It's a wrap! February

February might have been the most exhausting month that I can remember. The team at Creative Mornings Vienna asked me to give a talk about Moments and my plan was to launch my Kickstarter at the end of the talk. Due to a major bug, the Kickstarter project couldn’t go live, which completely changed how I felt about my performance in general. Creative Mornings is one of my most favorite communities and thus, it was a big deal for me to get such a unique opportunity, but the ending of the talk made the entire strength of it fizzle out. It left quite a bitter aftertaste. Nevermind. You win some, you lose some I guess.

I then launched the project on a Friday afternoon, the one time of the week when you’re not supposed to launch a project on Kickstarter. My plan was to do a secret launch for my previous backers and then launch publicly the following Monday. For the ones who followed the project, you might have noticed that we were stuck at 48%. I temporarily sort of lost hope and needed to somehow rebuild it. That’s when I announced, what I called, the plan B. I offered to help people set up their websites. This kicked in and it brought the campaign from 48% to 73% within 24 hours. We were on our way!

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When you launch a Kickstarter project, you never know what’s going to happen. You have to be prepared to roll with it and if plan A doesn’t work, you need to come up with a plan B, C, or D. Because something that might have worked last year might not work this year. You have to be open to trying things out. It’s exhausting, your adrenaline is probably higher than it’s ever been, which then leads to many sleepless nights, but once the project is over and is one of the 36% successful projects, you’ll be extraordinarily proud you’ve pulled it off!

In February, I spoke about Remote Work at the Factory in Berlin and helped host a Berlinale side event there too. I also hosted a fashion event at Denim City in Amsterdam and a journalist dinner at Balthazars Keuken with such amazing people, such as Angel Trinidad and Margot van der Krogt.

One of my highlights has been a workshop about community building for Oikocredit. In a group of 20 participants, we discussed the differences between “old school advertising” and engaging community building. It’s still important to tell people that having a community has nothing to do with having a Facebook page or being on Twitter. Community is about engaging people in a conversation and giving them opportunities to help shape a brand!

March will be my last month with Kickstarter. If you want to discuss your project with me, now is your chance! Hit me up! <3

#WTART Update 08: Some live videos to watch this weekend

Hello, hello,

Thank you so much for joining our live stream. In case you missed it, rewatch it here. if you have any questions, please email hello@mkanokova.com

 

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As some of you might know, I’ve recorded two Skillshare classes myself and I’ve watched several dozens of classes created by talented people who decided to share their skills with others.

Here are some of my favorites that might help you with your freelance business:

Samantha Wilson’s series “Now What?” is great for graphic designers who’d like to learn what to do with their creations besides putting them down on paper: http://skl.sh/2kdhScp

If you run an Instagram account for your business, you might appreciate Dana Malstaff’s strategy to create and manage your strategy through Trello: http://skl.sh/2hQeiBR

Philip Campbell summarized the places where you can sell digital assets online: http://skl.sh/2h62BGk

Luna Vega, whose story you’ve read in This Year Will Be Different, created a class about email marketing techniques: http://skl.sh/2kd62Pq

One of my favorite people at Kickstarter, Stephanie Pereira, made a class to teach you about storytelling, which is a pretty handy class if you’re planning to go live on Kickstarter in the foreseeable future. (Tom Bates, a backer of My Creative (Side) Business did and I was lucky to help him!) http://skl.sh/2cZoFPA

I can also highly recommend the class of my friend Gareth Pon, who teaches you how to make the most of Instagram: http://skl.sh/2kfJ7Di

...and finally, if you haven’t already watched it, you might like to take my class on freelancing as a little recap: http://skl.sh/1HPjtr1

Happy Saturday! Enjoy the videos! 

 

#WTART Update 07: Hire me to help you revamp your website (Introducing a plan B)

As you might have already seen, the campaign to fund Work Trips and Road Trips has been incredibly slow and we’ve only reached 58% with just one week left. Kickstarter is All Or Nothing, which means I’ll only receive the funds if the project hits 100% of its goal before the 4th of March. 

(Now breathe!) 

It’s been a crazy month. I've written a ton of guest blog posts and the project has been featured all over the internet. (Literally! Scroll down to read some of the posts.) Many of you have shared a link to this campaign too. Something I’m incredibly grateful for! 

Nevertheless, the closer this project comes to an end, the more obvious it is to me that I need a plan B to get Work Trips And Road Trips funded to pay the team. 

There have been obstacles from the beginning. I first tried to launch this project at the end of my Creative Mornings talk on how plan B is always better. Oh the irony! After failing to go live due to a bug on the Kickstarter website, my plan B that day was to launch after the talk, on a Friday afternoon. Note to self: you should never launch a Kickstarter project on a Friday, especially not in the afternoon.

When I woke up at 5am this morning and scrolled through my Facebook feed (it’s literally impossible to sleep longer than that when you have a project live. It’s pure adrenaline!), I came across this New York Times article, that explains how Trump has taken over the internet and become probably more talked-about than anyone else on this planet, and how it’s impossible to notice anything that’s not Trump-related (like this project). 

As Britain struggles with a weak Pound and with the US reevaluating life under Trump, I feel like it's time to share my plan B with you to make this project happen after all.

Ok, so what is my plan B? My plan B is to offer you help with revamping your website. (We'll most likely build one from scratch!)  ... and yes, please spread the word about this offer!

I can restructure your content and create a site map that best represents you or your company. I can help you gather references about your work and can also help you write the copy. If you’re a visual designer, I can also consult you on how to generate a scalable (others would call this passive) income with your creations. If you choose to create your website with Squarespace, we can basically build the entire site together. 

I'm not a designer. You should know. Squarespace sites are mostly photo-based and you don’t need any sort of programming skills. I have, for example, built my own website in about a week while doing all sorts of other things. If you’d like my help, I’ve included a €1,000 package here on my Kickstarter page. I’d love to work with you! 

Alright! Let’s get this project funded and let’s get you a shiny, new website! 

<3 

PS: If you have any sorts of concerns and want to jump on a Skype call before you decide to back the reward to have me help you with your website, email hello@mkanokova.com 

PPS: This project has been featured on Design TaxiFemtasticsThis is Jane WayneBerlin Loves YouVinazineThe Startup Valley, and in the Matriarch newsletter. There will be a few more guest posts going live. I’ve written one for the Travelettes blog (about how to plan for a vacation as a freelancer), a post for Creative Boom (about how to prepare to go nomadic) and even Sherpa (you should try it!), the new travel app will feature the book in the newsletter next week. 

#WTART Update 06: Join our Kickstarter Live stream about freelancing this coming Saturday!

Hello and thank you for being one of our backers! We really appreciate it! We are at 44% and only have ten days to go. It's hard to compete against Brexit and Trump. Please be so lovely and share a link to this project with the people you think might appreciate reading Work Trips and Road Trips. Every Euro counts! 

I wanted to announce something special that we’ll be doing pretty soon: A Kickstarter Live Stream!

You’ll be able to ask me and my editor, the wonderful Diana everything about freelancing and anything you want to know about making this book! We’ll share some insights from what we’ve learned from conducting all these wonderful interviews. You’ll have the opportunity to chat with us and ask everything you’re curious about, be it freelancing, working remotely, or about working with a location distributed team, as we’ve been over the past couple of years. Or maybe, who knows, you have some other questions you want answers for!

The live stream will happen on Saturday, the 25th of February, at 5 PM CET (which is 11AM New York time).

I’ve created a Facebook event for you to have a reminder! Even if you can’t attend, I’d really appreciate it if you could click “interested” as it helps us spread the word about this project!

https://www.facebook.com/events/259798761127542/

Talk to you soon! <3 

#WTART Update 05: Note from the Editor

Every time I run a Kickstarter, I ask my editor to write a note to share with you. It's the first time I get feedback on the content and so as you can imagine I'm incredibly nervous and simultaneously also very curious to know what she has to say. Diana's words made me cry.. I felt relieved and grateful.. Here is what she said: 

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This book couldn’t be more opposite of my current lifestyle. However, with that being said, it’s also my favorite project to date.

Although I have that nine-to-five job and that steady paycheck, making my lifestyle the complete opposite from these women, I still found it incredibly inspiring and relatable. These interviews aren’t just badass, but they’re practical. These women aren’t preaching for people to up and quit their jobs (unless you’re truly unhappy and unfulfilled) and book a plane ticket on a whim. Some are cautious and careful, like me. Some are more introverted, like me. And some think ahead, plan in advance, look at their budget and responsibilities, and plan trips to work towards, exactly like I would.

It’s refreshing to see women with varying personalities and mindsets live a life of location independency, even if I don’t think it’s for me. The part about taking extended trips, that’s for me. It makes it more relatable for any reader that even if you’re not the type to completely go without a homebase, there’s still a way for you to work and travel, or take long vacations. Not every woman is the same, and that’s what makes this book so special, honest, and real.

It’s in our human nature to seek similarities in the relationships we make. We love to find people we can relate to. Personally, there were two women that completely resonated with me, so they were my favorite interviews to read and edit: Vanessa and Becky. Vanessa is similar to me on a professional basis because we’re both writers. Copywriters, more specifically. I copywrite full-time for a fashion company, so my mind was whirling reading her story about what my next steps could be. It was exciting as it was informative.

Becky, on the other hand, was relatable on a personal basis because I’ve been in her shoes before. She quit her job to spend more time with her mother who was suffering from terminal cancer. She put her relationships before her work. I preach to that same choir. At one point, I was unemployed and living at home because I was focusing my energy on being a full-time caretaker for my yia yia who was suffering from dementia. That was my priority, not making money. There’s always time for that. There’s not always time for being with the people you love, especially when they need you the most.

Work Trips and Road Trips isn’t this picture-perfect book that preaches how being location independent is better than your lifestyle. (And be warned, some women even talk about the downsides to their lifestyles that others need to be prepared for before they go location independent.) Like I mentioned before, it’s honest and it’s real. Plus, it’s just flat out cool. There’s something everyone can relate to and resonate with, even if you’re like me and have a daily routine. And although I wish I could take extended vacations, I’m just not realistically in a position to do so...yet. But, it got the wheels in my brain turning, which is the whole point anyway, right?

I wish I could give so much away because this book truly is wonderful on a lot of levels, even if you’re not a freelancer and simply want to hear amazing stories. If anything, read it to feel empowered that anything is always possible.

Diana

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Please help us spread the word: we're two weeks in and we're only at 41%. There are still two weeks to go but we need your help. So please tell all your curious, restless and adventure-seeking friends about this project! Thank you! 

#WTART Update 04: Please help us choose a cover! Things are getting serious!

Whenever I look for someone to work with on projects, I look for someone with the right attitude. I don’t care much if the person I want to work with has never done what I need done before. What I care about is if they care about the project and aren’t afraid to try things out. I care to find someone who has a style and is cheerful to take on any challenge.

When looking for a designer for Work Trips and Road Trips, I looked at many different portfolios and saw some amazing work, and if I could have, I would have hired every single one of the designers that applied. (Which, of course, wasn’t possible.) One thing I had in my mind was that given the books come as a series, I needed to look for someone who has a style, but who can also live up to Diana Ovezea's style and the direction she created when designing This Year Will Be Different

And luckily, I found Chris

Whenever I work with designers, I usually give them a briefing to browse the books people share on Instagram because that’s where you can learn to understand what type of covers catch people’s attention. 

These are the ones Chris found that she felt inspired by...Great titles, right?!

Then, she created mood boards to better understand the colors we could potentially work with...

…and last but not least, she sent over a selection of covers that we’d love to hear your opinion about. This is where you get to have some input! What do you think about the colors? What do you think about the different styles? Do you have a preference? Tell us what you think!

I cannot wait to read your comments! <3 

PS: I have updated the description of this project. Please share the link with the friends who you know might be interested. We have a long way to go! <3 

#WTART Update 03: Peek into Ewelina’s Studio

I always believe that it’s actually hard to run a Kickstarter project for a book because you don't have a lot of pages carefully edited by the time you go live. Also, there is so much text all over the internet, having more text isn't the most eye catching thing on the planet, especially if you want people to pitch in some coins for you to finalize such an extensive project, such as writing a book. 

When I was working on This Year Will Be Different, I hired an illustrator because I once bought a book that I hated, but simultaneously also loved because it was so pretty. I hired an illustrator because I was, and I guess I am to this day, very nervous about my work. 

Back then and even today, I thought that if people don’t enjoy my words, they might at least cherish the prettiness of the book(s)…Now, I absolutely love that each and every book has been carefully beautified, and I love even more that two of the three books have been carefully beautified by the wonderful Ewelina Dymek. I simply love, love, love her work! 

I wanted to share the wonderful illustrations with you. I simply love them and I’m excited we were able to add a little learning to each of them. I guess it will give you some sense of what you’ll read about. Also, please let me know in the comments which interview you’d want to read next. I’ll make sure to share one more with you before this campaign’s over!

 

For more images click here.

#WTART Update 02: Time to introduce the #WorkTripsAndRoadTrips team

I wanted to take some time to shed light on all the people I consider my team. If I’d have more time during this Kickstarter madness, I’d probably want to draw a (big) family tree to capture the greatness of this venture. Given the occasion and the book title, I’d probably draw a palm tree.  

I’d start with drawing DianaEweChristiane, and Sarah, then I’d draw the faces of everyone who decided to help make this book a reality. I’d draw the faces of the women I featured, I’d draw the faces of the journalists and bloggers who were kind enough to write about this book, and I’d draw the faces of the people who helped us spread the news about this project on social media. Then, I’d most definitely draw the faces of all of you, dear backers. 121, and counting! 

For now, I won’t draw a tree. Not yet, anyway. :) But I’ll tell you a bit more about the team that I’ve gathered to make this idea come to life. 

Please meet the wonderful... 

Diana, who has edited all three books. I found her – believe it or not – on Elance. I was desperately looking for someone who’d have time to start editing immediately, and she was trying to shift careers from teaching to editing. As we all know, it’s hard to break into a field and after her initial, overly-emotional email, we decided to Skype. It was a love at first sight, so to say, because it was one of the most cheerful Skype calls of my life. Now, we actually Skype a lot, and each and every Skype call is an event worth creating A Life Event reminder to post on Facebook.

Ewe is my trusted soul who made this book an eye candy. I found Ewe on Behance when I was looking for an illustrator for This Year Will Be Different. I really wanted to work with her again, so I asked her to create the visuals for Work Trips and Road Trips. However, with this assignment, I asked her to do something she’s never done before. I really wanted to work on another project with her, but then again, I really didn’t want to have the same style of illustrations in two books. When I saw her first drafts, I wasn’t too sure it was such a good idea to ask her to work on something that was most likely out of her comfort zone, but with the second and third batches of collages, she really got me! All l I can say now is just: WOW!

A lady that not even our loyal #SMARTCREATIVES know is Christiane. She found me through the Austrian business network for women, Sorority. We talked about where she’s at in her freelance career, and as it usually goes, as it also was with Diana, I like to work with people on projects that ponder about the sort of questions I’m addressing in the projects themselves. So here you go, soon you’ll get to see Christiane’s designs for Work Trips and Road Trips. She’s the one making sure the fonts are big enough and the cover is catchy!

Of course, I have another secret ace in my sleeve. It’s not just the four of us working on this project. I also have my dear friend Sarah, who is, at least in my opinion, the most patient person I know. She’s the one who’s shot the last two Kickstarter videos with me and also both of my Skillshare classes. I get incredibly nervous in front of the camera, so I need someone on my side who doesn’t lose it when it takes 1.5 hours to get 2.5 minutes of video footage. When Sarah and I met, we’d have never thought we’d one day do these sort of things together. We were both working at a strategic consultancy and happened to share a side of the table at the company where we worked. 

Let me tell you one thing: if you find people you really enjoy working with, be nice to them and keep them close! 

Now, the team isn’t just us and with my future plans for this little endeavour of mine, it’s also going to be you! (I’ll share more details soon.) For now, please take the chance and introduce yourself in the comments. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, and what sort of project you’re working on that you’ve self-initiated and want the entire world know about. And in case you don’t have such a project just yet, tell us what skills you have so that people who initiate projects could find you. I can’t wait to read your comments!