In the third part of my series I answer a few questions that are asked again and again: What do you want to earn your money with? Short answer: (almost) the same as before.
I am self-employed with several activities. With the company where this blog is based, I coach founders with Design Thinking methods. This company was actually planned for clients from my area, now I offer coaching in intensive sessions in Las Palmas. Middeldorf Consulting is in an early phase, so the change was relatively easy.
I am also active in the field of music. I have a record label and organize artist trips for a booking agency. I work with artists and organizers all over the world. So here my location doesn’t matter at all. I also organize parties with my label in the Cologne club Odonien. This year we have minimized the parties to only a handful per year already. I use the remaining parties for visits to Cologne, because the city and the people here remain closely connected to me.
Customers like to have their service providers on site, even if you rarely meet them personally
But my main company and my most important source of income is my web agency DMWC, which has been in existence for ten years now. And here lies actually also the largest danger in my removal to Las Palmas. Most of my customers come from the Rhineland, Germany. New customers are coming to me almost exclusively by recommendations of existing customers. Within the EU, I can work wherever I want. The time difference is one hour. Thanks to the roaming regulation, I don’t even have to change my telephone number. My business address remains in Cologne. I see most of my customers very rarely or not at all. Communication takes place by telephone or online. I have banned meetings and presentations from my customer communication a long time before. I have never spoken to some of them personally. If I was up to it, many people wouldn’t even notice that I don’t speak to them from Cologne. So nothing changes?
There is one aspect that still makes my move risky. Do my customers recommend me when I’m in Las Palmas? Do they want to continue working with me? In fact, nothing changes, but emotionally scepticism can arise. A friend of mine recently wanted to get me a client who is far from unfamiliar with the New Work world. But this customer said that he was thinking about whether he wouldn’t rather have a service provider in Cologne. If the subject of “Las Palmas” hadn’t come up, he would probably already be my customer now.
But I think, since I am very aware of this danger, I can counteract it with conversations. In addition, I have a larger international customer, who somewhat mitigates the danger. My team is also based in Cologne and Stuttgart and can certainly represent me if I can’t fly in for customer meetings. From Las Palmas to Cologne it takes 4.5 hours. Just as long as with the train to Berlin. So I am not out of the world. Nevertheless, anyone who wants to take a similar step with an existing business, perhaps only for a limited time, should think about what effects this can have on their business – also psychologically. Of course I will also offer my service in Las Palmas and have therefore created an English version of the website. A Spanish version will follow. But in my experience such a rebuilding will take two to three years.
Behind these houses is my new office.
A few facts, how I organized the move exactly
Some companies and institutions, especially the Trade and Tax Office, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, etc. continue to send exclusively by mail. My financial accounting has been digitized since this year, so no problem. I have my tax post forwarded directly to my tax advisor. My company headquarters will remain in my German office. Here we are in a community and my colleagues can forward the mail to me if something is really sent. But I have to be careful that nothing important escapes me. There are also service providers who offer a virtual office and forward the mail. I hope, however, that we can do without it for the time being.
My Las Palmas office is in a co-working space near the beach in La Isleta, ten minutes walk from my new apartment. That’s very practical. The people are very nice there, there is very fast internet and a good infrastructure with meeting rooms and even a gallery.
If you have questions about this topic, feel free to write in the comments!
Photo: (c) Can Stock Photo / edna