Interview with Alexandra Cote

Alexandra CoteAlexandra Cote is a remote based Digital Marketer & Freelance Content Writer/Strategist. You can find her in her Websitetwitter and LinkedIn.

1. How did you started working remotely? 

I had a part-time job during college and that wasn’t taking up too much of my time. However, I just always knew I wanted to go for a remote opportunity for when I was going to switch to a full-time gig. So when one my current team members reached out to me, I had to say yes. Of course, I took a liking to the remote life and wouldn’t give up on it ever, ever.

For me, the switch wasn’t difficult. I think I’m a right fit for having a remote career. Yet, not everyone will get accustomed to this as easily. With my first job, I was fortunate enough to have independence as I landed a small marketing management job from the beginning. So I had no issues with being accountable for my work. This is a key trait to develop if you don’t want to find yourself postponing your tasks endlessly just because there’s no one to watch over you.

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

Everything. No commute, more energy, more free time, schedule flexibility, even saving money on food and clothes. It’s all so convenient and you don’t need to be bothered by regular issues office workers bump into like getting a speeding ticket, not having clean clothes to wear, getting food poisoning during lunch break [this actually happened to me], and who knows what’s gonna happen in one day.

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

Personally, I don’t have anything I miss. But again, it will depend on whether you’re suited for this lifestyle. If you like to talk to your colleagues face-to-face every single minute, a remote job is clearly not for you.

Also, keep in mind that all remote jobs are different. This means you’re not going to receive the same benefits everywhere. Some companies might require you to follow a strict schedule so you won’t get the flexibility you might be looking for. There are even employers who ask you to regularly visit them once or twice a year for the company’s meetings.

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

Romania [multiple cities] and Budapest. The latter is certainly a perfect place for digital nomads and any expats really. The city is gorgeous, close to other countries if you want to take some weekend trips, and the costs are relatively low. Everyone already says so and I can confirm. The restaurants are a bit on the expensive side compared to the actual food cost and you might bump into the language barrier occasionally but I understand Hungarian so everything was perfect from my point of view. Tip from me: don’t book a place in the city center if you want to sleep well at night.

Going everywhere next is on my list!

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

Home. Always. My craft requires me to be fully immersed in my work without any distractions. Anything moving around me or people talking can get me off the track so I prefer to just work from home.

I literally work from my kitchen table since it’s taller [my arms and hands feel better for sure] but I don’t recommend working from anywhere close to food if you don’t want to clear your fridge and pantry in one day.

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

Everywhere around Europe and South Korea/Japan are my biggest dreams. There’s also this sense of classic nostalgia I have when I think of cities such as Singapore or Buenos Aires so I’ve marked those too.

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

First of all, I can fully understand their fear of hiring someone whom they can’t supervise and collaborate with like in an office environment. It’s difficult to just go on and trust a stranger from across the world. In fact, candidates have this fear too when choosing their next teams. So the first tip I’d have is to carefully pick and analyze your employees. Go for people who have at least partial experience working remotely and are proven hard workers [check their side projects or contact past employers for feedback].

Second, don’t just rush the hiring process to pick someone from your own country or timezone. I’ve seen so many companies hire people who were located in the same area and limit their talent poll, ultimately going for the wrong people. The world is full of professionals just waiting to give their all for a remote opportunity. Regardless of nationality or timezone.

8. What tools do you use to work remotely?

I like to keep everything simple: email, Slack, Skype/Zoom, Google Docs, and a bunch of tools I need for SEO and editing purposes. Besides finding an effective solution to keep the team connected, there’s not much of a difference in terms of tools when it comes to remote vs. office jobs.

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

It depends on your country’s own laws. I’m a freelancer [in my country this is an actual financial entity] so everything I work on is contract-based. As simple as that. I also take care of my own taxes since the process in my country is not overly complicated.

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

Work on your skills first. Make sure you’re fully prepared for the remote work opportunity you want to apply for. Also, narrow down the companies you’re going to send your application to by writing a list of your top goals and work benefits you expect from your next workplace. Make sure you also do the research on the company’s policies and work culture beforehand to see if the environment is not a toxic one. As a general rule, go only for companies with a score of 4 and above on Glassdoor.

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