Posts tagged kickstarter campaign announcement
It’s a wrap! December
new york

At the beginning of December, I was still on vacation in South Africa. However, once I came back, I split my time between wrapping up my assignment with Kickstarter and finishing the manuscript of #MCFSB. Often, people ask me how I deal with budgeting and charging my clients. To be honest, I prefer to work with bigger clients for longer periods of time because that spares me a lot of administration. Then, I try to work on side projects in which I’m striving to monetize. However, every time before the end of a contract period, I try to get the assignment to a point that I can say the job's well done and accomplished. 
Whenever I discuss contracts, I specify figurative goals because it’s easier to reflect on your work and say that you’ve delivered what you promised. It’s also easier to discuss future collaborations based on hard facts and numbers, so that was what I was trying to accomplish before getting on the plane to New York. 
A few days before I left for New York to see the team at Kickstarter, I met up with Sean Blanda from 99U to say “hi” to the team at Skillshare and also had a lovely meeting with someone at Squarespace. I sent the first version of the #MCFSB manuscript to Diana. Our goal was to have it edited before going live on Kickstarter (which happened on the 4th of January). 
I’m now finishing off this small article and I’m going to write a reflection of the entire year and publish that one soon. Stay tuned!  
 

#MCFSB: Meet the team and see what we are currently working on

As you can imagine, I could never write a book all by myself. I deeply believe that part of being a professional means you have to find people who have the skills you lack to help you make a product that you’re incredibly proud of.

Last year, when working on This Year Will Be Different: An Insightful Guide to Becoming a Freelancer, I published an ad on Elance and found Diana J. Joiner. The message she sent to me was definitely not one you would send when applying for freelance gigs; it was a message you would send to someone you want to be friends with. We scheduled a Skype call and clicked immediately! 

At the moment, Diana and I have finished editing the book to a stage where we were able to send it to Diana Ovezea to implement the text in the layout. (I’d prefer to call the girls by their first name, but it gets too confusing. Note: Diana’s are amazing to work with.) We prefer to do the last couple of editing rounds in the finished layout to make sure there aren’t any mistakes in the final version. 

Diana Ovezea and I used to study together, however, she was in the graphic design department and we only met once a week during the joined cultural studies classes. Diana is an incredibly hard-working and deep-thinking individual who I’ve always admired for her dedication and wit. I reached out to her to interview her for #TYWBD and during our conversation, she offered to help me with the layout. She didn’t just do a smashing job with the layout, but she also designed the most incredible cover! 

I can’t even tell you how curious and excited I am about her designs for #MCFSB and the cover she’ll create. We’ll ask you soon what cover we should use for the book out of a few options, so please keep an eye out for that update. 

Working with Diana O. is great because she understands what one wants very quickly. (If you ever need a designer, you want to work with her. Trust me!) We’ve chosen the layout and she’s now testing how it works with the fonts she’s chosen and the illustrations that were created by the wonderful Sara Combs.

If you’ve read the contents, then you might have noticed that I interviewed Sara for #MCFSB. So, here’s the story: when I first discussed what kind of illustrations we wanted, Diana O. said we needed a really smart illustrator who would just get it! I couldn’t stop thinking about my conversation with Sara, so I decided to ask her.

Originally, we were thinking about hiring a letterer, which is why I didn’t hire Ewelina a second time (you need to see this girl’s portfolio). However, working with Sara, who specializes in pattern design, felt like a better choice because we wanted to work with someone with an iconic style. If you’ve worked with an illustrator such as Ewelina, it’s hard to find someone else who’s as talented as her, but now, we have Sara!

Sara is currently finishing off all 30 illustrations that you’ll see throughout the book and on the postcards that we’ll send your way too. 

As for me, I’ve been answering messages and requests and reaching out to journalists and bloggers to let them know about this project. If you know a blogger or a journalist you could introduce me to, I’d really appreciate your help. Here is my email address (hello@mkanokova.com) if you decide to make a direct intro.

​Why I am writing a new book and what you will gain from reading it

Why does this book matter so much to me? Why do I want people to read it and think about their skills from new angles? And why am I publishing another book and asking you to pre-order it on Kickstarter? Also, where did the title come from anyway? 

Last February, I was in New York shipping rewards to the supporters of my previous campaign. It was about three months into my life as a freelancer and it was also the first month I didn’t send out a single invoice, nor did I have any client work lined up. Surprise! Surprise! Freelancing is a rollercoaster. We all have heard that, right?

Having my regular expenses and no money coming in felt awful. There were some other private issues happening around the same time when I reached my credit card limit, a major freakout as you can imagine! (Ah, about that; in Europe credit cards work a bit differently than in the US. We can really only spend what we have or will earn in the next month to cover the costs.)

Getting good clients and staying true to your personal mission are very high expectations when you are just starting out. Good clients don’t knock on your door day in, day out. Especially when you are just beginning, one way to deal with a month without any work or invoices is looking for side gigs that you may not necessarily care for. There are millions of platforms that connect you to clients anonymously. It’s a market where you compete based on your price. The other possibility to deal with such a limbo is going back to waiting tables. It’s an option, or at least one I’ve always kept in the back of my mind. 

But then, I thought there must be another solution to make a living as a creative freelancer. After all, it’s the age of the social web! There must be millions of possibilities! 

I began looking for answers and strategies to build income streams independent of other people’s timing and budget. I was looking for a solution that would work on my terms. 

So how did I go about my research? How did I choose who to interview and how did I find these incredible women? 

Given how well it worked the first time around, when I just approached the people I admired for what they were doing, I thought, why not try the same strategy again? While last time I knew almost every single person I interviewed, this time around, I was sending emails to strangers trying to learn from their way of thinking. I got personal recommendations, I found people in news articles, or I approached people who have been on my radar for a while. I got rejections. I got enthusiasm. I got honest answers and most importantly, I got the answers I was looking for. 

So where does the title “My Creative (Side) Business” come from? A title that I got criticized for too, mind you.

The title comes from a realization I had after talking to several different women who shared how they built their businesses. For many, at first, what they do now full-time started as a hobby. They found ways to monetize their side projects and at some point, after years or sometimes just a few months for the lucky ones, it became a project that was making them enough money to be able to focus on it full-time. Because they have seen this technique work once, they tried it again. They changed their perspective. They did something new. They continued reflecting on their skills and playing around with the possibilities of the internet, social media, and online marketplaces. The title really should be “My Creative (Side) Businesses,” given that none of the women I interviewed is putting everything on one card. Stability in business goes hand in hand with having multiple pillars supporting it. 

Every interview featured in #MCFSB that you’ll read will help you realize the many opportunities waiting for you. And every article I have written will help you apply ideas to your own unique, personal situation. You will find examples of moms and how they work to be able to spend time with their kids. You will learn what you can do to be able to become location independent. You will get a chance to reflect how to use your skills if you are suddenly forced to think of a plan B. And you’ll be able to think about what to do when you run out of clients to help you pay your bills.

If what I have described above is something you are curious about, I would really appreciate if you could reserve your copy now. It’s the only time I can make it extra special and send you an actual gift, and who doesn't like gifts? If you have already pre-ordered your copy, thank you! You are the best! I will make your pledge worthwhile, I promise. 

As for me, personally, I cannot wait to send you the finished book! I use Kickstarter to be able to pay my team, the people I enjoy working with the most, promptly. 


PS: Please send our Kickstarter link to friends who you think might appreciate reading the guide. Thanks so much for being awesome! Let’s make this happen together!

How your creativity can make you money.

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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! 

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