Robin Walker started her career as a school teacher and ended up a remote-working CEO who inspires other women to lean into their entrepreneurial dreams. While she may have taken off her official teaching hat years ago, she still harnesses the skills from that career to plan workshops and an annual conference. Here's what she has to say about working remotely and how it has changed her career trajectory — and the careers of other women as well!
When you were a child, did you grow up thinking you’d be a remote worker? Okay, I’m (slightly) joking, but I’d love to know how your career started and what made you decide to create the Women’s Business Workshop?
As a kid, I played school and ‘business’ (store, restaurant, dry cleaner). I eventually became an elementary teacher. When I had my oldest daughter in 2001, I decided to stay home with her.
While home with our kids, I began side hustles to keep me sane, and to bring more income into the household. I craved interaction with other business owners that were in the same life phase (this was before social media, Facebook groups, and Voxer). I began hosting coffee meetups with friends I knew were doing the same thing. This led into more formal meetings, workshops, and an annual two-day conference. My teaching and business background have aligned into Women’s Business Workshop, a place to learn and build relationships and business.
What was the very first event you decided to plan, and what were your hopes on how it would help your business?
The very first "official" event through my business was a two-day conference for female business owners. Originally, it was not planned to help my business, it was planned to help the local women that were trying to build their businesses. We live in a small resort community without a lot of support for entrepreneurs. We needed some help, so I decided to fly in the help and create an event that we could all learn from.
Tell me more about your annual Lakeside Conference. What’s it like, and who would benefit from attending?
The Lakeside Conference is two days full of learning, connecting, and taking action on your business. We learn in whole group sessions, targeted breakout workshops, and one-on-one consulting sessions. Attendees and speakers connect during the networking events, meals, and casual hangouts. Most attendees are female business owners and entrepreneurs that have been in business full time for a few years, and are looking to grow, scale, or optimize their business.
What can remote workers gain from traveling for conferences and other events?
Traveling to conferences helps you get out of your day-to-day business and lets you spend time looking at the big picture and your overall goals. The in person connections are one of the most beneficial outcomes of a live event. Meeting and connecting in person fast forwards a relationship compared to online networking. Many attendees go on to collaborate with each other, build long term friendships, or become clients.
What advice would you give to another remote worker who was thinking about hosting an event in their area?
If you are contemplating hosting a local event for your business, start small and be intentional. Start with a low cost (easy yes) event to get a feel for how your clientele responds. Create the event with their needs in mind. Hire help from someone with event experience if you need support. Events take time to get traction, so don’t give up after one!
What is a typical day in the life look like for you?
First thing in the morning is coffee and getting my teens out the door for school. I then spend about 15 minutes doing household tasks that I want to get out of the way so they don’t distract me once I start working. I focus on 2-3 tasks on my to-do list for the day. Virtual coaching and group calls are sprinkled throughout the week, as are networking events and speaking engagements. I try to save any errands or outings for late afternoon when I am less productive. After school fills with teen activities, sporting events, dinner, and family time. I usually end up working again in front of Netflix in the late evening.
What are the perks about working remotely? What amount of time do you think you spend working at home versus in the community?
The majority of my work time is at home. If I am struggling to stay focused, I will go work at a coffee shop or other public space.
What are the challenges of being a remote worker, and how do you overcome these challenges?
Working from home has many distractions and sometimes it is hard to separate your business and personal to-dos. I try to stick with a short business task list so I don’t get overwhelmed deciding what to do next. I also use the phrase ‘I am not doing that right now’ when challenged with distractions. Keeping firm boundaries on what it allowed during my work hours has helped.
Do you have one set workspace even though you don’t have a traditional workplace?
I have a home office, but work throughout the house. I enjoy doing different tasks in different spaces.
What is your best advice for other remote workers?
My advice for remote workers is to find support and find community, whether in person or online. Find a local group that meets regularly, and if you can’t find one, start one! That is what I did. If you have business friends in other parts of the country, get on the Voxer app so you can hear each other’s voices and support each other throughout the day. Community can be a life saver.
To learn more about attending the Lakeside Conference, click here.
Looking for more advice on working remotely? Check out our newest book, 30 Hacks for Productive Remote Workers, part workbook and part guide that will help you work smarter, not harder. Oh, and did we mention that it was written by remote workers for remote workers? This advice is tried and tested, and we know it will help you maximize your productivity.
All images provided by Robin Walker
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