How to Manage Your Online Business While Traveling
I often talk about the differences between starting an online business and a traditional brick and mortar business. Cost is one of the main differences, since starting an online business is virtually free. Another amazing aspect of an online business is freedom.
My photo taken in Crimea, 2010
If you find a well-paid job or even open up your own flower shop – you are chained to that work most of the time. You can’t leave whenever you want, you can’t take a vacation whenever you want and for as long as you want and you are only paid when you are there. If you are working “for the man” you are only paid for the hours that you spend in the office. If you open up your own shop – you only make money when the shop is open.
If you start an online business – you make all the decisions. You decided when to take a vacation, how often and for how long. Besides, your business is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it’s available to almost 3 Billion internet users across the world. Sure, you’ll have to check in from time to time but you do not need to spend 50 hours a week “at work”.
Today I am leaving to Europe for a pretty long trip (5 months and a half). Thank you, online business. I am planning to keep on working on my online business while traveling and this is why there are some crucial preparations that need to be done before leaving.
If you follow this blog, you might remember my post: How I Ruined This Blog More Than Once. I made a few very costly mistakes and lost a big chunk of my business and my income because of my own stupidity – lesson learned.
Getting Your Business Ready for Traveling
When your business grows you start having more and more expenses. Some of these expenses are VERY important and cannot be forgotten or neglected. Here are some very important steps to take before you start traveling.
Verify Your Credit Card.
Hopefully you are using a single credit card for all your business related payments – one card makes it easier to manage. Look at your card and make sure the expiration date is well beyond your return date. You don’t want your payments to not go through because your card to expired while you were abroad.
Having a valid credit card is great, however it can be lost or stolen but there are a few things you can do to prevent possible headaches.
Renew Your Domain Names.
Unfortunately I haven’t transferred all of my domain names from GoDaddy to NameCheap – so I actually have 2 domain registrars. Here is what you must do: log in to your domain name registrar and renew all the domains that will be expiring while you are traveling. By renewing your domains you are making sure that the payment method on file is correct and that even if your credit card gets stolen on a tram in Prague or if you drop it in the water in Amsterdam – you won’t lose your domain names.
Verify Your Hosting Plan
Log into your hosting provider and find out when you need to pay for your hosting plan (provided of course that you are paying for it yearly and not monthly). In fact, if you are paying for it monthly – I’d suggest switching to a yearly plan; this will give you a peace of mind. Losing your hosting account can destroy your business.
Make A Copy Of Your Passwords
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to log into your blog because you forgot your username or password. Computers are making us lazy. We often tend to forget our login credentials simply because our browsers or login-management systems remember that info for us. It’s only normal to forget some user names and passwords if you have 14 e-mail accounts, 12 WordPress sites, and many other password-requiring services.
Before you leave – make sure you know your user names and passwords – at least the most important ones. You should consider saving a document with this information on an encrypted cloud service, or at least e-mailing to yourself. I also make an “analog” copy of this information; I simply write down the passwords in a notebook or a journal that I carry with me. Just make sure you don’t lose that notebook.
Verify Other Accounts
Once you have your passwords, renewed domains and paid hosting – you are safe for the most part. At this point you should take a coffee break and think about all the other accounts that you might be paying for. I once lost a list of 7,000 e-mail subscribers because I forgot that I was paying for Aweber. If you are using an autoresponder – try to pre-pay a full year of service.
If you are paying for training, like Wealthy Affiliate – make sure you switch for a yearly plan before you leave on vacation. You will not only make sure that you don’t lose access, you will also save money since their yearly membership is a lot cheaper than making 12 separate monthly payments.
Look through your credit card, paypal and bank statements to make sure you didn’t forget any services that you might need.
Stay in Touch
I do some online work for local clients so it’s important that these clients are able to reach me when in need. Roaming can be very expensive so it’s not an option. However, I have found a solution for that.
If you live in the United States – then you have nothing to worry about. Get a Google number or a Skype number and you are set. Skype offers unlimited calling to USA and Canada for less than $3 per month.
However, Skype still doesn’t offer online numbers to Canadians and although I have the $3 unlimited calling plan – no one can reach me. Canadians also can’t get a local number with Gmail (I managed to get a US number while in Canada but that’s another story). So here is what I am doing:
I am porting my local number to VOIP.ms – this costs $10. All outgoing or incoming calls cost $0.005 per minute – yes, that’s half a cent per minute.
I downloaded Zoiper app (free) to my iPhone and set-it up with my VOIP.ms account. That’s it!
The problem with VOIP is that you need to be connected to the internet so you could make and receive calls, which is fine for me because I will be connected most of the time (data plans in Europe are cheap). Also, Voip.ms includes a voicemail at no extra charge, so whenever you are Offline – people can leave you a message. However, your clients, family and friends will be happy that they can reach you at NO cost to them because they will be dialing a local number.
Well, my luggage is ready, my electronics are packed, and I am leaving to the airport in 2 hours. Next post will be from Europe
Have anything to add? Don’t be shy, comment below!