Few days ago, my dear, Yuko Fujisawa aka Wasabi interviewed a freelancer, Joshua Steinberg.
Joshua started freelancing after quitting Google.
I thought the interview contained a lot of information for people who want to start freelancing and it helps people who are curious about working/quitting a large company such as Google.
She is from Tokyo and currently living in Berlin as a freelancer.
For more about her please check her social media.
He is from New York, and has been living in Tokyo for 5 years.
He quit google at the beginning of 2017 and is now planning to work in Berlin as a freelancer.
Work experience in Google
10 years ago, Joshua started to work in Google after graduating from his university.
His first office was in Michigan.
The reason why was that he wanted to live and work in California.
And that’s where Google HQ is located at.
The job interview was in California, however the job offer assigned him to work in the Michigan office.
Working in different places
In 2010, he moved to San Fransisco, California in order to start working in a new team.
While working in San Fransisco, he thought that he had to have an advantage in order to work for a large and global company such as Google and move abroad.
Also, he wanted to challenge himself and try learning a new language.
Through networks in his work, he connected with the director of one of Google business in Asia Pacific and got a job offer.
Then he moved to Tokyo in 2013.
Joshua quit Google on January, 2017.
He thought it was the right time to quit after working for a long time in there.
Also, he’d had in mind quitting sometime in the future for a new challenge, that is not working in another big company.
After leaving Google he made a world trip for 6 month with his girlfriend who also works in Google.
It was what they’d been dreaming and planned since before.
Idea of starting freelancing
The trip was fun and he wanted to continue doing things like that.
He had been feeling like he didn’t belong anywhere.
That’s the reasons why he decided to start freelancing.
It was not the end of the world
One of the things I surprised was that after having left Google, on the next day the world didn’t fall apart.
In his own words, you don’t have to be worried of a new start because even though leaving a big company, the world won’t change.
At the same time, he realized that leaving offers him so many opportunities.
Why move to Berlin?
During his trip around the world, Joshua re-connected with old friends from Google.
Meeting with his old friend in Berlin is the reason why he is a part of Wysker now; an online shopping & discovery app.
He advises them using his experience from Google.
Through his trip he found Berlin is an attractive place.
He and his girlfriend have been talking about moving away from Tokyo one day.
Visas in Japan
He got sponsored with the professional services visa via Google.
He suggested that another example to get sponsored is getting employed by an English school. Applying through a teaching English program from your country.
So far, there’s no freelancer visa in Japan.
However once you get sponsored, you can self-extend as a freelancer.
He is trying to go through this process just in case his girlfriend has to return to Google, Tokyo.
Work and Life in Japan as a foreigner
He said learning a new language is challenging, however, one of the reasons why he came to Japan was to try a new language, so it didn’t really bothered him.
He thinks Tokyo is an incredible place to live.
It has a lot of number of things to do, and the city always has energy.
The other reason was that, the living cost is lower compared to San Francisco.
Other things that helped him
More personal, his easy-going personality always helps him attach anywhere.
And spending most of his time in a great workplace helped make his life in Japan easier.
Maintain your connections
According to Joshua, the most important thing is to keep and get new connections.
From his experience, he always keeps in touch with people in Google and maintains those connections.
And it brought him to a new opportunity, such as moving to Tokyo and being part of his friend’s workplace in Berlin.
Those opportunities came through both luck and his personality.
Mostly, working in such a unique company, Google itself helped him in getting opportunities.
He said that when working at Google, your social and professional life there over-wraps and there are a lot of unique people there.
How to keep clients constantly
Freelancing is still new to him, so Joshua is still figuring it out.
Fortunately, he joined Wysker, which is a young, promising and growing company.
He thinks there should be demands and requests that require some of the skills he learned at Google. Such as; digital media, digital marketing, business development and digital technology spaces.
How to overcome a fear from freelancing
With his easy-going personality, Joshua overcomes his fear.
He believes that there is an opportunity in any case.
Joshua talked about the importance of being creative as a freelancer.
When you’re working in a high work organization, you know what exactly your role is and what you are expected to do within the organization.
However, once you leave there, you have to think for yourself and be creative.
When he left Google he thought there are unlimited ways to be creative.
How to become creative
The world trip helped Joshua realize the way to creativeness.
He and his girlfriend were thinking about how to make their world trip original and creative.
Traveling by ship was one of their ideas.
And while they were traveling, they got an idea of opening a pop up Vietnamese sandwich shop in Bali and he says it was the coolest thing he did in their trip.
From this experience, he realized that ideas just come to you so you don’t have to force yourself, but you need to put yourself in a situation where you can be inspired.
We don’t know where and when an idea will come, but you should put yourself somewhere that makes you feel uncomfortable or not familiar with, meet new people and go to places.
He concluded that’s how creativity comes from.
Things to do before freelancing
He didn’t really plan or did groundwork because after he quit Google he wanted some time to just relax.
Already having a connection with Wysker was another reason he didn’t actually plan.
Connecting and maintaining networks, relationship and friendship were kind of his groundwork.
He advised that planning is important, but you don’t need to be exactly sure about what you can do.
In my opinion, the key in his life is maintaining relationship with people. He puts effort to keep connecting with people but also, his easy going personality helped him a lot.
I was impressed by what he said; ideas or opportunities come to you but you don’t know when and what, so you don’t have to force yourself about knowing or finding what exactly you want or reaching it.
And his words helped me a lot.
I learned that you need to keep in touch with people and put yourself somewhere you feel inspired, or get out from your comfort zone.
*All images used with permission of Yuko Fujisawa and Joshua Steinberg