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How To Travel, Grow a Business AND Take Your Family With You

By Yaro Starak
65 Comments

Continuing the theme started with my previous article on 7 Pitfalls To Prepare For When Traveling With Your Business, Kathryn Alice has written a guest article that explains how she, with her husband and kids, manage to travel with their business and as a result, lower their overheads.

Kathryn with her husband Jon offer a guide called The Portable Lifestyle, which explains how they travel the world with their kids and run a business, which is so the rage these days ;-) . Thanks to Kathryn for sharing her experience with us in this article.

The Portable Lifestyle

Working by the beachMost people can literally live anywhere or run their business while traveling, but very few have realized it. If there ever were a time to consider doing this, it would be now, when the economy has been wobbly. Working where costs are lower is a great belt-tightening move, and what a great way to turn lemons into lemonade!

My husband and I are one year into a world trip that has so far included Hawaii, the South Pacific, Australia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Cancun and Belize are next. We run our business as we go – over the internet – and make money virtually. Every month that we’ve been away, our sales have gone up.

An Example of Life on the Road with The Portable Lifestyle

Our stay on a small tropical island in Indonesia, which lasted for a few months, is a prime example of how you can travel with your business.

We saw our business grow while staying at a beach-front resort with our two youngest children. We had our laundry done for us, most meals cooked and cleaning done, while we worked courtesy of the wi-fi in our suite and on the resort grounds.

When not working, we played tennis, swam in the lagoon pool with swim-up bar, scuba dived, snorkeled and explored smaller islands. Our kids hung out at the Kids Club when not with us, and not only did they master swimming (they were in floaties at the start of the trip), but they’ve learned a great deal about different cultures and customs. One of our favorite indulgences was getting a massage several times a week in our suite. Best of all, this stay was super economical. We cut expenses in half while there.

The majority of our work is over the internet though I do book signings and workshops in the English-speaking countries like Australia and South Africa.

It’s interesting how many people we’ve met on this trip that are doing the same thing. We meet them in the business center or because they’re the other person working on a laptop at a pool lounge. They too have taken their business on the road, figuring out ways to not be tied to any particular place. In this day of the internet, email, laptops, mobile phones, Paypal and ATM’s, it’s not hard to do.

There’s a name for this life we’re leading (which we first heard from Yaro): “Portable Lifestyle.” We also call it Traveliving.

You can take off with only some minor adjustments to the way you do business. It took us three months to prep and go, once we made the decision we wanted to do it. And as I mentioned, our business is growing even as we travel.

Below are some tips for getting started on your own Portable Lifestyle.

How To Prepare For Your Trip

We recommend that you set a goal to begin your Portable Lifestyle by a certain date. This will help you coalesce your intention to do this and motivate you to begin changing your business to provide freedom.

Put in some systems to ensure your business is virtual and automate as much as you can.

For example, if you have a coaching business, begin converting clients to phone, chat or email sessions only.

Automate as much as you can. For example, many shopping cart services will deliver electronic products to customers for you including downloadables, links and information. You can use a shopping cart service to do your on-line checkout, send virtual products to customers and bill for virtual coaching. They can automatically charge customers who have recurring billing and deliver funds into your bank account. They can also maintain your mailing list, adding and dropping clients who’d like to be removed without your lifting a finger. Some shopping carts and marketing systems can deliver a series of scheduled autoresponders to customers that result in sales.

You should change the way you are paid to eliminate checks, which are hard to deal with on the road. We were already accepting credit cards, and so it was easy to convert existing clients, such as distributors, to credit card payments. We accept Paypal as well and strongly recommend that you set up both a Paypal account and a means of accepting credit cards if you haven’t already.

Make Your Business Transportable

To support your income abroad, we recommend the following steps.

  1. Productize – increase your product range to include more virtual products that can be downloaded or accessed by phones. Examples are recorded webinars/teleseminars that clients can access by phone or over the net, downloadable workbooks, ebooks or a course that is taken by a series of emails your cart automatically sends out. We have found that a teleconference service is necessary along with some recording software (we use Audacity) that you can use to record products from anywhere on your laptop, no elaborate studio needed.

    Our new Portable Lifestyle Primer is available only electronically for the very reason that we are on the road.

  2. Go virtual – In addition to adding more virtual-delivery products, look into how you can convert any existing products you have to electronic versions. Obviously some products don’t lend themselves to going virtual but you’d be surprised at how many products you can transform into an electronic version. We did this with a cumbersome workbook and CD-set that we’d discontinued, and it has been a cash cow.
  3. Increase your income streams – Look into new ways of making money that require no shipping. Ideas are subscription programs, taking ads even if it’s just at the bottom of your Ezine, get additional distributors, set up and promote affiliate programs, beef up consulting work clients who don’t need you physically there and create passive and guaranteed income in proven, easy ways.
  4. Mobilize – Find a way to forward phones, through Vonage or Skype so you can receive local calls anywhere. You can even take your long-established business phone number with you. Get a laptop or two if you don’t have them. And make sure you’ve got a good mobile phone plan for traveling.
  5. Increase your virtual income with boosted marketing – Begin setting up on-line marketing methods. Consider Google adwords, search engine optimization, building an email list and placing ads on other websites. Place a few articles on-line. Create an Ezine.
  6. Take care of the home front – Make sure you have good support staff to take over as you go. Start training someone now to run things or hire someone to do so. If you’re a solo-preneur, find a virtual assistant to handle home matters and a fulfillment house or individual to handle any snail mail shipping that must be done plus any other unavoidable location-centric tasks.

Everything should be geared to web and therefore, virtual methods so you completely eradicate anything that will tie you down. It only took a few tweaks to get our income primarily over the net and to set it up to increase even as we travel.

Travel Tips

It’s fairly simple to become your own online travel agent. Begin by figuring out where you’d like to go. Create an itinerary that includes any places you have to be on certain dates. Almost anywhere has internet these days. We were on a tiny island in Fiji that took 10 minutes to walk around and even they had internet.

Look for deals because with a little digging, you will come up with unbelievable situations – resorts, private villas – that can halve your living expenses while increasing the luxury and support around you.

Working as you go makes you different than most people on vacation. But you have an advantage, because you get to stay longer and you’re not going back to the same old ho-hum after a week. You will pack differently than vacationers with a bag or so of technology that includes laptop, hookups, converters and tools you need.

Upon arrival at a new locale, you need to make sure you’re set up for business quickly. Check out internet availability and test phone lines and reception. Once this is all done, you can take care of anything imminent and then hit the beach (or slopes, as the case may be.)

Keep expanding and moving forward with business plans. Set an intention to increase your income while you’re going.

Use your international discoveries and lessons learned to enrich your business.

To start setting up your own Portable Lifestyle, don’t miss our free teleseminar “Sewing the Seeds for Your Portable Lifestyle.”

Bon voyage!

Kathryn is an author, entrepreneur and workshop leader currently on World Tour. To find out more on their journey or how they can support you in creating your own Portable Lifestyle, visit www.theportablelifestyle.com

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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65 Comments

  • I would really love to have a nomad lifestyle. I’m a HUGE fan of traveling, and do it whenever I can. Definitely helps the creative juices.

    • Agree, especially online business allows you to connect and work any where…! Some time you don’t want to do that if you want a “full rest” and true vacation!

      • I agree. It’s an advantage but sometimes it’s also not very good, since you’d be inclined to check your stats every now and then. Personally, when I want to take a “full rest” vacation, I’d really want nothing to do with the business aspect of things.

  • I like the idea of a portable (especially online) business because, if no other reason than, if you you have to move, your business sees no interruption.

    A friend is a massage therapist and has had to move several times in the past few years. Each time she pulls up stakes, it takes her more than a year to re-build a following.

    • Rosalind Gardner is the perfect example, she travels a lot and I just want to be like her!

  • That’s the life. Congratulations, most business owners never realize their dream of doing it.

  • Wow. That is great! Imagine living a life like that. Living such a nomad lifestyle is something that we can consider of doing. The internet has really make things far more accessible for us.

    Cheers
    Vincent
    Personal Development Blogger

    • Yeh, and you can meet up with friends around the world without leaving your job, how cool is that!

  • Where were you staying in Indonesia? Bali?

    • We stayed on a number of islands in Indonesia including Bali. The people are truly amazing. We look forward to returning!

      – Jon

  • Yaro, quite nice of you to follow your previous article with this one. It sure gives hope for those that have spouse and kids ;-) I sure enjoy the portable lifestyle. Kudos!

  • Very cool and motivating… now I just have to convince the family!

    Cheers,

    Chris

  • Great tips, very inspirational. I had the tiniest taster of how this model works when I was able to carry out paid reviews during spare time on holiday.

  • Jon

    I am living this dream already, actually for the past few years… and wouldn’t trade it for a desk job working 9-5! Not sure how people handle living a “normal” life, it’s far too boring and there is so much to see and explore!

    Jon
    http://WoodMarvels.com – Create Unique Memories

    • So true, I can’t stand the “normal” life. It’s so routine, and it’s almost as if you’re imprisoned in a cage. Day in day out, it’s the same people, same environment, and you only get a few limited weeks during the year to go somewhere else. No wonder people suffer from stress-related problems working for corporations.

  • This is a fantastic story. I just have one question – what about schooling for the kids?

    • Our kids have grown so much on this trip. Our kindergartner has taught himself to read at a second grade level and has learned basic arithmetic as well as many phrases in five different languages. Both boys are learning about culture, climate and travel. Plus they are becoming very strong swimmers. Along with simple home-schooling methods we believe they are ahead of their peers in many ways.

      • Wow! This is truly incredible. I hope to get to meet all of you some day.

      • Sounds awesome. How about traveling with pets? Have you any experience with that?

  • I love the concept of combining work & travel. Good luck with your project!

    But I just checked out your site …… other than signing up for the free teleseminar, which I’m not interested in since I don’t have the time to commit to that….I saw no way of downloading or even purchasing an e-book of yours ….and no RSS feed to keep track of you…no blog?…am I missing something?

    • The website is still in progress. We will be offering much more including books, recordings and followup to the teleseminar. Sign-up on our site to receive the information as we roll it out starting next week after the free event.

    • Okay, Jeff (and anyone else interested in living this way), we do plan to record the free teleseminar tonight and will make that recording available as a free download so you can listen at your leisure.

      But if you want to dive right into the meat and potatoes, you can purchase our introductory product, The Portable Lifestyle Primer right now! Just follow the link below:

      http://www.theportablelifestyle.com/primer

      Happy Travels!
      – Jon & Kathryn

  • :D hey i came from Indonesia!
    in what island u spend ur vacation?
    im glad u have a splendid time spending vacation here :)
    cheers!

  • Very interesting! I especially like how you make your business “transportable” by choosing products that require the least amount of maintenance as possible to sell (ie: downloadable content doesn’t require shipping). The more you can automate, the less you have to worry about which will certainly help foster this ability to travel.

    One thing I would like to mention about creating income streams that don’t require shipping: I agree that it makes it simpler, but for those that are already selling physical products, there are fulfillment companies out there that can handle the shipping for you.

  • This is a good article and I think it’s a great idea. Only thing I would say is to not EVER rely on Paypal as your ONLY source of income to anyone thinking of doing this.

    Paypal can lock your account for 120 days and you might be stuck ;).

    Most people have a credit card processor anyway, but just in case.

  • Very cool and motivating… now I just have to convince the family!

  • Tim Ferriss talked about implementing this very topic in the 4 Hour Workweek and reading your article made me start thinking of those travel goals for myself again!

    Work is work, but somehow doing it on the edge of a tropical island always feels that much better ;)

  • Great thoughts! I’m in the process of transitioning away from my full-time job in the advertising world to do just this. We homeschool and can therefore take school with us. Just need to work on the income generation a bit more before making the plunge! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Yup, yup, I’ve taken several trips and worked from the road. One of the great things about an internet empire is you can do everything you need with just a laptop and an internet connection.

    I’ve even gotten some work done on a cruise ship where the internet is pricey and sporadic (I usually don’t bother signing up for it if it’s just a week-long cruise). Sometimes *not* having easy access to the internet helps you get some writing done (such as if you’re trying to create some of those pillar articles or even write an ebook…. sometimes the internet is just a distraction!).

    Of course, there’s a lot to be said for just taking a trip and leaving your work at home too. One of the perks of having that passive income coming in is that you can take off for three weeks in Europe (that was my first major trip) and keep making money while you’re gone. :)

    Thanks for the article, and happy travels!

  • I do the same on a smaller scale. Work from my laptop with a wireless connection from all over the wilds of Alaska.

    Love the freedom, although the sketchiness of the internet connection has made it stressful at times.

    I like what you’re doing and see my family picking up and doing something similar very shortly :)

    Great post!

    • See this is the same boat that i am in… my time isnt spent in alaska though. The freedom is a huge lifestyle change for me as of the last few months…

      I really like this idea also and would like to persue something very similar.

      Super job my friend!

      -Justin

  • Bugger!! I’m doing something wrong!! I’d LOVE to live like that.. always on the move, constant changes keeping you on your toes!!
    Hmmm, I think I’d better start re-evaluating my approach to business

  • cat

    You’r lucky I wishh I go there with my family too

  • Kathryn,

    The lifestyle you live is a dream come true ;)

    I’m ‘portabilising’ my life right, now, and to say the least – it’s darn hard to achieve that.

    However, I agree that it’s achievable. I’m on my way :D

    Btw, where did you stay in Indonesia?

  • I’m so glad I read this article. It is basically a reminder to use the 80/20 rule. I’m building my business right now and need to consider outsourcing some of the tasks that I do so that I can free up my time. I definitely do see the possibility for that kind of lifestyle.

    It’s always good to see someone who is doing it successfully, because it gives me even more motivation to do the same. Thanks for such a great article.

    Leslie

  • What can I say? You are living the dream my friend.. Congratulations to you, I would be happy if i made a couple bucks off my blog and you are making a living..

  • Fantastic article. A wonderful addition to the portable communication is an app i downloaded for my iphone called Fring. It turnes my iphone into a Wi Fi phone legally without unlocking it. I can take my sims card out completely to eliminate data charges and still make international calls around the world. Fring links to my Skype account and i am charged Skype minutes but if you have the $9.95 unlimited plan for 34 countries, then the call are for free. Works beautifully while on my iphone. I am not affiliated with Fring.

  • Kathy K

    How do you deal with the paypal problems of restricting the amount of transfers to the bank account if you aren’t in certain countries (they check IP address)? I’ve heard that if you scream enough, you might get through – but I also have friends in various parts of the world (with US perm address, bank account, etc.) who are getting restricted still.

  • Great Tips! I really used to enjoy the paper checks coming in the mail…. but with electronic payments… I long for those days now!

  • Hi Yaro,

    Found some new guy at this website. http://www.steadyincome411.com It has a testimonial by you but it looks like a spam site. Wanted to know if it was true or not.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    • Hi Jeremy – I don’t know that website and I couldn’t find the testimonial, but they may have taken it from a testimonial I left on another site so it could be legitimate.

  • I just love this idea of a totally mobile business… Just waiting for the kids to finish high school and then we are starting with a trip around Australia… Can’t wait…

  • I love that name…”The Portable Lifestyle”. Really cool. Thanks for the post it was a good read. Yeah winter is upon us and I could use a good vacation ; )

  • Werner

    At the moment I’m working on a Cruise Ship, 6 months at a time also travelling the world. This was a dream of mine to work and travel te world, sitting in Coffee Shops and email and chat to my friends and setting up my online business. TI’m getting paid in Dollars, work and travel and seen some amazing places, Carribean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, New York etc. Go all out there, there is only one thing stopping you from following your dreams and that is you. Take action, make things happen. The satisfaction of living your dream is undescribeable.

    Go out and do it.

  • Super! I have not read such a detailed analysis to create a business trip.

  • I’ve done a lot of traveling and a bit of laptop entrepreneurship on the road. I remember building websites in long-distance busses and on overnight ferries, and it definitely felt liberating.

    But whenever I see pictures of people sitting outside on the beach with their laptops, I always wonder how they do it. They must have some kind of anti-reflection on their screens. I can’t work outside in the sun on my laptop, the reflection makes it impossible to see anything!!!

  • Yaro, thank you for this amazing list – I LOVE IT!

    Ok, I am assuming that this “traveliving” is done in the summer, or you must be homeschooling your children. Although my business is 90% virtual and can be run from anywhere in t he world, I can’t imagine just picking up the kids and go. Not only do they have school, they also have friends they’d miss greatly!

    If I were to give my 14-year-old son a choice between going to Cancun for a month or spending time with his friends, the second choice would win hands down! :)

    I also want to comment on something you quoted from the book:
    “Every month that we’ve been away, our sales have gone up”

    This is absolutely wonderful, but might not make sense to many entrepreneurs who can’t imagine leaving their business.

    The reason the sales go up is because of the systems you have to put in place. To become the “remote control CEO” you start thinking differently, which ultimately impacts your bottom line. Just when I didn’t think I could increase my revenue any further without increasing my work hours, I did! So the right systems are the answer!

    Milana

    • Hi Milana,

      Your point about teenagers putting more stock in their friends than anything else hits close to home. A few years back we took a trip to Europe with our older kids and both of our mothers. It was an amazing time spent in Belgium, France, and Italy. Still, our teenagers barely wanted anything to do with getting out and experiencing the international culture.

      Well, now it’s about 5 years later and these two boys (now 19 and 21 respectively) feel blessed for what they did get to experience. They only wished they had spent less time on MySpace during that amazing trip.

  • I’m running my business traveling all over the word as well (for several years now). It’s a really nice adventure, but you need a strong mindset to do it. It’s not easy.

    That’s one of the reasons I chose to mainly market affiliate programs.

    Franck.

  • I imagine wouldn’t be hard traveling for a blogger.

    All you need is a laptop to blog and browse online for an interesting issue to blog about. :D

    Not only are virtual products useful for traveling entrepreneurs, no need for extra space to hold your inventory, and no packaging needed, no postage, all sent with a click of a button. ;)

  • My ultimate goal is to retire young with a load of money and just travel whenever I want to and not even worry about portable business.

    This story is indeed amazing and inspiring.

  • Fun reading! We are a family going on our third year of an open ended world tour and loving every moment! We have been to 28 countries, 4 continents, but mostly travel slow. We find that it is easy to live large on little ( 25K a year for our family of 3 -total expenses!) and we have been mostly in Europe.

    I think it is a trend that more families are finding as it is easier and cheaper than most realize. Here is a post I wrote on the topic of how to do extended travel:

    http://www.soultravelers3.com/2008/06/how-to-do-exten.html

    Hope more find this wonderfully free lifestyle!

  • Great write up and I love the idea of a modern day nomad and mobile warrior.

    I was originally trying to figure out how to be portable and mobile, like a big up front decision, but then I think it’s better to test chunks at a time. Just like mini-retirements, do mini-mobile adventures. Testing is a great way to do it incrementally and find what you really enjoy as well as deal with the surprises you didn’t expect (sort of like Stumbling on Happiness).

    I know several folks first-hand that did the ‘take a year off” thing to see the world or travel cross country and it always seems to be the highlight of their life.

  • So even though you travel your home office really doesn’t. I also take it that you sell an idea more than a product. So if you were selling a product how would you be able to do that? Other than those questions I found this post exciting and something that I could see myself liking to do.

    • Hi MSFI and Others,

      I tried replying to this message many months ago, but had trouble posting to the site.

      We do sell products (books, courses, and audio programs), but they are indeed a transference of ideas and so they can easily be made into electronic products and delivered via the Internet. However, we still ship all of the physical CD’s and printed material.

      Aside from Kathryn’s book which is distributed worldwide, we maintain a presence in the States where a part-time employee fulfills the necessary orders across the Globe. The stock doesn’t take up too much space and digital files are becoming more and more popular these days so it just gets easier and easier for us.

      If the products you sell are not your own, you can even set-up drop shipping to avoid ever needing an inventory.

      -Jon of The Portable Lifestyle

  • great post! very inspiring. off to do some work! haha
    -Justin

  • Dan

    It’s amazing how many people think they won’t be able to afford this, or who think it is only for some sort of nutjob idealists. Not that it’s a bad thing, we can’t have everyone jumping on this bandwagon but damn you can have an awesome lifestyle if you do.

    • Dan, you are so right!

      The majority of folks immediately assume that it’s out of reach even though it isn’t. It was scary at first, not knowing exactly what we were getting ourselves into. But then, the excitement and desire just grew and grew. Now, it’s hard to imagine NOT traveling at least every month or two.

      – Jon

  • This is a fantastic story. I just have one question – what about schooling for the kids?

    • Hi Phil,

      As I mentioned above in response to a very similar question, our two young boys are being home-schooled, or rather “un-schooled”. While we do have two older boys busy with their own lives (working and attending college) our 6-year-old is a self-starter in reading, writing, and a multitude of other subjects. I also spend a lot of time listening to him and his 3-year-old brother, explaining things, and helping them build math skills. Plus, our Leapfrog Leapster and Brainquest flashcards have been amazing teachers too.

      Both children continue to learn about culture, climate and travel and due to our recent trek through Central America, there has been a lot of Spanish spoken in the past four months. Plus they make friends easily and are becoming very strong swimmers. We couldn’t be happier with their progress!

      Take a look at our most recent ezine which includes some insight and links to all of our products and free audio courses:
      http://www.traveliving.info/ezine/090831.html

      Abundant Travels,
      – Jon & Kathryn (The Portable Lifestyle™)

    • Hi Phil,

      Here’s an update on your schooling question from last year. We just finished up a 6 1/2 month stint on Boracay Island in the Philippines. When we first arrived at the end of October last year we immediately fell in love with the place and started making friends faster than ever. There were two international schools on the island and we met parents, children, and faculty form each.

      After trying out one of the schools, our 7-year-old decided he didn’t really like it there. So we went to the other school and they immediately fell right in. He jumped into 2nd Grade (in-line with his age and peer group) and within 2 weeks he was at the top of his class. Plus, the 3-year-old was able to enroll in a Kindergarten class and while he wasn’t able to comprehend or complete all of the work, he is much more advanced than one would normally expect.

      Our 2 years of traveling prior to these experiences in no way limited our children’s learning experience, but in fact, prepared them quite well for “real school”. We’ve now left the area for the summer, but we know that our kids will be fine and get all of the schooling and education they need no matter where we go from here.

      Take care,
      – Jon & family

  • [...] Read how they did it on the Entrepreneur’s Journey Related Posts:Take Family Portraits That Break the RulesGet the Secrets Of Nonverbal Communication4 Kick-Ass Reasons to Do the Right ThingThe Art of Self-MotivationFive Best Travel Sites for Cheap Tickets Share and Enjoy: [...]

  • Yaro,

    Travel is my passion, I cannot wait to go out and visit all of the places that I have dreamed of and just live the life!

    Lori

    • Hi Lori,

      There’s really no need to wait, or wait that long. When we decided to pack up and go, we barely knew what we were going to do, much less even what we wanted to do. We gave it 6 months at the most and now it’s been more than 31 months!

      We do have a free audio course and other information, if you’d like to check out our site. When you do take off, we’d love to hear your story!

      – Jon, Kathryn & the boys

  • Awesome guest post. This seems to be a growing trend around the world, where people are taking matters into their own hands and taking off around the world to travel. This proves that your life is what you make it to be.

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