Meet the Nomads – Interview with Lynne Hornyak Nomadic Executive Coach

This is the first in a series of interviews with real NuNomads who are maintaining their income as they travel the world. For those of you wondering, “Who lives this kind of life?”, or “How do they possibly do it?”, we think you’ll find some answers and inspiration from the people actually making it happen. We hope to bring you many more such interviews in the future.

Our first NuNomad is Lynne Hornyak, Ph.D., PCC. A psychologist turned executive coach and trainer, Lynne has been traveling the world for several years as she continues to meet with clients from home. To find out more about Lynne’s work, please visit her at: LMH Services

Lynne, what is your business/profession?

My company, LMH Services, provides executive coaching, 360 assessment, strategic career design, and training services.

Professionally, I identify as an executive coach. It’s a fascinating partnership role – helping individuals to access their full leadership potential. And, the psychologist in me really enjoys and values the role that assessment can play in helping leaders know more about themselves and their impact on others. I also do a fair amount of training, including training executive coaches for corporations and in the area of ?money and meaning.”

What training/experience did you receive in order to be able to have this business/profession?

I completed a certified coaching program that is geared toward clinicians becoming coaches. This training was on top of my PhD in Clinical Psychology and 18+ years of working with clients on all kinds of communication, interpersonal, performance and health issues. I then got my coach certification (PCC – Professional Certified Coach) through the International Coach Federation (ICF).

I\’m also a constant learner. I must be reading 3-5 books at a time on leadership, coaching, and business issues. I’ve gotten certified in several assessment and multi-rater (360) tools that are important for executive assessment. I attend workshops and teleclasses. I’ve also joined a number of professional groups to stay current.

How long have you been doing this?

I discovered coaching about 9 years ago. I began my coach training and gaining actual coaching experience right after that. It’s been a steady progression since then.

How long were you in your business/profession before you began traveling?

Interesting question. I’ve always loved to travel. I met my current significant other (we need to find a better term than s.o., partner, boyfriend!) almost seven years ago. Jud has lived and worked internationally since he was a teen. So, travel has been a natural part of our lifestyle. We began with several two-week trips, then graduated to living in the south of France for one month in June, 2004. We progressed to two months in 2005, and that’s what we?re continuing to do. We also take off the month of August to travel in Africa, Asia, or Europe.

What interested you in becoming mobile?

I think I was born seeking the unfamiliar. As a kid, I wrote research papers and creative writing essays on places like China, Japan, the jungles of Africa. I loved foreign movies. I just ?knew? that I’d be traveling or living in those countries some day. Now, I\’m just living my dream.

Where do you like to travel?

To places where I’ve never been. In the last four years, I’ve been to Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, South Africa, Nambia, Zambia, Botswana, Turkey and many places in Europe. I love the ?in the moment? experience of understanding and engaging with a different culture.

How much of the year do you travel?

I’d say I\’m away 3-4 months of the year. I\’m shooting for 6 months.

Do you travel alone/with a partner/with children?

I travel with my sweetheart/significant other, Jud. I\’m including a favorite picture of us in Chiang Mai, Thailand on elephant-back heading through a river. We were having a great time.

Is there any special equipment or infrastructure you must travel with in order to run your business? (i.e. laptop, telephony, fax)

I couldn’t survive without my laptop and extra flash drives. I take all of my essential business information with me on them. I have my computer password protected, and leave a backup hard drive at home when on the road.

Since I work primarily from France, we’ve learned how to access the local communication company for both basic phone and internet service, which is reliable and reasonably priced. However, as of last summer, one has to have an Euro bank account to open an account with France Telecom (now called Orange). I use phone cards for all of my long-distance calling back to the States. It pays to check around and find the best local rate for phone cards. If I need a fax, which is rare, there are usually lots of businesses that offer that service.

If so ? what brand/models do you choose and why?

I can’t say I\’m a ?brand-loyal? person. When I needed a new laptop, my computer consultant (one of my most important resources!) recommended the Toshiba Satellite. I really like it. BTW, my consultant installed the software LogMeIn on my system, so if anything happens, he can log onto my computer and help with the repair. That’s a very valuable safety net.

Are there any services you use while you travel in order to run your business? (i.e. Skype, supportsoft, online appointment services)

I\’m pretty basic. I haven?t used Skype because the technology wasn’t good enough for running teleclasses or for phone conversations where I can’t afford to miss a sound, at least when I checked into it in 2005. However, I need to re-examine the technology advances since then. I continue to run my business primarily by voice mail (I call in 3-4 times a day), e-mail and phone. My goal is to keep my life and business clean and simple.

Are your clients/customers located at your home base or scattered?

I work with leaders from all over the US. It’s a bit of a challenge across time zones when clients are California, which is a 9-hour difference from Aix-en-Provence. However, most leaders are juggling very full schedules, so scheduling is a challenge wherever I am. Yet it seems that we find a way to keep up regular coaching sessions thanks to careful planning and the responsiveness of their administrative assistants.

What kind of reaction have you had from your clients/customers about your traveling lifestyle?

They love it. For many, I\’m a role model of living the life that you say you want. How can I coach people on ?going for the max? or ‘stretching into the unknown? if I\’m not doing it myself?
I also make sure that my clients know how to reach me by phone and email when they need me. And, I always respond as quickly as I can.

What would you say are the pros/cons of the nunomadic business and lifestyle?

It takes a lot of planning and organization. I\’m not leaving for 2 months yet I can already sense that I\’m in ?leave mode? – starting my lists to get everything in order. On the ?pro? side, it forces me to organize. I know now that I can work from anywhere as long as I have a laptop and phone line.

I also miss having my friends and colleagues close by. I\’m learning what works – more frequent emails and phone calls so that we stay in touch regularly. It makes a huge difference to feel that the people I care about are only a call away. There’s also not such a sense of ?catch-up? after being away for 3 months.

Do you have any advice for those people wanting to set up their own mobile business?

First, take it in steps. We did a gradual approach to decide where we really love to live and how ?workable? the situation could be. It’s Aix-en-Provence for us right now. We?re testing out how long I can be away without interfering with my work flow. It seems to work pretty well to be ?in country? for mid-January – end of May then September through mid-December for training purposes. I can easily coach and conduct follow-up trainings by phone in the alternate months.

Second, it’s important to be living in a country with good phone service. I’ve been in countries where it’s hard to find a telephone, much less face the phone bills for an hour of coaching! I’ve also been in countries where internet service is spotty at best. Very hard to run a business from there.

Third, talk to others who have made the move. You’ll learn the practical ?how-to’s? as well as get energized by the positive energy of ?it’s really possible, and wonderful.”

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