6 Reasons You Should Use Your Vacation Abroad To Test Out New Business Ideas
I started the day in Berlin with a dead laptop and no way to charge it. Without the adapter, I couldn't charge my laptop. Without the laptop, I couldn't meet my clients' deadlines. If I didn't meet deadlines, I wouldn't get paid. I should have just stayed in Australia. After riding my bike for one hour to and from the cafe I left my adapter at, I had power again. It wasn't so bad after all. I was being dramatic.
The idea of living and working in a foreign country can seem overwhelming. You don't have many of the certainties of home: security, local networks, familiar workplace, friends and family. Starting a business requires a lot of hard work and commitment.
So, why on earth would you make it more difficult by traveling at the same time? Because there are a host of benefits you won't get if you just stay at home. Here are six benefits I've experienced while spending the last few months in Berlin:
1. You'll meet interesting people.
Usually, when you arrive in a new location you don't know anyone. You have two options: Either go out and make new friends or stay at home and be a hermit. Let's explore the former. I definitely am on the introvert side of the equation. The best way I've found to meet new and interesting people was by going on Meetup.com and looking for meetups that interested me. From marketing, technology, health, socializing, language learning, they've got it all. Chances are you will find other people who are traveling and looking for new people to meet as well.
I stumbled upon a meetup where entrepreneurs got to work together. I instantly made friends with people who were all entrepreneurs and freelancers. In just a few short weeks, I made friends with entrepreneurs who run a digital painting website, a growth hacking website and even a Melbourne-based couple who got their products into the most recent Oscar gift bags. We now meet up to work together and help each other on our business journeys.
2. You'll have more spare time.
What if you don't want to make new friends? Let's explore the living-like-a-hermit option. When I first arrived in Berlin, I didn't know anyone. It was snowing and the days were short. I didn't even have a TV. I found that when I didn't have access to the beautiful weather and beaches of the Sunshine Coast, I was more inclined to stay indoors and work. As a result, I was able to launch a brand new business in record time.
You will find yourself with so much more spare time. You'll have no more social outings to attend. Forget birthday, engagement and dinner parties, you're free to do as you please. While I certainly don't advocate this approach for extended periods of time, if you have a project you'd like to make some headway on, perhaps it's worth a shot.
3. You'll have a new mindset.
When you're in the same old environment every day, it can be hard to change your mindset. It can be hard to implement new habits and set new directions. It can all feel like a bit of a drag. Traveling brings a fresh feel to things. It's a new beginning of sorts. Why do you think so many successful businesses use company retreats to inspire new ideas? Steve Jobs famously used this approach when building new products.
When I arrived in Berlin, I was really motivated to start my new business. It was something I had been putting off for some time, and the commitments I had in Australia just didn't allow me to buckle down and make progress.
4. You'll have fresh ideas.
When you live in a foreign place, you are constantly surrounded by different people and environments you can pull inspiration from. Berlin is a lot different from Australia: grocery stores, clothing, shops, transportation, food and coffee. Who knows what inspiration you will find. Berlin has certainly put new (and crazy) ideas into my head.
Just a week or so ago I had the opportunity to attend Cebit, a massive technology exhibition in Hanover. I got a free ticket from a friend I had made. I would have never attended a technology exhibition in Australia. So, I thought why not go on a free trip to a new city? The exhibition opened my eyes to new innovation from massive companies like IBM and Microsoft. I even watched a robot make coffee.
5. You'll have a chance to test processes.
Travel is the perfect time to see how your new business can run without you. Do you have processes set up to handle work while you are on a plane for 30 hours? What if you want to spend a few nights on a midweek trip to a neighboring country? Will your business fall apart?
I am about to travel through some neighboring countries for 10 days. If I want to keep earning money while I travel, I need to create systems so my business can run without my input. This may include hiring a virtual assistant, scheduling social media posts or automating the customer inquiry process. When these systems are implemented, they will allow me to spend more time on the business, not in the business. Brilliant.
6. It's unbelievably rewarding.
It's never been easier to travel and work than it is now. You can achieve a full day of work in nearly any location, and it's only going to get easier as technology improves. Cafes, hotels, airports and trains are all places where you can pull out your laptop and start working. The options are limitless. When you take the plunge and start working while you travel, you will never look back. You'll avoid burnout and boredom by the sheer opportunities and new environments you will be experiencing.
These are just a few reasons as to why building a business while traveling is an awesome idea. Whether you are just interested in pursuing a side hobby or starting your empire, doing it on the road with your backpack and iPhone will teach you more than you can imagine.
This article was originally published here.