You want to know an insider’s secret for growing a business quickly?
It seems counterintuitive, right? For years I’ve been espousing on the fact that you can maintain a business while on the road, but it’s difficult to grow a business on the road.
While generally I believe that to be true, today I’m going to show you why strategic, regular travel can be one of the fastest ways to grow a business.
Let’s hop in the Delorean for a second back, to January of 2010.
In January of 2010, I took a leap and I moved to Thailand.
During that time, I was traveling around the country and meeting all sorts of incredible people, who were doing interesting things.
Those were the people who formed the basis for my initial (and sustained) success as an entrepreneur. Because you know what?
As cliche as it sounds, it really is all about who you know.
Don’t believe me?
Have you ever noticed how a couple times a year all of a sudden many of the blogs you read, and many of the emails lists you’re on are all promoting the same thing?
Take this week for instance. I’m promoting the Paradise Pack, just like dozens of other bloggers.
One of the biggest reasons I promote that is because I like Jason and Travis, the dudes behind it. Both have traveled to Portland, met me in person, and formed that relationship.
Something changes once you meet someone in person. When you can shake their hand, have a beer, and in many cases, create a shared memory or story – it takes things to a different level.
All of a sudden, they’re more likely to help you out, promote your stuff, or make an introduction to someone else.
Because of my time in Thailand I got to know Dan Andrews, Adam Baker, Matt Kepnes, Jodi Ettenberg, Derek Johanson the list goes on.
All of those people have allowed me to grow Location 180 in one way or another.
The Right Kind of Travel
Not all travel is created equal though.
Obviously taking a solo backpacking trip through the wilderness probably won’t do much to help you build relationships.
Lately, most of my travel has been golf related as I continue my quest to play the top 100 courses in the US and the world. Because of this, I’ve met and built relationships with tons of influential people in the golf world.
Just this past weekend, I played golf with two editors from Golf Digest, and met with the owners of my favorite golf apparel brand.
Because I continue to build those relationships, Breaking Eighty has been getting more and more recognition, and making more money in the process.
I haven’t been doing as much travel specifically for Location 180, and I feel it. Relationships I’d like to build and I would like to make, haven’t been coming quite as quickly because I haven’t been prioritizing them.
Take a look at some of your favorite lifestyle entrepreneurs. Even if they’re brands aren’t based around travel, my guess is more than a handful of times a year they are going to conferences, traveling to entrepreneurial hubs, and getting to know people in real life.
There’s a reason that all too often your favorite bloggers or business owners are blowing up your Facebook or Instagram feed with photos of them hanging out…together!
So How Can You Strategically Plan More Travel?
Ok, so it’s clear: More travel –> More Connections –> More Opportunities –> More Success
But if you haven’t been in that mindset, or you aren’t someone who usually travels, how do you start planning for something like that?
Here are a few things to consider that should help you not only book more tickets, but make the most of your time when you do go.
1) What are the Two Biggest Events of the Year for Your Crowd?
You don’t need to be at everything, but it makes sense to attend to at least a handful of conferences each year.
For years I would attend the World Domination Summit in Portland and SXSW in Austin.
Now I’m branching out to more marketing oriented events. But the fact remains, with every single event I’ve ever been to – I’ve met at least one or two people that have had a significant effect on my business.
It’s never about meeting everybody, it’s about those handful of people you really connect with that will be great relationships moving forward.
I met Nick Reese and Andy Drish at SxSW years ago, and each of them have had a dramatic impact on what Location Rebel has become.
So decide what the two biggest events are for you and your goals and put them on the calendar. Are you a writer? Go to Writers Digest. Lifestyle entrepreneur? DCBKK. Social media expert? SocialPro. Professional blogger? New Media Expo.
2) Why Would Knowing Certain People Make a Difference in Your Life?
Sometimes in order to make the leap and be willing to spend the time and money to travel, you have to have a deeper understanding of why it would be important.
To help with that, answer these questions:
- Who are the influencers at this event I would like to meet? What specifically (and realistically) is my goal in building that relationship.
- Why is it important to me to meet other people at my level, doing similar things in this industry?
- What is the one big takeaway I’m looking to bring home with me from this event?
3) What are you going to say?
I’ve recently learned that I’m a natural ambivert.
Meaning, in the right social situations where I’m comfortable, I can appear very extroverted. However, my natural tendency often leans towards being more introverted and shy.
For instance if I’m at a conference where I don’t know anyone, I get really awkward. That’s why thinking this step through before you go to events is so important.
If you have a general game plan for how to introduce yourself, strike up a conversation, and generally just be useful and interesting, you’ll have a much better chance of getting more out of the relationships you’re hoping to build.
I always try and find some commonality as quickly as I can. The work stuff doesn’t matter, rapport does.
So pay attention to everything being said, and look for any bit of personal information you can espouse elaborate on and get excited about.
For instance anytime someone mentions they golf, have lived in Thailand, or like Islay scotch? Game over. Things like that are really easy for me to talk about – so it helps strengthen the relationship quickly.
4) Sign up for a Credit Card
“I can’t afford to travel.”
How many times have we all heard this? First off, most people can afford to travel – it’s just about priorities. This post from Chris Guillebeau I still find to be extraordinarily true.
But if you want some help, frankly, leveraging travel bonuses from credit cards are a great way to make things quite a bit cheaper.
A free round trip plane ticket anywhere in the world, all for signing up for a credit card? No brainer.
Of course this is assuming you can be responsible with it and pay it off in full every month.
Check out One Mile at a Time for some of the latest and best deals.
5) Take a Leap
Bottom line is, if you don’t make it a priority and just buy a ticket, it can be really easy just to stay in the same old routine. That routine where you’re not meeting the people and having the experiences that can help a new business take off or an old business grow even more.
Every day I see entrepreneurs reaping the benefits of building new relationships, and every day I’m thankful for the ones I’ve built.
So, think about where you can go that will have the greatest benefit for you personally. Book the ticket, take a leap, and enjoy the memories you’ll make regardless of the outcome.