Jason Barnard is a remote based Digital Marketing Consultant at Kalicube. He is also an author on all things digital marketing for publications such as Search Engine Journal and SEMrush. You can find him through his personal website, the Kalicube site, and social presence in Twitter and LinkedIn.
1. How did you started working remotely?
I have never had a real, steady job so there was no switch from office to remote. I was a touring musician for 8 years, then built a website full of games, songs and cartoons for kids in French and English (Boowa and Kwala).
I suppose the moment I went VERY remote was when I moved to Mauritius (tiny island just off the coast of Africa) to run the site and develop the cartoons. The website received 60 million visits for the year 2008 – pretty impressive given that we were developing and running the site from a tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean using a 64K connection 🙂
Since moving back from Mauritius I have been working remotely doing Digital Marketing Consultancy for various clients. Since January I have gone the whole hog and become 100% digital nomad. No flat, no home, just hotels, AirBnB and sleeper trains.
2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?
Freedom to organise my own time, no office politics (although I have no first hand experience, I am told it can be heavy going), no commute, working in an environment of my choosing. Add to that the nomad aspect, and the fact that the environment changes regularly is a big boost.
An advantage I haven’t made the most of (yet) – I play bass and sing, and having had a couple of jam sessions (the first with a wonderfully bonkers Hungarian rock drummer in Australia), I am really keen to meet up with more musicians and having a jam when I travel (hint hint to any musicians out there 🙂 I have one planned for Amsterdam in September.
The best thing of all though is meeting so many amazingly wonderful people.
3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?
Working closely with people. Being remote means working on projects in a vacuum, with only sporadic exchanges with other members of the teams. Plus, often those meetings are online, and that simply isn’t the same as face to face. Working remotely also means that I have to structure my own time. Although it is a big plus to be able to organise work around life (rather than the other way around), it does mean that if I am not careful and conscientious, the work easily gets neglected .
4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote?
I started in Paris (my favourite, so I got off to a lucky start :), Mauritius, Montpellier, Berlin, Prague, Wroclaw (Poland), London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Sydney, Barcelona.
Paris is my ‘hub’ – the town I come back to most often. The closest I have to home right now 🙂
5. From what type of place do you prefer to work?
I tend to work where I sleep, so hotels, AirBnBs. Then I like to go to coffee shops for a bit of company. And I love working in the train (I’m doing this interview in a French train from Nimes to Paris). I rarely use coworking spaces. Not sure why. Perhaps I should!
6. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?
Looking forward to the second half of 2019 when I will add Rome, Saint Petersburg, New York, Dallas, Budapest, Malta, and maybe some other groovy places. If anybody reading this has great suggestions for Digital Marketing conferences to attend in interesting places, please let me know.
7. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe in hiring employees who work remotely?
Give it a try.
8. What tools do you use to work remotely?
Google Hangouts and Skype for meetings. Slack for ongoing threaded conversations. Google Sheets and Trello for task tracking.
9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?
Everything is based in France. I have a French company that is registered in the South of France, so I pay taxes in France as a French resident. People often suggest that I move the company offshore, and I have given it some thought.
10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?
Make sure your communication is good – emails are fine, but regular voice and video calls are vital. I also get a lot out of sitting down face to face with my clients every month or three. When the time between face to face meetings is longer than that, I find I tend to lose the client.
If you are going nomad, get a really good cellphone contract. You’ll quickly come to heavily depend on your phone.
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