Interview: Melissa Fach

Melissa FachMelissa Fach is the Social Community Manager for Pubcon and also works as an independent consultant. You can find her in Twitter, LinkedIn and her own site.

1. How did you started working remotely? How did you do the switch?

I was pregnant when I got my Masters in Mental Health. I didn’t want to have a baby and leave him, so I looked into making money from home. Someone suggested taking my best skill in college and using it.

All my professors always said my writing was great so I started offering writing services. This was 11-12 years ago and web content was really something people were starting to realized they needed.

I learned about SEO copywriting and then SEO, and then web development…things snowballed. Within a year I was working 30 hours a week creating web content.

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

I get so much more done than I would in an office. I am not distracted by people and things and I can totally focus on the work I need to complete. When it comes to creative tasks, like writing for example, it is impossible for people to do it on the clock. They have to be inspired and in the right frame of mind to write. Working remotely allows me to get up at 5am or stay up until 12am to write. It allows me to produce great work when the time is right and always meet deadlines.

For businesses on the west coast of the U.S. I can be their early morning person that ensures customer service is being handled and work is being done. By being a great worker this ensures I will always have work somewhere. I can also be a more present mother and that is important to me. Because of this bonus I tend to work more than I am paid to because I am so thankful for the work that I have.

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

I tend to overwork. I get up in the morning and check the social networks and I check until I get into bed. I recently got an SUV with Wifi so I can work from anywhere :). I work all day and there is no 9 to 5. However, that is fine with me because I like the more flexible schedule. If I need to go to a doctor’s appointment, I can. If I want to go have lunch I do (but I really don’t do that often).

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

I live in Sarasota, Florida and have never left. I like it here, but have worked from the Florida Keys, Tulsa, Dallas, Vegas…Sarasota is the best.

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

I really just work from home. I have a designated office. I can work in the living room or the family room, and when I write I typically choose a guest bedroom and shut the door so I can focus on just the writing. I get distracted working in places like restaurants, so I prefer to work at home.

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

Ireland 🙂 I have always wanted to go there.

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

I think they are missing out on a great opportunity. I have never met a remote worker that doesn’t put in more hours than traditional office workers. I think remote workers that can cover the hours you are not open is a great way to offer fantastic customer service and to handle social media around the clock. A lot can happen over night.

Good remote workers will make your life easier and they will appreciate the job. However, you have to choose employees carefully. I am very self-disciplined and a perfectionist. They people I work for benefit from this.

If you think about a traditional employee that has to wake up really early to shower, get dressed, eat, get kids ready, get their kids to school, drive to work…they have done so much before arriving at work. I get up, drive a kid to school, drive home and work. I am so less stressed this way and can be on point the second I start working -> this is a clear benefit for employers.

I will also mention that I have ADD/ADHD. I don’t do as well working in an office environment. It is easy to get distracted and have conversations and go do other things. There are millions of people around the world that are the same way. There are many advantages to having ADD in the kind of work I do, so please don’t think you shouldn’t hire people that have it. Instead use their strengths (they will tell you what they are). For me, being able to set up a work environment that allows me to excel is fantastic for the people I work for and myself.

8. Which tools do you use to work remotely?

Flowdock, Skype, Trello, email and texting.

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

I document every possible deduction. In the U.S. a home designated office space is a deduction, as are the utilities, Internet service, phone and cell service. Any traveling expenses for work and really anything related to work. I do have an accountant handle things, but I provide a list of deductions.

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

Think first, do you like being around people? Do you need people? Do you like working with a team in person? Do you need structure? If you answered yes to any of these questions you may want to stay in an office. Working remotely means you are really alone – all the time. Sure you have Internet conversations, but it isn’t the same. If you will get lonely and/or depressed without coworkers than don’t do it.

Also, be honest with yourself about how self-disciplined you are. You CANNOT work remotely without being extremely self-disciplined and having a schedule for work in place. You have to get up, sit down and work. All day! Alone. You have to complete tasks and not fail. I think it is easier for businesses to let a remote worker go than a traditional worker, so you have to prove you are doing your part and that you are a valuable asset to the company.

If you are self-disciplined I don’t think there is a better way to work. I love it and highly recommend it. Just make sure you create a solid reputation in your industry so if a job change is needed you can still work from home.

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