Hi guys, my name is Vlad Shvets and for the last five years I have been working remotely. I’m now running marketing & growth at Paperform.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in my life is that I do not have a permanent residence. Literally every half a year I move from one country to another and try to integrate into a new culture and mentality. For the last 6 months I’d been traveling around the United States of America. I was travelling all over the southern part: Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Arkansas. But now I live in Argentina in Buenos Aires.
And literally in a few weeks I’m going to a completely new and unknown country — Brazil. This will be my first experience in this country, and to be honest, I am very inspired and delighted.
Since I love to get to know a country from the inside, I never turn to travel agencies and guides. The most memorable events occur only when you fall into them by accident. That is why I almost never make travel plans well ahead. I like to be in the moment and make decisions on the go.
In fact, I always had freelancing in mind and kind of envied those people who are able to earn money from anywhere in the world without breaking their work schedule. Then at one point, I started working in a half-remote company – we’d only met for coffee and lunch once per week, working the rest of time from home.
I really liked it. There was no need to get up early and come to our office, wear a special uniform or suit, solve organizational issues and adapt to the general indestructible schedule. Remote work opened tons of new opportunities for me, allowing me to spend more time on personal growth and traveling.
For me the biggest challenge was to work while being in my cozy home. Before, my house was associated exclusively with relaxation and comfort. Working in such an atmosphere was totally unproductive for me!
I was constantly distracted by checking my refrigerator (haha), updating pages on social networks, talking with my relatives on Skype and even just going out to the corridor and looking in the mirror. No, I thought, it should not be like that. It turned out that for me it’s fundamentally important to separate the workspace and the resting place.
That is why I began to take a laptop with me and go to coworking places. Thereafter, everything went as it should. A relaxed, but working atmosphere allows you to tune in to an adequate, productive mood. At the end of this working period you feel like a real hero. Like really, when I feel that I did everything I planned, a song by Queen – We are the champions – plays in my head 🙂
My whole career has been in the tech industry, doing marketing and a bit of sales. At one point, the new role that I got meant working for a semi-remote company. The whole team was based in the same city (Taipei, Taiwan), but we’d only met once per week in person, spending the rest of time working from home or coffee places. I picked up that opportunity not because of that company culture, but ended up liking it a lot.
In that company I’d gained quite a bit of industry-specific experience, which made it easy for me to find new job opportunities. But because I wanted to travel at that time, I always asked if I might complete the projects remotely — and the answer had always been “Yes”.
The best aspect was that I could work at a time convenient for me and in a pleasant place for myself. For example, for some people it can be difficult to concentrate on work when they are distracted by some kind of noise. It’s more convenient for me when I hear a somehow unobtrusive melody. This is a kind of immersion in the “working trance”. So I often listen to my favorite songs while diving into work.
Also the coolest aspect of remote work is aligning to a schedule that is really comfortable to me. Most of the work is not based on shifts, but on the output that you managed to create. Thus, the beginning of the week can be completely devoted to projects and the end of the week can sometimes be chill and relaxed.
The good aspect is that remote work helped me to passively save some money. For example, when I worked in the office, my colleagues and I went to the nearest restaurant every day during the lunch break. I often spent additional money if I was late and had to call a taxi to work. All this disappeared with my transition to remote work, and helps me to save up a considerable buck per month.
However, the worst aspect of remote work is a huge sense of responsibility. When you work for a company, you usually have a 9 to 5 working day. And the work does not go beyond it. But when working remotely, you are forced to “be on” almost around the clock.
I have a small list of tools that I use daily.
First of all, an Alarm clock. It helps to divide the large tasks into many small ones and due to this to be more focused. There is also an app called Focus To-Go. It automatically sets a timer for 20 minutes so that you can take a short break after a while. This is very convenient for increasing concentration on the subject.
I use Slack for all the work-communications. One awesome feature is that it always shows the local time of your colleagues. This greatly facilitates communication.
I use Zoom for video conversations and interviews. You can set dates for a video meeting and also create alerts for all participants in a conversation. Although there are many alternatives, I prefer to have video calls there.
All the most amazing things that happened in my life are indirectly or directly related to my transition to remote work. First of all, I began to live traveling. Now I am much more mobile. I have tremendous experience in communicating with people, different nations and mentalities.
I can tell you hundreds of outstanding travel stories. This October for example, I was in the middle of a political crisis in Santiago, Chile. Being a foreigner who doesn’t even speak Spanish, it was both scary and very insightful — a true opportunity to connect with the local community and get to know about their struggles.
Escaping the unrest in the capital, my better half and I decided to travel to the north of Chile, all the way to Atacama desert, which is one of the driest places in the world. For a few weeks we were working from the town San Pedro De Atacama, an oasis in the middle of the desert. Early in the morning we would wake up to climb volcanoes and attend various tours, then later in the afternoon would catch up on work and emails.
My golden advice is that you need to learn how to allocate your time correctly. In the initial stages, it might seem that remote work is very simple. Some people work while watching TV, eating, chatting with friends in instant messengers and doing other extraneous matters. This is an approach that leads to failure. So you not only fill up your project, but also stretch its implementation for a long, long time. Good time management is a skill that does not come right away, but that needs to be mastered.
As I have said before, I do not like to plan for the long term. I like to enjoy the moment. It’s also easier for me to create small tasks that I can solve in the very near future.
However, if I think about it, I would really like to develop my skills in marketing, programming, targeted advertising and modern remote work processes. Since learning this is a long way to go, I would like to become a mentor for many people who do not know where to start.
There are many ways to do this: online tutorials, guides, personal checklists, online articles. However, my main goal is to collect the accumulated experience and translate it into a real book. Although this sounds unlikely, however, I believe that it is quite possible.
I am absolutely sure that remote work is directly what will undergo development in the future. Since in our time almost all areas are moving to online platforms, I expect the same thing is gonna happen with a huge number of professions and areas of life.
Even, for example, studying at a university nowadays can be done online. Lectures can be pre-recorded and listened to by students at any time, assignments can be sent by email, knowledge testing can be run through online testing or reflected in the form of an essay which is submitted online.
I think that in the modern world everyone needs to learn the minimum skills for promoting themselves on the Internet, because this can help in any field. If you don’t know where to start, start small. Start your Instagram blog, YouTube channel, or an online page with your best tips. If people are interested in you, it will be very easy to monetize.