1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself?
Alexandra here. Full-time content marketer, freelance SaaS writer and SEO strategist, online course instructor, failed YouTuber [still trying], owner of 50+ hobbies, and the list can go on. I’m currently based in Romania which is why you’ll see lots of pics from there to boost the visuals of this interview. 😅
I’ve been working remotely for 3+ years now, mostly spending time at home but planning on traveling the world soon. Other than writing and being present everywhere online, I also like to chill, paint, write poems, create amazing music playlists, find the best ever movies, watch cycling and ski jumping, and pick up temporary hobbies occasionally like cooking or nutrition.
I’m passionate about talking to people (Is that even a thing?). I love hearing about all the things I know I can help them with. Above all, I dream of a world where everyone will be allowed to work a job they love, stay sane at home or in the office, and just have a smile on their faces at all times. Literally, my main goal is to eradicate the whole wake up – work – buy groceries – sleep – do it all again pattern.
2. What motivated you to choose remote working?
I always knew I wanted to do this. I just didn’t know it was called “working remotely”. Frankly, I’ve always hated the idea of having to go and come back from school, college, anywhere really. The same repetitive scenery just wasn’t for me. All hail no commute 🙏. So I also realized I didn’t like the perspective of doing the same things over and over again, living in one place, and only getting to see the world for ~20 days/year.
Working from home has also kept me sane mentally. No more forcing myself to go to work, eating at set hours, or having to go through headaches or other health issues in an office. Plus, I’m saving a lot of money and not bothering with having to make sure I get to work on time, prepare food ahead of time, or have the right clothes for the day. You know, for when the temperature in the office is not exactly to your liking.
Not to mention, most distributed teams are not part of corporations where my life would have just drained away and I couldn’t have dealt with all the unexplainable policies, like: “Sure, you have 2 days to work from home each month in case of an emergency.” 🤦♀️
3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations?
I had no issues with remote work from the very beginning. It was like I was always guided to get to this point. The only small struggles I had were the fact that I was the only one in the team working remotely. So naturally, everyone else had to slightly adapt their communication styles.
For most companies, this shouldn’t be a problem. We’re all using tools like Slack or Zoom anyway and might even have separate office locations scattered all over the world. At some point, all employees will get to “digitally” [aka remotely] communicate with someone on the other side of the world.
One big point to pay attention to is that remote work is not going to be all sunshine and roses right away. In my 3+ years of working remotely, I’ve only managed to travel a bit during my vacation days and relatively close to home. The free life we’re all imagining depends on other factors too, such as: if your partner also works remotely, if you can afford it, plus other internal or external things that might be keeping you close to home and not going for the nomad life.
4. How did you find remote working roles?
The way I found my first remote job and what I’d recommend to everyone is to grow your personal brand until you get noticed and everyone will want to work with you. I ended up with my job thanks to a recommendation and frankly, most remote workers are in the same situation. It’s fairly difficult to trust someone on the other side of the world without having your peers back them up.
Working remotely is still a very competitive “privilege”. I studied thousands of remote jobs and most of them are for experienced, senior professionals. Beyond this, even companies who seek mid-level experts end up hiring someone with 8+ years of experience. This makes it impossible for beginners to get started with a remote job. Your options remain to go for an internship, start freelancing, or launch your own company.
I’m currently doing freelancing too because I don’t yet have 10 years of experience. All of my work comes from referrals and I actually miss the days when I could start a conversation with a client myself through cold pitching.
Ultimately, what I’d recommend for anyone who wants to go remote is not to be content with what you’re doing at your full-time job. Seek to educate yourself constantly, create side-projects, take on freelancing work, start a YouTube channel, whatever you need to grow your personal brand too. No matter how many brands you’ve helped with growth, it’s yours that truly matters in the end.
5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you?
Everything is a benefit. Getting to work from wherever you want to, set your own schedule [unless your company imposes one], avoid commute [and pollution 🙄], get time to eat a healthy meal, take a walk at noon, nap after work, pet your dog all day long, all these tiny things that add up to create a life that’s worth living. Not to mention, see the world and really just live your best possible life while not having to worry about money or falling behind with your professional growth.
For me, there are no negative aspects to working remotely. Maybe just the fact that when I’m too busy I can go days without leaving the house. Simply getting some fresh air and sunlight after that makes you enjoy all the little things. When I was first getting started with remote work I had this need of showing all the amazing things I could achieve. Like we all probably do.
So I often worked overtime to do that. 8 hours is barely enough to do part of your job. Particularly in a field like marketing where you can do something every single second. In reality, 8 hours is way too much for any normal human to work. Most people never put these many productive hours/day. What I’ve noticed to work best is getting all work done until noon. 4-5 hours of complete productivity. 💪
6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely?
I’m not a huge fan of filling my day with tools so I stick to the basics: email, Slack, Skype or Zoom for client meetings [prefer Google Meet though], Canva and Affinity Designer since visuals are life, Grammarly, and sometimes Mailtrack.
Compared to using complete apps and platforms, I prefer small Chrome extensions. As a marketer, MozBar and BuzzSumo are my 2 go-to little helpers. I occasionally use TubeBuddy when I’m optimizing my YouTube videos before they go live too. For meetings, I turn to Krisp whenever I need to mute background noises. Also, I use this free tool for screensharing.
7. Your most exciting/hilarious experience since you started working remotely.
I’m still quite young so I don’t have any breathtaking life stories, but I did get to talk to a lot of fellow remote workers thanks to this opportunity. I love networking and hearing about how other people conduct their work, what projects they have, and just how they live their days. I’ve also been reaching out to remote workers whenever I myself needed help with a guide or study and this has helped me get a full grasp of working remotely, its challenges, and how others are handling them. Surprisingly, we’re all quite similar and choosing remote work for similar reasons.
Since I’m present in the marketing world, in online education, and partially on YouTube, I’ve had several opportunities to talk to people and help them grow their marketing or writing careers. I do believe each personality type has its own goals in life and mine is this: helping others grow and stay happy. Best part? I’ve already done this to a certain extent and hope to keep at it in the future too.
8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker?
Try working remotely before you jump to do this as a full-time gig. This will allow you to see if it’s right for you and if there are any types of teams you might not enjoy working with. I, for instance, prefer to work with team members who have the same outlook of work as I do.
After you choose this, make sure you don’t just accept any offer. Go for a company with decent remote work policies and benefits. As a trick, check the company’s Glassdoor page to see what other past or current workers had to say. Also a nice hack for when you need to estimate a salary range. 😉
Once you’ve landed a job, you’ll WANT and NEED to be productive. Just enough, without going overboard and bumping into burnout. But never distance yourself from your professional goals.
Many people going into this lifestyle worry that their careers will be left behind. This is only true if you’re not willing to put in consistent work each day. Ultimately, it depends on your future goals. If you want to have a regular job for the rest of your life, feel free to work the 8 hours and then do whatever. Once your aspirations are to score a management position or run your own company, you’ll need to become better at distributing your time and maybe considering working a bit more for a couple of years. All this can be done while traveling the world and following a side passion too.
9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals?
I have SO many things I want to do. Life’s short though so I probably won’t get to achieve everything but that’s fine. As for my career, I want to keep growing, meet new people, and, ideally, lead amazing projects.
My focus though remains polishing on a personal and mental level. To be honest, a career or personal brand is easy to grow. So beyond all the work, I want to build and live worthwhile experiences, meet amazing people, and just stay happy. Work-life balance if you will but with a focus on life. That’s what matters at the end.
10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?
The future is super uncertain. On one hand, there are those people who aren’t the right fit for this lifestyle so they can’t wait to go back to the office. And then there are many professionals who’ve realized that they can do their job just as efficiently from home.
Thing is, there hasn’t really been an increase in the number of remote jobs available out there. So competition is just getting fiercer for most positions. Less experienced individuals will have no choice but to stick around the office for a while. My two cents.