For these entrepreneurs remote working is a winning business formula

By Charlotte Pearson Methven
<p id=”ext-gen23″ class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-medium mol-style-bold”>They don’t share an office space – or even a postcode. We meet three pairs of successful entrepreneurs who collaborate remotely.</span></p>
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<img id=”i-70cf0a678204d2f2″ class=”blkBorder img-share b-loaded” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/16/00/423F2CDF00000578-4688526-Who_needs_an_office_when_you_can_run_your_business_using_the_clo-a-52_1500160209949.jpg” alt=”Who needs an office when you can run your business using the cloud? Dress, Biba, from House of Fraser. Dress, Vero Moda, from Littlewoods.com. Jeans, Intropia. Shoes, Superga, from Schuh.” width=”634″ height=”413″ /> Who needs an office when you can run your business using the cloud? Dress, Biba, from House of Fraser. Dress, Vero Moda, from Littlewoods.com. Jeans, Intropia. Shoes, Superga, from Schuh.

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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><strong><span class=”mol-style-bold”><span class=”mol-style-medium”>The pamper party pair</span></span></strong></p>
<p class=”mol-para-with-font”>KELLY SKIPPER and CHARLOTTE MAXWELL, both 44, founded Glo in 2006 as a mobile wellbeing agency to supply massage and treatments for parties and in the workplace. Until 2012 they worked together in London before Charlotte moved to Bath and then, three years ago, Kelly moved to Los Angeles for her husband’s job in the music industry. Both are married. Charlotte has a five-year-old son and Kelly has five-year-old twins.</p>
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<img id=”i-278b452e2edf0d75″ class=”blkBorder img-share b-loaded” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/12/10/423F2CA800000578-0-image-a-3_1499850697993.jpg” alt=”Kelly Skipper co-runs British wellbeing company Glo despite being based in LA ” width=”306″ height=”480″ /> Kelly Skipper co-runs British wellbeing company Glo despite being based in LA

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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”><span class=”mol-style-italic”>Kelly says:</span></span></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Working apart has made our roles more clearly defined. </span>We are a UK-based company, meaning I can’t be at events or meetings with clients, so Charlotte does the person-facing side of things while I deal with finance and long-term strategy for growing the business.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>When I told Charlotte I was moving, she panicked.</span> I felt guilty and tried to take on as much of the burden as I could so that my move would not impact on her too much. Inevitably, it did. We had always taken turns to be on call at weekends to deal with issues, from a therapist not turning up to someone wanting extra treatments. I was determined to keep doing my bit which meant every other weekend I’d start taking calls at 2am. After a year we hired another member of staff – my move forced us to take that step.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>To make it work we’ve needed an amazing level of communication.</span> We met through my husband but were never close friends, which means we can speak openly about everything without worrying about how it will affect our friendship. We can be incredibly efficient and businesslike about things, though it’s great that our children are the same age and, of course, we talk about them a lot.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>One big advantage of my move has been the lengthening of Glo’s business day. </span>When I was in the UK we would both clock off at 6pm. But now – with the eight-hour time difference – one of us is ‘on’ at almost any given time. Because people tend to go online in the evening in the UK, it’s ideal. Technology that diverts calls from the company number to the mobile of whoever is on duty is key. Clients dial a UK number with no idea they are speaking to a woman in Los Angeles!</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Charlotte and I are respectful of each other’s personal lives.</span> It is massively important to both of us to maintain a good work/life balance. Previously, I worked long hours in the music industry and Charlotte was in a high-level marketing job. A big reason for setting up this business was to have more of a balance and the ethos of the company is helping other people to attain that.</p>
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<img id=”i-193249fd1f74de52″ class=”blkBorder img-share b-loaded” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/16/00/423F2CE500000578-4688526-Charlotte_Maxwell_is_the_British_based_partner_of_Glo-a-53_1500160210013.jpg” alt=”Charlotte Maxwell is the British-based partner of Glo” width=”306″ height=”436″ /> Charlotte Maxwell is the British-based partner of Glo

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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-italic mol-style-bold”>Charlotte says:</span></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>When Kelly first told me </span><span class=”mol-style-bold”>she was moving to LA, I </span><span class=”mol-style-bold”>went, ‘Oh, God…’</span> I had worked there for three years in my 20s, so I was familiar with the time difference. I knew how disorientating it could be, but also how it is possible to adapt. Kelly and I were already working different days of the week because we both had small children so I felt confident we could use the time difference in a similar way, to share the responsibilities.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Since Kelly’s move we have both become more autonomous in our decision-making.</span> Whereas before we discussed everything, now we have to be confident about our own decisions – from how much to spend on ads to what prices to charge for services. There are so many situations where the buck stops with you. Because I know Kelly so well, I can anticipate her position on most things.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>We meet face to face about once a year. </span>If something is urgent I will WhatsApp Kelly saying ‘check your emails’, then if we need to discuss it we will speak on Skype. This usually involves me staying up late to speak to her when it’s morning in LA. It does feel odd that by that point I’m at the end of my working day and Kelly has just woken up.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>If we were in an office we’d bounce ideas off each other more often.</span> Some creativity slips through the net when you’re communicating via email and phone every day without face-to-face contact; that’s the only downside.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>We didn’t know if remote working was going to be a good fit for us. </span>But we thought, ‘we’ve got to give it a go’. Kelly is the most determined person I know. But she could have arrived in California and thought: ‘My life is different now. I don’t want to do this.’ Luckily, she didn’t. And the fact that she is in LA – with its focus on health and beauty – has been a huge help in terms of inspiration.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-italic”><a class=”” href=”https://www.glo-pamper.co.uk/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>glo-pamper.co.uk</a></span></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><strong><span class=”mol-style-bold mol-style-medium”>The dressmakers</span></strong></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”>ANGIE BRADLEY, 53, who has recently moved from Cambridgeshire to Wiltshire, and ESTELLE BLOOMFIELD, 44, who is based in Worthing, West Sussex, started clothing company H W2 in 2013. The pair had previously worked together for 15 years for fashion labels Ghost and Handwritten in London. When those companies were respectively sold and shut down they went into business together remotely to launch a clothes label inspired by the same floaty, easy-to-wear aesthetic. Both are married. Estelle has a ten-year-old son and Angie has a 19-year-old son.</p>
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<img id=”i-a2812d06ec05f729″ class=”blkBorder img-share b-loaded” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/12/10/423F2CB500000578-0-image-a-7_1499851316940.jpg” alt=”Angie Bradley (left) and Estelle Bloomfield went into business together remotely to launch their fashion company HW2″ width=”634″ height=”634″ /> Angie Bradley (left) and Estelle Bloomfield went into business together remotely to launch their fashion company HW2

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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-italic mol-style-bold”>Angie says:</span></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>We are very different so it feels right that we inhabit separate worlds. </span>Estelle is in charge of design and pattern-cutting; I run the business side of things. Estelle is the social-media-savvy one. She’s constantly uploading images to Instagram and Pinterest, while I don’t even understand what a hashtag is!</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Estelle and I bonded over our shared desire never to work in an office again.</span> We saw how Tanya [Sarne, creator of Ghost and Handwritten] struggled with overheads – office space, insurance, warehousing – and thought ‘why would you do that?’ We don’t need a warehouse: we’re lucky I still have my house in Cambridgeshire where we store and dispatch our clothing which is made in Romania from Italia
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>My favourite technology is the WhatsApp mic.</span> It allows us to leave voice memos for each other so we can hear each other speaking – which somehow feels important – but can cut straight to the chase without wasting time on small talk as we would in a face-to-face conversation. It’s a brilliant tool.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Trust is the key to our arrangement. </span>The idea that you would throw away money on rent just to be able to keep an eye on each other is madness. You each need to believe the other is equally motivated – whether that is at 6am or 9pm doesn’t matter as long as the job gets done. Estelle is more of an early bird because her son is school-aged; I have a slower start in the mornings. But we graft as hard as each other.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>I don’t think remote working would be right for someone shy.</span> Unless you are an extrovert – as we both are – and interact with people wherever you are, you could feel isolated and might prefer having your business partner by your side; you might become a bit insular. Luckily, that’s never been a worry for us.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold mol-style-italic”>Estelle says:</span></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>I am chatty so sometimes I miss having someone to talk to during the day and the laughter of being around other people.</span> But then my husband will come home complaining about his annoying colleagues and I’m reminded of the politics and silliness and feel happy that my ‘office’ is the dining-room table.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Angie and I are like family.</span> We worked together for so many years; we know each other inside out. I love seeing her face to face, which we do at least once a month, usually at one of the Soho House clubs in London. I think, ‘It’s so nice to be sitting down with someone I’m really comfortable with who isn’t my husband!’</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>I love that I can do washing and ironing in between work tasks.</span> I am very structured: I take my son to school and get straight down to business, but I do take breaks to deal with domestic life. I hope more women will start working the way we do because there is no reason people should feel they have to choose between having a satisfying career and looking after their family when you can do both.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Pinging messages in a WhatsApp group is our version of a business meeting.</span> We include suppliers and others who work with us too. It’s great because it’s instant and everyone gets straight to the point – it’s so much more efficient than a meeting.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Living near one another would probably place a strain on the business. </span>We are so used to working autonomously. Angie recently moved from Cambridge to Wiltshire – so she’s just as far from me, but in the other direction. Had she moved closer, it would have felt strange and maybe a bit like stepping on each other’s toes.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-italic”><a class=”” href=”http://www.hw-2.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>hw-2.com</a></span></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><strong><span class=”mol-style-bold mol-style-medium”>The beauty entrepreneurs</span></strong></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”>CHARLOTTE SEMLER, 46, creator of lingerie label Myla, and ARABELLA PRESTON, 38, who gave the Duchess of Cambridge make-up lessons before her wedding, founded skincare company Votary two years ago. Arabella had previously worked for Charlotte when she did the PR and marketing for Myla. Since launching Votary (which produces natural facial oils), they have never been based in the same place, with Charlotte in Oxford and Arabella formerly in London and, for the past year, in Kent. Both are married. Arabella has a son, nine, and daughter, seven, and Charlotte has 11-year-old twins.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold mol-style-italic”>Charlotte says:</span></p>
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<img id=”i-9372046ecbd61f5b” class=”blkBorder img-share b-loaded” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/13/09/423F2CCD00000578-4688526-_Google_Docs_is_crucial_we_use_it_for_all_our_paperwork_says_Cha-a-2_1499936163885.jpg” alt=”‘Google Docs is crucial: we use it for all our paperwork,’ says Charlotte Semler who co-runs Votary ” width=”306″ height=”459″ /> ‘Google Docs is crucial: we use it for all our paperwork,’ says Charlotte Semler who co-runs Votary

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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>The way we work is like a Venn diagram.</span> There are areas where we overlap and the peripheries where we each have our own speciality. When we are dealing in the overlap area – in our case, brand development – we collaborate on FaceTime. Otherwise, Arabella is concerned with the creative side of Votary, mainly new product development and marketing through social media; I do finance and logistics.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>The non-synchronisation of working apart is not an issue thanks to email.</span> If Arabella and I were in an office we’d chat about things and much would get forgotten. With email, there is a record of everything: it enables us to send and receive documents as attachments and acts as a virtual to-do list. I avoid using text, WhatsApp or social media messaging services for anything work-related as I find it confusing to have lots of in-trays. Google Docs is crucial: we use it for all our paperwork – purchase orders and product copy – and can work on the same document at the same time. Who needs to be in the same room?</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Being located in different settings stops us from being narrow-minded.</span> We bring different ideas to the table. Oxford and Kent are on opposite sides of the country and, in many ways, feel worlds apart, and, as I see it, that is a good thing.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Social media connects us.</span> If, say, over the weekend I see a photo I like on Instagram that feels in some way relevant to our business, I will do a screen grab and email it to Ari so she can have a look and act on it on Monday morning.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Business meetings are such an inefficient concept.</span> Who wants to waste 45 minutes talking to colleagues about something that may or may not happen when you can just get your work done and be on time to collect your children from school? Given the number of people they employ, large organisations probably don’t achieve as much as they could – I’m convinced it’s down to the chitchat.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold mol-style-italic”>Arabella says:</span></p>

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<img id=”i-41541a80d39970c1″ class=”blkBorder img-share b-loaded” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/13/09/423F2CBD00000578-4688526-Arabella_Preston_co_runs_Votary_from_her_home_office_in_Kent-a-3_1499936292006.jpg” alt=”Arabella Preston co-runs Votary from her home office in Kent” width=”306″ height=”287″ /> Arabella Preston co-runs Votary from her home office in Kent

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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>The iPhone changed my life. </span>Between leaving Myla and starting Votary, I spent several years as a freelance make-up artist, so I knew how a smartphone made working remotely possible. Wherever you are, if you have a free five minutes, you can use it to send an invoice or get on top of admin. With social media I can be a one-woman marketing and PR department. It doesn’t matter where I am as long as I can Instagram products and upload videos on to YouTube. So when Charlotte and I talked about setting up together, I knew it would be fine.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Moving to Kent felt scary.</span> Because we don’t have an office, having me located in London was handy in the first year of the business. If a beauty editor wanted a sample, I could courier it over. Now we need to be more organised but we have adapted. We love meeting in London every week.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>A large home is not essential to remote working.</span> There are many ways to store and ship products: our oils are blended in the Midlands and stored and dispatched from a fulfilment house in the north. It works seamlessly. One upside of my home now is that I have a spacious room to work in. The one essential is high-speed broadband: when my husband, who is also self-employed, and I left London, we bought a house in a village where there was a good connection. If we had been 200 metres down the lane, it would have been a disaster.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>FaceTime is great for day-to-day stuff, but </span><span class=”mol-style-bold”>face-to-face time is also crucial.</span> When we’re physically in the same place we do our blue-sky thinking and talk through long-term goals. Because we’re not together all the time, when we are, there’s a creative adrenalin that rushes through the room. Working remotely can be lonely. Part of the reason Charlotte and I chat on FaceTime every day is to keep each other company. We don’t just talk about work, we catch up – we are friends and Charlotte is even a godmother to my daughter.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><a class=”” href=”http://www.votary.co.uk/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”><span class=”mol-style-italic”>votary.co.uk</span></a></p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold mol-style-medium”>How will it work for you?</span></p>
<p class=”mol-para-with-font”>CARY COOPER, professor of organisational psychology and health at the University of Manchester, flags up potential remote working pitfalls…</p>
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<img id=”i-af2020df30433a44″ class=”blkBorder img-share b-loaded” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/12/11/423F2CD100000578-4688526-Remote_working_is_ideal_for_micro_businesses_and_those_that_are_-a-43_1499853906991.jpg” alt=”Remote working is ideal for micro-businesses and those that are knowledge- and service-based. Dress, Karen Millen. Shoes, Schuh. Jumpsuit, Yas, from littlewoods.com” width=”306″ height=”606″ /> Remote working is ideal for micro-businesses and those that are knowledge- and service-based. Dress, Karen Millen. Shoes, Schuh. Jumpsuit, Yas, from littlewoods.com

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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Don’t let the business grow too big. </span>Remote working is ideal for micro-businesses and those that are knowledge- and service-based. Once your manufacturing output reaches a certain level, the advantages of remote working are negated by having to produce more and you end up needing headquarters.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Beware of email.</span> It’s the business failsafe, but it can be dangerous. It’s too detached from empathy. People can get frustrated and write something they don’t mean, which then gets misinterpreted. And with none of what we call ‘the nonverbals’ – eye contact, for instance – to smooth things out, unpleasant email exchanges can be difficult to resolve.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>When things aren’t gelling, go eyeball to eyeball.</span> Even Skype and FaceTime aren’t a substitute. Body language and empathy get lost through a screen. And with privacy and hacking risks, people often won’t talk about anything important or sensitive unless it is in person in a safe space.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Clarity about roles is essential.</span> In small businesses people tend to want to have their fingers in all the pies but with remote working this isn’t viable. From the outset it must be a case of ‘that’s your area, this is mine’ or you will sow confusion, sacrificing productivity because you’ve doubled up on a task. Overlap doesn’t always work.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Don’t communicate across too many platforms.</span> Material will be lost because no one will remember whether it was on WhatsApp or Facebook, or people won’t have checked and seen what you sent. Choose the ones that work for you and stick with them.</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><span class=”mol-style-bold”>Trust is everything.</span> The right CV means nothing unless your business partner has integrity. When working remotely you won’t be able to look over your shoulder so before you commit make certain you won’t have to. Ask yourself: does this person have the competencies and interpersonal skills that the company needs?</p>
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<p class=”mol-para-with-font”><em><span class=”mol-style-italic”>P</span><span class=”mol-style-italic”>hotographer’s assistant: Lorna Allan. Styling: Joanne Toolan. Models: Amanda at Mot Models, Rosie at BMA Models. Photographer’s assistant: Lorna Allan. Styling: Joanne Toolan. Models: Amanda at MOT Models, Rosie at BMA models. </span></em></p>
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