Interview with Khandker Ahamed – Remote Work, Project Management, & The Future of Work – Episode #11

“You need to differentiate yourself. That is how you dominate.”

Khandker is a purpose-driven leader, who’s passionate about the future of work and building meaningful connections through empathetic and compassionate action. He is also the Co-founder of Kids Ivy Tutors, an educational organization on a mission to teach the future of work by connecting passion, mentorship, and in-demand 21st-century skills free of charge in schools. Through his work, Khandker has served over 2,000 students. Currently, Khandker is a project manager at Accenture.

In today’s episode, we talked about the challenges of remote work, getting a remote job, digital marketing as a universal skill for all professionals, and more.

    Full Episode Transcript:

    Kenny Soto  0:00 

    Okay, now we’re recording and I’m account is down 54321 Hello, everyone, and welcome to Kenny Soto Digital Marketing Podcast. Today we have a very special guest. But before we begin our new episode, I just wanted to give a shout-out to our new listeners from Macedonia, Italy, Australia, India, and Hungary. We also have listeners from Canada and the Philippines. And the great great news is we are now on more platforms. 

    So if you’re listening to this, and you’re looking for another application to listen, other than anchor, Apple, Google podcast, or Spotify, we are also on cast box now and overcast. So if you use any of those platforms, feel free to subscribe there to get updates on the podcast. As of today, we have 136 plays. We have more than 24 listeners and the podcast is growing. Thank you so much. It’s only been a month and things are going well. 

    And with that being said, I want to introduce everyone to Khandker is a purpose-driven leader who’s passionate about the future of work and building meaningful connections through empathetic and compassionate action. Khandker is the co-founder of kids IV tutors, an educational organization on a mission to teach the future of work by connecting passion, mentorship, and in demand 21st Century Skills free of charge in schools. Through his work, Khandker has served over 2000 Students let me say that again. 2000 students currently Khandker is a project manager at a center. Welcome, Ken the car.

     

    Khandker  1:59 

    Thank you so much. Thank you so much for that for the great bio. Really appreciate that. And I’m really excited to be part of this. I you know, thank you so much for inviting me. I’m like excited, I’m ready to get down to details, get my hands dirty, like you know, talk to you about like everything that’s happening and all those kinds of stuff. I’m really excited. Thank you, Kenny.

     

    Kenny Soto  2:23 

    Perfect. And Khandker before we dive deep. I just want to make sure that I get your last name right. Your last name is Ahmed. Right?

     

    Khandker  2:32 

    Yep.

     

    Kenny Soto  2:33 

    Perfect. Okay, I just wanted to make sure I did that correctly. Now Khandker. Before we jump into the nitty-gritty details of what you know about marketing. Let’s first talk about how we met.

     

    Khandker  2:48 

    Good stories, good stories. Yeah, for sure. The, I think the way we met it was a really, it was like a true networking scenario, right? Like, I would say like so I met Kenny so we went to the same school and, and he actually graduated one night when I reached out to him about like, just wanting to connect with him learn about his his the work that he was doing, because he was one of the person that was actually following his passion and was really interested in like, you know, like the digital marketing. And that’s something I wanted to get into.

     So I reached out to Kenny and was like, Hey, bro, can I like, I love the work that you’re doing. And I want to connect with you. Can we set up like a coffee chat? Or can we meet and and just like, connect on that? And Kenny was so amazing be like, Hey, man, like, let’s do it like and like within few days, we connected and it was just so amazing. Like, he connected me to the right resources. He actually, like, you know, like, he was the first person that got me into, like marketing and what I’m doing right now and like had a huge impact on my life for sure.

     

    Kenny Soto  4:04 

    And let’s not forget to mention that while we were building our relationship workwise and our friendship. We also were working together helping a mutual mentor, whose name is Maurice Maurice Redfield. And not only did he teach me digital marketing, but he also decided to take Khandker under his wing and teach him some of the foundational skills as well.

     

    Khandker  4:28 

    Yep, for sure. Yeah, I mean, I’m so I’m so grateful for Maurice and Kenny, like, the amount of like, learnings that I gained from from those, like, weekends and like some of the times at score it was it was really amazing and like, I will never forget that and like that,  That was our start of our relationship Kenny and and like from there we like our relationship grew and like we became so close, and the I’m looking for to see where we go, and how this relationship kept growing.

     

    Kenny Soto  5:04 

    I’m actually really glad that you mentioned score because I might have forgotten to mention that this episode, score as Khandker has mentioned is an organization. And I might butcher the names or anything, I’ll put it in the shownotes. It should be the senior center of retired executives. And what it is, it’s a nonprofit organization that has chapters throughout the entire United States in I think, almost every single state.

     And what this organization does is it takes in Retired Executives from companies like Colgate retired people who used to own their own businesses, people from MTV, etc, etc. And they help small business owners for free. 

    So if you’re a small business owner, and you want to learn more about the legalities of setting up a corporation in your state, or you want to start learning more about digital marketing, like what we were involved in, or you want to start selling something wholesale, like a product wholesale, and you want to figure out what are the steps to start doing that in the retail marketplace, there are a ton of resources that score and the chapter in your state will provide you mainly free consultations with people who have been in the game have won in their industry in their respective industries, and are just willing and happy to help the local community, local business community in their state by providing their expertise for free. 

    It’s free to sign up, there’s a chapter again, in almost every single state, you just have to check score.org, Or you can google score New York or score Connecticut or score Texas. And you’ll find the link to your specific chapter. And there’s also online resources that score provides. 

    It’s a very, very big organization. It’s the organization where not only I started learning my digital marketing skills, but can the car as well. And it’s where we learned from our mentor Maurice the foundation, no skills that got us to where we are today. But that being said, I want to talk more about, what is it that you’re doing today Khandker? and let’s just start with that.

     

    Khandker  7:25 

    Currently, I’m working on you know, my my startup which is, which is kids IV tutors, our goal is to prepare the youth for the future of work and making sure that they’re also following their passion. And my full-time job. I’m working at Accenture as a project manager for the campaign management team.

     

    Kenny Soto  7:48 

    And what for the person who may not know or may have a small understanding and wants to get a deeper level, What is campaign management? And what does the center do overall?

     

    Khandker  8:02 

    Yeah, I mean, Accenture is a consulting company. Around the globe, they serve about 57 countries and have over 500,000 employees to to consult on strategy, management consulting, technology consulting. 

    And then also they help develop some of the biggest technologies by by partnering up with some of the biggest tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, so yeah, they do, like consulting as as as a as a whole, which is really dope. 

    And then as as my team can work campaign management means it’s basically it’s about starting a campaign. So if like having a team that you want to brand throughout the state, throughout the nation and throughout the globe, and having having that objective, creating, creating like a marketing strategy around that objective. 

    And then using multi-channel strategy to making sure that objective is being distributed throughout the globe. And we are getting clients from that objective. We are basically it’s a sell strategy for us to like us use this this like multi-channel strategy to connect with people all around the world.

     

    Kenny Soto  9:29 

    And what is a multi-channel strategy?

     

    Khandker  9:34 

    Yep. So that’s actually a really good question. I actually, I actually didn’t know until Kenny you and I and Maurice work together and a work on the multi-channel strategy is it’s it’s basically using different channels such as email marketing, social media, marketing, advertising, so there’s different form of advertising right you have like the banner advertising, you have event advertising, you have social media advertising. So social media counts as a two form of marketing. 

    One is the organic social. And the other one is advertising, social, social advertising. So that’s, that’s those two difference for social. So like, there’s like four or five different form of advertising that you have. And then you have internal communication, which is part of the corporate communication, then you have client emails, marketing. 

    And then there’s few more like, doing like, if event like, you know, event as a marketing. And just like combining all of those together, it’s as a multi-channel, marketing. So that that’s, that’s, that’s what we are doing, our team is solely focused on bringing all of these channels together, and creating one strategy, one team to focus on.

     

    Kenny Soto  11:01 

    Great, thanks for answering that. And I want to follow up with specifically talking about the challenges that you faced up to this point, working a censure and highlighting, what is it that you think, not necessarily someone who will be working at a center, but just in any kind of consulting firm, where the marketing has evolved? What do you think are the challenges that someone who may apply and start working at one of those types of companies may encounter in the beginning? What advice would you give to them so that they can prepare themselves property for an opportunity working at an Accenture or a similar company?

     

    Khandker  11:41 

    Yeah, I mean, you don’t one of the biggest challenges I’m in right now. You know, like remote learning which remote work will be like our biggest thing, right? And like, you need to be prepared for for that as as a person. 

    And in general, like being in a company like Accenture, you have to be really, really, really like, determined and like, you have to be quick about like, this is something that I need to get done, and how can I get done, and also being honest with your, like team and be like, and asking them questions like, you know, that’s something I struggled with, when I started was that, like, I didn’t, I probably like, understood, oh, I’ll be able to get it done, like, you know, but I didn’t ask those follow-up questions that I should have done. 

    So that’s kind of like threw me back. So what happened, then I had to go back to my manager, as then I had to ask those questions again, which was like a time consuming when I could have done that, during the time when I got the project, right. So like, having those follow-up questions is really, really, really important. And just like, making sure that you’re, you understand what, what, what they want from you, and making sure that you don’t have to go back and forth, wasting your time, And also your manager time all the project lead time.

     

    Kenny Soto  13:08 

    Khandker, did you start off as a project manager? Or did you work your way up internally?

     

    Khandker  13:14 

    So I started as a project manager. And basically, it’s the day it’s a really new team, and they are nice, I did an internship with Accenture, I was part of a different team, And they kind of like brought me into this team to, like, you know, based on my resume, and they thought I was a good fit for for a project manager as experienced entrepreneur, and all those kinds of stuff. So that that has been really helpful. Because as as an entrepreneur, you’re basically managing everything. So that really helped to manage like some of these campaign’s timeline and project line. So that’s how I kind of became like a project manager.

     

    Kenny Soto  13:59 

    And with that being said, I noticed that for just from my own experience as a new manager working remotely, that one of the many challenges that my team faces, and I think your team might face this as well. 

    And this is something we can talk about is task management, and delegation. So my question for you, and I can hear the laughter already. My question for you is, what is your approach to making a balance between doing tasks yourself and delegating them? And this? This is a question I’m asking because I know that there may be if not right now, in the future, certain people who are managing teams that might need to know more, especially if you’re new as managers. So what do you do as far as delegation and doing your own task? How do you approach that?

     

    Khandker  14:53 

    Yeah, that’s actually that’s actually like it’s an ongoing process, right? It’s something that You always need to work on because, like, everything changes, like your team dynamic changes, like the way you work changes. And that’s actually something that I believe, like you need to work on day to day basis. 

    And one of the main way, like, I try to work on it, it’s just having having like a weekly conversation with my team, and just making sure that everybody is on the same page, and everybody has their own, like jobs to do, right. And like big making, making sure that delegation happens. And then we have a project plan, right, that we built. 

    And with that, within that project plan, we make sure like, what are our action items, what are the due dates, and which, who are who are assigned to those action items, right, that’s really helpful. And we have weekly calls for, like for that project plan to making sure everything is getting done. 

    And then also we use the so I don’t know if you know about Microsoft team, which is something similar to Slack, right, but it’s like a more more advance too, so they have like, integration like Trello, and all those kinds of stuff, we use some of those to making sure like the we have like the right way of task, like who needs to do what and when it’s when something needs to get done. 

    And like having those understanding is really helpful and putting it down on the paper, that that’s the best way to do it. Just like having that visual that I need to get this done, this person needs to get this done. And my other person needs to get that done. So having that understanding is really helpful. And just having that visual is definitely really, really good.

     

    Kenny Soto  16:53 

    Now, is Microsoft Teams, the only tool that you’ve used not only in the center, but just in general? Or do you find that there are other alternatives, alternative task management tools, that that comes to mind if someone might want want to be looking for some, some solution for their own team?

     

    Khandker  17:13 

     Yeah, I mean, um, so you have like monday.com, which is, which is a really good task management tool. And then you have Trello, which is, which is a free tool for you to use. And then you have Asana, which is another great platform, there’s, there’s a lot of good platforms that are out there, I would recommend just like in terms of like, based on your, what’s your budget is like doing those research, because some of them are expensive. 

    And there’s also others that are free as well. What are some of the free ones that I can I can tell you right now, it’s I think it’s called Hey space, then you have slack, which is like a another platform for communicating with your team. And then you have Trello what else let me just I think in folio is another one. 

    And there is another one, which is which I really like based on their user face, and everything is called to do ist,  t o d o i s t, which is a really good one. And then another one is called Air table. So some of those I used I love I use, I love Cello, that’s something I use for for my startup, and all those kinds of stuff. So yeah, there’s a lot of resources, one of the best way you could do it is like, just search up on Google be like free task management software, there’s gonna be like bunch of them.

     

    Kenny Soto  18:45 

    Yeah, I’ve used in the past Trello, I definitely think that if you don’t have a budget, and you’re trying to set up a system, and when I say system, I don’t mean set up a system that’s tied to a specific tool, I mean, a system that’s set up in the scope of a process, right, because all of these tools, to some degree, work on an equal platform. 

    And then it’s the add-ons and the extra features and more important, the customer service that the tool the tools company provides. That’s what really differentiates them. That’s why there’s so many. And that’s why it’s such a competitive field. 

    Because at the end of the day, when you look at the user interface, the only difference, for the most part, are like the colors and the logos, right? But it’s really, it’s really the customer service that the company provides is something you really need to consider if especially if you’re the decision-maker for paying for the tool. 

    So I’ve use Trello I’ve used Asana, I’ve used slack, I use airtable. One other tool that I recommend people look into is clickup. I just started using this at the company that I’m working at, and it’s a combination of Slack and Trello. But one of the cool parts about it and this is like going deep in the world. 

    When it comes to project management is you can do Gantt charts, you can do calendars, you can do lists, you can also do mind maps. And again, all these fancy task management concepts, the way that you can map out the long term and short term goals, all of these tools can do that for you. 

    What you’re paying for, if you’re going to go for premium option is really customer support from the company, making sure that your team is on the same page. But for the most part, any of the tools that we just mentioned, which I will include in the show notes, will get the job done. It’s not the tool itself, that’s really going to secure the execution of a task. 

    It’s more so how do you use that tool? How are you going to be flexible in implementing tasks within that tool? And are you going to take the time to make sure your team is trained in that tool? That’s really what it is. And the last part is main is very important, too, because, for example, there are a ton of YouTube tutorials on Trello. Specifically, right?

     

    Khandker 

    Yeah.

     

    Kenny Soto

    But with that being said, Everyone uses treadle differently. So you have to really think about what am I using Trello? Or whatever tool you’re going to buy? What am I using it for? Right? Am I using it? To get a general understanding of what’s due each week, each day? Am I using it to mainly follow up with client emails, because I see people that they only use it for just follow-ups, there’s just a list that says this is what we’re following up with. 

    Here are all the people who are involved, add your inputs, and then we’ll use it to respond collectively as one unit, and everyone’s on the same page. So some people don’t even use it for tasks, they use it as emails. So it’s really important to understand how you’re going to use the tool and know that every single team uses it differently. Do you agree with that Khandker?

     

    Khandker  21:58 

    Yes. Yes, definitely. I definitely, totally agree with that. It’s still like gives you so much variety that everybody has like different needs from it. So yeah, I definitely agree with you on that.

     

    Kenny Soto  22:13 

    And you started off as a project manager at Accenture. And you mentioned earlier that what helped was you had an internship, and they saw your entrepreneurial spirit, you’re on your experience as an entrepreneur. So I wanted to segue into your startup. And what what what got you into the world of entrepreneurship? Why did you start kids Ivy tutors? And why are you so passionate about the mission? In regards to that organization?

     

    Khandker  22:43 

    Yeah, I mean, it started in in high school, right? Me coming from a low-income community, I wanted to just support my family, right? And that’s what what can I do to support my family and I thought about like doing tutoring for low-income community students, and just charging them probably like 10 to $15 an hour, and trying to make some living off of that. So that’s how kind of like the idea started. 

    And then from there we like, I kind of, like, got involved with my co-founders, two of my friends. And we just like had an idea, why not scale it like you know, and then we started hiring tutors, to tutor low-income communities, we partner up with the schools. And then we thought about, it’s such a education is such a big issue. 

    And like we wanted to learn more about that. And we connected with parents, we connected with teachers, we connected with administrators, we connected with the students themselves to understand what they want, what they need, and what’s happening for the future. And we realized one of the biggest thing that’s understanding the future of work and like understanding the 21st-century skills, which is needed. So that’s when we decided to pivot and focus on teaching our students those 21st-century skills, such as digital marketing, such as storytelling, such as public speaking, such as like emotional intelligence, coding, and all this kind of stuff.

     So we and then focusing on mental health as well because as such a big topic and like our students goes through these issues, they don’t even realize and just combined, combining them, those together to build the basically like a whole-child curriculum for them, where they they are getting prepared for future of work. They’re getting prepared for living a healthy life and having like a healthy mental health.

     

    Kenny Soto  24:53 

    It seems like what your organization is doing and correct me if I’m wrong, is creating a holistic package that a person can use to educate themselves outside of the standard curriculum. And this curriculum is mainly focused within public schools, correct?

     

    Khandker  25:13 

    Yes, yes. Public school and we focus mostly on like, the those low-income communities, because they are the one that doesn’t get a lot of the resources. That’s, that’s needed. And we want to create pathways for them to go to some of the big schools for college, or even if they if they want to just get get a job right after, like high school, get an internship at some of the biggest companies, we want to help provide that for them.

     

    Kenny Soto  25:44 

    And you mentioned a lot of very essential skills. I want to hone in on one of them, which is the whole point of this podcast, which is digital marketing. Do you believe that digital marketing is a skill that is just for people who work in marketing and advertising and creating content? Or do you think digital marketing and all of the subsets of skills within it is applicable to any and all kinds of jobs?

     

    Khandker  26:18 

    Yeah, I believe digital marketing is becoming like necessary skills for everyone to have, I think it’s like, it’s like learning algebra, like, you know, I think digital marketing would be the algebra of like, your career, like, you know, for schools, you need to know like algebra, like you have you, you learning algebra since like, sixth, sixth grade, and you’re using that throughout your life. 

    And I think just digital marketing, it’s becoming that like, you know, it’s not becoming, it’s already that like, anywhere you go, you you need to know how to brand yourself, a digitally. And you need to know like, what’s happening in the digital marketing platform because everyone like when when like, you’re recruiting they’re looking at, you’re like, how you brand yourself, like, you know, and that’s fine, it comes down to digital marketing, and, and you’re using these skills everywhere, like, you know, you need to, I think it’s one of the most essential skills to have as learning how to, like, you know, the concept of digital marketing.

     

    Kenny Soto  27:32 

    Yeah, and to jump off from that one of the main reasons why I’m personally so passionate about digital marketing, is because it’s one of those industries, where not only is there so much opportunity that is left on the table, because the demand for new jobs is always increasing, and the supply increases faster, right. 

    So like, every single year, there are more and more empty positions that need to be filled. And employers are looking to fill those positions. But there just needs to be a more of a advocacy on digital marketing to get more professionals interested in it across the board, right. 

    And what I love about this industry in this profession, is that a lot of us already have, like intuitive know-how intuitive skills in digital marketing, because a lot of us use social media, right? At the bare minimum, a lot of us use social media and we’re promoting our lives are documenting, right, we’re creating content, a lot of people, right, they’re great at creating filters, and editing photos, that’s a form of creative work that can be developed and get you paid. If you do it for other people at scale. 

    A lot of people know how to work with the algorithm on Instagram and Tiktok and Facebook to get more reach. If you can do that for a small business owner, they’ll pay you $300 A week, right to help them. And that’s just thinking on the small scale. If you want to start your own business, right, having those digital marketing skills can set the foundation for you to actually start developing and creating and executing on a dream you may have. At the end of the day. 

    One of the reasons why I’m so adamant on everyone learning digital marketing, if not for the pure sake of creating a personal brand that helps them get a job is that a lot of our lives are digital at this point. And I don’t know if you remember Khandker. But one of the things that our mutual mentor Maurice told us is that his biggest fear is being irrelevant.

     

    Khandker 

    Yes.

     

    Kenny Soto

    And the job market is competitive. The business market regardless of what you’re selling, whether there’s a product or service in any industry is competitive. The world is competitive. And both of us myself in Khandker are remote workers, right?

     But we’re not the only remote workers remote work is going to expand. And as it expands, that means that the scale of competition increases, right? You’re not only you’re not only going to be competing with someone in your city in your state in your country, this is the big news, right? You’re gonna start competing with people around the world.

     

    Khandker  30:25 

    Yes, exactly. At one day, like the reason, I like the reason I got the job attic at Accenture was because of my personal website. Like they love that like, the person, like the person that basically looked at my resume. She became like a really good mentor for me. 

    And one of the things she mentioned, like when I first met her, she was like, Dude, I love your website. Like, that was so amazing. Like, that’s one of the reason like, you got the interview. And like, that’s why you, you, you’re at Accenture, so like, you see, like, having, like, just me creating, like a website, like, changed so much. Because like, it’s you need to differentiate yourself, like, you know that, like you mentioned, like, you really, really need to differentiate yourself, and how do you do that? Like, look at everybody, look at your candidate, look at your competition, and see how can you differentiate yourself. 

    And that’s how you get, you’re going to dominate your career, you’re gonna dominate where you work, is just like finding those advantage for yourself. And the things that you mentioned about remote learning. I definitely want to dive into that. And it’s, I think it’s the future of work like Bing, bing, bing remotely. From anywhere, that you get to work from anywhere like that’s, that’s the future, that’s how work plays going to be. And that’s how we will see like, most of the organizations gonna go and go that direction of being remote.

     

    Kenny Soto  32:11 

    Yeah, I agree. Personally, I work with people like my organization, business bravery, the one the one I started working with, like, once ago, they’re based in Australia. So that’s in and of itself is crazy. I’m working for an Australian marketing agency, which I never thought I’d be able to say, because I don’t live in Australia. Right now. I’m based in South Africa. 

    Right. So I’m in South Africa, working for a marketing agency in Australia. I have teammates in Kansas, Missouri, and New York. But I also have teammates in Portugal, Germany, and Ireland, and all these other different places. I even have one, we just got a new team member from Romania. So this is this is obviously the starting point, you’re going to see new companies, especially new startups start adopting this.

     But you’re also going to see big brands and big companies do this as well. Like I have no doubt that in the next five to 10 years, companies like Facebook, while Facebook’s already doing this excuse me. companies like Microsoft, LinkedIn, you name it, they’re going to be doing more remote hiring, And when that comes to mind, if you’re applying for a job, just automatically assume that you are going to be competing with people at the very least in your timezone.

     So that means that you’re not just competing with people in the area where the office is, it’s going to be in the time zone at the bare minimum, and most likely, it’s gonna be around the world.

     

    Khandker  33:49  

    Yeah. And, and to be honest, like, it’s extension as an example, I’ll give you because I know how they did it right? In within two weeks since March, like a one one like everything started, like increasing in terms of cases, right? 

    Within few weeks, they made the 500,000 people go remote, like within few weeks, can you imagine like, the work the process that went through that if they can do it, and within two weeks now imagine how they will like, figure out ways to go remote and save money for themselves for next few years. 

    Like you know, it’s, it’s, it’s going to be like, one of the things that they look at and also the talent, it’s going to be amazing because they’re like talent all over the world is it’s like a lot like you know, there’s so many talent like you mentioned, it’s going to become more competitive. And I wanted to ask you a question based on your experience as as like a remote worker. 

    What what what was your your like, how did you handle that? And like, what what kind of So what are some of the struggles that you’ve been through? And then like, how can how did you overcome it? Like, I know you have been working remotely for a while now about like, I think about like seven months, right? So how are you handling that?

     

    Kenny Soto  35:16 

    So I started my remote career. by happenstance. Last year, I was living in China in Shenzhen, China. And my fiance had went on a quick three, I think it was two to three-week vacation, to Bali. And when she came back from Bali, and we met up again in Shenzhen, she told me that she wants stopped teaching because that’s what I was doing at the time, I was a teacher for like two or three-year-old kids super adorable. 

    But we wanted to change and get back into a more, you know, like tech and professional, not that teachers aren’t professional, but like, we wanted to change careers. It’s not something that we want to do for the rest of our lives. So we wanted to, at the very least leave education and travel the world. 

    But we needed to make money while doing that. And I’m not a YouTube influencer. So I can just make travel videos and then get paid by add google AdSense make ad revenue on the side and then have that paid for my margaritas margaritas, you know, so what I had to do is I had to find work, and both of us found remote work out of Japan. 

    So the first remote job that I ever had, was working as an English-speaking copywriter for a Japanese website, they needed people who were fluent in English. And we got hired because we also had additional skills in digital marketing, specifically, search engine optimization and keyword research. And when they saw that they were like, wow, only our copy editors have those skills. 

    So you as a copywriter, that helps a lot. And for context, this was just a gig, right? Like, we weren’t signing a contract. It was by we were getting paid by article. So it was many like, okay, so this is our first time working for an organization where we’re not meeting the people in person. But let’s see how it goes. And within a month, between December 1, and the first week of January, we saw that, hey, we can fund our adventures around the world. 

    Obviously, things changed because of COVID. But what happened was between December and March, right before we went back to South Africa, we were traveling Southeast Asia, we went to Thailand, we went to Indonesia, we went to Malaysia, and we were traveling, having a great time, working remotely. 

    And that’s when I started realizing this is something that I can be doing indefinitely if I wanted to. So then I started to take it seriously, I signed up for guru.com freelancer.com thumbtack.com upwork.com, free up.com going to all these different platforms, trying to find remote work, I also went on AngelList, and LinkedIn. And what I found was, although there are again, tying back to what we just talked about, although there are a lot of remote jobs out there, it’s still hyper-competitive. 

    Yep. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the work. What it does mean though, is that you need to approach applying to these jobs differently. It’s not the same as if you’re applying to a job where they needed the person to be in the office, physically, right? Remote job opportunities are actually harder to get than in-office job opportunities. 

    As Khandker mentioned, one thing that definitely helps is having a website, so Khandker has this website, I have my website, it definitely makes a better first impression when the person sees your application, because not only are they going to see your list of skills on a resume, which all the other candidates have as well. So that’s not really going to differentiate you, as Khandker mentioned, you need to differentiate yourself. 

    But you also have a digital persona, outside of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, you have your own entity, your own website, in this case, that helps tell the story of who you are as a person and a professional so that the hiring manager has a better sense of what they’re going to do when they hire you. Are you going to be an asset to the team or are you going to waste their time? And that’s really how I jumped into my my stint and my current career growth as a remote marketer is just really honing in on my personal brand, making sure that every single thing that is seen when you google Kenny Soto is something that I decided was there right now And at the same time, making sure that not only am I qualified for the job, right, that’s also very important, but also, that I have the digital presence to solidify my position, or at least solidify the interview opportunity.

     

    Khandker  40:19 

    Wow, that was, that’s really true. Like, you know, you just, you just really have to work on your creativity and work on yourself to like, really differentiate yourself from everybody else. And, and that’s where like, a lot of these skills comes handy. 

    Like, you know, having hanging, learning about these digital marketing skills, and there are so many out there like free tools like Google Academy, right? Then you have Facebook blueprint, all this kind of stuff gives you have so many access to like, you know, get get, And then also you have Coursera you have all over there, like there’s so many, like, opportunities out there for you to like build this skills. 

    And I think this we’re living one of the best, like best year of our life, like in our generations of like, like, throughout history, like I think this is like the, like, the best time to live like, you know, because there’s so many opportunities out there.

     

    Kenny Soto  41:31 

    Yeah, despite what’s going on in regards to COVID-19. And other mayhem, there are also good things to keep in mind, especially career-wise, right? Like, there’s more opportunity out there. Especially if you live in America.

     Like that’s another thing that a lot of people, especially if you’re listening to this right now, and you want to get remote work, if you’re American, believe it or not, you have a higher chance of getting work from people in China, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, you name it, if you’re American, they see you automatically on a higher level. 

    And I think it’s mainly because of like Silicon Valley, and just the, you know, whole American and entrepreneurial spirit that comes from our country. It’s like if you’re American, and you’re applying to a position in any other country, they see it as Okay, so this person probably already has the foundational skills, tech-wise, right, that we would need for the team. And it’s just really trying to figure out are they the right fit? Are they special enough to work with us and whatever? in what we’re doing?

     

    Khandker  42:36 

    And also, like, if you have a bilingual skills, like, Kenny you speak Spanish? Right? And yeah, you’re, you’re, you’re pretty good Like, at Mandarin? Right? I would say, like.

     

    Kenny Soto  42:49 

    *Speaks Mandarin

     

    Khandker  42:53 

    There you go. Yeah, so. So, like having those skills that you like Spanish, there’s so many Spanish countries, right? And like, finding opportunities there, it’ll be like, a lot easier for you, because not only do you know, perfect English, you know, Spanish too, so you could communicate both boys in those countries. 

    And like, using those as advantage is really important. And your you went to China, like now China, China is like one of the, like, biggest hub like in the world, like around technology around like, all those kinds of stuff, right? So like, you could literally use your skills to get a lot of like freelancing jobs out there, because they definitely look for English speakers. 

    And one advantage is that you have some sort of change in Mandarin experience, right? Like, and so you really need to go back to look at yourself be like, alright, what skills do I have, it’s not about just having those technical skills or those like of soft skills, but also like, looking at language looking at, like, the work that you have done and what are some of the, like, things that you learn, like, you know, just looking at those that will really help help you and and also like translation like you know, that’s that’s a big thing about campaign management that I would say like that we focus a lot on like, campaign management on like, how we want to execute our campaigns into different countries and that’s where translation comes and we look for translators and that’s that right there like Freelancer we look at freelancer who can translate this point of view for us right you know, like that that’s that’s your opportunities right there. 

    So having those like language skills really helped for sure. So I think in quarantine was a good time is a good time to like, take on that skills. We like less learned some language.

     

    Kenny Soto  44:57 

    Perfect and Khandker. My last question Question for you just to end the podcast on an actionable note, right? Is, for the listener, What is one thing you would recommend that they do after this podcast? If they wanted to learn more about remote work, and it’s for them?

     

    Khandker  45:22 

    Yeah, I would say first thing is like YouTube is your best bet. Like, go on YouTube and just search up on like, remote learning about, like, everything that you need to know about remote learning, and then also connect with people. 

    That’s been a that’s been. That’s, that’s like, doing a lot of this stuff, right. And then also you like, there’s so many websites that helps you learn a lot of this stuff like Coursera. Then you have ED x, which provides free courses from some of the biggest universities in the world like Harvard, Stanford, all those kinds of stuff.

     They have amazing courses. I’m actually taking a user experience scores from edX. I think the school was either I think, at Stanford, that I’m taking that course from like, you know, it’s, it’s really dope, like, you know, I’m getting a certificate and all this kind of stuff. It’s free to like use those resources. It’s called ED X. And then you can search up the university that you want to learn from.

     

    Kenny Soto  46:40 

    Perfect, yeah. And if anyone wanted additional resources, I did talk about what digital skills you need to know in digital marketing. And that is on or excuse me, episode four of this podcast. Khandker, if anyone wants to connect with you online, where should they go so that we can add it in the show notes?

     

    Khandker  47:00 

    Yep. I’m everywhere. Like, like Kenny, so you can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, my personal website, I have my emails there as well. So yeah, you just search up my name Khandker Ahmed and any of those platform, I should be the first one.

     

    Kenny Soto  47:23 

    Great, thank you so much. Thank you so much for the listener, and we hope that you got some kind of value from this episode. As always, the best way to support this podcast is to share it. So if you know anyone who is interested in digital marketing, getting a remote job or any of the other things that we just talked about in this episode, please share it with them. Share with them on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. This is Kenny Soto and Khandker and we are signing off.

     

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