Interview with Nikita Marina, Leadership Development Contractor

nikita yefimovaNikita Marina works remotely as a Leadership Development contractor and at her own business. You can find her at her website, instagram, and LinkedIn.

1. How did you start working remotely? How did you make the switch?

I felt constricted by the comfort and structure of my comfortable life style. The very limits of that situation prevented me from developing a plan of who i can organize my life in a new way. As risky as it was at the time, i had to disassemble my life in order to rebuild it. So i quit my job and left my home and traveled for over a year before I started to see the new way of living and working. I started meeting more like minded people and building my online presence as a somatic coach and a leadership development consultant.

Our community of freelancers and remote leaders as well as companies that are 100% remote keeps growing and facing its unique challenges in forms of growth, development, communication and sustainability. I find a lot of demand in this specific field for psychologists and coaches that specialize in this specific niche.

You can read more about my personal story and how i started my company working remotely in this article by VoyageLA.

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

Other then the obvious freedom to travel and be location independent, the main advantage of being able to work remotely is unlimited ways to be creative. Having flexibility in organizing my schedule, my personal practices and adventures, developing connections with clients i choose (vs. provided by company) all contribute to the joy of following my own creative flows.

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

Since i am a solopreneur, the main disadvantage is working by myself. When i first started, i did not have a good support network. When i worked at an office, there were people to bounce ideas of, people that offered their insight into my work process. That was very helpful.

I think for us, remote workers, it is very important to develop ongoing relationships with peers or join existing freelance groups in order to stay relevant and supported.

4. From which cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? Which has been your favorite one?

I’ve worked from so many different places. In Europe: Spain, France, UK, even Malta; Guatemala, various states in the US, different countries in Asia, Australia.

I moved to Indonesia last year. I have been working mostly from Bali. It is very special and definitely one of my favorite places in the world.

5. From which type of place do you prefer to work? Coworking spaces, coffee shops or others? Do you have any specific place?

Depends on what i am working on. When i am doing video/audio calls with my clients, I work from my “living room” most of the time. Bali is warm so my living room is an outdoors space, more like a covered patio. It’s great!

When i work on program designs or business development, I favor coffee shops that have work stations.

Coworking spaces appeal to me in terms of having access to a community of remote workers like myself. However, not all coworking spaces are created equal. So it is kind of a hit or miss.

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

Right now I am stranded in California where i came 2 months ago to visit family and attend a conference. Because of Covid-19 many countries have closed their borders. Indonesia is one of them and I haven’t been able to return there. I can’t wait to go back.

Other countries I’d like to revisit are Portugal, Japan and Korea. And some more remote places like Bhutan and Mongolia. Not sure if i will be able to work from there though.

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

Remote work is not just the future of work. It is our reality. With the current situation in the world with many cities and countries on lockdown, governments and private companies have no other choice but to turn to remote talent.

I think the main issue right now is not whether they believe in hiring remote workers or not but their ability create effective ways of working together and making these remote relationships work and run smoothly.

In some ways it is quite inspiring to see the potential in what has been come possible. But there is definitely a lot of demand for innovation not just in the field of technology, but also leadership-wise in both corporate and freelance worlds.

8. Which tools do you use to work remotely?

  • I use Zoom for video calls, especially if working with groups.
  • G suite for file sharing and surveys, etc.
  • Personal favorites while traveling:
  • InsightTimer for meditation
  • Presence, a plug in that helps we stay focused and take breaks while working.

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

TurboTax for taxes. I’ve had some good experiences hiring contractors from Fiverr and Upwork. My marketing needs are handled by a team of remote workers as well.

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

I’ve met many people that romanticize the idea of remote work, who are not really willing or have the tools to make it work. There is nothing wrong with simply wanting to travel and see the world. I think for some people taking a few months off and just doing that would be more beneficial. So I would recommend to get really honest and clear with yourself on the reasons why you want to make the switch.

For companies,open-mindedness and structural flexibility is very important in order to adapt successfully to new ways of operating. For leaders in those companies, I would say, reach out for help, ask questions, find mentors and coaches. Yes, it is a big learning and it is absolutely worth it.

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