Posts in Monthly Reviews
It's a wrap! July 2018
#kathmosmoving
Birmingham
#kathmosmoving2

It feels like it’s been two days since I last posted an update here. But then it also somehow feels like it’s been two years since I signed a rental contract in Berlin and turned my entire life upside down. I’ve been wishing to write more. But then had to assemble a bed. I wanted to finally shoot the Skillshare video I started working on in January, yet there I was, trying to unbox and sort through my things.

It would be a lie if I said I was fully focused on work this month. It’s actually surprising how much has happened in the past four weeks.

First of all, I was fortunate to join the Hanzo team for a series of workshops in Wales. It was a user research workshop to learn more about the challenges of academia.

I have also signed a contract with the Upskill Digital team to become one of their associated trainers. And then, the biggest highlight was that I was contacted by the TedXLend team asking if I’d be up for speaking at the upcoming event in October.

For LifeStart, we have organized a series of mentorship events in London to connect students with professionals over dinner or an afternoon tea. We use these events to connect with students offline. To us, it’s a great way to induce small offline highlights and give students a real reason to connect with the initiative online. We also use the conversations the students and mentors are having at the table as a base for our content strategy online. In August, we’ll be rolling out a Youtube channel and a blog. I’m very much looking forward to what’s ahead of us regarding this wonderful initiative facilitated by Virgin Money.

I will be updating my imprint soon, given I had to found a company in Germany and close my Austrian one. It’s been a lot of bureaucracy, but it feels good to finally feel a little more settled. What I think is the most wonderful thing is how much I feel I am in the right place right now.

Last but not least, I’d love to recommend you the following reads:

Some thoughts on what might drive space exploration

https://medium.com/s/futurehuman/survival-of-the-richest-9ef6cddd0cc1

How to share your user research

https://medium.com/mixed-methods/8-creative-ways-to-share-your-user-research-746fae501e2c

What to do when nobody notices your art

https://artplusmarketing.com/what-to-do-when-nobody-notices-you-the-power-of-the-300-rule-e132efa6b51a

Enjoy your summer!

It’s a wrap! June 2018
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I often ask myself whether it’s possible to build a community that’s purely online and without any kind of offline interactions. Is it still a community or is it just an audience? Is it then marketing or is it still community building? 

I’ve always believed there is a distinct difference between someone who works as a marketing consultant and a community strategist. In my job, I always look for ways to bring people together. In my opinion, what makes the internet so magical is that it’s much easier to gather people who have the same passions and interests, and that if you can gather people, you should. 

When we were thinking of what sort of social media content we wanted to produce for LifeStart this summer, we wanted to experiment with career mentorships and actually bring students together to chat with someone who works in the career they might be interested in. 

Luckily, we had a bunch of Virgin Experience Vouchers lying around, so Cleo and I set up group meetings, invited mentors, and asked students to join. We got very lucky with the locations too: from Fortnum & Mason to Grill Plateau, we turned an empty excel sheet into social media content that’s a treat for everyone. 

At the moment, we’re preparing the outreach to launch the next round of LifeStart Challenges that will begin in early fall. As always, we’re looking for UK-based university staff and students to help us. 

Another project that’s been keeping me busy is my upcoming Skillshare class on how to use Kickstarter to build a career as a freelancer. For this, I’ve been carrying around a microphone for most of the month trying to finally record it. 

You might notice my VAT number is no longer active, as I’m currently in the process of setting up a German company. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen I found an apartment and am moving back to Berlin. While it all went through just a week ago, it had been long time coming given that I’ve lived between Vienna and Berlin for five years, and as previously said, just got really tired of traveling around so much. Nevertheless, I’m currently popping in and out of Britain, so should you be in London, we could also a have a coffee one day. I’m mostly hanging out at the Shoreditch Grind when I’m there these days. I like to watch people as they rush through the streets. It’s so different when thinking of Vienna, or even Berlin.

Until next month! 

It’s a wrap! May 2018 
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When life gives you lemons...

Life gave me three weeks without in-person meetings and a project I’m currently truly excited about (Hello, Hanzo! I like you!). Seizing the opportunity, I immediately booked a flight to Australia and New Zealand to see my wonderful friend Greta.

Ever since I met Greta in Bali last year, I knew I wanted to visit her, so once I had an opportunity to do so, I didn’t hesitate.  The 25th of April was my last day of teaching my students, on the 26th of April I was on a plane down under. 

All of this booked and decided on the 21st of April. I do love the internet. 

Being remote and somewhere new, it makes it much easier to focus. I didn’t really tell anyone I was down under, so I made an extra effort for no one to notice and for no one to mind. 

Having done this trip inspired me to conduct a Skillshare class on remote working, so that’s what I’m currently working on. Diana is also reviewing a script about using Kickstarter as a freelancer, so that I can start recording the Skillshare class on that subject very soon. 

However, life hasn’t just given us lemons this past month. Life has also given us a great portion of GDPR. As a community strategist and someone who connects people for a living, I probably had more to do than most freelancers. I’ve written an extensive blog post about all I’ve done, which you can read here. (I’m still not 100% done but I hope I’ll get there eventually.) 

One thing I'm extremely excited about is the Google Digital Garage that I found out about just a couple of days ago. If you'd like to get up to speed with online marketing, they've created the most valuable webinar to teach you all the necessary basics. You'll also get a certificate once you successfully do the final exam. 

On the project front, I’m currently preparing content for a student outreach initiative for which I’m looking for people who’d like to contribute a fun story from their student lives that’s related to some of their odd jobs. I’m also looking for HR managers who’d like to share what they look for when hiring junior staff. If you think that’s you, please don’t hesitate and get in touch or pass on this post to someone you think should definitely contribute a story. 

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m updating my website with my planned trips, so if I ever happen to be somewhere close to you, please don’t hesitate and get in touch. I’m pretty much playing it by the ear at the moment. 

It's a wrap! April 2018
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April was great! I’ve successfully accomplished my three month assignment with Veganz. I’m especially very happy I was able to hand it over to someone as capable and wonderful as Moritz Möller.

Moritz and I met when I first moved to Berlin. Back then, he was heading the local Instagram community, and to this day, he’s responsible for the #igersberlin account. He’s someone I’d recommend any day. It’s so great to know the marketing department at Veganz is in good hands.

I really love the mission of the company and I’m thankful it’s given me the opportunity to reflect more on what lands on our (and especially my) plate. If you’re interested in veganism and might want some help to make you give up meat, I can only recommend the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Patrick Bolk’s Vegan Guide

Don’t get me wrong, I do really enjoy eating meat for its taste. However, the more I read about what it means to eat meat in our capitalist times, the more I wonder how it’s even possible veganism is such niche thing. From the ethical point of view, veganism should really be the norm for anyone who lives in an urban area in what’s considered a developed country.

This quote sums it up well: 

"Since the world has changed so much, the same values don’t lead to the same choices anymore."

Jonathan Safran Foer

While my Veganz project has come to an end, I’m glad I’ll now be able to dedicate more time working together with the Barcelona-based agency Hanzo. We’re working on a student initiative for a London-based client and it’s the sort of work that’s truly aligned with what I’m most excited about: helping people get the sort of work they're most excited about.

I’ve also finished teaching at the New Design University. My course Social Media for Designers was a series of lectures on how to use the Internet as a tool to make a living as an independent creative (or get the sort of jobs with the companies one wants to work for). 

I love exploring what’s possible online and it’s moments like getting emails from EyeEm that I sold 40 images (of food) in one month that give me a weird sense of satisfaction. 

And even though I do make parts of my income with selling photos of food, it pleases me even more when a publication such as Girlboss recommends one of my books to their readers. 

All in all a very pleasant, successful month. I’m fully booked until the end of May, however, if you have a project you want to do in June, please don’t hesitate and drop me a line. Let’s talk! 

It’s a wrap! March
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Before I started teaching social media at the New Design University in St. Pölten, it was clear to me I wanted to have a small comprehensive project in my portfolio. I wanted to create something anyone could copy if they wanted to. Something that just needed a smartphone and a good idea for it to happen: that’s how I came up with the Vienna coffee guide before also creating one for Berlin to decrease the costs of printing.

In March, I published my fifth Kickstarter project. It was a fifth successful project (sixth if I count running one for Anitar last September). 

While it seemed easy to raise money for the Vienna guide, it wasn’t all that simple with the guide of Berlin’s café scene. One thing I have learned from running all these projects is it doesn’t matter how one reaches the goal. What matters is that one does. 

If a Kickstarter project doesn’t work as expected, one must come up with a plan B, a plan C, and at least a plan D. At the end of the day, what matters is raising the money necessary in the time one determined before going live.

Once I noticed people weren’t all that keen on the Berlin guide, I considered what the people who follow me online are interested in. I added an additional reward by offering a personal consulting session on how to go freelance. 

That’s what made the project a success. Not the project itself, but instead the ability to improvise when nothing goes as planned. Which is to say, it hardly ever goes as planned.

What I’m especially excited about is that because I already had the Berlin guides printed, I can now play around with Etsy, DaWanda, and IndieGoGo on demand too because I finally have a product to sell. 

Those two Kickstarter projects, and especially making sure to ship them on time, were by far not the main projects I worked on this past month. I kicked off March with a workshop in London organized by Hanzo for one of their clients.

March was also the month I flew to St. Pölten every week to teach.

And, of course, there was also the work I did for Veganz.

When I agreed to teaching social media, I didn’t realize how much time I’d spend talking about different business models. Originally, I just planned to show my students how to frame creative projects, use the available tools to materialize ideas, plus how to use social to position oneself online. 

But then to be able to know how to use the internet as a tool, one must also understand how one is instrumentalized as a product and how different companies monetize one’s attention, time, and data, so we got to talk a lot about propaganda, advertising, and how different companies make money. Which made the class very broad, but to me, also interesting to prepare to discuss these issues before standing in front of 36 pairs of curious eyes. Quite an experience!

And before I forget to mention this, every student got to work on their own creative project, which you can see by looking up the hashtag #nducreates on Instagram. 

Meanwhile at Veganz, I needed to communicate how I wanted to get involved with the company in the future. About six weeks in, I knew I didn’t see myself as the Head of Marketing for longer than the originally agreed upon three months. It’s a lot of admin and not so much creative work, and as I always say, one should be doing something in the day-to-day one is actually excited about. At this moment, hiring, firing, and restructuring a team is not necessarily it. 

After setting up internal communication processes and project management structure by introducing the team to Trello, I began working on the campaigns for the entire year of 2018. I’ll write a case study about my work for Veganz and publish it on this website some time soon. At least for now I can mention that we ran Beautiful Vegan Easter as a brand collaboration with Bio:Végane in March and prepared the campaign Vegan Lunch Box together with Patrick Bolt and EcoLunchBox for April.

My main focus at Veganz this past month – and I know I already mentioned a lot I worked on – was to find a replacement for myself, hire a new Creative Director, and also two additional translators to professionalize the communication output. With Moritz Möller, Martin Petersen, Justine Coquel, and Richard Block, I do believe I’ve fulfilled that mission quite successfully. 

I’m very excited to see what April will bring, given I’m transferring back to a more flexible, remote lifestyle. I’m currently booked out until mid-May, but can work on smaller projects here and there. Please send me an email if you need anything! 

It’s a wrap! February
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February started with the launch of the Veganz Online Shop in Austria. We’ve gathered a fine group of bloggers and Instagramers and invited them to shop in the store. For me personally, it was quite fun to watch what different people bought for the budget we gave them. Given Veganz is currently working on making it as easy as possible to shop vegan food in all sorts of convenience stores all across Europe, it was also super lovely to be a part of the contract signing with Carrefour, the largest food retailer in France.

Having been working freelance and mostly by myself for the past four years, my collaboration with Veganz challenges me in a whole lot of different ways. I’ve been setting up internal comms and briefing processes. One of the solutions I’ve found valuable to communicate with distributed teams in the past years has always been Trello. I organize my own workload using the app and I’ve always really liked using it when working with others. I believe Trello brings more transparency and structure, so I introduced it to the marketing team at Veganz. 

Seeing how much more transparency Trello has brought to the marketing team at Veganz has really helped kill some of the time consuming projects the team had to deal with. We’ve been using the software for a little over five weeks, and while there is still a long way to go for the system to really bring all the benefits, it’s been an improvement that’s helped organize and communicate projects without having them disappear from people’s sights and minds. 

This past month I’ve also started teaching. I’m giving a course on social media for designers. The first lesson must have been quite shocking for the students. I care very little about follower counts and engagement rates. To me, what matters most when it comes to social are the human connections and opportunities one can unlock using the available tools. I’m not planning on teaching how to make a living being a social media celebrity. I don’t know if one can study how to have genuine relationships, but I do know I’m not very interested in teaching people how to trick different platforms' algorithms. I really believe that people follow others online who they find inspirational. They follow people they think do cool stuff, so it’s more about doing cool stuff and less about following/unfollowing to get people’s attention in a rather unethical way. We’ve, for example, watched Mr. Bingo’s Kickstarter video, talked about Lauren Hom’s idea to letter blackboards in restaurants around NYC in return for a free lunch, and we’ve also discussed LadyVenom’s article on how she got to 270K followers. 

I also had the chance to participate in a workshop organized by the incredible agency (and one of my incredible clients) Hanzo. I also spoke at the LifeStartFest at the London College of Fashion amongst some other incredible people, such as Victoria Stoyanova, Erik Rodin, Kristi Kuiken, Gemma Milne, Luke Whitehead, and other wonderful minds who joined the crowd as mentors. I really hope I get to work with LifeStart even more in the future. 

As a fun fact, I was one of the sources for the New York Times article about the Viennese ball season. Anyway, I’m still really busy working on way too many projects, but will be launching another Kickstarter project in March to fund a guide of the Berlin café scene. If you’d like to have a coffee, please check where I am these days! I’ll try to make it happen. 

Okay, bring it on, crazy busy March! 

It’s a wrap! January 
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At the end of last year, it became clear that I’d return to Berlin once again. It’s not even that I was actively looking for opportunities to be in the city. It really feels like every time I open myself to being in Berlin, the city draws me back immediately. 

On the 15th of January, I began working with Veganz. At first it was planned I’d oversee the social media strategy for 2018, however - and given I care about integrated communication throughout all departments - I’m now leading the marketing team. It’s a team of twelve responsible for communication, brand management, graphic design, online store, and of course, customer care. We’ll soon be hiring native English, French, and Italian speakers to help us with translation and copywriting, given we’re planning to expand to new markets. 

I've also started working with Student Life Start, which is an initiative to help students start a career they love. It's something I’m very vocal about and even more excited to be involved in a project like that. 

Given in the past three years I always ran a Kickstarter project, I couldn’t help myself but published one this year too. Last year, Kickstarter began an initiative called #Make100 inviting you to create something, anything, 100 times. I decided to create a small guide about the Viennese coffee culture and print it on MOO business cards. It’s a fun, small project, which I’m mostly doing as a case study to use in the classes I’m teaching at the New Design University. I’ll start teaching there at the end of February. 

And because I always aim to share the wisdom that has served me well, I’ve recorded a class on editing and monetizing smartphone photos. The class is now available on Skillshare. 

I’m fully booked until mid April. If you already know about a project for any time after you’d like me to get involved in, please get in touch! 

It’s a wrap! December 2017
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When I thought about what I’d like to achieve in 2017, I had two things on my mind: I wanted to share my learnings at Creative Mornings and I wanted to teach. Now that December is over, I’ve come to realize I’ve reached both of these goals. Through a weird series of coincidences, I was asked to speak at Creative Mornings Vienna last February. (My plan was to launch my Kickstarter campaign at the end of the talk, which, given there was a technical bug, wasn’t meant to work out. How apt given the title of the talk which was "Plan B is always better.")

My second goal – to teach – came about unexpectedly as well. My original plan was to discontinue my freelance practice to join the Teach4Austria initiative. Given I went to a secondary school with a high quota of immigrants, I’ve had the desire to give back for a long time. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it through the assessment center. However, my goal to teach happened in a different way. After giving a lecture at the New Design University in November, the students seemed to have enjoyed it so much that I was asked to come back and teach a whole seminar. I lead a seminar on how to use social media to position yourself as a designer online. That brings me to the article I wrote that was published on the Kontist blog where I explain how designers can monetize their talents. 

This past month, I’ve joined the Berlin-based strategic consultancy Beluga to participate in an innovation workshop for a global beauty brand. I might also work with them on a project in the vegan foods industry, which would be incredibly exciting. 

One of the things that happened this past month that I’m most excited about is that SOS Kinderdorf finally tried a different approach to fundraising. During the Edelstoff market, we teamed up with letterers to create beautiful Christmas cards in exchange for donations. On one hand, we had boxes there for people to donate immediately, and on another hand, people were invited to use We’R’SOS to raise money online. I’ve been working with SOS Kinderdorf on different approaches to fundraising for some time, so I'm glad we’re slowly moving forward. 

A small side project also went live a few weeks ago: I made a new website for my yoga teacher. Feel free to book a retreat or come to one of her classes in Vienna. She’s amazing! 

Last but not least, I’m currently learning SQL. If you have any tips, feel free to share! Also, if you need someone to help you with positioning, retention, and/or marketing, don’t hesitate to drop me a line! (helloATmkanokovaDOTcom)