Over the past few months since I read The 4-Hour Workweek I’ve been experimenting with bits and pieces of it. At Thanksgiving I took my laptop and left “headquarters” for two weeks. I got my work done while a four hour-drive away and none of my clients or employees noticed. But seeing as how it was the holiday season my clients and employees were distracted, plus if anything had happened I could have driven home in a jiffy.
Now I’m testing things a bit further by relocating all the way across the country for a month.
I’m in Ohio where my wife and I are adopting a baby girl who has yet to be born. She’s due on February 2nd. We flew out on January 23rd to make sure we didn’t miss the birth. Placement (when the mother rescinds her parental rights and the child is placed in our hands) occurs 72 hours after birth, and the Interstate Compact (which allows us to take the child across state lines) can take anywhere from 5 days to a month to process, meaning we could be here all the way into March.
Here’s how I’m making it work, using technology and Jedi mind tricks:
1. Voicemail to email. The main company number as well as my direct line are routed to voicemail that, when recorded, sends an audio file to my email address, allowing me to respond to voicemails immediately, if I want to. While not as ideal as being there to answer the phone, it suffices.
2. Wi-fi at hotels and Panera Bread. Upon arriving I have had to depends on the kindness of strangers, namely the hotels we were staying at until we could find temporary housing. Just about every hotel around has free, high-speed wireless Internet. Upon finding an apartment, we’ve been coming over to Panera Bread which also has free, high-speed wireless. Essentially, if you look around a little you can find free wireless just about anywhere.
3. Smart phone with email. For those times when I haven’t been able to be near a Panera or indeed near my laptop, it’s been nice to have a phone I can receive and respond to emails on so that I can handle emergencies or urgent situations that pop up (next goal–eliminate the potential for emergencies or urgencies).
4. Temporary mail forwarding. One of the biggest challenges of running a business from the road is getting your snail mail. Go to www.usps.gov and sign up for temporary forwarding. They’ll forward your mail once per week. It’s easy to sign up for and you can specify when you want it to start and end (hint: if you’re like me and don’t know when it needs to end, specify a conservative end date and then you can contact the post office and cancel the forwarding earlier if need be…although I can’t tell you exactly how to do the cancellation since I haven’t done it yet, but that’s what they told me to do).
5. Remote deposit check scanner. The depositor’s dilemma–how to deposit a check in your bank account when your bank doesn’t have branches anywhere near you? You could mail the deposits in, or you could sign up for a remote check scanner like I have. It’s a bit bulky, but I brought it with me and I can now make deposits from anywhere in the world as long as I have an Internet connection.
6. High-speed Internet without commitments. I guess I’m too used to cellphone plans, so I figured I’d just use the free wireless at Panera Bread for the duration of my stay here. But I called the local cable internet company and although their website is far from being customer-friendly, I was finally able to sign up for a 15 mbps Internet connection at our apartment. They’ll install it in 3 days, and I can cancel at anytime with no penalties. The total cost for a month will probably be about $80. Not too bad, and that will allow me to work from our apartment rather than working from Panera while my new baby is at the apartment. In reality, I wouldn’t get to work at all, because if I were at Panera working all day while my wife was at home with the new baby I’d probably be labeled as insensitive and uncaring, not to mention dead.
So I’ve got it all. I can work just as well here as back in Utah. So what’s to keep me from taking this to the next step and working from Barcelona for a few months? Well…I don’t know, really. Oh yeah, my wife’s family who would kill me if I took their new granddaughter/niece/cousin out of the country for several months. I’ll have to work on that one, I guess.