Too many bootstrapping entrepreneurs (particularly the location independent kind) don't spend enough money on themselves. If you're baselining somewhere and currently shouting at me through your computer screen, keep reading - you probably need to hear this.
Last December I made the decision that going forward, I would fly business class whenever I travel internationally. Not as an exercise of ego, not even because of the free champagne on board (though that is definitely a nice perk) - for me it's all about avoiding friction.
Too many people dramatically overestimate their ability to handle friction. The small, sometimes unnoticeable stresses of day to day life erode your mental state, destroying self-discipline and clouding the mind, leaving you unmotivated and uninspired at the end of the day. Many highly successful people recognise this and go to extreme lengths to eliminate any source of friction, however tiny, in their daily routine. Often with amusing results.
Imagine crawling through the inevitable long queue during check-in, battling the crowd at security and immigration, trying to block out the wailing of a rabble of kids racing around the gate lounge while exhausted parents try to pretend they're far, far away. Make it through all that and you can look forward to cradling someone's flab in your lap for your three hour flight, while you ponder what on earth is in the slop that they've served you for dinner.
God forbid you have a connection to make at the other end.
Dealing with (and reacting appropriately to) all of these small stresses adds tremendous cognitive load and wears you out. If you travel frequently, this will have a dramatic impact on your performance in business and life.
This morning I had a 6:40 departure out of Saigon. I woke at 5:00 and was in a taxi ten minutes later. I skipped the shower at home to get a few precious extra minutes of shut-eye at home. Had just enough time for breakfast in the lounge before I was called for boarding. Walked straight onto the plane and nodded off in my spacious seat, reclined for takeoff courtesy of a friendly cabin attendant. An extra hour of quality sleep on the lie-flat skybed during cruise meant I arrived in Hong Kong well rested, ready to take on the day. Almost. After a hot shower and shave in the HK lounge I grabbed a fresh coffee and settled down to work in the business centre.
Back when I flew economy I wrote off the idea of working on a travel day - and after long days in transit like today my productivity would be down for a day afterwards. Today I was able to run my company effectively, meaning none of my team were waiting on me, burning valuable time. I'm also going to arrive at my eventual destination feeling like a human being, rather than a nervous wreck.
By investing in my own comfort I am investing in the success of my business.
This applies to other parts of your life, too - not just travel.
A comfortable apartment; tasty, nutritious food which you like to eat; an inspiring workplace and the right tools for the job. All of these things reduce daily friction and make you more effective. Everyone has the same number of hours in the day, some people just set themselves up better to make the most of them.
This is why I pay a premium when I travel, and why I insist all new hires at Web Artisans get the best tools money can buy. It's an investment in our collective success. Anything less and you're just crippling yourself.