Interview with Valeria Lo Iacono, Training Course-ware designer at Symonds Training

Valeria lo LaconoValeria Lo Iacono is a Training Course-ware designer and works for Symonds Training. You can find more about Symonds Training on Pinterest, Facebook, Linkedin, and Youtube.

1. How you started working remotely?:

I was studying a Ph.D. in dance in Wales, UK, and I thought that after I finished my studies, that I would go into teaching. I did teach for a while including at the University of Bath, England and then I worked as a researcher for the University of Exeter, England.
The opportunities for long-term teaching contracts though are difficult and rather than spend time seeking out teaching jobs I realized that what I really wanted to do was travel and work for myself.
So two years ago I felt that it was the time to make a break for it and to start an online business so that I could be geographically independent so that I can and work from anywhere.
And naturally, I am still working in education but I can do it from places such as Bansko, Belgium, or even Barbados.

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

I absolutely love the personal freedom that it gives you. Being able to just fly off to anywhere in the world is simply amazing.
Furthermore, I find that you meet so many amazing and like-minded people. It is a wonderful way to explore the world.

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

Well, it does mean that in one sense, there is no stability in that I cannot, for example, take out an annual local gym membership where I live because I won’t be in the same place for one year.
So it can be nice to have a base but the truth is that nothing beats remote working i.e. the advantages for me, easily outweigh any disadvantages.

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

I have worked in over 15 countries and the ones I most frequent are Bansko, Berlin, Chiang Mai, and Cancun. My favorite overall is Bansko because it is so affordable, the social life is great, it is easy to get around the town, and it’s very different in winter and summer. Hiking and things in the summer and then hot springs and skiing in the wintertime.

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 tend to combine co-working spaces with coffee shops, although it depends on the city or country I am in.
I usually join a local coworking space because it gives me access to a great social life and instant networking opportunities in the location.
From a work point of view, in some places, I do enjoy the vibe of coffee shops but as long as there is somewhere to sit in a corner and with good WiFi.
Working close to a beach where you can work and hear the sound of the water is my favorite though.

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

I would really like to spend more time in some exotic locations such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, and the Caribbean. I would love to try Tallinn in Estonia and Helsinki, Finland also.

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!:

My key tip is to have self-belief. You might be reading this and have been thinking about remote working for years and never been brave enough to make a break for it. The biggest and only real barrier to remote working is in the mind.
In terms of productivity, absolutely make sure that you use a good backup service such as Dropbox so that you have historical backups of all your work files. I have seen some people will all their work only on their laptop and lose it all after their laptop was stolen.
For management, I recommend starting turning digital as soon as you can. Get used to doing everything digital as this will free you up luggage wise as you travel. You will want to travel as light as possible.

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

Some oft he tools I find invaluable for remote working are:
– Dropbox
– Canva
– Tailwind
– Mailerlite
and my laptop. Also traveling with a decent HD webcam is a must!

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

I am UK tax-based and I declare everything I earn in the UK. I travel slightly less than 6 months a year on average ie. 5 months a year and this makes things much easier tax-wise.

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

My advice is to be brave and really go for it. What do you really have to lose by at least giving remote working a try?
If you do not like it you can always quit. Chances are though that you will be addicted.

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