How I Built a Location Independent Business

I love supporting people to create and grow their businesses. For the last two years, I’ve quietly been taking my own advice.

In early 2015 I started looking for more ways to grow my own business. I wanted to create something not only of value to my customers, but that I could also happily work on from any where in the world. And would you believe, I did it.  Right now, I can run a profitable business from any where with wifi.

What’s the business? Inspiring Adventures, of course!

Inspiring Adventures now makes travelling easier and safer. I know that simple precautions can save time and money later. That’s why I have started by offering a range of products that help protect and organise your most valuable goods on your travels.

The main way I reach customers is via Amazon in the UK and the USA.  I shop on Amazon, and probably you do too, so it makes sense to also be selling my products there. For my British readers, I’m afraid my website does link to the US version of Amazon, but most of the products are available in the UK too!

This business has given me the opportunity to work for myself from anywhere in the world.  And this year, we are also aiming to plant 1000 trees for our customers.  I hope I can plant a tree for you!

How I started – Inspiration! 

I found out about this opportunity two years ago.  As mentioned on this blog, I went to Bali.  I met lots of great people, including those that helped me publish my book. I also met an entrepreneur selling his products online, and he helped me learn how to get started.  He still helps me to this day – Thanks J B!

Together with a small group of entrepreneurs, we launched our businesses together in 2015, helped each other find our stride in 2016, and continue to help each other grow in 2017.

There are always challenges with every business, and with every business model, and I continue to face these every day.  That’s part of the learning and growth that entrepreneurs love.

If this kind of business is something that you’d like in your life, this short story is my inspiration to you. You can grow a business, work from multiple locations, on your own schedule, it is possible. It’s not always easy and straightforward, but it is possible. And once you know it’s possible, you can work towards it.

Stay strong, and take action!

If you want to learn more, let me know in the comments below 🙂

My New Brazil Travel Guide is Available Now on Amazon

Do you want to know where you can swim with enormous fish in crystal clear hidden rivers, without harming the ecosystem? Or how you can safely visit the inner city favelas, and help support the people that live there at the same time?

Perhaps you’d like to stay at the most beautiful hotels and guesthouses in Brazil, while knowing that your choice is benefiting the local community and environment?

And if you are not traveling right now, the adventures and stories will entertain and encourage you to get planning and start packing!Tucan

I have published a collection of my travel stories from around Brazil and produced a new type of travel guide. I’m very proud of it, and I’m happy to say that it’s available now everywhere on Amazon.

If you are in the UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7RYBBA

Or the USA – https://amzn.com/B01M7RYBBA

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6 simple things that give you more energy right now!

Would you like to have unlimited energy every day?  Would it mean you’d exercise more? Play and travel more? Give more to your work? Use it to inspire, motivate and connect with more people?

Below is my list of top tips from some of the recent health and energy programmes I’ve been on, including the juice fast at YogaBarn in Bali. and Unleash The Power Within, (UPW). They are working for me, and they might just work for your too!

Why not pick one and give it a try? Or pick all seven and you’ll be on an unstoppable force of nature.

1. Move more!

The fastest way to change your energy is to move! Change your physical state. Act like you have energy, and you will feel it. Try it now. Stand up! Shake your body, put your hands in the air and jump a few times! You’ve been sitting down too long anyway. If you are feeling brave, shout “I FREAKIN ROCK” as loud as you can too! That will wake you up.

Your physiology has a profound impact on your psychology. You already know this, right?  Tony Robbins knows it too. That’s why he had us up, jumping, dancing and shouting regularly for 4 days during UPW.  Here’s my video of us at 9 Saturday morning. We look a little crazy don’t we, but we had energy!

2. Breathe more!

The yogis amongst you will have been practicing this one for a while. They call it pranayama. It can be as simple as sitting still and breathing deeply into your stomach for a few breaths, to specific breathing patterns, regularly throughout the day.  My preferred pattern uses the ratio of 1:4:2. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 16, exhale for 8, repeated 10 times. (Listen to Tony describe the 4 in 4 out version here at 1:10:30)  Depending on the pattern you use, It’s an instant de-stresser, and energiser!

3. Poop more!

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Why detox and juice fast? Because you don’t want these little guys inside you

I’d never done a juice fast before.  I need to eat every three hours just to stay alive. 6 small meals a day, right? Seven days with no food? How am I going to do that? Why am I going to do that?

I don’t need to lose weight. I eat a normal healthy diet. What am I going to get out of it? And what is it going to get out of me? That was the big surprise.

The most fascinating part of a fast is not just the lack of what goes in one end, but sometimes it’s the observations of what comes out the other.

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How to Live and Work in Bali

3°C and snow.

Snow

London Snow

That’s what I woke up to on 3rd February 2015 in London. Not that unusual I suppose, it is winter after all. Winter in London. Then I smile. I know that from today, I’m going to Bali for 6 weeks.

I’m going for a number of reasons. Because I want to. Because I can. Because I’ve just finished a big project helping social entrepreneurs become investment ready.  Because other entrepreneurs are going to be there too, working on their businesses. Because I want to take care of my health. Because I want to learn new skills, have new experiences, make new friends and meet new role models.

I love my life, work and friends in London, but it’s great to be able to spend weekends playing on deserted sandy beaches. One of my favourite hobbies.

And here’s a little video update from me:

More and more of us are living and working in this way. It’s inspiring to see a community of people building their ideal lifestyle. Whether that’s being a location independent digital nomad, or simply setting up a life and raising a family in a peaceful community.

Tribe Wanted

I’m part of this ecosystem. I use the tools that support this lifestyle. For community and business support, I’m really enjoying being part of Tribe Wanted Bali. A collective of digital nomads all working on our businesses and startups together between January and March here in Ubud.

Ben Keene, founder of Tribe Wanted and our “tribe leader” goes above and beyond the call of duty to support his tribe on their startup journey.  Great new friends with common values and a shared vision. What an inspiring group! It continues to be a worthwhile experience, and I believe we’ll see more and more of these kinds of startup support programmes. And I should know. I design them.

Hubud

As for infrastructure, we’re spending a lot of time at our local coworking space and entrepreneurs community, Hubud. So if the regular Tribe meetings and team support weren’t enough, we have super fast internet, healthy food, and workshops too.

Check out this great and very new TED talk from one of the co-founders.  “How to put more life in your work”.  If you’ve ever thought that the life you expected versus the life you are experiencing might be different, this is definitely the TED talk for you.

YogaBarn

And this is Bali, so healthly living is important. I did 100 laps in the pool before breakfast. When would I do that in London? I never have. And yoga. So much yoga. The Yogabarn complex is beautiful. I spent a week here on a seven day juice fast and detox, but that’s a story for next time.

Want to know more? Do leave any questions or comments below. I love to hear from you!

How to raise money for your Social Enterprise

Looking for capital? In collaboration with Impact Hub Westminster, I’m running their first ever Impact Investment Readiness programme. We designed it to help social entrepreneurs find impact investment within the next 12 months. participants-2-500x500

In October 2014, we took our first cohort through the programme (pictured above), and got some great feedback.  If you are a social enterprise based in London, you can apply for the free programme until December 1st 2014.

Below you’ll find just a taste of some of the skills, tips and tricks that the #SocEnt startups were able to learn, and put into practice on the programme.

Play at the right level

You’ve heard of crowdfunding, you’ve watched Dragon’s Den, and you know you could get a loan from the bank. But which is right for you now?

Paul Grant talks about the different levels of the funding game. Continue reading

The Best Social Enterprise Tour of East London

If you are looking for the best free self-guided tour of East London, this is my recommended route. I recently worked with the British Council to guide a group mostly Hong Kong citizens around some of the best social enterprises in London. A great group NGO workers, academics, and social entrepreneurs. Get in touch via the comments if you’d like take this tour with me.

FoodCycle

Bromley By Bow FoodCycle is a charity social enterprise that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

We stopped for a talk from Helena Chouchani to learn more about their growing number of FoodCycle Hubs across the UK, and franchising plans for expansion. Of course we stayed for a yummy lunch too!

Bikeworks

Bethnal Green Bikeworks runs a variety of community cycling programmes including employability for disadvantaged groups, all ability cycling, bicycle reuse and recycling, school cycle training and more. As a business it provides cycling services to consumers and organisations – so buy your next bike from here!

We were lucky to have a private tour from co-founder Jim Blakemore. He talked about the entrepreneurial journey, and how their social outcomes can continue to grow as the business grows.

Hackney Pirates

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How to inspire young people for 30 years

It turns out I might have been inspired to start this blog more than 20 years ago, and this story goes back even further than that.

This summer, I spent time on deserted beaches, lush hillsides, and walking in an unusual way up a beautiful glen in the Isle of Man.

And it’s not just me that thinks it’s special.

Biosphere Vannin

I was happy to learn that the Isle of Man is preparing to become a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

No, this doesn’t mean it’ll have a huge dome placed over the top of it, and the government will preserve it as it is for the next 100 years.

It means that the Island has a balanced and diverse mix of ecosystem and population, and that it’s worth well managing that mix.

Biosphere reserves are places where nature can flourish and the local economy can grow. I’m looking forward to seeing this project develop, especially as it will almost certainly help outdoor adventure and education organisations like the Venture Centre.

For more details and videos, go to the brand new Isle of Man Biosphere Vannin website.

The Venture Centre

About the same time as I was becoming a 13-year-old social investor, I visited the Venture Centre with school friends. Continue reading

3 Ways to Stimulate Innovation on an Island

I live in London, but the Isle of Man is my homeland. It’s a beautiful place to grow up. It’s also a pretty great independent economic microcosm. If you can test out an innovative business on the Isle of Man, and succeed with it, it might just be scalable around the world.

What do you already know about the Isle of Man? The TT motorbike races? Mark Cavendish? The special tax laws?

None of the above? If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ll know that I love to talk about it.

The question everyone asks: is it a country?

No, not exactly. It’s a self-governing British Crown Dependency, which is not part of the UK. It is one of the oldest continuous democratic governments in the world. That’s why I’m so diplomatic.

What’s the vision?

After a recent meeting with the Government Department for Economic Development, it was great to learn that the Island has the ambition to become an international hub for tech and e-business innovation.

Not a lot of people know that e-business is the fastest growing sector of the economy on the Island, and it’s estimated to provide 90% of the economic growth in the Island’s emerging business sectors by 2020.  That’s a lot of growth from tech entrepreneurs.  How can we make it happen?

How the Island can stimulate innovation

  • Increase coworking options

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Wharton Business School, irresponsible travel, and how you can have fun and do good at the same time.

Recently I was interviewed for the Wharton Business Radio Show, Dollars and Change.

It’s great to see a leading, Ivy League University putting resources into developing social impact initiatives like this.

As it’s a paid-for service, I can’t link to the actual 30 minute interview, but I’ve put details at the bottom of this article as to how you can sign up for a free trial if you’d like to listen.

What I can do is share four interesting points that came up from the interview.

Question: We’ve heard about your Beer-to-Beer Social Enterprise Learning Journey. This sounds amazing. We want to join. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Answer: As I’ve said before, your friends are amazing, but you don’t always have the chance to learn from them.  Sure, you can go out with them for a beer on a Friday night, but why not go out on a fun journey with them, and actually learn something new at the same time?

That’s what the Impact Hub Crawl is all about. Not just peer-to-peer learning, but Beer-to-Beer learning!  Here’s a video to explain more from my last Impact Hub Crawl, Beer-to-Beer social enterprise learning experience:

Question: Surely, some people just want “irresponsible” experiences. Are people really interested in responsible travel experiences? 

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