Jo Palmer is the Founder of Pointer Remote, a platform to connect professionals in Australia who are physically isolated from roles in which they are qualified, or may have held in the past to roles that can be filled remotely. She loves witnessing the amazing things that happen when people are connected to each other.
Luis Magalhaes: Welcome ladies and gentleman to DistantJob Podcast. I’m your host Luis and this is another episode of the podcast about, building and leading remote teams who win.
My guest today is Jo Palmer, from Pointer Remote. Jo, how are you?
Jo Palmer: I’m well thank you, how are you?
I’m great, I’m great. So, why don’t you tell our listeners a bit more about yourself and Pointer Remote. And by the way, did I get your name right? I mean, I’ve seen … when I was looking at your stuff, I saw alternatively Joanna and Jo. So, what’s the right way?
Jo Palmer: Well, Jo is fine. Christened Joanna, Jo is fine. Jo is fine.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay.
Jo Palmer: Yeah, well look, I am the founder of Pointer Remote Roles where, a job matching platform that connects businesses with talent that works remotely in Australia. So, we sort of came about because I live in regional Australia. I live about halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. So, about five and a half hours drive to each city. And then, we are another sort of three or four hours inland. So, I live on a farm. I live near a town called Wagga Wagga, but my little town of 860 people is called The Rock. So, yeah, my business sort of came about because I had quite a big network of professional friends who had left corporate jobs in the cities and had relocated to regional Australia when they had either married farmers, or they had sick parents, or had just moved to leave the rat race that is the metropolitan areas.
Jo Palmer: And, found themselves either struggling to find work at all, or they were working in jobs they were way over qualified for. Or, they weren’t getting enough work that they wanted. I sort of realized it wasn’t a really simple spot in Australia to find remote work, that you didn’t sort of apply for a job, get the job, and then sort of try and negotiate a remote location. So, we found ourself a little spot here, and we’ve been going for about two and a half years now.
Luis Magalhaes: Nice. So, you used the term, correct me if I’m mistaken, but you used the term, job matching, something like that. Yeah? Was that right?
Jo Palmer: Correct.
Luis Magalhaes: Correct. And, I also, when I was looking at your website I also found a placement, something about placement. So, can you tell me really, what is your main differentiator from let’s say, a remote based job board or stuff like that?
Jo Palmer: Sure. Well, we try and avoid the word recruitment because, we sort of rather see ourselves as more of an introductory place. So, an introduction rather than the connotations that can quite often go with recruitment as well. So, we try and really humanize our … well look, it’s a tech platform, but we really try and keep the services as human as possible. So, what differentiates us from a job board is such, that we have a screening process. We charge on both sides of our platforms, so we’re a double sided marketplace.
Jo Palmer: The candidates who are looking for work with us pay once our fee to sign on with us. We ring referees. We have an onboarding call with them to ensure that they’re phone and internet connection is strong. They complete a soft skill’s assessment as well when they sign on with us. And then, the businesses on the other side of the market, we have like three tiers of pricing for them to choose from. So, we do have a more traditional job board that doesn’t actually … that’s sort of open for people to advertise on that we don’t screen the candidates and then now, our second two tiers are actually a more serviced sort of arrangement. So, we pay on success, charge on success for that side, for the businesses.
Luis Magalhaes: Nice. So, when you were doing the screening … or obviously, you screen for technical fit and things like that. But, what do you think people should look for when hiring for specifically remote? What are the skills and traits for that make for a great remote employee? In your opinion.
Jo Palmer: Well look, we’re trying to really … our aim is to sort of level the playing field for people in regional Australia, so that they have the same opportunities to career jobs that they would if they were living in metro areas. So, for us, our argument to business is, if you physically don’t need that person in your office, we will advertise the job. So, obviously there’s more traditional roles that are conducive to remote work and they’re often the jobs that you see advertised. So, a lot of the tech related things you develop is those sorts of roles. But, we see a lot of professional services as well, so we have a lot of accounting firms looking for chartered accountants, lawyers, HR managers, communications managers, marketing. A lot of those sort of communications.
Jo Palmer: And then, going into sort of IT and other financial roles. Pretty much, yeah, if you don’t need someone on the tools, then we’re happy to advertise that role.
Luis Magalhaes: That’s an impressively broad range. So, how do you manage to do the actual, what was the word you used? How do you manage to check the skills and talents of such a broad variety of people?
Jo Palmer: Well, it’s quite a generic skills’ [inaudible 00:06:34]. The key for us is to really be … trying to alleviate as many of the roadblocks that people use as an excuse to not hire remotely. Like, how do I know if the phone service is good? If their internet connection is strong? If they’ve got a good home office setup? Those sorts of things. So, that’s quite a generic screening that we have, because we have that one-on-one conversation on the phone with everyone as they come on. That’s the key things that we’re looking for.
Jo Palmer: We are quite clear on our website before anyone registers with us that, we talk about the sorts of roles that we are advertising. So, we are looking for people, that aren’t necessarily have to be tertiary qualified, but we generally, most of the roles that we do advertise are for tertiary qualified professionals that have at least five years in a professional role in another … like in a work environment.
Jo Palmer: A lot of the candidates’ sort of self sort themselves out before they sort of get to us. So, by the time they’ve already parted with money, their sign on fee before they speak to us, they’re generally a motivated job seeker that’s done a lot of this sort of self-assessing themselves. It makes our job a lot easier. I suppose it’s an interesting model in that, because we’re not industry specific, we have a very broad range of talent on our candidates side of the business. But, what we’ve found has been a real benefit, I suppose, to businesses that have advertised with us.
Jo Palmer: We’ve had a number of clients that have come back two, three, four times, with roles that were completely different to the roles they’d advertised previously because, in the past they would’ve had to have gone to a specific recruiter for specific skills in their business. Well, I suppose, differentiation is, that the jobs have to be done remotely. So, if they’ve got all the systems to run one position remotely, then they’re ready to go and they can come back to us and say … we had one business that advertised for an accountant and came back for an HR manager, then came back for a social media and marketing manager, and then came back for an executive assistant. So, they were able to fill four roles in their business over an 18 month period, just dealing with one person.
Jo Palmer: So, for them, that’s been a real bonus. And, it means that they’re building their … they’ve got a hybrid team. They’ve got offices and employees that work in the office, but they’re really growing their remote team and being able to do it in one spot with us has been a real benefit to them.
Luis Magalhaes: So, funny that you mention the hybrid team situation and stuff like that. That’s also the case with a lot of people that I work with. What about you? Is your team completely remote? Is it somewhat hybrid? What’s your work setup like?
Jo Palmer: Yup. Our team is completely remote. I have very much tried to … well, we’re trying to be the case study. I try and be able to practice what we preach and to be able to live and breathe what I’m selling on a daily basis. So, my team is across three states in Australia. A lot of those … there’s about five or six of us now that sort of work in different capacities with my team. But, a good majority of those actually are on farms and are the exact case study of why I started the business in the first place. But, they’ve just come with the most amazing skillset that I really would have struggled to find in the one location.
Jo Palmer: So, I’m able to make a really flexible job and position for them, and we work around life, and we work around kids, and time zones, and all of those things. So, yeah, we’re definitely trying to really live and breathe the distributed team model, which is really fabulous. I love how we’re running. It’s great.
Luis Magalhaes: So, I actually want to drill down a bit on that and I want to go back to another thing, but we are on that topic. You’re right that a lot of people use this opportunity to work around life and work around kids and for some people it’s great, but for others, it’s not so much. We have definitely seen and worked to correct cases where people just … when they are working from home, they just get overwhelmed by life in a way that wouldn’t happen if they were working for an office. So, what would you advise those people do, apart from just quitting. You’re not fit to work remote completely. How do you handle working from home distractions? How do you handle life/work prioritization?
Jo Palmer: Well, a few parts to that. Well, the first comment would be that, this actually isn’t for everyone and I get that. I think some people really thrive in that office environment. They thrive on having people around them and people to talk to at all times. I think that some people default to remote work as a way of thinking that, oh, maybe I can get around some childcare issues or I can sort of … I just find that whenever that’s the case, that’s when it falls in a heap. Like, my kids go to daycare four days a week. There is absolutely no way I could work with them in the house. They are bonkers. There’s no way that I would get anything done if they were here.
Luis Magalhaes: I mean, I have no kids, I only have a cat, and even she’s a handful. So, I imagine kids.
Jo Palmer: Well, this is the thing, I think that how to deal with that is that, you still need to go to work. You need to, yes, get dressed. I know that a lot of people, especially when they first start think, oh, this is fabulous, I’ll do this in my pajamas. I’ll work from bed.
Luis Magalhaes: I dressed just for you Jo.
Jo Palmer: Well, the novelty wears off very quickly because I think then, there’s all those underlying things that your body then thinks, hang on, this is bed, this is where I’m supposed to sleep not work. You can’t get into the zone. So, I get dressed every day. I actually float between, I have my office at home, but I also have an office in the town about a half an hour from where we live, because I have to take the kids into daycare. I’ve found an office space that’s a really affordable spot in the main street of our town.
Jo Palmer: So, quite often I’ll work from in there during the day. But, I think that really you have to treat it like you’re going to work. You are going to work. It shouldn’t be different. I think having that space, even better if it’s in a specific office, rather than at the kitchen table. Look, we’re coming into winter in Australia at the moment and it’s very tempting to set up camp next to the fireplace downstairs, but I really make a point of working at a desk with good lighting, with a decent chair, so you’re not hovering over a laptop. And then, you’re productive. But, I think that concept of working from home can be quite overwhelming and you’ve gotta be strong and you’ve gotta set boundaries for yourself. I don’t know.
Jo Palmer: A lot of the argument that I get from a lot of businesses and they say, “Well, how do I know if my employee’s not doing a load of washing at home during work hours?” My response is generally, well, they probably are, but they also haven’t sat in [inaudible 00:14:50] traffic each way to work and they, by doing that load of washing and really getting that work life balance, that will get longevity out of your employees. That will make that life work blend work so much better. So, for people trying to do it from home, it really does take commitment. Well and truly, but I say that, I did two loads of washing while I worked from home yesterday.
Luis Magalhaes: Sometimes people working remotely work, let’s say, 20 to 15% less when it comes to raw hours, but the quality of the work is better. So, that’s really true. And then, there are also people that when they’re working remotely they work too much and your problem then is, preventing them from burning out. I’ve definitely run across some people like that. So, it has its own set of challenges, which leads me to the next question I was thinking about asking a bit ago, when you were saying that all of your team were remote and across three different states. How do you tend to manage them?
Luis Magalhaes: Take me through your typical work day, if you can?
Jo Palmer: What’s that? I have a startup. What’s a typical workday? A typical workday with as far as my team and managing my team, I literally have only just actually, my first full-time employee has only just signed her contract last week. So, she’s going to be starting in a couple of weeks.
Luis Magalhaes: Congratulations.
Jo Palmer: Thank you. So, she is going to definitely change how I’m working because, it is a challenge in itself working with a part-time team and lining up times when we need to catch up all together.
Jo Palmer: But, I’m a big fan of the 37 signals. Guys, we are a base camp company. We have some pretty serious, I suppose, internal communications rules. So, we don’t email internally. We use base camp for all of our project management and document storage and any chat related to specific projects goes into that project in base camp. So, as far as the logistics of communication and everyone, especially with a part-time team, knowing where other people are at, we’re very strict with that side of things. So, that’s a real key to our, I suppose, success of working with a distributor part-time team.
Jo Palmer: But look, a usual day with me is, it’s quite really stickily, a lot of us. We work quite … there’s a lot of autonomy with all the roles that we do. They’re a lot more project based. I try to really encourage the office banter, I suppose. We have some little … I’ve got some thing’s setup in base camp to sort of ping everyone with reminders just to sort of check in. So, at 11 o’clock on a Wednesday morning we have a hump day selfie, so everyone just takes a selfie of where they happen to be working from or what they’re doing, or they might not be on. They might be out doing shape work or at the supermarket, so that’s always a good way to sort of check in with saying where everyone is, but it also generally starts some humorous conversation, ’cause it’s become quite the competition who can be doing the most random thing at 11 o’clock on a Wednesday. So, that’s been something we’ve really been conscious of trying to do with our team.
Luis Magalhaes: All right. That’s pretty cool, that’s a cool idea. Okay. So, let’s get back to the actual business. What’s the most exciting thing for you about hiring remote right now?
Jo Palmer: Look. The most exciting thing for me is, when I receive emails, like I get on a relatively regular basis, when we’ve placed someone into a role. I had a beautiful email a few weeks back that said, thank you, you literally have changed my life. I was commuting over 80 kilometers each way into a town to a job that I wasn’t getting the hours I needed and I was so over qualified for the job that I was doing. And, you have put me into a six figure salary that I can do from home and I can actually manage our life and family and logistics.
Jo Palmer: So, when you get an email from saying you changed their life, it’s a pretty amazing feeling. So, when I’m having those ups and downs on my own business, to receive those emails is really … that is definitely what keeps me going. And, the woman that sent that email to me, she’s on a farm in rural South Australia. She’s a long way from anywhere. So, to be able to know that she literally now has a six figure salary going into their family, which means she’s spending money in their local town. She’s supporting local businesses in that town. So for me, being a rurally based business and really seeing that happen at a grass roots level is just so special. I’m really lucky. That’s why I love doing what we’re doing.
Luis Magalhaes: Sounds great. Sounds great. So, your company, you’ve been doing this for two years now? Something like that.
Jo Palmer: Just over two years.
Luis Magalhaes: So, what have you changed your mind the most about in these last two years?
Jo Palmer: I change my mind on almost a daily basis.
Luis Magalhaes: Well, that’s good.
Jo Palmer: I am the queen of … oh gosh, if you asked anyone in my team they’re like, oh, she drives us bonkers. She like, okay, we’re going to try this new software, we’re gonna try this, and I change everything around. And, I suppose, the joys of us being such a new and agile business, that I can do that and I have such flexible people working for me that they all just sort of smile and nod and say, “Yes, yes, what are we trying this week Jo?” I feel that I have changed. I am a very non technical tech founder. I’m a teacher by trade, so I have a background in education.
Jo Palmer: What I found has been the most interesting thing is, I have gone from leaving the classroom to going into an industry where I have no experience. I’ve never been recruited. I’ve never used a recruiter. I have never really had a real job interview, because I had one with the Department of Education when I first graduated and then that was about it.
Luis Magalhaes: Hey, I’ve never had a real job, so?
Jo Palmer: Everyone has always found it quite amusing that I’ve ended up in this role, but I think that my innocence, I suppose, to the industry, has given me a very unfair advantage. In that, I don’t sort of jam a sales call down someone’s throat. I’m so passionate about what we’re doing that, the actual process of how we get there are very basic, very basic. But, they’re very genuine.
Jo Palmer: I think that both sides of our market really appreciate that. So, I think that’s been a really interesting learning along this journey. But what I found quite interesting though is, that remote work in Australia is still quite a foreign concept for a lot of people. And, I’m finding that, I am up against a very big mindset change here. So, it needs to be a big shift in mindset here. What’s been amazing is, that my business seems to have ended up back in an education space, where we’re actually really starting to … we’ve got all the systems’ setup to do the job matching now and we are really actually going back to an education piece on educating businesses on how this is beneficial to their business. How they can access skills that are not available in their local area. How they can actually boost their business growth and all of these things by tapping into the talent pool that we’ve got.
Jo Palmer: But, people are slow to change and-
Luis Magalhaes: They are.
Jo Palmer: It’s a scary concept. If you haven’t experienced someone working remotely before, there’s a lot of trust. There’s a lot of organization that needs to happen behind the scenes in your own business. To be able to put someone on and give them what they need to be able to function properly, you’ve gotta be organized and you’ve gotta have systems in place. People put that into the too hard basket, to then remote work too hard basket, ’cause that means I’ve gotta get myself organized.
Jo Palmer: I think that is where my biggest challenge definitely is.
Luis Magalhaes: Nice. Okay. So, there’s so many threads I want to pull out here. Maybe let’s start with that word again. You said that word again, placement. You said you place that person. What does that entail? Apart from connecting them, saying hey, Mr. X, Mrs. Y, we think you’re going to be a great fit for each other, now you have at it. What’s your extra input there? What is the concept of placement to you?
Jo Palmer: Okay. So, for how our system works is, that we have, like I said, the candidates register with us. They select off where the sorts of areas of work that they are interested in finding a job. And, we screen, soft skills’ assessment, and they sit in our system. For a business when they come and they advertise a job with us, they pick off against those same skills and experience that they’re looking for. So, they post a job and we don’t have an internal job board aide. That job is then sent directly via email to the matches … the people that would match that role.
Jo Palmer: So, the candidates who receive a job description can then elect to have their profile forwarded to the employer. It’s a private system, I suppose, for both sides. So, as you could imagine, I have a lot of people registered with us who are currently employed elsewhere. Who don’t wanna have a profile that can be just sort of trolled by employees, so that they … obviously that would be a bit awkward if their boss is scrolling through and sees their employee sitting there looking for another job. So, it’s very much, that candidate elects to have their profile forwarded.
Jo Palmer: So, we sort of give them two working days to have a think and decide whether or not. After the two working days, we forward the profiles of the interested candidates to the employer. The employer then can choose to interview any or all candidates that we put forward, and then if a job offer is made, a contract is signed, that we call a placement. So, they’ve been placed into a new role.
Luis Magalhaes: Hey there, it’s Luis, welcome to the intermission of the DistantJob Podcast. If you’re listening to this podcast, there’s a very big chance that you’re interested in building a great remote team. And, to build a great remote team, you need great remote employees. That’s where DistantJob comes in. So, here’s how it works. You tell us the kind of position that you need to fill. We talk to you. We try to figure out, not only what are the exact requirements that the person should have, but also we try to figure out, who would be a perfect fit for your company culture because, we really believe that that matters.
Luis Magalhaes: Then, once we have an exact picture of what we’re looking for, we’re off to the races. Our recruiters tap into their global network and we filter people very well, so that you don’t waste your time interviewing people that are never going to be of interest to you. We make sure, because we are techies, and our recruiters are techies as well. So, when people get to you, they are already preselected and you just have to decide between the cream of the crop. Once you make your selection, we handle all the paperwork. We handle HR for you. We handle payments. And, you get a full-time remote employee that’s among the best in the world. And, managed entirely by you, by your processors, and following your culture.
Luis Magalhaes: If this sounds good, visit us at www.distantjob.com. Without further ado, let’s get back with the show. Thank you for listening.
Luis Magalhaes: So, you mentioned that some people, some companies, have difficulties with this model. And, I can definitely empathize with that. What would you say are the greatest objections that you face with your model? And, how do you fight them?
Jo Palmer: To be honest, I’m a lover not a fighter.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. So, how do you love them out of existence?
Jo Palmer: What I’ve found is that where we’ve had real traction is, with businesses who get it. So, in this stage still, we’re finding enough traction with enough businesses who are finding us. We haven’t done any paid advertising or marketing. Our growth has been completely organic in that, people who have had experience with a remote employee that we’ve dealt with so far, generally their experiences come from when they’ve had an incredible employee who has either wanted to relocate, so they’ve wanted to hold onto them, they make the position remote. And then they think, oh hey, this is working. Yes, this system works and we’re setup.
Jo Palmer: Because like I said earlier, they’re organized. They’ve got a filing cabinet that is all electronic, rather than jammed in the corner with papers flying out of it. So, they are actually setup. So, those people that have by default ended up with a remote employee or a remote team, we don’t have to sell it to them, they get it. They just think, oh, where have you been for the last however. This is fabulous and you now have more of these amazing people on tap. Where I’m finding the pushback in those questions is more with my education hat on, when we are now running remote working forums, where we work with local government to run events in an area for businesses and professionals to come along and sort of learn more and find out more.
Jo Palmer: So, I give them sort of a demo of some of the free and affordable … a lot of people don’t know that Zoom exists. They’ve never heard of Trello or Slack or any of these things that actually make remote work and managing a remote or distributed team easy. They don’t know they exist. So, they think of being like, I don’t even know, do I have to spend all day on the phone? Do I need to fly this person to my office once a month, so they can check in and I give them the next months work? They don’t get it and through no fault of their own. They just haven’t been exposed to all of the amazing technology that is available.
Jo Palmer: Quite often, I literally see in these forums that light bulb moment and I see them go, oh, like I get this, like this doable. This actually means I can work from home. I don’t have to be going into my office. So, I think that that slow burn that comes from a business, maybe not employing with us straight away, but even just creating flexibility for the people that already work for them in the office, is a fabulous first step. Because, that means that they get all of their business in order. They get the systems’ in place and they make it far more conducive to then thinking, okay, we’re ready to grow. We can actually do this and we can hire someone whose never been in here before.
Luis Magalhaes: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, have you ever gotten any pushback from companies that maybe are large enough to have internal HR and hiring? Let’s say that there’s a conflict there, between internal HR wanting to hire people as they always have, but then some other elements within the company decision makers are pushing to use services like yours to find remote people. Have you ever been in one of these situations?
Jo Palmer: Yeah. I’m actually meeting with an HR manager tomorrow, actually. She’s finding that … they’re from quite a big business, two or three hundred employees. And, her challenge is that, there is disagreement of sorts at the top. So, I always say, this needs to come from the top. There needs to be buy in from the top and where this HR manager, she’s very onboard. She has found that they’ve had a lot of trouble filling certain roles within their business, but half of the partners in the business are onboard and the other half are a lot more traditional and are pushing back.
Jo Palmer: So, we’re meeting tomorrow actually, to really sort of knot out the sale is to sort of get those last few partners onboard because, the amount of roles that they haven’t been able to physically fill in their … they’ve got six or seven offices around the state. She’s like, as soon as we can get them over the line it will be like opening the flood gates. We’re ready to go. And, it’s just such a funny thing because their business in particular, has already got remote employees working for them. But, they’re very senior themselves. So, it’s a very … what I’m finding is that, a lot of the businesses I deal with are small. They’re small, they’re agile, they’re ready to roll, and they’re willing to change, and they can, and it’s giving them a very unfair advantage over their competitors. It’s just like with anything, the sort of bigger you are, the slower you are to move and to change and to mix things up.
Jo Palmer: So, it’s a really interesting space to be in. It’s a really interesting space.
Luis Magalhaes: So, not to put you on the spot, feel free to keep your clients close to your chest. But, since this podcast is only going up at least three weeks from now, what’s your game plan for tomorrow? What’s the ammo that you’re going to give this person to fight for remote work?
Jo Palmer: Well, for me, my angle tomorrow is very much the education piece. I know you’ve previously interviewed Tammy from Workplace Listen. We have got an incredible partnership with Workplace Listen. We’ve partnered with them to make an Australian version of-
Luis Magalhaes: Right.
Jo Palmer: So, we’ve got this now, an actual tangible self-paced certification. So, my pitch to this HR manager tomorrow is that, I actually suggest that we put the management of the company through the leadership training and that I actually facilitate it. We set it up, we run it as a day long conference call that everyone dials in, their calendars are blocked, and we work through this certification together, that they then come out with a remote leadership plan and strategy that’s going to roll out within their individual chains.
Jo Palmer: I think because, if we can pull this off, we will have the ones that are pro remote work in the same room as the nay sayers. So, I really feel that, that’s gonna be an amazing way of doing it. That’s my pitch. The HR manager is thrilled. She thinks it’s a fabulous way, because it’s such a concrete thing and you come out with a certification at the end of it. And, the fact that then we can say, okay, we’ll you’ve got the leadership certified, then we can actually … again, just letting the employees they’ve already got on the books be a bit more flexible. Like, put them through the remote work certification. Let them have the confidence to start working flexibly, and then that means the systems’ get tightened up by themselves, because if someone wants to work from home or work from a co-working space or just to mix it up a bit, then that means they need to get their systems in order, which then is going to have a snowball effect through the business.
Jo Palmer: So, that’s the game plan. That’s what I’m thinking.
Luis Magalhaes: Sounds good. Sounds good like gold.
Jo Palmer: Yeah. Fingers crossed.
Luis Magalhaes: Fingers crossed. So, I really believe that this will be the standard in five years. I also believe that companies will start more and more smarting up to it and trying to cut the middle man. And, trying to do their searching and sourcing for candidates, and hiring internally, when it comes to remotely. How do you plan to future approve your company? How do you plan to see your business evolving as more and more companies take these processors in house?
Jo Palmer: Future proving. So, I agree with you. I think maybe even less than five years, that this will be like, okay, we’re going to advertise a job. So, the word remote won’t even come up. We need to find this person. Okay. Oh, they happen to live in this town, okay, well if they wanna work in the office they can, if not, whatever. Or, they might live on the other side of the country or the other side of the world. I agree completely that, that’s coming.
Jo Palmer: Innovate or die, that’s what I say to the businesses that don’t wanna get onboard, then if you keep resisting, the next generation, millennials, will not work for you. Pretty much. The next generation of employees are not going to do nine to five in your Bricks and Mortar shop, office, skyscraper, it’s just not gonna happen. So, I as far as future proving myself, I feel there’s an element of here first, very much so. I think that we will be a well established brand in five years time, but I really want to see us as a really simple user friendly and a human business.
Jo Palmer: I think that, that will for the future I can see, could set us apart from our … look, like I said, even their uptake hasn’t been huge in Australia for a full-time professional service’s role, for example. [Fiveup 00:39:21], Freelance, [Upwork 00:39:21], are all alive and well here, very much so.
Jo Palmer: So, that gig economy here is, is very much happening. But, I suppose for us, we are really trying to keep the business human. I think in a world of automation and artificial intelligence and all of those amazing things, which I’m very excited about, I have automated my life as much as possible, but still I think in that world, people are craving human contact and a human touch to a tech business, I think is what’s going to really keep us relevant. That’s my plan.
Luis Magalhaes: Sounds great. Sounds great. Okay. So, you’ve been very generous with your time and I appreciate it. Let me transition to the last part of the interview. During these two years that you’ve been developing your company, what was a lesson that you learned the hard way?
Jo Palmer: And, you can read it, you can read blogs, you can read books, you can watch videos from a thousand founders, and everyone always says, oh, it takes so long until you start making money. And, I just think that I still thought that I would be different. Which in fact, I’m sure every single person that has-
Luis Magalhaes: What, you make money?
Jo Palmer: Yeah. So, I think that, that’s something that was still a bit more of surprise with how long it took before we actually started making money. So, I think you have to love it. I think you have to love it. Like I said, those emails and phone calls and texts and Facebook posts and things that people have given us the feedback, that has kept me going very much. I think that, that’s been quite a lesson.
Jo Palmer: But, I say that from such a privileged position. We live in a very affluent developed country. I have a husband that has a good job. I live in a regional area and we have an affordable mortgage, which has made me … well, able to do this. So, I say all of those things coming from a very … like a place of privilege and I’m very aware of that. I’ve hardly been on the breadline. That whole stories of startup founders living on ramen noodles, that’s not the case here. I’m well fed and my children are well fed.
Luis Magalhaes: At one point I considered eating my cat, but I started making money.
Jo Palmer: Yeah. When you start eating pets instead of ramen noodles, you know things are getting bad.
Luis Magalhaes: Right.
Jo Palmer: So, I think that’s definitely been a lesson learned. But, I think that if you, as cliched as it sounds, you have to really love it because it gets old really quickly when you can say every day, oh, money doesn’t matter to me. I do this ’cause I love it, then if you don’t actually love it, money does matter.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah.
Jo Palmer: So, I think that, that’s probably been a very key learning.
Luis Magalhaes: So, we’ve established that money does matter. If you had one dollar, let’s make it either US or Australian, whatever you feel like it, to spend with each person working for you, what would you give them? And, I’m specifically looking for something that would improve their work life day, their work life quality.
Jo Palmer: Sorry. My teams work life quality.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah.
Jo Palmer: I would say, they could have a hundred dollars each. I would say that, we could probably mix some business with pleasure. I might say, okay girls, you have a hundred dollars to spend … oh, it’s late at night, my math is no good now. But, say a coffee is four dollars.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay.
Jo Palmer: So, for the price of two coffees-
Luis Magalhaes: That’s a lot of caffeine.
Jo Palmer: Yeah. For the price of two coffees, I want you to go once a day and find a business owner in your town to take out for a coffee and ask them three questions. So, what is a challenge that they’re facing in their business? How could having additional help in their business through a remote employee or something along those lines. So, I think it would get my team out of the office and out into the fresh air, and it would get them talking to someone else in their community.
Jo Palmer: So, however long eight dollars … whatever 100 divided by eight dollars, however many days worth of coffee dates they can have, that would be what I spend. To think that even if each of them managed to land two more jobs out of that for us to advertise, it actually is a very good business idea. So, that’s what I would do with them having a hundred dollars each.
Luis Magalhaes: That’s great. I’ve never heard this one before, but it’s a good one. It’s a good one. Most people tell that they’re going to offer them their favorite webcam or what not. So, that’s definitely out of the box, thanks for that.
Jo Palmer: Oh, really?
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah.
Jo Palmer: Well, maybe I should be offering them a new office chair or something.
Luis Magalhaes: Well, a hundred bucks doesn’t get you a decent office chair.
Jo Palmer: True. You can have a new stool from IKEA.
Luis Magalhaes: So, what about yourself? What purchase in the, let’s say six months to a year, has made your work life easier or more productive?
Jo Palmer: To be honest, I don’t actually spend very much money. Like, my only bills are pretty much our tech. I don’t know. What do I spend money on? I might do this. Actually, do you know what I have done since January?
Luis Magalhaes: Yup.
Jo Palmer: I have decided, I put it in my goals for 2019, that I would see more of my girlfriends and that I would have a massage once a month. So, as of, we are what, nearly the end of May, I have for the last five, well four months and tomorrow that I am due for May. I book a massage for five o’clock in the afternoon on the last Wednesday of the month. And then, I go out to dinner with a group of girlfriends. So, that has been something that is probably a little bit more than a hundred dollars, but that is something that I’ve done. And, you know what, I being a business owner and being a mother and being someone that doesn’t spend a huge amount of money, I’m not a shopper, I don’t do a huge amount of spending on myself, it was a bit uncomfortable for the first couple of months. Thinking gosh, this is indulgent doing this, but I’ve well and truly got my grove now.
Jo Palmer: I got my message from the day spa today saying, just confirming your appointment and I text straight back saying, you’ll see me there. So, it’s been, I think, a really nice thing that I’ve been able to do for myself and it’s something that I look forward to. I think what a treat that my business can afford for me to do that. So, that has been something that I do that I think, again, is not buying myself a new webcam. Maybe I should be doing something like that.
Luis Magalhaes: No, absolutely. Absolutely. People really underrate relaxation and taking care of your body. Especially, I don’t know about you, but I see it in myself, and I’m certainly sloppier because I’m working from home. I don’t sit as well. I don’t always work in the best posture. And, it’s very funny because, I don’t do Wednesdays, but I do Thursdays, but I do the exact same thing, minus the girlfriends. I just do the massage. But, it really has given me a better … made me improve my quality of work because, I just have better posture, less pain, etc.
Luis Magalhaes: So, I can definitely get on with that.
Jo Palmer: Well, you should definitely setup … we literally have a private Facebook group that, there’s probably about 25 of us and if it works that month, it works. So, we normally get about 10 of us that come to dinner once a month. It’s just such a fabulous … we’re all within very busy lives and I hate using the word busy, but people are busy and life is busy and it’s such a fabulous way just to remind yourself why you’re actually doing all of these things is that, I very much work to live, rather than live to work.
Jo Palmer: So, it’s that nice reminder that’s in the calendar every month, that I don’t have to think about it, that I know that I’ll catch up with all of my friends. That if I might not have seen any of them in the four weeks previously, that I know I’ll at least catch up with them once a month. So, it’s a really … thoroughly recommend it.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. So, since we’re into recommendations, tell me, what book or books have you gifted the most?
Jo Palmer: Well, I give a copy of Remote No Office Required by the base camp guys. I send a copy whenever we place a person into a job, I send a copy to the employer and the new employee as a little gift. So, I love it, it’s been like a bible for us. It’s just got such practical and just, it’s no BS. It’s great. I love them. I love how they work. I love their business that they run. They’ve got a great podcast. And so, I find it’s really nice to be able to give a little gift, ’cause it’s really exciting when someone starts a new job. And, you’ve been something that has been really beneficial to me and my team and my business, is a treat. So, that’s definitely a recommendation for me.
Luis Magalhaes: All right. Great. So, final question. Let’s say you are … I’m going to adapt this a bit for your market. But, let’s say that you’re hosting a dinner, a dinner party, not for your girlfriends, but for the top technology execs in Australia. Everyone that has decision making power in the modern company in Australia is attending. And, the topic of the dinner is a round table around remote work and the future of remote work. Now the twist is that, you are hosting the dinner in a Chinese restaurant. So, you get to pick the message inside the Chinese fortune cookie.
Luis Magalhaes: What are these people going to read when they crack open their fortune cookies?
Jo Palmer: Employ the best person for the job regardless of where they live.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. Good message. Good message.
Jo Palmer: Thank you.
Luis Magalhaes: Thank you very much Jo. It was a pleasure talking to you. Please tell our listeners, how can they continue the conversation? Where can they find your company? And, where can they find you?
Jo Palmer: So, our website is pointerremoteroles.com.au. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. It’s Jo Palmer, P-A-L-M-E-R. And, always happy to chat and always happy to connect with, especially people around the world and connecting with people who are up against similar mindset changes to making their business work. So, yeah, always happy to chat. Always happy to connect. LinkedIn’s a great spot for me. I spend a fair bit a time in there.
Luis Magalhaes: Absolutely. Jo, again, it was a pleasure. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for the conversation. It was very enjoyable.
Jo Palmer: Thank you.
Luis Magalhaes: And so, we close another episode of the DistantJob Podcast. And, if you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in this conversations, that are a joy to have for me and I hope to enjoy for you to listen to as well.
Luis Magalhaes: You can also help a lot, leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast indication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Now, another thing that you might want to do is, go to DistantJob.com/blog/podcast, click on your favorite episode, any episode really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up, so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form. And, of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally.
Luis Magalhaes: Not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world, because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent. And to help you with that, again, DistantJob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate. 40% faster than the industry standard. And with that, I bid you ado. See you next week on the next episode of the DistantJob Podcast.
In this episode with Jo Palmer from Pointer Remote, we talk about a wide variety of topics, but fundamentally: hiring and managing a remote team. What does it take to run a remote team? What are the challenges? What should we look for when hiring a remote candidate? And, which tools can we use to make our remote team work more efficiently?
In this episode, Jo recommends the followign book:
Remote: Office Not Required (by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier): Find it on Amazon
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