business cloud, we have the opportunity to tap in and get hold of anything we need. Whether we have just an iPad, or mobile phone, or a computer, or any of the things that you can use to log onto the internet, even smart TVs, it really wouldn’t matter, you could find a way to get to everything that you need. My Business Online systems are all digital systems. Obviously, we deal in paperwork occasionally. But the paperwork that we deal in is very, very small. It’s not the day to day 99.9% of everything that we have is a digital situation. We accept payments digitally. We have everything set up to run off the internet. And we have a number of different programs and systems that we use to allow us to have flawless 24 hour any day of the week anywhere in the world access to our offerings to our business. We when I say I’m a digital business coach, it would be very ridiculous of me to say I’m a digital business coach and I can show you how to give yourself this complete online world that allows you to then have this great flexibility, autonomy and freedom to then not actually have all of my systems and all of my ducks in a row. It just so happens that this is something that has happened gradually over the years for me, as I’ve built my businesses all, I’ve always maintained that we would ensure that we have those things in place. And sure enough, we had done that before we went away.
So our thought process to begin with was, you know, how much can we do with the tech that we have, and I had my iPad, like I say, and my mobile phone, my husband had his mobile phone, we had an amazon fire tablet that the children had, my daughter has a mobile phone. So I mean, none of us had any, what you could consider to be like super sophisticated tech, but at the same time, it wasn’t a Nokia 3310, we were dealing with, you know, we can get to the internet on any of those devices. And we could find, we could navigate our way around. So the first week that we had stayed out longer, I had client calls, and I had group coaching. And I had Pretty pro members training and all of these fantastic things that we do throughout the month that we adore. And I had to figure out how I was going to do that. So we did that on Zoom. And we did it through my mobile phone, and I sat on the balcony of my hotel, with a sea view all around me, my headphones, and little notebook. Do you know you can’t, I’m actually looking at a pen right now that we bought out there in one of the gift shops. But finding a decent pen in the gift shops and the area we were in at that time was very much a touristy area. It’s really difficult man, and it’s expensive. So not that it really matters. But yeah, it was difficult. But I had my little notepad, I had my pen, my phone, my headphones and my iPad, and I just propped everything up on one of those hotel coffee cups. And went and did my calls all day, on the Tuesday I had batched my calls that day they were back to back. So that gave me the opportunity to only be away from the family for the one day, which was great because it didn’t impact our time together as a family. It also gave me the opportunity to get on with it, you know, I have found the space I had the internet connection. Now, what I will say is that I had to pay for data at that particular time, because the place to where we were had not been handpicked for Wi Fi access for the same reason we didn’t know this was going to happen, which meant that the WiFi was not great in the rooms, you had to pay extra for it and it still was flaky. So I relied on data, I went on to my internet provider, my phone provider and bought myself a bolt on of extra bit of internet data. And I used that that day, which was fine. And then when it came to the point where we were considering what to do next, and where to go next and how to navigate the rest of the time that we had out there. We made a decision to kind of set ourselves up in a more permanent way to give ourselves the freedom to stay as long as we wanted as long as we needed. Because what happened was quickly as we were out there, the corridor closed and coming home became more difficult, not that we were interested particularly in coming home. But we did know we did have to consider how we were going to get back. And so we decided that the next time we picked somewhere that we had to stay that we would find somewhere that had really good Wi Fi we made that a non negotiable. We found somewhere that had an amazing Wi Fi situation. And then we went and traveled across the country to a computer shop basically, I’m desperately trying to think of what it was called and I cannot remember for the life of me what it was called. But it was basically for those that are listening in the UK. It was basically like a foreign Currys. It was just a complete electronic Oh, it’s called Electronica.
Just the complete electronics store. I mean, the language barrier was a thing. It was difficult. But luckily there were people there that understood a little bit of English and we’ve picked up a little bit of Spanish. So we navigated our way through and we bought ourselves a couple of laptops and a webcam so that I could conduct everything I needed to conduct from the villa that we were staying in and that saw me through. There was no time at all that we struggled to do what was needed or to do what was expected, I had access to my online calendar, I had access to my team, my amazing team immediately got behind me and were just so supportive and helpful. If there was anything that I needed, that I would have struggled with, they would have been there. But actually, we didn’t struggle with anything, we had total access to everything that we needed to online, so it was no problem at all. So I mean, from that standpoint, I guess what I’m saying is that it’s really not difficult to work in that way, as long as you have created a situation that no matter where you are, you can gain access to the important and vital areas of your business. And I’m the type of person that I, the moment I step away from the computer, I like to know, that if I need to log on to anything to do with my business, I can do so through my phone. So that’s something for me that’s really important. So that I can just ensure that I have that access. Because of that, that gave me the opportunity to have complete freedom and in a bigger way, on a bigger scale. So if you have an accessible business model, and you have a way in which that you can access the online programs that you’re using to conduct your business, and all you need is a device and Wi Fi to be able to get on and do what you need to do, then you really cannot fail, you really, you know, you really can’t get anything wrong. That way, it’s so easy to do. And it takes some time, if you’re the type of person that saves something to your desktop. Or if you download the programs that you use internally, on your computer, and you don’t have, you know, VPN type access to the things that you use, then you’re going to find that difficult. And my suggestion would be that if you’re wanting to give yourself that freedom lifestyle, where you can literally take a movable device and get in on anything that you need to at a moment’s notice, you just need to consider using the online all the time programs instead, or at least having a downloadable version saved somewhere in a cloud so that you can download it to a new or different device. You know, as you’re moving around, the other thing that somebody said to me is that they don’t believe now that I will ever go away without a laptop again. And I do think that that is probably true, we needed some additional tech for our business anyway, it was very much on our radar that we were going to buy some more laptops for our business. So it was a no brainer, it wouldn’t have been a problem anyway. But it was a no brainer for us to go and invest in those additional devices. But if you get to a stage, you can’t just go about buying tech for no reason, likely spending money for no good reason, it’s not efficient, then that’s a different scenario. And you know, you may find yourself in a situation whereby you just make sure that you have some sort of device with you that can hold up the basic level of your business. anywhere that you go, I think I would be an avid supporter now of taking your laptop away with you. And working on your internal willpower rather than leaving the laptop at home so that you can’t work just in case, there is the opportunity. But that just shows you that I mean, we did not expect to do it. And we went away not with a closed mindset because we very much both me and my husband have very much open mindsets, we’re open to opportunities, and we like the freedom to see how things pan out. But I think it’s one of those things that when I made the decision to leave the laptop at home, I was very much coming from an older version of myself. That is no longer where I wouldn’t have had the willpower to put those boundaries in place. Whereas I do actually have that willpower. So it’s a bit of a mistake to leave the laptop at home.
But in answer to your question, Jackie, if you have all of that stuff already set up and you have an accessible model, hopefully extremely easy to work from abroad. The hardest thing is when the weather is beautiful, and everybody else is going down to the beach, and you have to be the one to do your work that you’ve committed to. But I honestly found it quite a joy to be sat there in the sunshine. Whilst talking to my clients, I felt completely at ease when we were away. I felt very much aligned and I miss it terribly since we’ve been back. And I think actually, it’s one of the best things you can go and do and I would suggest to anybody listening at some point if you can do that for yourself. You know just, just do it. Just go and experience it because it was a beautiful thing. And we intend on doing it again, as soon as possible. It’s definitely something that created a fantastic experience for us. And it is the way we want to live. It is the way that we’re going to live. We’re not going to allow ourselves to be tied down to any particular restraints, we’re always going to give ourselves whatever freedoms we can afford ourselves. And is that not the point in doing business this way? Is that not the whole point and it was really, really lovely to see how many people supported us, which was wonderful. Like so many people were proud of us, so many people just living vicariously through our experiences and just championing us and cheering us on from the sidelines. And that was really beautiful. We really appreciated that.
So, if you’re ever thinking of skipping off and traveling the world, just make sure that you have an accessible business model somewhere with good Wi Fi, and that you have a clear understanding of what you need to do and that you have everything that you need to do ahead of time. And in a worst case scenario, look out for an Electronica store and that’s it for this episode Pretties if you haven’t already joined us in the Social Pretties free Facebook group, please come on over. We would love to welcome you, until next time.