The Office Fixer is on the road

As I write this it's drawing into evening on day 2 of my road-trip and so far things are going well, despite the slow start yesterday courtesy of the M1 being shut.

Today I've been to a 4Networking meeting this morning and this afternoon I've held a Skype video call whilst connected to the campsite wifi (via my fancy new booster - attached to the window in the photo below) as well as dealing with my emails and doing other work on line.

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I'm keeping a blog on Facebook so if you want to follow my journey have a look here - Facebook/OfficeFixerNoFixedAbode 

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I'm about to test my dream

I'm sure when you started your business you had a dream of how life would be and how your business would contribute to that.

Common ambitions when starting out include:

  • having more time to spend with your family
  • having more flexibility to work when you wanted, ie. shorter days to do the school run or longer holidays when the kids are off school
  • earning more money because the boss wasn't taking the biggest cut

Unfortunately for many people the reality is quite different and they end up spending more time at work, ladened down with responsibility and earning a fraction of what they earn't as an employee.

I'm sure you've heard people say that a dream isn't a goal unless it's got dates and actions attached to it.  In other words, you can't just have a dream bubble floating above your head like the cartoon characters, you actually need to work out what you're going to do to make it happen.

I have to admit to being someone who has gone round in circles a bit in this regard as I didn't have any firm ambition or direction, but through trial and error I did end up a couple of years ago getting much clearer on what I wanted and consequently I've been able to make some strategic business decisions to make that happen ... and the test is in 2 weeks time!!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Sindy-Compressed.jpg15 years ago I went on a 3 month tour of Western Europe in a motorhome and ever since I've wanted to be in a position that I could do that again but I didn't have any firm plans of how that was going to happen.

3 years ago we bought a motorhome so I felt like I was a good way towards the goal but in reality it has been an expensive ornament on the drive rather than my tool for travelling more.  

I realised that to be able to have longer periods of travel I needed to be able to work from anywhere and whilst a large part of my business enabled that, I had got more reliant on a consultancy service that required me to go to my customer's premises, so I needed to refocus my business and think through the logistics a bit more.

Consequently over the last 18 months I have ensured that:

  • I don't have an office
  • I have a remote team
  • I'm not central to doing the customer work so I have flexibility of time
  • My business model is such that the work I do can be done from anywhere

So in just under 2 weeks I'm off to test the dream ... I am going on a 17 day road trip.  

Now I know that doesn't sound like a very long time travelling but this the first test.  It's not a holiday, I will still be working - I will be meeting up with business friends and attending a number of 4Networking meetings around the country, as well as doing my day-to-day tasks and quite a bit of driving!  

The real test is whether I can get the flexibility to mix business with pleasure:

  • technically will I be able to work from anywhere (will the wifi booster and 4G Dongle be enough to keep me connected everywhere?) 
  • will I get the time to explore some of the places I'm going to visit as a tourist whilst still having enough time to get my work done?

You will be able to keep track of my progress on a special Facebook page set-up to keep a blog diary (as long as I can get online!).

So my question to you ... is your dream just a bubble floating above your head or do you have a plan to make it happen?  Better still, have you succeeded in making it happen?  I'd love to hear from you.

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What colour will your Bobblehead be?

Do you work with a remote team?  It might be that some of your employees work from different offices or from home, or it might be that you work with a number of outsourced suppliers.   Whatever the reason, if you work with a team who are not all physically together it can be difficult to create feeling of team and often difficult to communicate and work together on projects. 

 

I was with a client a couple of weeks ago and he has exactly that situation – a team that is separated by miles.  He also has occasions when members of that team hold telephone meetings with clients but need the facility to be able to show them things via screenshare and we were discussing secure ways of doing this.

 

He was so impressed with the solution I suggested I thought it might be worth sharing it with you.

 

As a provider of virtual services my team ‘walks the walk’ and is virtual/remote from each other.  Consequently, for a number of years now, we have used www.sococo.com as a virtual office.  

 

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I love Sococo, it makes you feel like you’re all working together even though you can be miles apart, in different countries even.

Each team member is given a log in and they get their own ‘bobblehead’ (choose your own colour) and office space.  Each office has screens, a desk and a phone.  The phone allows you to make calls to people outside of your Sococo office and incurs additional costs, the rest is all included as part of the monthly subscription.

Using your computer’s speakers and mic you can talk to people who are in the same office/meeting room as you and you can also share your computer screen with people in the same room.  This makes it really easy to collaborate with people on a piece of work or just have a quick meeting about something.  Using the chat feature you can easily arrange to get together or just quickly clarify something.  It’s just like having someone in an office next door to you where you can just pop your head round the door.  You can also invite guests for a meeting so you can use it with clients and suppliers as well.

I could rave about it for ages but if you’d like to find out more about it, why not sign up for their free 30 day trial – www.sococo.com.

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