A Potential Business Partner In Every City
A mentor of mine who I spoke with last year told me that, as I was moving so much, I should really take advantage of the opportunity to network.
"Find a potential business partner in every city."
That's Good Advice For A Digital Nomad Or Location Independent Entrepreneur
If you're a digital nomad, you have an opportunity. Unlike your less mobile counterparts, you can build a world-wide network spanning borders, continents and languages relatively easily.
Beliefs, 'best practices' and strategies can become homogenous in location-specific communities. Everyone reads the same news articles and wants to copy the same success stories and you see the same people again and again at networking events. Everyone is trying to meet the same 'thought leaders' in the community, making it difficult for you to get a word in.
Deciding to leverage full-time travel to power up your networking can give your business an edge. Here are a few reasons to consider long-term travel, not as a vacation to escape from work, but as a tool you can leverage to improve your career.
1. You Get New Ideas First
For the moment, I'm in Guatemala. I've spent a good deal of time here with a local (Carlos) who has graciously invited me to his bar every night since I got here. I've met a lot of Guatemalans, had fun, and practiced my Spanish every evening.
I told one of Carlos's friends that I sell products in America, and he pulled out a device from his pocket I'd never seen before. (Secret!) It really was an awesome piece of technology, sleek, clean, and selling like crazy in Spain. His company was trying to expand into other Spanish-speaking countries and then the USA. It turns out they wanted to sell on Amazon, and we're having a meeting next week to see if I can help them.
It's difficult to find products that haven't been introduced to the USA if you're living in the USA, but it's easy if you're abroad. New ideas are all around you. You just need to make some friends, visit a local market, or people-watch from a downtown cafe.
An example is my 'Spincense' line of spiral incense. (Check it out on Amazon) I first saw this type of incense in the temples across Asia and now I sell them every day in the USA.
In contrast, most US-based sellers search the exact same online product databases for ideas. Everyone sees the same things and when everyone tries to sell similar products the price-cutting competition is fierce. No idea is a 'new' idea for long.
2. You Can 'Tap' Into Your Own World-Wide Web
You don't need to have a world-wide network, but it will come in handy if you do. It's okay to only be well-connected in Silicon Valley if you're launching a tech company in California. But, what if you could build a benevolent network that stretched all around the world? Wouldn't that be much more valuable?
New ideas from around the globe will flow to you. As an example, I'm staying in touch with my friends in Guatemala and if they have any new products they want to launch in the USA I know who they're going to call.
Your idea may not be a fit for your intended market. But, what if instead of scrapping it you show it to your worldwide network? Someone may find it valuable for their country and community. If your product is a smash hit in the USA you'll more easily introduce it to other countries with the help of your world-wide connections.
You'll benefit your friends at home as well. You can share what you've learned from across the globe and help them introduce their ideas to foreign markets. Effectively you're 'scouting' for everyone back home, boldly criss-crossing the continents in search of good ideas to bring home. In addition, if one of your friends goes on a business trip you can make sure they have a warm welcome in a foreign country. 🙂
3. You'll Have More Fun
I went to a lot of networking events when I lived in Boston. Each one had a different speaker, new people to meet, and was hosted in a different location, but they soon became rather 'same-old-same-old'. This doesn't happen when you're in a different city every 2 weeks.
I enjoy novelty and keeping things exciting. This week, Guatemala has provided that excitement for me. Hanging out with Carlos, brushing up on my Spanish and Guatemalan slang, eating delicious ceviche, visiting the 'secret' bars of the city and walking through the local markets hasn't become same-old-same-old just yet. It's a perfect mix of work and vacation.
Most people I've met, like Carlos, are extremely inviting and want you to enjoy their country as much as possible. They show you the best food, the best locations to chill, the best views, and everything else that they possibly can. Having an in-person guided tour from a local friend is the best way to enjoy a new country. In Boston it was more likely that I'd just opt to meet a mentor or friend at your typical Starbucks.
Your Own World-Wide Network
What if you spent 1-2 years traveling, running your business and having fun, while simultaneously devoting a little attention to building your network?
Not only would you have a few years of 'world education' under your belt but you'd have a far-reaching web of benevolent connections who want you to succeed and who can share their market knowledge, new ideas and potentially even financial resources with you. That's valuable!
Are you building a network, or are you building a global network?
Which would benefit you and your business the most and which would allow you to give the most to others?
I'm building my global network, and I recommend that you do the same.