Interview with Andrea D’Ottavio

Andrea DottavioAndrea D’Ottavio is a digital entrepreneur. He runs his own company, a growth marketing agency called Webing, that has created digital marketing campaigns for well-known brands like Ferrari, Bulgari, Hyundai, Microsoft, Discovery, among others. He also offers online courses and speaks at marketing conferences worldwide. You can find him via his Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.   

1. How have you started working remotely?

I became 100% location-independent 10 years ago. in short: I was living in Rome, Italy, where I also had based my agency. I then decided to move to London permanently and use it as primary hub to travel. Back in 2008/2009, there weren’t many coworking spaces.

I joined TechHub London (which became Google Campus) from the beginning and started working from the “Silicon roundabout” area of London. 

After a while, I felt I needed a space where I could network with more like-minded people, e.g. international travellers and more established entrepreneurs. Professionals who actually changed the world somehow, not just young coders and designers bootstrapping. 

I then joined Soho House, which is a great international network where you can actually spend a day working, networking and exercising.

2. Which are the main advantages that you find that remote work has? 

Remote work is great because it gives me the freedom to work from anywhere, travel and live in different places. Even for short periods. 

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

I don’t have any disadvantages, but probably because I am not in my 20s or 30s anymore. I understand younger people might still sometimes be attracted to working in a corporate environment, where you actually work closely with your colleagues.

If you work remotely from home all the time, you will eventually feel lonely.

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

I travel constantly, even for short periods. I’ve been working from London, Milan, Rome, NYC and I am now based in Bali, traveling often in South East Asia and Australia.

I am loving Bali at the moment as it allows me to live a great lifestyle and make some interesting connections.

5. How working remotely and being a “nomad” has impacted your family life?

Well, I have 2 daughters (6 and 9) and it’s very different now. If your partner is also location-independent and you have the right “spirit”, you can still travel a lot. When it comes to educating your children, you have some options, mainly home schooling, or international schools. 

With home schooling, you can travel constantly while still educating your children. I am not a fan of home schooling for a few reasons. The first one is that they won’t develop their social skills a lot. In my opinion, children need to be in an environment where they can create connections, play with other children, do playdates, etc. With home schooling they will not experience that.

Second, I prefer when a professional teacher teaches my daughters. I don’t have the patience, nor the skills, to teach kids 🙂 And I think it works best when the teachers are not also their parents.

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

If I am in a city where there is a Soho House, I prefer to work from there. Otherwise, I like to work from coworking spaces and from home.

It really depends where you’re based and your lifestyle. Now that I am living in Bali, I like to divide my day into units, instead of working continuously from one place.

What really works best for me is to have a day like this:

  • Wake up early (around 5am), do some high-quality work, quick breakfast and take the kids to school
  • Go for a surf 
  • Have a healthy breakfast and work for a couple of hours from Dojo
  • Lunch, work and pick up the kids from school
  • Work from home
  • If good, go for a sunset surf session
  • Dinner and rest

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

They should try hiring at least some remote staff and really challenge themselves. Most people love working remotely and, in many places (like London), if you’re not open to allow your teams to work remotely 2-3 days per week, it will be more difficult for you to hire.

Please stop thinking that remote-work=no work.

8. What tools and protocols/processes do you use and follow to work remotely?

There are so many tools you can use to get the work done. It’s important to have processes and systems. Being self-disciplined can be a big challenge, especially if you’re young. 

Also, don’t fall into the trap that you need 100 tools to work. Just pick the ones you and your clients like and stick to them. Don’t waste time on using many tools: focus on developing your business and getting shit done. Always focus on the lifestyle you want and what you need to achieve it.

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

I am a UK citizen and my company is based in the UK. I am still resident in the UK and I pay taxes in the UK.

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

Start from the lifestyle you want and understand how much it costs. 

Understand how you can work remotely and achieve the lifestyle you like.

Be very self-disciplined.

Always have a plan B and C!

For companies: if you don’t believe in remote work and you’re an HR, do this: force yourself to work from a coworking space, from home and from cafes for one month. Go to events hosted by coworking spaces. Understand what it really means to work remotely. Meet people and listen to their stories. Then understand what kind of remote-work program you can offer your staff.

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