Getting Started with Remote Work

I love to travel. So ever since my friend Peter said, “I got into graphic design so that I could work from anywhere”, I was hooked on the idea of remote work. But I didn’t pursue it – I just barraged people who shared that they worked remotely – “omgwhatdoyoudo!??!” and then felt disappointed when they told me it was sales, computer coding, or design.


But finally, in March 2017, I actively started looking for work that I could do from anywhere with an internet connection. And this week, I will be leaving my day job to run my social media business, Mundo Social Media. Let me tell you a bit about that, and the other easy-to-start opportunities I came across in my quest to work remotely:

  • Social media – The path that I chose! I’m in an amazing course (Social Media United) that covers all the major platforms, how to get clients, how to set up systems, etc. But my favorite part is a Facebook community of over 1000 helpful social media managers – it’s definitely worth checking out the $1 USD 1 week trial!
  • Virtual Assistance – If you can enter data, you can be a VA! But there are more interesting projects too. I’ve helped with writing and promotions.
  • Transcription – Listen to audio, type out what you hear. A bit boring, and I failed a qualifying test, so perhaps not that easy!
  • Teaching English – There are dozens of companies that provide you with the lesson plans and pay reasonably well.
  • Customer service – The pay and the hours aren’t great, but it’s an option.

If you want to live from anywhere, you can. It just takes a bit of research and a lot of hard work!


Why Should my Business be on Social Media?

Imagine that someone – let’s call her Jill – hears about your company, or is looking for a product or service that you provide.

Jill searches for you on Google, or maybe directly on Facebook or Twitter.

Nothing comes up. Or even worse – she finds your competitor!

Jill wonders, “is YOURCOMPANYHERE still in business? Does YOURSERVICEHERE even exist?”

Jill may start talking about your business/product/service whether you are on social media or not, so it’s important that you are part of the conversation!

Sharing regularly on social media allows you to position yourself as an authority in your field, provide detailed product information, and engage your clients. And, when compared with traditional forms of advertising (TV, radio, billboards, flyers, etc.), it’s very, very affordable, even if you decide to use paid advertisements on social media to increase your reach and target specific audiences.

If you’re interested in taking a stab at developing your own social media presence, there’s a great guide available from the Online Marketing Institute. Most people find setting up a profile/account pretty easy – it’s the regular content that can be hard to keep on top of, especially when you have a business to run! That’s when a professional Social Media Manager can help!

Social Media ROI

Let’s talk a bit about social media’s return on investment.

If you haven’t heard, IT’S INCREDIBLE.

But first, let’s look at one example of ROI for a more traditional form of advertising.

According to FitSmallBusiness, billboard advertising in the US in 2017 cost between $1,500 and $4,000, with prices as high as $14,000.

They claim that the number of people seeing that high-priced $14,000 ad in NYC on a weekly basis is 8,000,000, which is an incredible 0.00175 cents per view.  Great value, right?

If it were true.

Because really – how can you possibly know?

In a world where more and more passengers are on their phone, does it make sense to spend money on billboards?  Maybe some.  But shouldn’t the bulk of your budget go where your clients’ attention is?

With social media, you can calculate with precision your cost per impression.  And, best of all, social media ads can be highly targeted.  Is your ideal client a 35 year old woman who lives in the suburb with two kids who goes to yoga and hates bananas?  Done.

Content Source: Social ROI, Shane Gibson,  Image Source: Mark Smiciklas,

The cost of your ad impressions will depend on a number of factors, including relevance to your audience, ad competition, time of year, and where you want your ads placed.  Just like billboards, the cost for impressions can be fractions of a cent.  But when you advertise online, your audience has an opportunity to engage with your business directly.  Using features like a Facebook pixel, you can track traffic to your page and retarget them with future ads.

Can a billboard do all that?

The question really is: what is the ROI of not being on social media?  Of a potential customer looking you up online and finding nothing – or worse, a post of a cat from 2010 that makes them question your professionalism and/or whether or not you are still in business?

Cute?  Yes.  Relevant to your business?  Probably not.

Shelly Steffler is a Social Media Strategist.  She can be reached at or through




5 Easy Ways to Get Social Media Management Experience

We’ve all seen those frustrating ads: “Entry-level position. Two years’ experience required.” But how can you get experience unless you can get an entry-level job??

Luckily, in the world of social media management, there are ways to build your skill set, your portfolio, and – perhaps most importantly – your confidence.

Here are 5 easy ways to leap into social media:

1) Practice on Your Own Profiles

Start a business page on Facebook, make a business profile on LinkedIn, or get on Instagram. Practicing on your own pages is a great way to develop your skills, apply what you’re learning, and get the word out that you are a social media manager.

2) Offer to Help at Your Day Job

Most companies have a social media presence, so there’s a good chance that your organization is on at least one platform. Find out who manages the account(s) – just  message them and ask – show interest in what they do, and offer to help, whether as an admin, an editor, or providing a helping hand with analytics. At the very least, they will probably be eager for content. And even if they decline, you can learn a lot from chatting with them.

BONUS: If your company isn’t on social media, you will look like a superstar if you offer to set up and run a Facebook or Twitter account.

3) Volunteer

If you are part of a religious community or volunteer with the Red Cross, there’s a good chance their resources are stretched thin, and they would welcome your help. Again, even if someone is already managing their social media accounts, they are probably eager for quality content.

4) Get an Internship

If you’re part of Social Media United (SMU), you have access to a list of quality internships. The companies range from coaching businesses to consulting firms to online boutiques, and their expectations and budgets are clearly laid out. Signing up with SMU is easy – there’s a $1 one-week trial!

If you’re not in SMU, reach out to friends or small businesses owners and offer to help with their social media for one month. A time limit is important! Hopefully, at the end of the month, you will have the analytics to demonstrate your work was valuable, and they will be happy to provide you with a testimonial (or a longer-term contract!).

5) Offer a Discounted Rate

Be honest with potential clients. Tell them you’re new, looking to get experience, and suggest a reduced, first-month rate equal to your basic expenses. Again, it’s very important that this is time-limited – one month is usually enough time to get some experience and show future clients that you’re capable.


A journey of one thousand miles begins with one step; the key is to start moving.

The Biggest Challenge to Working Remotely…

… besides access to wi-fi, is focus.

I can already see how side trips and new restaurants and old friends will decrease productivity.  There are lots of tools and ideas on Inc. and UpWork, but I think the best way to be productive without an enforced schedule is to create one.

How do you manage your work outside of the structure of a 9-5?


A Typical Pre-Christmas Day in Andalusia

10:00 – Wake up, slightly hungover.

10:05 – Heat water for coffee.  Curse the failing microwave, purported to be “new” despite its 1970s style.

10:20 – Walk 15 minutes to the library for bad wifi.

10:30 – Run into a friend of the family.  Have him ask me if I’m pregnant.  (I’m not pregnant.)

11:00 – Drive one hour to Costco.

You don’t see this in every Costco!

12:03 – Decide Costco is too expensive.  Proceed to spend the next two hours there.

3:30 – Weak with hunger, decide to change the itinerary and go straight to lunch.

3:37 – Collectively bemoan the lack of siesta.

4:00 – Arrive at the restaurant, with “only an hour” until the restaurant closes (for “lunch”).

4:01 – Gorge on fresh salmon, crabs, octopus, shrimp, etc.

5:10 – Head to the other supermarket, “The Rich Zone” (aka “the gypsy supermarket”).

5:24 – Note that none of the recently stolen ham legs are being sold in front of the store.

5:30 – Can no long avoid using dirty, soap-less, toilet-paper-less public bathrooms.  Die inside.

5:41 – Fight through hordes of lamb-carrying Spaniards.

People in a grocery store.
Spaniards are serious about food. Especially at Christmas.

7:00 – Leave with a cart full of items, including a €150 leg of ham.

8:00 – Arrive at home, tired and full.  Eat olives, cheese, bread, octopus salad, crepes, squash soup.

9:57 – Get beaten at Parcheesi.

11:00 – Go to sleep.

Satisfaction level: 98%.  Remote work completed: 0.