Four Key Areas to Being Location Independent


I've decided after my last post to stop being so darn stubborn when it comes to this blog challenge. I’ve already fallen far behind and really it serves no purpose other than to make me feel momentarily right about issues that often don’t often matter all that much to me. 

I was resisting the travel aspect to the challenge because of, or despite, the fact that it's been three years since I've been home.. and that visit had only been for a couple of months after six months spent in India.

Being dismissive about the travel aspect is just arrogant of me and I'm not here to try to impress anyone, I'm here to learn, share what I know and to grow. 

Inside of a context of “what skills I need to develop”, I’d say that being open and coachable should top the list. A close second should be getting things completed and shipped. 

With that said, today's challenge follows the travel theme of the blog challenge's third act and I have to say, it's a great question. It's also a question that applies to anyone, traveling or not: "What skills do you need to build or refine to be a happy Suitcase Entrepreneur?"

Despite dropping my resistance, I will twist the question to apply not just to being a suitcase entrepreneur but also to my goal of living as a Life Athlete, I believe that they overlap anyway.

Natalie Sisson (THE Suitcase Entrepreneur) listed four attributes that she felt were key to maintaining her productivity on the road.

They are:


Staying healthy

Keeping up with clients

Keeping in touch with your network

It's hard to fault the list. I'll adopt it and go over what each one means to me.

"Productivity" is one that I think is great as it's measurable. Often in the past I've take "working a lot" to mean the same thing as being productive but I've recently adopted an axiom that my dad stole from somewhere "Keep shipping”. Seth Godin talks about this too. He cites his prolific nature as the secret of his success. He just keeps going and eventually his content has improved and found an audience. 

I’ve been viewing productivity in terms of what I’ve been able to ship or complete and take off of my desk. Obviously with larger projects this takes longer but the closer I get them to that point, the more productive I’ve been. The caveat has been that sometimes I’ll go in a direction that truly doesn’t work and I have chosen to view those moments not as a waste of time but rather as learning experiences. Still, ranking those lower gets me to not just run in circles thinking I’m learning. It’s better to move projects and ideas forward than to not, inside of my current way of thinking. 

Staying healthy is one that matters to me on a number of levels. The main, and overlooked, key to this is energy. Energy is often seen as this odd term that doesn’t mean much but it is essentially one’s ability to do work. 

No energy, no nothin’. 

Staying healthy isn’t about going to the gym a lot, or eating certain foods, or practicing yoga... at least not exclusively. As I’ve said recently I’m an exhaustion addict and so doing those things can be detrimental to me if I allow myself to OVERdo them. 

Under-doing isn’t any better. Laying around sleeping won’t make you more energetic unless you’re also building capacity by pushing yourself and allowing recovery. The food we eat, when viewed as an energy source also makes a difference. Are we looking for short term, medium term or long term effects from our food? Chocolate, or french fries might make us feel good in the short term but those feelings don’t tend to last. Choosing to push only as much as I need to in order to grow and then finding foods that fuel me in three-four hour bursts and also provide a good base for longevity is key for me. 

Also naps or meditation often allow me to recover and prepare me for bursts of effort and have been things I’ve been putting in place lately. 

Another aspect of health is this. When my body feels badly, the rest of me does too. I find it difficult to maintain a positive, balanced and patient mental outlook when I’m tired, worn down or hungry. I often joke that I can handle ANYTHING when I’m fed and rested and lament how rarely I find myself in those states. And there’s the rub. These are states which have to be managed. They don’t usually happen by accident. 

Keeping up with clients is obviously an important aspect of having a business, whether you’re running it from the road or not. 

The trap I fall into is wanting to have all of my correspondences be brilliant and insightful and so I have been known to put off responding until that mythical moment where I have “more time”.  

Practicing forgiveness has been the key to getting over that worry; and from there focusing on conveying the most important message.

Keeping in touch with my network is another one that often is sacrificed to the beast called “being more productive”.  Attempting to fill every free moment with work hasn’t proven to be very effective and yet it’s the default I fall into if I’m not careful. I’m clearly at my best when I work in controlled and predetermined chunks of time separated by activities that refill that focus on joy and refill the batteries... and yet I constantly find myself just trying to plough through projects. Not only does that rarely work but it also leads to me not being overly communicative with my networks as I’m burnt out by that point. Being more aware of these patterns has allowed me to choose more effective options. 

For my money the most important of all of these ... the one without which the others could not function ... is energy.  

When I manage my energy, everything else falls into place. In general I know what to do most of the time and yet when I’m drained, choosing the right actions rarely happens. On the other hand, when I manage my energy, all of the things I’ve filled my head with over the last 10-15 years come to the surface and everything becomes that much easier.