• Tristan

Remote working: The why, where, how and when

I’m currently out in Berlin. A city where anyone is accepted, and you can truly be yourself, and be free. It’s this sense of freedom I want to share in this post. Not to show off because I’m not stuck in an office, but because I want more people to do what I’m doing. So called “digital nomadism”. 


This year I’ve spend a month in Paris, a month in Berlin, a month in Mexico, and the rest of the time hopping between London and Bristol. 


Firstly, I’m in no way any sort of pioneer for this, other people work remotely and travel. But my desire is for more people to consider it as a real possibility. If you think you’d enjoy it, start making moves to making it happen! It maybe stereotypically millennial, but honestly, who cares?  


The Why

Seriously though, why not?


Berlin is an incredible place that has drawn me back 4 times in the last 2 years. I just can’t help myself, I feel good being here. The people are so diverse, in fact, because of the international nature of the city, most people speak English before they speak German to you. This fact might make you think it lacks authenticity, or that sense of being in a “foreign country” when you travel, but in no way is that the case. Berlin is quite clearly different… from anywhere. 


I have never felt so free or liberated as I do right now in my life. Even when I’ve been at the start of a long holiday, I have never felt so free and happy. And yet I’m working Monday-Friday (roughly) and I'm busy, with pressure from clients and the stress that goes with that.

 

It’s the continuous and ever-possible ability for me to explore that keep me ever-present in the moment. No routinised schedule. No continuous familiarity. 


The Where

Wherever you want.


Literally wherever. I mean some places pose time difference challenges, but that’s near enough the only restriction.


The How

The tricky part, hey?


Option 1. If you truly want this, and you love your job, first step is to ask your employer. You’ll, of course, have to have proven yourself a reliable, trustworthy person. But when you’re at a good stage, say something like: 


Hey Employer, I love working here, I feel valued, I love my work, and this is what I want to do in life and you’re helping me achieve this. But, something else that’s important to me is living and being in an environment that I’m comfortable in, and here in {{city}} I don’t have this. So, I’m reviewing my options right now and I have a few potentials, but I wanted to talk with you about how open you are to remote working?


If you don’t think this will fly… try Option 1a, ask if they’d consider employing you on a freelancer contract (maybe even part-time). In my opinion part-time is even better as you can diversify your income away from one source and get new (ideally higher paying) clients and carve a niche for what you uniquely offer to businesses/people.


Option 2. Find another full-time opportunity that offers remote working immediately or soon after the start. It’s becoming way more common, for startups check out Angel List and filter to “Remote Open”. Most job searches will have this option.


Still not looking good? Option 3. This is what I did, get out of employment, and become your own boss (freelancer or start a company). It might sound scary, and there are certainly hurdles, but it’s certainly not impossible. Top tips for this include: sign your first client before you leave (and prep as much as possible), lean on and expand your existing network at the beginning, carve out a niche (know what value you offer), over-deliver on client work and get referrals (I’ve had 5 in the last week as I am becoming known for CRM & Marketing automation)! Happy to offer specific advice to anyone who wants it on this subject!


The When

You could easily start the process today...


But surely, I need a massive bag of money before doing this. Honestly, I didn’t. Not at all. But I didn’t jump straight into travelling, I cut back on expenses and was lucky enough to have loving friends and family to provide me places to stay whilst I build up my client list and reliable income (that’s a lie, it’s never reliable when you work for yourself - but some income). 


There is certainly a time period you need to plan, build up clients or negotiate with employers, but it shouldn’t be more than 3 months if you’re effective. So, if you start now, in a few short months you could be working from a beach club in South East Asia, a coffee shop in Copenhagen or a co-working space in Mexico.


I just want people to question themselves if they are stuck in the day to day monotony of 9-5. If you hear yourself complaining about work, do something about it and review your options: either leave the situation or accept it. Because it’s so, so easy to just get stuck in the loop, and not see any other option. 


Who knows where I’m going to work from today, and what my day looks like, and I can’t wait...


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© 2019 Tristan Gillen.