top of page

Who are the homeworkers? - Virtual Tour Guide

Updated: May 21, 2021

Homeworking roles can range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and sometimes they touch on the magical as well. We spoke to Jule Lenzen to discover how she spends her work time, and how she brings the magic of Edinburgh to armchair tourists from across the world.

Jule, what do you do?

I started working as a self-employed tour guide in Edinburgh in March 2019, doing walking tours of the city for a live audience. Those tours included Dark Side tours, Edinburgh Castle tours, Old Town tours, and Harry Potter tours. COVID-19 obviously greatly affected the tourism industry and forced me to become a bit more creative in securing my income.

I started co-hosting an online Harry Potter Tour on Airbnb Experiences in October 2020 and am now launching my first own virtual experience: “Faeries, Folklore, and Fantastic Beasts” – a virtual exploration of Edinburgh’s magical Calton Hill focusing on Scottish folklore and tales of faeries, as well as the inspirations for the magical creatures in Harry Potter.

As a consequence of the pandemic I also started to work as a writer from home, summarizing books for the App “12min.”

What does your workspace look like?

For the online tours I have a whole Harry Potter themed background set up in my living room, with a Ravenclaw banner, fairy lights, candles, and of course an owl (not a real one, sadly).

For my writing I usually sit at my desk (which is not very tidy) or when the weather permits, I sit and work in my garden.

Do you have a work uniform/wardrobe?

Yes, for my online tours I always wear a collared shirt and my Ravenclaw tie. I also have a wand, of course.

How has your practice/workspace/job in general changed over time?

As a result of the pandemic, I had to focus on multiple sources of income, which is why I am now working both as a virtual tour guide and as a writer. It’s interesting to see how tour guiding changed over time for me as well: I obviously started out doing tours for groups of up to 40 tourists in Edinburgh.

Since moving online, I have increasingly been hired to host team events and large corporate events of 100+ people. I also host lots of birthday parties and the occasional after-school club! I’m really enjoying this new side to guiding and I also think that virtual tours are a great opportunity to allow people to travel who might not otherwise be able to do so.

What’s your greatest remote working challenge?

Having a social life! I think working from home can be quite isolating (even though I meet new people as part of my work every day). It takes extra effort to go out and meet people outside my home and I sometimes struggle with that.

I also find it difficult to separate my work and living space. I work, eat, and relax in the same room in my flat.

I tend to work too much because I find it hard to just take some time out and relax. This is probably also due to the fact that I am self-employed and therefore have no fixed income.

What’s your favourite aspect of being a home/remote worker?

I love the flexibility this job offers me. Most of the time, I can freely decide when to work and when to relax – although, as I said, I am not very good at that – it’s still nice to have the option!

I also love the fact that I still get to meet new people every day despite the pandemic, joining me from their own homes all across the globe.

What’s your top tip for effective remote working?

Get rid of distractions as much as possible! I really should heed my own advice here: put your phone in a different room. Whenever it’s lying next to me, even when it’s on silent, I find myself checking it every so often. This only happens when I’m writing though. When I am doing a virtual event, I am way too focused on my tour to even think about checking messages!

If you do not actively need your email account open, close that as well, or at least mute the notifications – It always disturbs my writing flow to have a new email headline pop up at the bottom of the screen.

Also, make yourself as comfortable as you can – I love working with a fresh cup of coffee next to me.

Is there a device/object/bit of furniture/piece of tech that improved your remote working station or practice?

An internet cable and a premium Zoom account – Since I started doing tours for large groups, I needed a stable Internet connection and a platform to host 100+ people at once.

I also love my desk chair, which I recently got from Ikea. It could almost count as an armchair and makes working at my desk so much more comfortable.

What aspect of remote working in your role might people not know about or understand?

The majority of people booking virtual tours are from the US. So, I often work in the middle of the night to bridge the time difference! So far, the latest tour I did was between 2am and 3am.

Your remote working soundtrack: do you have a favourite playlist/podcast/radio station to keep you motivated, or is silence preferable to you?

It always depends on what I do – mostly I like to work in silence, but sometimes, especially when there’s noise coming in from outside, I like to listen to neutral noises like the lapping of waves or rain. I can also work with a film score on in the background, the Harry Potter film scores are obviously a firm favourite.

When I am doing something that does not need my entire focus, like editing pictures for a new tour, I like to listen to podcasts or music with lyrics. I love the Penguin Podcast, and Taylor Swift is usually my go-to for music.

What’s your fondest memory and/or greatest achievement in your career so far?

I love the enthusiasm I get from people coming on my virtual tours. My tours have motivated so many people to come and visit Edinburgh, and quite a few told me they would now read the Harry Potter books for the first time. It is great to see that my enthusiasm for my work is infectious.

My proudest achievement so far was to develop a virtual Harry Potter event series for a large international company last month (April 2021). As part of that, I created my new virtual experience “Faeries, Folklore, and Fantastic Beasts,” which I am now launching on Airbnb Online Experiences as well. I cannot wait to share this experience with a wider audience!

Where do you see you and your business going in the future?

I am hoping to create a website and build an independent tour guiding presence, both online and offline. Establishing yourself as an independent tour guide is difficult, but so much better than having a middleman in the form of big tour companies! Right now, I am focused on advertising my new tour and growing my Instagram, so feel free to give me a follow (@juledinburgh)

37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page