Work from anywhere! Set your own hours! Except that’s not true, is it? If you’re a Westerner, you get paid commensurately. Meaning, you get paid as if you were an American, an Aussie, a Brit, a Canuck, etc. So you really can work from anywhere. In fact, it’s advantageous to you.
If you aren’t a Westerner – say, African, Eastern European, South Asian, or Asian – you also get paid commensurately. So you’ll have to stay wherever you are. Sure, you may be able to afford a higher standard of living in your country. But rich is relative.
This relativity is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in that you have a competitive advantage over your Western peers. They have higher costs of living and can’t afford to charge less for their work. It’s a curse in that it’s how your clients justify paying you less. I know a popular digital marketer who loves working with Pakistanis because he can get away with paying full-time employees a salary of $300-$500/month. Yes, I know that’s close to the average salary in Pakistan. And I’m not saying it makes financial sense to pay a $80k-100k/year salary when you can hire someone just as good for a lot less. But there’s a limit. And clients are habitual line-steppers.
And can you really work from anywhere if you have to be available at their hours? Meetings are in their time zone. Communication and collaboration happen in their time zone. Thanks, Mr. Client, for the opportunity to get paid a fraction of what you’d pay someone from your country and f*** up my circadian rhythm as well!
The only way remote work… works… is if it’s remote and asynchronous. Besides in-person meetings, there is no knowledge work – none – that must be done synchronously. If the client insists on this it means they don’t know how to manage or communicate effectively. The silver lining is that more and more employees and contractors are getting hip to this reality. And dinosaurs who don’t adapt will go extinct.
F*** live calls
I wonder which galaxy brain came up with this.
“Oh hai guys I’m a genius entrepreneur lal-la-la I love freedom and remote work and the laptop lifestyle so I’m gonna take the worst thing about office work (meetings) and strip away its only advantage (human interaction) and even though we all work in a bunch of different time zones everyone has to show up at the same time which coincidentally happens to the time that’s most convenient for me haha isn’t that amazing lol?”
Written communication is far superior for collaboration. It’s succinct. It’s clear. It’s documented. It forces people to write which means it forces them to think. Professional meeting-havers love wasting people’s time because they don’t know how to write. Because they don’t know how to think.
A one-hour meeting isn’t one hour. It’s one hour multiplied by the bodies in attendance. A one-hour meeting with five people is a five-hour meeting. On top of this, no one works before and after a meeting. “I’ve got a meeting coming up let me chill for a bit… Okay, that meeting was draining, let me chill for a bit.” Let’s add an hour per person before and after. So now your one-hour meeting is a 15-hour meeting. Congratulations. 15 hours of lost productivity because the professional meeting-haver doesn’t know how to write a memo.
There are some situations where a decision cannot be reached in writing. In those situations it makes sense for the people responsible to have a face-to-face discussion instead of writing in circles. This is not a “meeting.” It typically only involves two, sometimes three, people. And much of the back-and-forth has already happened in writing. So the only thing that remains is to iron-out any issues and agree on a course of action.
Generosity is earned not owed
I don’t know if this is still the case but if you want to get in touch with Dan Kennedy, you have to send him a fax. I’m not Dan Kennedy yet. I still have to make compromises when dealing with clients. I show up to meetings and log into Slack. I accommodate their time zone. As an expert I make recommendations and when they sometimes ignore me, I don’t make a big deal of it.
But as my reputation, experience, and confidence have grown, I’ve been able to work on my terms more. These days, I’m taking steps to create the working environment I want. And while clients won’t have to fax me to talk to me, eventually there will only be one way they can work with me. And if they don’t want to work that way, there are many other copywriters they can choose from.
It’s not that I don’t want to compromise or never will. A tree that won’t bend will break. But when that compromise is expected and not appreciated, we have a problem. I’m generous but I’m not a punk. I control who I share my generosity with.
Clients will expect you to and even assume you’ll inconvenience yourself because the customer is always right. Do not allow this. Take control. People are easily led. Speak and write with with decisiveness and conviction. “This is how I work and it’s not up for discussion.” Be the adult in the room. Be a professional.
You won’t hear any complaints when, because you have the freedom to do your best work, you deliver your best work.