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Old 02-05-2012, 08:42   #1
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Looking for Some Feedback on Doing Professional Work " Out There "

Without dumping details all over everyone, I work for a financial services company. Nice place, downtown San Diego, fairly corporate, etc. Just got my six year thank-you note in the mail. I put my 100 ton license to good use as well, but the vast majority of my income is from my professional job.

We've been saving up for a few years while living on our boat and doing some local cruising; life has been good. Saved up enough money to take off for a few years.

Here's where it gets interesting for me:

I'm currently a director and vp, and my boss (the cio) has asked me to stay on remotely. What that looks like exactly I'm still trying to make sense out of, but I think it will mean maybe ~5 hours a week of working when underway or basically anywhere. Of that, maybe ~1-2 hours will be spent on a phone.

I have the benefit of basically choosing the projects I want to work on and in what capacity, and provided I do a decent job on them I think it will stay that way.

I'll probably need to fly back to San Diego every few months for a 1-2 week stint to keep active on projects. Basically my remote work (the ~5 hours a week) is allowing me to keep relevant and my finger on the pulse of projects. It's all billable, but the actual money I'd make is really going to happen being in a port with enough broadband to make real remote work possible, or just flying back.

Some logistics I've gone over:

- Local cells seem cheap enough and my bill rate covers them.
- Bill rate covers satellite phone.
- Back in town we have car2go so local transport isn't an issue. I have a locker where I can keep business clothes, friends I can stay with, and a cheap hotel nearby if crashing with a friend gets strained.

Just looking for anyone who's pulled this off or tried to. I really never considered trying to juggle the remote-professional thing while sailing around third world countries but the possibility of not actually touching our savings with ~5 hours a week and some trips back every few months just seems too good to be true.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:50   #2
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

Sounds like a great deal!! Just make sure you have the best and most reliable communications your bill rate covers.....all the best
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:52   #3
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

there is a lady on the sailboat irish diplomacy who has been doing remote programming work for her business for a while--dont know how long, but manages to find enough bandwidth to make it work. there are dial up programs that can work for ye, and cell fones in different places are not bad.
sat service should render you independent??
there is actually decent reception for wifi in mexico and other places--just gotta find it. when ye do, is all good.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:53   #4
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

Short answer: sounds good (I am about to try something similar(ish) in 12+ months).

You boss is obviously keen to keep your expertise in his company thus making money for him (and you, of course) and that works in your favour.

My concerns for your situation would be:
1. connectivity, although you have looked at this aspect, will it be consistent enough to really work out OK and
2. the ~5 hours a week, I just see this growing into a longer commitment and it may be hard to control that "growth" without putting the brakes on too hard.

my 2 cents...
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:58   #5
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

RH,

Sounds like you're well-positioned to slip the dock lines and go.

At your young age, don't forget to ask your boss some questions about "Re-entry". You'll probably want to keep some options available, at least for a while.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:03   #6
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Short answer: sounds good (I am about to try something similar(ish) in 12+ months).

You boss is obviously keen to keep your expertise in his company thus making money for him (and you, of course) and that works in your favour.

My concerns for your situation would be:
1. connectivity, although you have looked at this aspect, will it be consistent enough to really work out OK and
2. the ~5 hours a week, I just see this growing into a longer commitment and it may be hard to control that "growth" without putting the brakes on too hard.

my 2 cents...
That's sort of what I'm worried about too. I'm trying to be very careful about the commitments I make (and don't make). There are projects I can get involved with in certain capacities that should be fairly finite. It's sort of like digging a ditch where anyone can grab a shovel and help but at least they know there's a dedicated guy digging away. If I'm too slow, they can add more folks to help.

There's a lot on the connectivity side I'm trying to prep for. Making sure everyone clicks the "allow international dial in" on conference call setups. Stuff like that. A lot of little things but if you don't get it figured out in advance a single checkbox can ruin the whole thing or at minimum make you look fairly incompetent.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:09   #7
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

skype works well without interntionalo fol de rol...get usa subscription for less than 7 dollars monthly and go for it--i was wondering what was keeping ye from coming down here--wifi is good in places you will be stopping. i presume you will enter into mexico in endsenada, where is easiest, and go to most of the areas frequented by gringos, wherein the wifi is excellent to good. with sat capabilities, you may just have an easier time of it. research the broadband capabilities of sat system you currently have.
my advice--JUST GO. dont wait. is all good.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:22   #8
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
skype works well without interntionalo fol de rol...get usa subscription for less than 7 dollars monthly and go for it--i was wondering what was keeping ye from coming down here--wifi is good in places you will be stopping. i presume you will enter into mexico in endsenada, where is easiest, and go to most of the areas frequented by gringos, wherein the wifi is excellent to good. with sat capabilities, you may just have an easier time of it. research the broadband capabilities of sat system you currently have.
my advice--JUST GO. dont wait. is all good.
Skype does not work well enough and reliable enough to stake your job on it - lots of cut outs and slow connections would not be good- ive used it almost daily from most parts of the world- same story
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:25   #9
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

I have effectively worked remote from the mothership for 25 years. The great news for you is that they want you to try it and they value you enough to work with you on this.

There are several key tools we use to keep a globaly dispersed set of regional directors on the same page.

- Teleconferencing. Our company uses an AT&T conferencing service. Basically all meetings are held on a conference line. AT&T has "local" numbers in most major cities. I am sure there is a fee for this but it is rolled up in the corporate comms budget and some part of it comes through to me as an assessment. Everyone has a calling card that allows AT&T global calling rates to any number and for those signed up to the teleconferencing they can initiate conference calls.
Webex - Webex is a software that allows sharing of computer screen information. Useful for sharing project updates, financial stuff etc.
Shared folders - With outside access to the corporate tools we have shared folders and files that we can check out, update and collaborate on. Access to the internal systems requires a sophisticated level of security - We use lots of software and VPN tunneling to gain secure access to email, folders etc. etc. etc.

Cellular communications - I live in Singapore. I travel 30 miles and I am roaming. I cover all of Asia/Pac - basically draw a triangle from Tokyo-Auckland-Mumbai. My roaming bills are atrocious but they are a cost of doing business.

I had a good friend who worked for the phone company years and years ago. He worked remote and visited sites on a monthly basis. This was pre computer days but he was able to work out the travel and was able to find sheap hotels and so on as you described.

I think the big questoin is do you really want to stay connected or really do the cruise and come back.

Tough choice but it is really nice to untie the lines and have an income option - The worst thing is it doesn't work out?
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:46   #10
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

There's another problem, which is intellectual connectivity. The pleasures, pains, needs and wants of the boat float to top billing when we're on the boat, work seems less interesting/pressing/important.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:51   #11
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

the lady, kimberly, who works from her boat , is using skype--she explains that if a call is lost she will call back. is reliable enough for this with a good signal. she is actively doing it as we typo. she supports her boat and lifestyle just fine and is a happy camper. she is CRUISING. try it--you may find a lot easier than is told in forums.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:18   #12
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

If you decide not to go for it, be sure to tell your boss that I'll be happy to work remotely for him! I'm an IT professional with PM experience and I would love to have that sort of option fall into my lap!!
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:02   #13
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

Thanks for the replies guys, keep them coming. I talked to my boss about it all again this morning and one thing I'm getting more and more interested in is actually being able to pull it off and do it well. That from a professional challenge point of view, there's a lot to be said for being able to do something like this effectively.


Regarding a few items:

- Webex. We use that here with Intercall (I think) as our audio carrier. I'll ask them for international dial in stuff but I think it's just an international number that's available to the person setting up the call/webex.

- Collaboration. A lot of folks are remote (nationally) here so we have a pretty solid lineup of tools available. Our source code is on TFS, we use google docs, sharepoint 2010, evernote team, dropbox and whatever else.

- Prioritization. That's the biggest one for me, by far. I know I can do my job and I know I can sail a boat but trying to do both at the same time, even with heavily reduced hours, gives me pause. There would at least be money to throw at problems to make it up a little bit.

- Connectivity. I need a solid data and a solid voice system. Good data via satallite costs through the nose so I'm not really interested in that. I'll get by with offline data, email synching, and do big data work when I have broadband access via a hardline/wifi somewhere. The voice connectivity I'm fine with doing via satellite or local cells provided it's low latency and good audio quality.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:07   #14
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I am just starting my plan to rearrange my life differently to support a cruising lifestyle. A book that helped me clarify some of my thinking was The 4-hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris. Granted, you are willing to work 25% more, (are you some kind of workaholic?). He uses a lot of existing technology to support both professionals and entrepreneurs reach there goals. For $25 and a few hours of your time it's money and time well spent.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:35   #15
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Re: looking for some feedback on doing professional work "out there"

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I am just starting my plan to rearrange my life differently to support a cruising lifestyle. A book that helped me clarify some of my thinking was The 4-hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris. Granted, you are willing to work 25% more, (are you some kind of workaholic?). He uses a lot of existing technology to support both professionals and entrepreneurs reach there goals. For $25 and a few hours of your time it's money and time well spent.
Interesting; I'll check that out. I've always assigned that book to general fad-management techniques but you're right that it's worth gleaming some ideas at minimum and for the cost it's obviously worth the read.
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