Working remotely and traveling South America
So can you live a life full of adventure in new places and at the same time be a full time entrepreneur? I always wondered about that, I thought I had to work 80 hours for like 5 to 10 years as an entrepreneur and then travel the world, and that if everything went almost perfect (more or less 95% of new startups fail after 5 years ), after 5 years of so of working insane hours, I had enough, I realize that one of the advantages of this era we live on, is that technology allow us to be anywhere and still be communicated with the world. So my girlfriend and I decided to start traveling the world, I kept working in my company normally just changing my office every 10 days more or less.
From the outside it might seem like you need to be rich and have tons of free time. Well, I found out that you can do it under a very normal living budget, or even lower than what you usually expend, at least that was my case. While on the road you optimize you budget way better and there is a lot of activities that don't require much money, like walking through a town or city, which we did a lot!. On the time factor, well, if you think about it, we have enough time to do anything we want in life, we just don't use it wisely, it is easy to say “there is always tomorrow”, “I am too tired from work”, and tons of other excuses.
When you are on the road, and realize that there is a lot of great things to see and do in every new city, excuses go out the window and you take advantage of every second, so there is no watching TV, or doing repetitive things every weekend, like we used to do before. Almost every second outside working on my company I spent getting to know the new place we were at the time. That new approach to time allowed me to work full time on my company while traveling full time also.
Of course not everything is perfect, the first thing that needed to happen when I started this new life was to tell our clients what we were doing. Since we decided to become a 100% online company, our clients weren't too happy about it at the beginning, so it was up to us to prove we could do it, which meant we couldn't miss any deadlines or meetings. While before, sometimes we could miss a meeting or a deadline with a good reason, now that was out of the question, since any mistake we made on road, our clients would blame it on our travels, which is normal. While this might seem like a lot of pressure, it actually helped us to became better and more focused at what we do.
Another complicated part of traveling and being a full time entrepreneur is managing your energy. Going on tours and walking through cities or towns takes a lot out of you; sometimes it was hard to do work on my computer after a tour. As we learned more about how to live as nomads and work at the same time, we organized or schedules better and tried to be even more discipline, having full work days and full tour days when possible, and when we had to mix the two we tried to keep it as low key as possible to save energy.
Let's move to the positive things, and more about the ones that are good for an entrepreneur. Here I can go on and on forever, but I will keep short to just 3; You get to know better your potential clients, it is great for networking, and it opens your mind to learn more about potential business opportunities.
Let's start with the first one, get to know your potential clients. Nowadays, with Google and everything being on the internet, we just go there to do research on marketing, or anything we need for our startup projects, well... it turns out that we are missing a lot of information by being so out of touch with real life. While online data can be true, how we interpret it is a different thing. It is not same thing as experiencing how a group of people live and interact with the services they use.
Great networking. Before my travels, I got to meet a lot of people from the industry (I am in the Video game industry) mostly online, and a few times in person when we met at big game conferences. Traveling changed all that, I got to visit colleges at every city I went, some even let us stayed at their places, I got the privileged to meet the Latin American game industry very close in person. This gave our company a network of contacts that I coudn't have dreamt before, and it opened great businesses opportunities and future partnerships to pursue.
Mind opening to new learning material and business opportunities. As I learn more about life and business, I truly believe that we have almost infinite ways or paths for living our life. I got to see how people from different cultures lived their lives and realized that the script we have for living is just one of many, which honestly might not the best one in many ways. Money is so tied up to our daily life and businesses are a vital part of our life. Through out my travels I got to learn about different businesses just by using them a lot, such as transportation, banking and currency trade among different countries, food industry, just to name a few. And I saw how within my industry (Video games) there was so many opportunities I didn't see before.
Every new city gave me a lot of education and business learnings, while talking to people was a lesson on its own.
Talking about specific cities, going to Lima, Santiago de Chile, and Buenos Aires, gave me the opportunity to attend great Gaming events such as Festigame in Chile, visit great local studios, meet with Google, get to know how the government is working in each country and experience how each game industry works in a very local way. All of this has been a huge change in how I see the game industry in Latin America, how I relate to it and how my business plans will work with it, providing inside learnings that no education degree would offer, where really the only way to get them is by living experience.
The most important part of it was that I got to meet the people behind the Facebook posts, the marketing articles, and linkedIn profiles. Most of the times I got to see the real person and that has changed me in a way I could not have anticipated. We live in an era where personal contact is decreasing, so I feel very lucky and privileged for experiencing this personal contact with people.