Why Your Bucket List is Good for Business

By Peter Harris, Special to Overdrive, founder and managing director of QiQ

I had no idea going to 94 places across Australia would help my business.

When I started visiting sites from Geoff Mack’s 1959 song, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” I didn’t have a clear plan. I’d always liked the song, and since I’m originally from the UK, it seemed like a fun way to get to know my adopted country.

In 2009, I set off on a journey that traveled more than 20,000 miles over 18 months, covering much of Australia. This trip revitalized my approach to entrepreneurship and left me with these lessons:

1. Stories Are Essential

Good stories are universally compelling. You may have a good idea for a business, but unless you capture your audience’s imagination, you’ll quickly run out of steam. Spreading the word means getting creative in sharing your dream. If you’re doing something you love, other people will want to hear about it.

My adventure earned coverage from local and national TV, as well as radio stations and newspapers. I raised money for a well-respected charity, which generously shared my updates with its supporters.

The coverage I received from the people who shared my story demonstrated how powerful a good narrative is. People who were interested in my adventure naturally looked into my business.

2. Have Fun

When I started my company, I was working 60 hours per week, which wasn’t sustainable. Working that way burns you out and makes you lose the passion that motivated you to become an entrepreneur in the first place.

Getting out of the office invigorates your mind and generates inspiration. On my trip, I met people I never would have otherwise, and I visited some of the most remote places on earth. I also gained new perspective: With post offices in Australia spaced every 474 square miles, I used our service to send letters. I became my own customer and experienced the importance of our service.

3. Build Your Dream Lifestyle

When my company launched in 1998, I dreamed of working on my laptop from the beach. Back then, Wi-Fi was unheard of, and clouds were puffy white things in the sky. By 2009, technology was more accessible than ever, and I was excited to work remotely.

This odyssey proved how far I’d come toward achieving my dream lifestyle. I used 3G and the cloud to work from anywhere and seamlessly share information with my team.

Whatever the dream lifestyle you imagined when you started, don’t give up on it. As technology advances, being an entrepreneur gets easier. Having your own business enables you to live the way you want. Loving your lifestyle is part of your story, and it motivates you to keep working toward your goals.

4. Create Measurable Goals

Once I’d visited the 94 locations in the song, I knew I’d accomplish my goal. It wasn’t simple, but it was straightforward and achievable. Create goals that are easy to remember and measurable — whether they include recruiting 10 customers weekly or taking care of all support tickets by the end of the day. This way, you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish, focusing you on the things that truly matter.

Two Years Later

A compelling story, consistent innovation, and a great lifestyle led me to entrepreneurial success.

Nearly two years after my trip, I reap benefits from it. My blog and website still attract traffic, and my photos are regularly used by news sources and websites. The journey continues to impact my business.

If you’re putting off a lifelong goal, stop seeing it as a distraction. Sometimes, the adventures we’re naturally drawn to play an important role in accomplishing our goals. What are you waiting for? Make your bucket list, and start checking things off.

Peter is the founder and managing director of QiQ. Following a move to Australia in 2001, he recognized the potential for an affordable mail service that combined traditional mail with the speed of the Internet. This led to the development of the business’s first hybrid mailing solution, L-Mail.com, and more recently, Docsaway.

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