How did you get started with remote work?

Question: How did you get started with remote work? Read answers from remote workers to learn.

Interview with Alexandra, a freelance fashion designer building her own brand

I graduated a few years ago and I started working for some high end fashion brands for a while but after I decided that I would like to focus more on my own brand and find something remote since I was also traveling a lot back then.

I started looking for remote jobs, which wasn’t so easy at the beginning because I had to build up a profile and a more commercial portfolio for my clients on Upwork.

Once I built up my profile and I gained more experience, I started realizing that a freelance job is way more interesting, better paid (maybe just in my case as a fashion designer) and allows me to move, not like a permanent job.

Alexandra is a freelance fashion designer who works remotely while traveling and building her own brand.

Read full interview from Interview with Alexandra, a freelance fashion designer building her own brand.


Interview with Shivani, a remote content writer who shares lessons learned

I spent a decade after college working in offices — with a magazine for almost two years and a law firm for another eight. Through a lot of my legal career, I took up writing projects as a freelance business because I never wanted to stop writing. In March 2015, after a good year of thinking about it, I quit my job as a lawyer to become a full-time freelance writer.

On my first day as a freelancer, a friend reached out to me for a new project she was starting — telling stories about the people and places that give a city its character.

She was building a team, and she asked if I’d be interested in working with her. She lived in London; I was in Mumbai, and we’d be working remotely. I said yes right away, and that’s how it began!

Shivani provides all you need to know about making remote work...work. She shares tips on finding the best remote work opportunity and thriving once you get it.

Read full interview from Interview with Shivani, a remote content writer who shares lessons learned.


Interview with Eddie, an Engineering Director

I eased into remote work. Around August 2009, I was living 30 minutes away from my job at the time. I convinced my boss that I could work from home 1-2 days a week.

This was a great benefit to me, as we were in the process of building and launching a new SaaS service. It gave me the time and space I needed to be completely focused.

Back then, we still called it "telecommuting", and - given that the rest of the company was all colocated in the same single office - it wouldn't fit what I consider the modern definition of remote work.

Fast forward to 2012, when I joined Litmus. The company was already semi-distributed; about 20% of the company was in the UK, including my boss, who was the developer of our Rails team and one of the co-founders. (If you're reading this, Dave, hello beardy!).

As we grew the engineering team, we decided to hire the best candidates regardless of where they were located. We hired folks in the US, but also Canada, Italy, Berlin and the UK.

By the summer of 2014, remote work was going so well that our founders decided to extend the opportunity to all employees. I leapt at the chance, moved further away, set up a proper home office, and the rest is history.

Eddie is an Engineering Director - learn how he manages to absorb interruptions and manage information overload while staying productive.

Read full interview from Interview with Eddie, an Engineering Director.


Interview with Max, a Deep Learning Engineer with a winning strategy for distractions

My remote work career started with a joke on social media. About two years ago I was following an interesting conversation on Twitter.

Someone shared a medium post about deep learning, my field of expertise, and the CTO of the remote-first company skymind.ai pointed out that this was based on work from one of their engineers.

Not only that, they had hired that engineer to maintain his open source project for them. I jokingly replied that if they ever needed me to work on my side projects, they'd know where to find me.

At the time I was just getting started with a lot of open source work and was intrigued by the idea of doing it full-time. I never thought this joke might lead to anything, but fast forward six months and I had an offer on the table. I then quit my old job and joined the team.

Transitioning into remote work wasn't easy at first; after all, I didn't plan for it. If you search the internet for "remote" in 2019, you get the impression that it must be a religious cult.

I see it as a trade-off. You gain a lot of flexibility, since many aspects of traditional work, like regular office-hours, don't make sense anymore. On the other hand, you become a work-time manager and have to put in place the structure you need to work at your best.

Working remotely is not for everyone, and you shouldn't put it on a pedestal just because it's new.

I think a lot of the advantages of remote work can be implemented on-site as well, but that takes a cultural shift and a new breed of managers. For me, remote work is an excellent choice at the moment, and I can see myself working like this for the next few years.

After a chance Twitter conversation, Max found a remote position as a Deep Learning Engineer —see how he manages distractions and maintains focus throughout his day.

Read full interview from Interview with Max, a Deep Learning Engineer with a winning strategy for distractions.


Interview with Ayesha, a freelance writer that gained early clients through her blog

After I left university, I began immediately working as a copywriter/designer at a small advertising agency. I’m sure we all know the ungodly hours required at an advertising agency. Even though I was finally earning money some good money, I felt I never had the time or the energy to spend them. I was exhausted in just three months.

I had heard of freelancing and working remotely in my university days. But that felt like a zero-calorie chocolate ice-cream- too good to be true.

I didn’t have the experience or the contacts to get work like that.

Then, I got married. I left my job due to some personal reasons and the fact that I was ready to leave at the slightest excuse. The first few months were bliss. Relaxing. Getting up at my own time. But in a few months, I was restless. I needed to work.

My husband is also from the advertising field. Thankfully, he helped me get a remote job. This was on Upwork. The pay was low, but at least it was some work. At that point, I only wanted something to work on.

The experience from that small job helped me land more jobs on Upwork. All this was happening while I delivered two kids and had a lot on my plate. Sometimes I couldn’t work. Sometimes I had no work. But I was in a good zone. It was exhausting but this was something I enjoyed doing.

A few years later, I got the confidence and the know-how to start my own blog. I created the entire blog on my own just by watching YouTube tutorials and help from our reliable buddy, Google. This blog started bringing my good, consistent work. People could now see what I had done. So they gave me work.

Ayesha is a freelance content writer—learn how she made the leap to remote work while building her blog and raising her family

Read full interview from Interview with Ayesha, a freelance writer that gained early clients through her blog.


Interview with Nelvina, a fashion designer who designs bags and clothing

I quit my job as a product developer in a local textile firm as I was not very happy there and it was also difficult to cope with my demanding job and my studies (MBA). Work started at 7:30 until 17:15 sometimes even 20:00 or 22:00.

I started by producing a few bags and accessories and sold them on Facebook to get a little money but I only sold a few products. So I started to look for a few freelance design jobs online and came across sites like Freelancer, PeoplePerHour and Upwork.

Working a on a freelance basis scared me as I was not sure if I would get regular work. I created my profile and bid on some jobs. What I really liked about Upwork is that you do not have to provide the lowest bid for the client to choose you. It will mainly depend on your portfolio and the interview.

After about 1 month, I got my first offer to design a leather bag collection for a startup and after the first project was completed, he gave me regular work for the next couple of months.

However, after the project was completed, I got one or two one-off projects and it became difficult to have a decent salary at the end of the month. I started applying to full time jobs and got a couple interviews. Nevertheless, I decided to continue working in freelance as this made me happy and also gave me time to focus on my Master’s degree.

With a few more projects, I started to build my portfolio and became more confident about my skills and got more and more jobs.

I eventually started offering other design services like label, logo and packaging design. I now mainly work on Upwork and get a few other projects locally or from contacts.

Nelvina is a freelance fashion and graphic designer that works remotely while working with clients all around the world

Read full interview from Interview with Nelvina, a fashion designer who designs bags and clothing.


Interview with Kevin, a developer and remote consultant

In 2009, I quit my job to backpack around the States and South America, and started freelancing remotely to support myself (as a means to an end). That ended in 2012, when I went back to school.

In 2013-2014, I had an onsite position as a developer, but in 2014 I took a full-time remote position working as a developer for Tenable .

I wasn't sure what it'd be like working a full-time job remotely, but I loved it and was so much more productive.

In 2016, I started my own remote consulting firm, and I've been doing that ever since. I'm based in Boston, with most of my clients in New York or San Francisco.

Kevin is a developer and consultant working on many different projects - learn which tools he uses to optimize his time management.

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Interview with Ben, a CEO/Engineer who works remotely

I'd always worked in offices, but when I started working fulltime on IPinfo almost 2 years ago, it was just me - I'd work out of coffeeshops and my favorite, the local library.

As I started hiring a team, making it a remote one just made a ton of sense to me: I could hire anyone from around the world, instead of just locally, and I could remain flexible with my own location and schedule.

Ben is a CEO/Engineer who works remotely - find out how he balances working at home and family life!

Read full interview from Interview with Ben, a CEO/Engineer who works remotely.


Interview with Hanling, a data scientist that works remotely on machine learning

I think the experience I get started with remote work is a bit magical.

I started my remote work in the summer of 2014, when I was a sophomore student. At that time, we have a quite long summer, no homework, no intern, etc. Most of my friends are traveling around the country for sightseeing or doing part-time jobs like being a home tutor which is quite popular among us.

I don't have that much money for traveling such a long time nor I want to do the boring teaching thing, so I was wondering to do something that can train my skills, broaden my horizon and earn some tuition in the best case.

I came out of an idea that there should be a remote work site to utilize people's free time and skills around the globe. And if there isn't such one, I will try to build one myself! Then I tried to search it on Google. Suddenly I found Upwork.

I saw there are lots of opportunities on Upwork for me.

So I registered an account, do the verification, figure out how the sites work and then I got my first job on Upwork which is a ghostwriter.

After that, I got many other jobs on the platform including virtual assistant, translator between English and Chinese and so on.

Hanling started working remotely as a student and now does freelance machine learning and data analysis for clients all around the world.

Read full interview from Interview with Hanling, a data scientist that works remotely on machine learning.


Interview with Igor Kulman, a software engineer building iOS apps remotely

About two years ago while still working in an office I got in contact with a remote company through a friend. I started working for them a few hours a week remotely and then after about 6 months later I got an offer to come work for them fulltime on a new project. I accepted and started working remotely fulltime.

In a previous job I was used to working from home one day a week, basically Friday was a "work from home day" for the whole company, but doing it fulltime is a real change.

It was hard in the beginning. I had the feeling that I have to be available and replying to everyone all the time so people see I am actually working.

This made the remote work more stressful than working from an office and I had to get rid of this feeling to actually start enjoying the remote work.

Now I can take a long lunch without checking my phone and not thinking about work. Or I can take a break and watch an episode of a favorite TV show without feeling guilty.

It also helped a lot that around the same time I moved to a new apartment where I had a spare room that I could dedicate to being a home office.

Igor converted a part-time contract into a full-time remote software engineering job—learn how he did it and his tips for working remotely.

Read full interview from Interview with Igor Kulman, a software engineer building iOS apps remotely.

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