Interview: Jeff Sauer, Internet Marketing Consultant & Educator

Jeff Sauer1. What do you do for a living, how did you become a digital nomad or remote professional and where you are based now?

I am an Internet Marketing consultant and educator who has been in the web marketing business for over 15 years. For 10 of those years I said “I can do this work from anywhere” and finally decided to make this a reality last year.

Right now I am working from New Zealand. Most of our stays are for 2-4 weeks in a given country before moving on to the next destination. This creates work challenges at the moment, but it is an excellent way to see the world.

You can find me in twitter at @jeffsauer & @jefftravel, Linkedin and my online marketing site and my travel site.

2. Do you work by yourself or in a team?

Right now, I work by myself. After being a member of a team for 10+ years, I have decided to start a new business that allows me to work from anywhere without spending time managing teams and timezones. I do anticipate the need to add a business partner in the future and look forward to joining forces in the future.

3. Why did you decide to start working remotely?

I decided to work remotely because of wanderlust. I would find myself sitting at my desk and dreaming of my next travel destination. I would leave home for 2 weeks at a time and explore new parts of the world (visited over 30 countries this way) and whenever I was back home I would start planning the next trip. While living in San Francisco, I decided that rent was too expensive to be traveling all of the time. Instead of quitting travel, I chose to quit renting!

Now I can work from anywhere with an Internet connection, while exploring new parts of the world in between.

4. Which are the biggest benefits and advantages that you have found by working remotely?

The biggest benefit of working remotely is the time shift from the normal US work schedule. When I wake up in New Zealand, the US workday is mostly over. I can get a summary of all activity that has taken place and finish my business before noon. From there, I can either work on projects uninterrupted all afternoon, or choose to go and enjoy my surroundings.

5. What are the biggest challenges you face working remotely and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge right now is unreliable Internet connections. Some places I visit have solid Internet, but many connections are severely lacking. In these cases, I find that doing even simple tasks can take much longer than expected, and these are my least productive moments.

6. Do you think that you have lost something by working remotely?

It all depends on your dreams. My dreams involve travel, reducing my stress and living in the moment. Working remotely has only improved these situations. If my dream were to work, and to work the same way that I worked while living in San Francisco, I would say that working remotely would have lost my ability to maximize my work impact. I have not accomplished as much while traveling as I was able to accomplish before working remotely. But this is mostly due to my active decisions to enjoy my surroundings at every opportunity.

7. Which are the benefits and disadvantages for your clientes to work with someone remotely? Have they ever told you something about it?

I do work with external clients, and most of this is done via email. Advantages are the time-shift of communication (we communicate in a 2-3 hour window vs. in real time). Disadvantages are scheduling calls and having reliable Internet to sound professional. This has been an ongoing challenge with each new country I visit.

8. What’s the working philosophy and environment you look to have?

Right now I am committed to working until noon most days and progressing business as much as possible. After that, I try to enjoy my environmental surroundings.

9. Which places, cities, countries have you work from since becoming a remoter? Which has been your favorite one?

I have worked from Hawaii, Bora Bora and New Zealand. Hawaii was for the longest period of time and had the best Internet. The others are so beautiful that they are almost distracting.

10. Which type of place do you work from in particular? Coworking spaces? Coffee shops? Somewhere else? Why and which are your favorite ones?

So far I have been living in remote areas without the infrastructure of coworking spaces and coffee shops. For the most part, I work from our hotel rooms or vacation rentals. I hope to join a coworking space when we spend time in South America, though.

11. Can you describe a typical work day in your life?

Wake up 6-7 AM and have coffee. Work until noon. Eat lunch. Enjoy my surroundings in the afternoon and eat dinner. Relax in the evening with my wife.

12. How being a remoter / digital nomad has changed you?

I don’t think it has changed me. My mindset has been that of a digital nomad for years before I actually made the decision to travel full time. More than anything, being a digital nomad has allowed me to focus more on experiences than possessions, money or anything else that binds us to our jobs.

13. What do you do to avoid distractions when working?

Headphones!

14. What would you say to companies that don’t believe in hiring people working remotely?

That blanket policies are dangerous. There are companies that are thriving with remote employees and there are companies that don’t believe in the policy. It takes a strong leader to make both companies succeed. Is working remote really that taxing on the leadership at the company? Or are they just using the old way of doing business as an excuse?

15. Which tools do you use that facilitate your life as a remoter?

Slack is great for communication. Skype, Google Hangouts and other video calls. GoToWebinar is excellent for communication.

16. Which places would you like to visit next -enjoy and work from- in your remoter journey?

I would like to visit 10-20 countries each year during my remote journey. South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific (where I am now). You name it, and I want to be there! And we will be there in due time.

17. Which is the best of working remotely? Which is the worst?

The best part is the freedom. The worst part is anxiety over whether things will work out as planned in a new and foreign land.

18. Which advice would you share with people looking to start working remotely?

Start planning for yourself 1-2 years in advance of making the move. Save money, learn to ditch your possessions and really get yourself in the mindset of a digital nomad. If you get your head right, the rest is quite easy.

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