As solopreneurs, we wear multiple hats everyday to keep our businesses going. It's tough keeping up with client work, emails, meetings, blog posts, newsletters, social media, and finances on a daily basis. Now imagine doing all of that while also being on a relaxing, adventurous vacation... Hah, yeah right!
I am all about that work life blend, but in this case, I needed less work to make time for more play. Taylor and I are headed out on a three week road trip this month. It's something we've been planning since last November. (Okay, he did most of the planning... Fine, all of it.) The only planning I did was for my business. The goal: minimize the amount of work I would be doing on our road trip.
Lets get to it! Here's the golden list of everything I did to prepare my business for nearly a month of travel.
Creating a Travel Binder before your trip is the perfect way to keep all of your paperwork in one place. You can include itineraries and maps, addresses of family and friends you want to send postcards to, journal pages to track your travels, printed e-books you've been meaning to read, photo inspiration you've collected for the trip, and blank paper to write and doodle ideas on. Whatever you choose to include, it will all be in one easily accessible spot. Plus, if you're anything like me—ehem, crazy bag lady—you can't over pack bags full of work that you will never actually get to! If you can't fit it in the binder, it's not coming on the road trip. Simple as that.
Here's what's in my travel binder:
- Blank paper to track any fun stops I might want to share on my blog recap
- About, Branding Breakdown, Process, Services, and Hire me outlines for my website + blank paper to turn those outlines into actual copy
- Get Organized e-book by Simply Savvy (aka Life by Bri)
- Thriving on Instagram worksheets by Hey Sweet Pea
- A few printed pages of photos I love to inspire some of my photos for Instagram
- Passive Income e-books by Sarah Morgan (aka xo Sarah) and Mariah Coz (aka Femtrepreneur)
- A list of Design + Adventure Tribe member's who opted in to receive fun travel goodies from me along the way
You never know when or how much wifi and cell service you'll have on a road trip, especially if you'll be weaving in and out of the mountains out west like us. For this reason, I recommend you schedule most of your social media ahead of time. I have a whole separate blog post coming your way in September discussing the formula I use to schedule my social media posts. For now, the main thing you will need is a social media scheduling tool. There are tons of tools to choose from, but I use and highly recommend Buffer.
Since I am scheduling out three weeks worth of social media, unlike my typical one week, I filled up my que pretty quickly. When my que was full, I went ahead and upgraded to Buffer's Awesome plan for $10 a month. Now I have an unlimited que, can schedule different posting times each day, and can take advantage of pinning to Pinterest as well as posting to Twitter and Facebook.
Along with finding a scheduling platform, you will want to set a good chunk of time aside to plan out your posts. Whether you take one day to do it all or dedicate an hour to it each day, you will need time to really dig in and find the most valuable content. Only share content that fits your brand and will benefit your community! Don't forget to share links to your own work as well, like past blog posts and your newsletter signup.
I woke up an hour earlier each day for a week to sip coffee and dig for great content. I added new articles in new tabs each day. Then, I scheduled all of my posts at one time. I did this to make sure I didn't have any overlapping content or sharing two very similar articles in the same day. You don't even want to know how many tabs I had open at one time during this process. (Okay. I'll tell you, 45.) Don't follow my lead on this one. I don't know how Safari never crashed on me! Keep track of the article links in a simple Text Edit document or on Evernote until you get them scheduled.
I've always dreamed about traveling full-time and taking my business on the road with me. However, when I would day dream about this trip—which was pretty much on a daily basis—I imagined hiking through the mountains with Taylor, sitting around the camp fire roasting marshmallows, looking up at the stars, feeling the sand between my toes, swimming in the ocean, soaking up the sun, sipping cocktails on an outdoor patio, and enjoying ice cream dates. None of these day dreams involved me hopping on client calls at dinner or brining my Mac to the beach. So I decided I would not be booking any branding design clients while we were traveling.
Taking on clients or blocking off your calendar for an extended period of time is something you will have to decide. Take some time to imagine your trip. Do you see time for coffee shop meetings and late night work sessions? Where are you going? How long are you traveling for? Are you going to be on a cruise ship, at a hotel in the city, or in the middle of the woods? Who are you traveling with? Will you need to be in constant contact with your client or do you just need to meet with them one time during the duration of your trip? Ask yourself some of these questions, and I think you will find your answer pretty quickly.
If you know you're going to be gone for an extended period of time when you start a collaboration, let the other person know! This way you both can set a schedule accordingly. Let them know you will try your best to stay in touch while you're on the move or ask if you can move the collab up or push it back.
I am currently involved in four collaborations. All of them are happening right around the time I will be gone. The first collab we simply pushed back a couple months because we were both traveling. The second collab involves doing some research and recording a webinar. We decided to do some research on our own for the three weeks I will be gone and reconnect when I'm back to record the webinar. The third collab is with two creative entrepreneurs for a contest. In this scenario, we gave the winner some fun homework to complete while I am traveling and planned a meeting when I'm back. The fourth scenario is a group collab. In this case, there are so many people involved that the date cannot be moved. I talked to the organizer and am making sure she has all of the items needed from me before I leave.
Each collaboration will be affected differently depending on the type of collab and how many people are involved. Just be open and honest with your collab partners. Once you share your travel plans with them, chances are they will be excited for you and do everything they can to work around your schedule!
BLOG + NEWSLETTER
The way I see it, you have four options for your blog and newsletter while you travel.
- Option 1 — Create + schedule content out ahead of time.
- Option 2 — Announce that you're taking a brief break.
- Option 3 — Organize guest bloggers to cover for you.
- Option 4 — Blog while you travel.
You can choose one of these options or mix and match depending on your specific travel plans. I personally ruled out Option 2 and 3 since I just started blogging five months ago and am currently only posting bi-weekly. If you post to your blog daily, then lining up guest bloggers to fill in might be the way to go.
For me, creating content and scheduling my blog post and newsletter in advance makes the most sense. If you are planning on creating blog posts and newsletters while you travel, just make sure you set aside time for this. It always takes a little longer than you think it will so have your blog post ideas and outlines prepped and ready to go ahead of time.
FREE TO-DO LIST TEMPLATE
While prepping for our road trip, I created several to-do lists for myself and my business (which were scattered all around the house). These to-do lists combined things like purchase floppy hat, schedule social media, pack throw blanket, find photos for travel binder... It was a mess and completely stressed me out. So, I created a master to-do list template designed specifically for the traveling entrepreneur trying to prep both her business and life.