A Writer’s Routine: Jessica Ehlert
Social network support is important, but connecting with fellow laptop workers from anywhere in the world isn’t always easy. And getting that support daily (like you do in an office environment) is even harder, especially when you only work from home.
But the truth is, working remotely can actually increase business connections. Thanks to the internet, we have tons of ways to connect. Whether it’s taking virtual meetings or using the many social platforms out there, remote workers can take advantage of communities both online and off.
But, how do you know if you’re getting the most from your remote work?
Embracing Remote Networking is a profile series that highlights remote professionals who are happy to share their experiences and willing to break the barrier between living, working and traveling.
Meet Jessica Ehlert. I sat down (virtually, of course!) with Jessica to learn more about her remote-working lifestyle, and here’s what she had to say.
Jessica is a freelance content and copywriter and American expat in Germany. But back in 2013, after a backpacking trek through Central and South America, she started working remotely from Portland, Oregon for a California-based enterprise storytelling company
After 6+ years as a remote employee, she became a full-time freelancer. She focuses on technology businesses in the hospitality, travel, equestrian, and construction industries, but also enjoys writing content for small businesses.
As a long-time writer and editor of technology content, Jessica has found the perfect balance for her work and lifestyle in freelancing, which she embraced full time in January this year. In Spring of 2018, she and her (German) husband decided to move to Germany to raise their 2-year-old son. And this became the catalyst for freelancing full time.
Hey, Jessica! First, what brings you to the Remoters Community?
Hi! Well, I have been expanding my network on LinkedIn and meeting a lot of like-minded freelancers, so when I came across Remoters, I knew it was a place I wanted to be. I see great potential to connect with other remote workers in my city and in places I travel, not only to find places to work, but to meet people in person and grow some real connections.
Where do you work from and what is your view today?
Most days I work from my home office, but when I want to switch things up, I go to a local coffee shop or café for a change of scenery. Today I am working from my home office with an iced tea in hand because it’s so hot! But one thing I love about freelancing is the ability to work from anywhere. For instance, I’m about to embark on a 2+ week trip to Italy in a camper trailer with my family where my husband (who is also a freelancer) and I will continue to work on projects. Of course, this takes planning and discipline, but those things get easier the more you do it!
How do you meaningfully network with people?
To be honest, this has been one of the hardest parts about working remotely. Many years ago—when writing was my side gig—I worked in the equestrian industry as an assistant trainer and riding coach. So, I had daily interactions with a team of people who I was (and still am) very close with. Since pursuing my writing full time and working remotely, making meaningful work relationships has been harder.
But the combination of living as an expat and working from home presents a lot of challenges, so I’m trying to do more meaningful networking via LinkedIn and now, hopefully, the Remoters Community!
What’s a favorite leisure activity that you’d be interested to find other remote workers doing?
I enjoy bike rides and exploring local parks, so I think doing that as a way to meet fellow remote workers would be cool. I also love checking out new coffee shops and doing touristy things.
How has embracing freelancing/remote work impacted you?
Overall, freelancing is the only way I see myself working long term. I love the flexibility it affords me, especially as an expat. I have a whole family in the US that I miss and want to see! But if I worked as an employee somewhere, I would never be allowed as much vacation time as I needed to keep those relationships strong. Freelancing allows me to continue working while visiting family in the US or traveling.
Of course, this is hard sometimes. And there are times when I take on less work in order to accommodate certain situations. But most of the time, I am working more productive hours than I ever did in a desk job.
The overall impact has been great. I get to spend way more quality time with my family, which is my top priority. But, professionally, it also allows me to do work that I love. I think it’s easy to get stuck doing work you don’t love when you have a salary and benefits. Sometimes leaving that comfort is hard. But freelancing, even with its challenges, allows me to always assess what kind of work I’m doing and the clients I’m doing it for. And I get to choose. To me, that’s powerful stuff!