Nicolas, remote & freelance engineer : "Usually when you go full remote, you're not going back."

Published by Inna P
On November 25, 2019
Hello Nicolas! May you present yourself in a few words?

Sure! I'm Nicolas Blanco, originally from France, and I'm a full stack Web engineer.
When I began my career I was working for a city in an administration but I knew I wanted more challenges and was more interested by the start-up scene.
In France, almost everything is happening in Paris, so I worked there for almost 8 years. At the end, the latest startup I worked for as an employee crashed. At this time, the social laws in France could have been allowed me to not work and still earn money for months. Instead I switched to self-employed and began finding customers to help them building their projects.
Then I made the big jump : I left Paris and decided to travel around the world for 2 years.
My goal was to see if I could continue having a normal life, improve my spoken English and see if I could find a few customers also abroad. It was not so easy but I managed to work a bit for an Australian company.
Now, back in Europe, I decided to settle and be more stable in Estonia. I really like this small country and its capital Tallinn.

What were the advantages in your personal life to go full remote?

I see a lot of advantages for me. Of course, it's sometimes not so easy to go freelance and remote. It takes time to build a good and stable network of reliable business clients. Clients with mutual trust.
On my side I enjoy working on the times I personally like. Some people like to work early, others late. On my side, I feel more productive at the end of the afternoon, and beginning of night. Working remotely allows me to work on those times. Being remote allows me also to have customers working more on those times. Being in East Europe, I particulary enjoy working with people in the US, so I can work at the beginning of the night mostly.
I don't have a family-life yet, but I know people with family-life also enjoy remote working...

What are the tools you use with your customers?

Like a lot of remote people, I mainly use Slack and conferencing tools like Google Meet & Zoom.
Not really fancy, but setting up good tools help keeping good communication and trust with my customers.

When working remotely, do you prefer to work from home, a coworking space or other spaces?

Usually in Tallinn, I enjoy going to nice coffee places and take a seat on big table. Usually Wifi in Estonia is great almost everywhere. I enjoy working from coffee places and see different kind of people there, not only business people, also students, artists, etc.

Would you ever go back to office work and hours?

No. Or those people would have to pay me a ton of money :D. Usually when you go full remote, you're not going back.

Is there something crazy you've already done thanks to working remotely?

Yeah! At some point I was working with a distributed team and decided to travel and meet my colleagues.
I went to Bucharest in Romania and Kiev in Ukraine. I enjoyed having a good reason to travel in those countries and meeting physically with my remote colleagues in their home countries. That was a good way of breaking down some prejudices : remote working does not mean no human contact or only through a screen.

Right now I'm working with colleagues in Brazil, so Brazil is one country next in my travel list :).

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