Permanent Hiatus - Business on the Road

Taking our Business on the Road

Backstory

I started a software consulting firm in 2009. We work with small to medium sized businesses to implement software solutions and optimize their online presence (websites and social media). We have 5 contractors we work regularly with as projects come up. Boyd started working for me full time at the beginning of 2015 and I made the jump from corporate employee to full time entrepreneur in mid 2015.

No brick & mortar for us.We actually had numerous opportunities and actively pursued a physical location for our business throughout 2015, but things just never quite worked out. During this time we grew our business model so that it was sustainable without a brick and mortar facility. We chose team members and clients that work well remotely so were also positioned to be able to work from anywhere as long as we had internet access.

Considerations

As we started to seriously consider moving to an RV full time we knew we had to

  1. Reconfirm commitment to our business team and clients that we were still serious about the business – regardless of location, our service level would remain the same.
  2. Change the physical address and possibly incorporation of the business.
  3. Find consistent, reliable internet access on the road so we could continue to meet our obligations.
Solutions

During the Summer and fall of 2016, we implemented software tools that allow us video conferencing, desktop sharing and moved our landline to the internet. We started using these tools with our team and clients to get them acclimated with the new process prior to our departure. We also moved all of our customers payments to online or annual payment by check so we minimize the number of physical checks we have to receive. With key clients, we shared our plans and committed to being at most a plane ride away if we were needed in person. We have great clients who have been completely supportive of our new adventure. Everything we do is electronic and we keep it all in the cloud. I have one small bin of paper files we keep and those are required by the government, but other than that, we have no hardcopies.

Since the house didn't (re)sell as quickly as we hoped, the changes to the business have also been delayed. I am currently working with my business advisor to determine which state (likely South Dakota) is best for the business (and for me as an individual). We will use a mail forwarding service in said state once we make the determination. My accountant is well versed in working with businesses filing taxes, etc. throughout the US, so his input in this process has been invaluable.

The Sparks Solution could do it!The internet was a bit more tricky. What we have found is that while most RV parks advertise that they have “high speed internet”, they do not truly have what most people have come to expect for download speeds (either with their free or paid versions). Not sure if this is a lack of understanding that RVers now need/want this type of service or if it is just a general failure to keep up to date with the technology. There are so many inexpensive solutions available now – even in more remote areas – that implementation would also provide cash flow if done well. I suspect the true answer is that it is probably a little bit of both.

What it meant to us was we were on our own to find a mobile provider that could meet our needs. After multiple false starts, we ended up with a Verizon hotspot under a corporate account that allows us unlimited data (available on eBay). We have been using this since June and love it – it works great anywhere you have Verizon coverage, which anymore is most everywhere.

Obviously, if we stay somewhere with limited coverage, we'll most likely move along very quickly.