Saibu Baba
Content Writer
February 03, 2020

Interview with Saibu, an HR content writer for a remote company

Hear how Saibu, a thriving HR content writer, navigates the complexities—and perks—of working with a remote team from Ghana.

How did you get started with remote work?

My journey started when I was still a student at the University. That time, I needed a hustle that would make me some cash, and after trying many options, I settled on content writing. That got me started – searching for remote work. I landed a few gigs, both short and long-term.

So after graduating in 2016, I decided to go into remote working full-time. Things weren’t that smooth, so I had to take some on-site jobs from time to time. But I realized at a point that on-site jobs aren’t just for me – and went into remote full-time. And, I’ve been working remotely since 2014.

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What are you working on?

I am a content writer at Remoteteam.com, a comprehensive HR tool built by remote professionals for remote companies and virtual teams.

I write content, help with social media management, and develop email newsletters.

On my side, I’m starting a newsletter soon as a side hustle.

My newsletter will focus on funding for emerging technologies, especially in Africa. It’s an area that I have previously worked while getting gigs with other companies during my early remote years, which has caused me to really love this sector.

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What tools do you use to stay productive?

Personally, I don’t use tools like timers, reminders, or webpage filters. But when it comes to working at Remote Team Inc, we use a lot of tools – from Slack and Zoom to Google Docs and Desktime.

I actually answered this question recently on Quora about the tools we use to stay productive.

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Where do you conduct your work?

I do 80% of my work inside my room. Sometimes, I go to a co-working space near me. Co-working spaces aren’t that common in Africa, at least not in my country Ghana – though a few are popping up now and then. So it’s always good to work from home.

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What about your space helps you to be productive?

So I don’t have a dedicated space in my room where I call “my workspace.” Of course, there’s a table and chair, but I work anywhere in my room.

Thing is, I started remote working without knowing anything about the field and didn’t even know that what I was doing was called remote work. Thus, from the get-go, I have always been my own motivation.

Once I wake up and realize I have something to do, I go get it. Of course, there are tough days, but generally, my room reminds me of what I have to do every single day.

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What does your workday routine look like?

I usually start work in the morning, when I check my tasks for the day. Depending on the urgency, I divide the tasks into two – work on the first ones, take a break, and come back later to finish the rest. I work in two sprints, but not always.

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How do you avoid burnout?

Taking breaks in-between work is key for me. The thing is, that break isn’t something I take to play a game or just sit in my room. It has to be an activity, like taking a walk or a house chore.

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What is the best advice you have ever received?

I am a special human being, and I am unique—but so is everybody else—I mean the 7 billion+ people on earth.

This is something that helps me a lot on how I handle myself and most importantly, how I treat people.

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What advice would you give to a new freelancer?

It’s not all sexy and bling bling. I mean, a lot of advice on the internet sometimes talk about freelancing or entrepreneurship as if once you’re in, everything is going to work out.

Freelancing and entrepreneurship are difficult, just like any difficult thing in life. They don’t come on a silver platter, and you’ve got to work your ass off to make it.

Another thing is, they’re not for everyone. If freelancing or entrepreneurship isn’t working, leave and go work a day job. If being a worker is what will make you happy, go chase that.

Don’t let every and anybody drag you into entrepreneurship or freelancing because they deem it cool.

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What are you looking to achieve in the next five years?

Running my own startup and also teaching digital skills to youngsters in my community

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What has been the most challenging part of freelancing?

My biggest challenge freelancing or working remotely has been power.

Coming from an African country where power wasn’t always stable, I had a hard time explaining to clients that for every week, there were power outages that affected my work.

I lost clients because of this. But I’m glad I was able to pull through. Now things are better.

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What are the benefits of building a remote team?

One big benefit of remote work that I think has been overlooked is the freedom. See, employees love freedom, and when you give it to them, the majority end up increasing their productivity.

That’s what remote work provides – not having to commute, which also means not having to wake up two or three hours earlier just to prepare to work.

Of course, there’re a lot of benefits, but this is what I’ve found to be the biggest for firms building virtual teams – increased productivity through freedom.

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What are the challenges of building a remote team?

Challenges? There's a lot. Communication, collaboration, monitoring, to mention just a few. But these challenges aren't just about remote work. Even office-based teams face these issues as well, even when they're in the same building. It all boils down to how good you're in managing your team.

And that's where human resources come in.

I think the biggest challenge, now and in the future, will be finding or building human resource managers geared towards remote teams.

This is something we're doing at Remoteteam.com, helping remote companies manage payroll, compliance, and more.

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Biography

Saibu Baba

Saibu lives and breathes remote work. He takes care of content writing and social media at Remoteteam.com. Together with a team of remote workers, he is helping to build the best human resource tools to help remote companies and virtual teams manage their employees.

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