Posts in Newsletters
Talk at Creative Mornings Vienna

Have you ever loved something, but decided to give it up? I don’t mean giving up on people you loved. I mean giving up on an activity or a job. I came across this blog post by Derek Sivers that made me think about the things I gave up. Much more, his post made me think about the moments when I decided to give something up. Often, it’s the moments we decide to give up one thing to pursue another that we gather our courage to make something more meaningful happen. 

As coincidences usually go, the post was mentioned in the Creative Mornings newsletter. About 10 minutes after I read the post, Harald, the new host of Creative Mornings Vienna, asked me if I’d like to speak about “Moments” at the next event.

If you’re around, I’d love to see you there! Tickets will go live next Monday at 11am, and the event will be on the 3rd of February, at 8:30am at the Angewandte Lab.

On another note, the Kickstarter campaign for Work Trips and Road Trips will go live on the 2nd of February. You can sign up here: if you’d like to get notified. There will be a special reward for the people who back the project within the first 48 hours!

How you introduce people (really!) matters.
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Here are parts of my weekly newsletter: you can subscribe to my newsletter to get the full articles to your mailbox. 

I don’t know how you feel about this, but if there's one thing that makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable, it’s stepping into a room filled with people I don’t know, nor what these people feel excited about. I get bored by small talk, so I hardly ever know how to hold a conversation I don’t get bored of within five seconds. It’s terrifying. So the question is, what would change that? 

Last month, I celebrated my 30th birthday and invited a couple of friends over for dinner. They didn’t have much in common besides being the people I spend most time with these days. And so, to make this a family gathering instead of an awkward night filled with superficial conversations, I took the time to send everyone an email two days in advance where I wrote a short personal introduction mentioning how I met everyone and what I admire them for, and because I knew how much everyone likes to travel, I also mentioned where everyone was from or what country they visited in the past couple of months. What happened next blew my mind. People started asking where this and that person (who was delayed) was because they couldn't find them in the room. I realized I didn’t fill a room with strangers I liked. I created a room filled with interesting people who knew where to start a conversation.

After this experience, I started paying close attention to how we introduce people. Given that introducing people is what I do most of the time, I thought I should get better at it. I found the best way to introduce strangers is by describing in a few sentences what excites one most about the other.  

A couple of days ago, I got this after I sent an intro mail: "Thank you so much for kind words and I can’t hardly help to read your introduction over and over again to caress my ego.” 


I realized that the biggest favor we can do to someone (with literally minimum effort) is by spending a few minutes to think about why they stand out as people. Two lines are enough to tell why you appreciate someone. If done genuinely, the person who is just getting to know someone will feel like you’ve given them a box of chocolate. 

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What to give to your creative friends for Christmas.
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Here are parts of my weekly newsletter: you can subscribe to my newsletter to get the full articles to your mailbox. 

Christmas is just around the corner. Like every year, you might be wondering what to give to your friends. If you are like me, you are probably looking for the exceptional, which usually doesn’t cross your path when you need it the most. (I still cannot believe I only found this after it was way too late to give it to the special someone) As for me personally, I prefer gifts that vanish in my belly quickly, or the gifts that land on my Amazon wish list. It’s easy for me to say that I would have loved receiving one of these books. It’s the books that have touched me or even changed my life in one way or another, so they are the perfect gifts for the people who matter the most to you! 

Give Smart Cuts to the friend who is a tinkerer and a lateral thinker, someone you believe might be able to start a great venture! Give them the final push!

Give Talk like TED to the friend who has a great project and who might consider giving some talks about it. Talk like TED will teach them how to tell their story in a memorable way.

Give Rich Dad. Poor Dad to the friend who will soon turn 30 and is slowly wondering how to think about money. This book is also suitable for your friend who you think spends money on unnecessary things.

Give 100$ Startups to the friend who believes that you need a lot of money to start a business. Chris Guillebeau proves you need exactly 100$.

Give Hipster Business Models to the friend who loves exceptional stories of how people started their businesses. This is also the perfect book for the friend who wonders whether people would ever pay them money for their “slightly weird” idea.

Give No Plot? No Problem! to the friend who has been meaning to write a book forever. 

Give The Happiness Project to the friend that has had a tough year and is hoping to make 2016 a better one.

…and it wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t remind you to give This Year Will Be Different to the friend who has been struggling and complaining about their job and who might be better off going freelance.

I hope I could help with some Christmas gift ideas! If none of them are the right thing, I’d also recommend to buy a knitting kit. For some reason, that’s the one present people thank me for years later. Wool and the Gang has some good ones!

Enjoyed the read? It's an adapted version of my latest newsletter. Get the full versions into your mailbox. 

You only need to do 80% of your work load to reach perfection. Sort of.
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Here are parts of my weekly newsletter: you can subscribe to my newsletter to get the full articles to your mailbox. 

Do you sometimes wish you could get things done faster? Does it take you forever to finish tasks and to be satisfied with the results? In all honesty, are you a perfectionist?

People always ask me how I manage to get *so much* done. Sure I’m self-motivated, but that’s hardly the reason for how I accomplish the work load I do. 

Truth is, I never finish anything. At least, not by myself. You’ve probably heard the saying “done is better than perfect” many times. I’m not really sure how I feel about that because I do prefer to deliver work that I consider is as close to perfection as possible, but I don’t think that I am someone who can deliver perfection all by myself. Instead, I believe in the 80/20 rule. 

The 80/20 rule goes like this: It takes 20% of the overall time to get a task 80% done. Then, it takes 80% of the time to get the last 20% done to make the task perfect. Now, if you outsource the last 20% to someone you trust and expect them to deliver 80%, to then finish off their last 20%, you’ll accomplish what comes very close to perfection without the time investment you’d need if you’d try to do it all by yourself. 

If you identify where you start slowing down in your work process, it will be much easier to find someone to work with you. I wish you all the best. If you need help finding someone to do your 20%, let me know. I might know of someone you could hire.

Enjoyed the read? It's an adapted version of my latest newsletter. Get the full versions into your mailbox. 

Skillshare classes that will help you grow your business.

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

Do you sometimes ask yourself whether something groundbreaking and important slipped your attention? Working in the digital industries, a lot is going on every single day and it’s hard to stay on top of everything. At least, that’s how I feel.  

Educating myself has become one of my top priorities, but because it’s impossible to attend conferences every single day, it’s important to make education part of the day to day. 

I watch TED or Creative Mornings talks whenever I eat by myself. It’s inspiring, but it doesn’t make me work on my business; that’s where Skillshare comes in.

On Skillshare, every class comes with an exercise and the possibility to get feedback on the projects you upload. It’s no longer just listening. Skillshare forces you to think and share your work progress with others, a practice that might help you grow your business. 

So, if you’d like to push yourself a bit further, I would love to recommend some of the classes I’ve found that could be valuable to you:

  • Context is Key by Gary Vaynerchuk will teach you how to use social media to make people aware of your business.
  • The New Business Toolbox by Seth Godin will guide you through the strategy of business communication to get it right from the beginning.

…and if you’re interested in what I have to say about freelancing, An Insightful Guide to Becoming a Freelancer might be the right class for you.

I hope these classes will help you grow your business. Let me know what classes you’ve enrolled in.

Enjoyed the read? It's an adapted version of my latest newsletter. Get the full versions into your mailbox. 

How to make your wish come true and why figurative goals are better for your business

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

A couple of months ago, Paul Jarvis wrote a newsletter with the title "Motivation vs. Action.” To Paul Jarvis, motivation is not part of the action. He believes that being motivated means one has the intention to do something, which unfortunately doesn’t mean one actually does it. If you wait for motivation to do things, you might never finish what you intend to do. 

 Even if you’re motivated, you might still say that you have millions of other things on your plate and that you’ll do *it* once your time frees up a little. If you ever wonder how other people manage to get a lot done, it’s probably because…

…people who get into shape enjoy the pain of the exercise.

…people who build successful corporate careers enjoy the politics and procedures.

…people who are successful in their relationships are able to handle conflict and cope with loss.

…people who are able to build successful businesses are comfortable with uncertainty and failure.

…people who travel to cool places and do amazing things are comfortable with the risks, potential disasters, and setbacks.

That’s how Mark Manson summarised it. 

If you think about it, Mark is right. That still doesn’t mean that people who don’t enjoy all aspects of the process cannot accomplish incredible things. It just means they must plan differently. 

If someone were to ask me what I believe is the recipe to accomplishing projects, I would say figurative goals, a realistic deadline, and social pressure. 

Let’s say someone wants to write a book. Let’s say you want to write a book. You’ve seen others do it, but you can’t figure out how, and whenever you try, you can’t make it work. 

If you’d follow my recipe, you wouldn’t say you want to write a book. You’d say you want to write a first draft of 50K words. Then, you would set yourself a goal somewhere between 30 and 60 days. You are motivated now, so goals that are far ahead will make it hard to remain motivated. Once you have a figurative goal and a deadline, divide the word count by the number of days you have to reach your goal. 

Suddenly, your plan is not to write a book; your plan is to write 1,6K or 830 words a day for the next one or two months.  

But who will make you accountable? 

Who will cheer you on whenever you’ll want to give up? Exactly! The friends who know about your plan and who’ll remind you what you said you’d do. Making your plans and your deadline public is what will help following through with your plans.

Now the question is, what is the plan you’ll finally follow through with?

Enjoyed the read? It's an adapted version of my latest newsletter. Get the full versions into your mailbox. 

How your creativity can make you money.

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

Do you remember what your parents advised you to study? What they said would be a wise choice for you to get a job afterwards? I was told several times that studying business was the only right choice. Everything else was a waste of time. My father always believed that creative jobs are the ultimate path to poverty. He was probably worried I would become a starving artist if I followed my curiosity and dedicated my time to my creative drive. (I'm glad I studied interior architecture anyway.)

I learned quickly about the differences between art and commercial art. I listened up when people talked about the internet. And I started to seek out ways to capitalise creativity. Because I believed that there is a way to be creative in the day to day and still have a fridge filled with awesome stuff. 

Most of you joined me on my journey after I published This Year Will Be Different to better understand what it takes to go freelance. Once I learned to walk the freelance path, I figured I needed to follow Christine’s advice and learn how to diversify my income streams to feel more stable in the situation I built for myself. Suddenly, I was saying “yes” to just about any offer that came my way. “Monika, do you want to sell stock images?” “Sure!” “Monika, would you like to do a Skillshare class?” “Why not?” I knew after the disastrous video I published to get my book funded on Kickstarter earlier this year, I had to try to tape myself again. 

Freelancing started to feel like a game and I started to feel like a creative ninja. Yes, I too was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, but that's besides the point. Thanks to my great clients, I’ve had the freedom to invest time in things I knew would never work out immediately. I started investing time and whenever people asked me what I did, I said I was playing; I was playing the freelance game.

In the last couple of months, I’ve learned a lot about the possibilities that are there for everyone to make money through their creativity. The idea for a second book was born! This time, it’s explaining how different freelancers turned their creativity into a business with multiple income streams. So far, I've talked to a writer, a language teacher, a graphic designer, and soon, I’m also having an interview with a letterer! (Yes, you can make money writing pretty fonts.)

If everything goes as planned, "My Creative (Side) Business" will be live on Kickstarter in January. So that’s one piece of good news! The other is that my Skillshare class is finally online. If you would like to tap into freelancing and prefer audio over reading, or if you would just like to see how I am “in person" (…and what weird pronunciation mistakes I make), then follow this link or click on the image below.

I cannot wait to see your Freelancer's manifesto uploaded to Skillshare! 

Enjoyed the read? It's an adapted version of my latest newsletter. Get the full versions into your mailbox. 

Things done by wonderful people. See for yourself.

These days, it’s hard to write positive messages while seeing all the disastrous events happening right outside of our doors. Every time I open Facebook, I close it with goose bumps all over my body. Nevertheless, there is a lot of great stuff happening too, and it’s especially my friends who are doing marvellous, inspiring projects that I would love to introduce to you today. To briefly explain the situation: after a month of not publishing any newsletters, I still cannot bring myself to writing anything but the articles I am paid to write or the monthly wrap-ups I publish to reflect on the accomplished work of the previous month. But that also calls for a small step. And so here is mine: a selection of projects of the people I admire for the work they do. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do:

Anne is currently working on launching a coding school, Refugees on Rails, that will help refugees find jobs in an industry where there aren’t enough workers to take on these tasks. 

Talia’s beautiful jewellery that was produced in collaboration with J. & L. Lobmeyr is now available for sale. Also, here are her thoughts on the current refugee situation from a designer’s perspective. Worth a read.

Diana is not one to complain, and after Google published their new logo that was praised but also criticised, she tried to come up with a better solution herself.

Noah’s opening a comedy café in Berlin and is currently running a Kickstarter campaign. Also, spot my favourite joke about capitalism!

Max and Tom have produced a stunningly beautiful video to capture the genius behind Magdas Hotel.

Diana became the editor of the Beach to Bay magazine, which is now available on Issuu.

Owen has this most incredible newsletter that summarizes everything that’s going on in the tech scene so that you no longer have to visit all the tech blogs to keep up with the industry.

What’s a project you would like to bring to everyone’s attention? 

I look forward to reading about some goodness in the world and thank you for sharing. Please do!