We met with Aleyda Solis, the founder of SEO and digital marketing consultancy, Orainti. She is also a speaker and a blogger for a number of marketing publications including Moz, State of Digital and Search Engine Land.
Orainti operates as an Anywhere company and has obtained numerous high-profile clients, including, Under Armour, Eastpak and Kipling.
Aleyda has experienced work flexibility for a large part of her professional life; not only as the owner of Orainti but also as an in-house SEO specialist.
Over the years, her work-style has allowed her to visit and work in New Zealand, Peru and Japan.
Although constant travel can pose challenges, it also brings plenty of rewards. Aleyda’s story shows how having the freedom to travel and work has helped her build an international clientele while creating her dream lifestyle.
ON EXPERIENCES BEFORE THE BUSINESS
Can you tell me a bit about your professional background? What led you to where you are now?
I have been doing SEO since 2007; so a little more than 10 years ago. In the beginning, I was in the typical, traditional office setting of an agency.
In 2011, I was offered a position as an in-house SEO specialist in a distributed company. At some point, later down the line, I started working for an agency that was mainly based in the US.
I was the person that they had in Europe. I was actually the only one who was working remotely; it was a bit challenging.
After building a professional portfolio working for other companies, I decided to start my own marketing and SEO consultancy, called Orainti. Orainti helps to improve a company’s website rank and visibility.
ON THE DECISION TO SET UP THE BUSINESS
What led you to build a company after spending years working for other companies?
Before starting Orainti, I worked for many different companies.
After spending a while doing this and after reaching a certain level of professional maturity, I started to feel that I wanted to have more ownership of things.
Setting up Orainti was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my professional life.
Of course, people would say that there is risk associated with setting up a company. And there is.
However, I would say that it’s a far lower risk than what people might think. The worst-case scenario, I imagined, was that I would need to work again for another company. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s not that bad.
ON SETTING UP AN ANYWHERE COMPANY
Why did you decide that your company would work remotely?
As I was building my own consultancy, I began to realise that one of the things I wanted to keep was the remote setting, the distributed setting.
Why? It would allow me to not only have much more personal flexibility but flexibility around hiring. That is, if I wanted to hire more people or collaborate with more people, it would be easier because I wasn’t restricted to a specific location.
This choice to have a remote company worked in my favour. I started to get clients from all over. My clients and projects didn’t only come from Madrid (where Orianti was based) but from Europe, the US and in Latin America.
All my work is now entirely remote and my co-collaborators at Orainti all work remotely too.
ON BALANCING SIDE PROJECTS
Are there any other projects you are working on aside from Orainti?
I also have a project that I am working on, regarding remote work, called Remoters.
Two years ago, myself, and a colleague, who also does SEO, ended up realising that we were both working in remote settings.
We created the ‘Remoters’ website to give resources and options to people or organisations looking to work remotely.
Why? It can be really scary at the beginning; when your company first makes the transition to remote work.
There can be a lot of uncertainty about whether it is going to work out. We wanted to help ease these fears.
Why is it so important that you spread the word of remote work?
I think that when I started working remotely, I felt that I was lucky to have been able to discover this way of work.
My colleague and I felt that we really needed to make this means of work known to more people.
We started to share the idea of remote work to people who were used to taking the car, the subway or other types of public transportation.
To people who lead a good portion of their lives and time doing things that they don’t actually enjoy, just to comply with a particular type of work setting.
So, you think that people should be fitting their job around their lifestyle rather than the other way around?
For me, it is about having the option, the freedom, the flexibility and the power to choose what you really want to do.
It’s about being able to choose your own path.
ON THE BENEFITS OF FLEXIBLE WORK
Where does the flexibility lie in your career, is it in terms of hours or location or both?
Right now, I have flexibility in many ways. Not only in terms of where I work but flexibility around my schedule at work.
What are the biggest benefits of flexible work?
One of the biggest perks, that I didn’t think of when I first started remote work, was that I have the flexibility to travel a lot.
I love to travel. I make the most out of my time, whenever I go to a conference in a new location.
What words would you associate with flexible working, if you were to choose any words?