Our workation to Italy has (already) brought us ~$10k in sales.

Luis Manjarrez
May 12, 2017 · 3 min read

The clickbait-looking title is nothing short of the truth.

I’ll try to explain why an intense work retreat is worth it, both economically and morally for a growing startup.

We’re a team of 4, working in still cold Quebec City, Canada. Here, the winter is almost over. However, as I type this mid-May post, the mercury doesn’t mark more than 8°C (46°F).

All that intro to emphasize the fact that we needed a change of air, somewhere warm.

We needed that change because the challenge ahead was ambitious to say the least. And spending time confined in a little piece of paradise would without a doubt, motivate.

So we went to Google Flights and found a destination that matched our budget, weather expectations and distance limit. The result: Praiano, Italy.

Economically worth it?

I’m sure your first thought was something like “Going to Italy for a week, all expenses paid for four dudes, is expensive.” You’re right, it is.

Actually it’s around 7,200-USD-expensive. Pry, please.

But this is all about the ROI. In just 2 weeks it has already brought us at least $10,071.81 USD worth of sales, mainly because of two big improvements:

  1. You can now edit both sides of the badge, at no additional cost. In the past people who needed this went for other badge printing options, not anymore.
  2. We now get alerted and contact customers who request quotes for large events (silly, right?)

If you only care about the cold hard numbers, going to Italy to work intensely in developing new features and improving current functionality made us around $3,000 ($10,071.81 sales –$7,200 cost of trip) USD. Economically worth it.

Important points to consider before doing something like this:

  • You know for a fact the dev work is gonna bring money to the table. We waited 3 years to implement the front/back editor.
  • You have the discipline to work hard during your trip.
  • You have a game plan with very specific things to do.
  • You’re small enough to be logistically viable.
  • You like your teammates.

Your other thought could’ve been: “Why not just do all the work in your hometown?”

Good point.

We’re bootstrapping another company called Missive. The entire dev team is working on it 100% of the time. We needed a change of atmosphere to invest time solely on Conference Badge.

Ok, yes, we could’ve gone somewhere closer, but we seized the opportunity.

Morally worth it?

Another reason for going to a far-off location is the intangible value of travelling.

Spending an entire week with your team, sharing delicious meals, visiting ancient ruins, working with a view of the Mediterranean sea, getting lost in tiny alleys…

Mastercard would say that’s priceless.

Our office view for that week

If you read all the way here, take a couple more minutes to watch this:

Thank you for reading + watching!

PS: This was our airbnb, in case you’re wondering.

Conference Badge

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Luis Manjarrez

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Conference Badge

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