Rachel Stuckey, from Toronto, Canada, is a freelance writer and editor who has worked remotely for about 5 years. You can read some of her articles on her website and also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This year she published a new ebook: Freelancing on the Road: A Digital Nomad Guide for Editors.
1. How did you start working remotely? How did you make the switch?
I had been working as a freelance editor for about 5 years when I decided I wanted to travel for an extended period. But I didn’t want to lose my clients, so I continued to work as I traveled. When I got back from my long trip, I realized that I couldn’t stay in one place. I’ve been a digital nomad off and on for the last five years.
2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?
I love to travel and see the world. I could just stay in my hometown and take vacations, but I like to experience a place, not just see it. I love to go to a new city and spend time exploring and getting to know the place. Working remotely works really well with slow travel. It can also let me focus on my work, without all the distractions of life at home. This year, I used my time to write my new ebook “Freelancing on the Road: A Digital Nomad Guide for Editors.” It was something I’d wanted to do for a while, but couldn’t find the time.
3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?
Working remotely can get lonely. You meet so many new people, but you don’t really have deep relationships. That’s why I like to go home to Toronto and reconnect with my close friends and colleagues. And of course, I miss my family when I’m traveling. It’s also hard to have a routine when you’re on the road. Because I enjoy cooking, I miss that when I’m remote and staying in places with limited tools.
4. From which cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? Which has been your favorite one?
I’ve worked from London, Paris, Valencia, Javea, and Malaga in Europe. I’ve also worked in Goa, Udaipur, Jaipur, and Darjeeling in India. But I’ve spent most of my time in Thailand, in the south, and in Chiang Mai. I think Chiang Mai has been my favorite place to live and work for an extended time.
5. From which type of place do you prefer to work? Coworking spaces, coffee shops or others? Do you have any specific place?
I really like coworking spaces, but if that isn’t an option, prefer to work in my apartment or hotel room. Occasionally, I enjoy working in a cafe, but only for some types of work and only for a few hours at a time. I found Punspace in Chiang Mai to be a very productive place to work.
6. Which places would you like to travel to while working remotely?
I’m planning to spend some time in Cape Town next year, and I’d like to try living in Antigua, Guatemala. I’d also like to check out some of the cities in Eastern Europe like Sophia or Split.
7. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe in hiring employees who work remotely?
It’s a big leap, so I understand why they hesitate to hire remote workers. Publishing has always hired freelance editors, so it’s a very normal thing in my field. But if companies can change the way they think about work, they will probably find that remote workers are often far more productive than those who spend all day in the office.
8. Which tools do you use to work remotely?
I don’t really use anything special for working remotely. I use MS Office, Google Drive, and email—just like I would if I wasn’t working remotely.
I also love the Roost Laptop Stand and using my iPad as a second screen.
9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?
I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my invoices, expenses, and tax calculations. That’s how I started out 10 years ago as a freelancer and I haven’t upgraded my system! It works for me.
10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?
It’s really important to focus on communication. You should always make sure expectations are clear and that everyone knows what is happening. Otherwise, things can get very confusing!