Five years ago, Milly Bianda was living in South Florida where she had grown up. She had graduated and was working, but like many of us, was met with disappointment as she never found work in anything she really had her heart set on. She found that she wasn’t feeling fulfilled and was disillusioned by making money and going about each day.
Milly’s father had worked remotely nearly her whole life, so while this was viewed as the “norm” for her family, it wasn’t really the popular way for people to work. Milly wanted to find a way to get her foot in the door to follow in his footsteps but didn’t know where to start initially to go remote. “It’s a dream you have – but where to begin looking for opportunities like that?” Now, there are so many websites that help you find a remote job – but back then it was harder. She turned to Linkedin, trying to figure out her path and next step. But, as many of us can relate, there’s the fear of the unknown in taking the next step – especially not even knowing what that next step might look like completely.
Eventually, Milly got a job offer from a pharmaceutical company in Dublin that was supposed to last 3-months. While this wasn’t a remote position, it was a wonderful opportunity as one of her first real jobs, and she wasn’t about to mess it up. She had the ability to leave her home in Florida, which she felt she wasn’t really thriving in, and move to Ireland. In retrospect Milly states she had nothing to lose, and needed the opportunity – she was too young to not be interested in other opportunities. “Florida is a great place, going back home would be great, but I’m not ready to settle down.”
After three years working in Dublin, the Director of the company moved to another company in England, taking some of the team with him, including Milly. It was then she was offered a remote position. She felt lucky to have had such an open-minded boss at the time.
Moving to the remote position from traditionally working in-office, Milly had some concerns around having proper communication with her colleagues. “Usually, if you have a question, you can ask someone near you.” But having never been in a remote position before, it was challenging to know how to approach this; how many emails to send if you have a question or needing clarity on projects. The company sent her a laptop and set it up for her, although she shares that she wishes she had been more up to date on tools remote workers typically use.
Milly quickly found herself being productive between the Google campus (it is free and has good internet) and coffee shops – but mainly worked from home. However, as a pretty social person who enjoys talking to people, she found a loneliness aspect of working remotely. “Without a good circle, without school or local friends – if you don’t have anyone locally, or if you’ve ever previously taken those friends for granted, you can find yourself in a really dark place. It’s really hard to be sitting in silence 24 hours a day.” Milly found ways to get social within her new situation however, even though she enjoys working alone. When she isn’t working, she likes to go out and have a coffee, or meet someone.
Over the years Milly has worked with clients organizing events, project management, and copywriting. She has since moved to Madrid, Spain where her sister was studying. She’s been there for a couple of years now, traveling along the way, and loves the flexibility to go home to Florida and work from anywhere as long as she wants.
The most difficult part, Milly shares, is that “competition in freelance work is really fierce, especially in copywriting or project management. As a freelancer, there are moments where you have a handful of clients, but then there are dull moments too where you have to go look for a job, and it’s pretty hard to get people’s attention these days. If I had to start from scratch without contacts, I don’t know… I could probably do it, but it still scares me.”
Milly finds her motivation to work each day through her clients which respect and value the effort she puts in. “They make you feel like a part of a team, even though you’re not anywhere near each other.” This is also where she feels she’s most productive. “By myself, I’m really productive. But working as a team, nothing’s ever going to replace in-person conversations; I love remote working and get a lot done myself.”
As most remote workers feel, Milly expresses that she has more freedom in every way shape and form as a remote worker, with more time to divide between work and play. There’s a quality of life, it’s calmer, and you can experience each day and your surroundings.
When questioned what advice Milly could share with the community, she expressed that when making the move to remote work, she feels she got lucky; remote work found her – she had always looked into it but struggled to find her bearings. The fear of financial security, she says, in the beginning, was great – but you figure it out. If you’re an able-bodied person with determination, you know it’s going to work out. “I think that just having the courage to say that if you’re not happy with the way your life is going, and you have dreams of doing more with your time outside the office – just go for it and talk to people. You don’t know really what they need and how you can help them. Send out your resume, talk to companies you like, market yourself. That’s advice I should have taken myself. Ask what people need. If I had done that sooner, maybe I’d have different clients or more clients.”
Milly can be found in these corners of the internet: