How to structure your remote business with Debbie Arcangeles | DistantJob - Remote Recruitment Agency

How to structure your remote business with Debbie Arcangeles

Andreea Zorz

Debbie Arcangeles is a remote entrepreneur and the creator of The Offbeat Life, where she shares valuable resources on how to  transition out of office life into a location independent job. Her podcast has been featured in Forbes, Travel & Leisure and on many other media outlets, for her expertise in travel and podcasting.

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Luis: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another episode of the Distant Job podcast. I am your host as usual, Luis, and with me today I have Debbie Arcangeles. Debbie is a New York based podcast creator, the host of The Offbeat Life podcast, the weekly podcast for creative entrepreneurs and digital nomads. She has been featured … Her podcast has been featured on several outlets, often appears on lists about the best travel podcasts and yeah, Debbie. Thank you for coming on the show.

Debbie A: Thank you so much, Luis, for having me here. I’m really excited to talk to you.

Luis: Yeah, I’m really excited to talk to you too. Again, being a guest on your podcast previously, I don’t know which one of our podcasts will release first, but this is the second one and I’m very pleased to be with you again. I gave a general introduction, but why don’t you give me your history, like to tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Debbie A: Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Debbie Arcangeles and I run a podcast called The Offbeat Life, and I also have a website and social media where I help people who want to transition from their nine to five or day jobs to work online. And I give them a lot of resources on how to do that because it can get really overwhelming, especially if you’re not in this type of space. So yeah, that’s pretty much what I do overall. And I also help people how to start a podcast if they want to do that as well.

Luis: How long have you been doing this for? Remind me please.

Debbie A: Yes, so I started my podcast a little over two years ago, so it was in 2017, and I was still at my day job at that time. And I was able to leave and do this full time the beginning of 2019.

Luis: Wow. Nice. Congratulations for that. That have been a hard trip. So, I mean, obviously that podcast changed your life, and your website changed your life and it’s all about remote. It’s all about, again, people being able again to live their lives working from home or working from wherever they choose. So during that time, since you started your podcast up to now, what have you changed your mind the most about regarding remote work and how people can work remotely?

Debbie A: Yeah. So I have always kind of traveled around in my previous jobs. I mean, my previous nine to five I traveled around New York city, but it wasn’t outside of the US or anything like that. But I was also a photojournalist and I met a lot of people who were digital nomads. So most of the time I had a pretty open mind towards it. I didn’t really have any things that I was like, “Oh my God, this is going to be super easy.” Because I knew firsthand how it was going to be. And honestly I just wanted to have my eyes open.

Debbie A: I don’t want to go into this … I don’t want to go into anything without being realistic about it. Because a lot of times when we think about people who are digital nomads or were able to work remote, we think it’s just a party, right? You can live anywhere you want and then all of a sudden life is great. Well guys, if you take out remote out of it, it’s still a job at the end of the day. So I was pretty realistic in that terms. I knew it was going to be a hard thing, especially in the beginning. So yeah. I mean, along the way you learn more things to make it a lot easier, but you learn as you go.

Luis: Oh yeah, absolutely. And I actually … So I actually wanted to pick your brain a bit about the digital nomad status. I mean, because … So we usually differentiate between digital nomads, which is people that we assume will be jumping from place to place, and the full time remote workers that are usually people who work from home, but they really work from home. They have an office set up in home, and that guarantees a reliability of internet, if not anything else, that is hard when traveling. And I got on my end, what I get, and that’s why I got the bit away from the digital nomad space, is that I feel that not a lot of people are as responsible as they should be in making sure that their travel doesn’t interfere with their work responsibilities. So when you are approaching someone and, let’s say, defending the value of digital nomads in the workplace, how do you usually counteract this perception?

Debbie A: Well, like you said, it’s honestly for me … It’s different for everybody, right? If you want to be a digital nomad, you really have to understand that you are technically working for yourself. There’s not going to be any coworkers or your boss hanging around your shoulder telling you what to do. Obviously you have that via emails and things like that, but you really have to be self motivated, right? It’s not for everybody. I don’t think everyone should do it. If you want to try it, you should definitely do it. But you also have to know that it’s a lot of motivation for yourself. And I call myself location independent, not necessarily digital nomad. And I think a lot of people have a misconception with that word, either thinking that we constantly travel.

Debbie A: I do travel for work and I do travel here and there, but I do prefer to work in a specific location because, like you said, it does get really distracting most of the time besides just the internet that you’re constantly on the go. And I don’t think for me … I’m speaking for myself, it’s not really worth it. I know a lot of my friends were able to do it and able to do it very, very well and they actually like moving around and it gives them more energy in that sense. So again, it’s really up to each person. I’m not here to defend it. I think to each their own. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. If you want to do it, you should. And I’m just here to help you learn how you can transition towards it if you want to do it.

Luis: Yeah, I think that’s a fair point. So I want to talk a bit about the way you structured your business. I mean I have met … At least met in internet terms, right? Air quotes, at least one person who works from you, which is Mark. That’s how we met, thanks to Mark. He was doing some marketing. By the way, how nice is it that you have someone named Mark doing marketing from you? Was the name of criteria in the selection? The guy was born to do this.

Debbie A: It was a very happy accident and I love Mark. He’s amazing. I love him.

Luis: Yeah. That sentence, that comes up to Mark, thank you for getting us in touch. So is Mark your team, do you have more people on your team? How is your business structured in terms of people and direct reports that you have?

Debbie A: Yeah, so I do have several people who work for me in different types of jobs that’s in my business, because I am a huge believer of outsourcing, specifically when you are making income with your business, and I think it’s a huge help when in terms of really growing your business. Because when I started my company a little two … A little over two years ago, I was still at my day job. I was working eight to nine hours a day and then I would come home and work another eight to 10 hours a day.

Luis: Yeah, I know that feeling.

Debbie A: It was really, really hard. Now I worked extremely hard to get to this point where I could actually pay people to do it. So right now I have an assistant, Mark, who does some of the outreach, the VA work that I have. I also have an editor for my podcast. I have someone to do some graphics for me. I have writers who write for me, and I have a few other people who are by my side throughout all of this. Because without them, it really would be impossible for me to, first of all, take the time to even do this interview with you because I would be doing so much content creation. And really one of the best investments you can do with your business is really outsourcing and making sure that you have the right team behind you to grow your company.

Luis: So why … I mean, we can get into this later if you want, but why did you specifically choose to outsource to people rather than to hire people as your employees?

Debbie A: I mean, I am hiring them, they are my employees, but for me it’s just Mark-

Luis: You’re using an outsourcing just as a general term, but not in the technical term.

Debbie A: Yes, yes.

Luis: Okay, got it. Got it, got it. So that was my … Because when I use outsourcing, I usually mean I’m paying a company that has a team that does it.

Debbie A: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. For me, outsourcing means that I’m outsourcing my jobs, right? And all of the people that I hire are all remote. I don’t have anyone here specifically in New York that’s sitting next to me or this and that. And then the other thing that a lot of people have an issue with, especially when you are hiring somebody that’s remote, is how to train them. So you have to get good at that as well. Because I think that’s something that not a lot of people talk about until you have an issue with training.

Luis: Let’s go there. So let’s go there. How did you train these people? I mean, I guess let’s start maybe a specific example. How do you train someone to do outreach for you? How do you train people … I mean, we’ve talked about content before, so now it’s your chance. You’ve talked about content on your podcast and now it’s your chance to tell me how do you get your content people to be on message, to make it seem like it … To stay on your brand, I guess?

Debbie A: Yeah. So for me, so first let’s talk about how I train them, right? Even before that it’s about finding the right people. So I go to Facebook, I go to Craigslist, I go to Upwork, I go to all of those things. And I really make sure that I’m hiring the right type of person for my company. So I interview all of them personally. I have specific questions that I ask them and one of the things that’s really important that I do and I think everyone should do when they’re hiring is to ask them to do specific tasks first.

Luis: I agree.

Debbie A: If they can do that well then you know they’re … It’s pretty self explanatory for most of the time and if they have some sort of an idea of what you want them to do, obviously hopefully that’s the case because they applied for the job, and then that’s the first way to find out if they could actually listen into to what you’re saying, follow directions, et cetera, et cetera. Now another thing that I do is I have things like Trello where I make sure that their tasks are done every single week, and I’m a huge believer of checklists, so I have specific checklist for them to do daily and then I check on that weekly, once a week to make sure that they’re getting done. It also helps me because I don’t have to constantly ask them if they got it done. I just look at their tasks and I know if they checked it off, they’ve done it right, right? And I could also check with their tasks if it’s finished.

Debbie A: Another huge thing that really helped me, and I learned this as I went, probably after a few months, is creating videos, right? So I create videos of specific things that I want them to do so that I don’t have to go over it over and over again. So I talk to them first, and then I create a video with them. And then if they have any questions with what we were finished with doing, then they just go to the video and they don’t have to keep asking me questions. So that’s saved me so much time and effort because now I have just a bunch of videos, and then if I do decide to hire another person to do that task, I don’t have to keep explaining over and over again and I just go to those videos.

Luis: Oh yeah. So that’s a very interesting approach. I’ve tried it in the past and I enjoy it. How do you think … I mean, maybe you haven’t tried it, but how do you think that compares to writing a document with instructions or maybe even creating some task lists in some kind of management deal. What are the pros and cons on each approach, if you’ve tried the other one?

Debbie A: I have, I actually also write specific tasks, and obviously I told you I do a checklist, so honestly, again, you have to understand who your employee is, who’s working with you. Because sometimes they’re very visual, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they’re auditory. So I do also have the video, I have a checklist, and if they require it, then I do a written instruction. So this just goes along with everything. I know it seems like a lot of work in the beginning, but remember you’re doing this once and then you never have to answer questions again. If they keep asking you questions and everything is either on the task list, on the video, or on the instructions and they still can’t do it, then you’ve given them everything they need in order to succeed. So in the beginning, yes it is work, believe me it is, but it’s going to save so much time and effort for you in the long run and even if you hire someone new, you have all of this content that you could just give them, and everything is there.

Luis: Yeah. Yeah. So that is a very thorough process and I completely agree. Creating systems and making sure that they are available to people in a way that anyone can pick them up and understand them is hard work. But it does pay off. It does pay off. But before we leave that, I mean we jumped from the hiring to the training immediately, but I want to go back a little bit for the hiring because I think that hiring people for a remote position requires some additional skill sets, right? Obviously you use the test to learn their skill set, then you check their CVS. And if you are very thorough, you can always try to get in touch with their previous bosses or clients, and that’s definitely something that’s worth your time to vet them technically. But I found that when people work remote, apart from technically, there are some characteristics that it’s really good to find out. And I wonder if you think that, and if so, what characteristics do you think make a good remote employee as opposed to merely a good employee?

Debbie A: Yeah. So one of the things that I always look for is somebody who’s a self starter, right? I don’t care if you’ve ever done this work. I have all the training that you need to do in it. But if you’re somebody who is willing to learn and will go out of their way to maybe learn something new or just you don’t have to constantly tell them what to do, right? Because, especially when you’re hiring somebody remote, it can be really hard to be on top of things, especially if you’re also running your business. So I need … I always look for somebody who’s a self starter, who’s not afraid to communicate if they’re doing something that’s not right. So I’d rather you tell me that you don’t know something, than you putting it off and not communicating and then all of a sudden it becomes a huge thing. So communication is huge. Self-starter is also huge and yeah, and just willing to learn. That’s really what I need from somebody. And just a good team player.

Luis: Absolutely. So by the way, how do you identify a good team player when you’re, when you’re basically … Your team exists on the internet. What are the things you look for in there in the way they behave, and they interact with other people that are also working for you?

Debbie A: I mean, honestly, it’s pretty easy to do that because it’s really how they communicate with one another, if they’re open to constructive criticism and they do what they need to do, because everyone has their own types of skillsets and jobs, right? So one person can be telling you to do this because that’s what their part of the job is. So it’s just everyone has to play nicely together. And if you’re getting called out for something, it’s really not about you. It’s about the business and the company running smoothly.

Luis: Okay. Well sounds like that’s a good point as well. And yeah, you can definitely notice a lot from people to people interactions. So let’s get a bit more in the weeds about management. So we have these people that you use to outsource the work that you used to do on those eight to 16 hours and how do you keep track of what they’re doing? How do you keep track of their performance? How do you keep your finger on the pulse, on the company and now everything is being handled? I guess take me through your typical day. What’s your typical day and maybe even typical week managing your operations?

Debbie A: Yeah. So honestly to tell you in the beginning I had a big problem with this because-

Luis: I think we all had.

Debbie A: Yeah. Because I would say, “Okay, great, I hired this person, now they’re going to be running it and I don’t have to worry about it.” And then weeks later you realize that there’s certain things that weren’t getting done and then you go back and check things and you’re like, “Oh my God, they’re not supposed to be doing this.” Or they did it wrong or they emailed the wrong person. This and that. So that’s why I mentioned before I use a thing called Trello and honestly it’s one of the best things that I have because I have a checklist for my employees that they have to do daily. So Monday through Friday they have checklists there, and after they finish them, they make sure that they check each of the tasks that needs to get done.

Debbie A: So I check that once a week. And usually I know for a fact if they’ve done it or not because I could see the content that’s getting made. And then also I could take a look at the email that’s being sent. Those are pretty easy, and all of my employees are very honest with that and if they can’t get it done then they push it to the next day. So yeah. So I use Trello just to make sure everything’s getting done. You can use things like Time Doctor to make sure how much work they’re actually doing per day. I don’t really do that because I tell my employees, “I don’t care how long it takes you to get the work done. If it takes you an hour to do all of these, then you work for an hour for the day as long as you do it well and you get it done.” So I don’t really care about how much they work per hour, and really that’s worked so well for me and now it’s running more smoothly. Pretty smoothly, I would say.

Luis: Nice. So anyone who hears this podcast knows that I am a big fan of Trello, though I do know from experience that it’s possible with Trello to get to a place where you are basically working for your employees. Basically creating cards, shuffling cards, updating cards. So how do you prevent it? What are some rules that you have in place in order to prevent you from, whenever you need something done from needing to create the task and then when the test needs to be repeated next week, what’s your system for not getting your … Letting your Trello get out of control I guess.

Debbie A: So I never get Trello out of control. That’s honestly … That has not ever happened to me because the tasks that they do every single day, it’s insane. So I never have to take it out. So they just have to uncheck every single Friday, once they finish everything, then they uncheck everything. And also Trello is great because you know when they checked it, it tells you the exact time and day that they checked or unchecked it. So I know that if they checked this last week on a Friday, I’m going to say to them, “Listen, Mark, you checked this last week. This is not for this week.” Trello is really great with that, and I see what’s happening, what type of movement that’s happening there. And also even without Trello, I could see what work they’re also doing if I really want to get there. I could check the emails, I could check the content, I could check to they’re looking into.

Debbie A: Yeah, so Trello has never been an issue for me actually, because every single day I don’t change what they’re doing because I already know the tasks that need to get done. I mean, in the beginning, that could happen with you because you don’t know what tasks are what you need for your business and you’re still trying to figure things out. But for me, I know exactly what it is that they’re doing. They have to do A, B and C or D, whatever, E, F on Monday, and then do this. It’s the same thing every single day for the week that they’re doing. And I just have that system, every Monday, they’re doing this, every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And then they just have to check it and then uncheck it at the end of the week. And then the next week they do the same thing. So yeah, I have that system going and it’s never been an issue so far. Crossing fingers for me.

Luis: No, no, no. It seems like a good system. So it’s like cards … So it’s like you have cards for activity and then inside that activity you have a checklist of each step in that activity. Is that how it works?

Debbie A: Yeah. I mean, it’s much simpler than that because I don’t need to tell them what to do. So for us, for my employees, for Trello, I don’t put specific things there that they need to do. They already know what it’s like because of the instructions that I gave them, the video. So none of that is being put on Trello because it just makes it a mess. So we have like Google Sheets or we have Dropbox that has a specific folder with all of those things that they can go to. Trello is just honestly for them to tell me every single week that they have finished their tasks, and I don’t put any more information on there because then it just gets too confusing for them, and if I need to tell them and it’s urgent, they’re usually pretty good with emails.

Debbie A: I email them right away or I do a Skype call with my assistant, because he does most of my tasks, and we make sure that everything is going well. I ask him if everything is running smoothly, if he has any concerns. Because that’s also another thing that you have to make sure is that it may seem like everything is going great, but you also have to understand if something’s bothering them, what they think we can do better, because they are doing the work and it’s always great to ask what they think.

Luis: So does everyone report directly to you or does everyone report to your assistant and your assistant reports to you?

Debbie A: No, everyone usually reports to me and everyone’s tasks … Honestly, I’ve made this into a system is that like nobody really emails me every day. I would probably get an email once a week … For two people, I would get emails once a week and then for the rest of the people, it’s probably like twice a month. So this is not things that … I really made a system where I don’t … I’m not supposed to be bothered every single day by this. They already know what I expect from them and that’s how it’s been running smoothly. It’s just a lot of work in the beginning, but now it’s reaping the benefits from all that work of creating a system for them.

Luis: Got it. It sounds absolutely fantastic. So what about face time? I mean, you say that you … It’s nice to have an idea of how people are feeling, of what people feel … How people feel the work is progressing. So do you usually have face time with these people? I know that you have with your assistant twice a month, do you usually use time to actually talk to the other people or is there any … Are there any meetings that have the whole team? How do you usually handle the FaceTime and keeping the team spirit up?

Debbie A: Yeah, I mean for the rest of the people it’s mostly just through emails, because the bulk of the work is really with my assistant. So that’s most of my face time. But everyone else, it’s just like for graphics or for editing, I don’t need to really do face to face type stuff. And they know, again, I created a system for them so they know exactly what they need to do. So whether it’s once a month or once a week, they tell me, “Okay, it’s ready.” And I say, “Great, thanks.” And then that’s pretty much it. I mean, that’s really how I have everything working.

Luis: Awesome. Awesome. Okay. So, so let’s move on to some rapid fire questions and the questions are rapid fire, but the answers don’t need to be. Feel free to go as extensively as you would like to. Over these two years where you’ve launched your business, three years, I guess you’ve launched your business and got it to a state where you could focus exclusively on that business and find people to help you, et cetera, tell me the story of a lesson that you learned the hard way.

Debbie A: So there’s definitely a lot, and I have to honestly say that before I started this business, I failed about two or three. And I think a lot of people say, “Well, it’s great you started this business, congratulations, you did such a great job.” And I’m like, “Well-“

Luis: No one talks about the business that didn’t work.

Debbie A: Yeah. So I always say that this one succeeded because of the two or three that failed. So for me, the biggest lesson that I learned is really taking your failures and making it into the biggest lessons and learning from that. Because I think especially when you’re doing this, we don’t get taught in school to do any of this stuff. So it’s a lesson that you’re learning. It’s a different type of schooling and every time there’s failures there’s another opportunity for you to learn and grow. So that’s the biggest thing. Another thing that I’ve learned is you have to really understand your value as a entrepreneur, as a creator, all of those things, because otherwise no one else will. And I see this specifically for women, we don’t ask for what we’re worth and we’re always afraid to ask. And that’s why a lot of people don’t get what they deserve in terms of earnings.

Debbie A: And the last thing that I’ve really learned that’s been super valuable to me is just surrounding myself with the best people that I can, who I can learn from and grow with, who can give me honest criticism, valuable criticism. I think a lot of times we’re afraid to get that because we feel like we know everything. And I’ve gone through so many businesses and been humbled enough to realize that I don’t know anything. And if anything now I think I know less than what I’ve learned, and just learning from everyone, and sometimes it’s not the best, but you just take their advice with a grain of salt and you move on.

Luis: Yeah. I mean, I always say that when hiring, you should strive to always hire so that you are the dumbest person in the room.  that you’re hiring for, because if you know more than the people you’re hiring, then in some sense you’re, you’re probably hiring them for something that could be automated, right? More and more, you need to hire people for their brain power and for the experience that you lack because if it’s not the case, then you might as well do the work yourself, right?

Debbie A: Yeah. Well, you definitely should learn a lot of that stuff just in case anything happens. But yeah, every single person that I’ve hired definitely are smarter than me in a lot of ways.

Luis: What you’re looking for is specialized smartness, right?

Debbie A: Yes.

Luis: That’s the key. You can’t be a … You can and you should know about everything that goes into your business, but you can’t be a specialist at everything.

Debbie A: No, you can’t, otherwise you won’t get anywhere.

Luis: Yeah. Exactly. So if you had $100 to spend with each person working for you, what would you give them? And specifically something that you could buy for everyone. So it needs to be something that you could buy in bulk, but it can be software, it can be hardware, it can really be anything that you think would improve their work life balance or work productivity.

Debbie A: Yeah, so for me, even in my personal life, I don’t really value material things. So it definitely won’t be any of that stuff. I think it would probably be an experience of some sort, whatever it is that they like to do, whether … I don’t know. If they want that $100 to stay at a hotel for the night just to relax, or I don’t know, go to the movies-

Luis: [crosstalk 00:31:30].

Debbie A: No it’s not. But they don’t live in New York. Go to a restaurant to eat somewhere because I feel like it’s … I value experience a lot more than any of that stuff. And I don’t want to give my employees things that’s going to make them work more for me. I’d rather give that to them to like enjoy their life than work more.

Luis: Fair enough. What about yourself? What purchase has made your work life easier or more productive in the past year or six months, let’s say?

Debbie A: Honestly, a lot of the things that I have are … You can get them from free. One of the things that I live by is … It’s an app called Evernote. And I am, again, I’m very, very big on checklists. So this is actually how I keep on task every day. Otherwise I’m going to be pulled in so many directions. And I also have … Now that I’m working from home and I can work from anywhere, it’s a lot harder, again, to self motivate yourself. So when I have my checklist and I have things like Evernote, it really helps me be more prepared, understand what I need to do next. And also I’m hyper-focused, right?

Debbie A: So I work from like eight to 12 or eight to one, so that’s four to five hours of just pure work. And then after that I have the whole day to do whatever it is that I want. So when I do that, it’s just … It gives me so much just motivation to do things. So Evernote is actually free, just to show you, you don’t need to purchase anything. And Trello, we talked about that is also free. You can definitely buy the pro for Evernote and Trello. But if you’re just starting out, those are the two things that I really love, especially Evernote. And I tell everybody about that app.

Luis: Yeah. And I like that. I mean, Evernote I have … I switched from Evernote. I was into Evernote for many years. I switched just because they changed the business model on me and I didn’t like it. So it was more out of principle than anything. But I found some good replacements for iOS. But Trello definitely you can get a huge mileage from Trello for free for sure. For sure. There are a lot of tools. There are a lot of tools like that, in fact. So what book or books have you gifted the most?

Debbie A: So I love How To Win Friends and Influence People.

Luis: Really? Wow. That is one of my favorite books. I have it on my best bookshelf.

Debbie A: Yeah, I think you can use that with business and your personal life. It is such an eye opening thing for me on just how to treat people, how to communicate with people. I think it’s one of the best books that you can ever read just as a human being. And of course for every digital nomad, digital nomad want to be, location independent people, The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is a huge thing. It’s kind of like your Bible and yeah, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad is also a great one. I’m into real estate also. I do real estate investing in the Northeast here. So that’s one of the big books that I also read. Yeah, so those are the three.

Luis: Nice, nice. So How To Win Friends and Influence People definitely have a huge impact in my life. I think it’s a shame that the title sounds so scammy. It definitely survived the test of time. The Four Hour Workweek I have it right here, but it’s in my regular shelf not on my books that have changed my life shelf. It’s just on the regular and the reason is, I actually want to pick your brain for a couple of minutes on this. I don’t think that it has survived the test of time so well. The principles in that book surely are still very good, but I find that a lot of the more practical advice is a bit outdated. I mean, for example, a lot of it is … There’s a huge section on virtual assistance and how to manage your work with true virtual assistants, which you have a virtual assistant right now. How much of it has survived the passing of the years? Probably not a lot, right?

Debbie A: Honestly, it depends on what you take away from that book, right? If you really disseminate every single thing that Tim Ferris is saying, then yeah, of course there are certain things there that’s definitely not going to survive. You could also say that about How To Win Friends and Influence People because there are certain things there that he says that we … There are certain things we can’t relate cause this is way back in the day. But if you really look at what he’s saying, the underlying lesson and the message of the book, it’s not about working a four hour work week, right? He’s talking about the freedom that you’re going to get if you choose a different life. And I think for a lot of people, it’s different. I’ve heard people say, “I hate this book.” You know, I don’t understand. You can’t work four hours a week and really have a very successful business. But it depends on what you want to do. I don’t think Tim Ferris is saying, “Everyone’s going to be working four hours a week if you do this.” Or, “This is how you need to do that.”

Luis: That is the biggest misunderstanding about the book, right? He actually never says that title.

Debbie A: Yeah. Yeah. But it’s just … Honestly, it’s telling us, and this was really one of the first books that really showed you that you can have a different type of life outside of a nine to five and you can create freedom for yourself. And I’ve spoken to a lot of people who it has become some sort of a gateway for them to really understand this, because we were never taught this in school, our parents never knew this and now we’re kind of the first generations to really live this type of lifestyle and keep going, hopefully our children and children’s children, I don’t know how they’re going to work today, but it’s just interesting.

Luis: That is for sure. That is … Even if you do decide to have an actual day job, not to be a freelancer, not to be the owner of your company, but just the possibility of building a career where you are employed by someone, but you just have the freedom to be location independent but work from home or whatever. That is something that a lot of us never knew was on the cards and that’s actually part of the reason why I joined Distant Job, because I wanted more people to know that that was in the cards.

Luis: So I guess that that ties into nicely with the final question, which is what I like to say … What I like to call the Chinese fortune cookie question. And that’s the following. You are hosting a dinner in a Chinese restaurant where there’s going to be a round table about the topic of remote work and the future of work, and all the top execs in Silicon Valley companies and tech companies from all over the world, the hiring managers, the CEOs, the CTOs are attending. And because it’s a Chinese restaurant, you get to pick what message comes inside the fortune cookie. So what message are these people going to crack open in their fortune cookies?

Debbie A: What message are they going to crack open in the Chinese … Do what you want. I don’t know. Just do it. I think if they’re executives of from Silicon Valley, I think they already have done that. So maybe just say just one word. Balance.

Luis: Balance. Okay. That is … See, eventually you got there. That’s a nice one, that is a nice one. Okay, so Debbie it was a pleasure having you here. Thank you so much for being part of the Distant Job podcast, for being a guest on the Distant Job podcast. Now obviously when people want to continue the conversation with you, when people want to learn about your own podcast, your website, your social media presence, where can they go to continue the conversation with you?

Debbie A: Sure. So for the podcast and any information that you want regarding working remotely, finding jobs online, you can go to So you’re going to find the podcast there, all of my resources where I help you do that. And my social media is the same, theoffbeatlife on Instagram. If you’re interested in starting your own podcast, I have a new website called where I have resources for that as well.

Luis: Nice. Well, we can definitely use more podcasters. It’s really nice to see more people … More and more people sharing their unique experiences and stuff in their industry. You can learn a lot from podcasts. I actually think that podcasts are so … I mean, they’re much more less visible than video because obviously we are visual people, but they’re so much more practical. I think that the education revolution is in audio, not in video.

Debbie A: Yeah, absolutely. You can take it with you anywhere. You could be driving, jogging, walking, even working and have it in the background and you can still do it.

Luis: [inaudible 00:41:21] for a time. I do not recommend people watch YouTube videos while driving.

Debbie A: No, I don’t either.

Luis: This is not a good plan.

Debbie A: Yeah.

Luis: All right, Debbie. Well, it was a pleasure. Thank you so much for being here and I will see you around. Thank you for coming.

Debbie A: Thank you so much for having me.

Luis: And so we close another episode of the Distant Job 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 these conversations that are a joy to have for me, and I hope they’re a joy for you to listen to as well. You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners.

Luis: Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to, 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 off 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, 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, 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 adieu. See you next week on the next episode of the Distant Job podcast.

In this week’s episode, we get the chance to learn from Debbie’s experience in the remote business. She believes is very important to create systems and making sure they are available to your remote employees in a way that everyone has access to them and understands them. That’s how she manages to save time and have an efficient and productive distributed team.

Book Recommendations

  • How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
  • The 4-hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  • Rich dad poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Free tools recommendations:

  • Trello
  • Evernote

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