Interview: Kirsty Hulse

Kirsty Hulse, founder of Manyminds DigitalKirsty Hulse is the founder of Manyminds Digital, who are a collective of expert freelance resource that collaborate together according to a client’s needs. You can find her on Twitter or Linkedin

1. Which are the main advantages that you find by working remotely?

One of the key things I find is that I get to spend a lot more of my time focusing on executing work. Previously when I was based in a single location, a lot of my time would be spent in and out of meetings because when people are working together in a single location that’s naturally what happens. I still have lots of face time (sorry) with my clients and team but now that’s just when it’s going to be really valuable, which ultimately means I get more done.

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

If it weren’t for Twitter, Slack and Skype I would definitely go stir crazy! There are days when I miss the routine and regularity of working in an office – I’m naturally an extrovert in that I get my energy from the people around me, so I need to make sure I continue working with multiple different people across different places. Fortunately I operate in an open, collaborative industry that makes that very easy.

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

I work from London where I’m based most of the time; though have also worked from New York, Edinburgh, Spain, Dublin and France. New York has been my favourite so far, mainly because I spent the longest amount of time there, had some really good meetings and even better chicken and waffles. It’s a very energizing place.

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

I struggle with this as I find a lot of these places very noisy which is fine for just working, but less so when you’re on a conference call. I once had a huge important call with a client in a coffee shop and had to keep muting because an impassioned Italian couple behind me were arguing about whether a metal or wooden bed frame is the better choice. (They went for metal, in case you’re interested). However what I have found is that hotels tends to be amazing places – they’re often quiet, comfortable, have great WiFi and excellent coffee. Also they let you just sit there for free if you want. I typically avoid co-working spaces as I enjoy working from home or hotels and hiring nice meetings rooms as and when I need them.

5. Which places would you like to travel to -from where you would enjoy and work from- as a remote worker?

I’ve got some more trips planned later in this year to work from Dubai and San Fran. Because of client commitments, I tend to keep my trips to a couple of weeks at a time.

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

I genuinely understand the concerns and having ran an agency that is *entirely* freelance resource, getting through procurement processes can be tricky! I truly believe, however, that some of the best resource is freelance and that working in new and different teams breeds creativity and prevents project stagnation. For those that don’t believe in it – it may well be the right decision for them – though they’re at risk of being left behind if they don’t at least try it out; there’s a world of talent available, it seems limiting to only access people within a 20 mile radius. But, with anything business related you have to build trust. The proof is in the pudding, as my mum would say.

7. Which tools do you use to work remotely?

I rely heavily on Slack, Skype and Asana. They’re my main go to’s, though there’s tonnes of new and innovating tools I’ve not tried yet for that very purpose.

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

Through an effective mix of alcohol, blind panic and denial. I’m kidding (a bit). Taxes were very stressful when I started out, simply because it was something new and daunting I had never even had to think about previously. It was a bit of a steep learning curve. But a good accountant and software (I use Xero) are essential. Also pool friends, family and other freelancers for support as much as possible, everyone has been through it before and are more than willing to give advice, then eventually it just becomes habit. I did my first ever VAT return the other day and I felt as though I’d climbed Everest in flip flops.

9. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely?

Just dive in at the deep end. Don’t think about it too much and if you change your mind or it doesn’t quite work out, there’s always jobs.

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