Ep. 163: Bonus: How to land your first remote gig with Andrea Valeria
Welcome to our special bonus episode where I speak to some of our past guests on how they have been able to cope and continue to create income during our new normal.
In this week’s bonus episode, I speak with Andrea Valeria who is a remote work expert. Andrea gives us a ton of tips on how anyone can land a remote gig even as a newbie and how they can use their current skills to stand out from the crowd.
Listen on to find out how Andrea helps others land their first remote gig.
Hey everyone! Thank you so much for being here. I’m really excited to be talking to Andrea again. Hey, Andrea!
Hey Debbie. This is cool. We meet again on the computer.
Virtually, this time, but I’m glad the last time it was in person.
We need to definitely try and do one of those in-person meetings once all this is over but for now – Zoom, video chats, and video calls, like most of the world.
Exactly. I was telling everybody like, “Once this is all over, everyone is getting a hug from me because we’re all like, “Stay away from me. Get away from me. Go away. Stay six feet away.”
You’re really interesting, Andrea. Before we get to everything, all the tips that you were going to give us, can you reintroduce yourself again and what you do?
Yes. I’m a remote work specialist. I basically trade a lot of tools and resources to help people and their first remote jobs. And I have some free tools and services that I provide like a remote job directory if people can go on there and it’s updated every week with new legit jobs that they can apply to. And then, I also have paid services. For example, I revamp people’s resumes and I completely remotify them so that they can have their remote experiences, tools, and skills highlighted – some of them that they might not even know they have that.
I also offer courses, workshops, and things like that – everything to help people get started in this remote work journey.
All of that is super helpful right now because we can’t do anything else except remotely.
Yes. Absolutely. Everyone who has been working remotely already for some time has been like, “Okay. There’s not a lot of new things going on for me. This is what I usually do.” That doesn’t mean that everyone that has been working remotely has been able to keep their jobs because some people work in industries that have been affected like travel for example.
So, I’ve known people who have been working remotely but have still lost their jobs. But a lot of people, thankfully, who were already working remotely have been able to keep their jobs and to also just find ways to make it all sustainable and to make it all work with the new different changes and situations we are dealing with.
Its also interesting because there’s a lot of people with jobs that didn’t think it could be remote and now it can actually be remote. And that’s really interesting because a lot of times we kind of like our jobs already and we just don’t have a boss or maybe a company that will allow us to do it and now they’re forced to.
So that’s a really interesting time. So, maybe they can actually negotiate that even after this is over if they actually do like working remotely.
Yes. Working remotely is not for everyone ‘cause some people just don’t like it. Some people like being out and about interacting with people going to the office. I don’t know, they like that collaboration feel.
But for whoever is now realizing that working remotely is doable and that they like it, that they feel good doing it, that they like being in control of their time then, yeah. A lot of people are going to definitely find ways to talk to their bosses and be like, “Hey, how can we do this work from home, at least?”
Another thing that I’ve been telling people for a while is that they think that remote work is only for certain industries, for certain niches, or for certain types of jobs but the truth is that, I mean accountants don’t usually think that they can be remote because they’re like, “This is not really a creative type of job that requires for me to be out there and do social media and all of that. But now I’m realizing I can do it from anywhere.”
So yeah. A lot of people, if they learn skills and then tools that can help them do their work remotely, there’s so many things that you can do online.
So have you found that there are way more remote gigs now that are actually open or do you find that there’s just not enough for everybody ‘cause there are so many people out there looking?
So at the beginning when this just started I noticed that there were a lot of remote jobs that were already open and that there were still up on a lot of career sites. And a lot of like the career page of each company, but they had cost hiring because of course they were trying to adapt and adjust to this whole thing and they hadn’t taken the posting down.
So, hiring and growth is not a priority for a lot of companies right now. They’re just trying to keep their current employees and navigate this whole thing. So a lot of companies at first had postings that were not really available at the moment.
But now, a lot of companies are adapting and there’s been, according to LinkedIn, those are not my numbers, I don’t make up stats, applications have gone up 400%. And then, the job postings have gone up 28% of course, that means there’s a lot of competition but there’s also more remote jobs being created.
So anyone that has already been working remotely has some sort of experience, or already knows some skills – just gonna have a big advantage. Because now, there are all kinds of people who have never worked remotely applying.
So now is a great time. If you already have the slightest experience, know some tools, or you know some skills – go for it? Because there are going to be more remote jobs popping up.
So, as you were saying there are a lot more people – 400%. That’s a huge jump, that’s crazy. But obviously that’s going to get lower once this is all over but we don’t know when that’s going to happen.
When you are somebody that has no experience like most of your audience you’re trying to help, how good they actually stand out especially once they start handing in their resume? Because now there’s a ton of people you’re going to be in competition with.
Correct. The first thing is to make sure that you have skills. Someone that I was working with one time, they asked her, “Hey, what is a remote job that I can get with no skills?,” and she was like, “Ahmm… Sell drugs?”
You need to have some skills – that is number one. And there are different types of skills, it can be entry-level skills, you can start out with data entry, copywriting, proofreading. You can find jobs that, of course, are not going to pay as much as a job that would require more technical skills.
So, yeah. You can definitely get started with learning entry-level skills and you can do that with little courses on Udemy. Those are like $10 and they’ll take you two weekends to learn and slowly you can do that until you have a bunch of remote skills that you can add to your resume.
But then, you also need a little bit of experience. So, what you do with this time is you either go and apply for entry-level jobs. Of course, it’s like in the real world: you don’t start out with a super high-paying job like the dream. No, you might have to start small and grow from there, learn more skills, and go up the ladder. So, same thing with remote jobs, you might have to start small.
Other things that you can do is that there are remote internships popping up so you can do that. You can also do pro bono work. So for example, one person that took one of my workshops in December.
So, they get a recording of my workshops, right? So what he did is grab this video and he edited and edited the workshop into a 1-minute highlight reel and he’s like, “Hey, by the way, I made this for you. You can use it for your marketing purposes for your next workshop. I edit video so, if you ever need another one, go ahead and reach out.” And I was like, “Okay.”
That is the kind of hustle we’re talking about because now I know what he’s able to do, he did it for free, I loved it and now I’m going to have him very present in my mind whenever I need some sort of thing edited.
So, yeah. There’s kind of things that you can do: get creative and offer samples of work for free to someone that you like to work with. And then, eventually, you can land a job with that. So yeah, there’s a lot of options to gain experience.
I love it when people take initiative like that because it definitely, like you said, it sticks out in your mind and it makes them look so much better. Especially when you have like hundreds of applicants in this one person went above and beyond probably more than like 99% of people.
You’re literally just seeing a piece of paper and you don’t know what they technically can do. Because there’s been a lot of people that I’ve seen that look really great on paper. And then, you interview them and you ask them for a sample work and they don’t know what on Earth you’re talking about.
So that’s definitely a great tip to stand out for sure. And the thing is there are not many people who will do that either.
Yeah. And I’m not saying work for free forever or give away all your time, energy, and talent. But if you can provide little samples of work like that for a few of your dream clients or people that you’d like to work with, I mean, one of them will notice and will probably hire you for a project or for something on going – you just got to try.
And also, maybe they’ll introduce you to somebody who will need those skills, who will need you and you just never know what’s going to happen.
Another thing that I wanted to touch up on is that a lot of people also don’t think that they have the skills to be a remote worker and it’s kind of crazy because if you know how to answer emails, if you are a really good organizer – all of those things, you already have remote skills. Things that you even do for your family and friends, for yourself.
So, just think outside of the box and I’m sure 90% of people will have those types of skills.
Yeah. One of the most common feelings that people get after they complete my workshops is, “Well, I didn’t know I had remote skills.” But you pointed them out, you listed out some options, and now I’m like, “Oh I do have some.”
Because pretty much everyone, like you said, is going to have skills that are transferable from their normal jobs and what they usually do to the remote world. Because it’s just a matter of doing the same thing that you do but doing it on a computer, maybe learning a few different tools, maybe learning different software that you’re not used to.
You’ll basically do the same thing but online. And yeah, people are scared. They don’t know where to start, it can be a little bit challenging because, of course, it’s all overwhelming if you’ve never done it before.
But yeah, it’s not as scary as it seems and a lot of people definitely have the entry-level skills like you said: emailing. Collaborating, communicating with people online is half of the battle in a remote job. And people who have those kinds of skills can definitely land customer service, customer support jobs and there are tons of those out there.
You also don’t need a degree. That’s something else that scares people there like, “Oh, but I don’t have a degree in whatever,” and I’m like, “You do not need one.” I got my brother, who is a college student, still hasn’t finished. I got him a customer support remote job.
So, I mean, you can be young, you don’t need a degree. As long as you are a little bit tech-savvy and you’re willing to get a little bit creative and try new things online, you can probably do it.
Those are really great reminders because I think we have so many fears and excuses too. I think we just pile up so many excuses for ourselves that we end up not doing anything. And I tell people this all the time, “Just take one step, just do one thing. Even if it scares you, take baby steps.”
But honestly now you have no choice, you have to do this, okay? Otherwise, who’s going to pay your rent and your food? Sorry.
Yes. It’s the perfect time for people to realize that this is not only a fancy lifestyle in which we get to travel and see the world while working which is how we like to portray it a lot of the time on social media. But that’s just a little part of it.
The truth is that we’re actually working most of the time from home, from our couch, from the little home office, from a Starbucks or from somewhere small. And doing that is what allows us to have flexibility, have time to work on different kinds of projects.
Another thing that really scares people is that they think that they’re not going to have stability or they think that they’re not going to be able to find the security they have in a full-time job in a regular office, 9-to-5. But I always say, “You can be fired from your nine-to-five, full-time job tomorrow and the same thing can happen remotely.”
But usually what happens with people who work remotely is that they have a little bit more flexibility and time and control of their schedules so they are able to work on side project, side hustles. They have more time to do little online gigs and that way, they can get to a point where they have multiple sources of income which is eventually what’s going to save you from not going broke, whenever you’re under hard circumstances, is having multiple sources of income.
Because if you lose one job or one project or one client, you’re still going to have three, four, five more. So, that is what, right now, a lot of people are realizing they’re like, “I just lost my job because of the situation we’re going through right now.”
And now a lot of remote workers are okay because we have more than one thing going on. So don’t think that you don’t have stability just because it’s a remote job. It actually gives you more opportunities to find more sources of income and more projects to work on.
And aside from that, there’s also a lot of full-time jobs out there that are not available for citizens of all countries, I am going to say that. But there are a lot of jobs that offer benefits: medical, dental insurance, 401K, and the whole nine yards.
So, don’t think that remote jobs are just freelance, there are just little clients here and there. It can be a full-time job with benefits.
When you say that, it’s kind of funny to me that people are afraid of that because now, like you said, those full-time jobs, a lot of people are losing them. And I think freelancers, remote workers, people who are out-of-the-box thinkers are more able to create different and more stable sources of income like you said. Because they do have a lot of different options and it’s not just the one thing.
And most people who do have a day job, there’s just one thing and then once you lose that, that’s actually a lot less stable than what we do here.
Absolutely. And people don’t realize that so yeah, that’s definitely something not to be afraid of. You can be stable and you can have a good source of income. So, a lot of people are like, “Did you make more money now or before when you had a 9-to-5? And I’m like, “Actually, now,” and people are like, “No way. Mind blown.”
And yeah, ’cause right now I have seven hundred different things going on. Not just one paycheck.
Absolutely. And I think that’s what really surprises a lot of people. Another thing, you had mentioned this a little bit how this is so glamorous, right? We don’t do a lot of hard work. It’s just posting stuff online and working here and there. And then, they actually realize how hard this is.
Because there are so many distractions when you’re at home. Even when the coronavirus is not here yet, when you’re traveling all the time, there’s so much distraction. And then, sometimes you don’t know when to stop either.
So, it definitely takes a lot of practice and self-discipline to be able to do this. So it’s kind of nice that people are understanding where we’re coming from because it’s not as easy as you all think. And I love that so many people are realizing this now and they’re not making fun of anymore.
They’re like, “Oh my God! This is so much harder than I thought, guys.
Yes. And a lot of people that start out and we have our little like companies starting and are self-employed, we are wearing all the hats. We’re doing everything in our little companies from social media promotion, marketing to outreach and customer support, to actually doing or providing a service and all of those things.
So, we have to get creative and there’s a lot of work to do and I’m kind of a workaholic because I love what I do. But if I didn’t have that self-discipline to be like, “Okay, laptop closed. Time to get away from the computer.” Those are little things that you don’t realize that you need if you are in a nine-to-five job.
Because in a nine-to-five job, you just leave the office and that said, you can turn the work phone off or get completely away – and that’s it. But yeah, when you work from home, sometimes you really don’t have that limits of like, “Okay when to stop working,” or you don’t have that just willpower to be like, “Okay son, daughter, cats, go away. I am working, I’m going to stay in this room. Just because I’m home it doesn’t mean that I am free and that I can go out to the living room and chat with you. And also, it doesn’t mean that I can turn on Netflix and binge-watch a show at 2 p.m. ‘cause I’m home. No, I’m working.”
So yeah, a lot of people are like, “Okay. Now, I believe you,” and I’m like, “Okay.”
You feel like, “Thank God, now people actually… they know the truth!”
Yeah. They know the truth, they know we work and they know that the photos on social media aren’t what we do everyday. Like, a few of my photos recently have been like beach photos and I’m still going to post my beach photos in the Instagram stories. What goes down is it’s just me in here.
On your couch.
On your chair.
So, let’s move forward to when somebody actually gets a call back because a resume stood because Andrea gave you such great tips. Now, how do you ace the virtual interview? Because that’s, honestly, I think it’s more nerve-racking for people because now it’s face-to-face, like virtual face-to-face.
And it takes some practice to be able to do that. What are your tips for somebody who has never done this before or don’t know how to stand out with that as well?
Yeah. So, there are some really basic things that people don’t even take into consideration when doing a virtual job. And one thing is like you have to be early, you have to be on time.
My first remote job was recruiting and hiring candidates: interview them, screening them via video calls. And you have no idea how many times people didn’t show up on time and then they would send me an email 20 minutes later like, “Hey, I’ve been finding you,” or, “The software isn’t working for me,” or, “My computer wasn’t charged. And I’m like, “No, no, no. You’re out.”
If you don’t have the preparation skills and organization skills to make sure that all of these things are running and working beforehand. Then, I am very scared of what will happen whenever you get the job because I’m never going to meet you in person.
So people need to realize that this is their chance to seem like a reliable and professional human being. Like, we don’t even really know if you exist or you’re really good on camera, but that’s your chance to shine, right?
So, very basic things like being on time, making sure that you check your software, your camera, your audio, your microphone, and everything before you show up to the interview. I know a lot of people are doing these interviews from home or whatever but if your dog is barking the whole interview right next to you, that is also something to consider and be like, “If this person has a video call with a client that is how they’re going to show up.”
I mean, if they didn’t care enough to make this a little bit more presentable for the interview, can you imagine later when they get comfortable, how they are going to be with a client? So little things like that. I know a lot of people have kids but make sure that you talk to someone, that they are napping, that there is another room – something. Just get ready for little things like that.
And, of course, there are things that are unexpected. Most of the time, interviewers and employers will be completely understanding. But if it’s something that seems like you just did not prepare then, that would not set you apart.
And basic things like having good audio, having good lighting. I’ve interviewed people and they’re like this and, like, literally showing me their forehead only and I’m like, “Can you please fix your camera?” Like I said, they do not check this.
All of those things: show little attention to detail to these people that you’re going to have. So, make sure that you seem presentable, reliable; that you seem like you have attention to detail. And then, in terms of the interview, what you’ve ever done an interview in person, it’s kind of like the same thing: they’re going to be nerve-wracking but just try to be your most normal self like in person.
You sort of keep it may be super professional and all of that. But in an interview via a video call, I would say, like, relax a little bit. Your personality can shine through, like, we want to know the person that we’re going to be working with is going to have a good attitude, that they are, real, normal, relatable. Like, those things are cool to know too.
And also, your attire. If you are going to have a video call, don’t wear a tube top where it seems like if you hold a thing like this, you’re naked. I’ve seen that too and I’m like, “Hmmm… They didn’t think this through.” More little examples of things that show that you have attention to detail.
Just basic things. So, yeah. I would start with that.
The funny thing: if you look like that, they’re not even going to be listening to you anymore. All they see is either your forehead or you look half-naked or the background noise – that’s all they are noticing. They’re not even paying attention even if you do have the skills.
Yes. One time I also interviewed a person and the background was featuring a device to smoke things and I’m like, “They’re not noticing or they think this is like totally normal?”
So yeah, just also be aware of your background like don’t interview in a messy room, don’t interview with illegal things behind you, tell people that live with you to go away or if you’re in a coffee shop or whatever, find an area that is as quiet as possible. And then, make sure that your background will be something not as busy, not like the area where everyone is going to be walking by.
If you’re at a coffee shop, don’t sit next to the blender where they’re going to be making Frappuccinos all day. So, little things like that to be aware of.
Yeah. Like you said, the little attention to details really matter. I’ve had a few businesses already and I’ve had my share of interviewing and my other job too, I did a lot of interviewing. So, there is one that was hilarious: this person sent the resume in, and also make sure that you check what you have on your social media because the businesses check that, so we checked her social media and on her image, like it’s the banner of her social media, was her naked underneath the table with a gun and marijuana on top of like a clear table and shes underneath.
So she was hitting all the controversial things that you ever heard like nude, drugs, guns – like everything.
People need to be really careful. Employees are 100% going to stalk you everywhere.
Yes. We do.
Absolutely. Me too. They read your resume, they look at everything, they’re like, “Okay, this might sound like a good candidate.”They go to your social media before they ever contact you or get you in front of the camera.
So the first thing that’s going to show up on social media is “french” because someone stole your parking spot somewhere and you’re like, “There’s space! A lot of it!” And I’m like, “Woow! This is scary because this person is violent and gets really angry really easily.
So all those little things are little pointers, red flags, basically, for an employer. So make sure that you check every single social media site. If it’s not private, you should be checking it: Instagram, LinkedIn, and everything – even Twitter. If you Google your name, your Twitter is one of the first things that’s going to show up.
So, if your 2008 Tweets are questionable, make sure they’re off – delete them. So yeah, very careful.
It’s funny because most people don’t think about that. When it’s online, it’s going to live there even when you delete it. People, who knows? they may have screenshotted it or its living on another platform. It’s pretty crazy.
So be careful of what you’re sharing especially if you want to be employable because we definitely just throw those resumes in the bin if you’re showing us all of those things.
100% Yeah. Don’t forget Pinterest. If you are pinning questionable things on your Pinterest we’ll see them too. So yeah, don’t underestimate the power of social media and the internet will find your questionable things.
It’s like being detectives. When you’re hiring somebody you just become this detective like a really good one.
Absolutely. Because, I mean, think about it: for the person that wants to be hired there thinking like, “Is this job going to be legit? Are they going to pay me on time? Is this company real all of those things?” but for the employer, they’re also thinking, “Is this person going to show up? Is this person not going to disappear? Is this person has a shady living situation that’s going to affect how we present ourselves to a client?”
So yeah, just like an employer is thinking these things you’re also thinking them. You have to make sure that your stuff is on point.
Yeah. So don’t take for granted those little things that you do.
Thank you so much, Andrea, for giving us all of these tips. If our listeners want to know more about you, where can they find you?
You can find me on itsatravelod.com – that is my main website where you’ll find tips, blogs, and all that. But also I think one of my most popular resources is my remote job directory that gets updated every week with legit jobs. I am also “itsatravelod” on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube everywhere.
On Instagram, I post daily. There are tips, free resources. I’m coming up with a course very, very soon so stay tuned for that.
Yeah. My goal is to help people land their first remote job. So whether you follow me on Instagram and check out my free little tips and freebies and all those cool stuff or you work with me one-on-one, I want to make sure to be able to provide stats; confidence that people need to find remote jobs and do this whole thing.
Perfect. Thank you so much, Andrea, and she has so many amazing and free resources already even just on her Instagram and her website is great ’cause she has all of those resources as well.
Thank you so much, Andrea, I really appreciate you so much.
Thank you, Debbie.
Will talk to you soon. Bye.
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