Let’s talk about money: how do you deal with your pension fund? by Monika Kanokova

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What are your thoughts on pension provision, finance, reserve funds, investment and stock options? For me they are all part of a world in which I don’t belong. The other day, I had an appointment with my bank consultant and I came out of the meeting wondering whether everyone has a pension fund but never talks about it, or whether no-one is dealing with their future responsibilities which is why no-one ever talks about money.

My bank consultant suggested that I invest in a company fund and mentioned “financially trustworthy companies” such as Unilever and Nestlé; I flipped! These are companies that I try really hard to avoid; I purposefully try not to spend my money on their products so why should I invest in them to support their growth?
My bank consultant said; “But you must think like an investor!” Which of course I do; as Cristiana said in her interview for #TYWBD: “You must have money, to spend money, to make money.” But at the end of the day, how do you spend money in a reasonable way and avoid becoming part of the “evil” gang? How do you make sure you save up or spend to save up so that you have enough on side when times aren't as good as they are today?

I wonder and leave you with a question; what do you do to save up for your retirement future? Or don’t you do anything about it at all? 

I look forward to hearing about your point of view. As always, please leave a comment below.

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Why and how you should set yourself small goals. by Monika Kanokova

How do you set yourself goals? Do you have a big goal you strive to get a little closer to every day or do you prefer to have several smaller goals? 

When I was little I knew that one day I would become a fashion designer. I was trying to reach this one big goal, but because I wasn't there yet, I felt like a failure every single day. I was so dedicated to achieving my goal that I almost didn't recognize how the entire industry had changed. Suddenly, fashion wasn’t a world I wanted to be a part of. It took me at least six years to redefine myself after I gained this life-changing insight. During this time, I was very upset because I no longer knew where I belonged. But I knew that I didn’t want to have a goal that would make me feel the way I did when I dreamed of working in fashion.

Eventually, I decided to do things differently. Instead of having one big goal, I started to make up small and achievable goals. Goals that would allow me to celebrate my little accomplishments every day. Ever since I changed my attitude towards goals, I’ve been happier and far more motivated. Most important of all, I’ve never been short on creativity.

I wrote the above because I was asked how to get out of creative blocks - something that I have not experienced in years. Why? Because I've learned how to make celebrations a set part of my daily life, I am motivated, inspired, and connected to the next step; simply because I value every small step and see it as an achievement. 

So, again, what is your goal? And how can you make up several small goals worth celebrating along the way while you’re working toward your one big vision?

I look forward to hearing from you; just comment below. 

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Greetings from around the world! by Monika Kanokova

Have you pre-ordered and received your book? I've loved seeing the photos and captions shared from places I still dream of visiting one day. Here are some of my favourite pictures (I hope to see some more in the coming days) that were tagged with #thisyearwillbedifferent and #TYWBD on Twitter and Instagram

f you've read the book already, I'd love to know: what story inspired you the most and why?

 

It's a wrap! February by Monika Kanokova

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February felt like a quiet month. I spent the majority of the time dealing with my little side project, This Year Will Be Different, which is a guide to getting started as a freelancer. Once the Kickstarter campaign made its funding goal, the real work began.

First, I had to find a printer. I decided to appoint Kay Printing in New Jersey; if you need a printing company close to New York, they are your people. Cost-effective, professional, friendly.

Then, because I wanted to make receiving the book special, I decided to wrap every single one as if it were a present. Wrapping 200 books takes about 2 days. That’s a lot of time, but now that I see how much people (here, here, here or here) are enjoying this little gesture, I know it was worth the while. 

For everyone who hasn’t backed the Kickstarter campaign, the book is available on Amazon. If you want to have a closer look at the contents, check out this page.

But This Year Will Be Different wasn’t the only thing that kept me busy throughout the month. I spent a couple of days working on a social strategy with the team at Badger & Winters. And I’m especially proud of the guys at SCHED, who have finally pushed a feature live on Eventbrite, where I helped them with the UX.

All in all, I spent a great time meeting people here in the big apple. I finally got to meet my editor, Diana Joiner, who came to New York for a day. I also met up with Amy Virginia Buchanan, an aspiring singer and Kevin Masse, a great chef who works in advertising. I had a coffee with Jeffrey Yamaguchi, a wonderful writer and thinker and also got to know Kendel Ratley, the relationship director at Kickstarter.

I’m flying back to Vienna tomorrow and would love to have a coffee if you’re around. I’m currently booked throughout March, but if you have an interesting project lined up for April, where you could do with some help, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

10 time-saving tips and tricks to do social media in small businesses by Monika Kanokova

It's not easy to do social media while running a small company or an indie business. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you do a great job on the web while leaving you enough time to focus on what matters to you most at work.

Why you should take the time to recommend others' work by Monika Kanokova

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When was the last time you really enjoyed working with someone? Did you tell them? Or better, have you written them a recommendation for other to see?

No? You should.

For the past couple of months I’ve tried to make the effort to write recommendations for everyone I’ve enjoyed working with. All I want is for others to succeed in their field and the only way I can help them out is by recommending them to potential clients, collaborators or anyone else who’s interested in working with them. 

It takes about five minutes to write a short note about someone; a note that will make them remember you and your collaboration in a positive light. It’s also a hint for them to write a recommendation about your work in return. 

Last but not least, if you’ve finalised a project and feel good about the results, don’t hesitate and ask people to recommend you. If they really liked your work, they won’t mind saying a couple of nice things about your contribution. 

.. and because it’s only Tuesday, try to make sure to recommend at least one person on LinkedIn before the end of the week. It’s good for your karma.

Remote work and my work process by Monika Kanokova

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One of the main reasons why I quit my job and decided to start my own company was the need to be mobile. I wanted to live in different countries and work across different time zones. That does not mean that I do not work locally with people or travel to clients. It just means that I am not at a place in my life where I can commit to one location for the long term.

Only a few years ago working remotely wasn’t possible. Even these days some people have a hard time trusting you’ll deliver on time once you leave the office to work on an assignment from home or a café.

People are often amazed how I am able to deliver quality work with such short turnarounds. You might be surprised to hear that part of the reason, at least for me, is the ability to work remotely. It allows me to work from places where I can get into the “zone” quickly. 

Since I registered my own business three months ago, I have worked on various projects with six clients and managed to write and publish a book while coordinating a remote team myself. It’s been busy, but I believe that with the right tools any assignment is possible. Here is an explanation of my processes, and a list of apps I use while working remotely: 

Briefings

I am a huge fan of Skype. It’s easy to schedule calls with anyone, anywhere in the world. Although often it’s not necessary to Skype, which is why I work with Podcasts. 

For many of my clients it’s easier to share their briefings and feedback verbally, which is why my clients often send audio briefings instead of e-mails. It’s quicker for everyone and I can listen to my clients’ thoughts over and over again if needed.

Transcribing

Whenever I need to transcribe longer interviews or podcasts I use Siri to do it for me. I plug in headphones and simply repeat everything I hear and speak it to my iPhone while Siri types it for me in my phone's notes. It's an incredibly time-saving hack! 

Project management

I am familiar with Basecamp and Podio. While I like that Podio enables you to customise the apps you need for your projects, I find it incredibly challenging if I’m not an admin of a work space. Basecamp feels far more democratic to me; it’s how I prefer to manage and be managed during projects.

Copywriting

I work exclusively in Google Docs. It’s the easiest way for my clients to see my progress and it’s also a great way for them to comment on my work. If I have to transfer local files, I do so by sharing a Dropbox folder. 

Generally speaking, I save everything in the cloud to make sure nothing gets lost. It also gives my clients easy access to the work I produce for them. 

Strategy Decks

I create all my decks, which I sometimes also publish on SlideShare using Keynote. They’re saved on Dropbox to make sure no information gets lost. 

Team Communication 

If I’m involved in a longer lasting project, I cut down on the number of emails by using Slack - a great chat tool to communicate with teams. All conversations and files uploaded to Slack are searchable, making it easy to search through what one has talked about in the past. Slack is available as a desktop, and also as a mobile app for your phone. 

Accountancy

I use Freshbooks because it allows me to give my accountant immediate access to my invoices and expenses. I don’t need to drop off my receipts at his office. I do everything myself and give my accountant access to finalise what needs to be sent to the tax office. With Freshbooks I feel on top of the (accounting) game. A good feeling to have.

I hope this sheds some light on the way I work. What are the tools and practises that help you work on the go? 

It’s a wrap! January by Monika Kanokova

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At the end of last month I got a request from the guys at SCHED to work with them on an Eventbrite plug-in and help them revamp their email marketing strategy. 

When I saw how well This Year Will Be Different was coming together (in particular the beautiful illustrations) I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to fund a print edition of the book.

The campaign rolled out on the 4th of January and was successfully funded on the 27th of January, 10AM CET.

Initially I tried to get to 5K but thanks to several features (here, here, here) and also the great support of the community team at Kickstarter, 376 people pledged $8,873. I cannot even express in words how touched I am by the interest in the project. 

Then, another cool thing happened. I had the chance to speak at a Marketing Natives event and share a little more about how to get (better) jobs. 

As it was my first month back in Vienna, it was a month filled with great reunions. Some of the lovely people I met with to discuss freelance work were Anna Heuberger, Nina Mohimi, Sarah Halbeisen and Julia Basagic

At the end of the month I flew back to New York, where I’ll be spending all of February. Very excited to see what the next month will bring. Maybe a collaboration with you? Get in touch if you need help with your great project or if you want to grab a coffee.