What there is to say about becoming the person you aspire to be and other thoughts about professional dreams

You know how there are those dreams that feel too scary for us to dare going after? It’s a conversation I’ve been having repeatedly over the past couple of weeks and each time I talked about it with someone, I knew I had to write down my thoughts. Then I forgot I had that urge before the universe confronted me with that topic all over again. And so, here you go:

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How many times have you heard someone say they wanted to become a writer? But then when you talked to them a little more, they were too afraid to sit down to write and do so every day. How many times have you heard someone say they wanted to become an illustrator, only to realize they’d never show their drawings to others?

When you have a dream of who you want to become and you say to people that’s what you aspire to be, it feels like you tell them who you are. To you, it sounds like you know who you are and now people know too. Having a dream, an aspiration, helps communicate your identity and shout into the world what you as a person stand for. Additionally, without doing whatever activity needs to be done in order to become INSERT YOUR DREAM OCCUPATION HERE, you remain in the safe space of no possible failure. When you don’t do the work to become the person you want to be, you might never find out your dream isn’t as glamorous as you thought, but also you won’t have to look into the mirror and recognize you’re not as good as you’ve imagined you’d be. When you do nothing, you can’t be bad at it. It’s as simple as that.

Becoming something, becoming someone, takes a lot of practice. It takes getting up every day and trying again. One must keep practicing and not mind failing and failing over and over again. Some dreams, however, are so big they paralyze us, regardless of how brave we seem to be to the outside world. It’s often much easier to pursue things that allow excuses for failing. It’s easy for me to publish books in English because if someone pointed out they weren’t that good, I could always say I’m not a native speaker. Nevertheless, and just because I do something others might admire, it doesn’t mean I’m living to my fullest potential. It doesn’t mean I pursue the things that scare and paralyze me the most. It just means I get something done that seems to paralyze many others. Especially those who aspire to be writers.

I always felt one lives to their fullest potential if one ruthlessly pursues what’s way out of their comfort zone and is THEIR OWN big dream, not a fun project to do in their spare time.

I’ve realized it’s much harder to pursue things where failing feels scary. It’s scary to pursue an idea when you don’t have the self-confidence to say you can easily pull it off or find an easy excuse why it’s not as good as you’d imagine “your ideal you” could do if they tried. You might simply fear to be rejected on what you would articulate as your biggest dream if someone asked you.

When people ask a published writer how to become one, many respond: “Write!” I used to laugh at this, but lately, I’ve realized it’s actually all that is needed.

Practice makes perfect, and only those who go through the pains of self-realization and acceptance of their own shortcomings, yet have the determination and willingness to break through, will eventually be able to say they’re who they want to be. Or maybe they might realize they don’t actually want to be that person after all. And then, the next scary chapter in their life will start; having to find out who they want to be, which means having to push through the fear of not being worthy, not being good enough all over again. A vicious circle.

 

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The moment you feel it’s time to get a new job
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When I discontinued Kickstarter as a client, I didn’t really know what I’d do afterwards. I had ideas, but nothing was set in stone. I knew I didn’t want to wake up in different beds or on couches as much as I used to. I wanted to spend more time at home and in my own bed. Even though it felt crazy giving up a dream client without having something better lined up, I needed it. It had become hard for me to remember and distinguish people because I dealt with so many, and I often felt overwhelmed and not as friendly as I wanted to be. However, after leaving, (and something I’ve mentioned in my last private newsletter.. if you'd like to receive these, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bs0iKv), I felt a lot of emptiness. It felt like I had given up what gave me purpose for two years. 

When writing Work Trips and Road Trips, I thought a lot about one's purpose and how as a freelancer, it’s your job to think ahead and make decisions. How it’s important to rethink your status quo every single day. And so there were multiple things I did: 

One of the things was to apply for Teach For Austria. I knew it was something I should do to give back. However, I didn’t pass the assessment center, so this most certainly wasn’t the way ahead. Then, I had a coffee with someone. My friend told me of an available position that truly would've been a dream job and combine all my skills and interests in architecture, media, and technology. It would've been a position as a product and innovation manager at a hotel chain. I built a website to apply, but got a phone call from the recruiter saying they were only open to applicants from within the hospitality sector. Right. I needed to think further about what I’d want to do, so I sat down with a glass of wine and post-its. I wrote down what mattered to me and what skills I’d like to use in my day-to-day. How I’d like my day-to-day be. I once recorded a Skillshare class on this subject. After this exercise, I realized it was time for me to rebrand. I then split the keywords in three different piles and decided to restructure my online presence, which led me to creating another Skillshare class on how to structure your website when you’re a freelancer. 

Now, when I said being a product and innovation manager in the hospitality sector would be a dream job, I had some clues what to do next. I’m currently working on an innovation white paper about hotels and restaurants and building a web presence for a boutique agency with that target group. I’ve also just relaunched this, my personal, website to summarize where I’m coming from. I’d love your feedback and I’d love to hear your story on how you’ve restructured your life and how you changed the direction of where you were headed.

It's a wrap! July
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If someone would have told me three years ago I’d one day go on a business trip to Iceland, I’d have thought they were joking. But now, almost three years after going freelance, what I thought would be impossible became a reality. This past month, I started working with Anitar, Inc., an Icelandic startup that focuses on revolutionizing horse tech, to help them launch a Kickstarter project

Now, and given I said I’d prefer to take a break from working on Kickstarter projects to focus on marketing hotels and restaurants, this project was truly quite unexpected. Honestly, Karl Már, the founder of Anitar, pretty much bribed me with the idea of working with horses for two months. 

The beginning of the month was busy through and through, and although I finally managed to publish Work Trips and Road Trips, a book about working mindfully and also taking breaks as a freelancer, I must confess that I worked 24/7 and on several weekends to make everything happen that piled up on my to-do list. But sometimes, and even when you’re trying to avoid such moments, they still might sneak in. 

As you can image, the proudest moment of the month is that Work Trips and Road Trips is finally out and available on Amazon! Jamie Milnes and I have also finished the copy for the website of his agency, Double Underscore, and I also handed off the copy for the Go Global Outsourcing, Llc. website for Jamie to continue working on the design with the lovely Go Global team. Also, one of my articles on how to take a vacation as a freelancer was published on the Freelancer Union. A milestone! I’ve also been working on the Skillshare class about how to structure a website if you’re a freelancer. I started working on this class to help myself structure my own websites, however, I still haven’t managed to come very far with them. Planned release, nevertheless, is in September. Wish me luck! 

At the beginning of September, I’ll be at Reasons.to in Brighton, then a wedding in Italy, and after that, I’d like to start working with companies from the hospitality industry. If you know of someone who knows of someone in that sector and you know they need help with marketing, please connect me! Thank you! 

Are you still looking for the right book to take with you on your vacation? Look no further!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TJL3S2/ref=sr_1_2

Just a quick heads up, Work Trips and Road Trips is now available on Amazon!

If you’re wondering what book to bring along for your vacation, this might be the perfect read. It’s, once again, 15  personal interviews and a great bunch of tips and tricks. I’ve talked to the ladies quite a bit about finances too, so if you’re wondering how others are managing their money to be able to go on vacation, Work Trips and Road Trips might have the answers for you!

You can get the book here

My everyday struggle with money
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Do you also feel like you have no idea how to grow and invest money or what to do with your savings?

(Or is it just me who really has no plan?)

The year before I turned 30 (two years ago), I realized I had no idea how to handle money. I’ve always had an idea of how to earn money, but besides spending it on food and travel, I can’t say I knew what else to do with it. The one thing that’s changed over time now that I’m over 30, I feel bad for not having a plan. An everyday struggle of faking it as an adult. I get it.

After I finished writing This Year Will Be Different, the book that helped me (and many of you) go freelance, I decided to write another one about investing, to solve my own problem once again.

I began my research phase. I bought books about finance and I researched people I could interview. I did everything I had done when working on #TYWBD. But there was one difference. The more I read about finances, the less I felt like I had access to the scene. Money felt like it existed and there was a market around it, but it was a market I had no access to, nor did I understand how to gain it.

My plan to publish a finance book failed. Now, two years later, a dear friend of mine introduced me to Mike Katzmann, a financial advisor. In my mind, his hands were up in the air when he was telling me, but it went something like this: “I met a guy who you must meet! You’ll have the best time together and I can see great things ahead when you two join forces. You’ll get along splendidly!”

We did. We laughed for two hours on Skype and started a shared document to collect ideas for a finance book for freelancers, for you, and as always, for me.

As you know, I usually interview people I find inspiring and then I adapt the content based on what they say. This time around, it’s a bit different. I interview you (yes, you!) and then drill Mike until I get an answer I understand myself so that we can make a book together we’ll all love!

I want to know your struggles, your insecurities, your questions. I want to know what you want to get out of this book. I want to know what answers you finally want! I know mine, but I also want to know yours.

Mike and I want to produce the most accessible finance book there is. He knows what he’s talking about and I’m responsible for making sure it’s another book that motivates, inspires, and gives you (and me) the right kick in the butt to take action.

Please reply to this message or send me an email to hello@mkanokova.com and tell me what we need to include and what you want to know more about! Let’s make this together!

 

* * The finance book I was planning didn’t happen back then, but my research still flourished. Before you have money to invest, you have time to invest, and that’s pretty much the concept of My Creative (Side) Business.

* * * Work Trips and Road Trips will be available in three weeks the very latest.

It’s a wrap! June

Let’s start with the most unexpected news: I got a dog. The fun back story is I decided to finally get a dog after reading The 4-Hour Work Week in Bali. I love dogs. I’ve always had dogs and I really love how having a dog impacts your everyday life. You become much more approachable to the people around you. A dog simply breaks away the social barriers. You also feel much more present, like you really notice the seasons and how time passes. I love that.  

I figured if Tim Ferriss can have a dog, I should also manage to have one. Even people with dogs travel. With or without them. Of course, I know how everyone always says you won’t be able to travel anymore, but I think it’s more a question of how you handle the fact you have a dog and still need to go away. I’ll just need to socialize her properly and go to puppy school. That’s at least the plan for now.

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June has been an extraordinarily busy month. I feel like I’ve worked on way too many projects and because I’ve been busy doing so many things simultaneously, I’ve also not managed to finalize anything.

I’m currently working on projects with Christiane Wallner-Haas, the team at Go Global, Greta Gotlieb, Jamie Milnes, Karl Mar Larusson, Mike Lanner, Mike Katzmann, and Sarah Halbeisen.  

I’m fully booked throughout the beginning of September and as you know, I’m currently rebranding my business. If you know of any hotels or restaurants that would like to try be more experimental with their marketing, please let me know!

It's a wrap! May
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May felt like a transition month. Having finalized my involvement with Kickstarter after two years and coming back from an extensive vacation, May was the month I needed to decide what to do next.

Given I studied interior architecture but spent most of the past couple of years working in the digital communication field, I’ve decided it’s time to combine these two and rebrand accordingly.

My plan is to focus on clients from the hospitality industry and work with hotels, cafés, restaurants, and other physical spaces to help them shape their customer experience. I want to help these clients understand how to best use social media, which means I’m planning to get involved with the interior design, help them plan exciting events and retreats, and shape the overall customer experience in order to build a loyal community and customer base.  

Simultaneously, and in celebration of having a third book, Work Trips and Road Trips, coming out soon, I’m working on a community platform, which you’ll soon find under http://wearesmartcreatives.com.

My own website, this website, will become a personal landing page.  

I’m currently rebuilding my entire web presence and – you guessed it – building three new websites simultaneously. If you know of someone from the hospitality field who might need help with their communication, or if you know someone’s planning to open a café, a restaurant, or a hotel soon and wants to refresh their offering, please direct them to me.

I also started working with a global field sales team that works with clients in the hospitality field to help with their digital messaging. Additionally, given I also like to work with socially-minded projects, I’ve rewritten the German texts for Ruby Cup’s website, which is launching soon!

I'm booked throughout the summer but happy to take on new clients from September on! 

 

#WTART Update 13: Super exciting, super good news!
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I just finished reviewing the manuscript within its final layout! Once Chris implements my comments, Diana will make the final check. We’re so very close to printing the proof copies! 

Regarding the cover, we have four possible color combinations; a combination of blue and green or peachy orange. I’ve decided to make the final decision once I'm holding the manuscripts in my hands. 

Just last week, we’ve finally received the blurbs for the back of the book. I’m super proud and super excited the power women Annie Daly, Emma Gannon, Kathi Kamleitner, and Katy Cowan share what they thought about the book with us! (Don’t forget to check out their incredible work.) 

Here's what they said: 

"A must-read for all freelancers with a serious case of wanderlust who want, more than anything else, to create a life they never feel the need to escape from." 

Annie Daly

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"This book is not a fairy tale story or a book of inspirational quotes; it is full of solid advice that you will keep with you throughout the rest of your career."

Emma Gannon

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"A creative inspiration, thoughtful reminder, and encouraging guidance all in one. Monika gets you thinking about your life choices, next business steps, and as always, your priorities."

Kathi Kamleitner

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"Through her new book, Monika yet again shows us how to free ourselves from the chains of conventionalism and live a different, more adventurous life where we can thrive and be successful without following a traditional path. Worth your time!" 

Katy Cowan

I really hope I manage to get the book live on Amazon before you head out for summer vacation. It’s the perfect read for that!