Hello! My name is Erica McMannes; I am COO/Founder of Instant Teams. After consulting and building brand growth and user acquisition teams (100% remotely) for startups for five years, I realized a more significant opportunity was sitting there waiting to be tapped.
I had the vision to see businesses have immediate and high-quality access to remote teams while providing those remote positions to underserved talent communities.
So I have been building the infrastructure and technology that places Instant Teams right in the mix of remote team building and management. In my spare time, you can find me learning how to tame a spirited new rescue dog (German Shepherd mix, we joke "the mix" is coyote) or searching for hidden treasures in thrift stores!
Current Computer, Mobile, etc.
Where can we follow you on the Internet?
Describe how you work in 10 words or less?
Strategic and organized. Time and place for everything.
Tell us a little bit about your background & how did you get started with remote work?
I started my professional career as a Child Development Specialist. I worked for the US Army for ten years in family programming, but after two kids and about seven relocations, I hit a lull in my career. That lull happened while we were stationed out in CA, and I was in the bed of Silicon Valley.
I fell into the startup space through a friend of a friend and knew it was immediately where I was supposed to be. The way my brain works, the ability to see a problem and create a solution - instantly energized me, and I haven't stopped for the past decade. I worked for different companies before venturing out on my own and launching Instant Teams in 2016.
What job responsibilities do you have?
As COO, especially in a startup environment, I do a bit of everything. My main daily touchpoints cover Marketing, Finance, People Operations, Customer Success, and Workforce Development, teams. I focus a lot of my day on communications, change management, process orientation, and partnership development.
What's your workspace setup like?
Pretty simple. Standing desk + MacBook + HD camera. Facing out to two windows for sunshine and light!
Aside: You can also look at some of the best headphones for remote work to get some tunes going while working.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can't you live without?
I am pretty tech minimalist for a tech founder when it comes to gadgets and tools, but apps make the world go round! The usual suspects like Slack, Zoom, GDrive are gold. As a remote leader, though, one of my favorite platforms is Fringe (employee perks)! I love the team and benefits program there.
How do you keep track of what you need to prioritize?
Google Calendar. Meticulous tracking of meetings, workday, family events, etc.
Time management is so critical in remote work.
So I work hard to have self-accountability in the visibility of my day for my team and cofounder while fitting it all in the best I can. Each of our company departments also utilizes a duty matrix to have visibility and accountability on "who does what."
How do you recharge or take a break?
I love yard work! Being outside with no screens, no one talking, not having to listen to anything other than nature, and getting my hands in the dirt - renewed every time! I also try to take one Friday morning off a month to hit thrift shops. The thrill of the hunt and tangible search for items is good for my soul.
We also recommend following a daily routine and maintaining a to-do list while working remotely. You can turn the productivity ship around by following simple tips.
What are you reading currently? What do you recommend?
I am working through a trio of books at the moment. Radical Candor, Upstream, and The Five Keys for Mindful Communication. One of my recent favorites as a COO and in our growth phase has been The Messy Middle.
Advice for someone who is looking to switch to a remote job?
Have a very intimate awareness of the type of remote work you need. Remote work doesn't always mean flexibility. So have a solid understanding of what you are looking for and ask the right questions. Succeeding at a remote job interview is not as hard as one might think.
What's your best piece of advice you have received?
I had the opportunity for a 1:1 with a hotel mogul after winning a pitch competition back in 2017. He told me three things that have stuck with me to this day:
- Get yourself an experienced CFO sooner than later.
- Build yourself a brand & identity outside of the company you are building. Some day, if you do it right, you'll sell the company but be able to continue to grow in all you've learned.
- Don't lose your marriage over the demands of founder life.
Happy to say five years in, I have lived up to this advice so far!
What qualities would you recommend are a must-have for a person seeking a remote job?
My top two are Digital readiness and Emotional Intelligence. Hands down - power duo for remote work success. Have to be comfortable navigating technology and self-awareness for workflow, team communication, and self-care.
What, according to you, are the pros and cons of remote work?
PROS: Freedom of work-life balance, continuity of employment when you often move (hello, military community), and opportunities for global connection.
CONS: Easy to work way more than necessary and sometimes just wishing someone was around to grab a coffee or lunch! Apart, we have listed down the major challenges people face while working remotely.
Want to work remotely like Erica? We recommend going over the list of top remote companies hiring, still facing issues searching for a remote job and don't know where to look? We are a remote job board and have the latest jobs posted in various categories to help you. Join like-minded people at our LinkedIn community