Working Remotely – My experience in the last decade+

Peter posted this on August 20, 2021

I’ve been seeing the buzz about working remotely online of late and it made me realize that before the trend had a name, I’d been doing it for a large part of my career.

(I woke this morning and decided to put this down, I’d write it as it flows and I won’t edit so pardon any typos and if it sounds like a ramble).

My first serious business, back in July 2010 was my Web Hosting company.

I set that up the day after I wrote the final exams for my Engineering Degree & I remember my first client (a musician I set up a Website & Social Media presence for) never paid me (yes I was naive).

The Business didn’t really make any money till November/December 2010, when I created the “SMS Business in a Box package” and put out ads for it (stopped selling this in 2017 as the economics no longer added up so I can freely post it, lol).

The response was crazy!

I stayed in Port Harcourt then and I’d wake early in the Morning to Credit Alerts in my Bank account from Lagos, Sokoto, Kano, Onitsha and all over the country from people wanting me to build SMS Websites for them.

We used Joomla then with an SMS Component/Module linked via API to an SMS Gateway.

I figured out I could build a Quickstart by creating a couple websites with placeholder information, zipping the site files & database and installing this (and customizing) for any client who wants an SMS Website meaning it took about 3 hours to build a fully functional SMS Website, compared to almost a week when the business started.

I found out about oDesk (a freelance marketplace) mid 2011  when I got a job to re-design the packaging for Wilson’s Bread (one of the most popular Bread brands we had growing up) and got a wonderful packaging designer from Pakistan who I communicated client needs to and was able to get excellent results. I’m still friends with the owners of the bakery till date.

I made millions of naira in 2011 but felt very weird, Everyone would wake early in the morning and go to work, I’d be on my bed in my underwear answering phone calls and “pressing my computer”

To add some “normalcy”, I rented an office, on Ikwerre road.

I’m not sure I used it up to 5 times in the course of the year till the rent expired in 2012.

My Business model was perfect as when I had to go to the UK for my MSc in 2013 and shut down my physical business in the process, my online business was still working perfectly.

2015, I decided to hire physical staff and get another office.

This time I took the office life serious, but t0 avoid wasting time in traffic, I’d usually make sure I’m at work before 6:30am and close maybe 7pm.

I did this till the pandemic.

I’m sort of a workaholic and I started getting panic attacks when I heard there would be lockdowns and no movement.

My office was fully optimized for work, my home was optimized for rest so I had to move quick.

In March 2020 I created 2 Home Offices (1 by my bedroom window)  and in the past year, I’ve re-discovered what I missed (not having to sit in traffic twice a day).

I still go to the office once a while but it’s really rare.

Someday I’d talk of managing staff, clients & projects remotely (or maybe I won’t).

 

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