Hello there! I hope you are all preparing for a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. If for whatever reason, you cannot be with either family or friends, I wish you a wonderful solitude that clears your mind and soul.
I would be remiss if, having returned from my trip to Peru, I didn't report on the results of my two principal experiments. In essence, I'm applying the Lean Startup cycle (Hypothesis, Test, Results, Insights) I teach in my workshops to my own life. To recap, I was testing these two hypotheses:
Hypothesis and Outcomes
Hypothesis #1: I can work remotely on my Levate to-dos effectively, efficiently, and without interruption in the amount or quality of work I can do.
Hypothesis #2: I can give entrepreneurship workshops abroad and get paid to do so.
Note that these hypotheses are in the form of yes/no statements. This lack of ambiguity is crucial- if I passed both tests, I wanted the outcome to be very clear (namely, that I would try a longer remote work arrangement in 2015). Likewise, I wanted the outcome to be clear if I failed one or both of the tests- that I would try giving workshops closer to home, or delay future travels until I had a way to work effectively on my startup.
The final question is, how I would decide if I had answered the questions one way or another.
Hypothesis #2: Test and Results
The second hypothesis is pretty clear: I had to earn income from a workshop that I organized and delivered while in Peru.
I'm happy to say that I did, indeed, validate this hypothesis. I gave two workshops while I was in Peru: the first was free, to begin to establish my network of contacts in Peru. This paid off, as it led to the second workshop, which I organized with Comunal Coworking in Barranco District. I did in fact earn income from the 15 entrepreneurs that enrolled in this workshop. I was pretty pleased about this- I validated the hypothesis, earned my first income in months, and developed a method for organizing workshops that I feel confident I could repeat in just about any part of the world. Huge shout-out to my friend Eric Morrow for getting me started on this path and giving me constant guidance!
Hypothesis #1: Test and Results
The first hypothesis is trickier to measure. The metrics I decided to use would be to self-evaluate myself as a remote worker. I'd then compare my results to the evaluation my business partner Ethan gave my performance.
In this case, we agreed that, for the most part, the remote work arrangement went very smoothly. If I did it again, I'd want to get a skype number so that I can take phone calls from my skype account. I might also look into some kind of portable wi-fi solution that runs off of mobile networks.
The issue we both identified was my inability to participate fully in face-to-face meetings. We agreed that calling in would be a decent substitute, but that there are some meetings that are best handled face to face, namely with potential investors. Thankfully, no meetings like this came up while I was in Peru. We both agreed that I would want to be in the OKC area for the beginning of 2014 for this reason, as we'll be spending a goodly portion of our time at the turn of the new year trying to finish out our first investment round.
What I loved about this trip is that it was so unique! I had a chance to be a tourist, and see some amazing parts of Cusco and Lima. I also was able to have the experience of living and working in Lima for 3 weeks, living out of a small backpack.
My first insight is that I really, really enjoyed the whole experience and that I want to do it again! It was the right mix of work, play, and really cool people.
Second, now that I've developed the workshop material in Spanish and practiced my delivery, I can give the same workshop all across Latin America and Spain. Each new workshop will take less time to set up, as the materials will already be developed, I'll get better at delivering it in Spanish, and I'll have more contacts which will facilitate setting up workshops more easily.
Speaking of which, I'm fairly certain I could ask my new contacts in Peru to introduce me to their colleagues in coworking spaces across Latin America. I have a leg up in setting up workshops in other parts of the continent, especially in Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay.
Have a Merry Christmas!
I hope to post a write-up about my family's adventures on the Inca Trail soon, so that you can see the other side of the work/play equation while I was in Peru!
Light kindles light,
Dillon Dakota Carroll
...sees much and knows much