Fred Perrotta leads a fully remote team at Tortuga Backpacks, a company he founded that sells gear to international travelers. Here he talks about the importance of living on your own terms and how he manages his distributed team.
We love nothing more in this series than for a hustler to come to us by way of nomination. Enter: entrepreneur and speaker Ashland Viscosi. Ashland heads up the company Creatives Meet Business in her hometown Austin, Texas, where she helps creatives obtain the business skills they need to sustain their careers. She regularly hosts podcasts and events that directly connect creatives to business savvy people.
Fresh off her SXSW panel on the subject, we chatted with her about the biggest perks of working independently—she digs the “I’m my own boss” ethos—and why Siri is her most reliable friend.
Let’s start with the $$$ question. Say you stumbled upon some cash–let’s say $55,213.21. What do you do with it?
I work with a variety of conferences and festivals and recently decided it was time to start a Creatives Meet Business conference, launching later this year. The conference will provide business skills to creatives, but also through some pretty epic partners, provide attendees with a window into other creative disciplines and much, much more. Dollar bills magically raining from the sky (not quite stumbling, but I like the visuals) would allow us to create a really unique conference.
(Editor’s note: definitely keep refreshing her site for updates. We’re very into this)
What’s the biggest perk of working independently? What’s the hardest part?
The biggest perk of working independently is the pace at which I can work and the ownership I have over each task. When taking on anything, I think through it from multiple angles, complete it, review it, practice it (for example, if it’s a workshop, I practice it out loud and then with an audience) and more. The level of ownership I have over what I’ve created or accomplished is a great feeling. The hardest part is the other side of the same coin—not everything succeeds and that “failure” is a result of your actions.
What’s one freelance hack that you’ve perfected?
Time management, in a sense, but it’s more that I know what times of day I’m most productive for certain tasks. For example, I set aside about three hours each morning to respond to emails and to manage my inbox. If at all possible, I don’t utter a single word and pretty much only open my mouth for coffee. Beginning around 11 a.m., I’m ready to start talking and reserve the next few hours for in-person meetings. By early evening, I’m feeling sociable and crave group settings, so I’ll go to a networking event or something like that. By around 8 p.m.though, I’m ready to get back into work-mode and like to tackle podcast editing or other creative-style tasks.
What’s one tool or utility that you couldn’t live without?
Asking Siri to set a reminder for me. I’ll often be mid-task or mid-thought on something and then an idea pops up. I don’t want to lose this new little piece of spontaneous brilliance, but I also don’t want to lose my train of thought on what I’m working on. I’ll give Siri a holler about the thought and a time to remind me and then I move back into what I was working on.
Where do you see the future of freelance heading?
I think folks will begin to either side-hustle more or move more into the world of freelance. It’s multi-faceted though—companies who work with contractors are able to minimize their liabilities while freelancers can benefit from this by having flexibility. There’s much, much more to this and I’m very much oversimplifying things, but what I think we’ll begin to see more of is freelancers or side-hustlers developing a multi-faceted income stream for themselves. If you lose one client that represented 20 percent of your business, you’ll have an easier time replacing that 20 percent of your income than you will if you work for a company and lose 100 percent of your income.
Got any more questions for Ashland? Tweet her @aviscosi!