So you’ve got a few trips planned for the rest of the year, but don’t want to stop working or take a vacation.
Or maybe you’ve decided to uproot your life and travel the world. The jury’s still out on where you’re going or when you’ll be back.
Regardless of your timeline (or lack thereof), if you plan on working while you travel, your communication skills need to be dialed. No matter if you’ve worked remotely for years or for just a few months, you know the importance of crystal-clear communication, especially while on the go.
If you can’t communicate with your clients, you’ll learn how difficult it is to succeed—and keep your bank account happy—while you travel.
Fortunately, there are tons of ways to maintain excellent communication with your clients or your team no matter if you’re working out of a cafe or in an airport terminal.
Let’s dive in.
Set clear expectations
Wrong meeting times and missed deadlines are a recipe for failure as a digital nomad. There’s nothing worse than setting your alarm to wake up early for a meeting, only to realize there was a miscommunication in the time and you slept through it.
It’s crucial to be transparent with your clients from the start what your expectations are while you travel. Establishing parameters around things like office hours, how they can contact you, and your revision process will ensure everyone is on the same page. If you have set communication methods with an existing client, assess your current process, and determine if something needs to change.
Remember, communicating expectations is up to you. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may need to be flexible with your work schedule based on these expectations. If you’ve agreed to send a file to a client by Friday at 5:00 p.m. EST, no matter where you are in the world or what time it is, you must honor that deadline.
Of course, that’s not to say that you need to be working from midnight to 5:00 a.m. every morning to deliver (or maybe it does if that’s your jam). You can plan your schedule in a way that works for everyone while still meeting those set expectations.
Streamline communication methods
Now that you’ve set your expectations, it’s time to set yourself up for success with communication methods. Chances are, each client of yours has their own preferred style, but if you have a buttoned-up process in place, chances are you can sell them on it.
Think about your major points of client contact:
- Essential communication: Setting up meetings, confirming deadlines, and invoicing.
- File-sharing: Sending deliverables, proposals, and launches.
- Collaboration: Revisions, project walkthroughs, and discussing ideas.
Having a streamlined process for handling these areas of client contact will ensure you don’t miss a thing and that you’re both aligned. Email or Slack might work well for your basic communication needs, but if you work with large files or have an intricate revision process, you’ll need something that can accommodate your needs.
It may take a bit of trial and error to find the right methods that work best for you. But once you get into your groove, you’ll be glad you took the time to fine-tune your process.
Follow through and exceed expectations
There’s no quicker way to ruin a client relationship like failing to do what you said you would. It’s all the more important while being a digital nomad. Of course one of your main priorities should be exploring the country you’re visiting, but you can’t forget about your clients.
It is possible to establish a balance. Think about when you’re most productive—or better yet when you’d like to work so you can spend time adventuring. Block off that time, get your work done, and get out there.
Just be sure you’re not skimping on quality or consistency. Excellent work goes a long way with clients, but continually showing up and providing the same caliber of work (or better) goes even further.
The digital nomad’s toolbox
As a world traveler, you’re going to need a few tools to help you keep business running. Here are a few of the best tools to help you do so no matter where in the world you are.
Sometimes email and chatting apps don’t cut it. Get some quality face time with your clients with Zoom’s reliable video conferencing system.
Zoom makes it easy to schedule one-off or recurring meetings and even allows you to record each session, so you don’t miss a detail. Learn about all of Zoom’s features here.
Trying to schedule a meeting while juggling different time zones can be quite the mental exercise.
This feature from timeanddate.com makes figuring out “when is good for you?” easier than ever. Never sleep through or double-book another meeting again.
If you’re a Gmail user, this feature is a game-changer. Whether you want to send a response at a more appropriate time or achieve Inbox Zero, Gmail now lets you schedule emails right within the composer.
If your travel plans aren’t too concrete, this might be your secret weapon for the ultimate digital nomad experience. This tool ranks the best cities and locations for digital nomads based on ratings and reviews from other digital nomads.
This is a great place to start if you aren’t sure where you want to travel next or if you want to learn more about what it might be like working there. Find ratings about all things important to digital nomads like internet connection, places to work, walkability, and more.
Don’t forget to enjoy your time abroad
Traveling is one of the best things we can do for ourselves—both professionally and personally. If you have the opportunity to travel, take advantage of it, but make sure your ducks are in a row before you go.
You’ll be glad you did, and so will your wallet.