Episode 38

Tristen Thomas

Taking the Airbnb Challenge Before it Was Cool

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Airbnb recently announced that their employees can work remotely whenever and wherever they want…which is old news for us. So in this episode, Adam and Carlton are joined by Tristen Thomas, their copywriter at HEARD Media who is relocating to Hawaii for the summer. Tristen talks about why she’s going, how she’s thinking about her time away, and how HEARD facilitates work from afar.

Highlights from the conversation:

  • Tristen’s experience working at HEARD (2:39)
  • Entering the workforce as a remote employee (4:54)
  • Why Tristen’s relocating to Hawaii (6:40)
  • Preparing for remote work (8:29)


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Transcription generated by Otter.ai

Adam Vazquez  0:06  

Hey everyone, it’s Adam and I wanted to let you know we’ve got a very special extra episode dropping in the feed today.

You’ll notice it’s Friday, not Wednesday when our normal episodes drop, and that’s because this episode is not normal. In fact, the entire episode is about how not normal we can be sometimes here at Heard.

So, you’ll hear me talking to our copywriter, Tristen Thomas, who has migrated West for part of the summer and is going to be sharing her experience of working from a different part of the world alongside the rest of our team.

Now, Tristen has pretty much been remote the entire time she’s worked with us. And we’ve had Tristen for going on two years now. She actually started as an intern while she was in school finishing her degree, and then graduated to becoming a full-time employee at the beginning of this year. We’re so grateful to have her.

But now she is in a different time zone, in a different space (not her own), and we wanted to document her experience to share here on the show.

You hear about Airbnb, all these companies working from anywhere, we’re doing it as well here at HEARD and we needed to document it. So we’ll talk about why she’s going, how she’s thinking about her time away, and what we can do as a company to help facilitate her work from afar.

As I said, it’s a different episode, but one I think you’ll enjoy. Let’s dive in with Tristen Thomas from Heard Media.

Intro  1:25  

Put that content down. Content. The close is over. What’s your name? Content. That’s my name. You know why, mister? Because you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight. I drove an $80,000 BMW. That’s my name. Content Is for Closers.

Adam Vazquez  1:43  

We’ve got a very special segment here. I’m joined by a very special guest, our very own former intern Tristen, now just “power T,” I think is what we’re calling her, but thanks for joining the show, Tristen.

Tristen Thomas  2:01  

Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

Adam Vazquez  2:03  

So I wanted to have you on for a number of reasons. Number one, you’ve been with us now full-time for six months and before that, maybe a year, I don’t even know. But you can tell us a little bit about that. And then you’re doing something really interesting, moving or re-locating or whatever you wanna call it to Hawaii, basically for the summer. And so we just want to hear about that. That’s unique. It’s different. It’s empowered because we’re able to work remotely as we create content together. We’ll probably check in a few times over the course of the summer on what’s going on over there, how much you’re surfing, all those things. But yeah, just to kick it off, maybe give us what it’s been like working here. How long have you been here?

Tristen Thomas  2:43  

I started as an intern in February of 2021, so I was here all of last year, and then—when I graduated from college last December 2021—came on full-time in January 2022, so almost a year and a half.

Adam Vazquez  2:57  

Yeah, like 18 months. What do you do? Or what have you done? What have you not done (that’s probably easier)? But what have you done workwise for HEARD?

Tristen Thomas  3:07  

I started out as an intern, as you said, doing copywriting, video, graphics— pretty much a whole plethora of things. And then when I came on full-time, it was specifically focused on being a copywriter, so I do a lot of proofreading. Basically any text for our clients, whether it’s transcribing the podcast, whether that’s closed captioning the YouTube videos, whether that’s doing quote cards or audiograms, I’m either writing that—or the copy for social media posts—or proofreading it, especially the podcast transcriptions. Those are mostly proofreading, so doing a lot of skimming for grammatical errors and spellings and that type of thing.

Adam Vazquez  3:41  

How’s it been going from what you were studying to now working full time and having that be your focus as opposed to school like you were doing before?

Tristen Thomas  3:53  

Oh, I absolutely love it. I think I’m still pinching myself. Like, I actually get to do this? Because college was just—for a lot of reasons—really hard for me. Not really not on the academic front but just how much was on my plate. It was just constant pushing, pushing, pushing and trying to do all these things. And I just wanted to get out of that having a whole syllabus of assignments that I couldn’t change. When I graduated, it felt like I went from cross country running with cement shoes to flying in cotton candy cloud-filled skies.

Adam Vazquez  4:25  

This is why she’s our copywriter.

Tristen Thomas  4:28  

Yes, exactly. It was quite the contrast so now I’m still looking around the corner like, “I really get to do this?” Like words. Like everything about me as a person being detail-oriented and then everything I studied in school is directly applied to what I’m doing now. So I’m still looking around like, “I really get to do this? This is a thing?” So it’s been a huge blessing on so many different layers but I’m absolutely loving it.

Adam Vazquez  4:53  

That’s what we love to hear. What about starting as a remote first—or now really remote only—employee. It’s your first full-time job and so was that difficult for you? Obviously, you don’t know what it would have been like to be in the office every day to compare to, but do you feel like you were able to catch up to speed, to learn the things that you wanted to learn? Only, again, being six months in, but how has that been so far?

Tristen Thomas  5:19  

Yeah, it’s been a little bit of a different experience for me because my dad has his own business and my dad’s been working at home for most of my life, so remote work has been a thing that’s been on my radar since I was very young. So I think that’s where I come in with a little bit of a different perspective of knowing like, okay, we have a corner of the office and when Dad needs to do X, Y, or Z, we need to be quiet, or this is his time to work, that type of thing. So it was more so of like, oh, I could do that, too. Like, I don’t have to go do your typical nine to five— which, just who I am as a person, I think I work better having a typical nine to five, but being able to incorporate both of those where I can set my own schedule and be at home, it was more so of like, oh, I get to be home like my dad was home as well. It’s been another one of those layers of blessing upon blessing.

Adam Vazquez  6:05  

Yeah. I do think that you have been uniquely ready for something like this. I think for a lot of people it could have been difficult to come into a first job without having a ton of experience in any industry and then trying to start a first job and needing instruction and whatever. Having you as an intern for a year, essentially, before you became full-time was great. And then your experience obviously with your dad, so that’s a good transition. Why are you moving to Hawaii? And what are you going to be doing over there?

Tristen Thomas  6:38  

We’re not moving. So one of my parent’s goals for me and my siblings was to get us to every single one of the 50 states. We started the summer before my freshman year of high school, just get in the van, two months starting in May, we drove to California and back. And then the next summer, we drove to Canada and back. And then the next summer— and so on, and so on it went. We’ve been to every state in the U.S. except for Hawaii, so this is the last one. I just graduated from college, my brother is graduating from high school this Friday, my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary is this summer, and then with COVID restrictions falling back, it was like, this is the time to go. So we’ve been saving up for a long time, planning for a long time and with all the things just lighting up, it’s like, okay, this is our time to go, taking advantage of it and then going to see everything that we can see. My family’s not one that— we don’t like to be rushed, we don’t like having to squeeze all the things in and just dip our toe in the ocean and go. We want to be able to experience the hole in the wall restaurants, we want to be able to meet the people, experience the culture, and have time where we can get away from your typical postcard tourist trap type things and get to experience the actual what it’s like to live there. So finding mutual friend connections or different types of communities down there and really getting plugged in so we can experience it from an everyday kind of thing versus just a vacation kind of perspective.

Adam Vazquez  8:02  

Yeah, it’s so cool. I love your family’s intent behind having done this all the years that you’ve done it, obviously doing it now. And I think it’s also pretty cool that it all— We weren’t always a fully remote company. We were since you’ve been here, but that transition happened over the last three, four years. And then we brought you on and timing wise it couldn’t be more perfect. What are you thinking about as you prepare for a summer not just remote, but like a different time zone? Do you have any concerns or anything that you’re thinking about from that?

Tristen Thomas  8:43  

I’m more so concerned with just how I’m built as a person. I’m very much needing to be in my space. I’m a person who takes in what’s around me, I have very high input, so I work best when I’m in a place where I’m very familiar with the surroundings so there’s not much to take in. So my concern for being gone over the summer is that I’m going to be in a new place every day and seeing new things and meeting new people so there’s going to be a lot of things coming into my head and I’m not going to be able to focus as best I can. So I’m trying to prepare for that by taking as much off my plate as possible so the only thing I have to do is whatever sightseeing is happening, and then my assignments for our clients. So just thinking ahead of like, “Okay, I’ve gone on road trips before, I’ve worked remotely before, let’s think through how this works” and trying to set myself up for success in that regard so that there can be no stress and therefore I will be able to actually enjoy being there while still being productive and getting what I need to get done.

Adam Vazquez  9:42  

Yeah, I’m excited about that. We have now almost 24-hour coverage between you being in Hawaii, our team here in the East Coast and Midwest, and then Jim, our video editor, is in the Philippines. So between you and him, I felt like we’ll have it pretty much covered. That’ll be really exciting and I think it’ll be a great experience for you, and I think it’ll be a great experience for our company. We’ve toyed with this, we’ve continued to lean more into remote work and having a dispersed team. But we haven’t had it, to this point, where someone who’s so integral in the day-to-day like you are is in a timezone behind hours. So it’s gonna be a good challenge, and it’s gonna be a good exercise for us to figure out like, okay, what are the best times to me? What are the best times to set up client briefings, those types of things so that we can scale out in the future for other people who want to test different places. And the original reason I wanted to have you on is Airbnb made this huge thing, oh, you can work anywhere. I’m like, that’s old news for us. We’ve been doing that forever, but there is a lot that we can learn and a lot that I think you will help us learn as we go through summer together. So we’ll definitely be checking in with you maybe once or twice when you have an off day or something and are in one spot. But yeah, anything else that you wanted to share before we jump off?

Tristen Thomas  11:09  

I’m excited.

Adam Vazquez  11:09  

Stay tuned. We’ll probably have another check in some time midway through next month. And then we’ll see from there how it goes, but safe travels and hopefully we’ll catch up with you soon.

Tristen Thomas  11:20  

All right.

Carlton Riffel  11:21  

And that’s a wrap. Thank you for listening to this episode of Content Is for Closers. We hope you find this show really helpful as you grow your business with content. Maybe you know of other people who would find this show helpful as well. How about you send them our way? If you didn’t like this show and you want to tell us that, then you can head over to contentisforclosers.com where you can send us a message, give us some feedback, ask questions, or find detailed notes for every episode. Until next time, keep creating and keep closing.