The opportunity to work remotely may be easier than you think

By Patricia Whiting

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘working remotely’? Is it a vision of someone working in a rural region? Or do you imagine an adventurer, trekking through the Amazon in a remote area away from civilization?

Working remotely is as simple as not working at a physical location. Instead, it is the ability to work from home or other sites that are not the office. You are connected to your office through the internet and other technological advancements.

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Telecommuting is becoming a trend in dozens of industries. It seems to be the perfect arrangement for many, with companies who chose to support and encourage this method often report higher levels of employee engagement and retention and reduced turnover.

Of course, this isn’t suited to everyone and that’s OK. However, if you are looking for a new way to reduce your carbon footprint and consider yourself to be a self-disciplined individual then you may consider embracing this advancement in the workforce.

Today, we hear from Lucy Frank. She is a freelance marketer and travel blogger who has been working remotely for her own business, My VA. 

I asked Lucy a number of questions, and this is what you will learn from her interview:

  • The tools you will need to be successful working remotely.
  • How to work with tight deadlines and troubleshooting any issues.
  • To invest in yourself, as you are your business.
  • Lucy’s challenges and advice to those wanting to start their own business.

What tools do you use to complete work remotely? 

Lucy: I use Asana for managing my to-do list, WordPress for managing websites, Mail chimp for email marketing, Hootsuite to manage social media, Canva for Graphic Design, Keysearch for keyword research and Wave for invoicing.

Lucy uses a number of tools to be proficient in her business, however, these may not fit your exact role and that is important to understand. Find the websites, platforms and software that you and your business will benefit from.

How do you find working on tight deadlines?

Lucy: I manage my deadlines the way I manage my business. With honesty and organisation. Clients will be happier if you say it will take 10 days and you finish it in 7, in comparison to saying it will take 7 but finishing in 10 days.

She explains that it is always good to overestimate/ give yourself a buffer, just in case you have any issues. Realistically, this is not always possible as some clients may be looking for the person who can finish the project the quickest. It is important to stay true to yourself and as the saying goes not bite off more than you can chew

Challenges of working remotely?

Lucy: Finding clients that give you enough information to do your job effectively and don’t try to underpay you. In my opinion, the only people you should want to work with are the people who value what you do and support your work, rather than giving you projects without enough information to be able to complete it.

This can be combated through networking! Lucy attends regular events to meet potential clients face to face opposed to over the internet. She finds this to be the most successful way to gauge a person’s intentions and whether she is the right fit for them and vice-versa.

Advice for others looking to do the same

Lucy: Building a website should be the first thing you do if you want to be seen as a professional freelancer. You will also need business cards. Also, if you find yourself getting distracted from home, or perhaps the internet connection drops out often, then you should look into co-working spaces. I know I am more productive from co-working spaces so I consider this an investment in my business as opposed to a cost.

Above all, you will need to invest in yourself. Lucy explains that there a number of paid tools she needs to do her job. Just as any business does, you will have upfront expenses that you will need to cover before you start making a profit. You are your business, so do not be afraid to be picky when you have the chance. Set a minimum price and stick to it. You need to value your work as much as anybody else.

 



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