You know the old worn-out saying, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Not sure where that saying comes from, I hate to think that people were skinning cats and, even worse, coming up with multiple ways to do it! Poor cats.
Anyway, just as there is more than one way to skin a cat 😩 there are multiple ways to work remotely.
- Get hired as a remote employee
This is the most common way to work remotely and it’s the way I’ve done so for a long time. I have worked remote for Toys R Us, American Express, Xactly (a software company) and now, Amplifi (a software consulting company).
I love this as an option because there are SO MANY opportunities out there. You wouldn’t believe how many companies are hiring remote employees across so any industries and professions.
The great thing is, these are REAL jobs. They have comparable pay and benefits to traditional jobs at “cubicle companies”. The challenge is so many people don’t realize these companies or jobs exist or assume that they either don’t pay well or they’re for developers. I created a free guide with my favorite places to find remote work to help open people’s eyes to the wealth of opportunities out there.
2. Become a freelancer
When people think freelancer, they think things like graphic designer or website developer and while those are excellent fields to freelance in, these aren’t the only ways to freelance. In 2013, I freelanced as a Project Manager. I sought out my own clients and worked on projects from managing web development teams, to building a payroll system for a multi-salon business, to managing Point Of Sale machine installs in stores across London (from the comfort of my home).
Freelancing is a great option because it provides a bit more flexibility in many cases. You decide how many clients you want to take on, you set your hours, you define the work you are willing to do.
Freelancing is something I tend to recommend for people who have specialized skills but don’t let that term scare you. You likely have specialized skills that you don’t realize are specialized. If you’ve worked in retail for a long time, for instance, you have developed specialized retail skills and could freelance as a retail consultant. You could help small business owners set up their retail stores, do digital marketing for online retailers, help them build their retail process from order to shipping to returns. I could go on all day, the point is, no matter what you do/did for a living, there’s likely some fine points of your day to day job that you could turn into a freelancing/consulting opportunity.
3. Start a digital business
I distinguish freelancing from starting a business because I believe there are some nuances that differentiate the two. The best example I have is my friend Courtney, Founder of 16X9 Design, a company that creates stunning presentations for some of the worlds biggest companies. Courtney started out as a freelancer. She took on clients with her specialized presentation skills and did such great work that she had to start hiring and subcontracting work to others and now she has a business that’s made over $1M.
I’m not saying the difference between freelancing and owning a business is hiring people or even making $1M. But I am saying that there IS a difference between freelancing and owning a business. There are differences in the actions you have to take for setting your business up, how you pay taxes, how you pursue clients, the systems you put in place, etc.
That said, digital businesses are a great way to work remotely. In 2016, I started a business helping people live in other countries for 1 month to 1 year at a time. It’s work I can do from anywhere and it’s fulfilling work. Examples of some other digital businesses I know of: Training or Course, Retail Store (where you don’t hold or pack inventory), Consulting Firm, and Software.
4. Convince your employer to let you go remote
This is the one that people never really consider. They don’t even realize they COULD ask or they’re so scared of getting a “no” they don’t bother. My granny always told me “you’ll never get what you don’t for” and I’ve adopted the mantra “ask for everything”.
When I took a group of people around the world for a year, five of them proposed remote work to their employer so they could go on the year long journey and they all got a yes! In fact, one of them originally got a no but she kept pushing and was eventually told yes.
I work from home today because i proposed remote work to the company I work for. They hadn’t even considered it as an option when they were building their workforce (I was employee #11 at what was, for all intents and purposes, a start-up). The CEO asked me to move back to Atlanta from Tallahassee as a requirement for my employment offer. I already had plans to move back so that was a no brainer. What I didn’t plan to do, was work in an office every day. My first discussion with my Director was about me being able to work from where ever I want. Since then, we’ve hired people all over the country, as the CEO realized the location doesn’t actually matter when you hire good people.
Check out my blog post on How to Convince Your Employer to Let You Work Remotely
BONUS: A couple more ways to work remotely
I know I said there are four ways, but there really are more ways that you may not have considered. These are more like methods that layer onto the 4 ways I mentioned earlier.
- Part-time – there IS part-time remote work out there. If you need to make some extra money or have a side hustle, you could get hired part-time, freelance part-time, or start a business
- Contract – contracting is also a great way to work remotely and applies to all four of the things I listed above.
- Hybrid Remote – you could work from home part-time and from the office part-time!
When it comes to working remotely, I have pretty much done it all over a 13 year period! I’ve enjoyed the freedom and flexibility that it’s given me. I’ve been able to spend more time with my family, travel more, build a business, and even move abroad.
I want that sort of freedom for everyone!