maren kateOne of the beauties of building a virtual startup is that you have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. This concept was made especially popular by books like The Four Hour Work Week years ago and I know quite a few people who travel the world and work on their businesses at the same time (notably: Colin Wright).

I thought it was something I could do too – while in the midst of my own startup – but as it turns out traveling constantly in the early stages of your business takes a toll that may not be worth it…

As you’ll see in the picture above a lot of my well intentioned work days when I’m traveling about turn into fun-in-the-sun pool days … and then *boom* a whole day’s worth of productivity is down the drain.

Now the silver lining on this cloud is that people who use virtual assistants (like I do) get a lot of the benefits of being at work – without actually working. So even though many of my days in Vegas (on my latest Easter induced trip) were spent tanning, goofing off and drinking more nights than I should have – I still got a good deal done through my virtual assistant, Iyos.

But no matter how much you delegate, the goal of a virtual assistant isn’t to do your job (your main job = being the brains of the startup) for you – instead it’s to take off your plate the majority of the tasks that just don’t need your precious attention span.

Why staying in one place is a good thing

When starting up most entrepreneurs are NOT working the four hour work week – unless they’re very lucky or very lazy. Most startup entrepreneurs put in at least 8 hours a day thinking/brainstorming/meeting/coding/designing/delegating and then more brainstorming their business model, go to market strategy, etc.

When you’re traveling things become harder to focus on because it’s incredibly hard to set a “pattern” something most humans need to reach that ultimate peak of productivity a new business craves.

I’ve experienced this myself when traveling from SF to Austin, to Florida, to SF, to LA, to Vegas and back over the last few months. The closest thing to “pattern” I had was getting in “work mode” at Starbucks (which are conveniently located everywhere). But at best I got 4 hours of solid work done a day…

What to do about it

The choice is yours, you may not head my advice and instead try the traveling while starting up thing for yourself. Maybe you’ll succeed – my money would be on you’ll just get frustrated like I did.

Remember, this doesn’t mean you can’t be a traveling entrepreneur – you can – and lots of people (like Colin) are. It’s just that during the very baby stages of a startup (think first 6-18 months) it’s more beneficial for you to stay in one place, get into a habit and keep that productivity high than it is to work from a beach in Tahiti.

Hiring a virtual assistant also definitely helps you capitalize on your productive energies and time by taking over the 80% of your tasks which don’t need to be done directly by you – leaving the most important 20% for you to go at like a bat out of hell.

Are you traveling and starting up? How have you found it? Or do you swear by a set routine? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Maya Mendoza

    Hi All – here is my sixpennies worth. I agree that travelling constantly in the early stages of creating a business takes a toll … especially when you are travelling in different countries and your language skills may not be up to par. 

    I have found that staying in one place during the planning and organisation stage actually saves me time and money and reduces stresses of the inevitable unexpected events and delays that occur when you are on the move. What I will say though is that once you have established the foundations and developed a task related routine thats fulfills your business objectives,  you are home and away when it comes to giving yourself the green light to work and live on the move.