Welcome to the 32nd of the weekly interview series where I will speak to 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’s interview is with Joseph Bushnell a internet marketing consultant and conference speaker. From the ripe age of 22 Joseph has worked with clients across the globe in partnership with his wife from their own home. An insightful look into how Generation Y are reshaping the way they live their life through self employment and lifestyle design. Joseph is a real inspiration for those looking to make the step to self employment. You can find out more about Joseph via his business website JosephBushnell.com.
Q: Hi Joseph tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now?
First and foremost I’m a proud husband and father. I’m also an internet marketing consultant. I was born, raised and still live in Hampshire.
Q: What company do you work for and what is your role within the organisation?
I work for myself; my company is JB Internet Marketing Services. Not the most creative name but does what it says on the tin!
Q: You have run your own Internet marketing firm from home for the past four years. Tell us a little about what you have achieved in these four years
Well it’s still very much a work in progress but I am happy with what I have managed to achieve since I started. At first my business was almost a hobby, I was just looking into internet marketing and fooling around with it, not really knowing how to run a business or earn money. It took me many months before I even made a penny. I stuck it out and the more I learned, the more experience I gained the penny eventually started to drop and things started to make sense.
I was working full time as an insurance broker and only doing my online stuff at night. I approached my employers and told them what I was doing and that I was getting serious about it. There was a part time vacancy going and they let me reduce my hours so I could work on my own business and not entirely forfeit my income. This gave me significant time each day to work on my business and a few months later I was able to make enough money to go full time. I’ll always be grateful to my previous employers for giving me that part time role so I could transition; it was an essential stepping stone for me and allowed me to get to the next level without too much risk. If anyone reading this is currently in full time work and looking to start their own business then I recommend trying this route.
Since then we have grown the business and it goes from strength to strength. I have had the privilege of working with some the world’s best marketing minds, people who I am now proud to call my friends. I have helped many small/medium sized businesses succeed and make more online sales because of the work we have done for them.
I won’t boast too much because I am still very far from the ultimate goal I am trying to reach but I am very happy with what has happened since the beginning and hope that the next few years will be just as fun, if not more!
Q: As well as your internet marketing business you also run your own personal blog on josephbushnell.com. For those visitors who have yet to see your blog can you give us a brief introduction into the type of things you talk about?
I blog about all aspects of online marketing including traffic, SEO, PPC, social media, blogging, copywriting, email marketing, video marketing, product/content creation, sales, persuasion techniques, tools/software reviews and pretty much any other topic that relates to internet business. If it helps to sell more online then I’m interested in it, I’m studying it, testing it and then blogging about it
Q: Within the last question I failed to focus on the fact that you also have a young child. How do you balance working from home with having a young child in the house?
Fortunately I work with my wife so between the two us we have it covered! I remember when my son was really little; it was far more difficult as he was noisy and very dependent on us for every single thing, getting things done could be a challenge. However, these days he just get’s on with his own thing! He loves watching his kids TV, his toys and the iPad so he has lot’s to do which gives us time to work. My wife likes to split her time a bit more evenly between work and our son because obviously he does need at least one of us there all the time.
Sometimes I really have to focus on getting work done so I will be in a room on my own but every hour or so I like to have a short break and make sure that we have some play time. The great thing about working from home is I spend a lot of time with and see my son grow up every day, I know that some dads don’t have that chance, their work requires them to travel or be away from home a lot, so I feel grateful and fortunate to be in this position.
Hopefully one day my little boy will have a brother or sister to play with! That’s still a work in progress!
Q: What did you dislike most about the office environment and how does working from home differ from this?
It’s probably some sort of male pride issue but for some reason having a boss to dictate my every action doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps that’s not a particularly noble trait but it is nonetheless something I feel inside. I prefer not to have someone tell me what to do and when to do it; with the constant threat of being fired if I don’t do it exactly as expected.
The only thing I miss about an office is working with friends and having banter with them but I haven’t really even thought about that until you asked me that question. For me the positives of working from home far outweighs anything that an office has to offer
Q: How do you deal with stereotypes from friends in regards to productivity when working remotely? i.e.: Sleep until midday, 2 hour lunch breaks etc.
To be honest no one has ever said those kinds of things to me, most of time people are quite impressed that I work from home and have my own business but who knows; maybe they don’t say it but are thinking it in their heads?
It wouldn’t bother me if they said it anyway. I know that I work extremely hard so it wouldn’t offend me and in some cases what they say might be true! For example, occasionally I do sleep until midday but that’s because I often work with people on the west coast of USA who are 8 hours behind us. So if I don’t get to bed until the early hours of the morning then I do sleep in longer, but it’s not due to laziness just time zones and the practicalities of my job. My routine will depend on my schedule at any given time, it’s nice to have days where I simply work 9-5 but it often doesn’t happen that way!
Q: What are the main positives in your current working conditions and schedule?
I love being able to choose my work schedule and create the lifestyle I choose. I love not having to commute each day. I love choosing what tasks I want to do and what one’s I can outsource. The flexibility and variety of my work is something that I value very highly
Q: Are you an advocate of work/life balance and how do you try and balance both?
Although I’d like to think I’m an advocate, I probably sometimes have it unbalanced! I sometimes find it a little hard to stop thinking about business and just have some time to relax. Slowly I’m learning to change this because it’s not nice feeling stressed 24/7! So maybe you’re asking the wrong person as this is something I’ve struggled with but I think I am definitely getting better with it
Having said that, I do get plenty of time to enjoy leisurely activities and have fun with my family. Sometimes we have an entire day off to do something fun and just leave work stuff behind for the day, that’s a great option to have; I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do so. My friends who are in full time employment have to ring up in the morning and pull a sickie if they fancy the day off!
Q: What’s a typical day for you Joseph? Realistically….start to finish . We want to hear about your blogging, client work, your exercise routines, family times. The whole shebang!
A typical day for me would be…
Check emails that have come in overnight when I wake up and respond to the most important ones immediately
Look at the to-do-list and see what the top priorities are. I use Brain Tracy’s “eat that frog” mentality, which means putting the most important tasks to the front of the queue. I know that sounds obvious but human nature makes us put the most difficult stuff off until later. It can be tempting to complete tasks of lower importance because they are easier and convince myself that I am working efficiently, when in reality I am procrastinating. So I try my best to not do that now
Specifically the tasks I could be doing include… consulting on the phone or Skype, talking with people who want to partner with me, doing interviews, creating content, promoting content, implementing a marketing campaign for my own business or a clients and delegating work for my team to accomplish.
I have regular breaks and sometimes we go out in the afternoon as a family if we’ve had a particularly productive morning.
Previously I have been going to the gym in the evenings but not always getting down there (procrastinating basically). Recently I had my father in law build me a make shift treadmill desk so that I can exercise throughout the day!! It’s not pretty but it’s functional and does the job, hopefully in a short while I’ll start to see some good progress with weight loss and get back to peak fitness!
Q: Do you have your own dedicated office space in the home?
Yes I have an office upstairs for when I need absolute silence but most of the time my wife and I work together in the dining room which pretty doubles up as an office for us, that way we can keep an eye on our son but still get things done
Q: Any pictures of your office?
Q: How important do you feel family support is for home workers? Is your wife supportive of your working conditions?
For me it’s been great because my wife is very supportive. She helps and supports me as much as she possibly can; I’m a very lucky guy!
I think for anyone looking to do it, your spouse or partner needs to be supportive or it could cause problems. Outside of that though I don’t think it should be a problem, if my family or friends were not supportive then it wouldn’t stop me. It’s nice that they are, but not essential to me
Q: Do you have any productivity tools you use to keep yourself efficient which may help our readers?
I use teamworkpm.net for project management for keeping tabs on both my team of independent contractors and my clients too.
I love evernote.com for quickly jotting down ideas, times/dates or anything at all that needs to be on my to-do-list. I also use quicktate.com plug-in for evernote for transcribing my voice recordings into text transcriptions.
I also use rescuetime.com to make sure I don’t spend too much time surfing the internet rather than working! It sure can be an eye opener to see how much time can be wasted when working online, it can go unnoticed but this tool doesn’t let me get away with it anymore!
Q: Lastly. The audience of Generation Y are young, digital savvy individuals. Do you believe more organisations should allow those with web-based roles to work remotely? If so..how come?
Yes I do, in fact I believe that is exactly what will happen over the course of the next couple of years. To me it makes perfect sense. The idea of an office is becoming increasingly redundant in this day and age in my opinion. I’ve always used people who work remotely so I’ve not had experience with this, but I imagine that the cost of running an office is quite high. Why not save a ton of money by letting people work from home? With Skype or web conferencing technology, meetings do not have to be face to face anymore, that cuts down on a lot of travel expenditure too.
To me the only downside would be; can the worker be relied upon to complete all tasks remotely without anyone overseeing them? In my mind any responsible adult who takes their job seriously should be able to do this and anyone who couldn’t be grown up enough to do this; I wouldn’t want working for my organization anyway, remotely or otherwise.
I think the previous generation will have a hard time letting go of this concept so it won’t change too quickly but gradually as new entrepreneurs take over I think they will break from tradition and start to innovate their businesses in this way