True Life as a Remote Freelancer with Valerie Stimac (E38)


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September 21, 2016

Remote freelance marketing consultant Valerie Stimac wears a lot of hats. She runs a full list of nearly a dozen freelance clients, as well as a freelance travel writing career, and her travel blog Valerie & Valise. And, she’s currently traveling through Europe for four months, living and working out of Airbnbs.No one has quite determined what language we’ll use to describe people like Valerie and the work she does. Is it the ‘gig economy?’ Or the ‘freelance revolution?’ Is she a ‘digital nomad,’ ‘remote freelancer,’ both, or something else entirely. Given that there’s a lot of discussion, negotiation, and learning we’ll all do as the job market shifts more toward people who work like Valerie does, it’s no surprise that there’s also a lot of misconceptions.

This week I sat down with Valerie to try and clear up the confusion. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation smashing misconceptions about her life as a remote freelance marketing consultant and digital nomad.

You – and Only You – Can Design Your Dream Job

Valerie shared the story of losing her job at two different startups twice in two years. Talk about stressful. The second time, she says the first thing she did (on the day she was let go!) was an exercise very similar to the Flower Exercise. She spent time thinking about what kind of work she wanted to do, where and when she wanted to work, and how much she wanted to make. She says that even now, this is her compass in making decisions about new clients.

Don’t forget, you can get my free Flower Exercise Cheat Sheet, to help you start planning your dream job. Just click below to download!

Click Here for Free Flower Exercise Cheat Sheet

With Great Freedom Comes Great Responsibility

Like Peter Parker and his super powers, being a remote freelancer requires a lot of work that’s not obvious from the outside. Just think: when your boss wants to know if you’re working, she can just stop by your desk. When Valerie’s clients want to know, they have to email or set up a Skype call.

This puts a great deal of responsibility on remote freelancers, who juggle multiple responsibilities and clients without ever dropping a ball or forgetting to send an invoice. Valerie said that what most people don’t understand is how much more work she does: every hour she wants to get paid, she needs to work.

Want to Work Remotely? Get Ready to Work More

As Valerie pointed out, being a remote worker and especially if you’re a remote freelancer means you have to work to get paid. There is usually no salary, no benefits, no parachute to catch you if you fall. Sure, her Instagram may suggest she’s out laying on the beach in Croatia right now, but what’s really the case is that she’s sitting over her computer, working on client work while a website auto-posts that picture for her.

Instead, a typical work week for Valerie usually includes six days of working – including a few half-days. The idea of a weekend becomes more fluid, based on what work she has and her travel schedule that week. Often, Valerie says she puts in 40-60 hours of work – billable work, not work sitting at her computer surfing Facebook –, which is far more than she ever put in during a week at a full-time office job.

To Succeed as a Remote Freelancer, You Need One Trait


When I asked Valerie the three things every remote freelancer needs, it’s discipline. She said it’s easy to get distracted by the beautiful scenery or new sights in the places she visits, but she has to work to get paid, and she needs to manage her time and finances widely.

She also mentioned that you need to have discipline about your energy levels. If you mis-manage your creative or physical energy (say going on a four-hour writing binge), you’ll pay for it later, just like if you spend a bunch of money on your credit card rather than sticking to a budget.

Nothing in Life is Free

Valerie and I spent some time talking about her life as a travel blogger and writer, because, let’s face it: that sounds like a dream job to everyone, right? Getting paid to travel the world and write about it.

Instead, Valerie says that the final product you see (such as the photos on Instagram or articles on her blog) don’t communicate the amount of work she puts into them. Yes, she may get to stay at hotels for free sometimes, but usually that’s in exchange for hours of writing, photos, videos, and social media promotion. Often, that work is worth more than the price of the hotel, and interferes with her ability to enjoy the experience.


So apparently having a “dream job” like Valerie does still means it’s a job, and requires work! Don’t forget that if you’re ready to start designing your own dream job, you can download the FREE Flower Exercise Cheat Sheet to get started.

Click Here for Free Flower Exercise Cheat Sheet

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!