It’s perhaps ironic, in an age where technology brings us all closer together in the online environment, I constantly find myself sitting on trains and planes and in automobiles, travelling to various destinations to share the benefits of email, social media and content marketing.

I travel a lot because I’m a great believer in building real human relationships with my clients. I like to get to know people, and hopefully, as I connect and become a trusted contact. It also helps boost my creative output, helping me to become more informed and therefore more credible.

Credibility in the Digital Age

Credibility is incredibly important in a digital age where businesses can be located anyplace and anywhere and operated seemingly anonymously.

Note: When I first joined iContact, it was the very human nature of the business that initially attracted me to the company. I believe that great technology and great people are in fact our USP.

Life as a Digital Nomad

So, in many respects, I’ve become a bit of a digital nomad, very much always on the road, evangelizing to anyone who cares to listen about how email marketing and, increasingly, marketing automation technology can make their marketing lives better.

Note: I like to think I can work from anywhere. Some of my most productive days as a marketer have been spent in airport lounges, cafes or hotel lobbies. Much of my inspiration comes from the individuals I have met on my travels.

Not Always Perfect

My position as a digital nomad is very different from the one that is portrayed by many marketing gurus online. There are no private jets, days spent by the swimming pool or exotic parties. If I’m honest with myself, my work/life balance can occasionally be a little bit out of kilter. Life on the road is not always perfect. However, life in an office is rarely perfect – so there’s no real difference if you think about it.

Working remotely or on the road can be isolating and isn’t for everyone. However, there are many rewards to a semi-nomadic lifestyle. It opens your mind to a world of opportunities and introduces you to people and opinions that can change the way you think.

Inspiring People

As a content writer, much of my inspiration comes from meeting people. I could never hope to produce as much content as I do if my sole source of inspiration was the Internet. It’s very rare that I’ll walk away from a meeting, a seminar or an office visit without a handful of ideas for blog posts, email marketing campaigns or other content-led initiatives.

8 Tips for Successful Digital Nomads

  1. Forget the 9-to-5: When you travel, especially across time zones, maintaining office hours goes out of the window. You have to make yourself available to suit your clients or colleagues and not the other way around.
  2. Plan ahead: A little forward planning goes along way. Invest a few extra hours into your work before traveling, and try and schedule as much as possible in advance so you’re not playing catch-up when you land.
  3. Make friends: Invest in building your network of contacts before traveling. LinkedIn Groups are an especially useful tool for building out your network. Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to join in with conversations prior to your trip. This guarantees you never arrive in a destination as a stranger.
  4. Learn from the experience: It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you think you know, when you open yourself to new experiences and opinions you will always learn something new. Be prepared to take lots of notes.
  5. It’s not a vacation: Sure, you might get the opportunity to take in the local tourist sights, sample the local cuisine and perhaps party a little – but regardless of your location, work comes first. Party too hard and your professional reputation may suffer.
  6. Pack a good book: When you are traveling, delays and the occasional mishap are inevitable. Try not to get too stressed by a missed connection or sudden lack of Wi-Fi. Pack a good book and treat everything that doesn’t quite go to plan as nothing more than a little bump on your journey. Remember, when you have a good book in your hand you never have to eat alone.
  7. Back up everything: You only need to lose one laptop to understand the real value of backing everything up. Cloud-based storage/collaborative systems like Google Docs are worth their weight in gold and ensure you can keep working even when disaster strikes.
  8. Enjoy yourself: I probably don’t need to tell you this.

How do you stay productive when you are away from the office? Share your comments below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

Photo: Steven Zwerink