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Big Lap Business: 5 Challenges To Working On The Road

by Rose Foster

So, you wanna quit your job, pack up your house and hit the road full time for the epic Australian adventure of a lifetime? Awesome, me too! 

But there’s just one problem, right? How are you gonna fund it?

Well, in this series, I’m giving you the roadmap to funding your Big Lap so you can hit the road quicker and stay on it longer. And no, there are no get rich quick schemes, unrealistic guarantees or sketchy fake gurus in sight.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty of the hows, whys, whats, wheres and whens of building and running a business from the road, I have to get real with you about one thing. To successfully travel and work whilst living your best nomadic life, you have to have the right mindset and know exactly what you’re getting yourself into because **SPOILET ALERT** it’s not all rainbows and sunshine!

In this article, I’m breaking down the 5 things you need to know if you want to have the freedom of working from anywhere.

Wanna listen to the audio version? Listen here…

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Here are the 5 things you need to know about working from the road so you can consistently achieve success, make money and travel for as long as you want to. Stick around til the end where I’ll share with you my simple 5 step action plan to overcoming the issues and mindset challenges I’m about to reveal.

1. There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

Let’s get real, if you’re here, this likely isn’t the first article you’ve read to try and get some tips about starting a business so you can travel. If it is, I’m a little flattered, welcome to the most awesome business article you’ll ever read… ahem…

In so many tutorials, they peddle one or another way to do things. Most land on specific types of online business, which we will discuss here, but there are so many opportunities out there for travelling Aussies that I want to really drill this in now.

Don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole. 

If you don’t feel like you’ve got the skills for a certain thing or if it doesn’t fit your travel style, move on. Just because your friend’s daughter’s cousin’s mum is making money on the road selling on Amazon, it doesn’t mean you have to start learning how to the Amazon FBA program works.

That said, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out and learn a new skill, because you absolutely can and should. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t think that there are only one or two ways to make money from the road and if they don’t suit your skillset or travel style then your Big Lap dream is dead.

In this series, I’ll actually be going over the types of thing you can actually do from the road and going into detail about how to actually do them so stay tuned for those upcoming articles. And subscribe to our newsletter if that’s the type of thing you’re looking for…

Wanna watch the video instead? Remember to subscribe to our YouTube Channel here.

2. Staying Motivated Is An Issue

Hands up if you were one of those people who had to work from home during the pandemic…

Ok, hands up if you were one of those people who had to work from home during the pandemic and did literally anything else but work?

The truth is, working from home and staying motivated isn’t easy. But working from the road is even harder. I’m actually one of those people who is very self-motivated and can work a full day (or even longer) without getting up from my desk in my home office. But when I’m on the road, oh boy, I seem to turn into a different person.

With so many new things to do and see, it can be really difficult to stick to your schedule and get things done.

This problem will mainly affect those who are working from their laptop rather than in a physical job 

(cause… ya know, you’ll get fired if you don’t show up)…

But it’s definitely something that you’ll likely feel at some point or another so being aware of it is vital before you set off. 

3. Burnout Is Real

It’s a buzzword that’s been rife in the corporate world for years but becoming burnt out on your supposedly relaxing and stress-free lap is a real possibility.

While in my previous point I talked about not having the motivation to work this is the flip side of that… it’s working too much.

Let’s break it down…

There are a couple of reasons that you might get burnt out whilst working on the road…

1. You’re burning the candle at both ends. You’re doing too much exploring and too much work to find a happy work/vanlife balance. This is extremely common when you want to see as much as you can, but you’ve got to work as much as you can to pay for seeing as much as you can…

2. You’ve taken on too much work in the first place and you’re constantly on your laptop and you’re just too mentally exhausted to actually go and explore… which is a real struggle for people who earn money for their time like freelancers…

3. You’re trying to build a business or run it yourself and there’s just so much to do

Or, finally, number 4, which I think is a big one, is that you’re just inefficient. Ok that sounds a little harsh but speaking from personal experience, when you do little bits of work frequently you end up doing more work overall and you feel like you are constantly working…

Read on til the end as I’ll be revealing my 5 step action plan for overcoming this issue and the others on this list.

4. You Might Limit Yourself

Picture this, you’ve found this awesome free camp, set up camp and the kids have just jumped into the creek that’s running just past your van, when you pull out your laptop and **scream** shock horror, there’s no internet reception.

The truth is, you won’t get internet everywhere you go (and you probably already know that) and for many people working on the road, they absolutely need to get online to work and make that money honey!

So, depending on what you do and how long you can be without an internet connection you may be limited in where you can go.

But it’s not just those with online businesses that will be limited. If you sell products or services from your van, for example, you may need to choose a location near a town full of people to sell those things too. And the list goes on…

5. You Might Feel Like You’re Missing Out

When you’re working from the road, your Big Lap goes from the holiday of a lifetime to normal life but just on the road. And that sucks, right?

Well, not necessarily…

Talk to many Big Lappers, regardless of whether they work or not, and they’ll tell you that the Big Lap isn’t really a holiday at all, it’s a lifestyle. Ok it’s an awesome lifestyle but for most people, their lifestyle includes work.

But any time you spend working from the road is usually infinitely better than working from home (or worse, for the man!), so before you get down on yourself that you’re not getting the full Big Lap experience, know that if you’re away from ‘home’ and getting to see this awesome country of ours, then you’re likely getting the experience that everyone else is having, so you can throw that fomo out of the window now.

But — your fomo takes on a whole new level if your partner or the rest of the family is having fun while you work. Depending on what you do, it may fall to one partner or another to work, at varying times. And if that’s the case, that’s something you need to either find a mechanism to deal with or address it as a family at the outset.

The Takeaway

So, while it may seem like there are a lot of challenges to working on the road, being aware of them and finding solutions to them will undoubtedly put you ahead of the game…

And to give you a head start, here’s my 5 point action plan to overcoming all the issues I’ve spoken about to set you up for on-the-road money-making success 

1. Non-Negotiables

It’s so easy to get caught up as you explore one place or another, but set yourself some non-negotiables. These can be personalized to you but things like ‘Mondays and Wednesdays are my workdays’ or ‘Dad will sort out the kids’ breakfasts so mum can work before exploring’ or ‘we need to be in phone reception every weekday’ or even ‘We need to find a job by March so we need to pause travel by this date’.

2. Work-Influenced Travel

Allowing your work to influence your travel style is a good way to enter your Big Lap. If you have set some non-negotiables that say you’re going to work on Mondays and Wednesdays, you know that you can’t travel on those days, no matter what. You might even say, every Sunday, we’ll move to the next place, stay for 7 days and then move again – maybe with the option of moving on a Thursday too. 

Being aware of how your work influences your travel and being ok with that as a condition of actually doing your Big Lap will make you feel more content if you decide you have to scratch something off your list because it doesn’t fit with your style.

3. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead will save you some stress as you travel. If you need the internet, make sure you’re only heading to remote or non-service areas during your necessary workdays. If you need to find work by a certain date, make sure you’re planning ahead to get to the destination you want to get to by that date, without having to miss places you want to visit. 

4. Tools of Efficiency & Anti-distraction

One of the best ways of getting the most from your Big Lap work/vanlife balance is making sure you have enough time to get shit done and explore everywhere you want to explore. 

And the only way you can make sure you have enough time is to be efficient, avoid distractions and stop procrastinating. 

There are a number of tools on the market that can help you be more efficient and productive like project management software like Trello or Asana (and i’ll be going over them in another video). But when it comes to distractions and procrastination, you need to find the thing that motivates you to stay on course. 

Do you need to listen to music? Do you need to work from a library or coworking space? Figure out what it is that will keep you in work mode and make it a priority to implement into your routine.

5. The agreement

I would argue that this is the most important part of staying on top of your work whilst on the road without feeling like it’s a chore.

If you’re one of the many people travelling with a partner or family, it is vital that you have a family agreement in place about the requirements of the working person so work arrangements are always considered in the plan.

As the person in our household who works whilst we’re on the road, having to constantly remind my husband about when I needed to work, really didn’t work for me. It’s not that he was resistant at all about me working, it was that it wasn’t in his mind to make it a priority to find a spot by x time or worry about whether we were entering a ‘no-service’ area. Or, he’d ask me ‘hey, do you want to do this or that’ and I really either did want to do that or I didn’t want to say no and be a total killjoy.

As soon as I reminded him, it was always fine, we made it a priority.

But it comes with a certain amount of guilt, for me anyway, that you are constantly the one to stop the fun. And while hubby didn’t really see it that way, as soon as we had the ‘agreement’ in place, it made it a whole lot less stressful for me. 

And the same goes for accountability. If you’re about to shirk your commitments in favour of doing something else, the agreement helps the whole family ensure that this isn’t done consistently. Obviously, you can have some flexibility but as a general rule, an accountability partner will help you stay on track.

In reality, earning money on the road shouldn’t be your main focus whilst you’re travelling. While you may spend a lot of your time actually doing the work, it’s important that you minimize the amount of time you spend actually worrying about it. That worry comes with not having enough time, not knowing where you’ll be or not having the right support system. And eventually, if you don’t keep it in check, it’s that worry that will lead you to thinking that working from the road is just too stressful, making you want to head back to your corporate safety net.

Follow my 5 step action plan to adopting the right ‘work from the road’ mindset and you’ll get into your Big Lap Business groove quickly and easily.

And if you’re looking to build a business so you can head out on your Big Lap, click here for your free Pre-Big Lap Business Builder Checklist.

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