There are several different paths you can take as a remote worker.

There is freedom within the remote workforce that you may need right now. Oftentimes, people get stuck on how to get going because they don’t know the possible routes and it can be a stressful and defeating experience from the get-go if you don’t know which path to explore! Most people quit because they don’t know what to do. I don’t want that to be YOU!

Some of you have been thrown into the #remote employee role due to an unforeseen event or illness. Because remote work is such a hot topic right now, I feel it’s critical I introduce you to the different scenarios this lifestyle can be for you so it will be easier to identify which one is right and fits the best for you and your career goals! There are several options and I write here about 7 journeys you can take for remote work. 

Before we begin to look at all the different remote work roles you may want to incorporate into your life, you must choose between two objectives, do you want to be an employee or do you want to contract with agencies and businesses? There’s a BIG difference between being an employee or contracting with other businesses! When it comes to your pay and how you do your taxes at the end of the year you need to be prepared. Both choices are good, but some prefer to contract while others want to be a full-fledged employee. 

Choose so you have a general direction to go in when you read through the different scenarios here. I’ve been down both roads and I like both opportunities for different reasons. It is truly a personal choice and I am a big advocate of experimenting, so if at the end you like the idea of two of the seven journeys, feel free to explore them both!

1. Sometimes, remote work finds you! Amid the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have opted to move their workforce online. Many people are not used to working from home. While you may think this move will slow down the industry, a lot of studies suggest otherwise. In fact, creative recruiting giants such as Aquent.com will tell you the positive results that emerge from a remote workforce. It’s tough going from working with a network of bright people in person every single day to just you at a laptop! And there can be quite a few distractions that you will need to create boundaries with. Some people say that they will never be disciplined enough to work at home or from a co-working space! 

There are little distractions you have to get over, like your Golden’s giant cute fur-friend face wanting to go outside every ten minutes to play (wait, that’s me!) or the unlocked fridge filled with all the treats! Or the fact that you don’t have a designated workspace. But all of this can be remedied quickly with a little creativity! 

If you are thrown into a remote work role, permanently or temporarily, don’t panic… open your mind up to accomplishing your tasks and communicating with your team or closest colleague. If you don’t know what to do next or nervous about that new Zoom meeting you are required to be in, be patient and know you are not the only one. You will find your comfort level and possibly find a whole bunch of success and future promise in this new way of life. 

2. Working with a recruiting agency or agent for permanent remote work relationships. There are tons of small, large, national, and global recruiting agencies out there ready to support your career goals and get you into a remote position. 

Recruiters are at the frontlines and have the most up-to-the-minute trends in the job market and they’ll all tell you remote work is taken seriously and is a credible and often great choice a business or individual can make. 

When a business decides to open up to remote team members, they are widening the talent net and are able to bring in better choices than only choosing from locals. 

3. Get hired full-time by a company and work 100% remotely. There are several sites out there dedicated to work from home positions. A lot of the sites have businesses go through a vetting process such as Flexjobs.com so they bring a higher credible standard of integrity to good people working for great companies. Flexible work is a real segment of the workforce now. If you’re curious about it, now is the best time in history to get a real job and really work from home. (It’s not weird anymore.) It’s a great budget strategy for businesses and a lot of companies offer benefits and all the same things you’re used to seeing in a typical local job offer.

4. How to negotiate flexible remote days as an employee

The great negotiation journey for remote workdays doesn’t have to be hard! Here is a great negotiation strategy you can bring up during the interview stage of getting hired in. Up until now, most people would never dare to ask such a thing as a job perk. But, remote work and flexible schedules are not a fad and the hiring team will seriously consider the request. I read a great article by Anne Donovan, https://hbr-org.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/hbr.org/amp/2019/01/what-pwc-learned-from-its-policy-of-flexible-work-for-everyone, that talks about trust in remote employee. 

5. Work 1:1 with entrepreneurs and startups remotely across the globe! This is an exciting choice! Working with a new business full of people with tons of optimism can fill you with an energy you never thought possible! But it can also be risky as 9 out of 10 startups will fail! https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/amp/ This is great for those of you who are done having a boss and ready to take full control of all business decisions. You’re ready for the ultimate responsibility and have big ideas for yourself! 

Working with startups or becoming a remote startup yourself is a lot of hard work and can be a life-changing experience. It’s something anyone can try out. My first business was making Christmas wreaths and cute holiday magnets by selling them door to door at 8-years old! 

There’s no time like right now to go for it if you want it that badly! I’m a big advocate of fulfilling your passions and checking off that bucket list one by one! WARNING: Dreams will never lead you where you think, but you’ll always find yourself along the way and take value from all the ups and downs. You can plan endlessly and will still end up far from where you initially thought. 

6. Work remotely, part-time, for a specific goal like a trip or retirement fund. You don’t have to wait for that big raise or winning the lottery to gain access to more cash! If you love what you do and have the extra time and talent, go ahead and begin to explore remote work opportunities on sites like UpWork.com where businesses, recruiters, and entrepreneurs are posting one-time projects and part-time opportunities for as little as five hours a week! It’s possible to accomplish your goals quicker as a remote worker. You can do this from anywhere, at any time, from your laptop or home office. And in fact, this is where a lot of hobbyists become introduced to the real world of business and become big sparkly success magnets! Either way, it will pay for those extra luxuries you may be planning for! Did you just get engaged? Weddings can be expensive! 

7. Build a business online and work 100% remotely while building a remote team. This is a HUGE decision because on this path you are building your own business and working 100% of the time online, remotely. There are no safety nets and this is not considered a hobby or side-gig! Your business becomes your child that you need to care for. Above everything, in this role, you have to become your very own superhero and be able to weather storms by leading! 

Are you ready to be a part of the remote workforce? I would love to hear what path you align with the most! Thank you so much for reading! I love to hear all your comments and would be grateful if you share this with your audience! My journey began during our last recession when I graduated from college. It was so difficult to find a job back then, so I began to take on projects here and there. One thing led to another and I found myself working 100% out of my home.

My path was a difficult one because there was no information on how to do this the right way and many businesses ten years ago didn’t trust the remote workforce yet. I hope this helps even one person skip over a lot of trouble and hop into a more successful, powerful role filled with momentum and freedom! I know so much about all seven of these remote journeys and if you need help, please feel free to contact me.

Get out there and be your best today! Because if you don’t, someone else will. 

~ Alley

About the author: Alley Jean is a Visual Storyteller and works 100% remotely from her Michigan graphic studio with brands around the world. She has 18 years of design, marketing, and sales experience.