Avi Aryan

Full Stack Developer. Budding Entrepreneur. Mentor @ Udacity

Quickfire Round 🔫

Where is your current homebase ?

I currently live in Gurugram with my startup friends but I have my parents in Delhi and I switch to and fro every now and then.

Where have you travelled/lived after working remotely ?

I haven’t travelled much after starting my career as a freelancer via Toptal. And that is partly because of some personal reasons. I have only taken one trip, that was of South-East Asia; Thailand, Malaysia, Bali. I have a talk coming up in Siberia in November so I will probably spend some time there.

Took my parents out to South East Asia – their first international trip.

Highest education qualification ?

Graduation – B. Tech in Computer Science from IIIT Vadodara, Gandhinagar

Occupation ?

Freelance Software Engineering for now, and entrepreneurship

What is your family/friends reaction to remote working on a scale of 1-5 where 1-negative and 5-very positive

I will rate it 5, definitely.

How much do you earn per annum?

In my opinion, making income public has no upsides but it can have some downsides. So as a rule, I don’t tell my income to anyone, except my parents.

Years of total experience ?

4 years

Years of freelance/remote experience ?

2 years if we don’t count the remote internships. I haven’t done a office job yet. Tried it for a few days, didn’t like it. I think there are 2 reasons for that.

  • I clearly work better when no one is around me.
  • I can’t work for long hours on a stretch, at least not regularly for 5 days. Sure, we can take breaks in office, but it’s just not same as taking a break at home.

When I think about the ability to work freelance/remotely, I feel ______ ?

ok-ish. Hehe, I have been working like this for so long that I won’t have it otherwise. Only exception is when I am working on something special or with exceptional people, like if Google HQ hires me.

What was your key motivation for being freelancer/remote worker

I am not a big fan of daily transport. I even tweeted about it.

Fireside Chat 🔥

How did you land your first remote/freelance gig ?

My first remote gig was as a web developer. There my task was to create a website for a local education firm. They were in the same city as me so I asked the founder if I can work from my home as I would be open to any physical meetings if needed. Another reason why remote was feasible in that gig was because it was more like a freelance job, that is, there is a client who wants something done and you do the task. So that reason helped too, and I was easily able to convince the boss to allow me to work remotely.

Do you have any rituals or habits which help you to work remotely ?

Not much. But I found that working in the same place helps to get into that “work” mode. Like, when you are working from home, it’s very tempting to work from your bed or couch or even on the floor. It’s cool I know but I think the overall efficiency reduces when you work from anywhere. You are easily distracted (comparatively). So having a desk and a chair from where you work from helps.

What advice would you give to someone who is out there looking for a remote job or freelance work ?

If you are just starting out, apply rigorously. You will get rejected or ignored by a lot of clients/companies and that’s okay. Securing that first freelance job is most important so do your best by applying to a lot of prospects.

Secondly, create a blog and a portfolio. This might not be that important as the first step, but it helps especially in the long run. With a blog, you get an Internet presence, a persona that you are something and not just any other Internet coder. I tweeted something similar here.

What is the biggest benefit of working remotely ?

Avoiding daily transport. This becomes so much more valuable when you live in a city like Delhi. The pollution and the jams suck.

By the way, by daily transport I don’t mean any daily transport. It could be that your office is walking or cycling distance away from your place and you live in a clean city (like Gandhinagar), in that case I am fine with daily trips.

Do you see any cons of working remotely and how do you try to overcome it ?

One of the biggest downsides of working remotely is motivation. When you are in a team, the members tend to motivate and challenge each other. This helps you do work even when you don’t feel like it. You might have a team even when you freelance but there are times when you are working on a large project and you don’t have much of a team. Keeping motivation becomes hard then.

I try to fix it by goal – setting i.e. dividing what I need to do in multiple tasks and then completing them one-by-one. This works quite well in my opinion if you are not lazy with creating tasks.

Where can people can find you on the internet (if they have more questions) ?

I am active on Twitter.

Apart from that, I write frequently on Dev Letters. You can follow the blog for my regular posts, I also hold some Q-A sessions there so you can ask your questions there.


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