Why do you want to work remotely?
The constant factor to success in landing a full time remote job quickly is motivation. To stay motivated, you need a goal. That goal is different for everyone. Maybe you want to travel, spend more time with your kids, or have more time to work on your side projects.
For me, the goal of traveling overseas is what motivated me to find my first full time remote job in just two weeks in 2016. The goal that motivates you may be very different. Nonetheless, you need a goal.
When I ask people why they want to work remotely, they say something like “so I don’t have to commute” or “so I don’t have to go into an office” or “to have more freedom.” These are all things that working remotely makes possible but they are not inspiring goals.
If you don’t have an inspiring goal — something deep, personal, and meaningful — you probably will not complete this course successfully. In fact, I’d be surprised if you made it halfway through. That’s why, today, we’re going to find a goal that motivates you. This goal will inspire you to land a full time remote job fast.
What follows are some good and bad reasons for working remotely to help you get started finding an inspiring goal.
Not-so-good reasons for working remotely
- To have more freedom. If a hiring manager asks you why you want to work remotely and you say to have more freedom, you probably just blew your chance of getting hired. What you want to do is figure out what freedom means to you. More opportunities to travel? More time with your family? More time spent on a hobby? Get very specific and excited about this!
- To cut the commute. Cutting the commute is now why you want to work remotely. You want to work remotely to have more time to do things that you want. What are those things?
- To get out of the office. I occasionally get office anxiety due to the bright lights and close working quarters. But getting out of the office is not a good reason to work remotely. This hints at underlying issues. For instance, I was afraid of what people thought of me. Working remotely would not solve this issue.
Good reasons for working remotely
- To travel. This was my initial reason for wanting to work remotely. I found a program that took remote workers to 12 countries in 12 months with other remote workers. This sounded like an awesome experience. It inspired me to get my first remote job. Hiring managers also thought it was cool.
- To explore a hobby or side project. Do you want to learn to play a new instrument or start a new side project. These are not silly reasons to work remotely, especially if you live in an area with long commute times. Also, many remote companies you want to work for will think you starting a side project or pursuing an inspiring hobby is cool.
- To spend more time with family. For anything in life, what better reason than family? I’m currently single and don’t have kids to spend time with but I often make trips to see my mom, dad, sister, and relatives more frequently than I did when I was working in an office.
Helping Frank find his goal for working remotely
While doing some research for the remote job course, I spoke with a middle-aged gentleman named Frank about making the transition from office work to remote work. He had been interested in working remotely for a while but, even after months of interest, had not taken any steps to get an interview with a remote company.
He had a lot of experience, too. About twenty years of sales experience. So it wasn’t a lack of experience that was holding him back. It wasn’t even his resume, cover letter, or low volume of applications. The reason he wasn’t making any progress with working remotely is because he didn’t have a good reason for doing so. There was just no motivation to push him forward.
After he told me he was struggling to make the time to find remote work, I asked him why he wanted to work remotely. He said, “Well, to cut out the commute time. I just find it inefficient. I could use that time to be making more sales calls.”
“So you want to work remotely to work more? That’s not very inspiring.” I told him this as politely as I could. And then I told him that it helps if you have a good reason for working remotely. Something that is inspiring.
I asked Frank: “What are your hobbies? What gets you going? Your family, a hobby, travel?” He didn’t expect me to ask this. He thought our conversation was going to be all business. But he thought about it and said, “Well, I really like comedy and standup. In my free time I like to think of comedy sketches.”
“Do you write those sketches out?” I asked. “No,” he said. “They are just all in my head. But I really like thinking about it and I really like comedy.” And then I planted the seed: “What if you used that time saved from commuting and office humdrum to work on your sketches and explore comedy.” After saying this I could see he was more excited about putting in the necessary work required to get a remote job.
In this example, the bad reason for wanting to work remotely is cutting out the commute. The better reason is realizing a childhood dream (i.e. having more time for a hobby).
Action Step: Write down some inspiring reasons for landing a full time remote job in your remote job course journal. Bold the one that inspires you the most.
Choose one job title
Another important thing to know before you start your remote job search is the role you’re going after. Too many times I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m qualified for a role that’s outside my wheelhouse of expertise. This usually happens when I can’t find any more remote job opportunities for my primary position (content marketer).
Please learn from my mistakes: Do not apply for more than one role. Be patient. More opportunities will come up next week. It’s a waste of your time to apply to jobs you’re not qualified for. You’ll try to rationalize it like me but catch yourself in the act and quit while you’re ahead.
During my 2016 remote job search I spent countless hours applying to customer success jobs when I couldn’t find any more content marketing jobs one day. I tried many different types of cover letters and resumes but nothing worked. Hiring managers sensed the desperate nature of my pursuit. They’ll feel yours, too.
If I could do that job search over again, I’d spend more time freelancing on Upwork — building my portfolio, making money, and making connections — and less time believing I wanted to be something other than a content marketer.
Don’t have a remote-friendly job title or experience?
There is a misconception surrounding the idea of not being qualified enough to get a remote job. My favorite example of this misconception relates to grocery store cashiers, bank tellers, waitresses, or anyone who serves people while working a traditional service job.
There are tons of customer service jobs at fully remote companies and these types of workers are indeed customer service professionals. And, with the right attitude, computer skills, and execution of lessons in this course, they can land an entry level position at a remote company.
Here is one example of a remote customer service opportunity for restaurant workers.
Action Step: Choose your desired remote job title and write it in your journal. Beyond working remotely, what do you want to be doing all day? And further, what are you most qualified for?
Action Step (Optional): After completing this lesson, share your primary reason for getting a full time remote job (i.e. your goal) in the Reply section below.