The Complete Guide to Remote Work: Join the Growing Tribe of Working Nomads or Start an Online Business That You Can Do From Home (or Anywhere in the World!)
Table of Contents
How to Leave the Commute Behind and Work Remotely in 2021
The desire to work from home is not a new trend. For many decades, people have sought to escape the corporate 9-to-5 lifestyle. You are not alone in wanting to embrace a sense of freedom from commutes, mortgage payments, and low-paying wages.
But in today's society, remote work is more of a necessity than a desire. During the 2020 pandemic, millions of people lost their basic necessities because they could not work from home. This global event expanded the demand for remote working paths.
Today, there is a refreshed interest in working from home and creating a career rooted in work-life balance. But transitioning from a workplace life to remote working life takes time.
There are three major factors that can make or break your success: mindset, environment, and motivation. Let’s take a closer look at these factors so you can determine if remote work is a good fit for you.
Traditional jobs include commute times, dress codes, guidelines of conduct, and hours of operation. Rules are set in place to maintain order and operations, and each employee is expected to follow the rules.
In a remote working environment, many of these rules are non-existent, such as a dress code and commute time. But with fewer rules comes a greater need for a disciplined mindset. Some people might find they function better with a few rules, such as set hours of operation.
Others function better with complete freedom from rules and restrictions. It is vital to examine your personal habits and determine how you function best. It takes time to transition your mindset from restricted employee behavior to freedom as a freelancer. Be sure to make your mindset shift beforehand, and set realistic expectations for yourself early on.
As a remote worker, you are in charge of creating your own working environment. With your days of sitting in an office for eight hours behind you, what will your new working environment look like?
- What do you envision for yourself?
- What inspires you to do your best work?
Whether it’s working from a laptop outdoors, working from a coffee shop, having a dedicated office space in your own home, or working in a co-working space outside of your home, the possibilities are endless. Take some time and consider all the possibilities. Ask yourself first what kind of lifestyle you want before you determine the work environment you need.
Finally, it is vital to determine your source of self-motivation. Even remote work comes with its own set of challenges, and you will need to navigate these challenges on your own. What is the vision you have that will continue to feed your motivation? What will you do when you don’t feel like working, when you get bored, or when you’re dealing with a difficult situation?
Find your source of motivation to draw from during these times. Create a vision board to refresh your memory when facing challenges.
As our world continues to evolve digitally, remote working is becoming more of a reality for millions of individuals. Gone are the days of a 9-to-5 lifetime career expectation. Many people are successfully pursuing their own freelancing paths and teaching others how to do the same.
If you are considering the transition from office life to remote life, take a deeper look at your mindset. Examine your ideas for a remote working environment and your personal motivation. You might be closer to a remote working path than you think.
3 of My Favorite Remote Working Tools for Business
With more people working from home, digital tools have evolved with demand. There are hundreds of options for project management, customer management, team communication, and more. Today I’m giving you a glimpse at three of my favorite tools for managing my own business: Slack, ClickUp, and Google Workspace.
There are endless ways to communicate digitally: Zoom calls, email, texting, and direct messaging are a few examples. But when you have a team, the need to organize and review your communications becomes vital. Scrolling through endless texts, missing important notes, and searching through emails drains your time and energy.
Slack is an easy-to-use platform for team communication that allows you to organize your communication by topic and/or teams. You can share files, connect on calls, and integrate with thousands of other platforms such as Google Drive, project management tools, and Vimeo.
Project Management: ClickUp
One project management tool that easily integrates with Slack is a personal favorite of The GeekPack® team: ClickUp. ClickUp has endless features that can organize your team on a wide variety of projects.
You can create docs and wikis, embed spreadsheets, create goal and time tracking, keep track of events, and so much more. It is a powerful way to keep the entire team on track with the most detailed projects. ClickUp ensures your progress is accurate and on time, no matter how far your teams are across the globe.
All-Around Favorite: Google Workspace
Google’s G Suite has been recently updated to Google Workspace. It is a complete suite of products that meets a wide variety of business needs all within one platform. From calendars to chats to powerful spreadsheets and data and records management, Google Workspace helps businesses operate remotely.
Depending on the size of your business, the monthly cost to use everything Google Workspace offers starts at only $6 per month. I don’t know where my business would be without Google Workspace. It is the one tool I could not operate without!
Our GeekPack® team stretches across many different regions of the globe. From the US to the UK and Australia, our success depends on these digital tools. They help us organize, communicate, and manage our business operations every day.
If you are new to business, it’s vital to start with choosing your favorite digital tools for communication, project management, and document management. I didn’t take the time to set these tools early on in my business and I ended up duct taping for years as my business grew faster than I could keep up with.
Start your online business with solid business management tools. Investments in these key areas will help you remain successful and grow your business with the help of the powerful platforms and tools available today.
The One Biggest Benefit of Remote Work
While working from home may not be the ideal choice for everyone, it certainly is an ideal choice for many. There are endless reasons people might have for wanting to work remotely: more time with family, raising children, financial independence, or the desire to travel or live abroad.
For some, working remotely might simply give them the creative time and space to do their best work. No matter the ultimate reasons or motivation for working remotely, there is one underlying theme: Freedom.
It is undeniable that working remotely gives many people freedom in one or more aspects of their lives, whether it’s freedom from time constraints, location, or the ability to choose their work assignments and co-workers.
Set Your Own Schedule
Working remotely can offer the benefit of setting your own schedule. Whether your days are spent traveling, raising a family, or building another business, working remotely can allow you to determine your own schedule versus adhering to hours of operation.
Waiting on approval for vacation or personal time from a corporate chain of command is also a challenge of the past. Working remotely can give you the power to determine these days for yourself.
Whether you want to take entire seasons off, have three-day weekends, or observe personal holidays that are significant to you, working remotely can give you the freedom to set your own schedule as no corporate job can.
Work From Anywhere
If the thought of sitting at the same desk in the same office five days a week for years isn’t appealing to you, working remotely can offer endless options for your working environment.
Whether you dream of working on a laptop at the beach, sitting in a coffee shop, or working from a cozy space somewhere in your home (even your own bed!), working remotely gives you complete freedom to determine when and how you want to work. This alone will give you uncapped freedom… Stop for a moment and just imagine the possibilities!
Choose Your Work
Job descriptions from companies come with two big boundaries: job duties and working teams. As a corporate employee, you do not have the option to choose your work or your co-workers and managers. You are limited and obligated to operate within your job description with the team that is chosen for you.
Working remotely can offer freedom from these two major drawbacks, which is enough to drain anyone’s creativity and motivation. You can determine what work inspires you, and also when it no longer serves you. You can also determine what personality types you want to work with, and what ideal customers you want to serve.
Creating a constant motivation loop for yourself where you draw inspiration from your work and your team and/or clients is a huge benefit of designing a remote work lifestyle.
You are well and truly in the driving seat when you have the ability to determine what work you do and who you do it for. I don’t know if there is anything more empowering than that!
No matter what reasons you might have for wanting to work remotely, freedom in one or more aspects is the undertow that will continuously motivate you as you go along your path. Stay in touch with these reasons, and keep them as a focal point when challenges arise.
7 Easy Steps to Start an Online Business
Creating a home-based business isn’t as complicated as it might sound. Many people feel overwhelmed at the thought of creating their own business and don’t have confidence in their ability to be their own boss.
However, there are endless resources now available on the internet to help you as you go along. The most important thing is to avoid believing it must all be done in a day - establishing your business is a simple step-by-step process that can be followed by anyone.
Create a Solid Foundation
If you are setting up a business in the United States, here are 7 easy steps that will help you get started in establishing a small business:
- Choose your business name. If you’re struggling to come up with a business name, I always recommend using your name followed by a keyword in your niche. Your name is very unlikely to change which is what makes it a safe option. To give you an example, my business name is JTDigital Media.
- Decide what structure you want for your business. The formal options would be an LLC or Corporation. The informal option is a sole proprietor. This is a personal decision so be sure to evaluate the pros and cons of each
- Apply for an EIN for tax purposes.
- Open a business banking account. This will be a personal choice but I recommend looking for one with no fees.
- Register for your state sales tax ID. Your state tax ID is what wholesalers will refer to as your reseller permit or seller permit number.
- Check with your city clerk and see if you need a city business license or any other permits. Additionally, check with your county clerk for any additional licenses or permits.
- Keep all your receipts and decide how you will keep track of business expenses and income.
Determine Your Budget
You might be starting with a small budget, a large budget, or no budget at all. No matter where you are, you can start your business with tools that are completely free to use until you grow your business budget. Here are a few of my favorite free tools for small businesses.
- ClickUp: For project management, ClickUp is a powerful tool to organize documents, stay on track with your goals, build your business from the ground up.
- Slack: Up to 10k searchable messages and 10 apps and integrations, Slack is a free business tool that can be utilized for team and client communication. You can organize your conversation by teams, topics, or any other way that makes sense for your business.
- Google Drive: Using any Gmail address, you can utilize Google Drive to create, organize, and store documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more for free. With Google Drive, you can keep anything from business receipts to images and videos to contracts and tracking sheets.
If you still feel overwhelmed by the thought of building your own business, consider joining a local small business entrepreneurship group or online community for help and support as you go along in your journey.
Additionally, there are many business coaches who can help you in your journey to grow and expand your small business. Determine what your goals are, what your mission is, and ultimately what vision you have for your business. No matter how big or small, it’s important to remember there is a place and a need for your small business idea in today’s world.
Looking for a Remote Job? The Best Places to Find Remote Work
If you’ve recently decided that working remotely is a career goal you are working towards, the good news is that remote jobs are everywhere! Many people begin their remote job search with despair, feeling like their aspirations are unrealistic and nearly impossible.
The truth is, your next remote job is as close as you believe it is. Mindset plays a tremendous role in our ability to find opportunities to work remotely, and many people are sidetracked by their fears more than they are motivated by their goals.
The opportunities to shift gears and create the lifestyle you want are endless if you can shift your perspective and stay determined. Let’s look at a few places where you can begin your remote job search today.
Online Job Boards and Forums
Because remote jobs have become a popular option today, job boards have expanded to include search options for remote jobs and hybrid jobs.
- Indeed: Indeed offers search options by job description, company name, location, and remote work.
- Flexjobs: Flexjobs describes itself as “The #1 job site to find remote, work from home, and flexible job opportunities since 2007.” On Flexjobs, you can search by full-time or part-time jobs, employee or freelance positions, or even flexible on-site jobs.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that allows you to build your entire professional profile and enables employers to search for potential candidates based on user profiles. You can also perform job searches on LinkedIn, with the ability to search for remote jobs as part of your search criteria.
- We Work Remotely: We Work Remotely describes itself as “the largest remote work community in the world” with millions of monthly visitors. From tech to customer service to sales and marketing, We Work Remotely offers a wide variety of job fields to choose from and find your next remote job.
Maybe you’re starting from scratch and just beginning or returning to the workforce - how do you build a remote career when you don’t have any previous remote working experience? This is a common question and also a common roadblock for many people.
One of the best networking places to search for opportunities is friends, family, and even local networking groups. You can offer to do low-cost work for people who trust you and your abilities and ask for a solid testimonial of your work in return.
This is exactly what I did when I was first starting out! Nearly every potential client requests references, so make this your starting point. You might be surprised at the referrals your friends and family give you for future business.
There are hundreds of Facebook groups for online job listings in many different fields. Do a keyword search and try to find groups that closely align to the type of work you want to do. Facebook groups can be a wellspring of opportunities, as small business owners are always looking for solid reliable help.
Find the places where your ideal client hangs out and focus on providing value. Your first thought should be, “How can I help this person”. The more testimonials and references you can gain, the better you will stand out to potential clients.
Remember, mindset is the biggest challenge most of us will face in our remote job searches. Because we are so accustomed to job searching through face-to-face interviews and working in offices, we still feel like working remotely is more of a wish than a real career path.
Overcome this mindset by researching remote work. Millions of people work remotely, and many of them transitioned from a traditional 9-to-5 job. Remind yourself that you are no different, and what is available to others is also available to you.
Remote Developer Jobs - How to Know if They're Right for You, and Where to Find Them
Learning to code opens up many opportunities in the workforce, including developer positions. While having the title of “Developer” might seem intimidating or even impossible, in reality, the only thing separating you from becoming a developer is a skillset and your own validation.
One of the things I tell all of my students is to change their job title immediately, so they start to take ownership of their role as WordPress Developer.
Once you can validate yourself, your skills, and your abilities, the possibilities in remote developer positions are endless. While there are many different types of developers, the three we will focus on are Front-End Developer, Back-End Developer, and Full-Stack Developer.
What Developers Do and Who They Help
If you are currently a WordPress Developer, you are most likely responsible for everything on a client’s website: the layout, the design, the plugins, and everything in between. In developer roles, these responsibilities are separated into different roles.
Back-End Web Developers are responsible for handling the server, applications, and databases of a website that users interact with. These developers will be familiar with languages such as PHP, Python, SQL. Some companies combine both front-end web development with back-end web development and hire Full-Stack Developers who can handle an entire website from front to back.
Perks of Developer Jobs
There are two big perks of developer jobs: salary and remote working ability. Developer salaries range widely from company to company, but generally, Front-End, Back-End, and Full-Stack Developer salaries are much higher than the average web developer salary.
If you are an established web developer, you are likely already working from home. You can easily transition your position from remote web developer to remote Front-End Developer, or any other developer position.
Where to Find Junior Developer Jobs
Junior developer jobs can be found in many places, including large job search websites such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. Because remote working has become more standard, these search engines now have a filter to search for positions that are remote.
Other websites such as Flexjobs.com and Weworkremotely.com are specifically created for remote job searches where you can find your new remote junior developer position.
How to Create Your Remote Lifestyle and Find the Right Job for You
Learning to build websites is only the beginning, and the foundation you have created for yourself means that opportunities for job positions are endless. I know that working as a WordPress Developer isn’t the ultimate dream job for everyone, and that is perfectly fine.
So, let’s take a look at ways you can transfer your coding knowledge to a remote position that might be better suited to you and more aligned with your passion.
Jobs Beginners Can Do From Home
Once you’ve learned HTML, CSS, and how to build websites, one position you might consider is a Virtual Assistant or VA. A Virtual Assistant is a short-term or long-term service provider for one or more clients and they play a vital role in supporting their clients and their businesses.
Because every business owner is different - you might be hired as a contract worker, part-time worker, full-time worker, or a permanent employee. You can easily transition your coding knowledge to manage a client’s website, create and manage business automation, or handle databases.
The great news is that you’ll have the ability to charge higher rates because with coding knowledge and your technical skill set, you can become a specialized Tech VA for a wide variety of clients.
Creative Jobs You Can Do From Home
If you enjoy jobs that are more creative in nature, consider graphic design, copywriting, or audio/video editing. You will want to expand your skills to include graphic editing software such Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, or a video editor such as Camtasia.
You can easily find tutorials and other learning resources through online communities, Udemy.com, or even YouTube.
Jobs Anyone Can Learn to Do From Home
Getting a higher paying position with the added benefit of working from home is completely within reach in today’s society. Many companies are now discovering the value of building remote teams.
They are no longer limited to a pool of local workers, paying for office space and all the other expenses that come along with office space, or exhausting workers with commutes. Because of the internet, anyone can learn to code, expand their skill set, build a portfolio, and get a job in whatever field they want to pursue.
Consider remote positions in web development, web design, or even online business management. There are tens of thousands of business owners on platforms from Instagram to Etsy to eBay, and thousands of business owners are in need of help.
Anyone can learn to be a Virtual Assistant, a Web Developer, a Graphic Designer, or any other position that would benefit a small business owner who does not have the time to dedicate to these roles.
The most important thing is to determine what type of tasks you would enjoy doing the most in the long run and build up your skills and online business around the things you enjoy and the people you want to serve.
What is a Virtual Assistant, and is it the Perfect Remote Career Path for You?
There is truly an abundance of small business owners all across the globe, from restauranteurs to digital course creators to consultants in every field. There is one thing that every business owner needs, regardless of how large or small the company is, or how much money it makes: time.
But how do you make more time? The solution is to hire an assistant to complete the wide variety of time-consuming tasks that are necessary for running a business. However, in the age of technology, assistants have gone virtual. Becoming a virtual assistant is a simple and easy way to transition your career from a 9-to-5 office job to remote work.
What Is a Virtual Assistant
Simply put, a virtual assistant is someone who works from home to accomplish whatever tasks a business owner needs. There are many different areas of specialization, skill levels, and pay scales.
Generally speaking, virtual assistants are contract workers who work anywhere from a few hours a week to full-time hours. Some business owners even hire virtual assistants as w-2 employees.
What Do Virtual Assistants Do
Depending on the business owner and the business needs, virtual assistants handle anything from personal tasks for the CEO to bookkeeping to web development to social media management.
It’s important to look at your current skill set and consider what skills would be valuable to a business owner - you might already have an in-demand skill that business owners need. The possibilities for services that you could offer business owners are endless, so reframe your current position as a virtual assistant position. What would this remote job look like for you?
Areas of Specialization for Virtual Assistants
Learning to code can open up many doors for virtual assistant specialties. The more skilled you are, the more services you can offer and the more money you can earn. Consider focusing on an area of specialization as a tech virtual assistant, such as:
- Web development
- Web design
- Business automation
- CRM setup and maintenance
While hourly rates for tech virtual assistants are wide-ranging, the primary advantage of offering your services as a freelancer is being able to set your own rates. You are completely in control of what you do and who you choose to work for, so determine a rate that feels comfortable for you.
Once you gain experience and client testimonials, consider raising your rates to coincide with your experience level. Becoming a virtual assistant means you own and operate your own business as a service provider, so be willing to serve other business owners in the capacity that is most appealing to you.
Getting Started as a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are in high demand and are a truly valuable asset to online business owners. If you’re looking to get into remote, freelance work, offering virtual assistance is a great place to start.
From there, you will gain experience and be able to develop your skills so you can branch out and raise your rates. The possibilities are endless! But you need to start somewhere and get your ‘foot in the door’ so to speak.
Ditch the 9-to-5 Commute and Consider a Working Nomads Lifestyle
What makes the working nomad lifestyle worthwhile? I bet so many things come to your mind right away while reading that question! Things like...
- Location independence
- Control over your schedule
- Unparalleled flexibility
- The ability to charge what you want
- Being able to work in your PJ's
But guess what? Every business has its challenges - and that includes remote businesses!
From weekend trips around England and Europe in our VW Camper van to full-time living in an RV for 18 months and traveling the west coast of the states, and now living in an 'off-grid' home… It's safe to say that I like to escape and 'get away from it all' every once in a while.
But I’m still trying to find the right balance between work and play - and that’s a challenge! Here are my top four tips to stay motivated as a working nomad.
I know it is tempting to stay in your pajamas every day - after all, it’s probably one of the reasons you’re working so hard to become a working nomad! But the truth is, it will help get you in the right frame of mind to change your outfit before you start your work.
You don’t have to change into a business casual outfit - it can still be comfortable and uniquely you. But take the time to establish a routine, and wear a particular outfit during your working hours. It can help your mind to make the mental shift between work and play.
Make Time for Yourself
On top of having breaks, you should have an allotted period of time blocked off every day (or evening) that is dedicated to doing whatever makes you happy!
Energizing yourself is a vital component of making a working nomad lifestyle work for you and not against you. In this type of lifestyle, no one will motivate you but you.
Make an Accomplishment List
A good way to stay motivated is to create a weekly list, not of what has to be done, but of what you have already done!
Take a step back at the end of each week and see how much you’ve accomplished. Decide how you will celebrate all that you’ve done, and don’t forget to reward yourself!
Reflect On What Energizes You
Take the time to reflect on all of the work that you do, especially if you offer various services. Think about what services you enjoy doing the most and pivot towards focusing on them with future work.
Remember that you alone are in charge of yourself and your future, so take time to ask yourself where you see yourself heading and if it’s what you truly desire.
It can be difficult to stay motivated when you are suddenly in charge of everything, surrounded by various distractions, and feeling like you have a million things to do. Even though the working nomad lifestyle means freedom for many people, it also comes with a greater understanding of yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses.
The most important thing to remember is to learn to forgive yourself and give yourself grace. As a working nomad, you’re all you’ve got - so treat yourself with kindness!
How to Find Your Ideal Career Path as a Remote Working Woman
Many women with a passion for tech have one big question - how do I find a job in tech? Whether you have a computer science degree or no college degree at all, finding a job in tech can be hard work. But, finding a job in tech as a woman can feel like an endless uphill climb.
I understand, and I've been there. When I was learning to code, I applied for over 100, yes 100, jobs before getting my first YES. But it wasn’t a yes to employment. It was a YES from my first freelance client! But more on that in a moment…
Decide Who You Are
If you have taken the time to learn all the skills to be a web developer but don’t have a college degree, when can you tell people you’re a web developer? Right now! So much will change when you step into your identity and say, yes! I am a…
- Web Developer
- Online Business
- Owner Entrepreneur
Whatever you want to be in tech, step into that identity immediately! If you decide you’re going to be an online business owner, you will start to make decisions with that mindset. All your actions are made with that identity, which will help you in your new tech career or online business.
Create Your Own Path
After all the effort I put into teaching myself web development for two years, I finally had the confidence to start applying for tech jobs. I applied to well over 100 positions, with zero response! I was very discouraged, and it was hard to accept. I started to think that maybe a tech job was not for me. But one day, someone suggested that I start my own business.
I did not realize that starting my own business was an option, or that it was something I could do on my own. For some people, getting a college degree and a job is what they want, and that's perfectly fine. For other women like myself, we need another option. Starting your own business is that option!
When you start your own business, the tech jobs are no longer limited to job boards - they are literally everywhere! You will be successful much quicker, and being a business owner means you get to work and live on your own terms.
Learning an in-demand tech skill opens up so many doors: Developer, designer, technical project manager, technical writer, tech support, and so many more. Never let the fact that you can't find "real" jobs in tech make you think that you can't work remotely in tech - you absolutely can!
I’m not special, different, or more likely to succeed than anyone else. All it takes is hard work, determination, and the willingness to learn. If I can teach myself how to code with no community or roadmap, I have every confidence that you can take the free resources I offer and have even more success!