We’ve all heard the stories of young entrepreneurs who start a successful business from their parents’ basement. But how do you build a business from inside a van?
Mariah Coz knows. She built a seven-figure business in a 35-square-foot van–that’s about the size of a small bathroom!–which she shared with her boyfriend as they traveled across the country.
They spent about a year and a half on the road, visiting nearly every state in the continental United States. Among her favorite experiences were hiking in Yosemite, exploring Yellowstone, and seeing the Grand Canyon.
She quickly turned her expertise on the subject of living in a vintage camper into a successful online course. Along with questions about life on the road, she was getting more and more questions about how she was running her business. Soon after, she started teaching business strategy through her company, Femtrepreneur.
Today, Mariah has grown Femtrepreneur into a seven-figure online business. She teaches other freedom-seekers how to start online businesses and leverage their unique knowledge, skills, and experiences by creating online courses that can literally make money for you while you sleep.
Building an online business is challenging enough, but doing it under the circumstances Mariah faced is nothing short of extraordinary. Here are her best tips for building a successful business on the go:
1. Be flexible. “I had to be extremely flexible and take everything as it comes,” Mariah says. “Everything I needed to run my business was in a small backpack, and I had to make the most of any opportunity to get some work done. I had to design my business to run mostly without my day-to-day involvement, because I could never guarantee I would have great Wi-Fi or be able to work on a certain day.”
2. Pick one day a week and block out five to eight hours for work. Instead of trying to fit in a daily work period, pick one day a week when you can schedule a significant block of time, and do all your tasks for the week on that day. Schedule all of your calls and meetings for this day. This frees you up to work independently for the rest of the week and helps you stay focused and productive when you’re working.
3. Figure out what chains have the best Wi-Fi and become a repeat customer. “Trying to find a good place to work on your laptop at a local coffee shop sounds cute, but the Wi-Fi is inconsistent and finding a place to plug into power can be a challenge. Instead, I figured out which chains had the best amenities for nomads. Barnes and Noble was my top pick to work in, but McDonald’s has similar Wi-Fi and plugs, too.”
4. Do less with more impact. “When you have limited time to devote to your business, you have to focus on the high-impact activities and cut out all the rest. That means applying the 80-20 principle–focusing on the 20 percent of activities that bring in 80 percent of your revenue. Focus on just one product, one marketing channel–one thing at a time,” she says.
5. Set realistic expectations and goals. “The nomad lifestyle is demanding, and every day is an adventure,” she notes. “I had to set realistic goals as I built a six-figure business on the road. I realized I couldn’t scale it past that point if I were to continue travel extensively, because it limited the time I could work. When I stopped traveling, I had the time and focus I needed to scale my business into a million-dollar company.”
6. Focus on mobile-friendly marketing. “I had to focus on marketing strategies that were easy for me to work on even if I had crappy Wi-Fi and was working from a campground picnic table,” she says. “I kept it simple by focusing on travel-friendly marketing like email marketing, blogging, and social media. Live video and webinars are awesome strategies, but they are difficult to manage when you have slow Wi-Fi or are working from public spaces.”
Mariah believes everyone has unique life experiences and skills that can help people and can be monetized. And the good news is, it doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money to get started. As she puts it, “You can start now with what you have, where you are, no matter what situation you are in!”
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