Since becoming an entrepreneur, with intentions to create a location independent business, I’ve found myself working and traveling all at the same time. It sounds like the dream, right?
Well, to be honest, it is less than ideal. Some days I have moments of stress based on WiFi connection, time zone differences, and keeping track of all the moving parts in my business. The freedom and flexibility to move to a different place when I want, work from where I want, and plan my own schedule make it more than worthwhile, though, and worth the stressful moments.,
To figure out how to keep track of the multiple time zones, moving parts, forms, leads, and more, I rely heavily on a few tools and systems to make sure my business runs smoothly. I’ve tested out LOTS of tools and systems, had even more recommended to me, and a lot of “free trials” to others to see how I could use them.
Out of all the tools and systems I’ve given a go, these are my top 5 tools for working while traveling that I use daily.
Top 5 Systems and Tools for Working While Traveling
I used to HATE using tools and systems
(shocking, actually) because they were more things that I needed to keep track of. By using any automation features, digital note-taking platforms, or online booking schedulers, I thought that the human aspect of my brand was being taken away. It felt like I was cheating on building a relationship with my potential clients or collaborators if I substituted a workflow with automation and systems.
I also didn’t “trust” any online platforms to keep track of my notes, calls with clients, or forms because I thought the “Cloud” would combust at some point and I’d lose all my information.
(Y’all, I might be a light conspiracy theorist LOL.) I relied heavily on notebooks, loose leaf paper, and my own written notes and summaries before deciding to transition to all digital everything! It was a shock, but it’s ultimately made my business run much smoother and enhanced my client experience because I don’t need to worry about keeping track of it all.
The mother of all tools and one of the BEST systems I’ve ever invested in is Dubsado. This system is a “Client Relationship Management” (CRM) tool that makes it easy to send out my proposals, collect signatures on contracts, and keep track of invoices. The best part is, I can set up workflows for all types of forms and “canned” (templated) emails for different scenarios.
My favorite part about this tool is that my Business & Systems Coach, Theresa Baretta, from Loop Link Coachsulting, helped me set up automated workflows for all my “lead captures”. That means, every time someone fills in a contact form from Dubsado that I have on my website, it connects to a specific workflow based on the information they entered. Then, it triggers the start of a workflow that sends out an automated email letting them know I received their email and will get back to them shortly.
THIS IS AMAZING, especially because if I’m ever traveling and without Internet connection, Dubsado still sends out these emails and it’s reliable! Not to mention, I now don’t have to keep track of payment due dates anymore because there’s a specific workflow I have for all invoices to send out automated reminders! WHAT A LIFESAVER!
Book Like a Boss
Who knew having a scheduling platform could make life so much easier? Clearly not me, because I used to schedule my meetings via back and forth emails, trying to decide on what time works best for people and counting our hourly time differences. *face palm*
Having a scheduling system like Book Like a Boss makes it easier for me to keep track of what types of meetings I have (coffee chats, strategy sessions, connection calls, etc.), when I have them, and who’s joining. It also integrates with my Google Calendar so I know when I need to prep for a meeting and how much time to allow for other activities.
While I’m working and traveling, my time zones can change quite often or things can come up that require me or my clients to move around our meetings – this system gives me SO many scheduling options and is easy to set up and keep track of. The only thing I need to do is make sure I change my time zones while I travel and it will automatically adjust my clients’ time zones for them.
If you haven’t caught on to Voxer, you are seriously missing out! Voxer is “walkie-talkie” phone app AND can also be used on desktop! Besides giving out my personal number to my clients (which would be annoying for them, too, since I am based in Europe), I ask them to download the Voxer app and add me so that we can keep in contact.
I only have the “Lite” version and haven’t paid for Pro, yet, but I can see myself investing more into this tool. The functions are simple and easy to figure out and give me and my clients a way to communicate easily and efficiently by sending text messages, voice messages, photos, or even videos! There’s no need to keep track of phone numbers or anything like that because each person has their own unique username!
Even if I’m on the road, I’m still able to connect with my clients and they’re able to send me messages back and forth to review anything! Y’all – it’s worth it.
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Ah, my favorite organizational digital “notebook” to keep drafts, ideas, client work, and more! Evernote is available as a desktop application and phone application. The apps sync to each other so you’re always updated with your work and ideas, even if you’re on the go.
I don’t have the phone app, just because I REALLY hate typing on my phone. What I do love is that even though I may not have Internet on my laptop, I can still write out draft blog posts, plan content, or other work related things and once I’m connected to Internet, I can transfer all my work to their appropriate platforms.
The best part is – Evernote is FREE! I use it to organize TQP Studio content ideas, digital product drafts (*hint hint*), presentations and chats I give, and A WHOLE LOT MORE. I’m always working on it when I’m sitting on a train or in the car and don’t have WiFi but can use that time to write.
The most trustworthy and reliable tool I’ve been using for ages is Google Drive. It is my virtual filing cabinet for everything related to The Quirky Pineapple Studio and Your Soulful Branding with my co-host, Molly Ho. I’ve divided all my content and business operations into folders, for example:
This is where I share all my copywriting and content strategy work with my clients. My favorite parts of Google Drive are Google Doc and Google Sheets. They’re user friendly, can be shared and downloaded, and allow my clients to go in and make comments and provide feedback directly on my drafts. As long as I’ve got WiFi, Google Doc and Sheets will always save the latest version so if something were to happen – I can trust that I haven’t lost my work!
BONUS TOOL & SYSTEM: Good old pen and paper
And if you’re still hesitant to use digital tools and systems to make working and traveling easier, the good old trusted pen and paper is my go to. Although I rely heavily on automated systems and digital tools to make sure things are taken care of and never missed, having pen and paper to jot down new ideas while I’m traveling is always my favorite.
Whenever inspiration strikes – I make sure to whip out a journal or quickly jot down my thoughts in my Notes section on my phone. Then, I can return to it later and implement it into the systems and tools I already have.
Working and traveling may not be the most ideal (or dream-worthy) situation, but if you’re on the road, it’s important to make the process seamless for your clients and yourself. There will be MANY moving parts, travel is unpredictable, and your clients shouldn’t suffer from that because you didn’t prepare beforehand.
What are some of your favorite tools for working while traveling? Share them in the comments below!
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