Sophie Gil’s Digital Nomad Life

Meet Sophie, a Senior Development Advertising and marketing Supervisor at Buffer and digital nomad. Her story is a riveting mix {of professional} progress, distant work challenges, and an infectious zest for all times. Strap in as we journey via time zones, and share advertising insights all from Sophie’s ‘workplace’—the world.

May you introduce your self, share what you do at Buffer, and inform us about your background?

Definitely, I’m Sophie Gil, a Senior Development Advertising and marketing Supervisor at Buffer, and I have been at Buffer for over three years, beginning in April 2020.

I am based mostly in Sri Lanka, however my roots are in Italy. I spent a major a part of my life, roughly eight years, in the USA, having moved there after I was simply 17.

How did you get began working at Buffer?

My profession at Buffer started as an Viewers Marketer, a job that had various and broad protection. This included managing social media, working our e-newsletter, and overseeing paid social campaigns, duties geared toward rising our viewers via commonplace progress advertising ways and different methods. My solely function shift to date has been shifting from Viewers Marketer to Development Advertising and marketing Supervisor, and most not too long ago promoted to Senior Development Advertising and marketing Supervisor.

I’d been acquainted with Buffer for fairly some time because of my profession in advertising. I had come throughout their blogs and was well-acquainted with their progressive strategy to work. That was all the time a powerful attraction for me.

Once I was job looking in early 2020, even earlier than the pandemic, I had already determined to pursue solely distant roles. Buffer was on the prime of my record, as I knew they’d a profitable distant work coverage. Upon checking their web site, they’d a few open roles at the moment, and one appeared to align completely with my ability set, which led to my journey right here.

Coming in as an Viewers Marketer together with your broad expertise, you ultimately shifted to the function of Senior Development Advertising and marketing Supervisor. What prompted this transition? Was it a want to construct experience elsewhere, or was it only a higher match?

The transition was largely impressed by two key elements. The primary was the recruitment of a staff lead, which instantly prompted my transfer. Nonetheless, the first driver was that this function aligned extra carefully with what I’ve all the time needed to do.

I take pleasure in working creatively however inside a selected framework. I like the thought of mixing creativity with data-informed decision-making. Whereas there have been similarities between my earlier duties and my present function, our strategy has now advanced right into a extra experimental course of.

This transition to Senior Development Advertising and marketing Supervisor was extra about aligning with my profession aspirations and pursuits. I’ve all the time identified that that is the kind of work that I take pleasure in and that makes me thrive. It was the right mixture of getting the suitable particular person lead the staff and my private want to discover and be taught extra on this space. There’s all the time extra to be taught and I’ve already realized a lot since getting into this new function.

That sounds nice. Stepping exterior the scope of Buffer for a second, how has working remotely and having versatile work preparations supported any tasks or actions you pursue exterior of Buffer?

I’ve participated in just a few tasks to help bigger tasks that buddies have been engaged on. I’ve approached these duties enthusiastically – I would not have gotten concerned if I wasn’t genuinely .

One such undertaking concerned a pasta restaurant. I contributed to the advertising efforts, suggested on inventive path, and likewise helped orchestrate photoshoots.

Just lately, I’ve undertaken a a lot greater undertaking that can possible span just a few years – I purchased a plot of land with a home in Sri Lanka and plan to remodel it right into a boutique lodge. I’m within the technique of conceptualizing the model and getting ready for building, scheduled to start in September. I’m seeing this undertaking as one that can enable me to share my creativity via area, thus creating a spot that can promote small, cultural group dwelling. On condition that I have been with out a private residence since early 2020, I see this undertaking as a solution to channel my inventive energies right into a shared area for others to take pleasure in.

I’d say that the pliability Buffer provides has allowed me to commit time to different passions, which might be fairly time-consuming. Touring is one in all them. I take pleasure in exploring new locations, and although I would not essentially classify it as a undertaking, it does take up a major quantity of my free time. However that is the place I select to dedicate my time, and I admire that my work association at Buffer facilitates this.

You are fairly the traveler. I perceive you have managed to prepare your days and weeks round your journeys. May you share extra about your expertise as a digital nomad?

Once I was job looking, one in all my prime priorities was discovering a job that allowed me to keep up a balanced life-style, with journey being a major factor. Touring has all the time been a ardour of mine, and I discover it laborious to think about {that a} job might prohibit that zeal. It’s unusual to me that some folks can solely afford to take two weeks off per yr for a visit. So, I used to be actively looking for a job that will enable me to journey and work concurrently.

Since beginning at Buffer, I’ve traveled to 13 international locations. I started in Italy and stayed there for just a few months. In September 2020, I first visited Portugal and fell in love with the place. Initially planning to remain for one month, I ended up staying from September until December. From there, I spent about eight months touring via Central America whereas working full-time.

Often, I take break day, particularly after I’m heading to a spot the place the web may not be dependable. If I am actually keen to go to such a location, I determine to take a while off. After my Central America stint, I returned to Europe for a bit, touring between Portugal, Spain, France, and Greece, then spent one other three months in Colombia, Puerto Rico and revisited Mexico for a pal’s marriage ceremony.

I’ve now began my journey all through Asia. I’ve been in Sri Lanka for the previous 4 months and plan to depart on the finish of June for India, adopted instantly after by Nepal.

Given your distinctive schedule and work fashion, how do you construction your work week?

Presently, I am working within the India Normal Time zone, and I work Mondays to Thursdays. Typically, I adhere to common work hours. I wish to get up round 7:00 AM and begin my work day round 8:30 or 9:00 AM. I work till 7:00 PM on the newest, however it actually will depend on the day. Nonetheless, since my workday is forward of most of my teammates, I wish to work till afterward Mondays in order that I can overlap with the weekly Development Advertising and marketing assembly and be obtainable if anybody wants me.

For example, I like browsing, which is closely influenced by the climate and tides. If situations are good for browsing early within the morning, I’d head out and return by 10:00 AM. In such circumstances, I alter my work hours accordingly, maybe working later into the night or beginning earlier to make up for the time.

I positively take advantage of the pliability, particularly when my actions are weather-dependent. The character of browsing is such that it’s important to seize the chance when situations are proper, otherwise you would possibly miss out. Typically, although, I favor to get up a bit earlier and end my workday earlier as nicely.

How does being a part of the Development Advertising and marketing staff affect your day-to-day? Are there any particular concerns or concessions it’s important to make? For example, I do know that our buyer advocates should be on-line throughout very particular hours and have sure concerns in the event that they need to take break day. What’s it like in your aspect of the Advertising and marketing staff?

As a part of the Development Advertising and marketing staff, one main consideration is that your entire staff works American hours, anyplace between the Jap and Pacific time zones. On Mondays, particularly, I’ve conferences with my supervisor and your entire staff. These conferences normally fall round 8 to 9 PM my time, when my US-based teammates are additionally on-line.

All through the week, I remember that quicker communication with my staff is feasible throughout my evenings. In distinction, my mornings are quieter, as my colleagues are principally offline at the moment. This sample is particularly true after I’m in Europe and Asia, the place I spend most of my time. Consequently, my mornings listed below are extra centered on solitary work, whereas my evenings are sometimes stuffed with conferences.

Except for time zone concerns, I am conscious that if I ship a message or paperwork within the morning, I’ll possible not obtain a response till after dinnertime.

One other key facet of our staff’s operation is that we work in cycles. We set undertaking objectives based mostly on two-week cycles. We break down tasks into smaller duties, every becoming into a selected cycle. On the finish of every cycle, we assessment our previous progress and plan for the subsequent cycle. This system is restricted to us and can be widespread throughout the Engineering, Product, and Design (EPD) groups.

How totally different is it for you, working in cycles in comparison with your earlier workflow?

That is fascinating to replicate upon. Earlier than adopting the cycle-based system, we primarily centered on main quarterly tasks. If there was any group, it was on a quarterly foundation, setting aims or Key Efficiency Indicators (KPIs) for the upcoming quarter. We outlined vital tasks to ship, and after that, we’d work in direction of finishing these throughout the given quarter.

Nonetheless, I need to say, I significantly favor working in cycles over quarters. Quarters can generally really feel overly in depth, particularly while you’re tackling giant tasks and must ship inside that timeframe. Up to now, I would know that there was a selected undertaking I needed to full by a sure date, however working backward from that deadline wasn’t all the time simple except I structured it myself.

Working in cycles with your entire staff is simpler and gratifying. Initially of every cycle, we determine the duties wanted to progress towards the top undertaking. This strategy necessitates a bit extra planning, however it’s extremely helpful in sustaining focus and productiveness. So, sure, I’ve discovered working in cycles to be a substantial enchancment.

If you first started working at Buffer, was there something that caught you off guard?

Effectively, an surprising facet for me was positively the four-day workweek, though we didn’t begin it till just a few months after I joined. So when Buffer launched it as a pilot, I used to be intrigued but in addition a bit skeptical. With all of the work I had, I questioned how I used to be supposed to suit all the pieces into simply 4 days? However as I tailored to this schedule and optimized my workflow, it made a major constructive affect.

The four-day workweek has actually enhanced each my private life and work effectivity. Folks exterior Buffer are sometimes bowled over and fairly impressed once they hear about it. So, that definitely was a shock that was extremely helpful.

One other factor was the extent of documentation and studying concerned. It was like, “Wow, there’s lots to learn and replace!” Adapting to that was initially a bit difficult. Even now, generally, it seems like there’s an excessive amount of to digest. I consider there might be some enchancment in distilling the data, maybe extracting key insights from in depth paperwork right into a handful of important bullet factors. Now we have a wealth of data, which is nice, however there’s a lot that discovering particular objects can generally be overwhelming. That was positively a novel expertise in comparison with my earlier roles.

Do you contemplate your self professionally profitable or on the trail towards such success?

I see many alternatives for progress in my function. I definitely do not feel like I’ve hit any partitions; there’s nonetheless a lot for me to be taught and develop. Despite the fact that I am at a extra senior stage now, I am conscious I can go farther; I am not at a C-suite stage or a director, as an example. On condition that I’ve solely been working full-time for about 4 or 5 years, I consider there’s a lot extra for me to be taught and develop into.

Buffer supplies a conducive atmosphere for such progress as a result of our hiring strategy is not extreme, making certain there aren’t too many layers above me. I am additionally studying a terrific deal day-after-day, and being distant hasn’t hindered this course of in any respect.

If I examine my expertise at Buffer with my earlier job at a quickly rising start-up, which ultimately shut down, I’ve noticed vital variations. Initially-up, I used to be extra burdened and hesitant to ask for assist, as everybody was scrambling to attain their particular person duties. At Buffer, nevertheless, we strongly promote progress and mutual help.

Talking particularly about my staff, I genuinely really feel supported by them. A profound sense of success in my life stems from the pliability Buffer supplies, backed by a powerful bond of belief between the corporate and its staff. I deeply care about Buffer and my work, which could make my expertise distinctive.

Along with my work, I additionally worth my life exterior of labor. Buffer’s flexibility permits me to dwell the life I’ve all the time dreamed of, albeit it might sound cliché. I keep in mind my time working in San Francisco, commuting over an hour every solution to the workplace, and coping with hefty rents. Now, I can work from my very own area, save time, and focus higher. Financially, I am now not burdened by San Francisco rents and might make investments that cash in touring, studying new languages, and extra. I discover it fairly cool to steadiness all these enriching experiences whereas nonetheless being a part of an organization and persevering with to be taught.


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