Interview: James Hunt

James Hunt is a marketer by education, a coder by hobby, and I’ve been a life-long entrepreneur. And you can see more about him in his twitter or his blog.

He runs several ecommerce businesses (subscription + FBA), a music forum community and radio station with 25,000 members, a few affiliate websites and my most recent project is LiveWorkFit. LiveWorkFit is a series of one-month coworkation retreats for location independent entrepreneurs, online business owners and digital nomads from all over the world. Each trip is focused around coliving and coworking, as well as ensuring mind and body are in peak performance by giving gym access, organising weekly activities and building strong relationships within the group, all with the goal of maximising business and personal potential.

James Hunt

1.Which are the main advantages that you find that remote work has?

I am more focused working remotely, less busy work than when in an office. I love having my own working hours, so I’m able to devote the best hours of my day to myself. And I love the freedom of being able to explore the world whenever I want.

2. Do you think you have disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?

Working remotely is mentally tough – you need to be focused and have a lot of motivation to show up every day and get stuff done. Moving to new areas means that finding friends and people I have stuff in common with is always an active project.

3. From which cities or countries have you worked from since you have become remote? Which has been your favourite one?

I’ve spent some time in Spain, Tarifa and Mallorca. I’ve worked through Eastern Europe – Belgrade, Sofia, Skopje. In South East Asia, Vientiane in Laos, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and for a vast majority of the last 2 years I’ve been in Thailand – Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Lanta, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai. I really enjoyed my first visit to Chiang Mai, so I’ve spent 6 months there in 2016, so it’s my favourite right now, although I’m leaving soon to keep on exploring.

4. From which type of place do you prefer to work from? Coworking spaces, coffee shops or others?

I used to love coffee shops, but after having some issues with my shoulder and posture, I’ve been a firm believer in spending extra and using coworking spaces. Better chairs, better desks, less coffee drunk! I’m a big fan go two spots in Chiang Mai – Punspace at Thae Pae Gate, and also Mana in Nimman, although its small so hard to get a decent seat there.

5. Which places would you like to travel to while working remotely or working from?

There are 3 places that are at the top of my list – Kuching, Paris and South America. I love Paris, it’s a magical place, so I want to spend more time there in the future. Kuching is in Malaysian-Borneo and is supposed to be the next Chiang Mai, very laid back, hip, cheap to live and lots of green. I’m taking my entrepreneurs coworkation there in April and I can’t wait! And South America, that’s where I’m probably heading at the end of this year to keep on exploring – I’m probably going to get there on the Nomad Cruise – www.nomadcruise.com.

6. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe in hiring employees who work remotely?

As a multi-time CEO, Director and Manager, I know it’s possible to work remotely on many tasks, but I actually don’t believe that all companies can make remote culture work. I also don’t think that all employees can do it or even that it’s better in any way for an employee’s development. I would love to see proper tests done, 2 employees, one on-site, one remote, work for one year, see which is the better employee after it. In the development world, and maybe some levels of marketing, it’s very 1 or 0 if you know something, which may be good for remote positions, but not every job is so clear cut. Would love to be proved wrong, but the power of people together in a room is pretty strong. Could the future change that? Maybe with VR, yes. We’ll see.

7. Which tools do you use to work remotely?

Physical tools = Macbook Pro 15″ + Roost Stand + Mac Mouse + Mac Keyboard + Headphones. On my Mac, all my email accounts are via Google Apps, I have about 20 accounts, all piped into a Mac app called MailPlane. I use text files as To Do lists, or for planning or for notes, saved into Dropbox. In fact, all my files are in Dropbox so it is completely portable and backed-up. I use a tool called MonoSnap for taking quick screenshots of my screen. ScreenFlick for recording my screen. I use Toggl for time tracking, if it’s needed, through its TogglDesktop app. For coding, I use Atom, CodeKit, MAMP Pro. For keeping me focused, I use an app called SelfControl, which blocks distracting websites.

8. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?

Mostly electronically. I use a combination of online tools such as Wave, and by also engaging a professional accountant.

9. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies doing the remote switch?

Make money. Make money away from your 9-5 before you quit. Earn $50 per month, that’s your target before you quit. If you put in the spare time – the evenings, the weekends, the lunch breaks, you can do it. But you will quickly see how hard that is and thank god you have the regular income while you learn. If you quit, then learn, you will most likely fail. I see it too often, people burning through their savings, back to their desk in 9 months, giving up on the dream, or falling into doing quick-win ideas like drop shipping or info products. Alternatively, save money. Save money and invest it, in property, or stock, so that gives you a passive base income to give you runway to live. Don’t just save a bunch of money and spend it until you try and earn something out on your own. That’s a really stupid thing to do and easily avoidable.

 

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