Mara is a fearless go-getter whose newest venture, Secret Code, aims to inspire young girls to challenge stereotypes and go after their dreams. Here she discusses the freelance lifestyle, her best work habits and what keeps her motivated.
According to our recent Anywhere Workers study, remote working is growing in popularity. But while the freedom and flexibility that comes with the job are envied by many, there are also some unique challenges when it comes to real life remote work. Here we talk to String Nguyen, a content creator and influencer turned startup founder, to discover how she makes remote work work for her.
Where’s your homebase?
On the internet? Can that be the answer? I’ve been travelling extensively, but I feel most at home in Melbourne, Australia.
What do you do for work?
I’m working on my startup, TasteMaker ProStack. It’s to help influencers monetise their creativity, cred and community.
Tell us a little about your remote work journey. When, how, and why did you get into it?
My journey started when I became a live streamer on Meerkat. That moment 4 years ago, allowed me to build my community and network around the world. First, I went to San Francisco, but I’ve been able to build my brand through channels like conferences and organising fried chicken parties. So far, I’ve visited over 25 cities in 10 different countries.
My latest win is building a LinkedIn video channel. As a content creator and marketer, I became an influencer, which allows me the freedom to geek out with the smartest peeps in the world.
Is remote working what you imagined it would be? Why/why not?
No, lol. I had to develop discipline as you can easily get distracted by the new food, people and culture. I set up a process and system to allow me to work and focus – like using virtual assistants and delegating them research or grunt work. But set times to chill too.
Working on building my own startup while working remotely, I actually have to rethink if this is sustainable. For now, I travel to meet with partners and investors. Having a strong team that supports my vision has allowed me to continue to travel and work remotely.
Biggest challenge with working remotely?
Time. I talk to different people in different time zones. I had to hire a personal assistant to be my time magician. If you become a bottleneck in your business, develop a process or delegate.
What does it take to be successful as a remote worker?
The ability to focus and be self-disciplined. You also need strong accountability and communication skills.
What’s something you learnt the hard way?
Again it’s about time. Travel logistics can be a nightmare and you need time to recuperate, otherwise it will impact your work. Health and sleep should be a thing to consider when you’re working remotely.
What advice would you give to companies or employers who are working with remote employees?
If you’re starting the remote program, be prepared to make mistakes at the start. Set up realistic expectations and encourage open communication and a feedback loop. I do think flexible and remote working continues to be on the rise. Want to know more? Google “Future of Work”.
Our recent Anywhere Workers study found that ⅓ of remote workers have trouble shutting down at the end of the day. Do you have any tips for maintaining a work/life balance when working remotely?
Start small, set boundaries. I’m on the phone a lot. During dinner time, I put my phone away from the table and be present with my friends and loved ones. Encourage others to do the same and set phone etiquette.
Want to learn more about what it’s really like to work remotely?