The Digital Nomad: One that is not physically bound to an office, a desk, a customer base. Not bound by desk, by office, by town, by customer, by industry, not even bound by country.
I, Stephen Zarick, have created an environment for myself and my company that could be called The Digital Nomad environment. Our Company is VO Group, LLC.
How did I get here? In the 90’s (seems so long ago) I had a networking business; we sold routers before anyone knew what a router was. We sold Voice, Data and Video Integration. Our networks kept companies and their branch offices running and connected. If the network went down…our phones rang. It did not matter what time of day or what day of the week it was…we were on-call whether we wanted to be or not.
I was “bound” by my customers.
I was “bound” by my office.
I was BOUND.
After 9/11 the telecom business as we knew it blew up. I was in a position to recreate myself and my business model. We came back out as VO Group. VO standing for Virtual Organization.
I set out to unleash myself from my desk in 2001. The has been a maturation of solutions and tools along the way to allow me to do so. The best tool to lend to this was the iPhone, but the iPhone was not released until 2007 (believe it or not). VO Group has already embraced all things cloud, all things mobile and the iPhone set us free.
The smart phone represents the Internet in your hand. WOW! With a cloud based model, and now an iPhone, and smaller and smaller laptops such as the MacBook Air this set the way for everything on the net….and I mean EVERYTHING.
As I was bound to grow older given the laws of nature. I wanted to be mobile and have the freedoms to travel yet still be productive and work. RETIREMENT has never been in my vocab.
Going Paperless: Paperless is just the beginning of thought for the digital nomad. If you truly want to be the business owner, the CEO, the manager, the sales manager, the chief administrative officer, the chief marketing office, the CFO ….then you need tools beyond just being paperless. You need management and productivity tools.
Tools that I use for my Digital Nomad environment:
- Online banking of course…and it’s ALL online.
- Accounting, Banking, Payments, ACH. I have done payroll at 35,000 feet and no one knew any different.
- We use the bank’s lockbox for cash in. Receipts go straight to the banks. No more running to the Post Office Box looking for a check or having a check sit there not being deposited while on the road. I could be in Spain or Brazil and invoices are generated, paid and deposited.
- A company wide collaboration Suite is a must. We use Zoho. I’m online while in airplanes and nobody would know any different. I always pick flights with Wi-Fi with the goal of working.
- I have online Cash Flow tools that help me manage money and cash.
- I use To-Do tools such as EverNote. I can share tasks with my virtual assistant….and you guessed it…does lives in another city in New Jersey.
- We aggressively embrace CRMs tools for Sales, Forecasting, for filling the Sales Pipe for managing Sales and Sales Planning. My VA (virtual assistant) creates reports for me so I can always see what’s going down to the call notes.
- VO Group embraces Google Docs, a powerful collaboration suite which allows us to manage all customer accounts and all documents, spreadsheets and lists.
- We share much with our customers. Why? They actually help me manage my team. My team then is held accountable for their own actions thus allowing VO Group to not have a layer of middle managers and unnecessary overhead.
- We use screen sharing tools for Training and Customer Appointments. I can use tools such at GoToMeeting from my iPhone, a table, my MacAir or my Windows laptop. I could use these tools from my mother’s house if I wanted to. I have done meetings from airplanes and from the island of Ibiza, and no one knew any different.
- Our web page is hosted with an online tool.
- Our Accounting is online for the virtual bookkeeper, the CPA and for me, the CEO.
We are always looking for tool to help better manage this virtual environment…this paperless world, this cloud based existence.
The life of the Digital Nomad is one that can not be accomplished by all. There are business owners that have shops, stores, restaurants, and factories. But by utilizing available tools you can get closer to the Digital Nomad life than you likely are today. I am more productive than ever quite frankly. I work more hours than ever before. I am more available than most around me. I am probably too accessible.
I am a Digital Nomad.
I have done payroll sitting on the floor of the Madrid Airport.
I have done payroll from the Island of Ibiza.
I even did a presentation screen share with a Fortune 1000 company while in Spain, and they never knew I was 6 hours ahead.
I am not “bound” by desk, by paper, by office by customer base. I am not bound by industry or even by country. Yet I am more productive than ever before.
VO Group is THE ultimate Virtual Organization and each member of the VO team is a Digital Nomad.
VO Group has embraced the Digital Nomad environment, not just for more freedom but to be more productive and successful.
Author: Stephen Zarick, CEO, VO Group, LLC