On this episode of Talent Talks, our exclusive series where we invite solo talents from the Ruul community to have a chat about their journey, we are welcoming Hismaldy Santos, a solo community and content specialist based in Spain. Just like many fellow solopreneurs, Hismaldy has many strings to her bow from journalism and content curation to community management and digital design.Dive in for an inspiring dialogue on transitioning from 9 to 5 to solo work, moving to another country to start a new life, and the role autonomy plays.
We are very grateful to have you on Talent Talks, Hismaldy. Could you introduce yourself and your work a bit to our readers?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story here.Hello! As you mentioned, my name is Hismaldy (my grandfather was very creative, as myself). I come from the Dominican Republic and I have been living in Madrid for three years now. I consider myself to be a very dedicated person, eager to contribute. I am passionate about art, being keen on cinema and photography. I also love books, especially classical literature, which is what inspired me to become a journalist.
How did you find your way to content creation, community management, and social media management? What makes you enthusiastic about these fields?
I wanted to turn around the abilities I had acquired as I was studying journalism and adapt them to what the market was demanding.After graduating, I went straight to a call center. One day I said to myself "Hismaldy, you went to college for 4 years to prepare for something!" As I decided to answer my own wake-up call, I began to study digital marketing in depth, being able to touch each of the areas that are related to content development. When I enrolled in community management, I also found a way to combine my previous experience in customer service and put it into action in the digital marketing field.
Autonomy, that is having control over how and when you work, is important for most creative professionals. Is that the case for you, and did that contribute to your choosing to do solo work?
Absolutely. I have always had a solo worker mentality from a very young age.That inner desire pushed me to pursue more autonomy as I grew on professionally. Then, I coped with the facts: Most of the time I came to the workplace with my own equipment and whenever I was being hired, I preferred using it, because it was more updated or it was better suited to my work style. Finding autonomy helped me extend my services and enrich my portfolio.
What part of being a solo talent do you enjoy the most?
What I enjoy most – and pardon me if I get a little cliché on this one – is having the freedom to live wherever I want with a reliable source of income to support myself financially. Being a solo talent also opens a window when doors are closed.At least it has been my experience. For instance, when the whole world was on lockdown due to the pandemic I could collaborate with companies I’ve only dreamed of because they had to outsource marketing services.
You mentioned that you’re currently located in Spain, but are originally from the Dominican Republic. What factors played a role in your decision to move to another country?
Being an expat has been on my mind from a very young age, which is kind of surprising in my case because I had every possible commodity back home (including excellent weather all year long) and a good corporate job. One major factor was… I had to. Yes, back in 2019 I won a scholarship to study abroad in Spain.The second was hearing a successful story from a colleague (Drey, if you ever read this, thank you!) on how he made it here, sharing his good vibes and pointing out how the policy towards immigrants was changing for good. Last but not least was analyzing some other facts: I was young, single, with no kids. I had the privilege of only thinking about myself and the risks I could take.
Did you face any hardships during or after your move to Spain?
I think during our lifetime we have to learn how to cope with difficult times. Moving abroad definitely came with some challenges, especially during COVID-19. At first, it was about understanding a different system, and culture, but then… As you may imagine, that became minor. I had to learn how to function in a frozen economy. World. I had the following insight: if we are all in the same situation, then I could apply to positions in and outside of Madrid. Which allowed me to find a steady job during the lockdown and further when we were allowed to move inside the country.It has been quite a journey but I enjoy it with its bumps and all.
How do you find Spain in terms of legal regulations around solo work, taxes and digital nomadism?
I find it very open in contrast to other countries. Of course, I still need to get acquainted with many regulations in the matter. Based on my experience, it is accessible to sustain a digital nomad lifestyle here.
The trend of digital nomadism seems to be gaining traction every day. Although traveling the world freely while ruling your business is enticing, we are sure there must be some difficulties that come with that lifestyle. What are your suggestions to freelancers that are considering relocating to another country?
Thinking about settling in another country entails multiple steps, which - being honest - I didn’t apply in order or at all. (And I’m still here! So you can make it too).It’s important to do minimum research on country/city culture, available services, and how much on average is required for you to maintain your lifestyle. Come prepared with a savings fund.I would also advise that if you already have a trusted client portfolio, don’t let them go. It will require, of course, organization, and taking care of your schedules and tasks, but it is possible to achieve it.Last but not least, bet on your strengths and you will be able to get new clients, little by little.
When did you first start using Ruul? Can you tell us about how using an all-in-one worktech platform helps your solo business?
I started using Ruul by reference of other solo talents so kudos on your marketing! Because you’re in the word of mouth of the freelancer community.I was surprised to see how accessible the service is and how it worked so easily. When it comes to providing personal information and a bank account, I have to admit I’m still a little old-fashioned but being that it was so well-recommended and practical, I decided to give Ruul a try.It was love at first sight (or use). For me, it was a tool that allowed me to continue doing my work without complications and assured me that most of my income would go to me.
Do you think being part of a community has advantages for freelancers? Beyond networking, what were the instances where you sought help from your fellow solo professionals?
I have asked for help when I have felt overwhelmed. For me being a solo professional could be exhausting when my goal was achieving the same stability that I had with my 9 to 5 job.At a certain point, you realize that stability comes from yourself. Also, like everyone else, I am very comfortable with some aspects of autonomy and there are others that I still have to master. Almost all of them have to do with administrative and financial tasks.I'm also very collaborative and empathic. Meaning, I understand that everyone has priorities, mine is to be useful to my community so when people reach out to me for advice, I know how to put things on hold and help.As a solo worker, I have come to realize this is the path of many and that probably every inquiry I have has a solution already.For example, there was a time when I felt I was up against a wall: I thought that I would have to stop being part of a project because the company didn't have a way to pay me. I asked my colleagues how they were managing their payments and they introduced me to Ruul.
What do you think people should consider before starting freelancing and building a solo business?
I think one of the most important things is that you set clear limits. If you have chosen the solo business path, it is to gain quality of life, not to lose it.It is also important to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small you think they are. I know there is a stage in every freelancer's life at which you have to balance your traditional job and your freelance gigs at the same time. Know when your solo business is stable and running on its own to gain freedom.
Thank you for your invaluable insights. Where can Ruulers find you and your work online?
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