As entrepreneurs, many of us are very focused on building nimble businesses. Businesses that are agile but enable us to also be flexible as well.
From the first moment I considered becoming a business owner in order to design my own career and lifestyle, the idea of being able to travel and work from anywhere was always a big part of that vision. So much so, that I’ve worked really hard over the years to structure my business in a way that enables my family and I to travel often and when we want to.
But what about when it comes to taking a longer and more significant break from work? It can be hard to undo that conditioning we all have that travel is a counterproductive activity that can be harmful to your business or busy career. After all, all that time away must mean sacrificing your chances at improving any kinds of skills that could propel your business forward or that your clients would value, right?
Nope! This couldn’t be further from the truth and I’ll tell you why. Travel is actually one of the best things you can do to boost your career skills, develop as a business owner, and as a person. Even with travel looking different these days, working from home has a similar effect by requiring you to create a more nimble environment for your work. Here’s a list of how to improve your business skills with travel.
3 Key Ways To Improve Your Business Skills With Travel
Embrace your inner research bug
I once had a client who hated planning and organizing when it came to her business. She was used to winging it and since things never exploded from this way of work life, she saw very little reason to change anything. Except that she was building a business that became increasingly more dependent on her.
And yet, travel was something she valued more than anything. As she swore off business templates and market research, she was a whiz at creating itineraries, scoping out deals, bookmarking unique experiences, and figuring out logistics. With the end goal always in sight (to curate the most memorable experience while on vacation), she was able to research and plan out every aspect of the trip with precise execution. She just didn’t realize it that these were the same kinds of research skills that would eventually turn her business into a well-oiled machine as well.
Planning out aspects of a trip is a skill that can always be refined. And it can help big-time in business when it comes to digging into the nitty-gritty, finding answers to problems, and thinking with both sides of your brain. As trivial as deciding between excursions and choosing which neighborhood to stay in may seem, consider these low-pressure exercises to make you more decisive and confident in bigger decision-making scenarios (such as prioritizing quarterly goals).
Flex your master communication muscles
Great communication skills are not only invaluable, they’re also imperative for any business owner to have. Everything from having your brand’s message resonate with your dream customers to making sure everyone on your team is on the same page so things don’t fall through the cracks relies on great communication skills. And this is something you can certainly hone while on the road.
Keep a travel journal and document your trip in great detail. Make an effort to learn the local language to converse with people daily. Take advantage of dead time (i.e. airport layovers, long-distance bus rides, overnight train rides) to edit blog posts, write emails, or draft up that new book or proposal. From strengthening listening skills to improving writing skills, there are plenty of opportunities to become a stronger and better communicator in your business and improve these business skills with travel.
Strengthen your technical skills
To be an entrepreneur means to be resourceful. This can look like taking your own product photos, creating your own content for social, or DIYing your own website. Personally speaking, photography and video (both filming and editing) are two technical skills that I taught myself and still, to this day, have a direct impact on how I am able to build my brand for the better. And I’m able to continue to refine and master these every time I travel.
Next time you’re on the road, make it a goal to strengthen any technical skills you’ve always wanted to explore and incorporate into your business. If you’re normally inactive on social media, challenge yourself to share 1 minute a day on your Instagram stories (who doesn’t love seeing other people’s travel content?). If your own photography makes you cringe, push yourself to practice, practice, practice as you document your trip or even gather visual inspiration. If you want to try something new on your website, create a new personal site dedicated to your travels and experiment and test all you want on there first. None of these require fancy equipment to get started. Use what you have and just start. This plays a big part in wanting to improve your business skills with travel.
Creative Ways To Get Your Travel Fix When You’re At Home
While the freedom to travel is #goals, don’t forget about the plenty of opportunities to get your travel fix when you’re at home (particularly with travel looking different these days).
- Become a tourist in your own city: Grab your camera or phone and capture the same streets you walk each day through a different lens.
- Plan your next trip: Start a Pinterest board and think big as you research and organize the next destination on your bucket list. Where are you going to go next?
- Get outside: Encourage yourself to find local adventure like going for a hike. Converse with people who you might not otherwise cross paths with.
- Find inspo: Create saved folders on Instagram, and save any photos that inspire your future travels. Research and organizing will have never seemed so fun.
(And of course, until it’s safe to travel normally again, let’s all do our part to make this pandemic go away. Be smart, wear a mask, wash your hands, and be respectful to others.)
So the next time you’re able to take off to some far off place, set an extra intention to improve your business skills with travel, too. There’s nothing like the clarity that can come from travel, and there’s a lot to say about the beauty it can instill in your company values.