Staying Creative as a Remote Link Builder
Last month I wrote a piece about keeping link builders creative: mainly referring to in-house link builders. However, a few of you guys said you worked remotely.
Working from home is a double edged sword. You have a very flexible schedule, but you’re also on your own when you need some ideas. Here’s a few ways I kept my gears going when I was contracting.
Don’t Work from Home
First and foremost, don’t work from home. This will be your biggest downfall. When people think of a remote position, they immediately imagine working in their PJ’s. This is creative poison. Your not going to spark new ideas if you’re in your house seeing the same exact things everyday. You need to get your brain stimulated with different surroundings, people, and distractions.
I know distraction doesn’t seem like a very productive element, but when you’re trying to think outside the box and brain storm new ideas, it’s perfect. It keeps you from focused, tunnel thinking. It also gives your brain a little break. Instead of taking set 15-30 minute breaks, distractions can provide a steady stream of broken up thinking. Several little breaks.
This also keeps you from getting uncomfortable in your own home. The worst feeling is finishing up a ten hour work day and not being able to relax in your own home, because you’ve been working there all day.
If you do have to work from home, try sitting on your roof, yard, porch, etc. Get outside.
Find Other Remote Workers
Remote workers are everywhere in the tech industry. Find two or three people that also need to get out of their apartments and meet up with them. Take over that giant table in the corner of your local coffee shop.
Not only is this a great way to have some company while you’re working, it’s a great way to learn about other tech industries. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from fields even if they’re not directly related to search marketing.
Bounce Between Different Places to Work
Similarly to not working from home, you don’t want to get used to the place your at. Find and rotate between different places to work:
- Coffee Shops
- Roofs (personal favorite)
- A Friends Office
- Train Stations (most have wifi)
- Cafe/Bar Style Lunch Spots
- Apartment Poolsides
I would definitely recommend getting Clearwire or using your phone as a hotspot. This breaks the barriers on where you can work and gives you a lot more freedom. Keep in mind though, you’ll be tied to places that have a decent phone signal.
Find a Communal Office
One of the easiest ways to solve the issues of working remotely, is to find an office! I know this seems counterproductive, but you get to pick your office. This is great, because a lot of tech startups have extra space and are willing to rent it out. You get the benefit of having a place to work outside your home and being around a creative startup environment.
There are also offices that are strictly communal. These are fantastic, because you’re working with several people that are in the same boat as you. They usually provide general office supplies, printers, coffee maker, kitchen, etc.
One step beyond that, is a strictly tech-related communal offices. These gems are rare, but they do exist. In a standard communal office you’ll be working with anything from architects to real estate agents. At first this seems like it would be more fun, but in a tech communal it’s way easier to relate. Plus, you’re still just as likely to work with folks doing completely random jobs, they just have a tech relation in one way or another.
This is more for the bachelor(ette) type. Since you’re not tied down to where you are anyways, do some traveling! You get to completely change your scenario and meet people with completely different mind sets. This is a great way to spark some ideas.
Obviously traveling isn’t cheap, and it’s hard to get any work done while you’re on the go. That’s why I would recommend going by train (you’ll need to connect to the net via cell tower). This way you’ll be able to work while you’re traveling and it’s much more cost effective.
You should also take this opportunity to visit your company or clients you’re working for. Check out their offices, you may discover something about them that will give you ideas. For example, one time I had a client that supplied all the shirts for the Austin City Limit’s staff. I never would’ve known this if I didn’t visit their office. This gave me more material to work with, both for link building and copywriting.
Stay Active in the Tech Community
This is something you should be doing anyways – get active and meet people in the tech industry in person. As long as you’re not in a tiny city, there will be plenty of Meetup groups that revolve around SEO and tech.
If you’re fresh to the search marketing industry, I would recommend sticking to SEO meetups. If you’re comfortable with your skill level, start veering off into other tech related industries. There’s a lot to learn from the development, tablet, and mobile industries especially. All of these can be correlated to SEO.
Keep your environment changing and branch out to other folks in the tech industry. These two things alone will not only keep you creative, they’ll help you expand your skill set.
These tips aren’t just for remote workers either. Even if you have an in-house position, ask your employer if you can spend one day a week working outside the office. It’ll help break up some of the monotony and make it easier to brainstorm.