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5 Smart Tips to Run Your Business While Travelling

5 Smart Tips to Run Your Business While TravellingOne of the key benefits of being your own boss is that you are free to move around the country and – why not – the globe as you please. Many entrepreneurs and lifestyle business owners are highly mobile and enjoy the freedom they afford to the maximum. And while they travel and explore new places and cultures, they also continue to run their businesses.

Modern technology makes it very easy to work from anywhere around the world. These days, entrepreneurs can host video conferences, manage their daily schedule, and create and send email documents using their smartphone. Various other apps help you automate your online marketing and social media activities, manage your time, keep track of payments from clients and communicate with anyone from any corner of the world at affordable prices.

At a glance, it seems that it is no big deal to manage a business on the go. However, it takes lots of planning and discipline to keep yourself focused on your work, when there are so many temptations and exciting things to do along your travel. Here are some helpful tips for you:

1. Set Specific Days Just for Work
Whether you explore a city or a country, you will have full days when you visit tourist attractions, museums or go on nature trails. However, you should fit at least two full work days per week in which you will stay in your leased apartment or hotel room and focus entirely on work.

These distraction-free days must be a staple in your schedule, no matter how long the journey may be. During these days, you will have the time to catch up with business issues, respond to emails, have video conferences with clients, and cover any other topics which require time and full attention.

2. Keep Track of the Time Zones
It may be 1 p.m. in Athens, Greece, but it is only 6 a.m. in New York, USA – not a great time to make a business phone call. In order to avoid unpleasant and embarrassing situations, always keep track of time zones and set your smartphone and laptop to display the time in your locations of interest, apart for the current time in your location.

3. Always Buy Local SIM Cards
If you use your US-based mobile phone, you will incur huge roaming fees, both on the voice and data plans. The simple and smart solution is to buy a prepaid SIM card from every country you are visiting and recharge it according to your needs. If you are a frequent visitor to certain countries, it may be worthwhile considering a subscription-based mobile plan.

4. Learn about Different Local Business Practices and Customs
Each culture has its particularities even when it comes to conducting business affairs. You will certainly get to do some business with local customers and other businesses (this is the whole point of traveling and doing business after all). For example, in Japan it is considered rude to say “no” directly during negotiations, you should seek a milder formula of rejection. In South American countries it is customary to open the discussion by talking about non-business issues, such as weather, sports, current events, etc.

5. Use Cloud Storage Facilities
Your computer or smartphone should not be the only storage solution for important documents. They could malfunction or be stolen from you, and you would lose lots and lots of valuable data. Cloud storage is the best way of keeping documents secure and always available to you wherever you may be located.

Last but not least, do not forget to input in your accounting software the location from each place where you are doing business. This is very important for the calculation of the taxes you owe, because you can take advantage of the double taxation avoidance treaties signed by the USA with various countries.

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5 Smart Tips to Run Your Business While Travelling

5 Smart Tips to Run Your Business While TravellingOne of the key benefits of being your own boss is that you are free to move around the country and – why not – the globe as you please. Many entrepreneurs and lifestyle business owners are highly mobile and enjoy the freedom they afford to the maximum. And while they travel and explore new places and cultures, they also continue to run their businesses.

Modern technology makes it very easy to work from anywhere around the world. These days, entrepreneurs can host video conferences, manage their daily schedule, and create and send email documents using their smartphone. Various other apps help you automate your online marketing and social media activities, manage your time, keep track of payments from clients and communicate with anyone from any corner of the world at affordable prices.

At a glance, it seems that it is no big deal to manage a business on the go. However, it takes lots of planning and discipline to keep yourself focused on your work, when there are so many temptations and exciting things to do along your travel. Here are some helpful tips for you:

1. Set Specific Days Just for Work
Whether you explore a city or a country, you will have full days when you visit tourist attractions, museums or go on nature trails. However, you should fit at least two full work days per week in which you will stay in your leased apartment or hotel room and focus entirely on work.

These distraction-free days must be a staple in your schedule, no matter how long the journey may be. During these days, you will have the time to catch up with business issues, respond to emails, have video conferences with clients, and cover any other topics which require time and full attention.

2. Keep Track of the Time Zones
It may be 1 p.m. in Athens, Greece, but it is only 6 a.m. in New York, USA – not a great time to make a business phone call. In order to avoid unpleasant and embarrassing situations, always keep track of time zones and set your smartphone and laptop to display the time in your locations of interest, apart for the current time in your location.

3. Always Buy Local SIM Cards
If you use your US-based mobile phone, you will incur huge roaming fees, both on the voice and data plans. The simple and smart solution is to buy a prepaid SIM card from every country you are visiting and recharge it according to your needs. If you are a frequent visitor to certain countries, it may be worthwhile considering a subscription-based mobile plan.

4. Learn about Different Local Business Practices and Customs
Each culture has its particularities even when it comes to conducting business affairs. You will certainly get to do some business with local customers and other businesses (this is the whole point of traveling and doing business after all). For example, in Japan it is considered rude to say “no” directly during negotiations, you should seek a milder formula of rejection. In South American countries it is customary to open the discussion by talking about non-business issues, such as weather, sports, current events, etc.

5. Use Cloud Storage Facilities
Your computer or smartphone should not be the only storage solution for important documents. They could malfunction or be stolen from you, and you would lose lots and lots of valuable data. Cloud storage is the best way of keeping documents secure and always available to you wherever you may be located.

Last but not least, do not forget to input in your accounting software the location from each place where you are doing business. This is very important for the calculation of the taxes you owe, because you can take advantage of the double taxation avoidance treaties signed by the USA with various countries.

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How to Start a Home-Based Travel Agency Business

Travel Agency BusinessTraveling is one of the industries which are always thriving, even during the economic crisis. People travel for leisure or business all the time; companies delegate expert employees to new business locations, professional organizations organize conferences with an international attendance. Thus, on every given day, millions of people are travelling by plane and checking into hotels.

This means that as a home-based travel agency owner you have a very good chance to be successful and run a business which is not likely to fail. Even with so many mobile apps and websites for booking flights and hotel rooms, there are still a lot of people who do not have the time to make travel arrangements on their own, or trust the professional recommendations made by a travel agent.

So, what are the basic steps for opening your own home-based travel agency? The basic prerequisites are the same for all kinds of home-based business. You have to decide on the legal form of incorporating your business, register for tax purposes, arrange your home office, and take extra business insurance for property and third party liability.

In this article we will focus on the specifics of setting up a travel business. This is what you will need to do:

1. Learn about the Business
Every business has its specifics – its terms and systems – and you need to know about them. In some cases, if you want to sign up with a host agency to act as their representative, they will give you a test to assess your knowledge in this specific industry. There are terms and conditions applying to hotel room booking and plane tickets, there are many travel and visa requirements for overseas travel, and you must know all of these terms and inform your clients of them,

Also, all kinds of bookings are done through dedicated online platforms. Joining a course for travel agents will give you the opportunity to learn how to use these platforms – something which is not possible if you are not enrolled in a special class.

2. Find Your Niche
There are many niches in the travel business, and for a small home-based business it is a good idea to focus on one, at least at the beginning. Once you master it and become more confident in your skills, you can expand to new market segments.

Business travel is a very active niche with plenty opportunities of doing business all year round. On the other hand, honeymoon or adventure travel will gain you higher commissions and the opportunity to discover exciting new places where you may take your own family for a vacation.

3. Decide How You Want to Work
As a home-based travel agency owner, you can work as a referral agent, sign up with a host agency or do business as an independent travel agent.

As a referral agent, you will seek clients and refer them to the agency you collaborate with. For every travel package or booking made by a client referred by you, you will receive a commission.

If you choose to work for a host agency, then you will do the booking yourself using the online platforms and systems of the company. This form of operating as a home-based travel agent has the advantage that you will represent a reputable company, with a solid marketing and customer care strategy. On the other hand, some agencies request an entrance fee and monthly royalty fees.

If you decide to operate as an independent agency, you will have to do all the work, building your brand name and reputation, negotiating fees with hotels and airlines, and finding your customers on your own. It is very hard work, but the overall margin will be higher compared to the commission-based operation.

4. Join Professional Associations
Being a member of professional travel agents associations, such as the American Society of Travel Agents, the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents or the International Air Transport Association will instantly earn you extra trust and confidence when dealing with potential customers. It will also offer you access to various educational materials, conferences, the opportunity to meet people in this industry and build a network of potential collaborators, suppliers or business partners.

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