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In episode #492, Eric and Neil talk about how to manage your business while traveling. Tune in for some great tips on how to stay involved while also trusting others to step up in your absence.
Time-Stamped Show Notes:
- [00:22] Today’s Topic: How to Run a Business While Traveling
- [00:31] Eric and Neil are going to try a new format for the next twenty or so episodes about this type of content and would like your feedback.
- [01:05] Eric likes to make sure he has ironed out processes and delegated important tasks before he travels.
- [01:40] Traveling internationally doesn’t mean you can’t reach your team; you can still work in your current time zone.
- [02:10] Compromising with your leisure and work time while traveling is the best way to get everything done.
- [02:30] Having amazing managers in place means you can actually enjoy your travels and have fewer work responsibilities while you’re away.
- [03:10] Parkinson’s Law applies: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
- [03:50] Just because you own the business, does not mean that you have to do everything: reliable employees are key.
- [04:06] Eric recommends Insta Sleep to help you get your rest on the plane and adjust to another time zone.
- [05:30] Traffic is the lifeblood of your business.
- [05:55] Eric recommends Traction as required reading.
- [06:45] Eric and his team use Slack and 15Five to keep organized and in touch.
- [07:20] It’s important to have systems in place to retain excellent workers.
- [07:40] Always use the plane’s WiFi, so you can communicate and get work done on the go.
- [08:15] The American Express Platinum card gets you travel perks that offset the costs of membership.
- [08:33] That’s it for today!
- [08:42] Eric and Neil recommend the Problem Solvers podcast, because there is an episode about Burrow, the Dollar Shave Club for couches. To listen go to singlegrain.com/solve.
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Full Transcript of The Episode
Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.
Neil Patel: I'm Neil Patel.
Eric Siu: Today, we're going to talk about how to run a business while traveling. Neil and I are trying something new for the next, I don't know, 20, 25 episodes or so. We'd like to hear your feedback on what you think about this type of content, but let's talk about it. Neil and I travel a lot. I looked at my TripIt, which is the app that I use. I'm going to be gone for 32% of this year and God knows what it's going to look like next year. My thought about running a business while traveling, I think both of us are fortunate where we can just carry our laptop wherever and just bust out and just start working.
For me, I think I'll kick it off, and it's start with making sure that we have ironed out processes internally at our company, just so, when I'm gone, for example, who's managing what? If shit hits the fan, what's going to happen. I make sure that I delegate everything out and I have a bullet point list for everything that needs to be tackled by other people, and then I give my emergency contact, all that information, but I still am very much working while I'm gone, and I'm happy to share some more tactics, but that's the high level to kick things off.
Neil Patel: If you're trying to travel, the chances are you're trying to do a lot of it internationally. It doesn't matter what country you're in. The dream is always, "Hey, how can I go visit the world and check out different places?" When you travel internationally, you're on a different time zone. That means you can still communicate with your team on your normal "time zone" that you run your business, plus have fun in a different country. Of course, working both time zones is exhausting, so what you want to do is minimize how many hours you're doing on both. What I mean by that is you may not be able to work eight hours a day, talking to your team. You may have to chop that up into half.
When you're traveling around, usually you would be like, "Oh, for eight hours a day, I'm gonna go explore." You may have to chop that down into half, as well, and be like, "Okay, I'm only gonna spend four hours a day exploring." Making a bit of a sacrifice on both ends allows you to enjoy different parts of the world while getting work done, and as Eric mentioned, it's about processes, but what I've also found to be really helpful is having amazing managers in place can make it so you can potentially only work 30 minutes or a hour and spend most of your time traveling and enjoying different countries, but without amazing managers who know what they're doing, it's not going to be possible.
It's not just about hiring people who are smarter than you. It's about hiring people who are smarter than you with one specific thing. You may have someone who's better than you at management or someone who's better than you at sales or someone who's better than you at marketing. By having them focus, you'll realize that your business will grow faster and you'll do better because these people are more experts in areas where you're not.
Eric Siu: When you're traveling, it's Parkinson's law. The last time you have to hit a deadline, if you set one or two hours or so just to build on what Neil is saying, you work for one hour, two hours or so, and then you let the team take care ... This is the good thing about traveling. For example, I'm leaving for Japan in two days, and I'm leaving a lot of stuff to my team, and when the fires happen and you're not there to solve the problem, you can't be the crutch anymore that they usually would rely on, if they are relying on you, and they need to figure things out on their own. That's the beauty of it. I like throwing people into the fire. This is assuming you're hiring smart people, and they are going to be able to figure it out, and you're going to find that oftentimes they actually do better things ... They do things better than you probably would have done them.
That's the thing. Even though you're the person that runs the business, you're not the end all, be all. You don't know everything at the end of the day, and you've got to give people a shot to, well, take chances.
Some tactical things I can recommend is when you're traveling ... I have a friend that has this product called InstaSleep. It's on Amazon. It's like melatonin. I don't know if it really is melatonin, but you can go to Amazon, just type in InstaSleep. I'm not affiliated at all, but it actually does ... You treat it as a mint, pop it in your mouth, and then you'll fall asleep probably within 5-15 minutes or so. It's beautiful because when you're flying across the pond, you fall asleep quickly and then you just use that time to relax and then try to get on the other time zone as quickly as you can.
Neil Patel: All you guys listening here love marketing or you wouldn't be listening to Marketing School, or at least you want to learn more about marketing. One thing that I've learned when it comes to traveling, because I spend a majority of my time living out of hotels and traveling due to the conference circuit or just going to different masterminds or events. What I found is once you can crack the marketing nut, even if your business isn't set up correctly and everything's in place, but if you can crack the traffic nut, and it could be as over great at ranking on Google or amazing at SEO or, hey, we're amazing like Ty Lopez when it comes to leveraging social media or we're great at leveraging paid advertising and that can scale up.
Even if the rest of your business isn't fine tuned, but you have that traffic funnel, it will provide the stability so you can do other things, like travel, and, of course, you want to fine tune the rest of your business, like your conversions, fulfillment, support, account management, whatever it may be, engineering, but the traffic, in my eyes, is the lifeblood of your business. Without that, I don't care if you have the rest of the pieces, you're not going to create a big business. If you can figure out the traffic portion, it'll open up way more time where it gives you the flexibility so you can travel and go wherever you want.
Eric Siu: Just a couple more tactical things from my side. This really depends on where your business is at. Let's say you have at least 10 people or so. You should read this book. It's called Traction: The Entrepreneurs Operating System. It's a system that I operate my business on and Neil also operates one of his businesses on, as well. Right, Neil?
Neil Patel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Eric Siu: The idea is every single week, you have a traction meeting. There's a scorecard. Everyone fills out one portion of the scorecard. For example, it might be retention rate for customers or new deals closed, but the idea is you go through this cadence every single week, when the week starts, with your management team, senior people, and it's just good to have this because everyone's looking at the numbers and then you're discussing issues and you're solving those issues because the problem with a lot of businesses, as a founder starts it and then things are all over the place, things don't get systematized, numbers aren't talked about as frequently, and then things just become a mess. You got to make sure you organize it.
Then, also, I would add a couple tools that we use on our side. Just staring at Slack right here on my screen, and we also use 15Five. That's 15, the number, and then spell out the word five. 15Five is just you have your directs or people on your team every single week, they are basically filling out how they're feeling, but then also the things they got done that week and then also things they're challenged with and then things they've learned because learning's really important to us. Then, over time, we can see how people are feeling. We have a dashboard. Performance reviews are also built into that system, too. We've been using it for years. It's good. Even when people are marking five, sometimes we can read between the lines when they're giving one-word responses and we know there's a problem, and we can jump on it.
Neil talked about hiring smart people, but the thing is, how do you keep the smart people? It's really important to have these systems in place where you're keeping people happy and making sure that they get what they need to grow and get what they want out of their career.
Neil Patel: Last thing for me is when you're traveling, make sure you always use Wi-Fi in the plane. Most planes have GoGo or some sort of Panasonic Wi-Fi service. Use it. At least you can stay connected. We're in the Internet age or digital age, whatever you want to end up calling it, in which you can communicate and get work done from wherever. There's tools and programs, like Skype and Slack, that can make your life easy. Just make sure your whole team is on it because, if they're not, then it's going to make communication a lot harder.
Eric Siu: I think maybe we should do another episode on travel hacks, too. I'm just looking at my credit card. This is different depending on what country you're in, but every country should have some kind of awards. I'm looking at my Amex Platinum right here. What you can do with Amex Platinum is they'll give you 10 free GoGo passes, and then all these other travel perks and benefits that help cover/offset the cost of the annual membership, but I'll leave that for another episode, but I think Neil and I have a lot of travel hacks we can talk about with the cards in the future.
Anyway, that's it for today, but before we go, this one is not about the Crazy Egg giveaway. This is actually about another cool podcast. We want to tell you about a cool podcast called Problem Solvers. There's an especially cool episode on Burrow, which is the Dollar Shave Club for Couches, and how they launch and run a ton of pricing experiments to ultimately win market share. All you need to do to go listen is just go to SingleGrain.com/solve, again, SingleGrain.com/solve to listen in and let us know what you think.
With that being said, we will see you tomorrow.
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