How I Work Remotely for More Than One Company

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If you had told me 9 years ago that I would work hard for 7 years to create a consulting business and then basically walk away from it I would have said you were crazy. However, that is just what I did, and I don’t have regrets.

I worked a lot when I worked for myself, but I think I work a lot more now. I am going to break down what is required to do a good job working remotely, how I work, the tools I use, the help I need, and how I stay sane.

Who I Work For

First, let me explain what I do. I am have been an associate at Moz for over two years. I currently handle social from 8am-12:30pm Eastern Time and I help out with certain aspects of YouMoz. When my shift is over I jump right into working for AuthorityLabs doing a variety of tasks, but the main focus is editing and social.

What is Required to Do a Good Job

I am going to give you my philosophy on this and please note that what I say has nothing to do with Moz’s or AuthorityLabs’ beliefs – this is what I think and what has worked for me.

#1. Work your darn butt off!

Give them everything you have and be the best worker you can be. People are trusting you to work from afar, so be someone they can completely depend on.

The truth is you can be replaced at anytime by a remote worker or someone in-house. That is always something that hangs in the back of my mind. I feel like I have to give more because people aren’t right there with seeing how hard I work, nor are they forming the same attachments they would with in-house co-workers.

What is so great about what you offer a company? Try to offer something great. Working hard and caring a lot about doing great job – this is not something that is easy to find in a worker. Become as invaluable as you can.

#2. Be as diligent as possible.

Watching social for a brand is really an extremely serious job. Complaints, or saying the wrong thing, can turn into a crap storm real quick. So, when I say I watch social for Moz from 8am to 12:30pm I mean I don’t take my eye off it. If I get up to get a drink the laptop is coming with me, or my phone with social tool apps right in front of my face. I take the trust they have placed in me seriously and I don’t want to let them down.

I suggest going beyond and be as diligent as possible.

#3. Learn as much as you can about the company.

Moz and AuthorityLabs both offer tools. I have tried to learn as much as I possibly can about their tools, their support teams, their strategies for everything and upcoming changes. What can you do to make things easier or better for others? I focus on this daily.

Fact: You can’t run social without knowing all the things I mentioned above because you are the one that has to answer the wide range of questions that come in.

#4. You HAVE, HAVE, HAVE to be self-disciplined.

If you can’t work hard every hour of everyday and want to achieve “more” without someone pushing you to do it then you cannot be a remote worker. Part of your job is essentially to make the lives of those you work for/with easier.

Additionally, when you are sick or unhappy or have distractions all around you work can’t stop. Without self-discipline you won’t make it.

How I Work

There are few things that make my work life easier.

Computers

A very smart man named Todd Malicoat, AKA @Stuntdubl, told me to never feel guilty about buying good computers because they are what supports my work. So, with him yelling “Push the button!” I bought an iMac (and later a Macbook Pro).

My computers are expensive, but they work non-stop without any problems. This is what I need and what the companies I work for deserve.

Managing Both Moz and AuthorityLabs

The strategy that I have found works best for me is to have a dedicated browser for each company. Moz has their own browser with all tools open for work in tabs; this includes email. The same goes for AuthorityLabs.

All tools with apps for both companies are on my iPhone and iPads. No matter what I can chat with either company or access tools. This is REALLY important when you have unreliable Wi-Fi (if you follow me on Twitter you know which company I have).

Food and Drinks

Believe it or not, there are times when 4 hours will go by on social and you haven’t had a second to take a break to make food or a drink. I have a back up of frozen foods and canned drinks for these occasions. You can’t let your blood sugar drop and be grumpy on social :-)

Giving More Time Than You Are Paid For

While both Moz and AuthorityLabs pay me for about 5 hours a day of work I actually give them more time than that. To do a really good job for these companies I have to keep up with as much as possible, all day.

Moz

Moz is a large company with several moving parts that never stop. If I just stopped working at 12:30 and never looked at anything I would not be ready for work the next day. Reading all the team emails is critical to doing a good job. What is happening, what is changing, what do I need to know about, what do customers need to know about and what is happening tomorrow – all these things have to be looked at daily when my shift is over. 8pm for me is only 5pm for them & these people work beyond 5. I check Moz emails until I go to bed, usually around 12:30-1am.

AuthorityLabs

With AuthorityLabs I keep an eye on the company chat rooms for the exact same things I mentioned above with Moz. I talk with Brian LaFrance all day about work agendas, events, social, SEO, traffic and a billion other things. This happens along with editing and social. They are based in Phoenix so their day ends far into the night for me. I try to keep up and be prepared for the next day.

If you work remote you have to give a few more hours. 

Scheduling Personal Social Shares

I would say about 95% of the things I share on social are planned the night before or during a break. Thank God for Buffer, it handles all my accounts. If you need to keep up with social for personal branding you have to schedule shares while you are working.

Tools!!!

I won’t say which tools I use for each company; I am just going to break down the tools I use daily. Whenever you work for a company remotely it is your job to make sure you know how to use the tools they use well. This requires a bit of studying and practice on your part.

My Daily Tools I suggest everyone learn to use each of them.

  • Buffer – how I love the Buffer!
  • Trello – great for organizational planning and tracking.
  • Hootsuite
  • Tweetdeck
  • SproutSocial
  • Followerwonk
  • Flowdock
  • Slack
  • Intercom
  • Zendesk
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Google Analytics
  • True Social Metrics
  • BuzzSumo
  • Copyscape
  • Google Docs
  • Skype
  • Google Hangout

Getting Work Help

I am a mom that works, but a mom that wants to be involved as well. When AuthorityLabs offered me 25 hours a week of work I knew I couldn’t handle all the work I had alone. I had clients, Moz, a home to maintain and a child heading into middle school.

So, my husband and I made the decision that he would quit working and come work with me. It was a tough call and financial risk, but the truth is I couldn’t handle everything at home and working 10 hours a day by myself. He handles all work I can’t do until my shift with Moz is over. I now have support, help with tasks that could distract me and when I don’t have time to eat he brings me food <- this is no little thing (low blood sugar). Having my husband work with me was the best decision we ever made.

Avoiding Burnout

While my philosophy of working your butt off has worked for me thus far, it also tends to burn me out. I have had to find ways to avoid burnout. Some strategies I use:

  • Force myself to take a couple of breaks a day.
  • Try to eat breakfast and lunch.
  • Drink water – seriously :)
  • Vent when frustrated.
  • Super decompress on weekends – start Monday ready to go!
  • Get some additional sleep on the weekends. Sleep later or take naps, or both.
  • Include humor throughout the day – memes, videos, tweets.

 Staying Sane

Mistakes kill me and I try so hard to avoid them. I made a mistake last year and people were upset and it totally wrecked my day (well, week)…I admit there were many tears and to this day it bugs me.

My challenge – I have to remember that being perfect isn’t possible. I tend to push myself really hard and have had to tell myself mistakes are okay (every once in awhile).

Be honest with those you work with. If things are not going well, just tell them.

The only way to really stay sane is to know yourself well and be able to notice when you are about to be pushed beyond your limits.

Before You Choose to Work Remotely…

Be honest with yourself. Do you need to be around people? Do you need that one-on-one with others? Can you push yourself to work hard throughout the day on your own? Are you organized enough to create a system that works for you? Are the companies you want to work with supportive? If the answer to these is “no” you will need to evaluate if you can make working remotely work.

3 Simple WordPress Features You Might Have Overlooked

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There’s no denying the popularity of WordPress. Tens of millions of sites rely on it as a blog platform, content management system, and even social networks. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all that it does and how to make things work exactly the way you want. Over the years, I have seen thousands of different WordPress sites and installations. There are some very useful and easy to implement features that even today, people seem to overlook.

Embeds

This is probably the most common feature I see overlooked by people using WordPress. Just about anyone putting out content will run into a situation where they want to embed a video, image, tweet, or podcast into a post. Most services like YouTube and Vimeo include a nice little embed code on the video page that you can copy and paste into anywhere that you want to drop a video. That’s great, but it’s actually much easier if you use WordPress’ built in Embeds feature.

Here’s how you take advantage of these embeds:

  1. Copy the URL of for the page that the video, image, etc. is on.
  2. Paste the URL into where you want the video, image, etc. to show up in WordPress

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That’s it. Nothing complicated. No hunting down an embed code. No right clicking on an image to copy the URL so you can drop an image tag into your page and hoping someone doesn’t block it from being linked externally (or worse…stealing the image by downloading it).

New services are continuously added to the list, which currently covers the majority of popular sources that allow embeds. If you only want to enable certain providers from the list, you can use the wp_oembed_add_provider function to add to the list or wp_oembed_remove_provider to remove providers if your theme enables all providers by default. If there’s a service missing that you need, you can even create your own.

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2 Vital Steps To Improve Your Digital Marketing: An SEO Podcast

SEO Podcast & Companion Blog Post

I sat down with Clark Buckner of Technology Advice and recorded this podcast where we ended up talking about three things that I’ve been able to do over the years that have helped me improve my digital marketing. These can be applied equally by in-house online marketing positions as freelance and agency SEOs. Initially I just included the transcript, but I decided instead to rewrite the transcript into a companion blog post to distill the ideas down a little bit more concisely for readers vs listeners.

Google, Businesses, & Technology Are Changing Everyday

I think sometimes SEOs and digital marketers like me forget to think of our our customers. Those that either hire an in-house marketing position or turn to marketing agencies have changing needs. The way their customers discover, access and relate to businesses is evolving as quickly as technology advances. It was just a few years ago that just having a website would immeditately be an advantage, and those early starters reaped the benefits, but now online marketing is more complex.

Read More About Improving Your Digital Marketing…

8 Tips To Help Improve Your Google+ Profile

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When it comes to Google+, you’re either a fanatic or utterly annoyed by it. Yet another social network we have to be a part of, and actually network with. In order to avoid disobeying the cyber gods and to help your overall professional online presence, it’s best to move forward using Google+. It is Google, afterall.

So if you haven’t already, it’s time to clean up your Google+ profile and add it to the list of social accounts to regularly network with. To really knock the socks off the Google+ nerds sandals, you’ll want to follow these eight tips.

1. Showcase Who You Really Are

Your profile is one of the first opportunities you have to to truly brand yourself and company. To avoid adding too much, or not defining who you want to come across as, it’s best to keep your profile simple and memorable.

  • Have a memorable tagline. When it comes to short snippet areas like this, give a catchy tagline people will be intrigued and remember you by. This area will also be used as your meta description, so don’t be afraid to be blunt and use all of the 160 characters allotted to describe exactly what you do, what you’re passionate about or what you’re remembered most for.
  • Stop using old profile photos. Your profile photo should be a recent and professional headshot of you, or at least the best looking headshot you have available. If you’re a speaker, try to have a great shot of you speaking at a recent event. Whereas if you’re a chef, your headshot should be featured with a kitchen in the background. It’s worth forking out the extra money to have a professional photographer, preferably someone who specializes in headshots, to take a few different shots that you can use on multiple profiles.
  • Completely fill-in your profile. When asking to connect with someone on Google+ their most likely going to click on your profile to see who you are, what you do, and why they should connect with you. So, give them all the right reasons with your profile information. Google+ gives you several options to uniquely identify yourself by linking blogs and companies you contribute to, basic apps you use, work experience, and other general info.
  • Don’t use Google+’s image options for your cover. Nothing is more basic and uncreative than choosing from a small portfolio of images provided for you, and the rest of the world, when creating your professional profile. If you are a business owner or have specific brand images, tie in your business or your passion somewhere in the cover photo. The recommended image size for the cover photo is 1080×608, so you have plenty of room to make a point, without excessive clutter.
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Image Source: Hongkiat.com

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How to Set Up and Get the Most Out of Facebook Multi-Product Ads

As the Facebook news feed algorithm continues to be more and more restrictive for brands in the space, sponsored posts and ads have become the real power-house for businesses to engage with Facebook users across desktop and mobile.

Already in the first quarter of 2015, Facebook has made several changes to how campaigns are structured in Power Editor, how they report on key ad metrics, and added additional behaviors to audience targeting.

The New Multi-Product Ad

In the midst of all of this change, Facebook also began launching a new type of ad, the multi-product ad. This ad is still being rolled out to Facebook advertisers, but we are happy to give you a preview of how it works and how your brand might be able to use it.

According to the Facebook Business blog, “Multi-product ads enable businesses to showcase three products within a single ad unit, on desktop or mobile. Each product highlighted will have its own image, description and click target.”

Read More About Getting the Most Out of Facebook Multi-product Ads

Facebook Advertising 101

Learn-Facebook-Advertsing-101You’re advertising on Google, writing blogs with keyword phrases, doing local search, and have a killer website. So why fork out even more marketing money and time for Facebook?

At the end of last year, Facebook reported 890 million daily active users on average. In English, that means 890 million people, worldwide, were actively logging in and checking their newsfeed, uploading photos and/or interacting on Facebook in some way. Facebook also reported last December that 745 million users are logging in and using Facebook from their phones. Thinking of unchecking that mobile option on your Facebook ad? Think again!

Cool Stats, But Why Do I Need to Pay For Advertising?

If the stats above weren’t convincing enough, here’s a big one from a post on Jeff Bullas’ blog, “30 million businesses now have a Facebook Fan Page and 1.5 million businesses are now spending money on Facebook ads”. If that many companies are concerned enough to not only have a presence on Facebook, but to invest, you might want to consider doing so as well.

Learn more about how to get started with your own Facebook ads…