How I Overcame The Fear Of Working Remotely

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Just over twelve months ago, I took the leap and moved my family to France, set up the rest of my team in their own homes in Brisbane, and armed with Google Apps, Skype Business and some other key Cloud tools, continued working as usual.

Yes, I was anxious about leaving the country of our client base and being unavailable for face to face business meetings, functions and networking. It’s how we had built most of our business relationships. Face to face. But one thing MyMediaTradingDesk has always been obsessed with is customer service. The belief was that if we continued to deliver strong customer service and results for our clients, then our working location was irrelevant. We did have some happy Australian clients who I’d never met. Why would working from France be any different? Well at least that’s what all the self-help, business coach, entrepreneur-style advice was, largely from people who hadn’t done it themselves!

But recently I was pressed to review the business ramifications of moving overseas for a year by one of our tech suppliers. One of those ‘Cloud Genius’ types who makes everything seem possible. There became one clear example of how a blend of Cloud, confidence and customer service had brought in some big results. Let me recount:

I was working from Paris for a few days to go to The French Open with my parents who had visited from Australia. I was out of my ‘normal’ French home office routine and staying with my parents in a miniscule bedroom that only Parisian apartments can justify when I got a message from our (virtual) receptionist to return a call from the MD of a company I quickly realised was a big, perfect prospect for us.

When making the call to this MD, it became clear that direct, honest communication was essential. So I told him outright that I was currently working from France and my team were in Brisbane. His retort of “Well I need someone to come to meetings with me like my current supplier, so we won’t work with you” was very typical of company owners in our industry who had built their businesses driving all over town to meet and please their own clients. I wasn’t surprised but I could see our growth projections dancing out the door.

In that moment I decided to own the fact that we had a solid business offering which mixed expertise and service. Out of my mouth came the words (in front of my parents nonetheless, who until then, I’m sure, thought moving overseas was a death knoll for our business and income) :

“Well, (Mr Excellent Prospect who I want to win over and not offend…) I thought you were ringing me because your current supplier is terrible at follow up and customer service, possibly because they are wonderful at face to face meetings and waste too much time on this with you and others. Wouldn’t it be better for us to sit in the background and use our extra time to upskill your own team so they can meet with clients themselves and have the knowledge from us gurus on hand? That way, if you get sick of us some day at least you have upskilled staff rather than the problem you have now which is unskilled staff and an upskilled supplier – who is basically holding you to ransom…..?  But no, we’re not going to your (very far away in Australia) city to do coffee and meet. We’ll just make you lots of money by helping you be much more useful to your own customers and prospects.”

His, “OK, we’ll see” was enough!

Since that call, MMTD has provided exceptional pre-sale and post-sale customer service and is now the sole Programmatic Digital Media supplier to this Agency.

And for my sudden burst of confidence plus the investment in moving my business to Cloud tools and empowering our team, MMTD has been rewarded with a top notch new client that is great to deal with and has been invoiced some $100k+ with an average now of $30-$40k per month. And all in the last 6 months.

As a kicker, this new client has also referred two other similar Agencies to us.

Location independent business is more relevant than ever to us business owners. The same technologies available to the big guys are completely accessible to us too. If you have mastered your trade and you are confident that your team can deliver, then leverage your location! If you can’t deliver, your location is just an excuse. I became confident by doing – nothing replaces hard work. But after a few months working from overseas, I knew without a doubt that MMTD’s team was happier and more productive. Clients like this new one love the novelty of using a supplier whose team covers multiple timezones but most importantly they get a quality service from a team of forward-thinking Australians, wherever we all happen to be in the world.

You can move your family anywhere in the world, enjoy your life more and grow your business.

I did.

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