How Travelling To Greece Saved My Branding Agency.
After completing a year of college, I decided to take a leave of absence to travel Europe. When I made the decision to travel, I did it with the intention of creating more content for my personal social media channels. But after being overseas for several months now, I realised that not only did travelling overseas save my Instagram feed, it also saved my business.
With travel restrictions easing, we can sigh a collective relief as we are finally able to travel again.
You may not be entirely convinced that travelling is beneficial - perhaps the number of additional documents and testing required to visit a location is enough to stop you from travelling. But before you make up your mind, let me share 3 surprising benefits of travelling from my own experience that may convince you to pack your bags after all. (No, an aesthetic Instagram feed is not one of the benefits.)
Summary of benefits travel has for business owners.
Disrupting the Monotony
Having new experiences
Makes you a better conversationalist
Disrupting the Monotony
When work-from-home is the default, we tend to fall back into a routine. Coupled with the fact that most of our social interactions are with our family members, it is understandable how we might burn out from this routine.
During my summer break, there was a viral outbreak in Singapore which sent the entire nation into lockdown. For months, I dressed the same, ate the same food, and generally did the same thing because eating out was prohibited and public spaces were tightly regulated. I quickly found myself unmotivated.
That changed the moment I travelled to Crete, Greece. I still completed the same morning routine that I did in Singapore, but the fact that I was in Greece made it different. Granted, there were small changes to my usual routine that were unexpected at times, such as swapping out a french coffee for a Greek freddo cappuccino, but they were much welcomed. Though these changes were small, I immediately noticed a boost in my productivity and mood.
If you have the opportunity to travel to Greece, do not follow other travel blogs that recommend having a frappe. Instead, order a freddo cappuccino. This was taken at The Modernist Athens, with whom we collaborated on a photography package that aligned with their hotel branding.
I also started my weekly YouTube uploads and daily Instagram story updates, which is not something I would have imagined completing if I was back in Singapore. Also, with tiny changes to my 'daily' routine, I was more energised to tackle tasks that would have otherwise phased me back in Singapore, like interior photography, which made my branding agency more attractive to potential clients.
Having new experiences
Yes, that means understanding new cultures, trying new food and learning new languages.
While travelling to Crete, we understand that it is common for locals to serve Raki and desserts after every meal. Also, it is common for business to be discussed over drinks.
Being exposed to new experiences also trains your ability to think fast. This is especially true in an environment where you need more documentation than simply your visa and passport to travel due to Covid-19. You may need to fill out a form that you overlooked last minute, or deal with a country's travel restrictions being changed, preventing you from entering.
One of the reasons why we chose to travel to Greece is its relative ease of entering - we simply needed to be fully vaccinated and fill in a Passenger Locator Form.
These situations are stressful but dealing with them makes you a more adaptable person. It goes without saying that the ability to be adaptive is beneficial for any business owner.
Also, from experience, networking with new people has allowed me to better understand different perspectives. By being better able to understand my client's perspective, I am able to craft more effective copywriting for my services, increasing the conversion rate for my brand agency.
Makes you a better conversationalist.
I am a shy guy. Small talk is not my strongest suit. But after being exposed to a culture where small talk is the norm, I was forced to develop that ability quick (especially when I realised that it was common in Greek business transactions). So after several weeks in Greece, I definitely became less awkward when holding full-blown conversations with complete strangers. This comfort extends to situations involving negotiating with clients, securing better deals for my brand agency.
While collaborating with a local boutique hotel in Athens, we connected with a well-travelled hotel manager. He went on to share about his trips across Europe and Asia, a topic that never fails to excite me. After our conversation with him, we realised how the benefits of travelling not only applies to business owners, but everyone. His extensive travels definitely made him more well-versed in the hospitality industry.
In the end, travelling has broadened my horizons and benefited my branding agency. Through networking and experiencing new cultures, I am better able to handle uncertainties and determine what aspect of my agency worked and what did not. Though I understand that some of you might still feel that travelling is unsafe, travelling is definitely a necessity for a business owner to develop and better lead their organisation.