The Ultimate Guide on How To Get a Remote Job for Busy Professionals In Search of Fulfilling Work
Work. It’s where most of us spend our days, weeks, and the majority of our lives. Yet so many of us are left unfulfilled by our jobs, whether it’s because of a lack of passion for the work, dealing with office politics, or reporting to a terrible boss. What if you could find a remote job and solve all these problems?
There are countless reasons why people are unsatisfied with their work and their careers. And it leads most to dream about escaping the 9-5, getting out of the rat race, and increase work productivity all the while having more time and freedom to do the things we enjoy the most.
And for most, that’s all it ever is. Just a dream. Because the security of a regular paycheck is easier to deal with than to take the risk of finding something new.
But it doesn’t have to be just a dream. If you’re willing to put in the work, you don’t have to stay stuck where you are. And you can escape the 9-5 grind and live the life you’ve always wanted without all the risks associated with starting a business. Let me tell you how I did it.
Since my first real job back in 2007, I knew right away working in an office wasn’t right for me.
Not only was I commuting nearly 90mins each way, but I was working in a role that I quite honestly couldn’t stand.
The money was good, and it helped fund my dreams at the time of trying to make it as a musician, but that’s about it.
Since then, I’ve done everything from working behind a bar, selling cable TV door to door, spraying perfume at Harrods and Selfridges in London, to working on some of the biggest shows in the world, developing a successful career in insurance all before finally figuring out how to build something that didn’t need me to be in an office.
It took 10 years to get to a point where I can work from pretty much anywhere, I can travel the world, work with smart, amazing people, and have the freedom and flexibility to live my perfect day, every day.
I didn’t have to start a business (although I tried this multiple times over the years), and I didn’t need to wave goodbye to the security that comes from having a regular job.
This was all possible because I finally landed a remote job.
Remote work has become more and more popular as companies look for ways to get an edge on their competitors. In today’s hyperconnected world, businesses can hire employees from around the world. And that means they can hire the best. Not just the best in their city or town. But the best in the world.
That opens up opportunities that were previously unattainable. 10 years ago, if you wanted to find a remote job or become location independent, your only real option was to start a business. Sure there were already a few work-from-home options, but not a lot.
Today, remote opportunities are everywhere, just take a look at our list of 500+ Remote Friendly Companies.
Why Remote Work?
Remote work comes with a lot of perks. Much of this depends on the company but for the most part you can expect to get the freedom to work from almost anywhere, as long as you have a strong internet connection.
You get flexibility in your work schedule. Want to hit the gym in the afternoon? Need to go pick up your kids from school? All of this is commonplace in remote teams. The focus is on making sure you deliver results, not the hours you keep.
Think of the time you could save not having to commute to work? For most that could be as much as an extra 2-3 hours a day depending on how long your current commute is.
No more fighting against traffic on the motorway, no more squeezing onto packed trains and buses to get yourself to work.
You get to choose the environment you work in.
Here’s why I love remote work. It gives you everything you could want from running your own business, without having to take the risk of starting a business. You still have job security, a regular paycheck, and if you choose your company wisely, you get to work with amazing people all around the world.
Escaping the 9-5 has never been more accessible.
This all sounds too good to be true. So what’s the catch?
As you can expect, with a lot of amazing perks, the competition for landing these roles is extremely high. Add to that, you’re not just competing with people in your local area, you’re competing against the world.
Unless you’ve got a stellar CV, and incredible results to prove your worth, you’re never going to land a remote role, right?
Sure, if you follow what everyone else is doing, and send your application online, then yea. It’s unlikely you’re going to hear back or get a chance at an interview if you don’t have an impressive CV.
But there is another way. A better way that you can follow to land your dream remote role.
It’s a simple process, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Most people aren’t willing to put the work in to take this on. Which is good news for you, because it means less competition for you down this path.
How to Get a Remote Job
Identify Your Next Role
Before you start looking for your dream role, you need to figure out what it is you want to do and what type of company you want to work for. If you’re in digital marketing, what kind of digital marketing role do you want? Where does your expertise lie? Are you looking for an SEO Account Manager role? Would you prefer a Technical SEO Role? Or maybe none of that interests you and you’d rather be in a Social Media Community Management role.
The important thing here is to not only assess your current capabilities, but also look at where your interests lie. If you’re not sure, this is the time to explore and test things out.
If You Have Zero Experience
If you have no experience, you’re going to need to get some in order to find a remote job. What does that mean? You need to work on projects, whether personal or offer to help others for free, that are related to what you want to be doing.
If you’re not sure what you want to do, the only way to figure it out is to try it out. This doesn’t mean you need to land a role. For example, if you’re interested in becoming a data scientist, take some free courses online, watch a few YouTube videos, and build some basic data models. Once you’ve done that, you can start reaching out to people in the data science world to really get a feel for what it’s like.
Don’t like it, no worries, you haven’t wasted your time trying to find a job, you’ve just spent some time learning some valuable knowledge and figured it’s not for you. Keep doing this until you find something that works for you.
Remember though, you’re not going to have a lightbulb moment where you suddenly figure out your passion. We tend to be passionate about the things that we’re good at. And to get good at something takes time, and diligent practice. So don’t expect to pick something and fall in love with it right away. It has to be something that you can stick with, but don’t wait for lightning to strike.
If You Already Have Experience
If you’ve been working for a while, you probably have an idea of the work you don’t enjoy doing, and hopefully you’ve figured out a few skills that you enjoy. Or at least an idea of the skills you need to show or develop to find a remote job to your linking.
Focus on roles that you think could be a good fit. If you’re a digital marketer and you love writing, focus on learning about content marketing roles.
If you love being on camera, start researching video producer roles.
Your objective here isn’t to look for a role you’re going to land but rather get an understanding of the requirements companies are looking for to fulfill these roles.
Finding The Right Fit
The next piece of the puzzle is to figure out what type of company you want to work for. Do you want to be at a fast-paced, high-growth startup in fintech? Would you prefer working at a privately owned small business as their digital marketing lead? This is a step many people leave out. But it’s a critical step.
A digital marketing role at a 200+ employee high-growth startup looks very different to a digital marketing role at a 20+ employee small business. You need to figure out what’s important to you.
Do you like structure and rigidity? Then look to larger corporates. If you prefer a fast-paced, startup environment then look for that.
You can then use this information to zero in on potential companies you could work for or are interested in working for.
Identifying Your Targets
By this point, you should have a clearer idea on the role you want and at what type of company. You now need to spend some time identifying companies that fit this profile. You can use a combination of LinkedIn, AngelList, Crunchbase and other tools to find companies.
You want to start looking at their culture, their values, and most importantly start looking at the team you could be working with. If you’re planning to land a sales role, find out who’s in the sales team, do a quick scan of their social media. What kind of content are they sharing? What does life look like at these companies? If you like what you see, keep the companies on your list. If the company culture looks like it’s not a fit for you, you can cross those out.
Building Your Sphere of Influence
This is one of the most important steps. This is where you start to build your sphere of influence within the industry and within the teams you want to join. You need to start reaching out and talking to people. There are a few ways of doing this but the overall objective is to add value to them.
How? There are several ways you can do this, even if the person you want to reach is significantly more senior than you, or you think wouldn’t have the time for you.
I’m not saying you should go out and try and get in contact with Google and Facebook Executives, especially if you’re just starting out. But there are ways to get noticed and add value to people you think might not give you the time of day.
- Comment on their work
- This is an easy and sure fire way to add value to someone. Don’t overdo it and be disingenuous. It has to be authentic, and you have to really mean it. You can comment on a book they published, an article they’ve written, or even an insightful tweet. If you truly get some value from their work, let them know.
- Give them business
- What better way to add value to someone than to bring them some sales? This isn’t always possible, but when it is, it adds tremendous value.
- Write an article and link back to their company/work
- Let’s say you’re an aspiring UX designer looking to get a role at a venture backed startup. What better way to add value and showcase your experience than by writing up an analysis of your favourite applications and why they stand out. You can then share this article with the companies/people you mention in your article.
- Interview them
- Have a podcast? A blog? If not, you could start one and interview your targets. This takes a little more consistent effort but it totally transforms your approach. You’re reaching out to them from the outset with a value proposition. Feature on my podcast/blog/show so I can highlight your expertise. You get to tease out the information you’re looking for about their key challenges and you make them look good. This also gives them a chance to experience what it’s like to work with you. Impress them with your work, quality of output and communication, and it’ll be that much easier when you decide to apply for a role at their company.
You can approach them directly, start a conversation and learn more about what they do. Find out what kind of challenges they have at work. And this is key, learning what their biggest challenge is, is going to help you later on when you really want to impress them.
Adding Tremendous Value
Now that you’ve been building your sphere of influence it’s time to take the information you’ve been gathering to create a mini-project. This is a mini-project you can put together to tackle a challenge that you know the company is facing.
Make sure you really understand the challenge they’re facing. Provide an analysis based on the insights you’ve gained from speaking to your targets. You can take this further by gathering data from their customers. You can source a lot of this information from forums, reddit, Amazon, and countless other places where their audience hangs out online.
Present the problem and provide a solution that you think can solve this challenge. Think this over a few times, don’t just present your first idea. And if you’ve built enough of a relationship with people connected to the company (either current or previous employees) then don’t be afraid to brainstorm this with them.
Next, present it in the best way possible. There are a number of tools you can use to make your report look great. You could create an ebook, a presentation deck, you could record yourself in a video presenting it. Do what works for you, and what presents you in the best way possible.
Remember, you’re still not asking for a role at this stage. All you’re doing is adding value. You’re showing them the quality of your work and what you can produce.
See how different this approach is compared to what most people do? You’re not applying for anything. If you get this right you can add massive value and instantly get yourself recognized within the company, all before you’ve even applied or had an interview.
You’re putting in the work upfront to get noticed, not waiting for someone to pick you out of a 100 CVs.
Take Nina Mufleh for example. She landed her role at Airbnb by analysing the global tourism market and offering up her two cents on where Airbnb should focus their efforts next. You can see exactly what she put together and the deeply impressive numbers she was able to generate from her campaign.
Here’s another example where Ina Herlihy hustled to get the perfect job.
An example from my own career is how I put together a virtual summit with 25+ leading experts on emerging technologies and innovation in health insurance. One of the speakers on my summit eventually became my boss and gave me my first remote role.
You don’t have to build a summit, and you don’t have to build a website. But you need to do something.
Something that shows your work ethic, your quality of output, and you’re skillset.
It could be a blog, a podcast, a video, a Facebook ad campaign, a proposal. Whatever it is, it has to be relevant to the company you’re targeting.
Why does this work?
Because almost nobody does this. Think about the amount of hours you’ll have to put into this. It’s not easy. It’s a simple process, but it takes a lot of work. And while most people love to complain about how their job sucks, they’re not willing to put in the work to land a dream role.
This approach works for all kinds of jobs, but it works especially well for remote roles because remote teams want to see that you don’t need a lot of managing to get work done. They want to see that you’re a self-starter and can take things on yourself.
Play The Long Game To Grow Your Career
We’ve laid the process you can follow to land your first remote role. If you follow these steps, you could be getting offers within weeks. But don’t stop there. Once you’ve landed your role, don’t lose the momentum you’ve built for your career.
Just because you’ve landed your dream role, doesn’t mean you should stop reaching out to people and building valuable relationships. Don’t stop your blog or podcast if you’ve created one. Keep it going. Stay consistent. Why?
If you keep this up, your career capital will continue to grow. Opportunities will continually present themselves, and you’ll never have to spend weeks or months looking for work because you’ll already know the best opportunities out there and have your pick of the best.