February’s Member of the Month is Melissa, a VIP member who just landed a full time remote position on the marketing team for Jungle Scout. Before we hear from her, I want to give a little insight as to how Melissa got started looking for remote work, how she improved along the way, and finally achieved her dream of working remotely.
Melissa first joined the VIP group with sales and customer service skills, plus a passion for travel. She knew she was destined for the digital nomad lifestyle but just didn’t know what kind of remote position would help her do that. After months of searching, applying, and interviewing, Melissa thought she found a perfect home with Jungle Scout. The only problem was that the location requirements for this specific position would not allow her to travel.
She decided to go another route, heading off to Southeast Asia with a group program called Edumadic. Melissa began managing the company’s social media presence, learning valuable skills and working from her laptop in Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, or wherever she pleased! After jumping back into the ring of remote job searching, Melissa got in contact with Jungle Scout again and proceeded to impress them with her skills.
This time, Melissa got an interview with both the marketing and customer service team. After nailing these interviews, Melissa was offered a remote position on the marketing team. It’s a challenge that Melissa has always dreamed of.
Wondering how Melissa got to this point and how she lives her remote lifestyle now? Find out by reading below.
Full Name: Melissa Presti
Current Location: Saigon, Vietnam
Remote Role(s): Content Marketer, Jungle Scout
What was your life like before working remotely? What has changed?
Before I left my job in January 2017 to travel and figure out how to work remotely, I had a pretty ambitious career in publishing in New York City. My life was all about climbing the corporate ladder to make more money that would afford my travels for the 20 vacation days I had each year.
Now, my vacation time is literally unlimited, provided I’m working and staying productive while I’m traveling! I’m also focusing more on myself – my personal growth, my happiness, and my ideal work environment. Being remote allows me to have a better work/life balance and neither one has to suffer because of the other.
What was the biggest change in your mindset after embarking on your travels with Edumadic?
I’ve always valued experiences over things, and after traveling for so long I wanted to let go of a lot of things back home in the states that kept me grounded there for so long, including my apartment in Brooklyn. It gave me a kind of freedom I didn’t have before, and even though it came with a ton of uncertainty (no income, 401K, health insurance) for a while, I found myself happier than ever. I took a lot of risks that most people will never take in their lifetime and I’m grateful that I made some bold moves that I will benefit from in the long run.
What was one thing you learned from Remote Like Me that helped you to go remote?
I learned how to PATIENTLY network because honestly, it’s a long process if you do it right. You can’t expect people to give you a job just because you’re in a few Facebook groups and make one comment. I made so many genuine connections with people, some of whom I met in person, and even if those connections didn’t pan out into a job, it’s the most beneficial aspect of the remote job search. Plus, you never know when those connections will be useful down the road when something pops up and they think of you!
Why do you enjoy being a VIP member so much?
The biggest motivator for me is the community; I always felt like I had a bunch of cheerleaders in my corner who understood exactly how difficult the job search can be. We share frustrations, advice, and even job leads that might be better suited for someone other than ourselves.
What is your favorite part about your remote career?
So far, my remote career is much less structured than my former corporate career. My tasks and goals are more deadline-driven which gives me a ton of flexibility to work when I’m most productive (usually super early in the morning and late at night, I’m weird like that) instead of a strict schedule for assignments, meetings, etc. This may change over time but my team is very supportive of everyone’s preferred working style.
Now that you can choose your work environment, how do you work best?
I need 4 things: a westernized cafe, endless caffeine, my headphones and music (the Productive Morning playlist on Spotify is perfect, instrumental music when you need to focus!), and air con. Open air cafes around Southeast Asia are great and beautiful especially when near the beach, but I need a comfortable fake air flow to keep me sane 🙂 Since I’m mainly creating content, being around other people helps inspire what I’m writing, but sometimes I need to shut myself in a room alone to pound it out and meet a deadline.
What’s your favorite tool that you use to run your virtual career?
Jungle Scout utilizes Slack like most remote companies, and it’s been the fastest way to communicate with my team. Plus, the informality of it keeps our relationships low key and eliminates any elements of a corporate hierarchy.
What do you do when you want to spend some time away from your laptop?
Since I’m still balancing the social media things I do for Edumadic with my new job, most of my time away from the laptop is spent exploring new cities, eating all the delicious local foods, and planning excursions (rough life, I know).
I love to scuba dive and spend afternoons on a boat and the beach, participate in trivia night at a local bar with other digital nomads, read books and play cards, and host movie nights!
What advice do you have for others looking to go remote?
Trust in the process and know that you have to lay a solid foundation of networking, research, and picking up new skills to really make yourself stand out and succeed. I completely did everything backward and went traveling before actually finding a remote job, but the life experiences helped me figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be so I think it all happened as it should. I put a lot of faith in the universe this past year, telling people and myself exactly what I wanted, and the universe took care of me. Be bold! Make those moves.