After dropping out of college in my third year, I started working at a life coaching business in West Hollywood. My daily commute was 2 hours and I hated it. I felt like I was wasting my life away sitting in traffic. Anytime I sat in my car and we weren't moving, I felt a piece of my soul dying.
Despite the commute, I was always driven by hard work and it paid off. I got promoted to be the marketing manager of the company within 3 months of starting.
There was so much work to do and within a few months of my promotion, I feared I was going to lose my job. I started falling behind on work, losing clients and stressing out.
I had to figure out a way to become more productive and get ahead at work. Through my research, I read about people working from home and how they found themselves to be more productive. At first, I scoffed at the idea and I never thought that you could be more productive at home. I needed co-workers, an office, and that environment to get stuff done.
One Thursday night, I left the office around 8:30pm and I was hoping most of the traffic had died down so I could see my grandparents in Orange County which is about an hour south of LA with no traffic. It was their last day in the country before they would go to Vietnam for a year to enjoy their retirement.
I was about to hit the 101 freeway and then...I saw the sea of red lights. Traffic! At a complete standstill.
I was furious! I stayed longer at the office so I could skip traffic and here I am....stuck.
I called my grandparents in the car and told them I couldn’t make it and that I will see them when they’re back. They were obviously disappointed they couldn't see me and I could hear it in their voice how sad they were. Who knows, it could have been the last time I would ever see them.
That really hurt me. This is when I realized something had to change. Every day I felt like I was wasting my life sitting in traffic and missing out on life. This wasn't the American Dream I was going after. During that drive home, I remembered that article on working from home. What if I could convince my boss that I could work from home? That would save me a lot of time.
The next day I walked into my boss’ office. “Nick, I was thinking of maybe working from home for one day a week for a quarter. As an experiment to see if I can be just as productive. What do you think?”
He never liked the idea of people working from home. He had always worked in an office for over 30 years and expected everyone else to do the same. I immediately walked out of his office feeling stupid I even asked him that.
Yet I was also sick and tired wasting my life sitting in traffic. The thought of looking for a different job came across my mind but this was 2009 when the economy was still in a recession. There weren’t many jobs available. I also dropped out of school to work here and didn’t have a great resume.
But I was convinced I could be just as productive working from home compared to me being at the office. So every now and then I would subtly bring it up with my boss. After dozens of hints, he finally caved in! “Okay Thanh, let’s give it a try for a quarter for one day a week and see how it goes. If it doesn’t go well, you’re gonna be here in the office and I will never ever hear you talk about working from home again.”
Every Wednesday I would work from home. My level of excitement was through the roof. The first Wednesday I stayed home, I slept in for the first time in years during the week and celebrated by wearing my pajamas all day. I had all the intention to get work done and by the end of the day...nothing got done. I had a todo list, I knew exactly what I needed to do, and I still didn’t get it done.
I didn’t want to squander this opportunity and look like I was behind on work. Even though on the outside the work from home experiment worked, it was because I was working on the weekends in the office to catch up because I couldn’t be productive working from home.
I had to figure out how to be productive working from home. It took months of experimentations and hundreds of different lifehacks to figure out how to get stuff done at home. I finally stopped working on the weekends at the office and I was able to get more done on Wednesdays than the other days at the office.
My boss started to notice it too how much more productive I was at home. When I eventually left that job, I told myself that I would never work in an office again. I cracked the code to working productively from home and this is how I’m going to live my life going forward. It’s what motivated me to start Asian Efficiency, the business I have today where we help people become more productive at work and in life.
I’ve been working from home for 11 years now and through Asian Efficiency we have 1.5 million annual readers, two million podcast downloads a year, and we have served over 15,000 clients all over the world.
When I was sitting in traffic in LA 11 years ago, I had no idea this was possible what we have done today. I thought this working from home thing was only reserved for those young kids with online ventures but it couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve helped executives in Fortune 500 companies, managers and leaders in traditional industries such as accounting, construction, agriculture, and the health care system. Heck, I’ve even helped librarians transition to work from home!
Whether you’re a single mom, a family man, fresh out of college, or about to retire - we’ve helped all sorts of people from all over the world to be able to work from home and be Asian Efficient.
The American Dream to me is being able to help you live your life to its fullest potential. That means spending quality time with your family and friends. To make memories together so when you’re old, you can look back and say you lived a life with no regrets. I don’t think there’s a better way to do that than to work from home.
This is what allowed me to live my life to its fullest potential and now through the Asian Efficiency platform, I want to help others do the same.
It’s been eleven years now since I worked in an office and can’t imagine ever working in an office again. I want to give you the same opportunity.
That's why we're hosting a free, live training on how to be productive working from home (without going crazy). Most of us are stuck at home right now and are struggling to be productive. Let me help you and give you all the tools, strategies and schedules you need to be productive at home so you don't have to figure it out on your own.
Here's the link to register for the upcoming training. Remember, it's free and it's our way to help you and give back. During this live training, I'll share with our 3-Step Work From Home Blueprint that allows anyone to be productive working from home.
Whether you are only working part-time, full-time or are thinking of working from home, there's something in it for you.
See you there!
-Thanh & the Asian Efficiency team
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