#78 – Maintaining Your Systems While Travelling
Having a reliable virtual team helps you run your business while you’re away and makes your travels productive and convenient.
Transcript:[00:00:14] Stephen: Hey guys, Stephen Esketzis here from Marketing on the Move and I am coming to you live from Athens in Greece. Just coming back and winding up a trip from Europe. I was in Barcelona where I caught up with my good friend, David, then travelled to Mallorca. After that, I went to a couple of the Greek islands, through Mykonos and Santorini and now, fishing in Athens before I head back to Melbourne tomorrow morning. But one thing I want to share with you guys is systems. Now, while I was traveling, while I was doing everything, I think it’s the most important thing in the business to have a systems and it’s something which a lot of people don’t think about or they don’t put enough emphasis on when they’re building a business. Whether you’re online or offline, I’ve worked in both companies and I’ve consulted for both online businesses, offline businesses, you need systems. It’s something you just can’t get away with. It’s crazy.
[00:01:07] So, I just want to give you a few thoughts and a few learnings of what happened with me while I was traveling and some of the ways I’ve systemized my business. So hopefully, you guys can do the same, and if you haven’t, you can start implementing it now before you decide to do that, so you’ve got the freedom to travel to work and do things from remote locations while your business still chugs along without any issues — or with as little issues as possible, I should say.
[00:01:28] So one of the biggest things that helps me when I’m traveling, is to have a virtual assistant. Now, I’ve mentioned multiple times, I’ve got a virtual assistant, but now I’ve actually got a team of them who are working with me to make sure that everything I do is leveraged and they’re able to handle if I’m away. So, this virtual assistant is able to handle a lot of the tasks for what I was able to do — what I usually would do, she’s able to do while I’m traveling and not available. So, the way we handle that is, internally, is I’ve got my virtual assistant Mydee. So what she does is, she goes through Trello, she goes through Skype, she goes through everything and she makes sure that she’s got all access to everything obviously ahead of time. And then when the time comes when I go away, when I go overseas and when I can’t access everything, she’ll be able to go in and actually start implementing and taking action. [00:02:23] Now, this goes back — so you can’t just hire an assistant and expect them to pick up where you left off to be able to handle everything. It requires a lot of training. So what you need to do, the first thing you should be doing, is having a training database, having a wiki. And what I use — we have an internal wiki where it’s just a website where people can go to — where our team can go to, specifically. They can go in and log in, have a look and say, all right, this is where all the trainings are. So we’ve got videos, we’ve got modules, everything like that and a lot of internal processes. Whether that’s sending emails, replying to emails, outreach campaigns, management of blog posts, formatting things, helping find things, everything, pretty much every single process that we do more than once in our business, we’ve got a blog post for inside our wiki. That way, Mydee is able to go in there and she jumps in and she goes through and she sees what is the task and she goes and implements it. [00:03:14] Now, that takes a little bit of time to execute. Now, I actually learned that wiki from Digital Marketer. They do that with Native Commerce, one of their holding companies. They’ve got one for every single one of their businesses. So they know their tasks, they know everything is completely systemized. So whenever you onboard a new employee, they go through the wiki and they can start taking on existing work and they can just jump from where the last person left off. So that’s one really critical thing. So, what I would recommend, before you start traveling to get your systems in place, set up your wiki, have that in place, make sure you’ve got a virtual assistant who can do 80 percent of the work that you’d be doing. That way, you’re left with the 20 percent which you can handle while traveling, very easily. So they’re not going to be able to do everything. Don’t expect someone to go through and be able to do everything and do all the work, but 80 percent of what you do should be able to be systemized for at least a short period of time. [00:04:06] So for the period I was away, I was away two and a half weeks. I wrote a ton of blog posts beforehand that I had to go out on different websites like ClickFunnels, had to go out on my website, a whole lot of different things. There was content that had to be published and formatted. I’ve done a lot of the work ahead of time, but then when it came to the actual publishing, the execution and the implementation, she was able to take over and help me out with that while I wasn’t available. So that way, I could enjoy the sun, enjoy the beach and actually disconnect for a little bit without having to worry if things were going to go out on time. So that’s one thing. [00:04:39] So, what I would recommend doing, have your systems in place before you travel, before you go away, then have the virtual assistant there to back it up and to implement your systems. That’s key. And then after that, have 20 percent of your time. So you’ve got to align for a little bit of time just to connect, keep up-to-date in case there is anything major that comes up. So, I always allot myself about an hour a day just to get on the internet, or onto Skype, work my phone, whatever it might be, just connect to know how you’re going, what are the plans, how’s everything going, are you on track, any major fires to put out, no, all right, all good, speak to you tomorrow. And sometimes that will be only 5, 10 minutes, sometimes it will be an hour, sometimes it might be a little more. It kind of depends on what it’s like. And another thing is the time difference as well. So one thing I found is it’s really tough to find a time difference to actually speak with your assistant, because mine is in the Philippines, and I highly recommend, if you’re going to be outsourcing, outsourcing to the Philippines is a great idea. And I’ll actually do another podcast on another day on how to do that because outsourcing through the Philippines, there’s a few things you need to look at when you do that. I’ve done it a whole lot now, so I’ve been experienced. I’ll drop some bombs on that next time. But what I recommend is making sure you can actually align your times as much as possible. So whether it’s in the morning you want to have a quick chat with your assistant or in the evening, whatever it is, just make sure it’s consistent, so that way, when you go do that, you’re able to actually speak with them on the right time zone, so no one is falling asleep and you’re there for at least only — it only is a 15, 30-minute chat. It’s only really just to touch base. Everything should be handled, or you just need to push a few buttons and approve a few things. [00:06:13] So that’s what happening while I’ve been traveling, which has been really exciting and I wanted to share with you guys. And a few other systems, so a couple other little hacks that I use. One of the big things that I actually did while I was away by the beach is I reorganized my iPhone. And I’ve got to give you guys a little bit of advice. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. And the timing of it just kept putting off. So if you guys have an iPhone, organize your apps on your homepage and maximum, maximum, maximum. I had like six pages of apps and I moved them now onto folders, two pages maximum. So move your apps into single pages, as minimal as possible, as minimum as clean. You want to make it as simple for yourself as possible. So I’m looking forward to see if that helps moving forward. And I’ve deleted a whole lot of junk as well. I just did that while I was by the pool. So, I highly recommend doing that. [00:07:02] Now, the next thing in regards to systems when you go out is you always, always, always need to make sure you have a solid project management software or tool. So, you need to make sure that you’ve got a tool or a software which is very, very, very easy to use that your whole team is involved on. So for me and my team, that’s Trello. We use Trello religiously and that works really well because we’ve got our boards. Everything like that works beautifully. I know people use Podio, Basecamp, whatever it might be. You can go to my website on the marketing tools list. There’s an actual whole category there for project management and I would definitely check that out. I highly recommend Trello, but whatever works for you guys, just have a project management thing there so that way, whenever you go in, you can make sure deadlines are being hit and you can just go in and have a look at everything. [00:07:56] That’s what I’ve been up to today, guys. Hopefully you guys have had a really, really good last two weeks. I know I haven’t podcasted at all. But what I will be doing is we got a whole lot of fun things happening pretty soon, so I’m going to do a couple more podcasts when I get back to Melbourne. But I wanted to drop a couple of bombs for you guys while I was overseas. I’m just in the hotel at the moment, flying out tomorrow morning and I actually got upgraded to business class, which is sweet. I’ve actually never flown business class before, so I’m looking forward to that. I might have to share a few photos and see how that goes. So that’s going to be really exciting. I’m looking forward to that because I’m not a massive flyer. I’m a massive flyer, but I’m not a massive person that looks forward to flying. So I’ll be curious to see what this is like for a 25-hour flight home back to Melbourne. But aside from that, guys, hopefully you guys have an amazing time. Hopefully your businesses has been crunching away. Let me know if you want some more podcast episodes on systems and outsourcing, just shoot me a message on my Facebook page or message via email, whatever it is, and that way I’ll know to make sure to put more content out regarding systems and things. [00:08:59] So, take care guys, have an awesome day. Stay productive. I’ll speak to you soon.