1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi There! I’m Mona, and I have my own company, Something Green, where I help sustainable companies with their communication and marketing. I’ve worked with all kinds of companies and products, including biodegradable glitter, sustainable T-shirts, offsetting, solar panel manufacturers, podcasters, and with names like CHOOOSE, Heathrow Airport, SkyScanner and Lonely Planet.
I run everything remotely because I have a lust for mountains and despise the cold weather of my home country, Denmark.
I’ve always had the travel bug but set up for remote work in 2017 after spending 4-5 months backpacking.
I love hiking, camping, snorkeling, and other outdoor activities. You’ll recognize me by my T-rex tattoo and the seemingly endless supply of random facts. Case in point: Aladdin was Chinese. You’re welcome.
2. What motivated you to choose remote working?
I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world with my laptop and a camera. Since I was 16, that was a goal I kept coming back to, but my career interests didn’t allow for remote work. I was an environmental planner for years, and that requires you to stay in one location. For years I looked into different remote jobs, but I couldn’t see myself in any of them. While traveling in 2017, I found a way to make money by working and still do what I love.
3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations?
I had dreamt of this kind of lifestyle since I was around 16, but I always had a ton of excuses for not doing it. When I finally took the jump, I knew it would likely not live up to my expectations, so I made sure to brace myself for the harsh realities.
I was wrong. Life on the road was everything I had dreamt of and more. It exceeded my wildest expectations, and I am endlessly grateful for all the adventures and encounters I’ve had the good fortune to have.
4. How did you find remote working roles?
Dumb luck. I happened to be at a beach party in Thailand and met a guy. He told me about this coworking space nearby, and since I was having trouble finding reliable internet, I decided to check it out. That coworking space just happened to be Kohub, the best coworking space in the world. It had an amazing community that offered plenty of advice on defining your services, finding clients, branding yourself, and all the practical things like what systems to use to make online work run smoothly. If not for the Kohub community, it would have taken me way longer to get my business up and running. I have so much love and gratitude for them.
5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you?
The best part of remote working is that I get to travel and submerge myself in different cultures and taste a lot of different food. There’s always something new and exciting to do, and I get to see the world while building a career that suits me.
The worst part, auch… Well, you can feel uprooted, and you might miss out on important life events. I went back to my home country due to COVID, and because of that, I got to be present while two of my siblings had their first kid (not with each other. We’re not Lannisters). That was a great joy, but I know that by traveling, I am choosing a different role in my Nephews lives. While you will, without a doubt, grow your online and global network, you are actively saying no to being part of a local community.
6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely?
Physical tools: My laptop stand, keyboard, and mouse. Seriously, my neck and back are much happier after I got those. In the same category, my BagSmart organiser for electronics is great. My travel yoga mat from Jade yoga helps me keep (somewhat) in shape and is both one of the lightest and most sustainable on the market, so I don’t have to worry about microplastic pollution. Combine that with some resistance bands and you have no excuse for not “hitting the gym”.
Other tools: Toggl time tracker, and my CMS Dubsado which allows my clients to book meetings with me without the hassle of time zones and link sharing (Calendly has a free version).
7. Your most exciting/ hilarious experience since you started working remotely.
Oh gosh! There have been so many. From experiencing the worst flood and storm in Hawaii’s recorded history to staying in a Hello Kitty hotel room in Malaysia or epic birthdays on remote islands in Thailand, accidentally ruining a music video in Bali, camping in the middle of nowhere in Georgia, and suddenly hearing gunshots followed creepy howling and dozens of eyes gleaming at us, to literally jumping ship in Maui because of safety issues.
When you work remotely, you become a cornucopia of stories, but the downside is you will have a hard time picking the most exciting.
8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker?
1) Seek out nomad communities. Working remote can be rough when you’re juggling all the balls. Nomad communities are a great plug-N-play solution that will help you focus on work because things like the internet, workspace, and coffee are all taken care of for you. Not to mention the social network and activities. I’ve made amazing friends in these communities.
2) Get a daily habit that you can do anywhere. Nomad life will at some points make you feel rootless, but having something that you can do wherever you are helps you feel grounded. This could be meditation, exercise, a travel-size hobby like drawing, writing, or playing the harmonica.
9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals?
While 2020 did have some setbacks, I’m lucky and still on the right track. I will keep growing my company. I’m looking to expand later this year, and looking to take on a more educational role so I can reach more people in less time. Climate change and environmental issues is an all hands on deck situation, and I don’t have the capacity to take in all the companies who need help getting their message out there. But, creating tools that help companies do it themselves would be an efficient way of helping them ASAP.
10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?
Before 2020, it was always a struggle to teach my clients how to use Zoom, and how to conduct projects online. Now, not an issue. I expect to have an easier time finding clients, because so many will be used to working from home. That wasn’t the case two years ago. I got turned down by a lot of people, simply because they thought it was weird that I didn’t have an office they could walk into. They didn’t yet trust the concept of online work.
However, I also think slow travel is going to be a must for many location independent workers. With quarantine requirements and future local outbreaks, I think it’s going to be a couple of years before we can comfortably pop in and out of a country. On the bright side, nomad visas are likely going to make it easier to stay in one place longer, and I expect many insurance companies and services that support the online lifestyle will enter the market.