There are multiple benefits if you are running a distributed business. You are no longer limited by your location, which opens up a vast number of new opportunities. You can also be much more flexible, which helps you to overcome competitors and grow beyond limits.
However, you will most likely be working with a distributed team. There is a subtle difference between working remotely and running a business. It is the border between being a freelancer and being an entrepreneur. To create a successful distributed business you not only have to know the benefits of both sides but also have to align and correlate them to produce an “everybody wins” scenario for all participants.
Reclaim your freedom
Let’s start with the obvious as we are talking about remote work: location. If you are an employee, the first main benefit you receive is the lack of commute. If you live in a big city, a 1-hour commute to the office from your home is an average. That is 2 hours of travel – every day. Apart from the apparent money reasons, spending money or gas or public transport, the time is the main pain point. If someone works 5-days-a-week, 10 hours are spent on the train or in a car. That’s one work day. Also, the 1-hour-commute is considered a good average, and if you live in a vital location, somewhere in London, New York or San Fransisco, this can easily extend to 2-hours or even more. So working remotely is reclaiming your time. This time can be spent in various ways, no matter if you are the owner of the company or an employee, you can redeem your time.
Reclaim your autonomy
Autonomy is the second obvious benefit. You can work not just wherever you want, but whenever you want. Of course, there are some limitations. People think that this suddenly found freedom will lead to no-work-at-all, but the opposite is true. If there’s motivation to work, remote workers work more than workers tied to fix workhours and an office. By letting employees work on their terms, you will most likely end up with employees who work harder and in more different working hours. For example, I’m a night owl, plus I also love sunshine, and I also have a dog. Taking all of these factors into account, I usually don’t work before 11 am because I wake up late, walk the dog and soak the sun in on its high-time. Does it mean I work less? No. I work till 6 pm, then work again from 10 pm till late at night.
Reclaim your focus
Speaking of work, the focus is also a significant benefit. However, this is a misunderstood concept. People usually think that a remote worker doesn’t have interruptions like chitchats and watercooler conversations or popping out for lunch. However, this is not true, even if you work from home, you have the same small interruptions, plus, you have access to the internet, which is the most significant source of disruption. The main benefit here is the lack of great disruption– so-called pointless and meaningless office meetings. I remember when I was working for a big global advertising agency in London, one day I had 3 hours of actual work – the rest spent on meetings. All of them were utterly pointless, and the whole agenda could have been discussed over email or a series of short stand-up meetings. As a remote worker, you don’t have that, which gives you the ability to focus on broad, meaningful work. Think things through, dive deep into a problem to find a solution or just like this book for me – writing for hours with continuous focus. This reclamation of your attention is key to your success.
Reclaim your money
Besides reclaiming more time, focus and freedom, you can also retrieve much money. No matter if you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur, you have two ways to reclaim the money. Salaries and office costs. As an entrepreneur, you don’t need to pay for a big office with all of its supplies. When I had my own office with my company, I paid for workstations, office rent and tons of other supplies. With a distributed business, I pay for online tools, and that’s it. I save an enormous amount of money. Also, you pay less for remote workers. However, I always want to highlight this: you pay for the same knowledge and skills you would pay for a regular office worker so the difference between regular and remote salaries shouldn’t be a big gap. It is shrinking now, and the two salaries are closing to each other, an exceptionally skilled developer could earn almost as much in cash as a developer in the Bay Area. As a freelancer, you don’t need to spend money on commute and supplies that come with it. Eating out on a daily basis in cafes, and delis, and business lunch menus? Half of the internet’s money management sites are about this topic: how to save money on your work and cut back costs like eating out. If you are working from home, all of this will change. So if you are someone from a location with a lower average cost of living, you can earn above-average salaries in your region with remote work. So ultimately, either you are a business owner or a solo freelancer, you will have more money in your pocket with remote working.
Reclaim your control
Overall, I think the most significant benefit of running a remote business contradicts the biggest fear of every entrepreneur. That fear is the lack of control. No actual office, just a laptop, and people who are working with you online – you don’t have control over your business. The opposite is exact, and that is the most significant benefit of remote business. You gain so much more power. You reclaim time, focus, freedom, and money which you can use to grow your business. You have unlimited strength and flexibility with your company.
Of course, some people are afraid of this amount of freedom. There are no excuses if you don’t succeed. You can’t just “disappear” into the office and pretend to work. Whom do you act to? To me, a distributed business is the ultimate frontier, full freedom, I can do anything I want to grow my business, and nothing interrupts, limits or pulls me back from success. It is right for failures as well – if my company fails, it is my fault. I had all the resources, time, opportunities to succeed.