1. How did you start working remotely? How did you make the switch?
I guess I mirror what many people in my position did 12+ years ago that had the desire to have a better/more flexible working life and didn’t want to be answering to someone else.
I spent some years as an IT engineer which eventually drove me to want to do something totally different, getting away from computers and general public to learn something new.
I’ve always been pretty hands on, So I tried my hand in construction as a steel erector ( bit of a change I know ). I loved it initially, the hours we’re long, I worked away from home alot and the winter days were the tough but it was another chapter that put me on the right path. I believe it helped shaped me, both through hard work and the people I met along the way. Personally I think everyone should either have to do national service or some form of physical laborious job as a part of growing skills and common sense in the real world, but that’s another story :D.
During this time I started working remotely of an evening, weekend and any free hours i could manage while also keeping up a full time job, often working evenings in a hotel on my own website projects, learning, growing and eventually gaining clients as a result.
I don’t remember 1 single person ever encouraging me throughout my journey with the exception of my now fiancée and maybe one or two work colleagues, in fact most thought I was wasting my time and told me to get “a real job”. In a way that pushed me harder to prove everyone wrong, I lost friends along the way and I questioned myself many times, but those were worthy sacrifices.
From the start I was risk-averse, I was determined to stick with it and not make the make that jump to full time remote working until I knew I had the clientele and regular work load to accommodate for my earnings. It was a long hard road building with no capital and was full of ups and downs.
It seems so much easier now days but I guess everything is easy when you know how, the wealth of info available today is unbelievable, there is not a single reason someone can’t start a business and earn money online or offline if you are prepared to put the hours in and do something you are passionate about.
2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?
Working remotely for me isn’t about some glorious working from a beach type scenario.
I without a doubt put more hours in and work harder now than I ever have, but it has given me the ability to take the afternoon off, grab my laptop and work in the garden in the summer, go on vacation while keeping up with emails and do bits of work while away. I get to spend more time with my little girl and pop into town during normal work hours, picking up the slack in the evening.
It’s that kind of flexibility which really sets apart remote, to old fashioned brick and mortar businesses.
3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?
Being an introvert who prefers to deal mainly via email and occasional phone call, this really is a perfect setup for someone like me, so I see very little disadvantage to it other than possibly small hurdles to grow and expand. I guess it depends on your end goal as a remote worker.
There are disadvantages of every scenario, for me It’s all about process, working smarter, finding a good fit between client and remote worker is viral.
Non-fit and “scope creep” clients can be a drain on any remote worker so qualifying a client, is just as important as them qualifying you.
There is still, in 2019 a stigma attached to remote workers where some companies feel they are paying you to sit at home, but that’s never bothered me nor have I lost business as a result.
My clients know ( and joke that I never sleep ), that I put more hours and value into a client than I ever could if I setup a brick and mortar agency tied to a 9-5 day.
That flexibility is where the value is for both remote worker, and the companies hiring them. To this day I still carry 90% of my original clients with continuous and repeat custom from 10 years ago.
4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favorite ones?
I’ve always been UK based, apart from the occasional holidays where I’ve had to do a bit of work while sitting next to the pool or in the hotel lobby I’m not a massively travelled person.
5. From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, coworking spaces, coffee shops or others? Do you have any specific place?
I’m very much an introvert, so working anywhere noisy or around other people doesn’t really work for me. I prefer to sit down at my desk or in the garden, in the quiet. Quite boring I guess 🙂
6. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?
In a perfect world, I’d love to travel the world but I know I wouldn’t get half as much work done. I’m focusing more on building for the future and retiring at a younger age than I am trying to brag that I’m working from some exotic location.
7. What advice would you give to overcome the main challenges of working remotely?
Share your remote productivity, communication, management, etc. tips based on your experience!
It’s 2019! In all honestly, I don’t blame them. Still to this day there are few people with the same work ethic and drive it takes to encourage companies that remote workers can help streamline their practices.
I’d say every company I’ve worked with have gone through so many freelancers in order to find one reliable and trustworthy contractor that it makes the process painful and time consuming for them. More often than not those trial and error scenarios are often what kills off remote possibilities despite limiting the companies reach to local geographical skilled workers.
8. What tools do you use and are your favorites to work remotely?
- I have quite a few different tools to make me work smarter and gain more insight, but for general usage.
- My laptops, VOIP phone lines, Trello for project management, slack, dropbox, Skype,
- That’s pretty much it. I try not to over complicate anything.
9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?
Easily, in the UK nearly everything can be done and submitted online now, I keep my overheads extremely low. My accountant deals with the finer details.
10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?
Don’t run before you can walk, focus on something you love and have a passion for, surround your self with positive people who help you believe.
Never stop learning even from someone who you consider to be less experienced.
Remain humble, be kind, and pay it forward.
It’s worth it in the long run. Mine is still very much a work in progress.
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