It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
This week I asked our panel of experts…
“Last week we talked about events. Tell me about your home life.
If you attend events, what do you have in place so that you can travel? Basically what's working for you?”
I've been traveling more than usual this year to events, as I mentioned in last week's post: How Many Events Do Successful Entrepreneurs Attend in a Year?.
While going to events is definitely a big way for me to grow my business, it can also be difficult to juggle home life, too. So, if you're curious about that – keep reading. 🙂
Lou Bortone of Video in a Day says:
As long as we plan ahead, my wife and I are able to coordinate our schedules and child-care so that I can attend events once a month or so.
For me, it all comes down to advance planning and making sure I'm not missing any big family events or kids sporting events. (Not easy when your teenage baseball star has 70 games per year!)
David Perdew of NAMS Free Weekly Training says:
My wife is very conservative in some ways. Especially when it comes to spending money. I love that about her.
So, in the beginning when I wanted to go to my first live event, she asked how much it would cost.
I laid it out, but then told her why it wouldn’t cost anything eventually. It would make us money.
When I showed her the income directly generated from the first live event, she asked where I was going next?
So, proof of concept – even to the spouse and family – is the KEY to making event travel easy at home. Just be open and honest about that.
Secondly, make sure your business still runs without you for a few days.
1) Have an “operations manager.” Could be one hour a day or 40 hours per week, depending on how big and complex your business is. A good virtual assistant can step in if you don’t need someone on a regular basis.
2) Have someone monitor your support desk. This too depends on how large your business is. That’s one of the reasons we use Zendesk for our support.
3) Keep a mobile device with you so you can respond to emergencies. But just remember, your definition of emergency may vary from your “staff” definition, so be clear about the expectations.
Get these things in place and you’re ready to go.
Kristen Eckstein of Self Publish on Demand says:
I travel – a lot. Thankfully I have a very understanding husband who lets me leave for a week at a time so I can hang out with my amazing entrepreneur friends and come back with crazy cool ideas to implement for our business. And it helps that we work together full-time, and every couple that's together 24/7 needs a break once in a while. 😉
In the past two months I've been to Atlanta for the NAMS conference, the beach for a long weekend with my hubby, I'm heading to the mountains for a short weekend retreat, and Florida for almost an entire week of masterminding.
Next year I already have a two-week trip planned to Ireland, where I'll have internet and will be doing a lot of sight-seeing, so I won't be glued to my computer full-time like I normally am.
I also have a team. I couldn't travel and attend events the way I do without my handy VAs, programming team, etc. When I leave the country I make sure I have internet connectivity and check email at least once per day just to stay on top of things. And I put auto responders (out of office) in place that let anyone emailing know I'm gone and when to expect my return. If I'm somewhere without internet, no big deal, because my “public” email address is filtered through one of my amazing VAs and I give her a boilerplate message to send people who want to speak to me. I also use a calendar system to schedule appointments, so people can instantly see when I'll be back and when I'm available.
Whew – that was a lot! Here it is in easy bullet points for you:
- I set autoresponders for my emails that let everyone know when I'm going to be away and when to expect a response. These autoresponders start about a week before I leave so all my in-process clients know what to expect as well.
- I give the VA who handles my public email a boilerplate response to give anyone who contacts me for information or to set up a time to chat. This response includes a link to my calendar so they don't feel ignored and can reserve a time as soon as I'm back.
- My hubby stays home when I go to business events. This means the design work he's responsible for on our clients' books still gets completed, and I can email proofs to them remotely through tools like DropBox. In other words, just because I'm out of the office doesn't mean all work halts for our clients.
I highly recommend you get a public email filtered through a VA. This has been great, especially when I'm out of the country or on a business cruise where there's little to no internet connection.
Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of Plan Your Online Business says:
Travel is an easy choice for me because all I need to do is walk out the door. Let me explain why.
My husband and I have been married for 44 years. Through the years we have both had jobs where we traveled a LOT. And we agreed early on that we were both adults and could function independently. Both of us can cook, clean, do laundry and love our kids equally well, although not always in the same way. But just because we don't do it the same doesn't make it any less effective.
We reared our children to be the same way. When they had an event or game, they were responsible for making sure they had a ride, whether from us or a friend's parents. I didn't try to control who was going where once they were over 10. Instead, they each posted their schedule on the central calendar. Each girl (we have 3) was responsible for having a clean uniform, clean clothes for school, and anything else they needed. They asked for our help if they needed it, but they knew that it was their responsibility.
Even though the children are grown and rearing our wonderful grandchildren, the same sense of self-responsibility remains. I don't need to shop, cook, clean or make any other arrangements to leave town. I just need to make sure my clothes are clean and I have a ride to and from the airport. Meanwhile, while I'm out of town I don't need to worry that my husband is starving or doing without clean clothes. He's an independent man who can take care of himself.
Once you establish the “adult” perspective, it makes travel a pleasure for everyone involved!
Kelly McCausey of Solo Smarts Podcast says:
Ever since I became an empty nester, meaning my son grew up and moved out, I've known I didn't like living alone. When I owned my own home I always had younger women renting a room from me. It's not that I need to be chatty, I've just always loved knowing someone else was around.
Well, when I moved down state to be closer to family I chose not to buy another house and rented a duplex for awhile. I had one roommate for a few months but she experienced a job loss and had to make a change. Left on my own again I decided to explore other options. To make a long story short, I found a great place in a beautiful neighborhood where I could be “the roommate” for a change. I rent a fantastic (and giant) room from another empty nester. The home is big, comfortable and close to everything I need.
This means I can travel without any concern for what's happening back home and I love it! It's a perfect arrangement for this season in my life.
Sometimes I miss having ‘my own place' by those feelings are fleeting. There are just too many advantages to not being the one in charge LOL!
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
Well, I asked the question because I am always looking for ways to make it easier on my family when I travel.
I can't do much about how much they miss me, but I can try to streamline as much as possible for things to run smoothly while I'm gone.
Here are a few things that I do.
1. Use Google Calendar & Google Apps.
I don't even remember life prior to Google calendar and I never want to live without it ever (EVER) again. My husband and I both have shared calendars with all of the kids' stuff on it. Those are synced to my phone and his, too, so I know when they have Doctor's appointments or have to go to the Orthodontist – and he does, too. That means that, when I'm gone, he can make sure our daughter gets to her Chorus practices and to her Dance classes without missing a step. It's truly made my life tons less stressful and it means we argue less, too.
2. Outsource to My Team.
The others mentioned this, too, but I also have a support staff and a main project manager who can handle anything that comes up in my business while I'm gone. That doesn't really impact my family as much as it makes it possible for me to keep things running and enjoy my trips.
3. Outsource around My Home.
I have a cleaning crew that comes every week and a lawn service, too. That helps things to keep running while I'm gone.
4. Try to Host Some Local Events.
This year, I'm holding one event close to home: Beachpreneurs – Ladies Mastermind Retreat.
I chose to have it close to home for a few reasons. One of which was so that I was nearby in case my family needed anything. But also so they can come by and go SUP'ing at the beach while I'm here, too.
5. Involve my Husband and Kids in my Other Life.
I think it's most difficult on my husband than it is on the kids. He misses me and worries about me while I'm gone. That's one reason why I've been making an effort for him to get to know more of my work friends that I travel with and go see. In about the last year, he's met David Perdew, Bob Jenkins, Therese Sparby, Connie Green, and he's visited more with Tracy Roberts. So, I think it helps to be able to put faces with the names and he's feeling better about it.
The kids now also know if I'm traveling to see Miss Tracy who she is because she's stayed here at my home and we've been to hers (and she's cooked dinner for us).
6. Speaking of Dinner, I Do Batch Cooking.
I've talked about this before – and I think I have an Expert Briefs coming up where I'll talk about this topic – but I love love love batch cooking.
If I'm going to make a batch of my famous Black Bean soup, I'll make a HUGE batch. It takes about the same amount of effort, but then I can freeze the excess in single serving containers so it's waiting for us when it's dinner time and we are looking for something healthy to eat.
Same with lasagna. It takes nearly the same effort to make 8 trays of lasagna as it does to make one. So, why not use the food processor and make enough to freeze and eat later?
Dinner's in the freezer – and it's healthy (and cheap!).
What about you?
Do you have any tips or tricks or suggestions for me and my readers for handling this situation?
PS. Want to connect in person? Here's where I'll be –
- October 2013: Beachpreneurs, Pensacola Beach, FL (I’m Co-Hosting with Kelly McCausey) This is a ladies only weekend business mastermind and retreat being held in a 9 bedroom house on the beautiful beaches of Pensacola Beach. Click here for Details.
- January 12-19th, 2014: Marketers Cruise I’ve put this off for years because the cruise is LONG, but I have finally decided to make it happen. Click here for Details.
- February 6-9, 2014: NAMS, Atlanta (I’m Teaching) Why I like this event... NAMS is family. I look forward to it every 6 months and wouldn’t miss it for the world. The instructors are amazing, warm people. The students are, too. I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable way to spend a weekend. Click here for Details
- April 8-10, 2014: Ray Edwards (I’m Planning on Attending) Details coming soon.
- May 16-18, 2014: Exposure & Profit, Toronto, CA (I’m Keynote) Click here for Details.
- June 2014: Earn1kaDay, Vegas (I’m Teaching) Click here for Details (get recordings from last year)
- July 31st-August 3rd, 2014: NAMS, Atlanta, GA Why I like this event... NAMS is family. I look forward to it every 6 months and wouldn’t miss it for the world. The instructors are amazing, warm people. The students are, too. I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable way to spend a weekend. Click here for Details and Tickets for the February Event (July isn’t for sale yet)
IMPORTANT!!!! –> If you attend any of the events on this page, be sure to come up and introduce yourself and let me know that you’re on my list or read my blog or whatever! I would love to meet you!
But, be careful, I’m a hugger.<– IMPORTANT