This post is an excerpt from my book DISTRIBUTED.
There are multiple benefits if you are running a distributed business. You are no longer limited by your location, which opens up a wide number of new opportunities. You can be also much more flexible, which helps you to overcome competitors and grow beyond limits.
However, you will most likely be working with a distributed team. There is a subtle difference between working remotely and running a business. It is the border between being a freelancer and being an entrepreneur. To create a successful distributed business you not only have to know the benefits of both sides but also have to align and correlate them to create an “everybody wins” scenario for all participants.
Reclaim your freedom
Let’s start with the obvious as we are talking about remote work: location. If you are an employee, the first main benefit you receive is the lack of commute. If you live in a big city, a 1-hour commute to the office from your home is an average. That is 2 hours of travel – every day. Apart from the obvious money reasons, spending money or gas or public transport, the time is the main pain point. If someone works 5-days-a-week, 10 hours are spent on the train or in a car. That’s 1 work day. And the 1-hour-commute is considered a good average, if you live in a key location, somewhere in London, New York or San Fransisco, this can easily extend to 2-hours or even more. So working remotely is literally reclaiming your time.This time can be spent in various ways, no matter if you are the owner of the company or an employee, you can reclaim your time.
Reclaim your autonomy
Autonomy is the second obvious benefit. You can work not just wherever you want, but whenever you want. Of course, there are some limitations. People think that this suddenly found freedom will lead to no-work-at-all but the opposite is true. If there’s motivation to work, remote workers work more than workers tied to fix workhours and an office. By letting employees work on their own terms, you will most likely end up with employees who work harder and in more diverse working hours. For example, personally I’m a night owl, plus I also love sunshine and I also have a dog. Taking all of these factors into account, I usually don’t work before 11 am because I wake up late, walk the dog and soak the sun in on its high-time. Does it mean I work less? No. I work till 6 pm, then work again from 10 pm till late night.
Reclaim your focus
Speaking of work, the focus is also a big benefit. But this is a misunderstood concept. People usually think that a remote worker doesn’t have interruptions like chitchats and watercooler conversations or popping out for a lunch. But this is not true, even if you work from home, you have the same small interruptions, plus, you have access to the internet anyway, which is the biggest source of interruption. The main benefit here is the lack of long interruptions– so-called pointless and meaningless office meetings. I remember when I was working for a big global advertising agency in London, one day I had 3 hours of actual work – the rest spent on meetings. All of them were utterly pointless, the whole agenda could have been discussed over email or a series of short stand-up meetings. As a remote worker, you don’t have that, which gives you the ability to focus on deep, meaningful work. Think things through, dive deep into a problem to find a solution or just like this book for me – writing for hours with uninterrupted focus. This reclamation of your focus is key to your success.
Reclaim your money
Besides reclaiming more time, focus and freedom, you can also reclaim a lot of money. No matter if you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur, you have two ways to reclaim the money. Salaries and office costs. As an entrepreneur, you don’t need to pay for a big office with all of its supplies. When I had my own office with my company, I paid for workstations, office rent and tons of other supplies. With a distributed business, I pay for online tools and literally that’s it. I save an enormous amount of money. Also, you pay less for remote workers. However, I always want to highlight this: you pay for the same knowledge and skills you would pay for a normal office worker so the difference between normal and remote salaries shouldn’t be a big gap. Actually, it is shrinking now, the two salaries are closing to each other, a fine skilled developer could earn almost as much in cash as a developer in the Bay Area. As a freelancer, you don’t need to spend money on commute and supplies that come with it. Eating out on a daily basis in cafes and delis and business lunch menus? Half of the internet’s personal money management sites are about this topic: how to save money on your work and cut back costs like eating out. If you are working from home, all of this will change. And, if you are someone from a location with a lower average cost of living, you can earn above-average salaries in your region with remote work. So ultimately, either you are a business owner or a solo freelancer, you will have more money in your pocket with remote working.
Reclaim your control
Overall, I think the biggest benefit of running a remote business contradicts the biggest fear of every entrepreneur. That fear is the lack of control. No actual office, just a laptop, and people who are working with you online – you don’t have control over your business. The opposite is true and that is the biggest benefit of remote business. You gain so much more control. You reclaim time, focus, freedom, and money which you can use to grow your business. You have literally unlimited control and flexibility with your business.
Of course, some people are afraid of this amount of freedom. There are no excuses if you don’t succeed. You can’t just “disappear” into the office and pretend to work. Who do you pretend to? To me, a distributed business is the ultimate frontier, full freedom, I can do anything I want in order to grow my business and nothing interrupts, limits or pulls me back from success. This is true for failures as well – if my business fails, it is my fault. I had all the resources, time, opportunities to succeed.
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At Anywhere Consulting, we help entrepreneurs to launch, build and grow their remote business. We provide support and consulting services as well as educational products to overcome the challenges of remote businesses. If you are a freelancer who wants to launch a distributed business or you already have an established business but want to grow remotely, we can help you.