Throughout 2016 I worked closely with two people I've never met, and it's been highly effective.
As 2015 came to a close, I began chatting online with two different people who would each change my life, along with my perception of working effectively in the modern age.
One of these guys is Mike. I found Mike through an ad on Facebook. He runs Brilliant Chemistry, a startup based in Michigan. He contracted me through much of 2016 to help work on the Brilliant Chemistry product. This contract enabled me to take a leap of faith and quit my full-time job in pursuit of a career as an independent software developer. We've built a great professional relationship, and right now we're working together to build an app for one of his clients.
The other guy is Matt. Matt contacted me via a post on a website called BuildItWithMe. Matt and I worked together throughout 2016 on a product called Sapwood. Without Matt, I wouldn't have been able to bring this pet project of mine to life. And since then we've began a few other projects, as Matt is under contract with me to rebrand me as an individual and to design my personal website.
Mike and Matt have one thing in common—I've never met either of them. I've had two phone calls with Mike, and zero with Matt. I don't know what Matt's voice sounds like. I don't know, beyond their profile images, what either of these guys looks like today. I don't know what they do on the weekends. I know only a few non-work details about their lives that they've shared in pieces throughout our correspondences.
And yet, these two guys are so important to me. Collectively they funded my ability to be self-employed and to complete my pet project with a quality I couldn't have matched alone. They've both changed my life for the better.
At the time I began communicating with these two guys, I was employed by a company that had a trampoline and no dress code and wouldn't let me work from home. The assumption at this company was that if I wasn't in my chair in the office I wasn't working as hard as I should be and I couldn't communicate effectively. I do not follow that type of thinking.
And through Mike and Matt I learned firsthand that remote work can be as effective (more effective, in some cases) than sitting in an office filled with distractions. I spent nearly every work day in 2016 by myself in my home office, and I accomplished more last year than I had in any other year.
Don't let meeting a person be a prerequisite to having your life changed.