Welcome to the eighth 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 interviewed world class writer, blogger and publisher Darren Cronian who hails from my hometown of Leeds, United Kingdom. Darren shot to fame when he was featured on TV, radio, and quoted in newspapers all over the world. This all formed part of his excellent travel blog Travel Rants. Since then Darren has spread his online empire further with the release of ‘My Life in Leeds’ an expert guide of all things Leeds which attractions tens of thousands of visitors a day.
Darren also spends his time working with clients through consultation work. What I love about Darren’s working life is his how he is so location independent. You can find Darren within coffee shops throughout Leeds and the beauty of how Darren works is he is still as productive as any office worker from remote locations.
I’m Leeds born and bred and live in the market town of Pudsey. Most of my work experience has been within IT, primarily working with SAP. Since 2005, I found myself wanting to become self-employed because I wanted to make work more varied and interesting. I started writing a blog in my spare time called Travel Rants. I learnt lots of new skills including HTML/CSS, marketing and search engine optimisation. I found myself appearing on television, interviewed on the radio and quoted in national newspapers from across the world. I even beat the Daily Mail in a travel blog award! Oh, and I got sued too, not something I would recommend.
At the moment I work for various companies offering support on SAP projects, consulting on blogging, social media, and writing from time to time. I am currently classed as a ‘sole trader’ but later this year I will hopefully be forming a company to bring together two of my current projects; so any help on this in the comments would be helpful. My Life in Leeds launched in late 2009, a local guide written by freelance writers who live in the city. The targeted audience are tourists and local people. The content is focused on offering ideas, inspiration and recommendations. In February 2012, I launched My Life in Yorkshire.
In the early days I think friends thought I slept in until lunchtime and worked as few hours as I could – but since, they have seen how much time and effort I put into my work. When we are sat in the pub chatting, they are often amazed how varied my work is. I think,people can see how passionate you are about your work, and that changes their impression of your work style.
I am very lucky because my work is so varied I do get to spend time in offices and meetings, so I don’t feel remote. When I am working from home though I have to make sure I am disciplined because they are many distractions in the home and nearby.
Working from home helps keep the costs down; bus and train fares are on the increase, and the price of a sandwich and a drink is ridiculous in the city centre (sorry, that’s me ranting again!) so working from home usually means I spend less money.
My office space is within my living room and I think it is important that you have a separate place where you go to and know that when you are sat there it is time to work. I usually spend one day a week where I will visit a few coffee shops in the city centre, and work there.
I don’t believe in all of these fancy productivity tools that you see nowadays. The tools I use are pretty basic; I use Excel as a task list to put everything that I need to do in one place and then tick them off when completed. I reply to emails twice a day; one when I start work and then towards the end of the day. Before I start work I list two or three tasks that I can complete in that day, this gets me focused. The biggest distraction for me is Twitter and recently started to use Buffer, to schedule important messages through the day. This stops me from logging in as much as and getting distracted. One lesson I have learnt is know your limitations – if it is going to take you a full day to complete a task, but there’s someone else who you can do it in half the time, use freelancers who have the skills you don’t.
Start off slowly, just spend one day a week working remotely, and see if you enjoy the experience over a period of a month or two. You will have to motivate yourself, be dedicated and passionate about what you do. I would never advise someone to jump in with both feet.
Yes, I do and I think more organisations are having to allow remote working to cut down on the office space rental, and there really isn’t any excuse – there’s the technology out there so that employer’s can keep in touch with employee’s and also monitor them. I think it comes down to organisations trusting their workforce.
Loyalty is always discussed in business. I cannot count the amount of times I have...