Are you bitten by the travel bug but can't afford to take that much time away from the office? Good news. You can travel and still run your agency from wherever you are.
Or, maybe you want to move across the country. Or, maybe move to a whole new country. You can still run your agency from wherever you are.
Managing your agency remotely takes a different mindset than being in the office every day. You need discipline to stick to your schedule. You need proper processes and procedures in place. You need to hold your team accountable so they will perform at the level you need them to.
Understand that running your agency from anywhere is possible. But there are a few things you need to get in place before you hop on that plane to Costa Rica.
First, plan ahead. Know where you'll work. Are you going to work from a hotel room? A café? A co-working space?
Will you have access to the right amenities for a good working environment? A high speed internet connection is a must.
What else do you need to be productive? Make a list. Then research where you plan to work so you can check if it has everything you need.
If it is going to be a permanent move, do a trial run first. You don't want to go through the hassle and expense of a move to find out it is not going to work.
Set a Schedule
Keep time zones in mind. Will you be traveling to a different time zone than where your office is? You may need to adjust your schedule to accommodate the time difference.
More than time zones, you will need to create and stick to a specific schedule that works for you. Working remotely gives you a lot of freedom for how and when you work. But, routine is still critical for productivity.
Are you more productive in the afternoons and evenings? Set your schedule accordingly.
Communication is always important. But, it's especially critical when managing your agency from anywhere. It needs to be often and focused.
Daily check-in meetings can also be useful in setting priorities for the day. They don't have to last long. 10-15 minutes is often sufficient.
Weekly team meetings are for long-term goals. They should have a process and follow the same format every week. If it's predictable, you can rotate who runs the meeting, and you don't have to be there to run it always.
It may feel excessive, all this checking in. But, it helps you monitor the activities happening in your office. It also keeps you and your team on the same page regarding priorities and tasks.
The technology available these days makes running your agency from anywhere easier. Here are a few that can help you be productive by simulating the feel of your office as if you were there.
Dropbox - If you work with documents, you need this tool. Dropbox lets you safely store documents and share with anyone who needs it.
Join.me - Virtual meeting and screen sharing software. You and your team don't need to subscribe or download anything.
Trello - Software that visually tracks projects. You can create lists, assign tasks to people. You can clearly see the steps in a projects and know what's next.
Virtual private network (VPN) - Provides secure access to a private network over a public network. This secure access lets you share data on a public network as if you were directly connecting to your agency's private network. This means you enjoy the functionality and security of your private network when using public WiFi.
LogMeIn - A program that gives you access and control of your desktop from anywhere.
Skype - Software that lets you connect with your team via chat, voice or video. You can use it for weekly group conference calls or to check in with specific people.
Web-based insurance agency software - This category includes agency marketing systems, comparative raters, and agency management systems. When this technology is web-based, you can easily log in and see exactly what your team in the office sees. You can run reports on activity and use the data to make adjustments as needed.
Hire the Right People
When hiring people who will be in the office while you work remotely, you need to hire the right people. Look for people who are self-motivated. They need to be able to work without a lot of supervision and can handle solving problems when you're not there.
Once you've found the right people, teach them your processes. Establish rules for how your agency will run when you're working remotely.
Wherever you are, you need to maintain the same work ethic, persistence and other behaviors that have helped you build your successful agency.
Getting to run your agency from anywhere is an opportunity few people have. Work hard. But don't forget to enjoy your travels.
It is easy to get bogged down in your to-do list. Don't forget why you wanted to travel to begin with.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder