Remote Interviews with Elif Özgecan Hiz

Global Account Manager @ Wings4U & Experienced Inbound Marketer

 

First and foremost, please tell me a brief background about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m Elif – I was born and raised (mostly) in Ankara, Turkey, and have lived in a variety of cities over my lifetime: Indiana, Arizona, Montreal, Istanbul and Bodrum. I’m still not in my final location and in search of my ‘soulmate city’.

 

I completed my undergraduate degree in Political Sciences and Economics at McGill University and returned to Istanbul to kickstart my career in the corporate world. Doing an MBA degree at Bilgi University later helped me explore my passion in business: I was hooked onto content marketing. Soon after, my knowledge of content grew and I found myself in the wondrous world of inbound marketing. On a daily basis, my entrepreneurial mind and passion for inbound are working together to create adventurous ideas. On top of my daily job as a marketer, I mentor teams on how to build their brands and establish presence for their business.

 

I live to travel more, write more and experience more of this beautiful world we live in. My goal in life is to support and inspire people to discover and live the life that makes them happy.

 

Interesting fact: I severely hated pistachios and peanuts until I was 21 and gave a hard time to anyone who brought me food with these nuts in it. Now, I cannot imagine a life without peanuts and peanut butter! 😀

On your personal blog, you mention that you were sent away to Montreal from Turkey when you were just 17, tell me a little more about that and how it shaped who you are today.

It was one of the life-changing decisions and I am so glad my parents supported me to do this. I was studying in an international high school in Turkey and had quite some experience with traveling abroad. However, I had never lived alone and did not travel on my own before.

 

I was really excited for the chance to study at McGill University, but way too scared at the same time. First year ended up being quite tough in terms of adaptation and accepting the fact that I had a totally new life! But fast forward a few years, I was so thankful for the experience and I had become a much stronger, confident and open-minded individual. The fact that today I can comfortably say ‘I can live and find my way anywhere in the world’ has its roots from that big move. 🙂

So you work for Wings4U, what do they do, what is your role there and how were you able to land that position?

Wings4U is a digital marketing agency focusing in the B2B segment and has a fully remote team, distributed across the globe. We design and deliver marketing programs with focus on content and inbound to support our clients with their business growth and lead generation goals.

 

In 2016 summer, I was living in Istanbul and was fed up with the traffic of the city (as most inhabitants are). I decided to look for a remote opportunity in the inbound marketing field, which was my passion and was lucky enough to come across the exact role I was looking for. I initially joined Wings4U to work on one client project specifically. Over time, I started to support the internal marketing efforts and later my role evolved into Global Account Manager. For the past year, I’ve been responsible for designing new marketing offers and successful execution of digital marketing programs for our clients. Nowadays, I am shifting into a new and independent journey and will continue my career as a consultant and mentor.

What is the most challenging part about remote work, any advice how you overcome them?

I think the challenge about remote work really depends on the person’s personality. For me, it is being lonely and not having the chance to socialize during the day. I’m a person who likes to separate work and social time and really focus on work in silence until I’m done or satisfied with it. In my previous corporate jobs, I used to see the lengthened coffee/smoke breaks as a waste of time because people always finished their work late and complained about it. And I didn’t understand this because they were losing so much time on these breaks! 😀

 

However, I do miss the human interaction that is something lacking in remote work. For the sake of being efficient, we start most of the meetings by directly jumping into the subject before checking in on how everyone is, or how their weekend went, etc. To overcome this, we started ‘virtual coffee sessions’ with a couple of colleagues where we take 10-15 minutes every once in a while to catch up and connect on a personal level. Additionally, the mentoring sessions that we did as a team really helped too!  

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What is your favorite part about remote work?

Easy one 🙂 Work is no longer something that limits my location! Traveling is my passion since I was a little child and I love not being limited to the annual vacation days to travel.

 

I have been able to travel to 15+ cities in 9+ countries across the world over the 1.5 years.

 

Bonus: it teaches you to be independent and to rely on your skills and continuously grow yourself.

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What is the your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to and would you care to share some pictures? 😀

I’m lucky that I had the chance to travel to some beautiful places, but I guess my favorite will be Cape Town – it was love at first sight! Such a relaxed, fun, happy city with beautiful nature. And amazing food!

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Tell us your craziest travel experience ever.

 

In February 2017, we decided to move to Bali for a few months with my husband – it was a crazy decision itself, but I’ll continue on with the crazy travel experience! 🙂 We did not close our home in Istanbul, but wanted to experience living in a place where we wouldn’t have the chance to do so, later on in our lives.

There was no defined return date and we just wanted to see how things would go. We decided to be very open to whatever life would bring our way – staying in Bali for some time, then moving to another city/country in the region if we felt like it. Anyhow, we spent a few days searching for a house to settle in and I swear – we found a dream home! It was picture-perfect – windows from ceiling to floor, spacious, had a pool, fantastic kitchen and even a spare room if any of our friends would decide to come visit us. Too good to be real, haha. On the first evening, there was a crazy monsoon (it was rain season) and everything started to turn into a nightmare! With so much rain outside, all of the insects and reptiles in the garden wanted to join the party inside and invaded our house! Snakes, geckos, bugs, giant ants (hundreds of them) were flowing in and 2 people were not enough to deal with them all, so we even had to call for help! I swear it was like a movie scene and I couldn’t wait until the sunrise!

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Any final bits of advice for our audience wanting to work remotely or live the digital nomad lifestyle?

The #digitalnomad photos on Instagram don’t reflect the full reality, so don’t be fooled by these. There’s always two sides to the medallion and it’s not always Instagram-friendly 🙂 Make sure you understand what remote work entails, how it’s different from a regular job, how you should prepare yourself and what the challenges are. Can you comfortably say that this work structure fits your personality and expectations? Then give it a try! But if you don’t trust yourself enough to raise the bar of self-discipline, I’d recommend to think again.

Please share your bio, profile, social links, books, courses etc.

Website: https://iamelif.com

https://medium.com/@eohiz

https://www.linkedin.com/in/elifozgecanhiz/

https://twitter.com/eozgecelik

https://www.instagram.com/eocelik/

 

 

 

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