Our goal all along was not to work 60, 80 or 100 hours a week to build a multi-million dollar company. Instead our goal was to work less, spend less, and have more time to play and explore. Yes, easier said than done. But over the years we have started to figure out a few things that have helped make our location independent business a reality.
Our goal is for me to work 20 hours a week and for Craig to work 20 hours a week and for us to bring in enough to support our family and travels within these hours. In order to do this we have had to learn to focus on a few things.
Table of Contents
6 Ways We Simplify Our Location Independent Business
1. How We Work With Clients
A service based business means we have to do work for clients to get paid. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in a model of getting paid hourly. You instead can focus on different methods so that you don’t have to be watching the clock and in the long run end up getting paid more per hour.
When I first started my location independent business I ended up doing a lot of hourly work. I quickly learned I did NOT like that. I had to watch the clock plus if I could get something done quicker it didn’t matter since I wasn’t getting paid anything extra. It kind of felt like a normal 9 to 5 job . . . you know where you have to be there until 5pm even if you get all your work done by 2pm. It wasn’t working for me.
I started to think through what I could do differently and remembered learning about putting packages in place. When I had read about putting packages in place I remember thinking, sure that makes sense. And then kind of forgetting it. Now I better understand why that was so strongly recommended.
With packages you can charge your clients a set monthly fee. This does 2 things:
- Allows you to do your work without worrying about the clock. And takes away the extra step of tracking your time.
- Gives you a consistent monthly income. Your income doesn’t fluctuate as much if you know your clients are paying you a certain amount each month. I know for me this is huge since I would have a hard time with a fluctuating income!
2. When We Work
I don’t know if we quite have this figured out yet, but I think we are getting closer. I used to work whenever I had the chance, which would turn into working a LOT. It ended up feeling like every day was all about work, but that isn’t why we chose this lifestyle!
I knew something needed to change so we tried a few different things and then we came up with the idea of setting one day a week aside for me to work and one day for Craig. What that means is that the whole day we dedicate to working.
For me it is Mondays. As soon as breakfast is done (sometimes before) I start working. That means if the kids ask me a questions, I say ask Daddy today, Mommy is working. Believe me, I have to say that a lot throughout the day, but they are getting better at understanding how it works.
I then work until bedtime, put the kids to sleep, then continue working. Sometimes this means until midnight sometimes it is 3am. Whatever it takes to get the majority of my work done for the week.
This also means that I have to have things in place ready to go for Monday. So if I need things from clients I give them a heads up to get it to me by Sunday so I am ready to go on Monday and not waiting for them.
It also means I have a set day where I can setup phone calls or meetings which is very helpful since this lifestyle is so not scheduled! Now it is easy to say I am available on Monday and figure out a time that works best for my client.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t always go perfectly and there are times I do have to wait for a client to get back to me so I can’t complete everything. Plus there are additional tasks I have to do throughout the week, but normally these just involve a few minutes here or there. Or maybe a 2 to 4 hour time slot on a different day of the week.
Craig also has the same thing for 1 day a week. It really seems to be working well. By the time Monday comes around and I am usually ready for a day where I can just focus on work. As the day goes on it can get harder to stay focused, but I love the incentive if I am able to do this then my work week is basically done!
Without having packages in place with my clients this would be a lot harder to accomplish. I also try to be very upfront with my clients so they know Mondays is my big working day and if they ask me to do something on a Thursday I may not get to it until Monday. Again – there are always exceptions – but for the most part I try to really stick with this schedule and when I do it feels and works great!
3. Keeping Things Simplified
We really try to focus on keeping things simplified and not overly complicated. Which also means having the right expectations. Believe me I could be working twice as much and bringing in more money and more clients. However that would be going against why we did this in the first place, so I have to keep that in the front of my mind.
This also means that we are careful with extra things that we take on and making sure that they fit within our hours and end goals. Are we perfect at this? NO! Do I take on more then I can chew? Sometimes. But each time I do, I am getting better and better at remembering to keep things simple and straightforward and not to overextend ourselves.
I had thought about going down the route of building a team – and still may do that – but at the time it was too soon and would have added a lot more complexity to my business that I just didn’t want. Instead I wanted things to be clean and simple. My Mom does help me out with some social media scheduling, I have one person who helps me with a client’s posts, and I did hire someone to help me with bookkeeping.
Which leads to the other point: if there is something you just don’t like doing and you know someone else could do a better job at it, it may keep things simplified if you hire someone to do it for you. In my case it is bookkeeping!
What it all comes down to is really keeping an eye on what you want to do with your business and where you want your time to go each week. And in turn focusing on making things as easy on you as possible.
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4. Do Good Work and Be On Time
This has always been important to me. I always over-deliver to my clients and am always on time or in touch with them BEFORE the deadline to talk about when I will be finished.
How does this simplify your business? For starters it means you are never playing catch up, but instead are up to date with your tasks so you can keep delivering on time. Also, if you do good work, guess what? People refer you which means you don’t have to go looking for a lot of clients. Talk about simplified!
Like I mentioned above, if I am careful with what I take on and what I promise (keeping in mind the hours I want to work and keeping things simplified) then I can over-deliver to my clients each and every time.
One of the most important things you want to focus on when you get a client is how to keep them! The worst thing would be having to find new clients each month. Instead it makes it so much more simplified if I can continue to build a relationship with my current clients and potentially increase the work I am doing for them versus trying to start from scratch with a client.
5. Spend Less
Yup. If you spend less in your day to day life then you need less money which means you can work less. Funny how that works, but it isn’t always easy to do! My best tip? Don’t go into places like Walmart, Target or even Costco – just avoid them so you avoid the impulse buying. Or if you have to go then put your blinders on or have a list – and don’t stray from it!
Try not to eat out much, but instead cook meals at home or pack a lunch for your family. Find free things to do when you visit a location. You really can do a lot in a new city without having to spend a lot of money.
If there are things you really want to pay to do, then do them! But just remember the more you spend the more you work. What sounds better sitting on a beach (for free) and playing with your kids in the sand. Or sitting in your RV working?
This isn’t always easy and there are times I just wish we had more money so I could go on a shopping spree. But that feeling quickly passes when I am hanging out with my family all day on a Wednesday or when I get to sleep in every day of the week and not set an alarm to wake up and start working!
6. Be Mindful of Your Goals and Priorities
I have been mentioning this throughout the post, but I want to touch on it again. If your goal is to have a multi-million dollar company with a ton of employees, guess what your business isn’t going to be simplified and that is ok if that is what you want to do.
If you want to start your virtual business so you can travel full time, I can guarantee you are NOT going to want to be stuck at your table all day working instead of being out exploring all the cool locations you visit. So keep that in mind when it comes to setting your priorities and goals. And then remind yourself every day!
It really is possible to have a simplified business that brings in enough money to travel full time with your family. No, it isn’t always easy and no, each week doesn’t work out perfectly, but the more you focus on your priorities and strive to meet your goals the easier it gets!
Want to learn how to start your own location independent business? My course How To Start A Virtual Business So You Can Travel Full Time will be launching soon! Learn more here!
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