Share Tweet Welcome to the seventh 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 my favourite internet marketing blogger. He’s not cliche, cringe and embarrassingly corny like many affiliate marketing bloggers….he’s a dude. Finch Sells or Martin Osborn as his parents called him is a successful business owner earning his cheddar through affiliate marketing. If you have been living in a cave for the past few years then you need to check out his blog Finch Sells which is his way of telling the affiliate marketing story. No bullshit, no frills and no promises, just amazing content and comedy throughout. The reason I have such an interest in Finch’s work is because of his unique writing style. It’s personal and entertaining (You’ll see from the interview). Not only that his attention to detail throughout his posts is impeccable. Great writer. You should also catch Finch on his twitter account to keep up to date with the rock star content he produces on a weekly basis. Q: Hi Finch, tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now? Well, I’m a 24-year-old affiliate marketer, which I guess is interchangeable with Internet Scumbag. I make money through advertising and telling people they need products and services that they probably don’t. I’m currently based in London. I’ve lived here for most of my life, except for last year when I couldn’t find a decent apartment, so I threw my toys out of the pram and moved to Thailand instead. I’m hoping to move back there this year. Q: What company do you work for and what is your role within the organisation? I run my own company, Finch Media Ltd. I’m involved with all kinds of affiliate campaigns, and I work directly with brands to improve their existing conversion funnels. It’s a creative job but quite unforgiving in the sense that I only get paid if I deliver quality results. You can’t exactly ‘phone in’ a day’s work when your value is performance-driven. 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 find them pretty amusing. I play up to them. It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives of running your own business – the extra hours, the stress of where your next dinner is coming from, the accounting nightmares – so winding up my friends is one of the perks of the job. I enjoy treating Sunday as my Friday night. At the end of the weekend, I’ll casually slip it in there that I don’t have to be on a packed train in the morning and they do. I guess that makes me pretty evil, but I like to think I earn that right! You’re always going to get people who misinterpret the true nature of working from home. I wish it involved slouching around in my boxers watching Family Guy and mashing at a laptop, but it doesn’t. If people want to think of it like that, it’s probably a telling sign of something missing in their own work ethic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working from home or from an executive office – the work is there and your convenient arrangements aren’t going to last for long if it doesn’t get done. I think people respect that in a reluctant kind of way. Q: What is the most challenging part about working remotely and how do you overcome this? Social isolation, definitely. Sometimes I have to watch The Shining just to remind myself that too much peace and quiet is a bad thing. I enjoy the home comforts, but having experienced the buzz of working in a Central London agency, there are definitely times where it can feel incredibly lonely. You have to make a conscious effort to involve yourself socially in ways that come naturally when you’re in a traditional work environment. And if you’re really driven when it comes to work, that can turn in to a battle in your own head. You’ve got the desire to work hard vs. the need to keep up appearances… it’s something I’ve struggled with. It really messed with my mind when I was living in Thailand. Not only was I working from home, but I was completely disconnected socially – and speaking a different language. I ended up pretty depressed. Q: What are the main positives around working from home? Home is home! Nobody likes to commute to work, right? Especially in the winter. I think most people relax when they can’t feel a dozen eyeballs homing in on them, or when the boss can’t spy on their screen from across the room. You don’t have to keep up professional appearances. You can grow an awesome beard. You can whack on Spotify and take full control over the playlist – none of this listening to Adele 24/7 bollocks. I also have two hyperactive dogs so working from home is an excellent way to keep my wallpaper in tact. Q: Do you have a dedicated office space and what is the importance of having this? I have a room that I call my ‘office’, but it’s quite a liberal take on a workplace. I usually have my dogs napping around my feet, clothes draped over the radiators and all-kinds of clutter that I keep meaning to take out. I think it’s important to have a dedicated workspace – but I’m not convinced it needs to be an office. What’s important is that you can snap out of Facebook cruising mode and snap in to ‘I’m here to work’ mode. It doesn’t matter whether you do this in an office, on the sofa, or – like me – in Caffè Nero while drowning in coffee beans. It’s purely a psychological thing. I’ve spoken to some affiliate marketers with ridiculously pimped out office spaces. They’ve got the triple screen setup, the executive desk… it wouldn’t surprise me if they had ball massagers installed in their chairs. But some of these guys are unproductive as hell. I’m convinced that if you have the right work ethic, you’ll succeed just about anywhere. And if you don’t, you’ll still struggle… just with nicer furniture. Q: Any pictures of your office space? None worth posting! It doesn’t compare to some of the offices I’ve seen posted on here. Imagine a natural disaster hits a paper factory and scatters the contents of a vending machine… yep, that’s my office. Q: Do you have any productivity tools you use to keep yourself efficient which may help our readers? I’m a big fan of Producteev, and I also use the Pomodoro technique that Carly mentioned in your last interview. Producteev is easily the best work planner I’ve come across. It’s free and it lets me keep track of all the projects I’m working on at any given time – both professionally and personally. It’s based off the ‘Getting Things Done’ book by David Allen, which is an absolute must-read for anybody who occasionally feels guilty about how they’re spending their time. Seriously, read it and you will get all kinds of new ideas for being more productive. Q: If you could give any advice to our readers before deciding whether remote working is for them then what would it be? Try to remove novelty from the equation. I don’t think you’ll find too many office workers who won’t snatch at the idea of working from home, just because the grass is always greener. We’re trained from an early age to hate that Sunday evening feeling. But in reality, working from home is a trade-off. Yes, it gives you all the home comforts. But you need to think about the repercussions on a social level. Some people find it very hard to adapt to isolation. We’re social animals and if you don’t actively seek out replacements for the social side of traditional work, you can end up feeling low. Likewise, you have to be self-disciplined. One of the reasons we like the idea of working from home is because it genuinely feels like home. So how will you react to getting up at 9am and forcing yourself to work in an environment where your custom-made distractions are all around you? That’s another personality acid test. Some people will thrive, others will spiral in to a life of lazy home comforts that is not particularly conducive to career advancement. Q: Do you believe more organisations should allow those with web based roles to work remotely? If so..how come? Definitely, but it has to be win-win for both parties. There are many IT jobs where we have the tools at home to get our jobs done to the same level. I think as long as the employee is turning that home comfort in to an advantage to put out better work, it should be embraced. But it’s only going to work for self-disciplined individuals. There are some bloodsucking layabout workers in this world who will use a home-working environment to play more Playstation, spend more time in the pub, and generally try to game the system any way they can. Some people need the so-called ‘rat race’ as much as it needs them. It’s sad. For those who understand that working from home is a trade-off, I think it has great potential. I mean how many hours do you lose in a year commuting to work? What could you do with those extra hours? I hope companies become more sensitive to the inefficiency in future. Some already are, which is definitely a good thing!