Meet Sophie, a Senior Development Advertising and marketing Supervisor at Buffer and digital nomad. Her story is a riveting mix {of professional} development, distant work challenges, and an infectious zest for all times. Strap in as we journey by means of time zones, and share advertising and marketing 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?

Actually, 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 primarily based in Sri Lanka, however my roots are in Italy. I spent a big a part of my life, roughly eight years, in the US, having moved there once 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 newsletter, and overseeing paid social campaigns, duties aimed toward rising our viewers by means of normal development advertising and marketing ways and different methods. My solely function shift to this point 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 as a result of my profession in advertising and marketing. I had come throughout their blogs and was well-acquainted with their revolutionary strategy to work. That was at all times 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 high 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 along with your broad expertise, you finally 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 components. The primary was the recruitment of a crew lead, which instantly prompted my transfer. Nevertheless, the first driver was that this function aligned extra intently with what I’ve at all times needed to do.

I take pleasure in working creatively however inside a particular framework. I really like the concept of mixing creativity with data-informed decision-making. Whereas there have been similarities between my earlier obligations and my present function, our strategy has now developed 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 at all times identified that that is the kind of work that I take pleasure in and that makes me thrive. It was the proper mixture of getting the best individual lead the crew and my private want to discover and study extra on this space. There’s at all times extra to study and I’ve already discovered a lot since moving into this new function.

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

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

One such challenge concerned a pasta restaurant. I contributed to the advertising and marketing efforts, suggested on artistic course, and in addition helped orchestrate photoshoots.

Lately, I’ve undertaken a a lot greater challenge that can doubtless span just a few years – I purchased a plot of land with a home in Sri Lanka and plan to rework it right into a boutique lodge. I’m within the strategy of conceptualizing the model and getting ready for development, scheduled to start in September. I’m seeing this challenge as one that can permit me to share my creativity by means of area, thus creating a spot that can promote small, cultural group residing. Provided that I have been and not using a private house since early 2020, I see this challenge as a solution to channel my artistic energies right into a shared area for others to take pleasure in.

I’d say that the flexibleness Buffer affords has allowed me to commit time to different passions, which will be fairly time-consuming. Touring is one in every of them. I take pleasure in exploring new locations, and although I would not essentially classify it as a challenge, it does take up a big 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 every of my high priorities was discovering a job that allowed me to take care of a balanced way of life, with journey being a major factor. Touring has at all times been a ardour of mine, and I discover it laborious to think about {that a} job may limit 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 permit 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 by means of Central America whereas working full-time.

Often, I take break day, particularly once 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 go away 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?

At the moment, 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, but it surely really will depend on the day. Nevertheless, 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.

As an example, I really 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 undoubtedly take advantage of the flexibleness, 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 desire to get up a bit earlier and end my workday earlier as properly.

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

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

All through the week, I remember the fact that sooner communication with my crew is feasible throughout my evenings. In distinction, my mornings are quieter, as my colleagues are largely offline at the moment. This sample is very true once 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 full of conferences.

Apart from time zone issues, I am conscious that if I ship a message or paperwork within the morning, I’ll doubtless not obtain a response till after dinnertime.

One other key facet of our crew’s operation is that we work in cycles. We set challenge targets primarily based on two-week cycles. We break down tasks into smaller duties, every becoming into a particular cycle. On the finish of every cycle, we evaluation our previous progress and plan for the subsequent cycle. This system is particular to us and can also 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 goals or Key Efficiency Indicators (KPIs) for the upcoming quarter. We outlined vital tasks to ship, and after that, we’d work in the direction of finishing these inside the given quarter.

Nevertheless, I need to say, I significantly desire working in cycles over quarters. Quarters can typically really feel overly in depth, particularly if you’re tackling giant tasks and must ship inside that timeframe. Prior to now, I might know that there was a selected challenge I needed to full by a sure date, however working backward from that deadline wasn’t at all times simple except I structured it myself.

Working in cycles with all the crew is more practical and gratifying. Firstly of every cycle, we establish the duties wanted to progress towards the top challenge. This strategy necessitates a bit extra planning, but it surely’s extremely helpful in sustaining focus and productiveness. So, sure, I’ve discovered working in cycles to be a substantial enchancment.

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

Properly, an surprising facet for me was undoubtedly the four-day workweek, though we didn’t begin it till just a few months after I joined. So when Buffer introduced it as a pilot, I used to be intrigued but additionally a bit skeptical. With all of the work I had, I puzzled how I used to be supposed to suit every part into simply 4 days? However as I tailored to this schedule and optimized my workflow, it made a big optimistic influence.

The four-day workweek has really enhanced each my private life and work effectivity. Folks outdoors Buffer are sometimes stunned and fairly impressed after they hear about it. So, that actually was a shock that was extremely helpful.

One other factor was the extent of documentation and studying concerned. It was like, “Wow, there’s so much to learn and replace!” Adapting to that was initially a bit difficult. Even now, typically, it seems like there’s an excessive amount of to digest. I consider there could possibly 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 knowledge, which is nice, however there’s a lot that discovering particular objects can typically be overwhelming. That was undoubtedly a novel expertise in comparison with my earlier roles.

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

I see many alternatives for development in my function. I actually do not feel like I’ve hit any partitions; there’s nonetheless a lot for me to study and develop. Regardless that I am at a extra senior degree now, I am conscious I can go farther; I am not at a C-suite degree or a director, as an example. Provided that I’ve solely been working full-time for about 4 or 5 years, I consider there’s a lot extra for me to study and develop into.

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

If I evaluate my expertise at Buffer with my earlier job at a quickly rising start-up, which ultimately shut down, I’ve noticed vital variations. Firstly-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, nonetheless, we strongly promote development and mutual help.

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

Along with my work, I additionally worth my life outdoors of labor. Buffer’s flexibility permits me to stay the life I’ve at all times dreamed of, albeit it could sound cliché. I bear 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 not burdened by San Francisco rents and may 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 study.


Thanks for studying! For those who loved this, try the opposite Buffer Diaries interviews that includes Bufferoos.

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