LESLIE TRUEX is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker, fitness instructor, and mom doing it all from the comfort of her home in Virginia, USA. Leslie schedules her day according to her energy levels and believes in getting plenty of relaxation time (including taking power naps). She is the author of several books, including Digital Writer Success: How to Make a Living Blogging, Freelance Writing and Publishing Online; The Work-At-Home Success Bible; and Jobs Online: How to Find and Get Hired to a Work-at-Home Job. She offers work-at-home information and resources through her website, https://www.workathomesuccess.com.
Her tips for working remotely:
- Be up-to-date on the latest web-based tools.
- Know which hours of the day you function best.
- Organize your time with external cues (alarms, routine, time boxing).
- Create a work environment that works for you.
Podcast production by Podcast Monster
Graphic design by Alfred Boland
Lisette: And we’re live. Welcome everybody to this remote interview. My name is Lisette, and I’m interviewing people and companies who are doing great things remotely. And today on the line, I have Leslie Truex. And I’m very excited to talk with you, Leslie. In your bio, we have you’re an ideaphoric writer. I love the word. I had to look it up to make sure, beautiful word. Ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker, fitness instructor – which I’m going to have to ask about – and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of your own home. You caught my attention because you’re the author of several books, Digital Writer Success, a book for freelancers and writing for freelancers, and The Work-at-Home Success Bible. When I saw your profile, I thought I need to know you. I need to know who you are. Welcome, thanks for being on this podcast.
Leslie: Well, thank you for reaching out. And I’m really excited to be here today.
Lisette: I want to ask. I always start with the first question. It’s always the same. What does your virtual office look like? What do you need to get your work done? And then we’re going to dive into what you do.
Leslie: I’ve been at home for a long time. My first office was in a coat closet, believe it or not. And that’s not ideal [laughs]. Over the years, I’ve sort of learned where I like to work. I like to have natural light. My home office, I have natural light. But when I go out, if I’m tired of working at home and I want to go somewhere else, I try to find a place where I can be near natural light. That’s really important to me.
The other thing is to have all these web-based things that we have now. When I started, we didn’t have those. So to go from PC to a laptop – or maybe you’re an Apple person – to go back and forth was really difficult and tedious. And now I use a lot of web-based programs. I use Dropbox to store things so I don’t have to carry a JumpDrive. I use online email. And I don’t download usually. So I can avoid that. I like Evernote and a lot of the tools that you can use online that make it easy for me to go somewhere else to work. My husband is going out of town for conference. I’m going to go with him because it’s at the beach. And now it’s really easy. Before, it used to be really hard to do that, to get everything ready to go. So as much as possible, I like to use web-based tools to help me work.
Lisette: Okay, and let’s dive into what you do exactly. That’s a long list, writer, speaker, entrepreneur, so [crosstalk – 02:35] [laughs].
Leslie: It is. The short answer is I tell people I write. I blog and I freelance write online. I write books. Those are just three general categories that I work in. Sometimes I create my own e-courses or something like that. That’s also writing that I sell online. I also have what I call my alter ego who fiction writes. That’s been starting to take off. I change hats and sometimes will be working on that. And I speak when I can. That’s something that’s growing. It’s evolving. And I enjoy it. I like to talk. You’ll discover today I do like to talk. So that’s something that is growing as well.
Lisette: Okay, and how did you get started with all of this?
Leslie: I didn’t start out as a writer. And if you told me in high school I would be making money as a writer, I’d probably cry because I just never felt like I was good at it. It was sort of a struggle for me. In the ‘90s, I was a mom that wanted to be home with my kids and was really looking for ways to do that. And my background is in social work. I still do a little bit of social work, actually. Just in looking at things that I could do from home, back in the ‘90s, it was harder than it is now. Basically, how I got on the road to what I’m doing now is one of my [bosses that does – 04:03] desktop publishing says, “Hey, you could make a website out of this.” And I thought, “Well, okay, why not?” Because I do have that idea ideaphoria thing, which means I get ideas and I just go with them. That’s when I launched workathomesuccess.com in 1998. It was just a website then. It was hard to make money online. I didn’t even think about that opportunity. But as the Internet grew, I started taking advantage of that and began to make a name for myself in sort of the home-based career arena. And off it went from there. It led to a book. And because it’s online, writing is the main medium for that, especially at that time. So that’s what brought me to where I am today.
Lisette: And are people coming to you because they also want to work from home?
Leslie: For the most part, yes. Most people come to me wanting a home-based job. They want to telecommute. And today it’s much easier than when I started. There are a lot of opportunities out there. But a lot of people just don’t understand how that is and how that works. Most people that come into this site, that’s what they’re looking for. But I’m a big believer in home business. I’m a big believer in freelancing. So I’m all about finding the thing that works for you, that’s going to meet your goals. And a lot of moms want to work at home, but not all home-based jobs are ideal for moms. A lot of boomers want to work from home. That’s a large, growing group to my website. If they want to work from their RV, there might be some limitations in what they can do as well. So there’s just a lot of variety in that.
Lisette: What do you see most people struggling with as they’re making this decision? Is it fear of leaving their jobs? Is it just not understanding the options? Where’s the struggle?
Leslie: There are a lot of different struggles. A lot of times people don’t understand what working at home is and isn’t. They go to Google and type in work at home. And that leaves them susceptible to scams, for sure. They’re also being lured into things that may not be ideal for who they are or for what their goals are. So finding the time to really learn about what people are doing, listening to a show like yours. I once had a podcast where people could see this is what people do really from home, and doing that part first. But a lot of times people also get stuck in worrying about are they going to end up in a poor house because a lot of times the income isn’t necessarily a salary. I think a lot of people get stuck because it takes a little bit longer and requires a lot more mental energy than just getting up and going to a job. This is not to say jobs aren’t hard, don’t require thinking. But there’s a lot of mental… And you’re thinking about it even when you’re not doing it, that type of thing. And I think a lot of people get weary and tired and want things to happen faster than a lot of times it does happen.
Lisette: It’s true. There is sometimes a lag between… Because you need to make a name for yourself. I am assuming that’s part of your going freelance. People need to know who you are and how you sell your services.
Leslie: Right, for freelancing and home business, that takes time. But even people looking to telecommute, there are employers out there that will never respond to your résumé. If you send a résumé and sit and wait and wait, you may wait forever to hear back. It takes a long time to get a job in the regular world, and it’s the same in telecommuting.
Lisette: That’s true. That’s actually a really good point. So what advice do you give for people if they’re trying to…
Leslie: Search every day and apply every day. You have to stay on it until somebody hires you in a telecommuting position. And for freelancing and home business, it’s the same too. Every day, you should be reaching out to your market to find the people who are going to hire or buy from you.
Lisette: It reminds me. I watched your Just Get Started video before this. I loved the advice because a lot of people spend a lot of time planning and putting everything in order and getting all the ducks in a row. And then when they are ready to go to market, the market has changed, and they would’ve just started over anyway. I love the video because it really just says you don’t have to know everything, but start now and just do.
Leslie: A lot of times, you don’t know all the ducks you need. Until you start going, you really don’t know what you need. Some things you’re told you need you may not need. But you’re right. A lot of people stall right at the start. They just wait for the stars to align. I hear a lot of my kids are in school. Well, you know what? My kids are in college now. And I feel busier now than when they were at home. So there’s never the right time. And you can always do a little bit. But the more you put it off, the longer you’re going to have to wait to get what you want.
Lisette: Another perspective that I heard on the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast was take advantage at the beginning when people don’t know you because your first podcast is not going to be your best podcast. So get started and don’t be famous first.
Leslie: Right, there’s a lot that you learn in the process. My podcast wasn’t necessarily that great in terms of audio and all that kind of stuff, but the content was good. If you are bringing forth value in whatever you do, that will stand out to people.
Lisette: What are some of the reasons why you’re seeing people going more and more remote? Is it the freedom or lack of commute? What is it that you see?
Leslie: I have found in all the years I’ve been running the website. When I started, I did have a lot of moms who wanted to be home with their kids. That is a very common and big thing. As a matter of fact, a lot of people who reach out to me for interviews, a lot of times that’s the focus they go through. But over the years, as I go in and I do look at my analytics, now we know a lot of demographics. And about half of my population is over the age of 45, with 25-30 percent being over 55. So I’m having a lot of older folks. And I hate to say that because I’m actually almost in that range.
Lisette: I am in my 40s [laughs].
Leslie: I’m not saying that’s old, but when you are 45 and 50, you might have children, but pretty much they’re going to be older. But I’m getting a lot of people. I think a lot of them came out of the problems in the economy and maybe have not been able to get a job like they had before. Or maybe they haven’t been able to get hired at all, so now they’re looking at this opportunity. But I think a lot of people are also looking at how can I supplement my retirement because I don’t have very many years left before I’m retired. And a lot of them are retired or want to retired sooner and know they need an income to do that. And they’re looking for opportunities to say, “Hey, I want to be in my RV while I work,” or “I want to go retire as an expat somewhere. How can I afford to do that?” So I think right now the spectrum is really big. What’s interesting is that is at workathomesuccess.com, that is the demographic, i.e. a lot of older people. But I also am a home business expert over at About.com. And my demographic there is actually much younger, more in the 25 to 35 range, which to me is interesting. I think a lot of younger people are like, “Forget the job.” [I’m not going to go at it – 12:01] on my own right out of the gate, which is interesting as well.
Lisette: Yeah, it does seem like it’s becoming a more entrepreneurial sort of society in some ways where the idea of going to a place 9 to 5 is sort of old-fashioned, although it’s still prevalent. It’s everywhere still.
Leslie: Right. When I was growing up, it was you go to college and you get a good job and you work for years. And my work has not been like that. And I think a lot of people my age have seen that. I think our generation has had much more different jobs to maybe our parents did. Our parents probably did have one job. And our kids are growing up seeing that we can make choices now. They’re also growing up with technology, so they can see that there are a lot of things that they could do. I have a brother who went to school with Mark Zuckerberg. Through them, they’ve been able to see, “Hey, you don’t even have to be [out of – 12:58] school. You can go and do your own thing and make something of it.”
Lisette: Right, which is an interesting thing to see. Also, I can imagine that with this whole market and economy changing. I know I realized in my late 30s that the job stability was not as it used to be. One company I worked for went out of business overnight. That was a freak accident. But then the next company that I went to got sold to another company. And then the choice was do you want to work for them or do you want to… So I thought, “Huh, I bet I’m not alone in this.” So when I went freelance, it was actually to find stability.
Leslie: Right. Those are the things that would scare people from working at home or going into home business, i.e. I want my salary, my benefits and all this kind of stuff. And what we’ve seen is a lot of employers, even if they weren’t going out of business, were cutting benefits, were cutting all this kind of stuff. And they’re not loyal. So the idea that the job is the safe route isn’t necessarily true anymore.
Lisette: This is going to be a big question. Feel free to take it from any angles. Sometimes I [crosstalk – 14:07]. What makes working at home successful for people? What do you need to be successful working from home? What are some of the most important things in your opinion?
Leslie: I think you definitely have to have the ability to be self-motivated. Now I am a lazy person. I am a path of least resistance person. There are people out there that do 800 different… I do do a lot of different things. But there are some people that…
Lisette: [crosstalk – 14:38] website. Can’t say you’re lazy.
Leslie: Yeah, but I like to nap. I watch TV. There are things that I do. But I also am diligent and conscientious about getting through my list, about meeting the things I say I’m going to meet. I meet my deadlines. If I tell somebody this is going to be done, I do it. And that is really important because it is easy to get distracted. It is easy to say, “Man, it’s a nice day. I’m going outside. I’m going to go for a hike. I’m not going to work.” I love that flexibility. I’ve also been able to design my career the way I like it. For example, I really don’t like appointments very much, which is why I don’t do a lot of coaching because that is appointments. It’s why I write because even though when I was younger, writing would’ve scared the bejeebers out of me. It is so totally flexible. I can do it anywhere, any time, and I love that. So that’s really one of the advantages. But because it’s so flexible, you do. You need to stay on top of it. You need to be diligent about meeting your goals. Most people want to work at home for some other reason. They want to be home with their kids. They want to have a flexible schedule so they can travel. They want to supplement their income. So you want to make sure that you’re doing the things that you’re doing to meet that goal.
Lisette: Right, I can imagine. What kind of people should not do working at home? Probably, people who are not self-motivated, of course, that’s just the opposite. I mean is there a personality type, a type of person?
Leslie: Yeah, I think sometimes you’re not going to know till you try it. I’ve met a lot of people who’ve done it and thought it’s not for me. You can set yourself up to have external cues to remind you you need to work. Things like routine and alarms and all these things can help you stay motivated. People that really need a firm, strong boundary set by somebody outside them, they will have difficulty at home if they can’t figure out how to set them up at home. But for example some telecommuting jobs, they’ll be like you have to log in at this point, and you need to work. That might be good enough. But freelancing might not be enough. Even if they say, “I’m going to sit at my desk 10,” around 10 o’clock, they’re still sort of flexing around, and they’re cleaning off their desk, and they’re checking social media.
Lisette: I’ve never done this.
Leslie: [crosstalk – 17:07] 11. Then, “Oh, maybe I’ll just have lunch early.” Those types are going to struggle.
Lisette: I think we probably all have those days anyway. Yeah, can’t tend to have those days.
Leslie: Yeah. And the other thing I want to mention real quick is sometimes there’s this idea that working at home is somehow less formal. And I’ve seen this in freelancers too. It surprises me sometimes. They’ll be like, “I’m sorry. This project isn’t due because my kid is sick.” Well, that’s not necessarily acceptable. If your kid has gone to the hospital, yeah, okay, there are circumstances. But if you are a professional, you need to meet your obligations. And because your child is home with the sniffles or whatever, you need to do everything you can to meet those. And if that means having somebody else come in and watch your child… I’ve worked with my child laying on the couch next to me while I’m working. But I’ve found sometimes some people really feel like working at home sometimes is less than that, and it really isn’t. In some ways, you have to be more professional because they don’t see you. They can’t see you sitting at your desk. So the only way you can prove to them you’re working is to deliver the goods.
Lisette: Right. What are some of your productivity tricks that you use for yourself? Do you do timeboxing?
Leslie: I really like to get up and be like, “Okay, I’m going to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it today.” I do have a schedule in terms of these are the days posts go up at these places that I’m writing for. And I do social media and things like that. But mostly, I just have a list of here’s what I’m going to do today. And the order and time at which I do them can be flexible. Sometimes I do try to write a lot, get my writing done in the morning because after lunch I’m pretty much worthless. But that doesn’t always happen. For example, I knew I was going to do this interview today. So instead of doing the writing I might normally do, I switched up and started working on something else that I know absolutely have to get done today, just to make sure I make progress on it. I do generally get up and work in the morning. So I don’t always sleep in that type of… After lunch though, I’ll probably have a nap. And because I’m worthless after lunch, I do a lot of work that doesn’t require a lot of brain energy. So I might do social media and things like that.
Lisette: Right. I did an interview with a creativity expert who said we should work when and where we work best and figure out. So when we work best in the morning and we’re tired in the afternoon, totally fine as long as you’re building your schedule around that.
Leslie: Right. For people who want to work remotely and they have to build it working around a job, that can get really hard. If you’re coming home from work and then working on freelancing after that, that can be really tough. But it’s one of the perks when you get to the point when you can quit that job. I know people who like working in the middle of the night. That’s their peak hours.
Lisette: Yeah. And everybody is really different. My husband went remote a couple of years ago and worked from home and hated it. He just hated it. I kept getting Skype messages saying I hate this. He eventually bought an office with some colleagues and went into an office together. He just much prefers that. Whereas I could stay home all day, no problem.
Leslie: Me too, especially when it’s cold. It’s like, “I don’t want to go out on that.” [Laughs]
Lisette: Right, indeed. I want to ask you about something that a lot of remote workers complain of, which is ironic, actually. It’s being on 24/7, this whole always-on syndrome. I think I’ve heard it called telepressure [crosstalk – 21:10] I have telepressure.
Leslie: Right, virtual pressure, yeah. For some people, they don’t do enough. And for some people, it’s too much. The other thing is a lot of times you’re thinking about it even when you’re not in it. That requires the ability to turn off your devices. That’s the self-discipline there again. I was supposed to go speak [at something – 21:37] at the end of the month. And it started following through. And there was a group of us. And on Facebook, there were just constantly people talking about it. And then I was getting these private messages. And it was all day and all night. And at one point, I’m just like, “I am exhausted.” And I determined, “I just need to get off Facebook for a while because of the constant messaging and talking.” And I didn’t need to be there for all of it. It will be there when I come back to it in the morning. I can go back and read those messages. I didn’t need to be there. So that is a very real thing. Sometimes you have to work more in the beginning in order to get that momentum to get your clients and all that kind of stuff. But at some point it should even out so that you have time off because you can’t work 24/7. You’ll make yourself crazy.
Lisette: Right. It’s just science that we need. We need to rest. So many people struggle with it. The reason why I say it’s ironic is because most managers seem to not want to allow flexible working in their workplace because they think that people are going to go home, or they want to go home, because they don’t want to work. They want to slack off.
Leslie: Right. There is an idea that maybe they’re less dedicated to the job. I think that’s changing. We’re seeing a lot of companies that are now 100 percent virtual. But especially among the older managers, the older companies, that is a very real thing. And my thing is who cares if you’re watching Phil? I used to say Oprah, but she’s gone now. Who cares if you’re watching Dr. Phil or whatever you watch as long as the work is done? And the reality is we’ve all been in a workplace where our colleagues are worthless. Worthless may not be the thing, but they’re really not on the job. They’re not necessarily really getting things done. Yet we know their productivity as telecommuters is actually really high. They get a lot done in less hours. So should we really be paying by the amount of hours you sit at your desk? Or should you be paid by your results, which is results should be it? But managers have a difficult time switching from hourly to results-oriented work.
Lisette: Yeah, I think that’s a huge mindset change, actually, switching from that. And I [tell companies – 23:53] it’s very company-based. One company’s switch to a results-oriented work environment is going to look different than somebody else’s, just by nature, I would think. Do you give advice to companies about that on how they should do it?
Leslie: No, I haven’t. I talk in general to people who want to be telecommuters about finding a way to quantify what they’re doing. Sometimes that’s hard too. Sometimes the job that you’re doing, it’s hard to show the results depending on what it is. So figuring out a way to quantify what you’re doing to show your value becomes really important.
Lisette: I’m writing this down furiously. Quantify what you’re doing to show your value, I think that’s really good advice, actually, because if people are trying to go remote and the boss is saying no, then there are ways that you can try and convince them.
Leslie: Yeah, like everything, it’s all about… People who want to work at home are thinking, “Well, my commute is a [hospital – 24:54] in childcare and all that.” But your employer doesn’t really care about that. Or they might be sympathetic to it, but that’s not going to be the reason they’re going to let you do it. The reason they’re going to let you do it is because you say, “Hey, look, I increased sales by 10 percent. And this is what I have at home. Now I don’t have to share a copier.” I remember I had a job once. When I showed up, there was no chair. I had no chair [laughs]. There were six of us sharing a computer. So when you can find ways [unintelligible – 25:25] the employer that says, “My productivity will go up. There will be less of a drain on this, that or the other in the office.” Those are the things that are going to interest them, especially if you can quantify it in dollars.
Lisette: Right, go back to the bottom line. That’s actually really good psychology, i.e. thinking about what would the other person want. You of course want [crosstalk – 25:47] being with your family. But what does your boss really want? And they want dollars in general.
Leslie: They want dollars, yeah.
Lisette: Right, so putting it in that perspective, that is really good advice.
Lisette: Let’s see, other things. I really want to ask about this home-based business. I’m curious. You have both telecommuters and freelancers who are coming to you. And those are two very different categories, I think.
Leslie: Right. I see there are telecommuters, and then I see freelancers, and then I see home business in sort of that line. And telecommuters generally are hired. Not always, sometimes they’re still hired on contract. But the work can be steady in regular and all that kind of stuff that people are looking for. There may or may not be benefits. And I see freelancers. A lot of times they are hired on. But they might be hired for 10 hours a week to do something. A lot of times there is a set thing that they’re doing. And in home business, I see it as totally autonomous in terms of you’re buying a product or service from me. It’s sort of gray how it all comes together. But they’re all involved in working at home. And even though an employer might be hiring somebody and a home business is a little bit different, in a lot of ways, what you have to do is the same. You still have to be accountable. You still have to produce. I tell people who want a work-at-home job. And they’re like, “I don’t want to do a home business because I don’t want to sell.” And I’m like, “Well, what do you think a résumé is? It’s a marketing tool. And you have to use marketing techniques. It’s not just a list of what you’ve done. It’s a list of what you’ve done that can help an employer.” To me, there is some overlap because someone can work at home. If their job is an accountant, they can freelance as an accountant, or they can have their own accounting business.
Lisette: Right. Totally random question, and then we have a couple of more questions. What do you think of the digital nomad movement? The kids that are traveling, while on the road, moving on the road, I don’t know how much of that you see. To me, that seems totally different than telecommuting or working from home. To me, the digital nomad is another sector. It may seem like remote working, but it’s a whole other…
Leslie: Right. You have to be in a place where you can be online whenever you’re going to work. I see this. The boomers, I’m seeing this. They’re in their RV and they’re traveling around. I’ve met a lot of people who travel around the world and work from wherever they’re at. As long as you have Internet access, you can do that. I think it’s awesome. I didn’t have the money when my kids were growing up. I was working at home, but I didn’t have the money to like, “Hey, let’s go to Italy for a month because I can work from there.” However, when I did travel, I was able to work. I do remember going to Europe. My mom was living there at the time. I remember going there and thinking about, “Well, how am I going to plug in my laptop because they have different systems there? But I did. It worked. I got up every morning and did a little bit of work before we went sightseeing. I worked in Yosemite once. This was back in the days of dial-up. I remember being shocked that they had Internet access in Yosemite at that time because that was a long time ago. So I think it’s great. And I think for people, that’s the thing about working for yourself. If you can design a career that allows you to do that, that’s awesome.
Lisette: Right, go for it, I would say. [crosstalk – 29:33] go for it.
Lisette: The concept of being able to work where we’re most productive is true. Also, as students, if you’re just graduating from college, you want to travel the world. But you don’t want to take the whole year off. You’d also like to do some work while traveling the world. It’s a whole new opportunity.
Leslie: Right. I like to watch the show House Hunters International. They get a lot of people on there where, “My company says it’s going to allow me to telecommute,” or “We have our own business, and I can run from anywhere. So we’re seeing that a lot more.”
Lisette: Yeah, I’m glad the shift is happening, for sure. And I like that as technology increases, it makes the 9 to 5 less and less necessary. And I like what’s happening with the playfulness around that. It’s like, “Okay, now what can we do with all this?” Even though [crosstalk – 30:25].
Leslie: Yeah, a couple of years ago, Yahoo brought their telecommuters back into the office. And some people did reach out to me then asking, “Is telecommuting going away?” And I’m like, “No,” partly because Yahoo is not the only company that has telecommuters. That was just one decision that they made, which is unusual because they are an Internet-based company. But a lot of people still do that. We see it growing. And a lot of people are making the choice, “I’m not going to have a job. I’m going to do this thing on my own.” At the end of my podcast, I interviewed a lot of younger people who were like, “Forget the job. I’ve been doing graphic design since I was 12. I’m just going to keep doing that.” And they’re successful.
Lisette: Right, which is super interesting. It changes everything. It changes the education system in terms of what kind of education we need. That’s very interesting to watch. I’m just wondering how fast it’s going to go from here.
Leslie: The other thing is people can take their interest in hobbies. We go to school to learn this trade or this profession, but a lot of people are saying, “I’m going to write a travel blog,” or “I want to…” whatever their hobby is. That’s what I want to do. I’m passionate about this thing. And they’re able to turn that into something, which is even better because if you like your job, it makes it so much easier.
Lisette: And I think it’s also a benefit for the employer as well because they’re hiring people who are passionate about what they do instead of people who are just doing a job.
Leslie: And they can hire the best person regardless of where they are. So I think down the road, you need to prove that you can do what you’re doing. You need be of value to the employer. So we’re going to see that the expectations are going to be higher because it’s like, “Well, I can hire this guy over in Ohio, and he’s going to produce better. And I don’t care that he lives in Ohio.”
Lisette: Right. One last hard question, and then I’ll ask an easy one, which is the resistance from managers, the resistance to go flexible. I know we touched on this a little bit, but I want to dive back into it a little bit more just to understand where the resistance is coming from. Is it because they think people are slacking? Is it because it’s just too new? What do you think the [unintelligible – 32:54]?
Leslie: I think part of it is that it is new to them. Traditional managers, older companies are kind of like the Titanic. They’re on this one route, and they can’t turn fast enough. They’re just stuck in their ways. I see this a lot actually in the publishing industry. This is why Amazon has been able to take over. They started out on the Internet. They’re much more flexible. The older publishing companies and bookstores are much slower to adapt because they just could not see the digital world becoming what it was. So I think also managers can’t figure out how do I manage somebody I can’t see. So it requires them to learn something different. And there hasn’t been a lot out there to tell them how to do that. For a lot of telecommuters, there’s not an official telecommuting program in their office. They just set it up with their manager.
Lisette: They work at home.
Leslie: Right, which could be a problem. If their manager gets moved, they might have to come back in. So unless there’s an official telecommuting thing where the company has set up this is how it works, this is how you let us know what you’re doing, this is what’s required for you at home, they can’t quite figure out how they manage. And it’s that old mindset. If I can’t see you in your chair, how do I know you’re working? And of course mine is it doesn’t matter as long as the work is getting done. So it is sort of a mindset change. But we are seeing a lot of companies come around that are virtual. And they’ve got people all over the world. And they’ll say some people are better than others when it comes to producing. But they can see. They’ve figured out a way to quantify and measure what’s going on so that they can see.
Lisette: This is great advice because I get a lot of people at conferences. After they hear me talk about working from anywhere, they’ll say like, “How do I convince my manager to let me do it?” So it’s good to know where the resistance comes from because that [crosstalk – 35:04] points of attack.
Leslie: Right. And of course the answer to that question is you have to describe how working at home is going to benefit them. There’ll be less strain on their office resources. You’ll have more time to work. You’ll be better producing. The other thing is to anticipate the problems that they might talk about. They might say, “Well, how do I know you’re working?” So you want to have an answer for that. They might say, “Well, not everybody can telecommute.” My answer to that is not everybody gets paid the same salary either. [crosstalk – 35:41] do what your job can do. But if you can anticipate those things… Study, does anybody else take advantage of flexible work options? Are there other flexible work options? Are people doing that work [unintelligible – 35:53] 10-hour days or working part-time? By knowing your own company, and even the industry, is there another company in your industry that is taking on telecommuting? And again, using all this data to say this can work in your benefit is really the way to go.
Lisette: Great advice. Oh, man, I can’t wait to get this live. Last question might be a hard one because there are a lot of ways to do it. What is the best way to get in touch with you and find more info? And I say it might be hard because you have quite a number of websites.
Leslie: I do, I do. Workathomesuccess.com, I’ve had that email address there for a long time, so I get a lot of spam, and I have to filter through my email there. But generally, that’s a good place to email me. And I get back usually within a day. I do answer my own email, still. If it’s a weekend, it might take longer. If it takes me longer than a day, you just email me again. There’s a contact form there. You can reach me there. Generally, that’s the best bet. If you contact me through social media, I might miss it.
Lisette: There are a lot of pings and bings happening online, so [crosstalk – 37:10].
Leslie: Right. I know when you and I were connecting, I think at one point I said, “Please email me here,” because I just don’t spend a lot of time over at LinkedIn as I do other places.
Lisette: Right. Everybody has their preferred methods. I get a lot of people messaging me through Facebook. And I think, “Oh, this is going to be the worse because if I don’t answer immediately, I’ll just forget.”
Leslie: Right, and sometimes on Facebook, there will be messages that I don’t see because they put them in that other file. But they don’t tell you that they’re there. So I’ve sometimes gone in and, “Oh, look at this. It’s a year old.” So generally not there.
Lisette: So email. Email is still a reliable…
Leslie: Reliable, right.
Lisette: Thank you so much. I think this has been some awesome advice for people who work at home.
Leslie: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Lisette: All right, until next time, everybody, be powerful.