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 🙂

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: Continue reading

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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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

Continue reading

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? 

Continue reading

Your Friends are Amazing – 3 ways to Learn From Them

At the end of this month, I’m running the Impact Hub Crawl – In a warm up to this peer-to-peer (beer-to-beer!) learning event, I wanted to share with you three ways to learn from your friends.

 1) Teach to Learn

When I was a teacher in Japan, the joke was always – “Who learns the most in school?” “The teachers!”. OK, that’s not something that our global education systems should be proud of, but in traditional education it’s true.

Why is this true? Because to be able to teach something well, you have to know it really well. And if you know you have to teach it, you’ll really concentrate when you are learning it! What could you teach your friends?

Who's really learning here?

Who’s really learning here?

“We Learn…

10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what is discussed with others
80% of what is experienced personally
95% of what we teach to someone else”
William Glasser

2) Make and Spend Time with Them

Continue reading

How to Start a Social Enterprise You Love

This post has my top three tips for starting something that matters. This is how I started, and it can work for you too.

1) Subscribe to blogs

No one likes unwanted spam. But newsletters and emails from interesting people have poked me into action more times than I can remember.  And it’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss the posts from people you like, and from people like you.

  • For business, I love to read the Four Hour Work Week blog by Tim Ferriss. It’s full of interesting posts on lifestyle design, health, new books and online business. I’ve learned a lot from his work. I like to read it with a social entrepreneurship lens. What would a social Tim Ferriss do?
  • For travel, I love This Battered Suitcase by Brenna Holeman. She writes wonderful stories of her adventures around the world, and also around my back garden here in East London.  I love it when she writes about causes she is passionate about, like Femme International, or questions irresponsible tourist practices like chumming for sharks.
  • For social impact, I always read The Impact Hub London Newsletter, and not just because I work here creating Hubcademy.  It’s great, and important, to hear about all the relevant, local events going on near you.  If you live in London, and you’re interested in making an impact with your life and work, join this list.

You can get all my blog posts in your email too – just enter details on the right at the top of the page. Never miss an Inspiring Adventures post!

I also have a newsletter, and I’d love to know what you’d like to read more about.  Answer my 17 second two question questionnaire, so that I can give you more of exactly what you want.

Thanks so much.

2) Write down ideas

Continue reading