Gonçalo Hall: We Are Transitioning to the World Where Remote Work Will Be the Norm
I talked to Gonçalo Hall, Remote Work & Distributed Workforce Consultant at Remote-how, a seasoned marketing specialist, and a digital nomad
Gonçalo Hall has always been passionate about business development and marketing but also about traveling and learning about the world. It took him almost four years to combine those two passions and become a digital nomad. In this interview, he shares his thorny path to success, adventures he faced on his way, the amazing people he met, and once again mentions that truly anyone can achieve the freedom that comes with remote work.
Hello Gonçalo, and welcome to the interview with Running Remote! Please, share your story. Why did you decide to pursue a degree in social sciences? And then languages? And even later — marketing?
My story is full of changes: I noticed that I got tired of places quite fast even in high school. I kept changing schools, then degrees. I felt like I was smart but the school was boring and not challenging enough for me.
When I was 21, I participated in the Leadership Tournament organized by Aiesec (Association that I later joined) and discovered that solving problems companies face on a daily basis was surprisingly easy for me, unlike for my peers; so I decided that I was going to pursue a career in marketing. I joined a private university and left after 6 months because I had no money to pay for it and, to be honest, it wasn’t that much challenging either.
Later, I learned about digital nomads and realized that their style reflected the way I saw the world: the ability to work on amazing things from anywhere in the world.
It took me 5 years to become a fully remote marketing specialist: through trial and error, with relocating to Germany and Poland, by working and reading a lot. But look at me now: I made it! I am traveling the world, writing this from Ubud, watching the jungle in front of me, and being inspired by the people around me.
What ultimately fascinates you about marketing? Why did you decide that was the exact field where you could grow professionally?
There are 2 things I love to do in my life: talking to people and solving problems. I found through AIESEC that I was naturally very good with both. Marketing seemed to be the right fit for my profile. Nowadays, I am transitioning more to a consultant position and help companies with their internal communication and culture instead.
Can you, please, at least briefly, describe your professional career progression (previous job experience) culminating in your current position at Remote Work & Distributed Workforce Consultancy?
After leaving that private university I mentioned earlier, I found a job in the sports data industry which eventually made me relocate from Portugal to Germany. When I turned 30, I had a good job, good money, but I wasn’t fulfilled, so… I moved again. I found a job at GetResponse, an email marketing company as an account manager. I learned everything about email marketing and was able for the first time to make money on the side as a freelancer.
I’ve been looking to work remotely for a while, so after one year at GetResponse, I decided to go fully remote and travel the world. My manager wasn’t very supportive about the idea so I left the company and joined a startup in Warsaw (fully remote) as Head of Sales. Left Poland, moved to South East Asia and became a digital nomad.
Unfortunately, the company kept changing directions and I decided to leave and join Remote-how to try and change the way people work. Today I help companies to move to a remote setup through education and consulting, and I finally absolutely love my job. I launched a podcast, “The Remote Movement Podcast,” and I am organizing a conference in Lisbon about remote work. Happy times!
How have you been an agent for change in your last or present position?
I am helping companies and people to work remotely. That is my mission, I truly believe in it and every single project I am working on has that end goal in mind.
Describe your company now: how many people work remotely?
Remote-how is a startup that wants to make remote work the new mainstream. We are doing it through education, having 3 courses available, a talent pool, where you can hire remote-ready candidates and consultancy with remote work experts.
How do you help other businesses scale their remote workforce? And if you don’t, then what’s your idea of a perfect remote team?
I believe that one of the first problems when a company things about going remote is the lack of knowledge about how to build and manage remote teams. In that perspective, our education product is an answer to that need. Fear is usually nothing else but a lack of knowledge.
The key to building a successful remote team is trust, followed by good communication and clear documentation.
What do you think is the future of remote work? Where is it heading?
We are transitioning to a world where remote work will be the norm. Company managers know this but are afraid to react and adjust. The ones that noticed the trend and adjusted are now hiring the best talent in the world, growing exponentially and using remote work as a tool to grow and thrive.
We are also moving to a world with less full-time employees and more project-based contracts where people work on a specific project for a company and then leave.
Why do you think it’s important to participate and organize conferences within the communities (designers, freelancers, developers, etc)?
I have been more active online but I am now organizing a conference about remote work in Portugal where I and the other speakers will talk about the remote work reality that most of the Portuguese companies know nothing about.
Participating in conferences puts you face to face with like-minded people, with your tribe who have the same beliefs as you do and allows for an amazing exchange of information and ideas that is still impossible to replicate online.
How do you think remote work impacts your work-life balance? What advice can you give to others to maintain a stable balance between family and work?
It’s hard, I am not going to lie. Working remotely means I can live in the most amazing places on the planet but it also means that I spend a lot of time on my computer working really hard for way more teams that I used to in the office.
On the other hand, I have the freedom to set up my own schedule, if I need to go and do the sport, I can just go; if I need to go to a conference — I can just go.
The most important thing I’ve found while working remotely is that it’s very important to schedule your work time and your free time to do things. Also, I avoid checking the work email before I actually start working and I am still trying not to answer the notifications from our internal communication tool.
Do you have any hobbies?
Hell yes! I love to play beach volleyball, I was a semi-professional player until I started moving too fast, now I just play for fun. Besides volleyball, I do CrossFit, read a lot and I start businesses/ projects like podcasting for fun.
How do you feel about the recent Running Remote conference in Bali?
It was fantastic: a lot of networking, amazing people, super interesting information, and mind-blowing talks!
I am a copywriter at Soshace.com, a hiring platform for web developers: hire a developer or apply for a remote job. Soshace is a media partner of Running Remote, the World’s Largest Remote Work Event. If you have an interesting story to tell, please ping me on Twitter @ MaryVorontsov I would love to hear from you and share your story.