Pioneer Q & A
How did you start working remotely? Was it something you sought out or stumbled into?
Totally accidentally. I got into the startup scene right after college as a freelancer. Then a few years later I took a two month vacation to Asia and mid-trip a potential new client needed some work done. He didn’t care that I wasn’t in the US. I hadn’t planned on working, but the money was good so I took it. And then I realized I could combine my love for travel, my introverted preference for non-office work, and my technical skills. I’m writing this at the beginning of a three-month backpacking trip, wherein I plan on working about 20 hours per week. Now that I’ve found this way of working, I honestly can’t imagine working any other way.
What do you do for work and for fun?
For 7 years I did pay per click advertising for corporate and startup clients, managing about $30M in ad budgets for Google Adwords and Facebook ads. With my last client I grew traffic 1700% by teaching 19 inexperienced interns how to write SEO content. I loved the project and decided that I want to focus on teaching and solving the experience gap. It’s hard to get a job without experience, but it’s hard to get experience without a job. I’m trying to solve that.
What cities do you call “home” and why do you want to be a Workfrom ambassador?
Boston, MA USA. Boston has some awesome places to work from that are super cheap and easy, but you wouldn’t necessarily know about them unless if someone told you. I’ve been a freelancer for 7 years, and I like to think that I’ve found the good spots to work from.
How did you find out about Workfrom and why do you want to bring it to your area?
I think I found it on Nomadlist. I’m not sure exactly. I’ve been googling for digital nomad resources for the past few days, so I don’t remember where exactly I’ve found any particular resource.
Any tips you’d like to share for others wanting to or already working remotely?
Craigslist now has a feature that automaticall alerts users when a new job post comes up that matches their search. So, for example, I’ve put in “Adwords” into searches for a bunch of cities and now I can immediately jump on ads and pitch the business on my freelancing. I used to do it via IFTTT, but it was cumbersome. This is a lot easier.
Any tips for those wanting to visit and work from your area?
In Boston there’s a few free(ish) spaces with great wifi. Pete’s coffee in the North End has a seating area that is so quiet, people go outside when they have to take a phone call. Seriously. District Hall is an open meeting space with great wifi. There’s a large free co-working space where I used to spend many days. If someone is going to be in Boston for a while, the Boston Athenaeum has amazing wifi. It’s a private library and there’s a couple hundred dollar joining fee (good for one year membership), but if you need a quiet space to work, it’s awesome. Note though that it’s a library, so there’s no talking on phones. Venture Cafe is a weekly open meetup for folks in the startup community, drawing about 300 to 500 people per week. Starbucks in Davis square has a ton of power outlets and very reliable internet.
What do you like most about Workfrom, and what would you like to see above all else come from us in the next year?
Wifi quality info is the #1 thing I care about. 2nd to that is the quality of the environment in which I’d be working (noise, ergonomics, people in the space, etc…). The big thing that I wish I had was a way of identifying remote-friendly places in locations I’d not previously considered. For example, later this week I’m going to Phuket because Nomadlist put it as a top recommendation. I then scoped out some hostels there and found one that has a built-in coworking space. Total time to come to that conclusion was about two hours of researching. I’d love if there was a list that narrowed it down so that I knew the place had everything I needed. Thus far my search has been limited to very popular areas that tend to be party-oriented. I’m looking for chill vibes and good wifi. So some way of saying “I don’t care where in particular the location is, but I do care that it has everything that I need to work remotely.” What I’d really love is to have a resource that tells me the name of a town I’d never research on my own where I could have everything I need.