At the time of writing, I’m on the my latest jaunt around the world. I’ve been in India for a month, am in Australia right now and will head up to South East Asia until the sun comes out again in London.
That could be some time yet…
It’s no coincidence that there are a lot of beaches in the places I’m visiting. I love the beach. There’s just something about the expansiveness of the ocean, the feel of warm sand between my toes and the smell of the sea air that makes me happy – no matter what’s going on inside my head.
Before I left for this particular trip I couldn’t know for sure whether running my freelance writing business (and the Freelance Writers Online site) would be doable, but there was only one way to find out for sure…
After more than a month on the road I can happily announce that to run a business from the beach is actually extremely easy – and infinitely less stressful – than running it from a fixed point back home instead.
In the event you too wish to run a business from the beach at some point, what follows is a quick run-down on how and why it’s worked for me.
First of all, and I’ve written about this topic in more depth here – I’ve discovered that my workload swells to fit almost any variation of time I allot to it. Coming from a nine to five background (and with most people around me working nine to five back in London) I tended to work fairly solidly throughout the day. Although essentially my workday was entirely flexible, I would work from morning until evening – and fill every moment in between with ‘being busy.’
Since I’ve been on the road with the same workload (in fact with more workload as I’m ghost-writing an entire book while I’m away) I find I can work for an hour or two most mornings and get everything done. What’s more, I don’t feel stressed about my work, about deadlines or indeed about not working – as I tended to a fair bit back home.
Out here, I get the work done in the mornings and then enjoy the rest of the day exploring whichever part of the world I’m in – or hitting the beach to relax.
Tricks and tools of the trade
There are of course certain tricks and tools of the trade that I use to ensure that running my business from the beach (or cafe, or local bar) goes as smoothly as possible. The following apps and tools make my life on the road much easier and although some of them are highly popular and (I suspect) used by the majority of freelance writers, bloggers and mobile small business owners out there, some of them you may not even have heard of.
(Note: There are a lot of links in this next part so you may want to bookmark this page and refer back to it.)
Dropbox & Google Drive
For storing all documents online so nothing can ever get lost. I have a Chromebook so all my stuff is saved in my Google Drive. I keep the super-important docs in both and tend to use Dropbox to share FWO course files if students’ files ever go astray.
Used to ensure I don’t miss anything. I also have the app synced to my phone (which I only use when connected to free wifi and never for calls and texts).
A handy online daily tasks app, Do It (Tomorrow) has allowed me to do away with endless scraps of paper to-do lists while I’m on the road.
I use this to keep in touch with Freelance Writers Online readers. The Earn a Full-Time Living as a Freelance Writer Online course is currently selling for a ridiculously low price. Mailchimp meant I could email my lovely FWO readers so they were the first to know about this discount. (Check this out to get more stuff like this along with freelance writing tips and advice – it’s free!)
Another crucial social media app, Buffer allows me to schedule the best of the web’s content across Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. This is particularly useful on the road when I may only get short spurts online rather than being online all day long.
Although I love the feel (and smell) of a good old-fashioned book, an eReader is perfect for researching – not to mention proofreading – your work while on the road. It’s light and can store a hellava lot of books and documents.
So that’s how I run my freelance writing business and one humble website from the road, the beach and anywhere else I may find myself along the way.
And no, I don't use Skype or Google Hangouts to chat to clients - only to keep in touch with family and friends. My clients only speak to me via email and that's just how I like it.
Do you have any other tips, advice, tricks or tools of your own to add? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section below.