Make the Leap Digital
Finding your purpose
My week in Rotterdam was primarily spent alongside Mandy Fransz of Make the Leap Digital. A solopreneur who works remotely with a list of global clientele, she’s put autonomy back into her own hands and strives to help others do the same. We were also able to see each other throughout the week because we co-hosted a speaker + network event, the Rise of Remote Work with guest speaker Spencer Waldron, Director of Global Communications at Prezi.
I first met Mandy in person on a rainy Monday morning. We were going to check out the co-working space, 42workspaces for our event. Again, it was another surreal moment, as explained prior in the Creative Commons piece. We’ve been talking for so many months, but now we’re finally here. Just having the opportunity to hang and get to know her prior to doing our content collaborations made the experience a lot more personable.
As the days passed, the rain persisted in Rotterdam. Despite that, I really enjoyed roaming the city. And I couldn’t help but wonder what Breda- the even smaller city that Mandy calls home- would be like.
Breda is about 30 minutes away from Rotterdam by train. I love the trains in this country, I couldn’t wait for them to be on time and whisk me away! I got up early to get ready, eat a good breakfast and lug heavy equipment to the train station - only to find out that the train to Breda was canceled.
Eventually, I found an alternative route to get there. As I waited for the train, sitting atop my equipment case, I wondered why, of all days, this had to happen on the day I needed the train.
Making her leap
Mandy currently helps companies worldwide with LinkedIn branding, marketing and sales, and freelancers and solopreneurs to create profit-driven businesses. She believes that people should work from wherever they feel the most productive, hence a huge remote work advocate! But she wasn’t always in this position. She went through her own path, starting out in the corporate at LinkedIn EMEA. So... what changed?
Find your purpose
Make the Leap Digital started out as an Instagram account, with Mandy sharing her experience going from corporate to remote work. She also started a blog series on LinkedIn, the Rise of Remote Work. We discuss some of the pros and cons surrounding remote work, like:
- Saving time and money on commutes
- Saving money on office space
- Productivity soars when you remove office chit-chats
- Bonus!: Top 5 reasons remote work retains top talent, an article Remoter x Make the Leap Digital co-wrote
- Loneliness and isolation that comes from working remotely
This is a summarized version. You can listen to the full discussion on our podcast interview here.
With the freedom and flexibility remote work brings, Mandy spent the last 2 years working from 6 different countries including Colombia and Indonesia. Similarly, that freedom and flexibility is how she ended up in Breda, too. She’s been looking for co-working spaces and cafes in the area but Breda, not being as large of a city as Amsterdam or Rotterdam, is consequentially not as remote-friendly as the others. The infrastructure isn’t as plentiful. So, Mandy spends most of her time working from home, and she’s adjusted and equipped herself with the right tools for a portable home office environment.
You can check out further details of her space in our Diverse Workspace feature with her.
When we recorded our conversation, Mandy was just about to celebrate her 2 year anniversary of making her leap to digital. I ask her to reflect on her journey. If present-day Mandy could travel back in time and speak with past Mandy without altering future Mandy’s outcomes, what would she tell her?
- Have a purpose
- Have a plan
- Remote skills
- Online/offline communities
- Believe in yourself
If there’s anything I learned from talking to people, it’s that morning routines are a hot topic. Whether it involves meditation, a healthy breakfast, a demanding workout… whatever gets them going. Mandy has her gratitude journal. I ask if she would read one of her entries for me.
Mandy’s story is universally relatable. Not feeling completely satisfied with your life, wanting to make a change. Her solution may be a path many want to, but don’t end up taking. Maybe because of personal reasons, the fear of the unknown, or the safety net of staying within one’s comfort zone.
Mandy used remote work as an enabler in her overall solution. It wraps snuggly around the importance of knowing your purpose- why you do what you do. Incorporating remote work and experiencing it herself first-hand allows her to help others pinpoint their needs. Working remotely gives autonomy back to a person, whether it’d be in large doses as you may want to start your own business, or smaller doses of time saved from a commute during rush hour.
Between the copious amounts of meals and stories shared between us, she’s convinced me that I’ll always need to revisit my “why’s” and purpose for doing what I do, in order to hold on to my own autonomy. It’s never smooth-sailing- even she re-evaluates time and time again. It’s the most sobering piece of advice I’ve received in awhile.