Guest Sarah Lutz
Sarah started Looters in 2006 out of her love for hard music and the realization it wasnt being well represented in Canada. From working and rockin in her basement as CEO, she has taken the company beyond Canadas borders and works with artists worldwide.
Season 06 Episode 9
– Mar 28, 2023
29:59 Show Notes
Here's how to work from paradise
We talk with Sarah Lutz, self proclaimed metal queen of the universe, about working remotely overseas. Sarah has travelled all over South America while working and has plans to travel Europe next year.
- Business location for tax purposes can be different from the location you are working from.
- Working locations - hotel, coffee shops, beach, restaurant...
- Dealing with time zone differences
- Pros/Cons of working overseas
- Language issues
- Healthcare and accommodations
- Long term living abroad
- Tips to live abroad and work
Accuracy of transcript is dependant on AI technology.
When you go somewhere planned to check out other areas in that same area, visiting somewhere for a week is a lot different than living somewhere for over a couple weeks. Welcome to another episode of the website 101 podcast.
This is the podcast for people who want to learn more about building and managing their websites. Hi listener, my name is Amanda Lutes. I am one of your cohosts. With me on remote location, I guess virtually with me from my remote location is Sean Smith.
Morning, Sean, how are you? Greetings, everybody. Happy to be here. Excellent. And Mike Miller. Mike, what's up? Not much. I am here too, and it's good to hear from you. We'll get to why that is in a second, but yeah, good to be here.
My association is special. So our guest with us today is my sister. Her name is Sarah, and Sarah is a Halo Tour listener. Hello! Sarah is the owner of VEaters. It is a marketing and publicity company in the entertainment industry.
Sarah is otherwise known as the metal queen of the universe. Welcome, Sarah. Hi. Thank you. Hello, everyone. Welcome aboard. So I want to share why this episode is so fun and special. Sarah and I are at her condo in Ecuador.
So we thought what better opportunity. there could be, to have a podcast about working, not even off-site, definitely not working from home, but just literally being able to work from anywhere, especially in, I mean,
in our case, the online technology industry. But in Sarah's case, even, because she interacts a lot with different people, Sarah has figured out how to do it from multiple different locations. So we thought it would be a cool to talk to Sarah today.
Yeah, that's really awesome. I definitely have a plan to eventually work from somewhere really, really nice. I mean, Toronto is really, really nice, but, you know, not at the moment it's buried under
a foot of snow or something. So it's not as nice as where you guys are. So I'd love to learn more about this. I honestly think that Amanda chose to do this episode now to like show off that she's away
from the snow. 100% yes. Good call, Sean. Sarah, what was the temperature today when we went and had delicious? Cerviche for lunch on the beach? Oh, I don't... I didn't look. And with definitely over 30 though, maybe 33 around in there.
It's all serious. It was... It was very nice. Meanwhile, we're sitting at like minus two or something. Yeah, just saying you were on the beach is probably... You could stop there. You don't even need to talk about the temperature.
You know. Yes, it was very nice. So, all right, let's get this going... Let's get going with some questions then here, because I am very curious to know in your role... of Metal Queen of the universe, what is it you do?
So our company specifically, I mean for myself, I've always worked in the music industry since I was probably 19. I think I started in the industry. I went to school for marketing, so it was very easy for me to have my passion of what
I loved and the kind of education that I had to combine the two. So I'm... We mainly focus on marketing and publicity, but also do servicing for artists and for managers and for labels on the social media side, on the streaming side,
promotions, and basically just like generating knowledge and press for anything that is being released, whether it's a tour announcement or if it's a new release or if it's a video or a single, whatever that artist has that is being released.
least we help get the word out. And we help spread that word to as many kind of, you know, as many outlets and media platforms and programs and stuff that people use to obviously hear and know about new music.
Yes, sounds really interesting. So since we're talking about remote work, where is your business located? It's funny because I don't really like to say it's located. I mean tax purposes. It's located in Toronto.
Okay. By, you know, I've... Reality is different? Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. We've... We've... I started in Toronto over... In Toronto for the past... 21. Seven years. So I say it's a Toronto-based Canadian company, but specifically for myself, I travel, you
know, for the past since the company started in 2006. I've been all over a century... in South America a little bit in the UK area. And my plan is this year, in the summer, and fall to travel more to other locations in Europe.
So this is like when you're on location, you're actually working. You have your computer or what have you, and you're talking with clients and doing paperwork or anything that needs to be done to keep the business going?
Correct, yep. What does your mobile office look like? What does it consist of? Hardware and coffee shops? Mainly. And yeah, like an internet connection. Like if I have calls and video things so that I need to get done
as far as meetings and stuffers concerned, I try to do them from the location where I'm actually sleeping. But if it's a light day, I've just like answering emails, doing marketing planning. creating pitches, stuff like that, then really it could be, it can be the beach,
it could be like a coffee shop, it could be a restaurant, anywhere with a connection. So cool. Go show them the beach. Go show them the beach now. Oh yeah, yes, if you've got a beach with you, please show it.
Yes, I do. Our listeners won't be able to see it, but everyone else will. Well, they could check it out on the YouTube channel, right? That's right. This is going to be all over the YouTube. I think just turn your phone around.
Okay. You can see it. Oh, wow. Yeah, that's a beach. There you go. It's a beach with beautiful ocean waves. Yeah, nice. And I think I've been in the ocean every day since I got here. I would love to be sitting on that balcony and working.
Or not working. And it's really hot though in the afternoon. I couldn't imagine. This is like, this is my see yesterday time. anyway. So Sarah, do you ever, I'm just trying to put the put it together here, like, since
you're traveling abroad and you represent bands who often tour, like how much overlap do you have with a touring act? Like, do you actually do you actually interact with the bands yourself? Or do you just kind of is it all remotely and electronically that you do
that? Or do you not interact with them personally? No, I do interact with them personally. I mean, I Let's just say before COVID, it was more strategic to be traveling and working when there wasn't a lot of tour dates.
But obviously once COVID happened, there was no need to really be in Toronto. Toronto being one of the main hubs where obviously international tours happen, no matter what genre of music. I always thought I needed to be in the city when the tour dates were happening.
But since COVID, Things are a little bit more lax. And even though, you know, now we're in 2023, it's been, you know, almost three years of COVID. There's still a lot of artists, some who won't do in-person interviews
where they don't want that interaction. They don't wanna risk, you know, anyone getting sick on the tour, because when you have artists who are touring, it's usually like three bands. Plus you have the full crew.
you're talking 25, 30 plus people, if one person gets sick on that tour in the past, like even up until last year, they would cancel the dates. So I mean, that's a huge income for Turing Acts. Obviously they're shorted.
So the necessity to be actually physically in person, I think since COVID in any industry has really gone down. So it's been... be able to travel a little bit more have more flexibility. That way, obviously, with the
pandemic and spend a bit of a blessing because you have more of a way of not necessarily being there in person. Right. All right. So you said you've traveled all over central and South America, a little
bit of Europe. What were some of the places that you've worked from? I've worked out of Nicaragua. I've worked at Acosta Rica. I've worked out. Panama, Ecuador, a little bit in Colombia. During the pandemic, I was in Mexico and yeah,
I was working, I mean, a long time ago when I was in the UK, I worked at the UK for I think two weeks. Well, so you've done a lot of different places. Most of it's in North or Central and South America is that so that you can be in this.
convenient time zones for Toronto? Yeah, it definitely helps. Being at the same time zone, I am a little bit lacking as well in the way that some of our clients are actually from Europe. So, I mean, everyone in our industry
kind of understands the time zones and we show the way towards one another and kind of work our schedule around what we may need an answer or need something. So, it's... less demand, like you have to answer me by the end of the day.
So yeah, but I do have friends who have traveled in Europe and worked and they basically they work from like four, like Eastern time, they'll work or sorry, third time they'll work from four to midnight.
Um, that's a typical eight hour day and it gives them enough time to work Eastern time zone. Yeah, there's a little bit of overlap with your I lived in Asia and there's almost no overlap with French North America.
Wow. Yeah, I imagine that I used to play in some bands that were touring for a while. And back then, this was like, I don't know, last time I was on tour was early 2000s probably, but it was a whole other ballgame in terms of, you know, what's involved in promoting an album
or whatever, because social media was kind of just starting up almost at that point. So I'd imagine now it's like a whole... big rigmarole when something has to be promoted, you know, all the different platforms and
the channels you have to, I mean, even us just promoting this podcast, we've realized, like doing it ourselves, it's like a lot of work. I can only imagine having to do that for, I mean, how many bands do you even represent
at a time? Is there several that you have to kind of handle? Yeah. So in, we have kind of two sides of the company. So we have our main label clients. So we have a six-lit. Sorry, no, five labels now that we represent their full rosters.
So it's not even one band at a time. It's the full, it's the five labels. Five labels. And you're representing the entire roster of bands. Yeah. So it could be like anywhere from like 10 to 20 to 200 bands
in a label. Yes, but fortunately enough, it's not like every single band has something going on at the same time. Right. And it definitely comes in fluxes and waves. Usually an album cycle, including
the and you're looking at about like a year and a half to two years. So each band usually releases a new release every two years. So we have our six label clients, and then we also do independent work with bands
that may not be signed to a label, or managers that we work very closely with. If they have artists who are releasing new stuff, they'll contact us and we'll work with them on what's needed. Variable equals Amanda.
Variable equals Amanda. If enjoy website 101 podcast equals true, then go give us a positive review on Apple Podcasts. I can't even do it with this three-phase. Or wherever you get your podcast. What are the pros and cons of working overseas?
Definitely internet. So that's both? The pro and a con? Yes. So when I was in... Mexico, the area that I was in has horrible internet. And doing, I couldn't do Zoom calls because I was a robot, I was constantly frozen. No one heard anything that I said. So I had
to very quickly kind of move around that and figure out what I was going to do. But definitely, I think the best pro is, I think during the pandemic, people really realized. I think it depends on your job, but they kind of realized, you know,
why work gets done, whether you're in the office or not. And what a lot of people found who weren't used to it, who were not used to it, when they worked from home, they actually finished their work sooner.
Um, so in that same mentality as you're traveling, um, you're finishing work sooner and it's not like you're necessarily clocking in those eight to 10 hours, um, inside the office. So you have more free time to.
where you are and kind of like, you know, if that's what you like to do, which I love to do, like you get to see the world and meet different people and get to hear their stories and, you know, their struggles and where they came from and where they're going and it's interesting.
Yeah, do you find you meet a lot of new people? Like you must know so many people if you're traveling all the time. And do you ever struggle with like friendships back home? You know, and the fact that you're away a lot, you know, does that ever impact
things like that? Um, not really. I mean, I think your true friends are always going to be there. And I definitely the, you know, I kept in touch with those people who I was really, you know, like
friends with, then no matter where I was, we would talk. So that never really went away. Right. Right. And I guess your, uh, you know, since COVID happened and everyone started working remotely, like you were
ahead of that game. And you sort of like people now. See that, oh, you know, it can be done. A lot of this stuff can be done from anywhere. And it seems to be the direction the world's moving in, right?
Yeah, definitely. Do you notice any particular business-related benefits of traveling abroad? I'm not suggesting there's any tax... The tax, those loopholes. But, you know, is there any other perks to...
I don't know, doing your business from all these different places? I mean, for me, like... If you have a clientele or if you're working with one of your clients who is an international company, it's nice to kind of like see,
like me, some of those people, like see where they work out of and kind of like how they set up their days and stuff. So I think for people who kind of like have that advantage, that's really good and nice.
And as well, it kind of checks the gassing. game out of like, oh, what's good in this area? And you know, like, what, where should I go? And what's good? And what's bad? Or where should I kind of stay out of stuff like that?
You have a local kind of already there. And as well as, you know, it's, it's depending on the areas that you're in and the industry that you're in, there's potential. I, for me, I see potential business everywhere. I'm always like kind of looking like, you know,
people, what are you? do. What's the scene here? You know, there's, I, for me, because marketing is marketing, you can kind of do anything, right? So I think there's always potential for a new business
everywhere I go. Right, right. Well, and on a personal note, I can totally attest that like Sarah's introduced me to a bunch of her neighbors around here, like in the building, neighboring buildings, and
just everyone is so nice and so welcoming and, and well being us out and yeah, it's, it's time.. If Sarah has been as lucky in all the places that she's been to as here, then yeah, I wouldn't should keep doing it. It's been great.
Right. Do you have any language issues on these countries you go to? Like how many countries do you go where you don't speak to language? Yes. All of Central and South America. Okay. Yeah. Got it.
I know means that I've lived away. I can somewhat understand and I can ask questions and I can get around. Okay. I think the longer you stand a country, obviously the more you're gonna know their language, it's a very hard thing, but I feel honestly, and this is
like almost a life lesson, I guess you can say as well, is that if you're vulnerable enough to tell someone, like I'm sorry I don't understand, or like, you know, can you repeat that or speak slower, you know, they'll be more
accommodating, then if you just, you know, were very much so kind of like I have little worries. refused to speak Spanish, I refused, you know, like, big English to you and hopefully, you know, you'll get it. But I mean, people are pretty accommodating in Central East of America.
Obviously, they see them white. So I find a lot of charades happen when you're when you're in places, you're like pointing and like money and telephone and whatever. Right. Yeah. That checks with my experience living overseas as well. I lived in South Korea for 14 years.
So, yeah. Sarah's been taking Spanish lessons like on and off starting and stopping for the last many years. So she's been, yes, everything that she said, but she's been putting forth a lot of effort to
do this personal growth to make communicating and all these locations work for her. Nice. Yeah. I do think it's really important to put the effort in. I knew a lot of expats that were way better than me, but I also knew a lot of expats that didn't even try. And it's like,
you don't even, you can't even take a taxon. You've been here for 10 years. What is wrong with you? I guess like me, like I wish and hope and dream for the day that I can have like, you know, like a really good conversation like gossiping about whatever.
Did you ever pick that up or? I did not get that good. I was kind of like lowering to media. I could hold simple conversations and definitely shopping and getting around and simple medical stuff if I needed to, but I'm not talking about the meaning of life.
Right. Don't ask me to do it now because I'm drives my wife nuts. I lost almost all my Koreans since I've been back for over 10 years now. I have another question that popped up in my head while you were talking is that you're
moving from country to country and your business is based in Canada. So it's not like you're getting permanent residency or citizenship in these countries that you're visiting. How do you deal with renting an apartment, getting medical insurance?
insurance or health insurance or anything like this that is only available to citizens. Because I know a lot of countries, they're not going to rent apartments to people who just come from overseas or sell property or whatever.
I'd say I'm usually not really in a space long enough to rent an apartment. Like when I was in Mexico, I lived with my significant other. And in Ecuador, we're in a kind of building. These are places that I actually own.
So I've never really had to go through the rental process of doing these things. Every country is different, though. And I find, usually, I mean, I Airbnb a lot of spots, because obviously on Ron North America,
you have not to say any exchanges the greatest right now, because it's not any currency. But you have a little bit more leave. I guess, you know, that you can kind of, if you stay in Longer Island Place,
you can negotiate the price and you pay, you know, the Canadian right. So I never really had to experience that. And while I'm traveling, like my credit for it has health, will cover health. So I never get extra insurance unless if I know
I'm going to be at a place long-term and usually it's the same as in Mexico where if they need an address a lot of times your insurance agent or whoever you're speaking with will help you use their
address. So again, people are kind of accommodating. I ask a lot of questions to other expats who live in the area like how can I do this and how do you go about doing that if it's if it's something that I feel is necessary that
I eat. Oh that's cool. What do you consider long-term living and what is your average stay in these countries or locations? Well Mexico's been my longest I was there for a long time. three years. Yeah, that's definitely long term. Yeah.
Usually like Costa Rica and Nipro, Wanda, even Ecuador, you know, these places, it's usually like, you know, two to six weeks depending. Oh, yeah, that's that's definitely in the range of long vacation and not a long term stay. Right. Yeah.
Okay. How much I'm trying to visualize how you schedule your year. kind of thing. Like how far in advance do you say, okay, I'm going to be living there at that point. You know what I mean? If you have so many different places, or is it just
like this part of my life I'm interested in Mexico or, or you know, how does that go? For example, for this trip, I think I planned it. You know, I believe it was maybe in October or November. My self-animant were having dinner and we were just chatting and I'm like, I
know, I kind of looked at my calendar and was like, oh, I'm not busy. like, you know, there's no shows in Toronto or there's not a lot of shows that I have to be at. You know, like, I'm going to be away during this period, you know, when I come to Ecuador,
basically. So usually at least, you know, six months in advance, I got to tell you a lot of my travel planning nowadays has to do with when is the cheapest flights. Because obviously, you know, it's it's sorts. Like, even I, you know, haven't been safe.
to a man up. I was in at one of words, six years ago, or sorry, five years ago was the last time I was here. I was here for a month. And even though some stuff is like a beer is or $2 a cab is a dollar things, you know, there are lots of things that are still very,
very cheap. But the food, much like everywhere else has like risen at least double if not more. Gas is higher. Yes, like stuff like that. So I'm very. Now I'm more cautious of like when I go somewhere and for how long, depending on how much it's going to cost me.
Okay. So, our cost or living is impacting everywhere, not just Canada. Yes. All right. Yeah. All right. So, we're getting close to the end here or time. Do you have some tips for people who would like to move abroad and work?
When you go somewhere planned to check out other areas in that same area. Um, what happens a lot of time is people have grandiose as ideas. If they visit, like visiting somewhere for a week is a lot different than living somewhere
for over a couple of weeks. It can be challenging. You need to know their ecosystem. You need to know what's good, what's bad, what happens. Um, you know, you need to know about the area. Like are there earthquakes?
Are there forest fires? Um, are, you know, like is there pollution? dumping in the rivers that's going into the ocean. How eco is it? Is there a lot of hotels? How's the internet? Like all of these things will only help you
if you try to find the answers before you leave. Yeah, it's a great answer. Oh, the other thing, sorry, I wanted to mention, is usually every place you will go will have some sort of social media group.
So like, expacts, for example, like expacts of all on. Africa. or expacts, apply to carbon, expacts, you know, wherever the case may be, you can join these groups and ask a lot of questions before you arrive.
That's a good idea. Yeah. Oh, those groups are definitely very helpful. I intend to change because you get a lot of crazy people on that. Yeah. There is definitely some unique personalities who have thrived overseas because they have
trouble thriving at home. Oh, those crazy people are even on your local neighborhood. Facebook groups. They're everywhere. That's true. That is true. That's true. I tell you're all about Crazy Frank.
Freaky Frank is what I call them. That'll be a different podcast episode. Well, Sarah, thank you so much for your time today. If people want to learn about the work you do with music and that, where can they go
to learn more about you? Well, yeah, our website is looters.cc and all of our socials are at looters radar. They can go to go to either and learn all about us. Excellent. Very cool. And if they're into battle, they'll especially like us.
Metal music, yeah. Nice. Nice. Oh, this is good. Good chatting with you. Yeah. Thank you very much, Sarah. Thank you, Sarah. Thanks everyone. Thank you for letting me come to your home away from home.
Of course. Yeah. Next time she's going to bring two of us as well. You'll be hosting three of us next time. No. Do you guys can book it on Airbnb? We're the whole wheelchair. All right. Super.
The website 101 podcast is hosted by me, Amanda Lutes. You can also find me online at amandalutes.com. Recording from a secret lair while plotting world domination. I'm Shawn Smith, your co-host.
One of your hosts today was me, Mike Drella. Find me online at belikewater.ca on socials at Lake Mela.
Have a question for Sean, Mike, and Amanda? Send us an email.
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