Finding Freedom And Passion In Remote Work
Hi there! Who are you and what’s your background?
I’m Stefan Palios, and my newsletter is called Remotely Inclined.
I’m a writer and entrepreneur. In particular, I’m passionate about remote work, inclusion, money, and the people behind tech. I currently am a freelance content marketer - I help scaling startups and VC firms identify and execute on their content strategies.
I have an incredible love of old mansions / castles. So I spend a lot of time reading about different architectural styles and follow a few YouTube channels about chateau owners in France. I even spent a couple weeks in France helping a family restore their chateau, but COVID-19 cut my trip short.
My heritage is Greek / Italian / Scottish, but I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada. I now live in Toronto.
I run my own content marketing consultancy now, but in the past I was head of communications for a crypto startup, I managed millions of dollars in revenue as a customer success manager at a media tech startup, and before that I was an HR consultant / researcher.
What’s your newsletter about?
In short: I talk about running a business remotely and remote work more broadly.
But this conversation, for me, has been a few years coming. I started my business remotely in 2017 out of necessity - it was a side-hustle so I needed it to be remote because I couldn’t take time off work to visit client offices.
Around that time, I was having career conversations with my manager (this was at the media tech startup). She asked me what my career goals were, and she wouldn’t accept my generic answer of wanting to ‘make an impact.’ She pushed me. She refused to let up until I gave an authentic answer.
Suddenly, I blurted out: “I want to detach my earning power from my physical location and literal hours worked.”
That was how I realized I valued remote work, though at the time I didn’t really know that phrase and was not involved in the community.
As I thought about it more, I kept thinking: Humans fundamentally want freedom. We seek it in every area of our lives - why not in how and where we work?
I’d been a freelance journalist for a while at this stage, and to date I’ve interviewed over 300 entrepreneurs. I’d always ask them about freedom and how they work. It became a passion of mine.
Fast forward to 2019, and I started thinking about writing for myself instead of just writing for clients and media outlets. I thought about a newsletter where I could interview remote entrepreneurs, and that is what became Remotely Inclined.
I initially thought about the newsletter as a way to share my remote experiences and interview others, but the ways of work have changed yet again with COVID and in general the growing popularity of remote work.
Who is your intended audience?
Primary audience: Remote entrepreneurs / people leading teams or companies remotely.
Secondary audience: Remote workers
Tertiary audience: Anyone interested in remote work!
Is this your first newsletter? What motivated you to get started?
Formally speaking, yes.
I liked that a newsletter could be way more personal than a blog. It felt more conversational, which is how I prefer to write. And I’d been writing blogs for clients since 2017 -- I wanted to try something different.
I SUCKED at writing until two professors in university took me under their wings and taught me the basics. I didn’t formally write much until 2016, when I wrote a couple blog posts for my first startup, which failed, and then again later on for a couple freelance writing gigs that I did to bring in money. In 2019, though, I started a blog about career changes called PulseBlueprint that has a weekly mailing list (not what I’d call a formal newsletter), which I still run on top of Remotely Inclined.
What does the process of writing your newsletter look like for you?
I don’t have much of a routine - but I publish 2x a week, so that keeps me motivated. Each Tuesday I try to do an analysis piece, such as a story, a response to the news, or a piece of education. Each Thursday I try to publish an episode of my podcast, Remotely Inclined Chats. Since the podcast is done within the newsletter, I spend a bit of time connecting with and interviewing guests.
It’s all managed in a Trello board - ideas, writing in process, and tracking what’s published.
What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered in running your newsletter?
Ideas for articles is always a tough one, especially since the blogging world is FLOODED with remote work content right now. I always want to show something new or give a perspective never before seen (or at least very, very rare in the blogosphere) so I pay attention to the news and think about what isn’t being shared.
Growth is also a challenge, since I’m not a natural born marketer and am a giant fail at most social media things.
Growth started getting a bit better when I embraced a couple things:
- Building out loud and sharing my progress
- Helping other people
- Being unafraid to introduce myself as the writer of Remotely Inclined - sometimes it takes a while before people recognize you and give you a shot
What have you learned through writing your newsletter?
The more real you are, the better. So not necessarily deeply personal all the time, but showing a bit of your personality and sharing your experiences.
This process has made me a much better online community member - understanding the give and take and the need for consistency of online communities like Quora, IndieHackers, and Reddit. I was very very very very bad at that. It makes sense now that I am more used to it, but it was so confusing to me before.
What do you do outside of writing your newsletter?
Well I’ve got my whole business to run and amazing clients. On top of that I run PulseBlueprint and make all sorts of plans for when I achieve my dream of buying / restoring a French chateau.
What’s your favorite part about writing your newsletter?
I absolutely love when people respond to my stories. I shared one recently about how I turned my life around and had so many responses from people who resonated with the story or felt that it could help them in their own struggles.
Similarly, I wrote a blog on where to find remote jobs and many people reached out to say it helped them on their job search. That just feels amazing.
In another case, I wrote about systems to build creativity on remote teams and 3 entrepreneurs reached out to say they were excited to try the systems for themselves as they’d been struggling with creativity and needed a fresh perspective.
Those kinds of comments make it all worth it. It’s such a great feeling.
Do you have a monetization strategy for your newsletter?
Right now it’s free. I’ve had a few sponsorship requests, but have turned them down. I plan to launch a paid version in the future, but don’t want to monetize my community with ads or sponsorships right now - it doesn’t feel good to me. I’d rather wait a bit and build something people really value and are willing to directly pay for.
How do you grow your audience?
I’m a huge fan of leveraging existing communities:
Then I also guest post on both PulseBlueprint and other blogs, which helps me get a couple subscribers here and there.
I wrote about how I built my first 250 subscribers on IndieHackers. As of this writing, I have 450 subscribers and don’t pay for any growth.
What newsletters are you subscribed to?
I have a few that I really enjoy:
- The Professional Freelancer
- Growth Insider
- 12 Months to Indie Hacking
- The Storyline (written in French)
What goals do you have for the future?
Personal goal: Buy / restore a chateau in France
Business “personal” goal: Continue to build the business + build products instead of only services.
For the newsletter itself, I’d like to grow it to the point where I’m making a real impact in the lives of remote entrepreneurs. My vision is to grow Remotely Inclined into a leading voice in the remote work world.