When we were told in March 2020 to ‘stay at home’, many businesses were thrust into an unknown world, left floundering and trying to navigate it as best they could.
21 months later and we have been given that same instruction once more. Fortunately for me and my team at Social Cactus Coaching, we have been practiced in remote working since I founded the company in 2017.
It was as this unknown world became the norm for many other businesses that I decided to take the final leap and make my business totally remote, choosing to move abroad with my fiance and Social Cactus head coach, Chris.
In 2016 I said goodbye to the corporate world of the 9-5 (or 6, or 7) and left the UK to travel the world. Knowing that at some point along the way I was going to need to top my income up, I decided that I would become self-employed and travel at the same time, the best of both worlds some would argue.
This was the start of my business; a woman, a laptop and a few struggles with intermittent wifi later, Social Cactus was born. I had always wanted to base my work around my life and not the other way round, and this is the foundation that Social Cactus is built on. To be successful at your job I believe that you do not have to be sat behind a desk, working set hours Mon-Fri. One benefit from the pandemic is that this realisation is becoming mainstream. You can be just as productive, as long as you have a laptop and some good (reliable) WiFi!
The freedom and flexibility that remote working provides has meant that Chris and I were able to relocate to Marbella in October of this year, instead of returning to office-based work in Leeds. As I mentioned, Social Cactus was established whilst I was away travelling, so for me, it’s important to remember why I left my full-time employment to go it alone, and this is one of the pillars that I base my business on.
Over the last four years, Social Cactus has rapidly evolved and expanded from my laptop in South America. I now have 10 incredible people that work with me in my business and my number one rule is that you work from wherever they feel most comfortable.
Laura, one of our coaches travels all over the UK in her campervan which also doubles up as her office, she’s even worked from her boat in the Lake District! Our marketing manager Ayse is UK based, but spends half of the year travelling the world when Covid permits. Moni, our geek extraordinaire (translation, web and tech guru) is based in Austria, and our designer Elana is in South Africa!
Not all of my team are globetrotters but I think what’s key when running a business is you need to have compassion. For many the pandemic has been a stark reminder that work is not the be all and end all to happiness. Life is about living so if that means that for one of your team members they start work a little later in the morning because they value time with their children before they go to school, don’t make them feel guilty for it.
Celebrating the four year anniversary of Social Cactus in November 2021 was a poignant time for reflection for myself and the wider Social Cactus team. We have helped over 350 women realise their potential in business. We are on track for our best financial year yet as a company, we are expanding our business in 2022 and we will no doubt be bringing on more team members to expand our offering as a business. We have adapted and achieved so much in these past four years and a large proportion of this success is attributed to the fact that we make our business work for us and our lifestyle, and not the other way round.
You are never going to feel truly happy and fulfilled in your career if you do not work in a way that aligns with how you want to live your life. Let’s face it, when you’re retired, you’re not going to look back favourably at all those times that you were glued to your desk knowing that you were missing a family event because your working hours didn’t allow you to catch your train on time. Or the time you missed your child’s first school assembly because you had to be in a face-to-face meeting at 9:30am.
Running a business is never a walk in the park, but with the right attitude, planning and structure, companies can run and thrive in a remote setting.
You can follow Amy and the team on Instagram @socialcactuscoaching