You asked, and it is here! We are conducting blog interviews with people working remotely. They might be digital nomads traveling the world, home-based workers with their little ones or working out of a co-working space. We are chatting with people who enjoy the flexible remote lifestyle.
Next up is Danielle Day. I met Danielle online in a Facebook group for Digital Nomad Business Owners. Goodness, this lady is so talented and creative. You guys are in for a treat. Let's get started!
1. What is your website if you have one? Talk about your brand, company or the work you do online. In other words, give us your elevator pitch.
DanDannDesigns.com and DanDann.me
Essentially, I am a wandering musician and artist. I made videos of my music, sell my fruit, veggie, and melanin-themed art, and occasionally feature other artists and musicians that I meet along my travels.
2. What led you to pursue a remote career?
I am a wanderer at heart, come from a long line of wanderers, from a country of wanderers (Jamaica). The only way to stop QUITTING jobs to travel was to work for an airline (which I did until they were bought out and disemboweled) or start my own business.
3. Where in the world are you located?
I currently live in the beautiful city of Valencia, Spain. It is the first time that I have ever felt like I was in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time doing exactly what I ought to be doing.
4. How did you find your remote position or why did you start your business?
There is always some number of great business ideas floating through me. After trying various ones, I finally gave myself permission to do the one that I REALLY wanted to do - play music, make art, meet people, travel. How? All I had to do was run full tilt toward things I didn't really want until I finally gassed out, gave up and got real. Try it! Or just... believe in yourself enough to gamble on your truth.
5. What is the biggest challenge you faced working remotely?
My biggest challenge is in maintaining a high enough level of belief in myself and my ideas. If I believe, I can do anything. I will put in the work, I will toil tirelessly. If I allow doubt or low self-esteem to creep in, I can become almost completely immobilized. It's rather interesting.
6. What is your best and worst experiences with working remotely? What did you learn from them?
My worst experience has got to have been living through the NUMEROUS times that I closed down DanDannDesigns in favor of trying to develop something more 'responsible.' It's what I asked the Universe for, it's what the Universe laid in my lap on a silver platter, it made me happy, it made other people happy, it made money - but it was 'just art' (or 'just music', seeing as how I've also stopped performing, HUNDreds of times over the last 15 years...), so I kept shutting that door. I would shut the door and try to "do it right." It has taken me until now to finally allow myself to say that what I make is enough. It doesn't have to be a Fortune500; it doesn't have to have a 20-page proposal, it doesn't have to bore me to tears. No more business with an artistic spin. My art is enough.
My BEST experiences have come from seeing people's eyes as they encounter various aspects of my creative output. Sometimes the abject joy and surprising burst of giggles as they wrap their hands around a wall-mounted bottle opener that says "Nobody puts broccoli in a corner." Sometimes the tears. There is that moment where someone out there connects, through the music, directly to my soul, where we look into each others' eyes and silently whisper, 'you SEE me' in awe. I live for those moments. They recharge me. They inspire me. It is enough to affirm my determination as I set everything else aside and pour my everything into this project. These moments teach me that contrary to what I have been led to believe, my creativity has value. A value that is deeper and more meaningful to me than a simple monetary transaction through a computer screen could ever be.
7. How has it been working outside of an office setting? How do you stay productive?
Working wherever I choose is a freedom for which I am exceedingly grateful. I am not going to lie, I spend a huge percentage working from bed, but that bed might be in Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Amsterdam, or any number of other places. And sometimes I go to coffee shops, parks, or other interesting places with wifi (again, anywhere around the world). And when I need to craft, I am finding that there are quite a few Hackerspaces and Makerspaces around the world, all fitted with the tools I need to produce my products. Productivity is something that I am learning, but I find that adequate rest, water and play are ABSOLUTELY essential to my ability to focus on the more left-brained aspects of my work. Another thing that really helps is to work at something that I consider play - like cutting sheets and sheets of bright yellow banana earrings!
8. How do you find clients?
I find most of my clients by being extremely social. I perform at open mics and jazz jams, I talk about my work, I wear my jewelry - people ALWAYS ask about it (if you saw someone wearing broccoli earrings and a tomato necklace, wouldn't YOU be intrigued?). My type of business, promoting my art and searching for other creatives with whom to collaborate, or to promote, I basically have to hang out where artists and musicians hang and rub as many elbows (in non-awkward ways) as possible.
9. What’s a typical day for you? Do you have a set schedule?
Sch... sh... Sche... Schedule? What is a schedule? Sometimes I sleep a lot (though, usually that happens once a month like clockwork), sometimes I stare blankly at my screen, sometimes I try to find a beautiful place in the park to sit with my Guitalele, sometimes I go on Artist Dates to find inspiration (thank you, Julia Cameron), sometimes I work furiously for 13 hours straight on a project while listening to Gogol Bordello and giggling to myself. Sometimes I make a "nice, respectable"-looking daily itinerary for myself and follow it with militant precision... for a few days. It just depends.
10. What advice can you give someone that wants to either quit their office job and work remotely or start a business for more flexibility?
Where there's a will, there's a way. Yea, it's scary, and YES it will be more difficult than you think, but if you're passionate about it, and push for it, you can do pretty much ANYthing - and it is WORTH it. Oh, and all those people who told you your idea was stupid that one time? They're scared. Don't worry about them. It's not about you. Do it anyway.
11. What are your top three resources for either finding online work or accommodating your digital lifestyle? Ie. Slack, Asana, Trello.
Trello for keeping my brain together (duct tape gets stuck in my hair), iTalki for taking the pressure off the whole 'if this is going to work IT NEEDS TO WORK NOW' thing, and Patreon(.com/heydandann I ain't ashamed of a shameless plug) for communicating directly with the people who like my work.
12. What is your favorite inspirational quote?
"Do not fear mistakes. There are none." This quote by Miles Davis is partially responsible for DanDannDesigns every taking existence (he was quoted in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron - who is DIRECTLY responsible for DanDannDesigns every taking existence).
13. Okay, tell everyone a fun fact about you!
I REALLY like broccoli. Almost all of my art has something to do with fruits and vegetables, and there are many forms. Broccoli happens to appear in just about every form I've made so far, from earrings and necklaces to movie-quote bottle openers. Oh no wait, I haven't written a song about it yet... I wrote a song about eggplant. I REALLY like eggplants.... The complete first thing I ever sewed was an eggplant. But then... I also have a giant broccoli that sleeps in my bed (his name is Oli) and a giant broccoli hanging on my wall (his name is Brocc, and he was my makeshift Christmas Tree one year). So, I guess I really like Broccoli and Eggplants....
How can people find you online? Social Media.
I can be located all over the web under @heydandann (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Patreon).
The Remote Lifestyle Interviews: Online Edition with GuideWAH
We are proud to announce that after a long wait we are finally starting our blog series: Interviews with people working remotely. These will be people who are working remotely as employees or those that are business owners, and they do most of their work from a home office or as they travel.