Interview with Tamara Thurman

Tamara ThurmanTamara Thurman is a remote based Travel Writer & Freelance Marketer, you can find her in instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter too.

1. How did you started working remotely? 

Remote working was actually never something on my radar until about 2 years ago, despite the fact it suits my personality down to a T. I’m an extremely career driven person but I also desperately love travelling which means I find long-term work commitments a challenge. Remote working presented itself as the ideal solution; I can be my own boss and literally take my work around the world with me!

Travel writing was something I sort of fell into to be honest. I started a travel blog (travellingtam.com) in 2017 as a hobby and from there I wrote a few guest blog posts on other sites. In 2018 I applied for a travel writer position for the global travel blog, Travelettes and somehow got it despite the fact the editor had over 300 email applications and I only had this very small writing portfolio! A year later, I’m still writing for them remotely and represent them on press trips when I can.

Travel writing has been an amazing opportunity that first opened the door to remote working. It made me realise I can channel my marketing expertise in this manner too so alongside Travelettes, I also pitch pieces to magazines, copy-write, create/publish content, run social media accounts and do remote digital marketing for clients in a range of industries.

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

There are loads! For me, as well as the obvious travelling whilst I work element, it’s the feeling of complete control over my own work. When I complete tasks or an article, I feel in a way like I’m representing myself and not a big generic organisation who doesn’t appreciate or understand the hard work I’ve put in. I feel like I throw so much more of myself into things when I don’t have the face of a company to hide behind.

Of course there is the flexibility element too. If I want to go out to meet my friend for breakfast and do my work later, I can. It’s so liberating.

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

Remote working is probably not the mental image many people have of it. I think a lot of people think you just open your laptop for a few hours and then go lie on the beach and get paid loads for it. The fact is, I now probably spend more time in front of a laptop than I ever have before and I work evenings and weekends as I don’t have that sort of self discipline (and I have so much on)! I’m sure any business owners (or people like me who have turned their hobby into a career), can relate!

I also hate the fact you don’t always get paid as well as you should for your work, you don’t get a regular income and can often be chasing invoices (if you’re freelance). Companies wouldn’t dare not pay an employee who works in their office, so why are remote employees any different? One thing I have learnt from this though is that a personal relationship with your client is so important so even if you are at the other side of the world, they still consider you as part of the team.

I guess sometimes it can get quite lonely too. I spend so much time on my own I can sometimes not talk to people face-to-face for weeks and it puts me in a really down funk. I miss office banter and the social element of working for someone else.

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

I’m mainly based in Melbourne, Australia but I have worked remotely in Tasmania, The Philippines and South Korea.

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

I love working in a library. It usually has really good WiFi and it’s free unlike a co-working office! I feel so much more motivated if i’m in an academic environment compared to say, at home where there are so many distractions.

I do try and mix it up and go to a coffee shop every now and again but I always feel bad if I’m buying only one thing so I usually just go for a few hours before the library. Mixing up my environment helps me concentrate so I’ll often move desks every few hours!

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

In the next couple of years I plan to uproot from Melbourne and take my work with me on a more long-term trip around the world. I adore Asia so i’ll probably start there (I’m dying to go to Japan) and then go where life takes me, living cheap and enjoying the work/life balance that remote working offers.

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

I think many companies perceive remote workers as a risk but in fact, they can be such an incredible asset and be more cost-effective and productive in the long-run.

Technology means employers and employees can be connected at a touch of a button so they’re never really far away at all.

If there is limited office space, remote workers can especially be a great alternative solution.

8. Which tools do you use to work remotely?

To find remote freelance positions I use various online channels such as Facebook pages and groups (especially good for writers and marketing professionals), Upwork and Indeed.

Whilst working, Google Docs is pretty essential and I also use Slack, WordPress, Skype and Asana but it depends on what programmes my client/company has.

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

For Australia-based jobs (which most of them are) I get paid normally as an employee so my tax is automatically deducted.

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

For people looking at working remotely:

  • It really isn’t for everyone. It takes someone with huge amounts of self-motivation and discipline as you’re the only person accountable for yourself!
  • Consider how much you value the social aspect of your job. Can you cope without it?
  • If you work for a company currently, ask them if they would consider you going remote. They can only say no but there’s a chance they could say yes!
  • Just go for it! If it doesn’t work out then you can always drop it and do something else. It’s not the end of the world. It’s worth giving it a shot and finding it out than always wondering and not knowing!

For companies looking at going remote:

  • There are a wealth of technologies available to you to make remote work easy and keep you all connected. Communication is one of the most essential aspects of remote work.
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