Categories
productivity Solopreneurs Systems Thinking

Systems can set you free 🤓

I’m struggling to get my tax return done. It’s been in the diary for ages, but I’ve let (more interesting) things take priority this week.

I want it done so I can take a break in August. I’m normally on it as soon as the new tax year starts — like to do it early, so I know how much I have to pay.

I realise I need to do it before school’s out on July 21st. I’m not as focused with a teenager in the house. The energy is different, and my attention is split between work and domestics.

Also, the heat is making me restless. I want to be outside. Long walks. Runs. Hanging out. Living in Hastings is like being on permanent holiday 🤩 🌊

Time to revisit my systems and processes. Look at what I do every day — personally and professionally, and work out how I can maximise my output with minimal effort.

I want to work on my business and myself in August — reading, travelling, studying, and the bigger picture. Set some goals for September — the new year.

Designing better systems will give me more headspace and freedom to be present in the moment — whether I’m writing an email, talking to a friend or shopping with Julieta. It will also help me see what I can outsource.

It’s a mix of digital and physical:

• Notebook and pen (handwriting activates the brain and boosts creativity)

• Trello boards (to plan, move things around, inspirational backgrounds — a visual reminder of where I want to go next)

• Templates for newsletters, emails, and reports I do regularly

• Calendly — set times for calls with an automated Zoom link

• Batching tasks, e.g., Marketing Monday, Fridays for creative writing and personal projects, checking emails at set times

• Hootsuite for social media scheduling (5 x daily posts on the free version)

Groove app for 50-minute focus sprints — just 4 of us; I love how intimate this feels. One task at a time. Writing an email, making dinner, sorting the garage — it’s all work

• GrowthDay — the first all-in-one personal development app. Underpins it all. Brendon’s energy is infectious! ( here’s my link)

Here’s Mark McGuinness | Creative Coach on how to create systems that serve you.

Listen to an audio version of the article on this episode of The 21st Century Creative podcast, starting at 7’’18.

Learn to Thrive as a Creative Proget the FREE 26-week course. It will help you look at your creative career’s bigger picture. Do something new every week to develop your skills.

Happy holidays! See you in September 😎

As always, get in touch if you have something to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

Originally published at https://nikatalbot.substack.com on July 31, 2022.

Categories
Freelancers future of work Open Talent

Insights from future of work discussions 🌍

Help transform work for 1 billion people by 2025

Welcome to Issue #90!

An update on the world of work from the President of the World Employment Confederation, Bettina Schaller.

A bit on Bettina’s backstory and the big topics at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos [via CTW].

1/ Finding work for Ukrainians – how can Ukrainians who have fled or are still there work and pay their bills? Platform innovation.

2/ The world is in crisis – health, food, climate, energy, a talent shortage, inflation, geopolitics – an opportunity for labour markets?

3/ The metaverse – bringing the future to the present

I walked away from Davos thinking that’s it, that’s it – it’s gonna come. It’s gonna be here.

Bettina Schaller

The voice of the worker 

Everyone has their own agenda at these big meetings. How can independents and startups in the digital platform space have a seat at the table and get their voices heard differently?

The classic answer is joining a union – collective bargaining. 

Through finding the right allies and working through those channels. Joining expert roundtables and trade organisations like the Center for the Transformation of Work.

CTW’s mission is to transform work for 1 billion people by 2025.

They are building a community of experts and like-minded practitioners – and are keen to have more independents join their calls.

An opportunity to contribute to the discussion and help redesign work.
https://transformationofwork.org/manifesto

Shaping a shared future – making the metaverse 

On the evolution of the internet: “the part where it gets less flat”. Scaling services, crossing borders, sharing virtual spaces, and new ways of expressing ourselves…

Exciting to hear that spatial audio in 3D meetings adds empathy, which isn’t possible with 2D audio. 

A fascinating discussion – much food for thought! Watch here.

Oculus Quest 2 (much improved) or shall I wait for 3…? 

– Nika


Truss v Sunak – can’t stand it. Get the businesspeople and entrepreneurs on the job!

Categories
Freelancers future of work Solopreneurs

Making the world a better place to freelance ✏️🌍

Welcome to Issue #89!

A group of organisations, including Bravand, is working to make the world a better place to freelance.

Thinking about how they can pool resources and create shared values between freelancers, companies, and agencies.

“Something akin to the Diversity Charter, with the words ‘Don’t be a Dick’ written in large friendly letters,” says Ross Musgrove, Insight & Strategy Director at Bravand.  

Early stages – they are gathering data on what the three groups might want from an initiative like this. Check out the videos here.

Bravand has teamed up with Freelancer Magazine to run an event. If you’ve got a fuckup story worth sharing, thoughts on freelancing, or want to support the initiative – get in touch.

I’d like to see:

• Freelancers/contractors are brought in earlier to meet teams and help shape strategy – not last-minute to ‘fix the words.’

• Rewards and incentives on freelancer platforms, e.g. earn credits for Yon Living stays worldwide.

• More private talent clouds like Braintrust and Distributed. Building independent careers with better benefits than permanent employment. On the waitlist!

• Better onboarding and offboarding. To see the final project if a contract ends early. I want to feel part of the team and have a sense of completion!

• Better security solutions: I have my own tech stack and don’t want to receive a corporate laptop through the post.

• Learning & Development: Shaping your solopreneur/squiggly career – defining ‘success’, upskilling and training. I’ve joined BIMA to access roundtables, masterclasses, FutureLearn courses, and peer networks – creating my own CPD!

• More freelancer/contractor reviews on Glassdoor. You can give feedback on clients as a freelancer, but it’s underused – I appreciate the legalities! But helpful if you’re considering taking on a big project.

• A minister for solopreneurs to help put the policy into action. Jane Hunt MP is the new small business minister.

Be a good business

Sign up for a Code of Conduct to show you’re serious about running a fair workplace:

NUJ Freelance Charter

• Coalition for Change: The Freelance Charter

• Underpinned: Freelance Charter

A Wikipedia for freelancers?

ProCopywriters has created a wiki just for copywriters. See their work in progress.

FreelanceWiki: a free, open encyclopaedia for freelancers and solopreneurs. A single source of truth and a place to gather resources.

There’s a pool of talent, resources and communities, and it can feel overwhelming.

The latest episode of The Nowhere Office is about the rise of the solopreneur. Have a listen👇

Stay cool. Work-lite this week – my flat is like a greenhouse 😎 🌊🍷

– Nika 


Written by Nika Talbot – an independent content designer and UX writer based near Brighton.

Get in touch if you have something to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

The Shift is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Categories
Small business Solopreneurs work culture

State of Solopreneurs 🏄🏻‍♀️

Welcome to issue #87!

I signed up for Groove this week, a digital co-working community for solopreneurs.

‘Get shit done, and meet some pretty rad people while you’re at it.’

Productivity, but fun.

50-minute focused sprints with 2-4 solopreneurs. Or set aside time to rest, meditate or learn. They are beta-testing, so it’s free for now – join the waitlist.

Interesting to read on their blog that they’re taking a break from posting on certain social channels to focus on creating longer-form content and experiences for the community.  

I’ve heard a few people talk about quitting social media lately. It’s not something I can afford to do as a small business owner – clients want it. And most of the time I enjoy it! Chatting to Twitter friends, learning, and sharing useful stuff. It’s how I find internet gold for this newsletter, and it helps me feel connected to the world wfh. 

Having constraints is helpful. I time block and use Hootsuite to schedule posts. I’ve set up my dashboard so it’s quick and easy to find good content and comment. I don’t use the Twitter interface or app much anymore, as it’s super distracting.

I’m focusing on just two platforms: Twitter and LinkedIn, so I can show up and be consistent. I’ll try Notes when they open it up. Basic UI, I like that. Simple is good. It’s all about the ‘network factor’ after all – if it takes off, Medium, watch out.

Groove: Take the survey and help create their first State of Solopreneurs report.

An opportunity to stop and reflect on your creative career! There’s not much research out there about this growing field – solopreneurship – vs freelancing, so I’m curious to see the findings. 


👀 🎬 Everything Everywhere All at Once

Something for the week. The multiverse. Parallel work lives. Angry tax officers. The overstimulation of 21st-century life. Big ideas and butt jokes.

Motivation to get my tax return done!

– Nika


5 Things 🔗 🏄🏻‍♀️

Why we love (async) voice memos – Growmotely was founded by voice memo. How we can use them to shape company culture – and our lives for the better. A unique tool for your productivity box. Intimate, easy – and an opportunity to step away from your laptop.

By marketers – a marketplace for buying and selling your original marketing content. Find case studies, templates, and resources that the community shares online. Save time, help someone, and make money from your work. Very cool! 

Work smarter, not harder, with automation. A 54-page guide on how to increase your income while decreasing the time you spend working so you can set yourself free from the daily grind for good. Turn your knowledge into an online course that runs on autopilot… Thanks to Marianne at The Green Techpreneur for the tip-off. 

Creative Doing: 75 practical exercises to unblock your creative potential in your work, hobby, or next career. A collection of activities, mental models, and true stories – Herbert Lui spent a decade researching and talking with practising artists and creatives of all kinds. 

Another brilliant book from Holloway. Where tech meets publishing…

Let’s talk about how to find new forms of collaborative work. 5 July, 5 pm GMT. A chance to check in, share your experiences and gain insights from TPC community. Every other week, they focus on one area of portfolio working life to help your career journey. 

Find clients: they’ve launched a talent-matching service, connecting startups and scaleups with entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.


Written by Nika Talbot – a content designer, tech storyteller and strategist based near Brighton.

Get in touch if you have something to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi.

PS. I’ve started a new band: The Digital CEOs! Come backstage and meet the crew. Smart, funny and passionate people on a road trip to financial freedom, creative fulfilment – and an extraordinary life 💃💥

The Shift is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid member.