If you could work from anywhere, where would you be? Would you be at home, on the road, or on a beach in Indonesia?
Many of our TSheetsPROs are already pros at working remotely, so we asked them, “Where is the coolest place you have worked?”
The beach was one of the most popular responses. Members of our accounting community said they’ve clocked in from Bermuda, Bali, and a resort in Orlando, Florida. Others have worked with clients while cruising the tropical oceans of the world. One of our PROs even got a call about TSheets from a client while visiting Utah’s beautiful Zion National Park.
Working remotely provides many people with the freedom to balance their sense of wanderlust with their desire to travel while still making a living. It’s no wonder so many of our PROs love to work remote. Getting to do what you’re good at and what you love at the same time? Count us in, too!
Whether you’re contemplating taking a vacation but are nervous about leaving your business or you’re eager to work from home (or wherever) full time, there are some necessary steps to take to manage clients remotely. It requires discipline and organization, but with proper planning, you can easily take your business on the road with you—just like our PROs do.
1. Build and maintain trust with your clients
From the get-go, building trust with your clients is essential for any remote business. If you don’t emphasize to clients how you will work with and help them—even when miles away—then there’s no reason for them to do business with you in the first place.
Whenever you’re welcoming new clients, take them through a detailed onboarding process. This can help them understand your dedication to your work, as well as your commitment to maintaining thorough communication.
If your client base is already well-established, then you can reassure them that your dedication to the work will not dwindle with your travels and changing schedule. Be sure to regularly check in on your clients and make yourself as available as possible when they need your feedback or assistance. Assure them that you’ll continue working tirelessly to meet and exceed their expectations—no matter what!
2. Prioritize and practice constant communication
Truly, the key to success for any remote business is communication. It keeps information flowing, businesses running, and ideas churning. As a remote business owner, communication will help you establish trust with your clients and help you set expectations for your work.
Do your best to regularly check in with your clients and establish a communication plan. Your plan can consist of discussing progress on projects, updating them on changes, having short calls (or using voice chat services) to keep them in the loop. You should also communicate your work hours, schedule, and expectations—and ask them what they expect from you.
Even if you’re halfway across the world, you can adjust your schedule to make sure you’re available when they need you, and they know the best ways to contact you.
Stacy Ennis—writer, consultant, business owner, and professional expat—told TSheets that working remotely has its challenges, but the benefits far outweigh the setbacks. She decided to move her entire family to Thailand for a year, but despite the challenges, she embraced the opportunity and flourished:
“My workday has changed drastically since we moved to Thailand. I used to work a typical day from 7:30-6 (yes, long hours, but I usually took a long lunch to exercise). Now, I work from roughly 8:30-3 during the day and 8-9 or 10 in the evening for calls with people in the U.S. On days that I don’t have calls, I try to get off by 4, so I can spend time with my family.”
Moving to Thailand may seem like a big leap, but even if you’re just going to another state for a trip, communicating your schedule and workflow to clients can help put them at ease.
3. Keep everything organized
Organization is another important skill that can help keep the business running. But organization isn’t just keeping your papers in order (although that is definitely important). It also means keeping a detailed schedule and using project management skills to keep yourself accountable for your daily tasks.
When traveling (whether for vacation or as a lifestyle), the line between “work time” and “tourist time” can easily get blurred. You may find yourself regularly checking emails when you should be enjoying the view, or forgetting to complete a project on time because you got carried away being a tourist. Creating a rigorous schedule can really help you stay on task and maintain the trust that is so vital to your client relationships.
Find what project management and communication style works best for you and your clients, and stick to it. Keep detailed notes on projects, and update your clients on your progress. With practice, staying organized will become second nature.
No matter where life may take you, taking your accounting firm on the road doesn’t have to be a chore. With dedication, practice, and proper planning, you can strike a balance between seeing the world and managing your clients like a rockstar.
We’re celebrating Accountant Summer Love with our TSheetsPROs all season, and you can too! Subscribe to our blog, or follow us on social media. Become a TSheetsPRO free and join our Facebook forum where we host contests and giveaways and ask our PROs about their favorite work spots and summer activities.