Not a Working Holiday
Most people assume that we are going on holiday for the next 12 months, swanning around the world. But that couldn't be further from the truth. When asked our current elevator pitch is "Doing the same business but in a different location each day".
But that's not exactly correct either as we have ramped down the web design business and are no longer taking on new web site clients. Instead we are concentrating on ramping up the Marketing business Michon International to help make existing business do better online through content creation strategies and online business mentoring. This may require building the odd website or modifying an existing one to operate better but thats more about marketing than graphic design and functional code.
So what can we do while traveling and what have we prepared?
In less than a week I'll have to pack up my 27" and 24" iMacs, ADSL routers, desk and comfy chair and place them in storage. These and my dedicated server have been my primary tools for the past 6 years, creating websites and running our two businesses Michon International and SMiK Web Design. But not anymore.
From now on my tools will be: 15" laptop Mac Book Pro, iPad Air and iPhone, Google Drive, Dropbox, Feng Office, iCloud, iPhone4s hotspot.
Where will I do work? coffee shop, picnic table, transit lounges, car and tent.
How will I communicate? skype, google hangouts, facetime, facebook, linkedin, blogs, iMessage.
Internet and data: Internet while in Australia will supplied by Telstra and will be limited to 12 GB per month which is a fair bit lower than our current 412GB limit. So we are going to have to be more strategic about our bandwidth usage. As a result we will do a lot of preprocessing of data locally on the iDevices and several small portable drives, usb sticks and SD cards. SD cards will be used to send data to our staff and family via snail mail, making this the slowest network in the world.
Overseas we will need to purchase pre paid data sims and limit ourselves to a bandwidth budget. Fortunately bandwidth is mostly cheaper overseas, during our last OS trip we could buy 3Gb a week for about $2 AUD, significantly cheaper than the charges we suffer in Australia. Worse case scenario will require us to link into public free WiFi. I hope to minimise that but it may be the only choice in some places.
Doing real work while traveling from an iDevice
Power is another concern so while we are camping and traveling I will need to work mainly for the iPad and iPhone as they can operate for several days in airplane mode and up to 11 hours in a WiFi area. When power is available I know I'll be pulling the laptop out.
So what type of work can be done totally from the iPhone and iPad (with a bluetooth keyboard).
- Report writing,
- Proposal writing,
- Answering emails,
- Skype and google hangout calls
- Blog posting
- Social media
- Content research
- Drawing and creative artwork
- Managing the Team and Out taskers
- Limited programming
- Limited spreadsheet work
Things that can't easily be done on iPads and iPhones.
- Website development
- Large vector drawings
- Intensive Movie production
- Intensive Sound editing
- Large spreadsheets
- Complex desktop publishing and Presentations
These things will need to be done on the laptop or better still, out sourced and out tasked.
Outsourcing and Out Tasking
We have a great team, some of whom have been with us now for 4 year. Once we start traveling we will be relying on them to assist us more in the day to day running of the businesses. As a result we are working on systems to streamline the out source and out task process of our businesses. Once the systems are in place the team will fill in the gaps while we are out of range. They will be able to access our primary business email addresses and our contact lists and be able to communicate with clients directly if require, keeping projects moving forward and on target. When we have tasks that go beyond the scope of the current team members we will look to places like freelancer and elance to out task. This hasn't always worked well but as time progresses we have weeded out the best ways to find suitable out task members for the team and projects now work a lot smoother.
So going forward I'll be writing post about "getting power on the road", "best ways to communicate with your team on the road" and many more, so make sure you sign up to the newsletter below.