This Year Will Be Different was successfully funded on Kickstarter! by Monika Kanokova

I'm still dancing in the circle; the Kickstarter for This Year Will Be Different was successfully funded! 

Thank you so much, 376 backers, who have financed the project with $8,873 within 24 days and everyone who has shared the link to the campaign or tweeted about it! You're the best!  

How to say 'thank you' in a way that truly touches people by Monika Kanokova


How do you say 'thank you'? I don't just mean the two words. I mean how do you express gratitude in a way that captures how you truly feel?

Yesterday the Kickstarter for my book hit the goal; one of my clients pledged $261 and sent me an email titled "A small gift for you". This morning, the illustrator of the book sent me an email saying how happy she was that we reached 5K so quickly.

When people are so incredibly nice and caring, I don't always know how to give back in a way that shows how much I care. How much all this means to me. 

Gwen, who I interviewed for the book, said to me that she believes her job is to make her customers' day better than it was before they entered her store. It wasn't just about being kind, it was about making a lasting impression - something people would take with them as they went through their day. I feel we should all try to do this in our interactions with others. 

So I've been thinking about the ways I can make this kind of impact: by wrapping things extra nicely, by taking more time to answer emails, or by sending little surprises. 

I'd like to invite you to do the same. Make someone else's day a much better one than it was before they received an email, a phone call, a package or flowers from you. It will not just make them feel better, but you too.

Help us choose a cover for This Year Will Be Different by Monika Kanokova

Choosing a book cover is probably the hardest part of the design process. So we did everything else first. But now, with the ISBN number ordered, the manuscript and illustrations finalized, and the Kickstarter goal almost reached (7% to go!), it's time to face the front (of the book, I mean). We would love to see the message of This Year Will Be Different spread across the Instagram streams and Pinterest boards of anyone thinking about making this year, well, different! That's a big dream, and we'll need a bold cover to make it a reality.

We figured four opinions weren't enough for such an important decision. We'd love to hear what you think and which cover you like the most. Please leave a comment under this posting and help us get it right.


Monika, Ewelina, Diana and Diana Jean

What it takes to finalise a project and how to find people to help you with that. by Monika Kanokova


Like every new year, we usually start off with resolutions of what we'd like to accomplish in the upcoming twelve months. However, throughout the year, our preferences may change and we sometimes forget about our big hopes, grandiose plans and inventive visions that we had at the beginning of January.

As with most projects, we need other people to get a project off the ground; not just to keep up our motivation levels, but also to produce the quality of work we want to see associated with our names.

In the last newsletter about my Kickstarter for This Year Will Be Different, I might have mentioned what I'm working on, but I haven't quite told you the story behind the story: publishing a book had been my resolution for 2013 (!).

So, how did I suddenly manage to make it work and what can you do to make your New Year's resolution stick?

It seems that once you set a deadline, spend money and include other people, it's far more likely you'll not just start another project, but you’ll finish it too. So, in other words, only after I assigned a budget to this side project, set myself a deadline and found a graphic designer, an illustrator and an editor, things finally started moving.

When you're at the beginning of your career or want to make a career change, you need to learn how to become your own client. If you've read the interview with Lauren, which I shared in the last newsletter, you know what I'm talking about.

Luckily, once you decide that you must start working on projects that fill you with joy and not just your bank account with money, you'll realize, sooner or later, that other people are also looking for projects that will help them evolve in the right direction.

If you share your vision and beliefs and are open about the reasons why you're doing what you're doing, it's not going to be for the sake of “money” why others will want to help you get your project off ground: I've been incredibly fortunate to find a team for This Year Will Be Different on Elance and Behance. I openly shared my vision and these highly-talented women agreed to help (yay!). While I had a budget assigned to this cause, it definitely wasn't how much I want to pay them once the book starts selling (hopefully). Having included other people in my project absolutely increased my dedication to making it work.

So, what's the project you need some extra pressure for and who do you need to get things started? Let's make this mail a project matchmaking: please respond with your exciting project ideas and I'll follow up on this cause next week.

This year will be different! I'm publishing a book, which you might want to read. by Monika Kanokova

Happy New Year to you! I hope you kicked off your year fabulously well and that you had reindeers at your door, surprises in your mail, and many smiles on your face.

I might have mentioned before that I've been working on a book; This Year Will Be Different is a guide to starting out as a freelancer. The book is filled with stories and interviews with successful women about their careers and how they built the businesses they run today. To top it off, there are 23 chapters on topics such as on building your own website, firing your inner perfectionist, how much you should have saved up before becoming self-employed, on how to set a price for your services, and other articles to answer questions I believe everyone wants to know more about once they start thinking about founding a business.

You can get the first feel for what's the book going to be like on Kickstarter; and because I didn't send you a Christmas present, here's a secret Dropbox link to one of the interviews, which I haven't published anywhere else just yet. 

PS: I promise the book's much better than the video :) 

Some book tips for you! by Monika Kanokova


Here are parts of my weekly newsletter: you can subscribe to my newsletter to get the full articles to your mailbox. 

As it is every year, I think Christmas is the perfect time to decide on what we want to accomplish in the new year, think about our past successes and set future goals.

Two years ago I said I'll write a book and I'm so glad that I'm finally just a couple of weeks away from reaching this goal! I've spent the last three weeks hiding behind the screen and have recorded, transcribed and edited 23 interviews with some extremely inspiring women. I found an amazing illustratora great art director and an editor who is really fun to work with. 

Truth is, the ability to do all of this didn't come overnight. I needed some support to help me figure out the best strategy to finally make it happen. So here are the books responsible for my newly discovered dedication and ability to finalise this long attempted goal:

The $100 startup
Chris Guillebeau book tells stories of people who have managed to start their company with a budget smaller than a hundred bucks. 

The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin's book helped me to focus on what's important to me and deal with consequences of decisions that were hard to make but necessary.  

Shane Snow's book was a real eye-opener to understand what successful people have in common and what they did to get to where they are today; a book about system hacking.

.. and last but not least; 

No Plot? No Problem?
Chris Baty's book has probably been the most important of all. It helped me to find a way to break down a goal that felt too big to accomplish and organise my time for me to be able to reach what I've been trying to do for so long.

I'm really curious about your aims for 2015. Please drop me a line soon!

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