This post is part of our new interview series highlighting some great new products out there for remote workers and digital nomads alike!
Joining us at RemoteKit for an interview is Chris Cerra, who runs RemoteBase.co. Chris took some time away from finding you Airbnb deals to tell us about his product, which finds discounted, longer-term Airbnb rentals ideally suited to digital nomads! RemoteBase first caught our eye when we featured it in our Kit’s Best Ways for Digital Nomads to Find Great Housing.
We hope you enjoy this conversation with Chris, and be sure to check out RemoteBase.co.
Question 1: How would you describe your product and who is it for?
RemoteBase is an email newsletter, providing subscribers with a list of Airbnb listings I’ve found that are available with monthly, long-stay, or early-bird (or even some combination of those) discounts.
It’s essentially for the entire location independent community, especially those who like to find good deals, and take care of their finances. Given the nature of availability on Airbnb, it’s perfect for people looking 1-3 month bookings – but as the community grows, I’d like to be able to include other platforms, and cater for other lengths of stay more effectively.
When I launched the newsletter, I had remote-workers and ‘digital nomads’ in mind as the audience, but I’ve found our subscribers range from the full-time travel ‘digital nomads’, people who work remotely from home, but taking a few months out of the year to travel and work. There’s also people extending holidays with a week or 2 of remote-work – I think that’s quite cool!
Question 2: How is your service able to find lower price Airbnb stays? For a skeptical potential RemoteBase customer, can you explain your deal sourcing process and how you achieve your results?
At the moment, it isn’t possible to have a technical integration with Airbnb that will surface all the listings that meet the RemoteBase search criteria. I look for ‘Entire Place’ listings, as opposed to a room in a house, along with essentials for longer term living, like Air Conditioning, Wifi, Kitchen, and Laundry.
When you search for these criteria, the discount type/amount still isn’t displayed until you open the listing and input dates, so I find all the RemoteBase deals by setting the filters, dates, and locations – then looking through the listings to see which ones are available with monthly, long-stay, and early bird (or some combination) of discounts.
It takes a long time, but I have a list of all those I’ve found since starting to work remotely, and with over 4 million listings on Airbnb, my list keeps growing. Frustratingly though, I have to regularly check which ones are available for booking, and if the host is still offering a discount (sometimes they remove the discount – or even the listing)!
Question 3: Based on your experience with finding these nomad housing leads, what advice would you have for individuals who are looking for the right remote work housing or coliving/coworking?
Everyone thrives in a different environment, some people travel and work continuously, others only travel for 3 or 6 months of the year. So each scenario is different, just like each person is different. Most people will think a lot about what stuff they need, like wifi, but less about what they want. I would encourage you to think about what you want from your experience. Want to network like crazy? Great, maybe co-living would be an awesome way to meet people. Want a calm environment where you can do some very focussed work, or have space and time to reflect? Maybe look for an apartment out of the city. Ultimately, think about the experience you’d like to have in a place, rather than the features or amenities it has. A good way to do this is visualising an entire week there and what it entails.
Question 4: How did you get started in this area?
So, RemoteBase came about as my girlfriend (who also works remotely) and I would spend such a long time searching for places for us to stay while we were traveling and working. More searching lead to more deals found, and eventually I started putting them in a list. Working remotely and being able to travel has had such a considerable and positive impact on my lifestyle and my sense of fulfillment, and I wanted to help others achieve this.
An email newsletter seemed like the best way to get these deals out there for others to take advantage of!
Question 5: Describe your own remote work setup? What works well for you to be productive, and what advice do you have for those launching a new remote career?
At my day job, my work is quite varied, so sometimes I’m in complete focus mode, while other times, I’m on the phone talking with my team, or with clients. To be productive, I just need an environment where I can do those things, and thankfully I can achieve that almost anywhere with a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. Visual distractions seem to be quite effective in taking me off track, so I try to choose places to work that aren’t too busy – an average footfall coffee shop is probably my limit in terms of things going on around me. I’ve also learned that a cute dog will steal my heart 100% of the time.
If you’re launching a new remote career, I would say spend some time thinking, really asking yourself: “What do I need to be productive”, “What will I do when I feel unproductive?”, “What’s the worst thing about having an unproductive afternoon?”
The aim should be to first understand what conditions you work well in, so you can try to create that for yourself, but also what things throw you off, and how to deal with that when it inevitably happens. Don’t fool yourself into believing you’re a machine. You aren’t; you’re a human, and your productivity will ebb and flow, and that’s fine – just capitalise on it when you’re in a complete state of flow!
There’s tons of tools and gear out there which I won’t go into too much detail on, everyone has a preference, and you’ll figure this out as you go – but first, you have to ‘go’.