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“I’ll Go Where The Work Is” – Is This A Dangerous Attitude For The Modern Entrepreneur?

December 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThySistas.comIt can seem like a very glamorous lifestyle on the outside looking in. Maybe hiring a company vehicle to go across the country, or getting numerous flights, living in and out of suitcases, all for the purpose of building up your business appears to be the hallmarks of a successful entrepreneur. In many cases, “going where the work is” becomes shorthand for life on the road. Whether you are a solopreneur, or you are slowly building up a company with a view to total global domination, when we break down the components of “going where the work is”, is this actually feasible in a business sense, but also, a personal one?

The Considerable Expenses

Whether you are moving your company or setting up an extra location, the expenses need to be factored in as early as possible. Let’s face it, there are so many additional fees that come with setting up a new location, and this can weigh heavily on our business bank account. Even from the perspective of an entrepreneur who has to go where the work is, for example, in the construction industry, the various components that have to be moved or hired while on the go, like crane hire, raw materials, as well as the localized contractors, can add up to more than you originally thought. It is a necessary expense, but when you take into account all of these small, preliminary costs, especially when you are undertaking the essential “recce’s” at the beginning of the process, you are essentially building up a new business from scratch each and every time. As far as fine-tuning your entrepreneurial skills are concerned, there is no better way, but it costs a lot of money to get these operations set up.

Utilizing The Right Workforce

Building on the idea that it is like setting up a new business each and every time, this is something that we have to give careful consideration to because if we are setting up a new location or starting again, we have to think about the differences between our old location and our new one. One of the toughest transitions is the cultural barrier. Even if you’re moving 100 miles away, which isn’t far in the grand scheme of things, you’re always going to be met with some sort of conflict in a cultural sense. This is compounded even more if you move overseas. So when it comes to utilizing the workforce appropriately, you have to ensure you have a handle on their attitudes and ethics.

This is why so many people take advantage of remote working. When setting up a network of employees scattered across the globe, it’s cheaper to have people work out of their home, but this means putting a lot of faith in their abilities. As a result, there can be a lot of teething problems. When you are setting up a new location, is it better for you to have trusted employees go to that location so they can set a precedent and baseline in which your new employees can operate? While there is demand for a product in a certain area, you’ve still got these considerable hurdles to overcome to ensure that the product reaches the target market. There may be a need for this product in a statistical sense, but if we don’t have those necessary soft skills as well as the ability to recapture the essence of our business in a new location, it could be all done for nothing.

The Personal Toll

“Going where the work is” is a way of life for many people. After all, this is how they earn their living. But from the perspective of an outsider looking at this existence, isn’t this quite a lonely way to be? Personally speaking, the life of living in and out of suitcases and dealing with never-ending meetings in hotels soon loses its shine. But now, with telecommunication, is there any need to venture to the other side of the planet for long stretches? It depends on your clients. Some prefer the hands-on approach, but there’s got to be a limit. While there is undeniable evidence on the effects of excessive travel on our health, we have to pay lip service to the essence of work-life balance. Yes, it’s an incredibly over communicated ideal, but for the very simple reason that it’s important to everybody.

If we have the balance firmly tipped in favor of work, and living in hotels, then surely we’re going to pay the price? Going “where the work is” does make for a great way to earn money, but is this the great way to build a life for yourself? While this has long been debated, only you can answer the question. So many people are career oriented at the very beginning of the climb up the corporate ladder but soon realize that they were doing this in vain. But as far as growing a business is concerned, is this feasible? Do you need to go where the work is? Or can you do it in other ways?

What’s The Right Balance?

As already mentioned, telecommunication can be a lifesaver in this respect, especially now as modern companies are looking to the more holistic approaches to keeping employees happy. The big issue when you are trying to attract a client base is that you need a hands-on approach. And when you are in a weaker position and you have to go far away to net these clients, you have to strike a balance. For example, while it’s essential for you to have a face to face meeting, it’s far better for you to encourage the other party to meet you halfway. This is beneficial, not just in terms of your personal life, but it is good business sense. They can’t expect you to traipse around the globe just for them when it’s a 50/50 partnership.

As time goes on, we are going to become more confident in our business dealings, but when we are working long hours away from home, especially during those first 12 to 18 months, we’ve got to think about the bigger picture. We can’t do this indefinitely. As your business builds up, you can delegate these responsibilities. But while we are in a weaker position, we have to suck it up and get on with it. To begin with, we have to build trust with the appropriate parties, and as the business increases in stature, we will benefit eventually.

Think In Terms Of The 5-Year Plan

Yes, it’s glamorous to travel around the world, especially when it’s for a good cause, but this lifestyle can get the best of us. We can suffer from a lack of insight, especially when we are on this constant touring schedule: meeting, hotel, sleep, and repeat… Bigger picture thinking is essential in this respect, but to be able to keep this going when you are upscaling your business on a regular basis, you’ve got to keep your enthusiasm for the company. When it’s not fun anymore, this is going to filter into your work. At which point, you have to decide whether a 5-year plan is beneficial for you or not. In terms of success, it’s essential for you to craft a strategy, but when you are going where the work is, especially when you’re a solopreneur, there can be times when you have to consider getting off the treadmill. Going here, there, and everywhere is exciting, albeit to an extent. But it soon wears thin. Do you have the capabilities to go where the work is all the time? And even if it’s not just you, and you are aiming to build your business with new locations, we’ve seen the impact of the economy recently on the retail sector, and the headache it is to shut down the locations that aren’t doing so well.

This is why so many entrepreneurs start locally; it’s a small pond they can feasibly keep track of, but then, as the business exponentially increases, so do the number of people that require 5 minutes with you. In many respects, this is what so many of us want, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. To go where the work is, we have to constantly be on the go. This takes its toll, mentally, physically, and professionally.

Yes, it’s a hallmark of the modern world that we have to work until we drop, and constant travel appears to be a mainstay of modern businesses, it’s much better for us to utilize technology to keep certain aspects afloat. And even when we are setting up a new location and building our business further outwards, we have to make the decision early on whether this is really what we want in the first place. For some, global domination was, and always will be, the ultimate goal. But when we go where the work is, this nomadic business lifestyle can be the undoing of us. Is it always feasible to go where the work is? You can go where the work is, but while your professional career could flourish, will other aspects of your life pay the price?

Staff Writer; Sherry Day

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