Interview with Yann Graf, entrepreneur in Basel, Switzerland.
[Dit interview is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands]
Teleworking, everyone is talking about it, with good reason. In many cases it is the solution for the increasing problems with commuting, costs of housing, work-life balance, and many others.
There are a lot of theoretical cases and studies that compare the advantages and the disadvantages. While those cases are valuable, we might forget that there are real-life cases to be studied. The people already teleworking can be interviewed. That’s exactly what I did with Yann Graf.
Who is Yann Graf?
Yann, can you tells us a bit more on who you are and what it is that you do?
Yann is not only an entrepreneur who is teleworking, he is also an international entrepreneur. After his studies Yann worked as a freelance web-developer in e-commerce in Switzerland. After this he became an employee for about 5 years. Then he decided to go live in the Netherlands for a couple of years before moving back to Switzerland. This time he went to live in Basel, the German speaking part of the country. As Yann is from the French speaking part of the country, he is once again, some kind of, an expat.
Yann specializes in online communication and brand building. He helps corporations building their online identity. From website, over newsletters to social media advertising, Yann has got you covered.
What is your current work regime?
At this moment I have not yet found my cruise speed in working. The hours I work depend on the kind of project I’m working on. I feel like I should at least work 8 hours a day, while growing my business. Generally speaking you could say I work between 30 and 50 hours a week.
What is your ideal regime?
In the end I would like to work for 4 days a week and save 1 day to do absolutely creative projects. I value the freedom to do these kind of projects more than I value income. These creative projects can go from photography to designing and do not include using the computer. When working as an employee I didn’t have time for these creative projects and this was bad for my motivation in the long run.
Why are you entrepreneur?
What do you value most in being an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur I can do different kind of projects. One day I’m working on an advertising project, the other I’m defining the online identity for a large corporation. This change in what I do keeps me motivated.
I also have time for one creative day per week. On this day it is not about work, just about using my creativity. This takes away the stress and gives me a fresh mind towards my projects.
Where is your desk? Or should I ask, where are your desks?
I have 4 places I use to work:
- Co-working place 1
- Co-working place 2
- My desk at home
- Café, train, …
I used to have quit some travel time. I used this time to get work done. The train can be an silent place where it is nice to concentrate.
What is the difference between the two co-working places?
The first one is a new office, it is really fresh, has a modern design that I like. The people that come here are a bit different than the ones I meet in the second co-working place. In the first place I see more creative people like designers. The second co-working place has a start-up Academy and an incubator. Start-ups can get coaching for their business. The people that come here are more directed to businesses.
What environment do you prefer to work in?
I prefer to work in the first co-working place. As it is quit new, there is not that much noise and movement. This makes it easier to concentrate. It helps because I know I’m there to work. And there are no tasks that I can do instead of working. At home there is always something I can do between two tasks, but in the end this takes up more time than I planned. At home I also take longer lunches, which takes time from my work schedule.
What do you do to concentrate if there is a lot of noise or movement?
When I really want to concentrate I put on my headphones. I usually work with music. It helps me, and I choose the type of music depending on what kind of work I do, or on the moment of the day.
Where do you get inspired most?
That would be in a café. There is always something happening there. In the research phase of a project I like to go to cafés as they are not so empty. There is more input in this kind of environment.
You use cafés for work that requires inspiration, and co-working spaces or your home office for concentrated work. Does every place have its purpose?
Yes, definitely. I choose the environment I work in depending on what is on my schedule. I use this to optimize my schedule.
When you go to the co-working places to concentrate, do you still procrastinate some tasks?
Yes, the co-working place is not enough to prevent procrastination. There are always more pleasant tasks on my list that I prefer doing over my current task.
How do you solve this?
For each important task I fix a deadline. The deadline prevent me from procrastinating.
Nice! Do you have some final advice for the readers of this blog?
Yes, I suggest having a routine.
I have a monthly To-do list, both for personal and professional goals. I review my goals every day and check what went good and what went wrong (could have gone better). From this I define my goals to put on top of my To-do list for the next working day.
That is a very efficient routine. Do you also have yearly goals?
Yes, I also have yearly goals. That is where I distil my monthly goals from.
Do you also review these more than once a year?
In the document where I keep my monthly goals, I have the yearly goals on top. So every day when I scroll down to define my tasks I also see the yearly goals. This way they stay fresh in my mind every day.
That is a very nice way to keep a tight focus on your most important tasks Yann. Thank you so much for this inspiring interview. I’m sure the readers from my blog will see value in your responses.