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Interview With US Sports Recruitment Expert Chris Cousins

Welcome to the ninth of the weekly interview series where I will speak a wide range of people who have embraced the working remotely opportunity. We will speak to entrepreneurs, business owners, large organisation workers and freelancers about their trials and tribulations when delving into remote working.

This week I had the delight of interviewing US sports recruitment and general marketing god Chris Cousins. At 28 Chris has achieved alot. Working for US sports recruitment organisation Sports recruiting USA helping aspiring athletes from the UK grab US scholarships in colleges. Having a family friend who has recently achieved one of these placements I cannot emphasise how important Chris’ role is in furthering the future of our young athletes sporting careers.
 Along with this Chris finds time to develop iphone apps, run a online marketing consultancy firm as well as having his fingers in other start up pies. The best thing about all of this is Chris works remotely from his comfortable city centre crash pad in my home town of Leeds. Not bad huh?

Q: Hi Chris, tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now?

Hello there!

I am 28, originally from the Bronte Country, also known as Keighley in West Yorkshire. I lived in Leeds for the past 5 years but looking to move to pastures new.

I have been to uni twice, once on a soccer scholarship in the US, then came back to England not wanting to just go get a job for the sake of it, and ended up at Leeds Met doing Marketing (I think it was the student lifestyle I was addicted to). From there I ended up working for an agency called Bitmedia heading their SEO where I honed my internet marketing skills. During that job I created little projects here and there which seem to be all sports related, so after a while I took the plunge and actually made a go of one of them, Sports Recruiting USA.

Q: What company do you work for and what is your role within the organisation?

I am currently involved with a few companies. My main one which takes up 90% of my time is Sports Recruiting USA (www.sportsrecruitingusa.com and @SportRecruitUSA). This is a company that acts as a middleman helping talented young sports people from the UK and Ireland to be placed at American Colleges to compete out there on scholarships. I am Head of Operations for this company which pretty much means I’m involved with everything and control everything. This I am slowly trying to dilute some duties to others.

My other projects I am involved with are my freelance internet marketing side of things CC Online Marketing. After I left my old position as head of internet marketing for Bitmedia, I seemed to be getting referred a lot. So I try and do some work now for favoured clients.

I am also involved with a couple of new start ups which will be launching at the end of the year, one is called ‘Everyone Needs a Mentor’. It is pretty much a simplified version of Linkedin, where you can actually learn from ‘mentors’ in different sectors.

The other project is a new mobile phone app, which I can’t really divulge right now, but if all going well, it could be huge. I know everyone says that about their app ha.

Q: How do you deal with stereotypes from friends in regards to productivity when working from home?  i.e.: Sleep until midday, 2 hour lunch breaks etc.

I’m used to the jibes I get from friends now. The most common phrase is “Yea, but you don’t have a real job”. In all honesty, I think most of the time it is jealousy, because I know they know I work hard. I worked until 3am this morning and was up at 8am working.

Q: What is the most challenging part about working remotely and how do you overcome this?

The most challenging part of this whole working remote thing is motivating myself to work. I feel like I do this well though because I just think, “if I don’t work, I don’t get paid”. I am quite prone to a nap, but to be honest, I only do that when really tired, but it is far too easy just to have ‘rest your eyes’ for a few minutes.

Q: What are the main positives around working from home?

I like the fact that I have all the home comforts, such as a kitchen, so I can make good healthy lunches, rather than rushing around a Tesco Express, buying a meal deal and getting ripped off. I also like the fact that because I am my own boss, I can take an hour off and pop into town if need be.

Q: Do you have a dedicated office space and what is the importance of having this? 

I like the fact that I have dedicated space in a quiet room as I am easily distracted. I’m pretty sure I have undiagnosed ADHD. But I also like just getting on the sofa with the laptop whilst the football is on, so my whole flat is my office.

Q: Any pictures of your office space?

No pics sorry. This is because I have literally moved out in the past few days. I’m in-between flats at present.

Q: Do you have any productivity tools you use to keep yourself efficient which may help our readers?

This may sound simple, but I have made my emails so that I only receive them when I press the ‘send-receive’ button. This stops me getting distracted in mid project from an email that is of a funny looking dog, etc.

I am also a fan of lists. I have a to do list constantly open in a notepad on desktop. Even little things like, ‘ring client x’ is on there. Once done, I delete.

Q: If you could give any advice to our readers before deciding whether remote working is for them then what would it be?

I honestly think only a certain type of person can work remotely. You have to be determined and disciplined. At the end of the day, if you don’t do the work properly, you won’t be doing it for long.

Q: Do you believe more organisations should allow those with web based roles to work remotely? If so..how come?

It literally all depends on the role. I have worked in places where I have thought, I don’t need to be here, it actually decreases productivity being in a noisy office. So that is where I negotiated my first work remote job. I ended up on the beautiful island of Santorini, Greece. But I made sure I actually worked harder than normal to prove it was a right decision. That is where I got hooked on working from wherever I want.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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