Last year i spent one year in Barcelona working in my business from overseas. People would ask me what I was doing in Spain and would usually assume that I was either studying or working at a regular job . Whenever I would say that i was working on my business remotely from abroad, I would always receive puzzling looks – and still do to this day.
Granted, I do have a partner on the ground in Toronto, who I obviously wouldn’t be able to do this without, I still run the bulk of my business remotely.
I hesitated to do this at first; I was paranoid to leave my brother and go across the Atlantic knowing that I wouldn’t be able to physically be there to monitor everything (I’m super hands on). But guess what? It all worked out. We still made money, and now we are more productive than ever.
We’re more productive because me going overseas forced us to create systems and simplify our process so that we could operate our business smoother. We were forced to make every aspect of our business efficient or else everything would be disorganized and things wouldn’t get done.
I’m a super organized person by nature, and so setting everything up was a challenge that I enjoyed conquering. What I learned throughout the process:
- There are sooo many tools you can use to go remote now and businesses should be taking advantage of this.
- We were wasting too much time doing unnecessary tasks. Me going over seas forced us to breakdown our workflows and processes and eliminate things that were a waste of time.
- Learning how to let go control and outsource work allowed me to focus only on income generating tasks.
Even if you have a brick and mortar business, implementing these steps and going through this process will make your business so much more simplified which will allow you to really work on more income generating tasks and development.
Work smarter not harder.
6 steps you can take your business remote
1. Learn to let go of control
This is the first and probably most difficult step. If you plan on traveling or working remotely, you won’t be physically present to speak to people and you’ll likely have to trust at least one person to take care of some aspect of your business. This is where a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs struggle. Growing your own business is a personal thing, trusting people to handle part of it is not easy initially. We work so hard to get where we are , and we’re afraid that people will mess that up. The truth is, that in order to be successful, you need a team. And that entails picking the right people and trusting that they will have your best interests at heart. It all begins with letting go of control and realizing that you can’t do everything.
I remember when my brother and I first decided to hire people for our business. The first time we sent our photobooth attendant out on their own to a wedding, I was a nervous wreck. We were both glued to our phones and monitored everything. We didn’t want a thing to go wrong. But guess what? Everything was fine. Once you get over that hump and trust people you gain a confidence that allows you to take your business to the next level.
So before you take your business remote, realize that you will have to let go control at some point, in some respect. Completing the next steps will prepare you to do this with more confidence.
2. Map out your workflows and processes
First thing you need to do before you can go remote is to simplify and map out your processes. Doing this will allow you to look at your business and see where you can simplify, optimize and outsource. Having clear processes and workflows will keep you organized.
These processes will vary on your business. Some key workflows to create:
- Leads/Sales workflow – when someone inquires about your services, what process do they go through? Map out each step taken, every email to be sent and phone call to be made.
- New client/onboarding workflow – How do you introduce new clients? Do you have an orientation or a welcome process?
- Project/client workflow – When you do get new business, what is the process that you go through to complete your job?
- Employee/team management – How you schedule employees, process for payroll , team meetings, etc.
- Accounting/bookkeeping – How you keep track of expenses and sales.
- Marketing and lead generation – How you generate leads for your business, social media calendars, email sequences, sales funnels and monitoring progress
3. Digitize your workflows
After you’ve mapped out your workflows, digitize them. No paper, no filing (unless absolutely necessary). You can’t work remote when you have paper files located in different places. When everything is online or computerized, you and your team can access anything anywhere.
There are many Saas (service as a software) companies that can help you with this. Working in the cloud is great because you can access your files anywhere. These online software make your workflows super easy to execute and keep everything organized. What’s great about these software, is that they are web-based, and many times are accessible across all devices. A lot of these software have integrations with different types of apps and other programs as well.
Types of business software you can use:
- CRM software (customer relationship management) that help you manage leads, new sales, projects, jobs, etc. Some popular ones are Salesforce.
- Project/Business Management Software – While you can use really popular ones like 17Hats, there are many niche-specific CRM that may have features related to your type of business.
- Accounting – try online software like Quickbooks Online or Freshbooks.
- Employee/Task Management – communication apps like Slack are great, project managment apps and software like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp are popular. You can also time track with apps like Toggl and measure your productivity.
- Marketing Automation – social media management programs like Hootsuite and Buffer are great, Coschedule for content marketing and blogging.
- Email Marketing – Mailchimp, Aweber, Convertkit, etc.
Depending on your business, a combination of just a few of these apps can revolutionize your business. Investing in these programs is worth it.
For example, I personally run my business using Pixifi (CRM for photographers), Trello (for task management and team management), and Quickbooks Online for bookkeeping. Along with Dropbox for file storage, and Office 365 for email. That’s it.
Find which software will work for you. Most have free trials. It may take some time to set everything up, but once it is, it is the biggest lifesaver.
All of the software I use can be accessed as long as I have internet. So freeing.
4. Use cloud file storage
Other than using Saas software and apps, you probably have other documents to store. In addition to saving your files locally to your hard drive, having all of your files accessible in the cloud is key for working remotely.
Programs like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive allow you to store files online, create folders and collaborate with others easily .
All of these have free plans with a generous amount of storage space, you may need more space, but it is pretty inexpensive!
Once you’ve figured out which online software to use and your workflows, maximize your use of these by automating the repetitive tasks for business to take the load off.
For example, automating follow up emails to leads/clients is a big timesaver. Along with creating email templates for everything. Most CRM software have this function.
Another thing you can automate is marketing – your email sequences and social media management can be scheduled in advance so that you’re not scrambling for posts everyday.
You can also create to do lists and schedule reminders for tasks so that you stay on track. This is why it’s key to map out your workflows and processes – every email to be sent, document to be drafted, form to be completed and step taken – so that you can automate as many of these as possible.
6. Outsource !
Once you have your workflows and processes organized and as much of your processes automated as possible, finding tasks to outsource will lessen the time you spend on your business and allow you to focus on growing your business and pursuing other projects.
When deciding what to outsource, make a list of tasks you dislike, things you’re not good at, and repetitive tasks. Figure out what you’re actually good at doing and consider hiring for complex tasks that aren’t your forte.
Building your virtual team will take trust, guidance and good communication. The more organized your business is, the easier it will be to outsource tasks.
Going remote is one of the most liberating feelings when being a business owner. Now that we have the technology to operate from anywhere, this has become a viable option for many business owners and entrepreneurs.
The key to going remote successfully is being organized and having clear processes in your business and operations. Clear communication is also extremely important to make sure your team is on the same page and can operate without you having to be babysit them.
You don’t have to want to be a world traveller or nomad to work remote. Maybe you want to work from home to have more time with your kids, or maybe you want to be able to take 1-2 week vacations without having everything fall apart. Regardless of the reason, going remote saves you money and gives you and your employees more freedom.