On a recent episode of the Remote Local Podcast, David Lahav and I tossed around the concept of time zones in relation to our local businesses and we learned some interesting things about each other.
David had been running a business in Colorado for a few years before he decided to try living in Israel for a year. For those (trying) to keep score at home, Colorado and Israel are nine hours apart. Meaning he would get up in the middle of the night to answer calls!
Me on the other hand….I know that I become a terrible human being without enough sleep. So for my first couple years of traveling, I stuck to Latin America, which is very time-zone compatible with the United States and my home time zone, the Pacific.
Morning Person or Night Person?
When I’m home here in LA I’m “at work” by about 7:30 and business is officially “open” by 8am. But when I’m working from Europe (I was in Budapest for six months once) I was in the same time difference that David had during his time in Israel. I handled that by making my workday run from 5pm to roughly midnight, which was totally fine for me since I’m generally a night person.
While that sounds rough, keep in mind that the following morning I was free to sleep a bit and when I did get rolling on work I was “in the future” so no one was pinging me. I was able to get a lot more deep work done on a regular basis.
David and I joked about how Asia is the top-level achievement for many digital nomads in terms of the life that you can enjoy but when you’re trying to run a remote business this can translate into the “digital nomad graveyard shift” when you go to the coworking space at midnight to do a video call and see that you’re not alone.
The time difference between Bali and Los Angeles, for example, is 15 hours. When I was in Chiang Mai, that meant I had effectively one hour a day to meet with my team, around 11pm Thai time. You can’t be in building and scaling mode in your business and hope to succeed with one effective hour with your team per day.
David had taken the time to build and mentor his teams so when he was in Bali he leaned into that time difference. He would surf first thing in the morning and then grab coffee and strategically set aside a few times a week to be available for a call. Other times he was simply less available.
In that sense, working in a “time-incompatible” location can be a great stress test for you and your team to identify weak spots and see where the business can be improved.
I’m not saying get up in the middle of the night to take calls, but I am saying that you know you have a business when you can do what David was doing in Bali. But that’s because you have to have done the hard work in the beginning to empower you and your team to do that later on.
Picking A Timezone That Works For YOU
The dream of being able to work from wherever in the world you want and whenever you want is the ultimate “freedom” in my book.
The reality is, few have this luxury when they are starting out their business, especially a business which is tied to a specific timezone.
The cool part is that when you do have a remote local business, YOU can pick which timezone works for you and go there.
My sweet spot was being 3-5 hours ahead of my “business hours” and I actually picked locations in the world that allowed me to live this ideal daily schedule.
Everyone has their own “favorite schedule”...that’s the beauty: you can create that favorite schedule with your own business.
What does your ideal schedule look like?
Photo by Luis Cortes on Unsplash
This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.