How do you run a business from 6,000 miles away? As a company that’s got a lot of experience in this area, that’s the question that we’re sometimes asked on Get Invited. The short answer is, that it takes a dedicated team, zero interest in the traditional 9 to 5, and being happy to work wherever there’s a wifi signal!
The long answer – courtesy of our CEO and soon-to-be Thailand resident Kyle Gawley – is below!
Why did you decide to work remotely?
I’ve always loved to travel and after a health scare last year, I drastically changed my outlook on life. I’ve become much less concerned with obtaining material goods and more focused on having experiences. I really want to see as much of the world as I can, so for the foreseeable future, I’m going to be travelling around and working from some of the most beautiful locations on the planet.
I’ve not jumped into this – I’ve been working remotely on and off for three years now. It’s usually been when I’ve been away on business for a few weeks at a time. The longest I’ve worked away was for one month but that is about to change later this month when I’m going to be working remotely indefinitely!
I’m obviously very fortunate that I’m able to work from anywhere in the world (with a good internet connection, of course).
Wow, sounds exciting! Where are you off to next?
I’ll be spending a few weeks in Bangkok before moving up to Chiang Mai and then rounding off my Thailand trip with a tour around some of the islands. After that, I’ll be spending a few weeks in Vietnam before moving to Bali, then who knows? Possibly Australia or Japan.
What did your team say when you told them about your plans to run the business from thousands of miles away?
I jest, everyone on the Get Invited team is very open minded and switched on to the modern world, so they can understand and appreciate remote working. It hasn’t been an issue at all. Most of the people we work with aren’t based locally to us so we’re all used to working across distances and time zones.
Does the idea of locating yourself far away from Get Invited HQ make you nervous?
There’s the odd moment when the devil on my shoulder is telling me it’s a crazy idea, but I just ignore it. I know I can do my job as as well from another country – I’ve been doing it for three years, so there’s no risk. Additionally, the Get Invited co-founder David will still be based in our office.
We’re an internet business, so things will pretty much stay the same. In fact, there are plenty of advantages to me working remotely, like providing our customers in other countries with improved support as we’ll now have better timezone coverage.
I’m going to be doing lots of networking and promoting Get Invited while I’m travelling, often in countries where we have almost no market knowledge. Who knows what new exciting opportunities we’ll uncover?
How do you maintain contact with the team when you’re working remotely?
At the minute, we rely pretty heavily on Slack for all of our communications as most of the team are already remote. I’ll miss the face-to-face communication and banter that goes on in the office every day. I’ll be trying to fit in more Skype calls so it’s not all written communication.
Is it hard sitting down to work when you’re in an exciting new country?
I actually find it easier – when I’m in a beautiful location with lots of sunshine I always feel fired up and motivated so I can achieve a lot. Having a proper workspace is important for me to make this work. I’m not really one for working from coffee shops, so I always rent a good co-working space where I can sit down and focus.
What have you learned about yourself and your business during your periods of living abroad?
Travelling solo is probably the ultimate tool for building self-confidence. It definitely pushes you outside of your comfort zone and forces you to adapt. The first time I travelled solo, I was terrified. But now I know I can jump on a plane and go anywhere in the world anytime I want. That’s an incredibly empowering feeling.
It also provides you with a great deal of empathy and appreciation for other people, cultures and their beliefs. I think much of the world is missing and desperately needs this.
In terms of what I’ve learned about business, I think travel is absolutely essential for all entrepreneurs. The world is a big place, and you could be missing out on so many opportunities if you’re only focused on your local market. It’s also a great learning experience – I’ve learnt more on my trips away than I ever have sitting in Belfast.
In your opinion, would it be possible to plan an event remotely?
That’s a great question. I think the answer depends on the nature of the event – if it’s a casual meet up then absolutely. But for something like a conference I think it’s more likely that you would need to have people on the ground at the location, at least in the days leading up to the event.
Of course, if you have people on your team who are based at the remote location, who can check out the venue and coordinate with local suppliers, then you can absolutely do most of the organisation remotely.
And finally, is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re thinking about travelling, just do it! 🙂