Creating travel and work balance

…And we are back. So what’s been happening at FabricEleven? Well, I / we’ve been very busy which of course is no excuse for not writing. I did update the homepage and as some of you might have noticed an updated about page and a new client page. I felt the business needs to feel more personal. In the end, I am the one that stands behind each project and that needs to be conveyed more throughout the site. There is now also a fancy 404 page for your enjoyment.

There are going to be a few changes to this blog as well. First I will write from the first person from now on. This should make the blog more intimate and transparent. Second, I will slowly make it more of a personal blog. I really liked the style of Tobias Van Schneider, he has a great balance between personal reflection, business insight, and tips.

 

There was much traveling

Part of the reason I’ve been so busy is because I’ve been juggling travel, work, and business development. This year was full of amazing remote work and traveling. Which I will start documenting in this blog as well. Traveling became my passion over the past few years. Setting up a process where I could travel as much as possible and work remotely was my goal this year. Looking back now I feel that I achieved a fairly good balance in that regard.

 

The setup

My first step was to make sure I had people I could depend on while I am away. I knew there would be times when things would go wrong and I wouldn’t be available. I’ve been working with a small team remotely for a while now, most of them located here in Tucson. I felt that I needed a bigger cushion so I joined Toptal community last November in hopes of finding reputable talent. Surprisingly I’ve been working with their clients more so instead of using their talent. Eventually, I ended up meeting some of the people directly on one of my travels. I loved the community and people so much, that I ended up taking some of their core projects like redesigning parts of their primary site. That’s a story for another time.

 

Having a place to get things done

Once logistics were in place, all that was left to do is pack up the bags and start traveling. By the end of the year, I’ve ended up in Belize, Lisbon, Costa Rica, Calgary, Holand, and Berlin. Once I am at a remote location I make sure there is a good remote office that I can use. This ensures that the productivity doesn’t go out the window completely. Although it does get affected a lot. It’s hard to be productive when there are many exciting things to do and explore around you.

Networking is your friend

Part of the reason I love to work remotely is all the people you meet at remote offices. There are always designers, developers and start-up entrepreneurs who work there and eager to share what they are doing. One of my best trips was when I met people from Toptal in Lisbon. I really felt that I was part of this elite community of developers and designers where everyone was eager to share their experience and help each other.

Lisbon
Lisbon from above

Planing

One of the key things I realized early on is that planning is absolute key when traveling remotely. Once you leave the states most of your clients will now be in different time zones. This means that you have to be extra careful when setting up meetings. The best strategy is to let your clients know that you will be out of their time zone.

When you are in Europe my plan was to enjoy the city and do sightseeing during the day and then start working around 6pm which was a daytime for many of our US clients. If you have an office line at home set up call forwarding through a service like Google Voice and have it forward to your cell phone. I switched to T-Mobile as my carrier since they have global coverage (at reduced rate of 0.20 a minute) and unlimited free data in most countries (it’s capped at 2G speed unfortunately). This is better than nothing when you are rafting in a remote location like Costa Rica.

costa-rica-rafting-2016In the end, even though it was sometimes hard to balance work and life, It was an amazing journey that was completely worth it and I wouldn’t have met great people. So stay tuned for a blog reboot and more in depth posts.