Occasionally we invite Elance-oDesk clients to discuss issues of importance to our community. Here we share some wisdom from Tobias Schelle, a Danish entrepreneur who is the Founder/CEO of 24slides.com. Check out his blog post, as well as the first video in Tobias’ upcoming series of helpful video tips.
Almost everything can be done online these days.
Which is why it’s no surprise that online technology is influencing the way we do business, too. This includes everything from searching for talent to collaborating with and managing freelancers.
This video explores ways to streamline hiring. It’s the first in a series on how to maximize the benefits of working online, each designed to help you be more productive and conduct business seamlessly.
Your 4-step plan on finding the right freelancer.
Amid the multitudes of possible candidates on Elance-oDesk, how do you find the most suitable freelancer for the job?
It’s tempting to narrow your list to only qualified applicants, and then hire the person who submits the lowest bid. But if you want to get the most out of your online team, use this simple 4-step process as a guide. In the long run it will save you time, energy, and money.
Step 1:Screen and choose your top three candidates.
Posting a job is easy and fairly straightforward. Pretty soon, you’ll have many candidates applying for you job. While this is great, it also poses a challenge: Finding the right one among the many capable applicants.
To start off, narrow your applicants to the top three based on their relevant skills and the ratings and reviews from previous Elance clients. From there you can click on the applicant’s name and view their profile and employment history.
Step 2:Now test your top three freelancers.
Why is this important? Simple. Because people can sometimes look great on paper or in theory, but fall short of expectation in actual application. If you evaluate applicants merely based on what’s written on their resumes, or gathered from previous client feedback, there’s less chance of selecting the perfect candidate for the job.
And because many freelancers can be really good at selling themselves, giving them a test task beforehand can help you drill down further. You can get a clearer picture of who really is the ideal match for your particular project.
Ideally the test task should be as close as possible to the demands of your job at hand. This can typically take somewhere between 20 minutes to an hour. You should pay them for the test project, to simulate a real working environment and to ensure that the freelancer gives 100% on the project.
Occasionally we invite entrepreneurs to discuss issues of importance to our community. Here are some thoughts from Morten Storgaard, a Denmark-based startup fanatic and digital nomad who travels the world working with his business partner (and wife of seven years) Maria.
My wife Maria and I have been working to become geographically independent for over two years. Here is how we were able to live a more fulfilling life in Denmark while also travelling extensively while we work.
When we first decided to make the change to a digital nomad lifestyle, we were both working long days at our own startup. We owned a print-on-demand webshop, which required our attention on a daily basis. There was never a free moment, as we were needed to keep the printers running, get pictures framed and shipped and so forth. We realized that in order to travel more, and to successfully immerse ourselves in other cultures, we had to leave that behind.
To begin the process of independence we arranged a meeting with our investor, and worked out an exit plan that would take one year to execute. The plan worked, although being an entrepreneur, I would have to say that the exit part was difficult. When you like building stuff, it’s hard to take out a full year for an exit (at least when you know it won’t make you rich).
Well, we got out, and as we started to plan for our new life we also started a blog, Go Downsize, about simple living. We covered the downsizing process in depth, and today that blog is part of our income stream as we have ads and affiliate links on the site. We write about how to live better in a small apartment, which is a good idea if you want to travel as much as possible. We also chose to sell most of our stuff and get debt free, and now we are almost there. You can follow the process on our blog if you’re interested.
Starting a new business without employees.
After downsizing our apartment from 1,000 to 450 square feet, we needed to get creative about space saving and optimizing the space we did had.
With this in mind we decided to build a bed that would fold up on the wall during the day (called a Murphy bed). This would allow us to use the room as an office, gym, and dining room during the day.
We even built a website around Murphy beds, and our new business was born. One thing we decided to do differently this time, as we didn’t want to manage people on a daily basis, was to build a business that could run more automatically. In the beginning we did everything ourselves, and it was fun. But small tasks can take a long time if you lack the experience.
This is when we decided to hire freelancers on Elance-oDesk for individual assignments. This decision has been one of the best choices we made. Maria and I started out with small tasks, like the logos for our websites, which were created by a great graphic designer from the Philippines. Soon after this we had another freelancer help us make some changes to the creative theme on our website.
Where else do we work with freelancers?
Originally for Go Downsize and Murphy Bed HQ, we only used freelancers for specialized skills. But for our latest website (a board game webshop), we have worked with freelancers for everything from copywriting and graphics to coding and handling. I wish I had started doing this earlier, because it’s much more fun to focus on the things I’m really good at.
My advice: Only do what you do best and let other experts around the globe work for you. They can get the job done faster and better than you, because it’s their expertise.
I would say that graphics are probably the easiest thing to hire freelancers for, and if you haven’t tried it yet, this could be a good place to start. Too often I have tried to create web graphics myself, but if you want to look professional, you need to work with people who are good—really good.
We have been working with one designer regularly, and I recommend finding a good long-term partner for graphics. The same goes for coding. You can see how our board game project turned out here.
If the workload is too big for one freelancer, consider this: Get a good designer to do the overall design from the start (or create a design manual), and then hire other freelancers to work within these guidelines. This way you get a consistent look and feel through out the entire website.
So take a good look at your workload. There might be tasks you do again and again, that others could do more efficiently and effectively. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to focus more on the stuff that comes more naturally to you? And as an added bonus, you’ll have freedom to travel and grow your business while you’re on the road. That’s why being a digital nomad is so rewarding.
Occasionally we invite clients to discuss issues of importance to those who work with freelancers on Elance-oDesk. Here are some additional thoughts from Nicholas Wright. He frequently hires freelancers and is one of the founders of AppInstruct, an online course that teaches people how to make an app utilizing the Elance-oDesk platforms.
This week we’ll address an often-asked question: “I’ve got a great idea for an app, but how do I stop you from stealing it?”
Bottom line: Your idea is the easy part.
The first thing to let go of is the mistaken belief that the greatest value is in your idea. The truth of the matter is that the idea is normally the easiest part, and lying between your idea and a successful, revenue-generating product are many potential hurdles.
If you spend all of your time vigorously trying to protect your idea, and not disclosing it sensibly to anyone for feedback or getting assistance on building it, then you’re less likely to succeed.
This being said, there a few standard methods of protecting your idea while discussing it with potential contractors or partners.
The main suggestion is to only disclose as much as needed when seeking initial quotes for the project. Once you identify one or two contractors you think are capable of doing the work, and determine that you’d enjoy working with them, consider putting in place non-disclosure agreements. This will bind the other party to retain the confidentiality of your information, and are a must before any work is undertaken. In our experience, reputable freelancers on the Elance-oDesk platforms will expect and be happy to enter into a non-disclosure agreement before undertaking your project.
Protecting your intellectual property.
Once work begins on your app, you’ll most likely have begun obtaining protection under intellectual property laws.
Within the world of a mobile app, the most likely areas of intellectual property law that will be relevant are 1) copyright law and 2) moral rights.
1. Copyright law.
Copyright laws protect not the idea itself, but the expression of that idea. For example, the way the idea has been recorded—be that in writing, sound (music) or visually (films and television).
Computer programs are protected as a literary work under the respective copyright laws in each country. In the context of an app, the critical copyright will most likely exist in the code written to create the app. So, were you to work with freelancers in the coding of your app, it will be very important to obtain intellectual property transfers/assignments from any contracted developers working on it. It’s not enough to simply have paid them. In such instances you’ll actually only have a license to use the work, rather than ownership. Clearly, this is a critical point, (which becomes even more important if your app is successful and you seek funding from investors). But we’ll revisit this point below, when we discuss Elance-oDesk’s Independent Contractor Services Agreement.
As a highly talented solopreneur with awesome skills, you shouldn’t waste time and money on SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
There, I said it. As someone who spends his day helping businesses achieve better rankings on search engines, this may come as a surprise to you.
Sure, being #1 on Google can help you yield huge rewards. But do you know how to get there? If so, do you have the resources needed to capitalize on the situation?
There’s a better way to find clients: Online marketplaces such as Elance and oDesk. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at lead generation from SEO vs. online marketplaces.
The problem with SEO for solopreneurs
Getting your business found on Google, Bing, and Yahoo! isn’t an easy process. In fact, it’s extremely challenging in today’s tech-driven business environment.
There are many factors that contribute to appearing in search results, including the need for a high-performance website (quick load time, mobile-friendly design, well-written code), tons of original, useful content (blog posts, videos, guides), backlinks from high-visibility websites, and continuous optimization (indexing analysis, keyword tracking, SEO testing) from your webmaster. In addition, many experts believe that your website’s age contributes to where you appear in the search results. Older and more proven domains typically get preference over newer ones.
As you might imagine, it takes a significant investment in time and money to do all of this the right way. If you’re just getting started as a self-marketer, you’ll probably have more time to invest than money. And if you’re not an expert in SEO, you’ll have to become one to be found online.
For example, let’s imagine you’re a mobile app developer. If your strategy is to attract clients via SEO, here are the minimum steps you’d have to follow to have a chance:
· Acquire a web domain
· Decide on your preferred content management system (WordPress, Joomla, etc.)
· Purchase a web template (or have one designed from scratch)
· Research keywords to find out what clients search for when looking for graphic designers
· Plan out and write your web page content (on-page content, meta information, URLs)
· Purchase stock photos to make your site interesting
· Create a portfolio to show past examples
· Take your site live
· Submit your site to Google and Bing webmaster accounts
· Install Google Analytics to track traffic trends
· Plan and commit to a blogging strategy (content is what attracts new prospects)
· Continuously optimize the performance of your website
· Monitor traffic and keywords for new SEO opportunities
Is that how you want to spend your time? Probably not. The goal is to win clients, not win an award for online marketing prowess.
A better solution: Online workplaces such as Elance-oDesk
Freelance marketplaces streamline the client-winning process. Instead of wasting time trying to attract people to your own website, you can instantly connect with hundreds of prospects actively seeking professionals like yourself. Whether you use Elance or oDesk, you can be up-and-running in a few hours or less. In a nutshell, here’s what you need to do:
Occasionally we invite clients to discuss issues of importance to those who work with freelancers on Elance-oDesk. Here are some additional thoughts from Nicholas Wright. He frequently hires freelancers and is one of the founders of AppInstruct, an online course that teaches people how to make an app utilizing the Elance-oDesk platforms.
This week we’ll run through the two main methods of fundraising for your startup—shares (equity) and convertible notes (debt). We’ll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
Shares and equity
Equity (or shares in the company) is the most common method of raising investment for a startup. It’s also likely to be a concept you are familiar with. In exchange for investing a certain amount of money, investors are issued a set number of shares at a certain value per share—such as $1 per share.
The principal problem faced by founders and investors alike with this approach is agreeing what the company is worth—especially since the startup is yet to launch its product, much less earn any revenue. This valuation is critical, as it determines how large a piece of the company everyone (founders and investors alike) will own, once the investment is received and the shares issued.
By way of a simple example, if the company raises $500,000 (a standard-sized pre-launch investment ‘seed’ round) at a pre-money valuation of $2 million, after the investment your investors will own 20% and the founders 80% (the seed money is added to the valuation, meaning a post-money company valuation of $2.5 million).
If the company raises $500,000 at a pre-money valuation of $4.5 million, then those same investors will only own 10% of the company post-money. Hence, they would own half the portion of the company at the lower valuation.
This means that there may be a need for a significant amount of negotiation between the founders and investors. This negotiation will consume valuable time from the founders—energy that could otherwise be focused on getting the company’s product perfected.
The other factor with equity is that upon issuing it, there will normally be significant negotiation as to who has control over the company and its decision making. While there are accepted parameters around these negotiations, the need for them often means that an equity investment might take 6-8 weeks to finalize once the investors commit to investing by signing a term sheet. In most cases, during that time period there remains a risk to the company and the founders that the investment will not be finalized and the funds not released.
Convertible notes differ from equity in that they are a debt instrument. That is, they don’t immediately confer on the investor a share in the company. Instead, they provide the investor with a right for the note to be converted into equity (upon the occurrence of a pre-determined event—normally the company raising a certain amount of funding by way of a share issue). Essentially, they provide a future right to a share in the company, but not immediate ownership of that share.
Occasionally we invite entrepreneurs to discuss issues of importance to our community. Here are a few thoughts on networking from Danny Schaffer, a freelance writer and marketer from South Africa. Danny was also a runner-up in our recent blog writing competition, which Elance co-sponsored alongside co-working space The Common Room.
Sites like Elance and oDesk have shifted the way many of us do business. By connecting clients and freelancers from all over the world, the online marketplaces spark what will often become long-term business relationships.
But relying on digital workplaces alone to grow one’s network is no longer enough. Savvy professionals know the key to building a powerful career in any field is through powerful and intentional networking.
But unless you’re some kind of socialite, networking is awkward. The word alone reeks of contrived self-promotion.
Most of us at some point or another have tried at least one networking event. And it’s almost always the same ... mildly interesting talks swarmed by people throwing around business cards right and left.
The problem here is a lack of authenticity. People aren’t interested in each other; instead they’re dead bent on a mission to work the room, convincing strangers that they’re worth knowing.
But meeting people face-to-face, having a real conversation, is one of the greatest ways to form genuine connections with people. So how can do this in less used-car-salemanesque way?
Burning Man and the art of powerful networking
I was first introduced to the idea of gifting on a week-long trip to the desert for Afrikburn, an offshoot of the Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. While hanging out in the desert for a week may or may not be your bag, there are a number of great lessons we can take away from The Burn. Burning Man was originally founded upon 10 principles, the most important of which in this context is gifting - the act of giving something to someone without expecting anything in return.
At first the concept seems a little alien, but after seeing how it works in practice and reflecting on it after the drugs have worn off, one realizes it’s the most natural way relationships are formed. Give someone something and they want to give you something back, this back-fourth quickly builds trust and sparks a friendship based on mutual benefit.
The key here is to become a giving person in every aspect of your life, always looking for ways to make people’s lives better whether or not they’re able or willing to return the favour.
Once you’ve integrated a giving attitude into who you are, you can take the next step into a more focused and intentional approach when it comes to networking with the people who interest you.
Focus on the people that matter
Unlike the Burning Man bunch, you’re not just looking to gift yourself and your skills to everyone you meet along your merry way, rather you need to identify a group of specific people who know something you want to find out more about, and add real value to their lives in a unique way.
Occasionally we invite Elance-oDesk clients to discuss issues of importance to businesses in our community. Here are some thoughts from Foundr Magazine Editor-in-Chief & Publisher Nathan Chan. His Melbourne, Australia-based publication is a digital magazine that’s a must read for entrepreneurs.
Upon reading this headline you are probably thinking, how can one man do all this?
The answer: Leveraging the internet through freelance contractors around the world.
I’m just a regular guy doing what I love, and it all started out with ‘a passion project’. This project has now led me to interviewing some of the most influential entrepreneurs around the world.
I was simply sick and tired of hearing about entrepreneurs killing it in life and business, so I set out to find out how these entrepreneurs are doing it, and wanted to share my findings with the world through a cool magazine.
So then Foundr Magazine was born and launched early March last year. Foundr is a monthly digital publication exclusive to the Apple Newsstand for iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch & Google Play Store and is tailored specifically to young entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses.
The truth is none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for an amazing tool like Elance that allows me to leverage overseas talent from all around the world.
Through the ability of outsourcing with Elance I have been able to build up a solid team which consists of a graphic designer, audio/video editor and a team of five writers from all around the world. All talent was sourced via the Elance platform and all tasks and projects for each issue is run via the Elance platform. Essentially without Elance and the power of outsourcing my business wouldn’t be possible, certainly with a full time job.
So what advice do I give to anyone looking to leverage their time in the most effective way?
1. Try to delegate tasks as much as possible. For example, I give my current graphic designer full creative control when designing the magazine. Not only do I trust him, but I encourage trying new things and pushing the status quo. Not only does this allow me to take a step back from the design side of the magazine, it also allows me to focus on my skill set which is business strategy / marketing.
2. When bringing on employees or contractors via outsourcing, always look to build a long-term business relationship. Building a long-term business relationship with your contractors allows you to save an enormous amount of time, as once you have trained up that staff member as you do not need to constantly look for someone else to repeat certain tasks. In Elance you can set up a timesheet that can be filled out for regular work, which auto direct debits and pays your contractors. Don’t you just love automation?
3. Hire a player. Easier said then done, but I cannot tell you the importance of building an A player team. It’s all well and good to use platforms such as Elance to find skilled contractors for the least amount possible, but at the end of the day the old saying rings true “you pay for what you get”. I try and find premium contractors that charge 25-30% more than most, as generally they are the best at what they do.
4. Recruit members of your team that believe in your vision. If you want your team members to stay with you for the revolution, they have to believe in it. Every single person that I work with is not only doing it for the money, but also because they believe in me and Foundr magazine. This is very powerful when it comes to encouraging your staff to produce their best work.
5. Go that extra mile with the hiring process. Do many Skype interviews and really invest the time in getting to know who the person is you are working with. For me this has been critical as I have built strong relationships with my team and it allows me to take a step back as I can rely on them fully to fulfil any tasks required.
There you have it. The secret sauce to running a side hustle business with a full time job. Comment here to share advice of your own.
Here’s another post from our roving reporter, Joshua Rodriguez.
Last weekend, I decided to take my fiancé out for a night downtown. It was an amazing night that included 3-D glow in the dark put-put golf, an arcade, and a nice meal. While we were walking downtown we were thinking of where we were going to eat. We walked past a few food carts and one of them really caught our eye.
It was called Love & Whiskey. We stopped in and although the owners were there, the cart hadn’t officially opened yet. We had a great conversation with the owners and they agreed to do an interview with me on their opening day. So, today we’re going to talk about the inspiration behind Love & Whiskey, the journey it took for their food cart to come alive, and how one Elance contractor played a major role in their branding. Here’s how the interview went.
I started out with the classic question, “Why did you decide to open a food cart instead of a brick and mortar location?” The answer really caught me off guard. I assumed that it would be associated with how much a brick and mortar restaurant costs to start. Instead, Brandon, the owner explained that “since it’s a small operation, we have the ability to put a lot more love into our food. We’d also like to get a mobile catering business going one day; so, we figured a food cart would be a perfect first step!”
The birth of a wonderful business (and more)
After that question, we chatted for a little while and I learned that the lady by his side in the cart wasn’t just a co-worker, she was his wife. Brandon and Jadie met in culinary school, and it was there where they fell in love and started to come up with big plans for their future. Today, they’re married and have a 6 month old baby girl. Throughout the last several years, Brandon had worked as a cook at several different restaurants. However, there came a point where he realized that holding his day job as a cook took far too much time away from his family. So, his dream became to open a business he could call his own in order to provide for his family while still being able to be part of their lives.
At one point in the conversation, I asked him what his signature dish was. He replied with “All of them”. He went on to explain that everything he makes is made with love and made in house. Brandon and Jadie even cure the bacon, pickle the red onion, and make the sauces all on their own! He also told me that they make it a point to reach for perfection in all of the dishes they create. So, they are all equally perfect!
Then again he’s the chef, he’s going to say that right? Well guess what…I got to try some of the food! During our visit, Jadie started us off with a fish taco. It was made with a corn tortilla, fresh snapper, Napa cabbage slaw, mango habanero pico de gallo, pickled red onion and more! I’ve got to say, it was absolutely amazing! Next, Jadie served me a fresh Frisco Burger. It was a fresh burger topped with fried jalapeno, Tillamook cheddar, chipotle ole, house sauce, tomato, and butter sauce. The burger was also absolutely amazing!
The Elance connection
After the food, one of my favorite questions came up. “Have you ever heard of Elance?” Brandon’s eyes lit up as he told me that he wanted to make sure that the branding for his food cart was done perfectly. He wasn’t sure who to hire or what to do when it came time to have his logo designed. So, he went on an online search. That’s where he found Elance. An Elance contractor helped him through the process of designing the simple, yet perfect logo; and he plans to reach out to Elance contractors for future design or development jobs!
To keep up with the theme of Love & Whiskey, I decided to bring a gift when I went to meet him. To ring in our new found friendship, I brought along a small bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. I offered a toast and Brandon and Jadie were happy to oblige.
After the toast, I asked the final question…”So what is the idea behind love and whiskey?” In the smiley, fun manner he generally responded to questions with, he said “Mostly because it took a lot of love and whisky over the last couple of years to get here!” and let off a chuckle. He went on to explain …”Me and my wife are a team that runs off of love. We also like to incorporate a lot of whiskey and bourbon into our food. The name just seemed to fit!”
After meeting Brandon and Jadie, I can honestly say it was a pleasure getting the opportunity to get to know them. With bubbly, fun loving personalities, amazing recipes, and signs of love everywhere (even on their door into their kitchen), I’m sure they’re going to go far! It was nice to see Brandon’s face when he was talking about having the ability to spend time with his family; as well as watch how well Jadie and Brandon worked together from behind the scenes (The interview was at 12:30pm on Wednesday in Downtown Portland, OR). I also think that it was awesome that an Elance contractor helped them come up with a logo design that worked well for them. I wish them all the best!
Occasionally we invite Elance-oDesk clients and freelancers to discuss issues of importance to our community. Here are some thoughts from Sarah-Elizabeth Ratliff. As the owner of Coqui Prose Content Marketing,Sarah has been an Elancer since 2010. She’s also one of the founders of FreelancetoWin.com, a site dedicated to helping fellow Elancers succeed in the competitive online freelancing world.
When I registered with Elance in March 2010, my family and I were broke. I don’t mean broke like we still had our brownstone in Manhattan, but we may have had to sell the house in the Hamptons. And I don’t mean the kind of “dead broke” that gets journalists’ and political analysts’ tongues-a-wagging, either.
I’m talking about the kind of broke where we had $40 in our checking account, several mouths to feed and overdue bills to pay.
To suggest I needed to make money immediately is putting it mildly.
Because of this, I did as many do when they first discover the virtual world of connecting clients with freelancers: I bid on practically every job in the Writing & Translation category that I felt was even remotely a match with my expertise.
Tip: Under promise and over deliver.
I landed my first Elance job after five days on the platform. The job was to write three articles about baby cribs. It wasn’t particularly academic or even terribly exciting, but I still bid, and I won.
My motivation for how I delivered work wasn’t about getting repeat business or even receiving great feedback. It was about survival: getting paid, eating, paying a bill or two, and then moving on to the next job as quickly as possible.
Promising to deliver this client’s work within five days, I stayed up all night the day I won the job in order to learn as much as I could about baby cribs. The next day I crashed for about five hours and when I woke up, I wrote all three articles in under two hours.
I delivered the client’s work three days early.
Although I can still to this day remember his name (as I can with every client who’s hired me on Elance) and the amount I was paid, all I could think about was bidding on the next job so I could pay a few more bills. I almost didn’t notice he’d left me 5-star feedback. Why? Because I was too busy negotiating with my next client to realize he was pleased enough with the quality of my work.
This was my modus operandi for the first few weeks I was bidding, winning and completing jobs on Elance. Then one day I realized I’d paid off the backlog of bills and we had a little left over to splurge on a bottle of wine to go with our dinner. I had racked up several jobs, all with 5-star feedback.
I never drank the wine. I slept for two solid days.
Jens Jakob Andersen is a Danish solopreneur travelling the world while working. For the last couple of years he has lived 6 months in Malaysia, 6 months in Spain, 6 months in Denmark, 3 months in Indonesia and 3 months in Eastern Africa. He is currently doing affiliate marketing at iloebesko.dk and selling skiing equipment at blacksnow.dk.
The majority of people are fascinated when you tell them about your lifestyle as a digital nomad. Traveling the world while working does indeed sound exciting – and it is!
Working from whichever country you’d like dramatically increases your quality of life, and at the same time leads to the hockey stick effect on your disposable income. Who would not enjoy that lifestyle?
People actually do live this dream. Crossing one border after another and still having a high income is indeed catching people’s attention. If you go for it (please do), you will meet some challenges when it comes to getting stuff done. This includes challenges I myself had, and struggled with for a long time. All challenges do have solutions though.
5 hacks that will help you get stuff done while traveling.
You will find undreamed numbers of books and concepts about efficiency. Inbox zero, priority lists, time tracking tools, mobile efficiency apps, etc. But if you do not have the right conditions to get stuff done, none of the above will do you any good. The foundation must be at balance.
To me, the biggest challenge is always to find the best possible conditions for work without spending too much time researching where to go.
I love the idea of working from a different café each and every day, but to be honest, this is overrated. Do it for 14 days and you will get tired before even asking for the WiFi-password.
Here are my five suggestions for you to consider.
1. Do not work when conditions are not good
2. When you work, work
3. Travel slow
4. Buy a laptop with a card add on feature
5. Work only at offices
Here we go.
1. Do not work when conditions are not good.
I think a common pitfall is to work when you do not have the right conditions for doing work. Sitting in the backseat in a 4WD Land Rover with a USB 3G internet connection on dirt roads in Kenya is simply not worth it.
Also less extreme cases are not worth it. It is a romantic belief that spending one hour in a café to get stuff done is an efficient way of working. I love the idea of walking into a Starbucks, ordering a coffee, looking and enjoying the surroundings and then working with the silent lounge music and small talking in the background. Though the truth is, you will get next to nothing done.
2. When you work, work.
Get real work done when you decide to work. Schedule working hours to be sure you focus 100% on the necessary tasks to grow your business. If traveling and working at the same time, you do need to get stuff done while working. Do not spend time checking flights, tours and social activities in the area you are.
If you travel with others, it is crucial telling them (and making sure they understand) that when you work, you work. I have personally experienced this as one of the major challenges.