During college, I was already familiar with the gig economy and the possibility of earning money through the Internet. I had accounts on Gengo (translation service), Fiverr, Zerys (writing service), and Upwork. I did several gigs on Gengo and Zerys, and earned about almost $200 in total.
But making a career out of remote work wasn’t my initial plan. After I finished my bachelors’ degree and a year-long traditional office internship, I was offered a full-time position at that company. But I rejected the offer because I was planning to pursue my masters’ degree.
The exact transition was a blur, but one day I remembered that I had an Upwork profile. It was already approved for two years, and it was just sitting there since I didn’t have time to apply for jobs or do the actual work.
So I decided with the free time I had, I could do one or two projects there. However, I didn’t have any specific experience besides the subjects I learned in college and the internship experience as an IT QC staff. Thankfully, there’s a position called virtual assistant on Upwork.
A virtual assistant, just like its name, does every kind of job you could imagine, virtually. It’s the perfect way to learn new skills while earning money, just like an internship. I started at $4/hour. A meager rate, but a pretty decent one if you convert it to Indonesian Rupiah. With my first two clients, I did English to Indonesian translation and Trello/WordPress content management. I’m still working with them now.
About ten projects later, I realized I was attracted to content marketing. I’ve always loved reading, writing, and languages in general. It’s only logical for me to work in content eventually.
Now, 18 months since my first project on Upwork, I’ve specialized myself in content marketing and quadrupled my hourly rate.
Read 114 answers from other remote workers
For most of my clients, I work as their content manager. So I research topics, assign topics to writers, and format them on WordPress.
But for one client, Caldera Forms (now acquired by Saturday Drive), I work in their marketing department. We’re still transitioning and getting to know each other at Saturday Drive, but it’s been really nice to be able to work remotely in a team.
Read 107 answers from other remote workers
I get up at around 6 or 7 a.m., do Miracle Morning (meditate, journal, say affirmations, do yoga, read a book or listen to an audiobook), have breakfast, brush my teeth, and take a shower.
At around 9 or 10, I start working. I would tackle the job that gives me the most anxiety first. These tasks are typically special requests from clients or questions from a coworker. Every time I had that, I would do those tasks first. I hate to make someone wait, even though it's not urgent and understandable in remote work.
The afternoon is for routine and administrative tasks. I will finish working at around 4 or 5 p.m.
Read 92 answers from other remote workers
A lot has changed since I started working remote.
The time is on my side now, it almost feels like I can do whatever I like.
Read 22 answers from other remote workers
Not really. I get bored easily, so I usually just keep moving inside the house. I can work in the living room, my room, or my parents’ room. If I get stuck in a rut, I will bring my work (read: my laptop) to nearby cafes.
I realized I should have a proper, ergonomic work setup, though.
Read 93 answers from other remote workers
I'm a creature of habit. Once I discovered the rhythm that works for me, it's easy just to do the work. Most of my work is routine too (content production), so that helps.
I get bored with something pretty fast, but I'm not too good with changes either. So being a freelancer in the content marketing space works for me, since content production is a routine work, but different with each client. There are rarely 'surprises.'
Usually, at the beginning of the week, I already know what I will be doing during that week. Sometimes if there's too much, I'll make a to-do list, and tackle the tasks one by one as I go through it.
I already have an estimate of the time each task will take, schedule them into my week. By doing this, I can do the actual work mindfully, without thinking about the other tasks.
Read 100 answers from other remote workers
I like all things about remote work. And I see no reason why everyone wouldn’t do it. Once you work remotely, you wouldn’t want to go back (at least for me).
I LOVE the ability to work from anywhere.
Because that means I could travel while I work. This year, I’ve lived outside my house for two months. One month in Yogyakarta (a city in Indonesia) and another in Bangkok, Thailand. And take breaks (read: sleep) whenever I need it, as long as the work is done.
Economically, it’s cheaper than traditional office work. No commuting required! Especially if you live in Jakarta, the city with the worst traffic, that means A LOT.
The ability to work internationally without leaving the comfort of your home country, and being friends with people from around the world, understanding their culture, and opening doors to new possibilities are awesome.
Since I’m an introvert, I’m not a big fan of confrontations and office drama. Working remotely lessens these to a minimum, so I could focus on the important things, like results and productivity.
More free time = more time to do the important things and spend time with the people dearest to you.
Read 106 answers from other remote workers
I really love remote work, and I’m grateful for the chance to experience it all. But if you asked me what I don’t like about it, these are some things I had in mind:
I work mostly at home with my family (my mom, dad, and sister). My parents work mostly from home too, and we eat out a lot, or just randomly decide to watch a movie on weekdays. So that’s one thing I have to balance with my work constantly.
As much as I do not like office drama, I miss the camaraderie from working with colleagues on-site. You can’t replace that with conference calls and icebreaker questions.
Read 103 answers from other remote workers
For note-taking, I use Evernote. I take notes there when I read books, take an online course, or just brainstorm for work.
To be honest, the most motivating tool for me is the Upwork time tracker. I work on an hourly basis, so it’s important to track time and keep the tracker on the whole time I’m working. It would capture my screen every 10 minutes.
Out of various project management tools I’ve tried, I like Asana the most.
Read 108 answers from other remote workers
Save and invest your money, especially if you’re a freelancer. This is actually not only for remote workers and freelancers, but I would also suggest this to everyone who hasn’t been doing it.
It’s just the only logical thing to do if you don’t want to work your whole life. Working from home can be lonely. Spend time with your family or friends, outside the house, at least 2-3 times a week on weekdays. Don’t take those weekdays for granted.
Read 39 answers from other remote workers
I have to be honest; I’m bad at deciding priorities. I’ve learned about the priority matrix since I was in high school, but never used it, not once. I just do whatever is urgent. And when I actually have nothing to do, I do the things that are important but not urgent.
Read 40 answers from other remote workers
I was never a ‘hustler.’ I never push myself too hard.
I believe that my best work comes from my best state of mind and body, and that’s not when I’m exhausted.
To keep myself recharged and inspired, for the past two years, I scheduled a 2-week to month-long vacation abroad. After the vacation/living abroad, I will be motivated to earn more money, sharpen my skills, and visit more countries.
Read 23 answers from other remote workers
I think because freelancers are working on a much shorter term than employees do, we have to prove ourselves over and over again.
With each new client, we have to convince them that we’re capable of doing our work.
So to be a successful freelancer, you have to be on top of your game all the time and willing to learn.
Read 19 answers from other remote workers
I found all of my clients on Upwork, and they have a pretty good system there, with reviews and payment verification.
I always choose clients that I can trust, so the ones with 4.5+ stars review and payment-verified.
I also trust my gut when it comes to demanding clients. If their instructions or test projects in the recruitment process still make sense, I will go with it. But if it takes too much of my time, I usually reject it. I believe there are a lot of good people as good clients out there.
Read 18 answers from other remote workers
English is not my first language, but Indonesian is. However, having learned it for over 15 years, I think I’m pretty good at it.
I have a personal blog, all written in English, and it has helped me showcase my English skills.
It shows clients how I’m able to use the language. If I’m applying for a content-related job, I always include my personal blog and my Medium profile.
Read 9 answers from other remote workers
At RemoteHabits we're always trying to improve our interviews, what question should we have asked Ascencia Fike Komala?
Ascencia is an Indonesian freelancer, working mostly in content marketing. She can live anywhere as long as there is an internet connection, a yoga mat, and good food. Currently transitioning to work full time (still remote!) at Saturday Drive/Ninja Forms.
Want to be interviewed? If you have a remote position, head over to the interview me page!
RemoteHabits Jobs has everything you need to find your next great remote work position!
Mike got started with remote work after getting an offer from his dream organisation. Learn how he works remotely while working on open source projects and publishing books.
As CEO and Founder of Remote Forever, Molood has made a career in teaching individuals and companies how to work remotely effectively. See how embracing a minimalist lifestyle has caused her to excel.
Keep your remote working skills sharp—get notified when we post the next remote work interview! RemoteHabits will help you achieve your remote work goals!