Interview with Oliver Burke

Oliver Burke is Web designer & developer at Propeller Digital and you can find him on Linkedin.

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

When I was 20 years old I decided to leave university and move to Thailand to fight Muay Thai professionally, but it doesn’t pay well so I needed a good source of income to sustain myself.

I had been studying computer science at university, and I knew I was good at web development so that was the obvious choice!

Oliver Burke2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?:

For me, it is the ability to live anywhere in the world, rather than restricting your options to the countries where you can earn a good income.

It is hard for me to compare working remotely to a normal job, as I have never worked a non-remote job.

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

I’m lucky that I’m working with some good people, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much on the social side of things but I can see how that might be a problem for some remote workers.

It can make things difficult for making sales, as a lot of digital agencies like ours make their sales by networking locally. I can’t do that since I’m on the other side of the planet from most of our clients, but we’ve managed to find other sales channels.

4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favorite ones?:

I’ve mostly been in Chiang Mai for the past 3 years, which is by far my favourite. I’ve also worked while visiting other areas of Thailand, and when I go home to Ireland to visit family.

I’m hoping to visit and work from more places once the world opens back up for international travel!

5. From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, coworking spaces, coffee shops, or others? Do you have any specific place?:

I mostly prefer to work from my desk at home. It saves me time driving somewhere and I can set everything up how I like it.

Sometimes I go to coffee shops just to get outside and have a change of routine.

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

I’ve heard great things about Vietnam so I’d definitely like to check that out soon, especially since I’m so close to it!

7. What advice would you give to overcome the main challenges of working remotely? Share your remote productivity, communication, management, etc. tips based on your experience!:

The main challenge for our remote company early on was growing our network while living far away from that network. We put in an extra effort to deliver great work to all of our clients, and that seems to have worked for us and helped us grow from word of mouth.

8. What tools do you use and are your favorites to work remotely?:

For managing communication between our team and clients, I can’t recommend Basecamp enough. I have no affiliation with them but I can’t imagine how we would run our company without it. It’s so simple to use that you’ll actually keep things updated and clients will use it too!

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

We all pay our taxes in our home country – Ireland. We’re looking at incorporating abroad in the near future, as it doesn’t really make sense for us to have our business registered in Ireland. We will of course continue to pay our personal income tax in Ireland.

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

I think the main thing is to make sure that you stay disciplined, just because you don’t have set hours doesn’t mean you don’t have to work! For companies, I think hiring people that have demonstrated themselves to have a lot of self-discipline is important.

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