How To Travel & Work Remotely As A Couple
Photo by: d’n’c
The freedom to work from anywhere is a wonderful benefit of being an internet-based freelancer.
But what if your significant other has a career that is paper intensive and demands constant face-to-face interactions?
This was my situation when I met my soulmate Rebecca four years ago.
I’d been self-employed for years and was used to traveling and working. Rebecca was an attorney working for a law firm that required frequent in-person meetings and court appearances.
We’ve taken many trips over the last couple of years and Rebecca has been able to continue her work remotely for weeks at a time. We’d like to share how we were able to break free from the traditional demands of one of the most paper-intensive professions.
With a bit of creativity any couple can find a way to work remotely.
While our techniques for remote work as a lawyer will apply to other occupations, our solution won’t work for every situation. We want to demonstrate that with a bit of creativity any couple can find a way to work remotely.
Here are the steps Rebecca took.
- If necessary, fire your boss.
- Simplify through technology.
- Develop strategic relationships.
After achieving the ability to work remotely, Rebecca developed a 4th step: Little tips & tricks can have a huge impact.
1. Fire your boss
Rebecca left her job to start her own firm.
This step is not necessary in all situations. Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Work Week offers step-by-step advice on how to convince your boss that you are more productive when not working on-site in the office.
For those of you who don’t want to bother with bosses, going self-employed is a great option.
The right technology should feel like magic.
2. Simplify through technology.
The right technology should feel like magic. It should simplify tasks and make life easier.
We researched law firm management software and went with one called Amicus Attorney. This gave Rebecca a solution for digitally managing all of her client files.
The next step was reducing paperwork. She started off with a small scanner and a sheet feeder, but it frequently jammed. Eventually she upgraded her photocopier lease to include one with a network scanner. Now her paralegals can quickly scan all incoming letters and documents and associate them to the proper file in Amicus.
To work remotely, we needed a VPN (Virtual Private Network) solution that would allow her to access her server from anywhere. We found a solution that was absolutely magical.
Hamachi is an amazing zero-configuration VPN solution. It doesn’t require any hardware or access to routers. We started off using the free version, then eventually went with a commercial version for only $40/year.
After testing and working through any issues of remote access from home, we were able to start traveling and working from other places.
When we first started traveling, we used a tiny travel wireless router to share my Sprint broadband connection. Now Rebecca has her own Sprint broadband device.
3. Strategic Relationships
When Rebecca first went self-employed, it was just her and a secretary. She developed relationships with other sole-practitioners so they could cover for each other in court as needed.
Rebecca was soon able to hire several associate attorneys. Now she has lawyers who can not only cover for her in court, but also meet with existing clients and sign-up new ones.
One of the most valuable employees is Rebecca’s Office Manager. She keeps everything running, manages accounting, and handles initial communications with clients. This allows Rebecca to only deal with critical issues while away from the office.
4. Little tips & tricks can have a huge impact.
Rebecca offers this advice:
While running a law firm remotely, I’ve picked up a few tricks that make working remote much easier.
- Cord Bag – Having duplicates of all of my power, usb, and sync cables makes life much easier. I keep them in a travel bag and never have to remember to unplug a cord from my office and pack it.It sounds so simple, but it makes traveling much easier.
- Portable Printer – Lawyers are used to dealing with paper. With my portable travel printer, I’ve been able to print up documents to sign on the spot. This has saved many mediations by having both parties sign before leaving mediation and later changing their minds.Sometimes I find it easier to make global edits to long documents by using pen and paper. My portable printer makes this a breeze while traveling.
- Quickbooks Online – When I first started my firm, Quickbooks Online was a handy way to keep track of the firm’s finances while traveling. Now my office manager does such a great job of running things, I rarely have to look at it. But it’s always there if I need it.
Rebecca Long Okura
Rebecca has been running her own law firm for three years now. The steps listed above didn’t happen overnight.
Don’t worry if you are not immediately able to quit your job or hire reliable employees. Start planning things out and take one step at a time. You’ll be amazed at what is possible when you combine desire, planning, and creativity.
Learn More About Remote Working
Do you have any questions or experiences in working remotely that you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below.