Coronavirus, Travel, and Entrepreneurship: How to Make the Most of Lockdown Wanderlust?

By Nidhi Parekh of The Shared Microscope

beach with boat and palm trees
Photo by Sébastien Jermer on Unsplash

I don’t know about you, but we are having serious wanderlust issues out here. My wanderlust has gotten to the point that, when asked about travel, I’m already imagining a beach, a freshly cut coconut, a fresh mimosa, and OMG, the perfect little hammock tied up between two palm trees – and of course, a great book!
 
One of the great things about freelancing is that you can work from anywhere as long as you have a computer with a stable internet connection. Let’s face it, we’ve all considered working remotely, while on the go, at some point! Writing a little while in Barbados, then perhaps a little bit of island hopping in Indonesia, and oh wait, have a business call on a boat? I promise you can have it all!

“One of the great things about freelancing is that you can work from anywhere as long as you have a computer with a stable internet connection.” — @TheSharedScope on wanderlust during #COVID19

Read on to learn about the challenges of entrepreneurship amidst a pandemic, and how you can make them work for you and turn your travel entrepreneurship dreams a reality!

What is Entrepreneurship?

The Oxford Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as “the activity of making money by starting or running businesses, especially when this involves taking financial risks.”

With entrepreneurship, the risks are high — but so are the rewards.  Most importantly, your pay is entirely proportional to the amount of work you do. If you do an hour of hard work, your bank account will chime accordingly. If you do something half-arsed, your client will call you out accordingly. 

With entrepreneurship, the risks are high — but so are the rewards. @TheSharedScope

Source: Tenor

Of course, a savvy entrepreneur will know that the best way to succeed is to start small and expand over time.  Risk minimization is a goal of the intelligent entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship Is a Lot Like Traveling

There are a few ways in which starting and running a business is like traveling.  For starters, there is a starting point and an end point.  Also, like in traveling, in entrepreneurship, how you get to your destination — e.g., running a successful business — matters.  

Here are a few other ways entrepreneurship is a lot like traveling:

  • Entrepreneurship can be a tiresome process with a lot of steps. And a lot of delays too.  Both entrepreneurship and travel involve sometimes “long” journeys that can be winding — but, ultimately, extremely worth it.
  • The details matter. As do the little things.
  • It can be very expensive. 
  • Some aspects could be free as far as money goes, but expensive in terms of time investment (such as getting the word out about your business).  It all depends what you’re doing and how you’re doing it!
  • You have to figure out what you can afford and what you’re willing to give up.  Things you can’t afford as a small business you will have to figure out a way to do yourself, like setting up your website and your social networking accounts. Life, whether in traveling or business, is all about decisions — and what you’re willing to forgo to obtain other things that are more important to you.
  • There are certain types of entrepreneurship, and the same goes with traveling.  You need to find your ‘niche’ or your ‘style’ to help you have the best experience possible. Sometimes this means a lot of trial and error – but that’s okay, too!

What does this all mean?  It means that if you love to travel, you can apply the same principles to succeed in entrepreneurship.

You can look at the journey to a successful small business as a form of metaphorical travel. @TheSharedScope

Entrepreneurship has been famously described as being like riding on a rocket ship.  You do not know what the journey will be like, just that it is required to get to your destination (If you’re not a fan of space travel, you can think of the journey as a car ride).  So, you can look at the journey to a successful small business as a form of metaphorical travel.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch
With all the uncertainty and new experiences, starting a small business can feel like traveling on a rocketship into the great unknown.  Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash.

Entrepreneurship Amid A Pandemic

This is possibly the best time to start your own business, especially if you work in a business with a primarily digital presence that can be adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people at home and on their smartphones and computers, connecting to a prospective consumer base via the internet has never been simpler.

Get the basics sorted – start a website, social media accounts, sort out your bank accounts, and work out a plan for paying your business taxes in advance.  Obviously, you don’t have to pay your taxes before you start your business, but figure out a system to ensure you don’t have to foot an expensive tax bill when tax day arrives.

You will likely want to choose a working style that allows remote working.  This business strategy can help you if you are looking to travel once we’ve finally controlled the virus. Take this time to also gauge what your customer would want. 

Here are some things to consider:

  • Are you providing a product or a service? Your implications for each differ widely. 
  • Do you need any insurance to get started?  Purchasing insurance specific to your craft is a good idea, especially if you work in an industry that carries a high amount of risk.  While freelance writing, Fancy Comma, LLC’s area of expertise, is not a traditionally high-risk industry, we have invested in an insurance policy since it’s impossible to predict the future.  In our view, lowering risks as much as possible is essential to the success of a small business.
  • What are you good at? If, like us, you are amazing at writing – start there. If you’re good in the field of entertainment, try your luck getting famous on TikTok, or Instagram reels. Perhaps become a travel and lifestyle blogger? Or an influencer? Or even a freelance writer?

Other things to consider – Do you need money to start? Do you have money to start? Do you have any money saved for a down payment towards the business? Remember, taking a loan out in the current climate is ill-advised. 

The Effect of Work from Home (WFH) on Entrepreneurship

Although this pandemic came at a bad time (is there ever a good time for a pandemic?), one positive that has emerged is the ability to work from home (often abbreviated as WFH these days).  Work from home culture, emerging out of necessity due to physical distancing requirements that make office work unsafe in a pandemic, looks like it’s here to stay.

Work from home culture, emerging out of necessity due to physical distancing requirements that make office work unsafe in a pandemic, looks like it’s here to stay. @TheSharedScope

In the future, you will probably be more likely to work from home, even after the pandemic has passed.  This lends workers greater flexibility to travel while you work — just bring your phone and your laptop around and respond to emails and phone calls on time.

As a New Business Venture, Incorporate Remote Work into Your Day-to-Day Practices for Flexibility to Work from Anywhere

Sadly, COVID-19 has annihilated some opportunities, but has made others more achievable.  Although COVID-19 has halted any form of international travel, and domestic travel is still too risky for most, entrepreneurship needs to adapt accordingly.

Work from home is now more prevalent than ever before, as traveling itself has now been hindered by the restrictions needed to curb the pandemic.  It seems like the world has put the brakes on global travel — and perhaps even globalization itself — for the past few months as we work to get the novel coronavirus under control.  However, conceivably, you could incorporate your love of travel into your entrepreneurship journey as well.  Once the world reopens, remote work habits the world has been using for the past several months will prove useful to work from anywhere.

This means that, if you like traveling, you can apply remote working principles to incorporate travel-friendly operations into your business. A meeting in China? Check. A quick stop in Maldives for a photoshoot? Check. A quick set up in London? Hop over and also check out some of Europe.  The best news is that, if it’s for your business, you may be able to get a tax break on these trips, too (though you should check with your nation’s tax agency to be sure).

Self-Employed with an Itch to Travel?! AMAZING!

If you’re self-employed, traveling will be a breeze once the pandemic is over.  With a bit of extra effort, you can travel right now, too — check out my helpful post with tips over at The Shared Microscope.  With the new remote work and WFH culture, it doesn’t matter where you are; as long as the work is getting done properly and on time, there will never be a problem. If you’re not self-employed or have a physical office, you may need to visit the office once a month, no problem – go home, show your face at the office that one time a month, and then you’re off to your next destination. Although this is an option for people who have the flexibility of working remotely, it isn’t exactly the same as working for yourself. 

If your employer won’t allow remote work – no problem – start up your own business, make it work for you, and then say adios to your employer. Begin somewhere, add value to what you do, and then see the paychecks coming in while in Mexico!

palm trees
Photo by Lê Tân on Unsplash

Already Own A Business But Think You Need to Stay Put?

This is a frequent problem that already-flourishing business owners face. 

How do I leave when I’m needed at all times? I’m a one-person operation.  Things don’t get done without me.

How do I leave when my business is a shop, or I have a warehouse where I need to be physically present everyday?


Easy – delegate, delegate, delegate.  Delegating is to entrust someone else with your responsibilities.  Usually, in business, the main responsibilities can be delegated to several people according to a division of labor.

Business owners can delegate more to worry less, though an effective accountability mechanism is required. @TheSharedScope

When you delegate work, you train your staff up for being able to manage without you. You work with staff over the long term, and build up personal as well as business connections with them. Let them manage for a while when you’re around; oversee their on-the-job performance, and give them guidance. If you train them up over a couple of months or years, they’ll be confident in what they do and competent to know what is required of them. Although this can be time-consuming, it is 100% worth it in the end. Working with people can be tricky, though, so perhaps put some solid contracts into place in case the relationship turns sour before you invest time and effort into any outsourcing endeavors. If the business takes, who knows — maybe you can sell it for some big money, too!

Once your staff is trained, and your contracts and other important business related things are figured out – you can pack your bags! Mind you, this doesn’t mean leaving your business eternally and letting them manage without you – no no no! You call in everyday, and check on your staff and your management frequently! They’d still need some guidance; they’d need to know where you’re prepared to spend more money – perhaps in advertising? This is something the owner would know best, so it would be unfair to leave it to them.

Top tip: If delegating is what you decide to do, you must ensure you pay your management well! Ensure they have a sense of belonging to the business you start, so they will manage it like it’s their own. Give them amazing benefits and also bonuses at the end of the year depending on certain factors: Maybe they sold more products? Maybe the business made more money than ever before? You need to thank them, and make sure they feel your gratitude, or they will leave you!

Remember, the best entrepreneurs know how to delegate, and they can get things done! 

Don’t Let COVID-19 Interfere with Your Travel (or Work-from-Home) Dreams

Use the current time in the pandemic to transition to a remote (e.g., WFH) framework which can be adapted so that you can work from anywhere.  Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, for instance, it will be a lot more straightforward to hop on a plane and go sightseeing.

Build remote work into your business strategy for the best results.  Not only will you and your staff be able to work from anywhere, you may find that business operations will be improved due to you and your staff being happier and having greater flexibility in how they choose to get work done.  Remember to work in a form of accountability for your staff in order to keep everyone on task – whether it’s a daily or weekly virtual check-in, a summary email of important updates, or even using a communication tool such as Slack.

Remote work is the future. @TheSharedScope

We wish you all the best with your entrepreneurial endeavors. If we can help you with writing and/or copyediting, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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