Maybe it seems obvious, but one of the benefits of operating a small business is the ability to control one’s schedule, at least to the degree it isn’t controlled by a client’s schedule. It may also seem obvious, but with a bit of thought and planning, it is often possible to treat oneself to some sightseeing, a concert, show, baseball game, art exhibit, theme park, or a special meal. Our trial consulting practice takes us all over the state of Florida, our home base, as well as around the country. From early on, we learned to build in some personal time – an act that makes some of the hassles of traveling more palatable. The tradeoff is sometimes traveling on weekends or returning on later flights than otherwise, but the mental recharge is worth it. Because of those issues, and sometimes a concern of having to rush back to the office and get work done, this is a harder lesson to learn for some people than it is for others. Such added adventures are not client billable in terms of time or expense, so it does eat into profits in some ways, but work is hard enough and giving yourself a small reward is good for business. Getting to know the geographic areas also is good for business in that it puts you “in the know” and makes you better prepared to hold conversations with clients and others you work with in whatever endeavor you pursue.
I have traveled far and wide in the decades I have worked as a trial consultant. I don’t enjoy traveling for work purposes, but traveling is what I do, often. I have to have some notion of “what’s in this for me?” because, as a road/air warrior, there would be little motivation to travel across the country otherwise. In addition to enjoying the local sights as a tourist would do, I have also found it extremely rewarding to get together with friends and family who live in the area where I am working. Over the years, I have learned more about local sights, interesting restaurants, and places off the beaten path that, without a friend’s introduction, I would never have discovered. Seeing friends who live in areas around the country also helps remind me of who I am, where I came from, and where I’m going, all important aspects of my growth as a person and provides an added value to my clients, in that I have a perspective on the trial venue I would never have obtained by sitting in my hotel room and not venturing out into the world.