LIVE in Orange County with Alicia Baldino of The Virtual Hustle
Have you ever caught yourself watching the clock at your 9-to-5? Or wishing there was more flexibility to your day job? If so, you're not alone. I sat down with the founder Alicia Baldino of The Virtual Hustle to find out her secret to living a life with no boundaries. We discuss it all from entrepreneurship to the promising future of the nationwide community and start-up for the wannabe remote professional.
Q. Where it all started:
A. It started when I was 19 - I was snowboarding and realized there were limited to no events that I could go to for training or anything and I just thought "why don’t I start this?"
So I started a women's snowboarding blog in 2008. It started with people reaching out and receiving leads from people in the industry - one of them was an affiliate with the women's snowboarding team - so it really took off after that. I started to develop this mindset and realized you can just create something if you want to and if there's a need it'll take off.
I remember after networking and telling people about my idea, I got two coaches for free so I hosted an event - asked a few companies to be sponsors and got $5000 for the event and gifts to give out - I was so excited. Around 35 people showed up, and I was proud of that.
Q. Why did you decide to start The Virtual Hustle?
A. I would always get asked, "what do you do that you can travel and still be working and still have a job, and have money" - I started it because I'm obsessed with having the freedom to make my own schedule, travel when and where I want to, and live the life I want to live - if I wanted to visit my parents tomorrow [on the East Coast], I could - I am still working, I work on the plane, in the car, late into the night and early in the morning but its all on my own schedule.
Q. About the company - The Virtual Hustle:
A. There are really two sides of the business: The community aspect and the actual hustle/work. I wanted to provide a platform for remote/freelance employees to easily build a community where you can share ideas, tips, and tricks on how to best manage yourself. I really hope to inspire others and show them - you don’t have to work at a job you hate, there are options.
Q. Where do you find your motivation and inspiration?
A. I am so inspired and have so much motivation to continue working remotely - my biggest motivation/fear is going back to a 9-to-5 and working in an office.
Q. Have you noticed a change in your work ethic and strategy since working remotely?
A. Actually, I do things quicker and get so much more done. I have learned to strategize projects based on need because I value my time a lot more - I feel inspired to work harder when the work is more organized. When I was working my 9-5 I would often sit there on days things were slow - doing monotonous bullshit that just makes you unhappy. It's suprirrisng how you can seriously optimize your time by working remotely. Essentially it's your time so you decide how/what you're gonna do with it.
Q. What's the long term vision for your company?
A. I see it as a Marketing Agency that works for small businesses, essentially just me working different accounts.
Team size: 20 people, stay at home moms or people who really want to work remotely but have a drive to succeed - anyone can learn but you need to have a drive
I imagine my team of people to be those who manage different accounts and everyone would have their own niche market. That’s the only way to be successful in marketing, is to be totally engulfed in the industry. If anyone needed something, I would provide the tools to learn, grow, and excel and help them become as knowledgeable as possible in their niche.
Q. What's some advice you would share with others who are interested in your style of work?
A. My best advice would be to provide value first, and to know its OK to do the first few projects for free - you're gaining experience and building your brand and showing people what you can do. At the end of the day, if you like what you do - the money will come.
+ I know that its hard, because you need money to pay your bills. So, keep the job you have right now and start this on the side and learn as much as you can - once you become an expert you'll be the person everyone goes to.
Q. Are you building a team // how can people get involved // offer their services?
A. I am building a team right now with people that help me manage the accounts I have - i.e. Graphic Designer, Website Designer - once I find people who can run accounts on their own the team will start to grow
+ I appreciate when people connect with me on instagram [@thevirtualhustle] - you learn a lot from someones page and it really shows their ambition
Q. What are your biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?
A. Organizing all of my ideas - I'm not great when it comes to organizing my thoughts, I constantly have ideas that are all over the place, executing is not the problem - keeping tabs on all of my ideas is! I try to write them down as often as I can
Q. How has your life changed since working remotely?
A. My life has changed tremendously from working a 9-5 - everyday is a weekend for me. I don’t look forward to the weekends, I live a great life every single day. So life has changed because I have the freedom to make my own schedule and work on the things I like and inspire me.
Q. Do you have a favorite coffee shop // spot you prefer to work while on the go?
A. Monday-Thursday I work from home and then Friday I go to a coffee shop from 6-9am or during the week if I have a lot of work I will work normal hours 6-2pm and then go to Pacific City Portola at night
Q. Do you ever take a social media/technology fast?
A. I do by accident sometimes, I don't post as much as I want to - but I don't really do it on purpose
Q. Describe your life in five words:
A. Freedom, Ever-changing, Grateful, Grind, Motivation
Q. What does a typical day look like:
A. I am big on routines, it is essential, esp when you work from home and run your own business
In the morning I wake up and no matter what - I make my bed. And then I write a Kill List with 2-3 top prios that absolutely need to get done that day and then I drink some water and coffee, do my make up and start work by 6am.
I prioritize one client from 6-8 and another from 9-11, so-on until 2pm and I go to the gym. Afterwards I'll run errands, come home make dinner, hangout - maybe go out, do dinner with friends - from 7-9 I catch up with emails, work on projects I didn’t get to, etc. - every single night I read or write, about something new I learned or jotting down the best parts of the day, or what I want to do that weekend
Q. Something you’re looking forward to:
A. Continuing to build a community, I'm so busy with the work part, I let the community aspect slip, but I really want to get back to dedicating an hour [perhaps 2-3] connecting and building content of Virtual Hustle, I think theres a lot of value in that and just showcasing the remote life and how people can start doing it - I'm really looking forward to that!