Well I’m in the plane after a pretty extensive trip to Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and of course, Italy.
I’m leaving behind my pregnant fiancée, so it’s somewhat bittersweet. Although, the beach in LA doesn’t seem like such a bad parting gift. I’ll be flying her out as soon as possible.
Now back to the amazing trip we had. We spent most of our time in the South of France and Italy, hitting up almost every single city I imagined going to for the last 25 years. The towns and the terrain you usually only see in movies and Instagram feeds. I’d say books, but who reads those anymore. Just kidding — you should be reading!
Most of these places my parents could have only imagined going to. Even to this day, they say “we should” do this and “we should do that”.
I used to say the same thing.
When I owned my restaurants after college, and I thought I was such an important person, going to some of these far-off places seemed like an impossible endeavor.
The case-in-point was a hugely planned trip to Italy because my girlfriend, at the time, was studying abroad in Italy.
It took SO much planning and so much commitment. Even when I arrived, it was a nightmare dealing with employee and operational issues from abroad. Some jobs you can’t phone in. But that was far from the case here…
The funny thing was, we didn’t even plan this. Completely impromptu with no real fucks given. Between AirBNB and Hotel Tonight (and of course cellular reception) we had the entire continent by the balls. We met people and we saw so many interesting old cities. But you know what the best part was? I was able to work and make a ton of money the entire time.
No, it wasn’t passive, and I don’t claim to have all the answers to make money in your sleep without doing work.
I have news for you, even in these “passive” business models, they still have to bust their ass building (without pay) and tweaking (without pay). Also, and more importantly, are they clearing more than a couple hundred dollars a day with it?
I recently had this one client that had a “passive business” he was running.
I was actually kind of jealous when I first heard about it and took the job on to help him build out his program.
That was until I saw his revenue. Sure it was passive, but it was like $1,000 / week. And he was doing 99.99% better than all of his peers. Most of the people that viewed him as a Guru, were only making $20-$30 / week.
What the hell are you going to do with that.
Sadly, these guys spent hundreds of hours building this business out without pay.
At this point, if I put 100 hours into something, it would guarantee me $25,000. Not to mention, I would have ZERO responsibility after those hours were completed. If I put another 100 hours in, I’d make another $25k.
I like that. You can get in and out of any project without dealing with the nonstop work that’s required if you want a passive business you can live off of.
Were my clients worried that I was traveling the entire time instead of at my office? I don’t even think I told half of them, because it had absolutely no effect on what I was doing for them, or when it was getting done. Most of our days we spent exploring, and when we came home for the night, I’d break out my laptop, answer emails, maybe have a Skype session, and do some geek work. It was all good.
One thing that I should add, which actually happened to some of the people I hire for my own businesses, was them completely flaking on me. Ironically, these were people that vowed to be in the office during office hours.
What a joke.
If you want the number one way how to completely fuck yourself with clients, and give yourself a bad rep, it’s don’t communicate.
This is so weird, and it happens all the time with freelancers, and I will never understand it.
How can you just ignore people after you give them money? It’s crazy, and if you do this, no one will ever hire you again. Try it for yourself and see what happens.
One of the reasons my clients trust me so much is that I give them a heads up if I’m going to be off the grid. Just a simple note will do the trick and you can really avoid some huge misunderstandings.
Luckily, I was dialed in the entire time in Europe so this wasn’t an issue at all. But, if you think you’re going to be dark for an extended period of time, just let them know.
The absolute worst is when people are trying to contact you through several different methods, and all you get is silence. It makes people feel horrible, and all trust you developed will be gone in a New York minute.
Here are some of the communication methods I adhere to.
I love Skype because it requires very little bandwidth and works for people around the world, even with the lowest internet possible. It was made for that. Most of the power of the software comes from the device, so unless you have a piece of shit computer and phone, you should be good. The minimum amount of bandwidth will at least get you dialed in for a message so you can respond.
I mention this because sometimes you want to prove to Upwork that you’re in communication with your client. If shit goes bad, you can always use this to support your case, however, it’s kind of obnoxious if you have agencies and personal accounts all attached to the app.
I find it’s easy to leave messages unread in there, and your ultimate goal is to read and reply as fast as possible, so the client knows you’re on top of the project.
Sometimes a client will email you a ton of stuff with a bunch of attachments. This is all good, and I will usually reply with a confirmation.
If it’s a direct question, I’ll write a well thought out answer. This is great for when you want to have a closed-ended conversation. Nothing really pisses me off more than an open-ended email exchange with a thousand threads. It becomes almost impossible to sort and organize. It’s a huge cluster fuck.
I really love Trello because it keeps all the tasks organized and comments linked up with the appropriate task.
Again, I find it MUCH better than email and Skype in a lot of regards. My goal typically is to force the client to take all comments to Skype, rather than hit me up with a thousand messages on Skype or emails throughout the day.
When you’re constantly answering these types of communication, it usually takes your energy off the most important tasks.
It also doesn’t help gauge the project as a whole. If you keep your conversations over Skype and email, you’re going to be asked over and over, “Where are we at in the project”.
These are questions that should never be asked by the client because you should be training them to see it on the Trello Board, the progress of all the particular tasks that you’re working on. If you haven’t yet, check out my article on creating perfect Trello Boards. It will make your life easier.
Honestly, I’m not that much of a fan.
I think it’s too passive and requires too much buy-in from the entire team.
Yes, you can tie it into your Trello or email, but I just find that things lay way too dormant. Skype + Trello keep the needle moving forward more from my experience although I’m sure many would argue.
Some of my bigger clients, I will allow chatting with me, but this gets really annoying.
What I do like about it is the ability to answer quickly and send attachments. Nothing you can’t do in Skype.
Again, I don’t do this for everyone, but if I’m charging $250/ hour I’ll gladly send a message if it makes them feel good.
That’s about all I use at the moment until something more awesome comes along. Keep testing new things as most of the ones I listed didn’t even exist 5 years ago.
It’s getting easier and easier to do this stuff, and I can’t wait until bandwidth speeds across the world increase. It’s truly going to make this a more connected Earth and allow the freedom/work lifestyle to blossom even more.
I couldn’t be happier with what I was able to achieve and prove to myself during this trip. Thanks for reading my diatribe — I hope it’s been helpful and hopefully inspiring.
If you have feared this in the past,
I’m here to let you know that it’s not only possible, but it’s preferred, once you get accustomed to it.
At the end of the day, ask yourself if it’s more natural for a human to stay stuck in a cold dark office every day, or if it makes more sense for humans to explore and be inspired by seeing new things daily while earning enough to support their family.
We both know the right answer and it’s time to fight the indoctrinated beliefs that we’re supposed to be in a cubical prison.
Live your life to the fullest.
Love Palmer 🙂