On this edition of How She Does It, we get to know Anh Phan, a newly proclaimed Digital Nomad working as a Customer Success Manager for Swoogo.
But first, as always, a quick story about how Anh and I met. We had both recently moved to Colombia when Anh reached out to me about meeting up in Medellin. Of course we both wanted new female friends, but we didn’t know how similar our lives actually were and how much of an instant connection we would have. We’re both extremely outgoing so we planned a day in Comuna 13 (look it up- you’ll be happy you did) and decided to meet on a metro platform, hoping we’d recognize each other based on our social media pictures. From that day forward we spent as much time together as possible, working, dancing, drinking, and or course eating. She’s got some great insight on starting a Digital Nomad lifestyle, so let’s dive in.
Anh Phan, 31
Customer Success Manager, Swogoo
What led you to pursue a remote career?
I knew it existed, I knew that people were out there working jobs where they could work from home or had the flexibility to not come into the office the majority of the time. It was something i had always wanted to do cause I felt more productive when i got the opportunity to work from home. When I finally discovered traveling and how much I loved it, it made even more sense.
How did you find your remote job at Swoogo?
I never thought I’d be able to find a remote job- trust me, I looked, everywhere.I didn’t want to be stuck doing something that didn’t pay well or where I’d have to give up the experience that I had built up from my previous jobs. My job kind of just fell on my lap at the best time possible.
How do you feel now that you work and travel as a lifestyle?
I love it!! I haven’t looked back once and missed home. Sure, I miss the people there, my family, boyfriend, friends, but the freedom to be where I want to be is exactly what I needed.
Is it ever difficult?
I think the only difficult part is starting over again and again in a new place, but that’s part of the excitement. meeting new people, seeing new things.
Why did you pick Latin America to start your new journey?
To be honest, I have never wanted to come to South America. It wasn’t on my radar at all, but I’m glad I did. I’ve met some really amazing people and I’m only halfway through my trip.
I picked it because it was close (to San Francisco, California), cheap, and in the same timezone as my work.
How has it been working outside of an office setting for the first time plus working in a foreign country? How do you stay productive?
I’m still struggling with that one because all I want to do when I’m in a new place is go exploring but you have to remember that you’re there first to work and then the exploring comes on the weekends. It would be different if I had my own business; I’d of course make my own hours, be productive but also make sure that I take care of myself, like throwing in time to workout during the day or stopping to take a breather. It’s not to say i don’t get the opportunity to do that now, but sometimes it’s difficult when it’s really busy and I have to work certain hours, I can’t just walk away from a customer and say i’ll handle it later. I’m slowly but surely figuring out what works best for me, what kind of environment I need to be in to be productive, and all of the things that come along with settling into a new lifestyle.
Does the rest of your team support your lifestyle? How do they help?
I tell my director all the time that sometimes I get very distracted and he completely understands because he’s on the same boat. We discuss ways to be productive and keep each other on track. When you work remotely, you have to be honest and have that open line of communication with your team.
What tools does your remote team use to stay on track and communicate?
Slack, Asana, and Google Hangouts. Those are the ones that have worked.
We’ve tried a lot of different options though.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about pursuing a remote career?
It’s never too late to travel and live out your dream, It’s better to start somewhere than think that you can’t afford it or whatever excuse you have, because you most certainly can!
Want to read more inspiring stories just like this one? Check out previous editions of How She Does It here!