Interview With TEDx Speaker & Comfort Zone Creator Marcus Taylor

Welcome to the fifteenth 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 was an interview with someone who is making HUGE strides in the Digital world. Not only carbon footprint wise but also through his brilliant work. Since leaving his role as Head of Social media at a leading London agency Marcus went on great things. Launching the amazing What Is My Comfort Zone calculator, travelling/working remotely throughout Australia plus the most recent launch of his fantastic portal for aspiring Musicians, The Musicians Guide.

As well as the above I forgot to mention Marcus recently was asked to speak at the TEDx conference in Australia. Now for those who have lived under a rock for the past 5 years then the TED conference is a BIG deal. Let’s just say Marcus has had a whirlwind year and is just catching his breath.

Fortunately I was able to grab him at the opportune moment and find out more about the guy behind the innovation. You can catch Marcus’ TED talk at the bottom of the interview. Well worth 5 minutes of your life. Enjoy!

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

Hey Ryan, I’m originally from Oxford in the UK but am currently in New Zealand. Although I wouldn’t say I live here, I’m in the middle of a ‘round the world trip’ working on a few projects whilst exploring this corner of the World. Over the next few months I’ll travel through Fiji, Hawaii, and Los Angeles before finally heading home to mother England! One fun fact about me is that I own a pet bear called Neo. No joke.

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

I don’t technically work for a company as I’m officially self-employed, but I do run a number of projects including and, both of which were hobby side-projects that turned into something a bit bigger than anticipated. I also consult to a few companies and start-ups, helping them to grow the online aspects of their businesses.

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.

To be fair, most of my friends are either in a similar boat to me, or just think that I’m crazy but are okay with it! In short, I don’t really have much experience in ‘dealing’ with those things, as they haven’t really occurred for me.

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

For me, the most challenging thing is getting into a routine that allows you to be effective and productive. When you rock up to a new city as I did today you can easily spend two hours trying to find somewhere with a good wifi connection! I like the freedom and flexibility of working remotely, but sometimes it’s not as productive as having a set place that you frequent daily.

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

You get to mould your work around you rather than the other way around.

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

I don’t right now as I’m rarely in any one country for more than a month at a time, but I’m considering it when I get back to the UK. The main benefits for me to do this would be 1) so that I could create a routine that cuts out distractions and eliminates issues like poor wifi / bad coffee / nearby screaming children. 2) it would enable me to hire staff and interns. 3) it makes you feel like you’re in a place to work, which I’m sure complements productivity and focus.

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

I use three fairly old-school tricks. First of all I have a journal which I use for keeping track of my goals and also re-evaluating my goals if need be. Secondly, I relentlessly write to-do lists to ensure that I’m creating tasks that push me towards my goals. Finally I use WriteRoom / full-screen mode when writing to eliminate distractions and to help me get into the flow of things when doing creative work.

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

Try it. If you work a 9-5 job, spend some of your annual holiday allowance being a remote worker – take a few weeks off to work in cafes or from home and see how you find it. My general advice would be 1) get your finances together i.e. have at least 6-12 months income in a savings account to fall back on. 2) Have a project that you’re prepared to hustle seriously hard on and is already earning money. 3) Don’t under estimate the importance of working around other like-minded people – consider working remotely in a co-working space.

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

Not necessarily. Working in an office is great if you’re with lovely people, working on something you enjoy, being appreciated, have limitless access to good coffee, and have flexible work hours that fit around your body’s natural peaks and troughs in energy. I think organisations could generally be more accommodating to these things that often drive people to want to work remotely in the first place. That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trusting employees to work remotely, providing that their work is verified.


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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 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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