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 Wanda Duncan. I met Wanda online in her fabulous Facebook group called Black Women Digital Nomad Entrepreneurs. Wanda is very inspirational. She teaches us that just because going remote doesn't work the first time doesn't mean we should give up. Let's get started with Wanda's interview!
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.
My website is AshaLBH.com. I focus on teaching self-love, self-care, entrepreneurship, and examine the role that travel can play in our lives.
2. What led you to pursue a remote career?
I moved to Atlanta in 2003, and after five years of working my way up in my corporate job, I had a run-in where my personality and desire to live a life where I could put all of myself into my work caused me to have to make a lifestyle change. I decided to go to Central America and was there for six months; then I lived in Jamaica for another three months. I was reinforcing some ideas I had about myself and learning about faith, the power of intention, and what focused action could produce in my life. It was a bittersweet nine months. I ended up returning to Atlanta and was a shell of myself. In Atlanta, I did work outside of my new corporate jobs that furthered my education in faith, intention, and action.
When those projects could no longer sustain my needs, and I had learned what I went back to Atlanta to learn, I chose at the end of 2014 to further put my faith, intention, and action into play and put all of myself into saving for, and planning to leave America, and if I were to return, to return on my own terms. My focus was unparalleled. 2015 yielded every drop and more of what I put my energy into. December 31st, 2016 I left for London and have since been traveling through Europe and Southeast Asia up till now. My inner work has, of course, continued because we all have to maintain and grow the visions we set out for ourselves. I've been steadily challenged and evolving in my ideas about myself, the life I want to live, and relating to the world around me. Needing the space to explore and know intimately what my life means to me has kept me traveling and working primarily online. Being away from the American system, culture, and all of the layers that come with it has allowed me the space to see myself more clearly while doing work I'm proud of.
3. Where in the world are you located?
I'm currently in Koh Lanta, Thailand.
4. How did you find your remote position or why did you start your business?
I started self-mastery coaching because the questions and methods I've always explored for myself I thought to be useful for others. I have always been that friend. My actual friends or people in bars or wherever I'd meet them because they felt safe with me and not judged, would always open up and share their pain with me. It's hard to expose your wounded self to someone that doesn't get it. I've had the experience where people are out of their depth when I'm sharing, and they'll change the subject, or less frequently just be honest and say they don't know what to say about my situation. I saw an opportunity and got more training; I studied, I examined my own hurt parts and talked myself through murky waters. I sought professional help, and finding little relief to my existential questions, studied harder. I needed answers. I needed the truth. So on my quest to solving my own problems, I learned to work with others to provide the same path to peace in their life.
5. What is the biggest challenge you faced working remotely?
A lot of life is marrying the talent with the business portion of the deal. My biggest challenge has been promotion I'd say. Most musicians just want to show up for the gig. They don't want to hand out flyers, engage in social media, and otherwise politic to get people to the show. They most enjoy playing on stage. That's not me, but I've had to test a trillion different ways and face more of my inner blocks to be able to connect effectively with potential clients. It's something I'm always fine-tuning. But I'm also thankful because honestly, had it come easily; I wouldn't have had to confront those parts of myself that needed to heal and grow.
6. What is your best and worst experiences with working remotely? What did you learn from them?
Traveling has for me come to be about the people I meet. The best experience is being somewhere where I can flow well. That means I can eat well, sleep well, get exercise, and connect with locals. Oh, and of course good enough wifi, lol. Every place doesn't lend itself to each to each of those, but I'm at my best when I have all of those. Vietnam was very difficult for me, and I actually developed anxiety trying to stay there. Locals would point and laugh at me, and otherwise ostracize me to where I'd usually only come out to do shopping at a store at night, vs. the open air market where you could find really yummy food and inexpensive groceries. The best has been in Penang, Malaysia so far. I had local friends I connected well with, the food was beyond believable, and my other needs were sufficiently met with some compromise here or there. Each place has shown me more of myself and has helped me to expand my worldview to navigate different cultures and customs. For example, I learned more about Muslim people in Malaysia.
7. How has it been working outside of an office setting? How do you stay productive?
I have a different schedule that I follow every day. I understand how best I work and have crafted my schedule accordingly. Being realistic about what I can accomplish in a day has been the most helpful in fulfilling my needs.
8. How do you find clients?
I've used a combination of online and in real life marketing to make those connections. Social media is huge, but being plugged into expat or English teaching communities has helped me to network.
9. What’s a typical day for you? Do you have a set schedule?
I wake up when I get enough rest, hydrate, take a moment to check in with myself and then those I love. I have a tomorrow list I work by, so I get my list out and get to work on my projects. I usually break for a meal and a nap at some point during the day, work a bit more in the evening, and try to go out and enjoy wherever I am at night. Sometimes I'll meet a friend for lunch or coffee during the day, which is a nice break too. I usually take Sundays off to decompress.
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?
Take a good look at yourself. If you want to have a meaningful connection with your travel and work, it usually ends up being a mirror for you anyway. You get to see yourself in ways you might have been able to avoid before. And remember you're taking whoever you are on this journey. Sometimes different places allow you to express a certain side of yourself more, but for the most part, you are who you are wherever you are. Travel isn't going to "fix" you per se. Be gentle, but deal with your shit. You'll feel lighter and enjoy your life and travels more.
11. What are your top three resources for either finding online work or accommodating your digital lifestyle? ie. Slack, Asana, Trello.
I use Trello, Evernote, and Deezer/YouTube.
12. What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Thrive in uncertainty-Me
13. Okay, tell everyone a fun fact about you!
I can sing runs for days!!!
14. How can people find you online? Social Media.
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.