Opinion

Fed up with morning blues? Quit the rat race and run your business from a beach

5 min read

05 April 2016

Running a business used to require an office or high street presence, but now technology means you can run your firm from anywhere in the world and still be connected with customers and clients. Is it time to head to the beach?

As long as you have a decent internet connection and telephone signal you can operate business meetings and keep on top of stock and invoices, all while getting a tan or travelling the world.

This has helped create a new trend of lifestyle entrepreneurs, where you don’t have to worry about your location and can also use your income to fund a particular way of living such as travelling.

Become location independent

Depending on the type of industry, the internet and social media have made it possible to operate from anywhere and have minimal overheads, which can boost your bottom line.

More than eight million businesses have already ditched train delays and office politics to run their business purely online, according to research from Direct Line.

This takes away any expensive office costs and means, in some cases, you could essentially be sitting with your laptop on a sunny beach while selling goods and services in the UK.

Technology can also provide more flexibility over working hours and you could benefit from the time difference away from the UK and start working before your customers are awake.

You can also save on advertising and marketing by using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and making sure your own website is attractive and optimised for search engine traffic.

Building an epic brand from the beach

There are many examples of online businesses that can be run from anywhere. One interesting enterprise is EpicGapYear.com, which was started by travel blogger Chris Stevens.

Originally from Devon, he has visited far flung destinations such as Australia and the Galapagos Islands since 2011, all while building and running online travel agency EpicGapYear.com.

It was set up after he found he was spending so much time answering traveller queries on his blog that he could do well out of building holiday packages.

The business helps students to book travel experiences and, rather than using call centres or travel agency branches, users can get information direct from travel bloggers who have actually experienced the destinations.

Stevens started out as a solopreneur, putting any money into building the brand and website while using his travel blogging contacts to establish packages for travellers.

As the business grew in popularity, rather than taking on staff he uses a network of bloggers around the world to find ideal locations and build packages.

His website uses social media such as Instagram and Twitter to reach travellers and promote the brand and, because there is no need for a high street presence, it can be run from the beach or anywhere in the world.

Read more on travel businesses:

Using established technology to your advantage

You don’t necessarily need to build your own online brand or website to sell goods or services.

There are plenty of established websites that can help build a brand online that you could run from any location.

Websites such as eBay or Amazon can help establish a network of customers or you could even start a rental empire through Airbnb. A new £1,000 tax allowance from the government being introduced in April 2017 is set to make this even more attractive.

Don’t forget the technical details

There is still some administration to consider, such as the type of business account you run and how you get paid.

You could invoice in sterling but you may need to take that money out in a different currency depending on where you are based, so you don’t want to lose income as a result of a poor exchange rate. Some payment systems such as PayPal will let you take money in different currencies.

You will also need to check local tax and work visa rules to make sure you earn income in the most efficient way. For example, VAT rules may differ depending where you are living.

If you’ve suddenly got itchy feet, read how this couple’s business lets the duo travel the world in luxury and work just 20 hours a week, developing what they call a “freedom lifestyle”.

Chris Conway is the MD of Accounts and Legal