Slowly, piece by piece, item by item I moved my home across an ocean to Norway. Without planning for the future I set myself up for a new life in Scandinavia and one that I would support with my creative outpouring. Six years ago the remote lifestyle was not on my radar. I started work as a graphic design straight out of University, initially as a favour to a magazine and then as my expertise and network grew, so did my hobby into a business. Without a guide, I learnt by trial and error how to work remotely.
Harnessing the potential of the internet
The internet is a wonderful thing. It brings us closer together, shows us diversity. Yes, like anything it is a tool that can be used both to destruct and harm but it has the potential to bridge gaps and enlighten so many. Never before have we been able to find people that think like us with a swipe of a finger or equally come in contact with those that challenge our perspective on the world.
When it comes to running your own show (aka the freelance life) the internet enables you to work, sell and communicate with almost any person, with a wifi signal. A powerful tool. The tool that has allowed so many of us to be of service without leaving our homes or to sling a backpack across our shoulders and set off to an ever-changing location. Harnessing the potential of the internet, will allow you to take meetings with suppliers in Italy, communicate with your ethical designer from her hilltop nordic home and share and organise large files using cloud storage services.
Organise your calendar
Working remotely gives you the freedom to do what you want when you want. Within reason, you can construct your days to suit both your style of productivity, and to fit amongst other events in your calendar. If you are on the road you can look at your schedule to realise you can help your clients on the other side of the world in the evening, leaving you the day to explore a gallery or take a walk in nature. To make the most of this set the boundaries on the times of day you are going to be available to co-ordinate with your team, get back to emails and create for your audience. Plot it into your calendar and then look to life to fill in the spaces. This is where the greatest adventures lie and the inspiration is unlocked.
Get support and help from a community
There is a reason that we all know the depths of gloom when it comes to ‘home sickness’. We have either experienced it ourselves when lusting for the home-cooked dinner of our youth or have friends who send messages of longing. Hitting the road isn’t necessarily a path covered in rose petals. It can be isolating and lonely when moving to a new place. When I moved to Norway I only knew one person, my partner, and very quickly my own company became overwhelming. I learnt to look outside myself and find a community of like-minded creatives in Oslo, cumulating in running and organising events for people just like me.
When working remotely it is simple to get wrapped up in your own world away from others but it doesn’t need to be that way. You can find freelancers and creative entrepreneurs online and in groups. You can collaborate in person, with people and businesses in your community and give back to help them. The best ideas happen when we have a tribe of people to help them grow.
Be kind to yourself
In general, when travelling we all have a tendency to over-estimate the hours in the day and do not take into account the stress involved when moving from place to place. It may look glamorous on Instagram when working on a laptop in a beautiful landscape but the daily grind can be just that a grind. Tune into yourself, get wise to self care and perhaps you need to give yourself a break, a yoga session or a massage rather than another beer.