Running A Business While Living In A Van
My Virtual Tour Business Brought Us Freedom
This time nearly 2 years ago I decided to leave the best job I ever had. I had worked for minimum wage for nearly 4 years after college and then I started my virtual tour business. I had finally found a job that I was passionate about and enjoyed. I loved working as a virtual tour service provider and it was a hard decision to leave when business was good but there is never a right time.
My partner and I planned to travel the world without being tied down for 1-2 years. I had work lined up with some of my previous clients but expected that to dry up within the year.
I started a digital marketing business a couple of weeks before we left as a backup plan. I worked for very little for the first 2 months while I was building up a solid base of clients and testimonials. Things really took off after that and it was not long before I had to outsource some of my projects. I worked with small to medium sized businesses, providing web design, lead generation and sales funnels.
I managed to work with 50+ companies while living in a Toyota Hiace van that we converted into a camper van for 7 months. This taught me some of the most valuable lessons I have learned when it comes to business:
How does this relate to running a virtual tour business?
Manage your time: When living in a van, you live a lot differently. I woke with the sun and went to sleep when it got dark. My day consisted of starting work from the front seat of then van at 5am and working until 11am. This was probably the most productive I ever worked. I was hyper-focused and I wanted to continue my adventure. I was working to live and not the other way around. By clear and concise with what your work goals are for your day and set deadlines.
Work with who you want to work with: When I analysed all of my projects, I realised that my highest value projects required a lot more attention and a lot of after sales support. I could complete 3 smaller projects in the same time I could complete 1 high value projects and the smaller projects required very little support after completion. I started to work smarter and increased my earnings by switching my strategy.
Play to your strengths: I quickly learned to focus on the skills that I could over deliver. I avoided complex projects and focused on clients that I knew I could deliver results for. If you look at my reviews, they are all raving about the service they received. As a result I received a lot more request so I nearly doubled my price and I could hand pick the projects that I wanted to work on. It was a great situation to be in. If I decided to try and take on every project and client this would not have been the case.
Get innovative: I could of been without wifi signal for up to 5 days at a time while exploring in rural parts of New Zealand. I would work off a mobile hotspot and use libraries from time to time. I could complete a couple of projects without any wifi and then I would upload all of my work and deliver projects when I found signal.
Communicate effectively: Living off the grid and without any signal for days at a time meant that I was incredibly detailed with every part of the communication and delivery process. I would only take on a project when both the client and I were happy with the terms and expectations had been set before beginning. This would of been something that I would of lacked before. I was forced to look at every interaction clients and set milestones and updates to ensure that all parties were aware of the steps. The best thing about doing this was that I ran my business 100% from email and a platform that I used. Over the time the amount of messages required became less and less and some of my web design + lead generation projects could be completed from start to finish in as little as 15 emails. No calls whatsoever!!
Living in a van for 7 months taught me to work smarter than I ever have. I worked 5-6 hours most mornings with 100% focus. I was efficient so I could spend the rest of our days exploring New Zealand in our home on wheels. In that time I managed to double my price, have a list of projects that I choose from and a list of repeat clients.
Some of these lessons have stuck with me. Run your business the way you want to run it. I wanted to work a set time block each day and not be worried about anything for the the rest of the day and I managed to achieve that. Adapt and pivot when it will allow you to focus on the important things!
And yes that is me having a shower with a Powerade bottle. Living in a converted van is interesting to say the least and can teach you a lot about yourself!
DISCUSSIONS WITH VIRTUAL TOUR INDUSTRY EXPERTS
E-LEARNING SOLUTIONS & VIRTUAL TOURS
HOW TO SELL VIRTUAL TOUR SERVICES
VIRTUAL TOURS NICHE MARKET APPROACHES
VIRTUAL TOURS MARKETING STRATEGIES
VIRTUAL TOUR SUCCESS STORIES & CASE STUDIES