Matilda Sundåker 🇸🇪

Strategist

Tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from.

I’m a 31-year-old feminist from Sweden. I enjoy reading, writing, running and going to the cinema.

Where do you live now and what do you do for a living?

I’ve been living in the fantastic city of Amsterdam for the past (soon to be) 4 years. Amsterdam is stunningly beautiful with all the canals and is of course super bike friendly. The bikes rule the streets here!

I run my own strategy consultancy where I enable brands to (yet again) become relevant in culture.

How do you explain to the grandma’s and grandpa’s out there what it is you do?

haha, this is a tough one. Been practicing on my parents for a while and I now think they kind of understand it (I hope).

I try telling stories that people actually give a shit about, and the emotional aspect is super important. Did you know that the limbic part of the brain actually overtrumps all rationality? Times are changing and brands need to find ways to be smarter and just more interesting, and I believe we accomplish that by adding value through our stories. I also always push people — centric approach. I come from a mindset where it’s the ordinary people that are extraordinary.

How long have you been working remotely? When and why did you decide to make the jump?

I’ve been working remotely for almost a year. It took some balls to take the actual step, but it’s one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. The sense of freedom to choose who you work with, when you work and what you work with is fantastic.

After spending the past 10 years being employed in some amazing companies like Hyper Island and adidas, I had the desire to be ‘my own boss’ and be in charge of my own destiny, so I quit my job as a strategist at VICE and just ‘did it’.

It’s a learning by doing journey for me — if this doesn’t work out, then I will just do something else. But so far, so good. I also wanted to find time to work on passion projects (in the making) and to mentor more junior strategists. That’s the most rewarding thing ever!

What are some great places to work from in Amsterdam? What makes them great?

I worked from home or cafés the first couple of months after starting freelancing. However, I realized that I didn’t maximise my potential when it came to productivity. Now, I rent a desk at a production company where I sit together with 8 other freelancers. It’s awesome!

Walk us through a typical work day in your life.

I like waking up early (even though I snooze for like 30 min and then read news for another 30). If I don’t exercise in the morning, I always eat a nice breakfast and watch an episode of a favorite show. I go to the office around 9.30 and then I check my emails, start finalising things I have to send off during the day, and then do my daily assignments (have some retained client work). I also spend a lot of time just talking to people on social. I love people and conversations!

I try to work around 6hrs per day as I want to find time to do the things I love, such as mentioned above. Since I live abroad and can’t see my family and friends that often, I spend quite a lot of time talking to them on the phone.

I guess my dream situation would be to still live in Amsterdam but have my friends and family from back home right here with me. After leaving work behind I go home, reflect a bit on the day, and then usually spend the rest of the night hanging out with my boyfriend.

How do you collaborate and communicate with your team/clients?

Most of my clients are international so we talk over Hangout, phone or just email. It works really good.

I try to meet the ones I can as much as possible, of course. I’ve always been a fan of meeting in person.

What’s your best productivity trick? What’s in your headphones when you need to get things done?

A really good podcast. With all the crap going on in this world, I find the NPR Politics really helpful. They always break down the politics in a way that we can all understand. The new Bon Iver album is also a favorite.

My best productivity trick is multi-tasking. I am SUPER good at it, haha.

What would you say is the best part of working remotely? And what are the biggest challenges?

The best part is the freedom. It’s fantastic!

The biggest challenge is that you need to find ways to manage yourself. No one will help you prioritize, motivate you or praise you. But this has also been my absolute favorite part of this journey. To be honest, my confidence has never been better. I think it’s because I am the only one who can bring myself forward. So rewarding!

I do miss working in a set team. I love the power of people when coming together as a group.

If you could go back in time 5 years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Test, fail, test, fail and then move on. Don’t be scared of doing things that are unconventional. Choose your boss and the culture where you’ll work just as much as the work you’ll do. Matilda, don’t just go to places that sound cool. Follow your ‘why’ and be more honest with yourself and your values.

This or that

Coffee or tea?

Coffee

Snowboarding or Surfing?

I always wanted to be amazing in surfing but I’m really scared of water. And cats. I’m really scared of cats.

Book or Movie?

Ohh, I can’t choose. I love both of them!

Burger or Taco?

Tacos of course

Pyjamas or Suit?

haha, just shorts and a t-shirt works great.

(This story was originally published on Pyjamas- the community for remote working professionals. Check other inspiring stories!)
Go Pyjamas ! ✌️