GDPR: I'm starting new mailing lists

Some time ago, I sent out a questionnaire asking about what to do with my newsletter. Most of my readers said I should keep it as it is. Maybe make it a little shorter. I’ve not quite followed up on it. I’ve more or less stopped sending out newsletters and have mostly just been busy doing my work for Kickstarter, then recovering from the intense experience, and traveling around to visit friends. I also got a dog.

Needless to say that since going freelance in 2014, a lot has happened. I’ve not only worked with clients such as Hanzo, RubyCup, Veganz and many others but have also published three guides for freelance creatives and uploaded several classes useful to freelancers to Skillshare.

Now with the upcoming deadline of the GDPR, I felt like it’s time for a spring clean. I just spent five full days clearing and sorting out all my data. You won't find anyone whose Dropbox is as orderly as mine :)

I’ve also forced myself to discontinue and delete the projects I once started, but fizzled out. I’ve also decided to play it safe and restructure my mailing lists; in other words, delete all existing ones and start new ones. 

If you wish to receive emails from me in the future, please sign up to one or both of the following:

Newsletter for freelancers

Will be similar to the one I’ve been sending out until about a year and a half ago. Subscribers to this list will receive my articles about freelance life. I will also share life hacks as I go and develop my career. Over the years, I’ve received a lot of positive emails and would like to continue sending out those updates in the future. Additionally, should I launch a new project or learn about a new service I think is of value to you, I will share it with you as well.

 

Newsletter on community strategy

This is a list I will use to share case studies and updates I believe are of value to my past clients or people who would like to become my clients eventually. You’ll learn more about the day-to-day of my business and about the events I’m participating in. I might also share links to articles, projects, and work or products of others I consider noteworthy. I’m also going to share step-by-step articles on all the things I’ve done as a freelancer to get ready for GDPR.

I’d also love to take this opportunity and invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. I hope that one day we’ll get to work on a project together. That would be wonderful! 

It's a wrap! April 2018
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April was great! I’ve successfully accomplished my three month assignment with Veganz. I’m especially very happy I was able to hand it over to someone as capable and wonderful as Moritz Möller.

Moritz and I met when I first moved to Berlin. Back then, he was heading the local Instagram community, and to this day, he’s responsible for the #igersberlin account. He’s someone I’d recommend any day. It’s so great to know the marketing department at Veganz is in good hands.

I really love the mission of the company and I’m thankful it’s given me the opportunity to reflect more on what lands on our (and especially my) plate. If you’re interested in veganism and might want some help to make you give up meat, I can only recommend the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Patrick Bolk’s Vegan Guide

Don’t get me wrong, I do really enjoy eating meat for its taste. However, the more I read about what it means to eat meat in our capitalist times, the more I wonder how it’s even possible veganism is such niche thing. From the ethical point of view, veganism should really be the norm for anyone who lives in an urban area in what’s considered a developed country.

This quote sums it up well: 

"Since the world has changed so much, the same values don’t lead to the same choices anymore."

Jonathan Safran Foer

While my Veganz project has come to an end, I’m glad I’ll now be able to dedicate more time working together with the Barcelona-based agency Hanzo. We’re working on a student initiative for a London-based client and it’s the sort of work that’s truly aligned with what I’m most excited about: helping people get the sort of work they're most excited about.

I’ve also finished teaching at the New Design University. My course Social Media for Designers was a series of lectures on how to use the Internet as a tool to make a living as an independent creative (or get the sort of jobs with the companies one wants to work for). 

I love exploring what’s possible online and it’s moments like getting emails from EyeEm that I sold 40 images (of food) in one month that give me a weird sense of satisfaction. 

And even though I do make parts of my income with selling photos of food, it pleases me even more when a publication such as Girlboss recommends one of my books to their readers. 

All in all a very pleasant, successful month. I’m fully booked until the end of May, however, if you have a project you want to do in June, please don’t hesitate and drop me a line. Let’s talk! 

It’s a wrap! March
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Before I started teaching social media at the New Design University in St. Pölten, it was clear to me I wanted to have a small comprehensive project in my portfolio. I wanted to create something anyone could copy if they wanted to. Something that just needed a smartphone and a good idea for it to happen: that’s how I came up with the Vienna coffee guide before also creating one for Berlin to decrease the costs of printing.

In March, I published my fifth Kickstarter project. It was a fifth successful project (sixth if I count running one for Anitar last September). 

While it seemed easy to raise money for the Vienna guide, it wasn’t all that simple with the guide of Berlin’s café scene. One thing I have learned from running all these projects is it doesn’t matter how one reaches the goal. What matters is that one does. 

If a Kickstarter project doesn’t work as expected, one must come up with a plan B, a plan C, and at least a plan D. At the end of the day, what matters is raising the money necessary in the time one determined before going live.

Once I noticed people weren’t all that keen on the Berlin guide, I considered what the people who follow me online are interested in. I added an additional reward by offering a personal consulting session on how to go freelance. 

That’s what made the project a success. Not the project itself, but instead the ability to improvise when nothing goes as planned. Which is to say, it hardly ever goes as planned.

What I’m especially excited about is that because I already had the Berlin guides printed, I can now play around with Etsy, DaWanda, and IndieGoGo on demand too because I finally have a product to sell. 

Those two Kickstarter projects, and especially making sure to ship them on time, were by far not the main projects I worked on this past month. I kicked off March with a workshop in London organized by Hanzo for one of their clients.

March was also the month I flew to St. Pölten every week to teach.

And, of course, there was also the work I did for Veganz.

When I agreed to teaching social media, I didn’t realize how much time I’d spend talking about different business models. Originally, I just planned to show my students how to frame creative projects, use the available tools to materialize ideas, plus how to use social to position oneself online. 

But then to be able to know how to use the internet as a tool, one must also understand how one is instrumentalized as a product and how different companies monetize one’s attention, time, and data, so we got to talk a lot about propaganda, advertising, and how different companies make money. Which made the class very broad, but to me, also interesting to prepare to discuss these issues before standing in front of 36 pairs of curious eyes. Quite an experience!

And before I forget to mention this, every student got to work on their own creative project, which you can see by looking up the hashtag #nducreates on Instagram. 

Meanwhile at Veganz, I needed to communicate how I wanted to get involved with the company in the future. About six weeks in, I knew I didn’t see myself as the Head of Marketing for longer than the originally agreed upon three months. It’s a lot of admin and not so much creative work, and as I always say, one should be doing something in the day-to-day one is actually excited about. At this moment, hiring, firing, and restructuring a team is not necessarily it. 

After setting up internal communication processes and project management structure by introducing the team to Trello, I began working on the campaigns for the entire year of 2018. I’ll write a case study about my work for Veganz and publish it on this website some time soon. At least for now I can mention that we ran Beautiful Vegan Easter as a brand collaboration with Bio:Végane in March and prepared the campaign Vegan Lunch Box together with Patrick Bolt and EcoLunchBox for April.

My main focus at Veganz this past month – and I know I already mentioned a lot I worked on – was to find a replacement for myself, hire a new Creative Director, and also two additional translators to professionalize the communication output. With Moritz Möller, Martin Petersen, Justine Coquel, and Richard Block, I do believe I’ve fulfilled that mission quite successfully. 

I’m very excited to see what April will bring, given I’m transferring back to a more flexible, remote lifestyle. I’m currently booked out until mid-May, but can work on smaller projects here and there. Please send me an email if you need anything! 

Do you need a personal consulting session to help you go freelance or shift your careers?

Hi there, 

Want to plan your career moves and need a personal coach to help you do some of the strategic planing? 

I’m running a limited offer (book before Thursday 6am London time) on helping ten people plan their strategy to finally go freelance this year. 

As you might know I've written three books on the subject and also have a Skillshare on the subject. Book a spot via my Kickstarter campaign and let’s Skype or meet in person to discuss your future. 

Here is the link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mkanokova/berlin-coffee?ref=7fzoin

Cannot wait to help you make the moves.

PS: If you wonder why so fast and why now. Here is the explanation: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mkanokova/berlin-coffee/posts/2139903

It’s a wrap! February
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February started with the launch of the Veganz Online Shop in Austria. We’ve gathered a fine group of bloggers and Instagramers and invited them to shop in the store. For me personally, it was quite fun to watch what different people bought for the budget we gave them. Given Veganz is currently working on making it as easy as possible to shop vegan food in all sorts of convenience stores all across Europe, it was also super lovely to be a part of the contract signing with Carrefour, the largest food retailer in France.

Having been working freelance and mostly by myself for the past four years, my collaboration with Veganz challenges me in a whole lot of different ways. I’ve been setting up internal comms and briefing processes. One of the solutions I’ve found valuable to communicate with distributed teams in the past years has always been Trello. I organize my own workload using the app and I’ve always really liked using it when working with others. I believe Trello brings more transparency and structure, so I introduced it to the marketing team at Veganz. 

Seeing how much more transparency Trello has brought to the marketing team at Veganz has really helped kill some of the time consuming projects the team had to deal with. We’ve been using the software for a little over five weeks, and while there is still a long way to go for the system to really bring all the benefits, it’s been an improvement that’s helped organize and communicate projects without having them disappear from people’s sights and minds. 

This past month I’ve also started teaching. I’m giving a course on social media for designers. The first lesson must have been quite shocking for the students. I care very little about follower counts and engagement rates. To me, what matters most when it comes to social are the human connections and opportunities one can unlock using the available tools. I’m not planning on teaching how to make a living being a social media celebrity. I don’t know if one can study how to have genuine relationships, but I do know I’m not very interested in teaching people how to trick different platforms' algorithms. I really believe that people follow others online who they find inspirational. They follow people they think do cool stuff, so it’s more about doing cool stuff and less about following/unfollowing to get people’s attention in a rather unethical way. We’ve, for example, watched Mr. Bingo’s Kickstarter video, talked about Lauren Hom’s idea to letter blackboards in restaurants around NYC in return for a free lunch, and we’ve also discussed LadyVenom’s article on how she got to 270K followers. 

I also had the chance to participate in a workshop organized by the incredible agency (and one of my incredible clients) Hanzo. I also spoke at the LifeStartFest at the London College of Fashion amongst some other incredible people, such as Victoria Stoyanova, Erik Rodin, Kristi Kuiken, Gemma Milne, Luke Whitehead, and other wonderful minds who joined the crowd as mentors. I really hope I get to work with LifeStart even more in the future. 

As a fun fact, I was one of the sources for the New York Times article about the Viennese ball season. Anyway, I’m still really busy working on way too many projects, but will be launching another Kickstarter project in March to fund a guide of the Berlin café scene. If you’d like to have a coffee, please check where I am these days! I’ll try to make it happen. 

Okay, bring it on, crazy busy March! 

How I made the Berlin guide before showing up at my client’s office every day at 10am.
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The other day I got up at 4am. I needed to wait for my flatmate to finish his morning routine. He usually gets up so early, which sometimes wakes me up too. Whenever I fall asleep early the night before, it’s almost impossible for me to get back to sleep. (Now you know how I sometimes manage to work on so many projects simultaneously.)

I sat up in my bed and logged into the Google Doc with all the text I wrote for the Berlin guide. I noticed Diana started editing them. Within a couple of minutes, I implemented all the texts into the Kickstarter page before taking Orion out, then cooking her breakfast rice. She was pleased. She’d finally get breakfast earlier than usual. Eating is her favorite pass time. Once we were both ready, I jumped on the subway and went all across town to Wilmersdorf. I’m glad dogs can't talk back and are just happy to follow along. 

At this point, I still needed to take ten pictures for the Berlin guide and do so within a week if I wanted to meet the deadline I set for myself for the Vienna guide. (At the time, I had no idea I’d print a guide about Berlin too.) 

Of the ten places I had on my list to photograph, Benedict is the only one that opens before 8:30am. 

One thing is sure: Berlin’s not for early birds. 

The reason I decided to create a second Kickstarter project so quickly after publishing the one about Vienna is because I didn’t want to compromise on the quality of the paper I printed these guides on. It’s common for printing to become cheaper the more one prints, so instead of printing more of the Vienna guides, I simply decided to create another limited edition and print a guide about Berlin’s cafés. 

Those who follow me on Instagram know I’ve probably spent more time in Berlin’s cafés than Vienna’s coffee houses in the past couple of years anyway. 

I’ve already commissioned MOO to print both guides. That also means I’ll be shipping both sets simultaneously. This second project is for me to refinance the printing I’ve already paid for. 

Thank you so much for supporting this project. I really appreciate it.

The story of how and why I made two city guides within the past few weeks.
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A few months ago, an email request trickled in asking me if I’d be interested in teaching a class on social media with the aim of showing young creative students how to best utilize the platforms to get a job. They all share the same problem in that no one wants to give them work unless they have experience (I’ll never get over this). My ambition to this class is to help students simulate they have the experience. Technically, having a company attached to a work experience is nothing more than proof that you have done a certain something. Publishing your work on social media is like getting social proof for having actually really done something. (Is this something I should write more about?)

Many of the projects I’ve been trusted with have come my way because of some other something I shared online. Now, it would have felt weird to me to come into a classroom and talk about publishing a book. I needed a much smaller project that would be technically and logistically easy to pull off. Even for students. That’s how the Vienna guide came to live.

Then I realized, if I actually wanted to do something like this, the paper had to be absolutely exceptionally beautiful. I needed to increase the print run, so I decided to publish a second guide; one to highlight Berlin’s best cafés. That one is now live on Kickstarter:

http://kck.st/2D8p93a

I’d really appreciate if you’d take a look. Possibly even share the news with others.

Thanks a million!