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In Conversation: Michelle Coulson, CEO, and Founder of Remote Rebellion

By Aakash Gupta

Founder and Remote Work Advocate

Remote work is not a fad but rather a way of life. It offers countless benefits, such as flexible working arrangements and an improved work-life balance. But for most people, finding a job is a challenge. Remote Rebellion offers a solution to this with The Remote Job Academy, a step-by-step program to help people to land a remote job much faster and easier!

We spoke to Michelle Coulson, CEO and Founder of Remote Rebellion, to delve into the world of remote work and uncover how her platform is revolutionizing the way people find their ideal remote jobs.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity)

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? We'd love to hear about your background and what led you to where you are today. 

Prior to the Remote Rebellion, I worked as a recruiter in London, residing in a small and expensive apartment and enduring the daily ordeal of squeezing myself into a crowded train for my commute to the office.

Then in 2020, like countless others, I was asked to work from home.

This shift minus all the distractions of a busy life, gave me the much-needed time to pause and reflect about what I really wanted. I realized that the daily urban grind was making me miserable. I realized that I would find happiness in a warm coastal place, somewhere by the beach or seaside.

So, when 2021 came around, we still had no idea how long we’d be working remotely, so I decided to continue working remotely from Bali until the London office opened up.

I received a call from my boss to come back to London and I realized that just the thought of going back, commuting, and not having control of my days was making me miserable. While in Bali, I had so much more flexibility and freedom to plan my days. My health was better since I had more time to exercise and sleep on time consistently. I also was part of a like-minded community of people who were doing more than just work and that made me feel much more fulfilled.

So I decided to quit my job and stay in Bali! 

2. We'd love to hear more about your business and how it's making a positive impact in the world of remote work. What inspired you to start this business, and how does it help remote workers and companies overcome the challenges of working in a distributed environment?

Initially, I didn’t think it would be hard to find a remote job, but I soon realized that finding a fully remote job with a company that didn’t mind which country I was in was much harder.

During my job search, I spent quite a bit of time scrolling through LinkedIn and remote job boards and came across numerous remote job listings that turned out to be fake.

Then I changed my strategy using the knowledge I gained as a recruiter and I managed to land two freelance recruitment jobs, consequently helping two startups to fill their remote positions!

But then I realized that instead of helping companies, I could use this strategy to help people find their ideal jobs so they could work from anywhere too.

And so, that’s what I have been doing for the past two years. I've helped hundreds of people to land a remote job that’s enabled them to live a life they design, with the freedom and flexibility they crave.

3. Can you tell us about your current work setup? Are you currently working remotely and/or managing a completely distributed team? And what led you to choose this setup?

RR doesn't have an office and I love our remote setup. I have a team of freelancers working in Argentina, Ghana, and one here with me in Europe, where I’m based for now.

4. What has been your experience with remote work, and how has it differed from working in a traditional office environment?

I have to admit, it has taken me some time to adjust to working asynchronously. Having my colleague Nina with me has been a great support during this transition. The advantages of not being tied down to a single location far outweigh any of these kinds of minor inconveniences.

5. Communication is crucial for a remote team's success, especially when team members are in different locations and time zones. How do you keep everyone in sync and ensure everyone stays connected and engaged despite the distance?

Our main source of communication is Notion. We also run weekly check-in meetings to stay aligned and use Slack for on-go updates

6. Can you share what tools you have found most effective in promoting collaboration and boosting productivity among your remote team?

  We find Slack, Loom, Notion, Calendly, and Google Suite to be very effective.

7. How do you keep team morale high, boost team spirit, and promote a positive team culture despite the distance?

The RR team has the freedom and flexibility to decide when and where they work best. I also instill trust and provide the autonomy they need to figure things out, learn from mistakes, and try different approaches.

8. For someone who is new to remote work, what resources would you recommend for them to help them get started and be successful in their role? Are there any specific tools, books, websites, or communities that you found helpful and would recommend to others (apart from SIWOM, of course ;))?

Yes- Remote Rebellion!  ;)

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