Interview with Akvile DeFazio

Akvile De FazioAkvile DeFazio is a Social Media Advertising and Marketing specialist, founder of AKvertise, a remote advertising agency. You can find Akvile in twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

1. How did you started working remotely? 

I attended the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle with my team at the time and was live-tweeting heavily from the show that Danny Sullivan, one of the conference speakers, owners, and organizers noticed, that he followed me. Later that afternoon, we connected in person and I asked him if he knew anyone in California hiring since I was relocating and he said they could use someone like me on the team.

After the show, we reconnected, I had an interview, and landed my first fully remote job with their team. Admittedly, there was an adjustment period until I set up a real home office and treated it like any other job, minus a short commute from one room to the other. To make the switch, I learned how to use tools and to communicate virtually.

2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?

The freedom is invaluable. To be able to work when your mind is sharpest, from anywhere in the world, as long as you have your computer and wifi, is the best gift you can give yourself. We spend most of our week and our lives working, so why not change some of the criteria and experience life in addition to work, outside of a single building?

The people you meet, the experiences you have, the places you see, the discipline you create for yourself, makes it all worthwhile as it will give you new perspectives and can only positively impact the work you do for your business and for your clients.

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

Absolutely. There is no ideal situation to work, but you can customize it given on your goals as a remote worker. After being remote for 3.5 years in house and now going on 5, working for myself and growing my remote advertising agency, the only thing I feel like I miss from being in an office is to not have coworkers sitting next to me or in the same building that I can have an in-person conversation with whether it’s to collaborate or to grab lunch with.

The bonds you build in an office are different than virtual bonds, but as long as you are proactive about communicating, you can create good working relationships and friendships, just as we do with social media.

4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote?

I have worked while traveling around North America and through Europe. From Toronto, to Calgary, NYC, Buffalo, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas, Dallas, Portland, Boston, Denver, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, Mexico, Belize, London, Paris, Rome, and many places in between, I’ve found something that I enjoy about each location.

While each one has something unique and special to offer, I do enjoy working remotely near water most, wherever that may be. There is something so calming, powerful, and inspiring about it.

5. From which type of place do you prefer to work? 

Coffee shops tend to be my favorite. They have excellent fuel in the form of coffee beans and water, plus, I enjoy knowing others around me are working and moving about. I put on my headphones to get into the zone and I find my most productive hours there.

In addition, I often meet interesting people and have acquired leads by being present at cafes. When it comes to needing a quiet space, libraries are wonderful as they too, have wifi, and coworking spaces are much appreciated on the go if meetings are necessary.

6. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?

I would love to explore Asia and South America while working remotely. Many countries on those continents reside on my bucket list and I am working on making that happen in the coming years.

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

They are missing out on some incredibly talented, creative, versatile, productive, individuals that may have different views and experiences from travel to bring to the team. Not everyone thrives in an office environment or working standard business hours. I, for one, am not of those people.

My mind is sharper very early in the morning and I need to take a break mid-afternoon before continuing my productivity. I’ve also found that speaking with other remoters, they are efficient, productive, and well time managed workers as they craft their schedules to be able to complete work and to be able to travel.

8. Which tools do you use to work remotely?

Trello and Basecamp for project management. Toggl for time management. QuickBooks for invoicing, payroll, and business finances. Google Docs for working in and sharing spreadsheets and other team/client based documents. Google Suite to manage company email. Buffer for social media scheduling. When it comes to my primary tasks, I use the respective channels to manage ad accounts such as Facebook Ads Manager.

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

I use QuickBooks Plus to manage all business finances and to easily pay taxes. For any specific questions or annual tax filing, I have an accountant that works remotely as well.

10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?

Start small and establish trust with your employer. If you’ve been there long enough, have displayed your work ethic, that you’re trustworthy, reliable, a team player, and get your work done, begin by asking for one day a week to work from home.

Once you establish a cadence with less time in the office and show that you are even more productive than when you are in the office, have that conversation with your manager and see if you can take additional time. If that doesn’t work, look into starting your own business that you can take on the road with you while you travel. Companies, the same goes for you. Establish trust with your employees and reward them with remote opportunities if it is line with their goals.

If you find talent you want to hire that is not willing to relocate, hire them as consultants and to a three month trial period. See how it goes. Or, just dive right in and hire someone that is the best candidate for a position. Establish documentation and processes so that your team, in and outside of the office have the tools they need to collaborate and get the work done.

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