The more I talk with Skype’s small-business and entrepreneurial users, the more I’m aware of an interesting tug-of-war of sorts. I call it the “travel more” vs. “travel less” benefit.
What’s that mean? Well, for every person who tells me she loves Skype because she can be on the road frequently and remain seamlessly connected with clients and colleagues, another tells me he appreciates Skype for offering alternatives to traveling for in-person meetings. Skype seems to be the ally to both the road warrior and the in-the-office-every-day worker.
I thought I’d dig a little deeper into this duality.
Travel more: Joan Barrett, owner of the communications consultancy Content Factory, told us about using Skype to continue working when she visits family in far-flung locales. Amy McIlwain, founder of Financial Social Media, traveled for the entire first year that she was building her business, depending on Skype to hire staff and stay in touch with business contacts.
Joan and Amy are what small-business expert Mike Michalowicz calls backpack entrepreneurs. They’re among a growing cadre whose home office is in whatever country, city, or coffee shop they happen to be in that day.
How do they do it? By using features like Skype Numbers, calling subscriptions and Skype WiFi. It means they can be “open for business” 24/7, with just a laptop, tablet or mobile phone that has Skype on it.
Travel less: Tracy Foster reviews product prototypes via Skype video, decreasing the number of visits she needs to make to the Dominican Republic-based factory of her camera-bag company, ONA bags. Dutch producer and songwriter Rene Kaaij uses Skype to collaborate with musicians around the world without leaving his studio in The Hague.
When I hear from people like Tracy and Rene – who reduce travel by using Skype – I often hear them tout Skype’s one-to-one or group video calls. They use video for everything from “touring” manufacturing sites to conducting “in-person” meetings that let them see and react to colleagues’ facial gestures.
That’s the crux of “travel more” vs. “travel less.” Skype helps people craft the work life they want – whether that means racking up the frequent flyer miles or making it home for 6 o’clock dinner every night.
Do you fall into either the “travel more” or “travel less” camp? Tell us about it!