30 Oct How to Become a Remote Worker
Before we get into the meaty part of this article, let me tell you a little story. When I left the UK to become a remote worker, the initial focus was on travelling around the world and enjoying this experience (you can watch my videos on this trip on YouTube) but in the back of my mind, there was a business idea that was in the planning stage at the time of me starting my travels.
My Story so far
Towards the end of my trip in New Zealand, the reality hit home that it was time to act and look at ways of making a living while being able to continue with my travels – no way, was I going back to the 9 to 5, working in an office environment.
After a lot of soul-searching, it became apparent that I wasn’t passionate about the business idea and the reality that it would take at least 12 months before generating revenue because of the lack of a marketing budget. My only other options were to become a freelancer and work for lots of different clients, but the thought of waiting for invoices to be paid did not appeal to me.
On arriving into Los Angeles, the last leg of my round the world trip, I went into panic mode, so it was time to act and stop waiting for things to happen.
My first task was to create a CV (resume) – it was a task that hadn’t been done for a long time! Grabbing a piece of paper and pen, I wrote down all of the skills that I had learned over this period, including the years spent working on my own little projects that were worked on in my spare time. After creating this list it made writing my CV much easier and it helped highlight the type of work that could be done while travelling and working remotely.
Let’s take a break from the story, to offer some nuggets of advice.
Be honest with yourself
Before you even leave your current job and plan your travels you need to be honest with yourself – yes, you will read stories of people travelling the world and writing a blog, but in reality, very few of these people are making money from it – they will be contracting or freelancing, be it copywriting, app development etc. Don’t lose sight of your passions, but be realistic – can your passion give you a comfortable lifestyle from day 1 – there is no point becoming a remote worker and travelling the world if you have to live in dirty hostels, eat cheap takeaway food and not experience the place you’re in.
On a personal level, I would love to make a living creating video content, and sharing my experiences with others – but in reality, right now, it is not going to pay for me to travel and live this lifestyle, so it’s a hobby and maybe one day it’ll become more.
Don’t lose sight of your passions just be realistic.
Create a skills list
Get out your A3 pad of paper, and a pencil because it is time to brainstorm! When you create your skills list, think about not just your working life, but skills you’ve built up through hobbies, interests and groups that you might be a member of. Also, highlight your passions from these skills – what type of work would you wake up every morning and do. This is important because you need to be productive and enjoy the work that you do for a living.
At this early stage, you need to be thinking about how you are going to make money; do you want to work for an employer who allows its staff to work remotely, do you want to become a freelancer/contractor, or, another option is launching your own business, like a specific service or product. All of these have advantages and disadvantages, and I will discuss these in a future article.
Give some thought to the niche that you could focus on. Don’t try and take on the world and be an expert in a huge niche, like web design, think smaller, so you want to be an expert in app design and focus on working in the tourism industry, because, you love travelling.
Create a network
There is a saying – sometimes, it isn’t what you know, but who you know, and believe me, this is so true – before quitting your job, start to build a network of people that could help you in the future. Visit local networking events build relationships and business cards. Follow and engage with leaders and authority figures on Twitter, and don’t forget to create your LinkedIn profile and join a few groups. Participate in forums on communities that focus on your niche and skills/interests. Show people that you’re knowledgeable, and engage with them over time.
At this point, let me jump back to my little story.
So, I was in Los Angeles, in panic mode, but after creating my CV it made me realise the type of work that could be done remotely. On Facebook, I approached a few people who I’d met at networking events and through interaction on social media. Very politely, I asked them if they knew anyone who was looking for someone with my skills and sent a link to my LinkedIn profile, which had my CV uploaded (save people time!). Out of the five people contacted, two came back with contacts – one resulted in an interview, and 48 hours later, started a contract with that company.
Of course, my skills and experience played a part in getting the contract, but my networked helped me, so, I cannot stress enough that creating a network of people that you can call upon in the future is critical. Interestingly enough, the person who referred me to the company, I met through a networking event about ten years prior – if you keep in touch with people, help them out, provide value to their lives, it comes back and pays you in a big way.