It's encouraging to see so many Founders and business owners part of this travel community. I often wonder how the overall experience in establishing, managing and growing a tech company on the road is different to if you were stationed in one city.
Do you have access to the same resources? Can you validate the same way? What are the differences in raising capital? How will you find a co-founder? What if all your customers and partners are in one country?
I was recently invited to be part of a startup accelerator program in my home city of Sydney, Australia. And while the idea of a product I built helped me get into the program (not the only reason), the program itself was more focused on developing new ideas through finding a co-founder, conceptualizing an idea, validating said idea and eventually (potentially) getting a term sheet.
Ultimately, aside from the in-person co-founder matching activities, I found there was no real need to be physically present. However, If you need a co-founder, I can't stress enough how important it is to break ice in-person and to that end, I understand why that part of the program needed to be delivered in-person. The other essential elements of growing an idea from 0 - 1, like pitch deck prep, understanding unit economics, how to accurately validate demand, pitching to investors, digital marketing and so forth, were all presented virtually and correspondingly, could be achieved virtually by a Founder (IMO).
As a Founder, what challenges have you faced in growing your company remotely? To start a company while travelling fulltime, does you company need to be about travel?
About me: For the last five years, I've been travelling full-time around the world, with no end in sight! Today, I balance a few hats on my head. If you're an early-stage founder, I can help you build a concise and striking pitch deck. If you're new to the world of being nomadic, I can set up sales systems and processes to help you get your first sale. Outside of this, you'll find me working on my photography channel, ahimsaimages.com, where I showcase minimalist landscapes and streetscapes from my travels.
Yes, it's definitely possible to build and manage a team remotely, and there are often more opportunities and resources available when you look beyond your local area or even your country. While there may be some drawbacks, I've found that the benefits far outweigh them. As a travel-tech startup founder with a remote team, I've experienced firsthand how virtual collaboration and communication can be just as effective as in-person meetings!
Of course, there are some challenges to growing a company remotely, such as finding the right co-founder and building trust within a remote team. However, with the right tools and strategies, these challenges can be overcome. In my experience, it's crucial to establish clear communication channels, set goals and deadlines, and maintain a culture of transparency and accountability.
Regarding resources and opportunities, being part of a global community can provide access to a wider pool of talent, funding options, and potential customers. It's also possible to validate your ideas and pitch to investors virtually, as I did with my startup accelerator program.
Overall, while there are certainly advantages to being physically present in one location, I believe that remote work and global collaboration offer more possibilities and benefits for startups and entrepreneurs.
Thanks for sharing, Alex.
Yes, I agree. I think we've come far enough to have all the resources an individual(s) needs to build and grow a startup from anywhere in the world.
While not a significant challenge but a challenge nonetheless, I'd like to learn more about your experience with raising capital while travelling. I recall a time when I was living in a rural coastal town in Mexico and attempting to raise capital from Sydney. Outside of connectivity barriers (this was a while ago, so this problem probably doesn't exist anymore), It was a learning curve raising capital in my home currency while being on the road fulltime. Consequently, I would seek out investment opportunities from the US (where most of my users were based anyway) only to face administrative obstacles.
Have you experienced anything like this?
Thanks for sharing your experience with raising capital while on the move. I have not personally tried to raise capital remotely. I have found that face-to-face communication with investors can be very effective (worked in my case), but I understand that everyone's situation is different. If you wanna discuss this further, feel free to connect on LinkedIn.Regards,
Great question. You might know that Travel Massive started in Sydney, and it spread to other cities via a combination of digital nomads (travel bloggers) and online channels (Twitter and Meetup) in our initial stages.
So in essence, Travel Massive has been a remote organization since day one. However I’ve always made it a priority to meet members in person on my travels, and get our community leaders together (usually at large travel conferences). Travel is a little harder for me post-pandemic and I certainly feel a bit more isolated than I’d like.
I’ve also had the advantage of being a software developer so our platform simply came along for the ride on every long haul flight with me, where I wrote a lot of code. During the pandemic and based in Tasmania I rebuilt the platform remotely with a team in Melbourne - and you’re using our work right now :)
I think a lot of people underestimate time zones. They are the real killer of productivity. Being in the same time zone remotely is easy. Having a 10 hour time difference sucks as you’re in different parts of the day. With a team member you can handle that, but it makes meeting customers and new people a lot harder.
Last point. I’m a big believer in focus and whatever environment gives you and your team the best focus will allow you to thrive. If that means being in one place to compete a task, that’s totally fine
Ultimately travel is a context switch and can be a fantastic productivity hack, but runs the risk of interrupting you too much if are frequently on the move. So I prioritize focus over miles to “get things done”.
Thanks for sharing, Ian. Needless to say, your work with the community here and establishing this channel is commendable.
I'll add to your thoughts on time zones. They can be tricky to manage, especially if your job function requires you to be 'in-person' virtually to achieve a set milestone i.e making x amount of sales calls day, meeting customers (as you've said), presenting a live webinar, going through the capital raising process (not just the initial pitch) etc. To that end, the nature of your job function is crucial in ensuring you can be successful while travelling and less about the time zone you are in. However, there are still ways to overcome the timezone ordeal. These are some tactics I've used:
- Using Loom (www.loom.com) to screen record and edit, so you don't have to sit in a meeting to explain work done to work to be done. This has been a game-changer for me by ALMOST negating the need for meetings all together.
- Championing project management tools like Monday.com, Click Up or Notion. This may require some upskilling, for yourself and your staff, but once everyone has got the hang of it, they're immensely productive tools.
- Being thorough on comms. Communication is key to growth regardless, but when you're remote and in an obscure timezone, this becomes critical. Knowing when your customer, partner or team wakes up, so you can send that message, post that task or send that email at the right time is crucial. Most products that involve communication now allow you to schedule posts and contact, so you don't have to be up at 2:30am to connect. Additionally, it's important to keep track of the channels you're communicating through i.e. Linkedin, Facebook, Substack, email, messenger. It's easy to get lost in the chat, so track progress through various pm tools or even just a good ol spreadsheet.
building strong connections