Category Archives: Family Business

Working Together, Living Apart: Chapter 2 – The Remote Studio

About six weeks ago, my wife Kelly started her new job in Tucson, Arizona, leaving me to contend with winter back in Maine. Well, a few days ago, I decided I needed a break, so I packed a bag and flew out for a visit. I’m now writing this post from the apartment we’ve dubbed “Slaterville West.”

True to winter’s form, a Nor’easter prevented me from flying back to Maine on my regularly scheduled departure date, leaving me stuck here in Tucson for a few more days. With projects due back home. So it’s been a great opportunity to set up our remote studio and take it on a little test flight. Frankly, I’m amazed at what technology enables us to do.

In addition to my computer and related audio and video editing software — all of which I already had — I’ve invested in two tools that have enabled me to complete all the work I otherwise would have had to push back. The first is a USB-powered Samson C01U microphone. It provides studio-quality sound with only the most minor enhancement needed, and is an absolute steal at about a hundred bucks.

The second: GotoMyPC.com. For an annual fee of $100, I’m able to access my main (or Maine) computer from anywhere, at any time. It’s quite literally like looking through a window into my home office. All my files, programs, e-mail, everything is accessible, usable, and transferable in both directions. Pretty awesome. It was easy to purchase, and easy to install. In fact, with the one radio spot and one TV spot I’m producing this week, both the mic and GotoMyPC will have paid for themselves.

(The view from my AZ computer to my ME computer via gotomypc.com)

As my wife and I prepare to make our permanent move west, there will likely be a lot of travel back and forth between Maine and Arizona over the next six months. I’d had some initial concerns about missing work opportunities due to the technical restrictions that working remotely might present. But it seems like every day there’s a new bit of software, a new equipment upgrade, or a new application that allows us to keep right on going with our lives, no matter where our lives may lead.

So while my travel plans may leave me in warmer climes for a few more days, I must admit, I’m kind of torn. While I’m thrilled that I won’t HAVE to miss any more work, I also won’t GET to miss any, either.

Working Together… Living Apart

Today, Slater’s Garage changed in a pretty significant way.  Kelly Slater (my partner in life and in business) just packed up the car and departed from Maine to start a new job in Arizona.  This is a WELCOMED move – one we’ve been dreaming about, plotting, and planning for a long time, and we’re incredibly excited about the opportunities that moving to a larger (and warmer-weather) media market will bring.

The job offer and subsequent relocation happened very quickly, and during winter in northern New England, which means that for now, it’s not really practical for the rest of the family to make the move.  Our two kids still have to finish college come spring, and listing and selling our house in Maine may take awhile, so the rest of us stayed behind, while Kelly establishes “Slaterville West.”

Like many self-employed people, Kelly and I work pretty closely together.  I brainstorm with her about clients, we co-write many radio and TV scripts, and when we need a female voice for a spot, she’s almost exclusively my go-to person.  Notwithstanding the personal aspect of being apart, this move will also change the way we work.

In addition to my usual posts about media, ads and audio I also plan to share with you some of the facets of being a married couple who works together, but lives apart.  We believe it CAN be done effectively, especially with the availability and simplicity of digital communication, e-mail, phone, Skype, and related applications.

Will there be challenges?  Of course.  Mistakes made?  I expect a few.  But there are other families who’ve made such a dynamic work, and I’m interested in meeting them, and learning what I can from them about better ways to do business together, while living apart.

Keep watching the blog, and we’ll share what we learn along the way!