Rafael is an interaction designer from Bogotá, Colombia who focuses on UX & UI design and e-Branding for web and mobile apps, SaaS and mobile games. Because Rafael’s work is all done online, it has given him the opportunity to work remotely.
Although remote working is on the uprise, there are many people out there who still question how efficient working remotely could really be.
Here, Rafael shares answers to the most common questions he has received over the many years of his remote career.
Is it (really) possible to work remotely?
Absolutely. As long as you don’t (really) have to actually be at a place (sorry surgeons, you can travel on your holidays). There are many, many tools that let you work remotely and still get stuff done. It takes discipline though. And trust. Also, the number of virtual companies around the world keeps growing and there are plenty of places to work from wherever you are. Don’t know where to look? You might want to browse this website 😉
How do you keep in contact with everyone (work wise)?
Working remotely is all about communication. Email, basic. But also tools like Slack and Asana (or Trello) to keep track of what everyone else is doing and so you don’t get caught up on any tasks. To stay productive I use Toggl to track my time. As a designer, I have to literally show my progress, so I use InVision for that. It is great for feedback and rapid prototyping. And to plan meetings, timeanddate.com has a really simple international meeting planner and then Skype. The best of all, these apps, and many others, integrate with each other, so, in a way, if you learn how to manage your time and tools, it’s practically like being next to each other.
Is it true that “digital nomads” have a bad reputation because they are not reliable?
Sadly, yes. Many people still think that those who work and travel are not reliable. Some might think I’m slacking off at some beach so their work won’t be delivered, or is going to be poor because, well, I’m at the beach! You don’t work there.
And I understand why they might think like that. But, instead of trying to convince those people, I try and find other companies and clients that know that you can trust a professional, no matter where they are. I take my job very seriously and I always commit to it, and there are many like me out there. Nevertheless, a piece of advice for both sides: if you are going to start a remote career, your reputation is everything. Take it lightly and you will be going back home really quickly.
And also you damage the rest of us, so, please don’t do it for “the fun.” It’s still a job. Identify what aspects of your job you can do remotely, how you will keep in touch and how you will deliver. Then come up with a strong communication
strategy and toolset and then you can start moving. For those who are hesitating on working with someone on the other side of the screen, it’s fine. Do some research first. Contact your professional. Get to know them. Don’t settle for the cheapest one just because it is the internet, and don’t use websites like Fiverr or Freelancer. That’s scrapping the end of the barrel and you will get what you are paying for, $5 results.
Do you have to quit your job to do what you like?
No. If you have to quit your job to do what you really like. Why did you get that job in the first place? There are so many things to do now. A whole bunch of possibilities that also will make you money. If that is what you are pursuing.
What do you want to do then?
I think it goes more on “For how long do you want to do what you’re doing?”. Gary Vaynerchuk says: “Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do everyday for the rest of my life…do that.” I agree, but I also like the concept of the expiration date. Most people think that whatever it is that they are doing is what they will do for the rest of their lives and that idea terrifies me. There are so many things to do that settling for just one sounds laughable to me. Take a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve always been a fan of him. I’m hugely motivated by what he has accomplished. He has succeeded in three very different “life-goals”; starting out by becoming the world’s most famous body builder, then becoming Hollywood’s highest paid actor in the early 2000’s, and then moving on to becoming Governor of freaking California. So I think I’ll be doing what I’m doing until I found my next passion. I’m sure, though, that is going to be something about creating things. I like that.