Remote work offers flexibility and feel it inspires creativity

Remote Work Stories
28 May, 2022

Can you please introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Liliana Vercellotti. ( Lilly) I was born and raised in Italy and lived most of my adult life in the United States and Canada with a few other shorter stays in countries where I volunteered or work for nonprofit/grassroots organizations doing development projects.

I did my undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States.
Although my original plan was to work in international development, due to health setbacks, I had to switch to coaching and did a few investments in real estate, which included managing my own vacation rental properties during the past 5 years.

Currently, I am transitioning from Canada to moving to a warmer location with the goal of still purchasing a property and rent out part of it and/or managing others short-term rental units for other owners. I am also developing my online consulting business with lillyveglobal, where I help childfree by circumstances women like myself and be grateful and confident of their journey.
I also offer relocation consulting as well for those interested in moving to Canada or Italy and discuss the pros and cons of various aspects of the countries I am familiar with.

What’s your profession, what do you do?

Currently, I am building my online consulting business, lillyveglobal, to support women like myself who are childfree by circumstances and single. I am also open to freelance work in real estate and always welcome new opportunities to market properties on line.

At the moment, I am a freelancer for Viaggio Resorts, an American group which is restoring an historical palace in Abruzzo, Italy. I am a sales representative and actively seeking investors and future fractional owners for the property.

What company do you work for? Are you a freelancer or Digital Nomad?

I am a freelancer. I don't consider myself a digital nomad as I am not moving a lot since covid. My goal is to move one more time or have a base in Canada for 6 months and one in a warmer location ( potentially Aruba or Curacao).

Alternatively, I might choose Madeira ( being that I am European and can live there without a visa) as a full-time destination.

How did you start with a remote work journey?

It was because of my health. I could not work in a office as I had to take breaks frequently or adjust my schedule, according to when I was feeling good enough to work. I had 5 surgeries, by the age of 38.

Three for endometriosis and two for other digestive problems. To this day, I still have severe digestive issues and chronic inflammation in my gastro intestinal track, which preclude me from absorbing food well and nutrient ( this the skinny figure, which some envy and yet, it is not due to strength or gym going).

What do you think are the main benefits of working remotely?

Flexibility. I might work at 11pm at night if I feel good and I am at home where I can access all the things I need to make me feel comfortable--an extra pillow, all my supplements, a bathroom break and without disturbing anyone.

I also feel it inspires creativity as I am not distracted by anyone or hardly any noise ( yes, I am lucky to live in a very quiet area--a luxury these days for many locations).

Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?

Yes, of course. The disadvantages include mostly, loneliness for me. I don't have a family or a roommate so it gets a bit tiring sometimes but the online meetings and then the connections after work makes it bearable.

I have never been the type of person that could see myself in a cubicle or working in an office environment and this dates back to 10-15 years ago already, when remote work was not such a common topic of discussion or hardly existed.

Since I graduated with my master in 2006, my idea of work was 1st, working in the field. By that I mean working in a school for example in East Africa, or teaching women about their rights and monitor them with the microcredit initiatives.

When I couldn't quite work in those environment due to my health, I decided to become a certified coach and I also started to market vacation rental properties for myself and for others as well. Both roles allowed me to have a somewhat flexible schedule and did not require me to work from an office.

From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favourite countries or cities to work from?

Geneva, Switzerland, Vancouver, BC Colwood ( on Vancouver Island), Moshi, Tanzania, Quebec City, Canada.

My favourite has always been Vancouver. Sadly, it has become so expensive that I cannot afford living there anymore and I sold my apartment there in 2017! Too soon to make a bigger profit as it would now.

From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, co-working spaces, coffee shops, or others?

Definitely not from coffee shops. I cannot concentrate there. I tried that several times when I was working in Moshi and it was not productive at all. I love working from the comfort of my apartment, especially the one where I live now, because as mentioned, it is such a quit location.

It was not always the case in other places I lived in and owned property AND one of the reasons why I sold my apartment in Colwood, BC

What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?

Curacao, Thailand, Bali, Madeira, Menorca. These are the ones on my radar. Potentially more; however, with my current health situation, it is better I stay put.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? Share your remote productivity, communication, management, etc. tips based on your experience!

Well, I think the biggest challenge is always my health, which has little to do with location or other remote work issues. Although location plays a part in productivity. As I said, a quiet working environment is key for me to do anything.

The biggest challenge when I was travelling was to assure that my computer and important electronics would arrive intact and to have fast internet connection. Not always the case in Tanzania, especially with the power outage sometimes.

Productivity is something I had to make up for when the circumstances were favourable. I can make up for the time lost even if I have to work late at night. As for communication, well, I am not the greatest at that.

Perhaps, I take too much time for  details ( in emails correspondence especially) but then I am efficient when it comes to service delivery. For example when I was managing vacation rentals, I have maintained constantly close to 4.9/5 stars reviews.

What tools do you use to improve productivity and manage work efficiently?

To be honest, right now, I don't feel very productive at all. But that is also because I am in transition and taking care of my physical health. I use calendars both on line and on paper to have everything scheduled and organized.

My computer needs to be fast enough, have the proper software ( which is something I need to be more careful about) as I always have at least 20+ pages open and switch from one page to another.

How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?

I pay an accountant. I have clueless when it comes to doing my taxes so he handles everything. it's worth the cost, so I don't make mistakes.

What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely?

Try it for a few months and see how you feel. If you are an extrovert, co-working spaces might be ideal. If you are an introvert like myself, not so much, perhaps. I have no advice in terms of actual jobs, considering I am the 1st one myself to NEED advice and direction in finding a better and properly paid remote job!

Do you work on any side projects?

my consulting ( not yet business)

Would you like to share earnings from your side projects? Please share.

Haha, I have zero earnings so far and I am in desperate need of someone to help me promote the website, help with the blog writing and the whole social media part of it.

Would you like to share any interesting stories while you worked remotely? Please share if you can.

Well, I can only think of the unfortunate time I got food poisoning from a Spanish omelette, while working at an internet cafe' in Moshi and almost passed out in pain. My boss had to come get me and take me home as I didn't want to call an ambulance and end up at the local hospital.

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