I am writing this from the air conditioned lobby of the apartment I’m renting just outside of Phuket Town in Thailand. I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and I’m just starting to get settled in.
At the beginning of the year I set up www.virtualdemon.com. This is a virtual assistant and administrative online business focusing on the recruitment sector in the UK. However, it’s still a work in progress and I’m looking to make it bigger and better.
I’m going to go into this into a lot more detail but the 3 most important things to do before you go freelancing in another country are:
- Planning your finances
- Planning your business
- Planning your time
Planning Your Finances
Some people are great at this. They have spreadsheets or a similar setup and are as regular as clock work when updating them. They can probably tell you their financial plan up to a year in advance if you asked them.
At the other end of the scale there are people that barely look at their bank balance in a year and won’t know what they spent yesterday or what kind of account they have.
My tips for planning your finances are:
- Research, have an understanding of flight costs, accommodation costs, cost of living and getting around and Visa costs
- Get organised and write it all down
- Know what you would need to pay off bills/debts before you travel.
- Anything particular to your situation. For example, getting your mail redirected.
- Plan for the unexpected. You need to be flexible and put in a certain amount of extra funds as contingency into your planning.
- There are even websites that help you with budgets and travel calculations http://www.travellerspoint.com/, http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-budget-calculator and http://www.travelmath.com/cost/
Planning Your Business
This moves us onto the next point planning your business. I can say with hand on heart take this more seriously than I did. I did an online business course, I got a few materials off the internet and then started putting things together at the weekends and evenings when I could. I should have done a lot more.
My tips for planning your business are:
- Research your business idea. This should take a while. You want to ensure you can make some money out of this idea.
- Have a solid understanding in a paragraph of what your business is all about. For example, what does your business do and who are you targeting.
- Look at forums, blogs and training courses of people that are doing it and most importantly I would say have just started or are about to start doing that business.
- But also don’t get too wrapped up in analysing all the information out there. You will quickly realise most people are saying similar things with a slightly different spin/angle on it, with a few extra tips thrown in.
- Also you need to know your numbers for your business. I was told at a recent webinar to know what you want to earn and what you need to earn.
- Have existing clients before you travel. I would recommend before you decide to go travelling to have at least a couple of long term clients already on board.
- Get a checklist together of things you need to do to start your business and then put a website together (I would recommend using word press).
- I signed up to a number of bidding websites that offer work to freelancers such as www.PeoplePerHour.com, www.Truelancer.com and www.upwork.com. There are a lot more.
You now need to start putting this research into action. I found this website was useful www.thetechiementor.com/ it has some really good free resources to use to help you do this but it is aimed at Virtual Assistants.
Planning Your Time
You need to come up with a plan that works for you and how you’re going to make the transition from employee to entrepreneur. It’s not easy. I still don’t really think in an entrepreneurial way all of the time. Many years of doing the same thing has dampened my creative spark and made me forget how to do things myself.
But it can be done, it’s all about mindset, writing things down and taking action.
My tips for planning your time are:
- Plan things in advance. For example, we knew when we had to move out of the flat by and therefore when we had to get rid of everything in it by.
- Give yourself more time to do things than you think they will take.
- Get organised and write it all down. For example, we had checked the flights to Thailand and one of us then booked those flights.
- Put a date and time when you’re going to do it. For example, I used the calendar on my phone for moving household stuff or discussing and planning the travel arrangements
- Plan things on a daily basis. For example, I would plan in the morning (I’m a morning person) what I was going to do after work.
- Keep your plan flexible. For example, sometimes I would have to work late.
- But my biggest tip is to build in how you’re going to market your business from as early a stage as possible.
I hope this has been informative, interesting and you liked reading it.
That’s all folks this week but I’ll be back again next week. Please subscribe to my Virtual Demon blog and I look forward to your comments and feedback.