Sende is a village home for people who work online, hidden in the Spanish mountains. ‘Senda’ means path in Spanish. Try it out (also in Portugal).
5 Things 🔗 🏄🏻♀️
🌟Notes: microblogging on Twitter is now in beta (up to 2,500 words, editable). A bold move, and good to see them investing in writers. Notes have a unique URL so anyone can read them – best for promo and repurposing long-form content. But what will my feed look like?! Follow @TwitterWrite for updates.
🌟Apply to be a TED Fellow. Recognising folks on the ground working on world-changing ideas – the doers, makers, inventors, advocates, filmmakers and photographers, musicians and artists, educators, activists, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders. Don’t be shy; apply by 30 June.
🌟Phoebe Lovatt’s Public Library is a physical and digital space dedicated to sharing mind-expanding books and ideas. Books for reference and reading plus zines and mags for sale. Books and big ideas. Currently @consul_studio HQ, E1. That table! A gorgeous space 💙
🌟Anne Helen on The Expanding Job. The great reshuffle continues, with a staggering 44% of workers looking for a new job. Many people like their work “and could do it so well, for so much longer, with so much more creativity and precision, if they were just doing that one job, instead of the three currently required of them.”
🌟TechWomen100 Awards (WeAreTechWomen). Now in its sixth year and looking to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women working in technology (women make up just 17% of the industry). An awards series that showcases emerging tech talent and creates role models. Nominations open on 1 July.
Roe v. Wade. Shattered to hear the news from the US. Women already struggle so much to balance work and childcare. 5 people made a decision that impacts the lives of millions – and will affect the poorest women the most. We shouldn’t overlook the economic impact. Abortion access means financial freedom for individuals – and a healthier economy for everyone.
Written by Nika Talbot, founder of award-winning Firebird Studio. Content designer and strategist, based near Brighton, heart in Italy 🇮🇹
Contact me if you have something to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi.
Happy birthday, wrkfrce! It’s a year since Jesse Chambers launched wrkfrce—a one-stop shop for remote workers, so I wanted to catch up and see how things are going. What’s it like building a business on the road during a pandemic, and what’s in store for 2022?
We had a chat about online media, the rise of Substack, morning routines, the pros & cons of the nomad lifestyle, and regeneration. He is hugely inspired by David Hieatt, Co-Founder of Hiut Denim Co and the Do Lectures, who is on a quest to get 400 people their jobs back in a small town (Cardigan in Wales) that used to have Britain’s biggest jeans factory.
“I’m a disciple.” His wife bought him the Do: Purpose book, which he says has been truly foundational in building his brand. Amen to that. I loved Do: Open and often come back to it—short, punchy, insightful—and great design.
wrkfrce’s mission: To build a brand that can inspire and empower all of us to make our careers around our lives.
When we design our careers around our lives—and not vice versa—we are more productive and fulfilled.
Great to see an equal emphasis on wellbeing and work (50:50 article split), and I like what Jesse said about talking to the remote worker, not about remote work (enough sites are doing that already). Also, it’s refreshing to read articles about remote blue-collar work as most I see are written for the white-collar tech/knowledge worker.
Jesse is self-funding this project, so check it out and spread the word 👏
5 minutes with: Jesse Chambers, CEO & Founder of wrkfrce
Happy 1st birthday! It’s been a year since you launched wrkfrce. What key lessons have you learned along the way?
Thank you! There are too many lessons to count, but the biggest lesson is that getting started is the most important thing. One of my favourite sayings has become “it’s perfect enough” 😉
What are the challenges and opportunities for niche media in 2022 and beyond? What are you excited about?
I’m most excited that remote work has grown beyond a niche! There are so many benefits—both for professionals and businesses—in distributed work, and I’m excited that wrkfrce has an opportunity to play a role in helping shape the future of work.
What is growth for you, and how do you stay grounded while growing an online business and managing a remote team?
Growth is trying to get a little bit better—even 1% or .5% better—every day. If you’re able to sustain growth like that over time, the results will be profound. To keep myself grounded, I have a morning routine that includes four things: meditating for at least 10 minutes, writing down 5 things I’m grateful for, eating a healthy breakfast, and getting some exercise (which lately means a 15-minute jump rope workout).
If I’m able to do most of those things most days of the week, I’m a better leader, husband, friend, better everything—not perfect, but better.
Tools for thought—what book has inspired your thinking and process?
Very early in founding wrkfrce, my wife gifted me the book Do: Purpose by David Hieatt, and it has been truly foundational in building the wrkfrce brand. It’s an easy read; lots of pictures and ideas, but not many words. You could read the whole thing in under 45 minutes, but at least for me, I’m never done reading it; I go back to it all the time for inspiration or when I’m struggling with something. I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of founding a business or just looking for inspiration.
It’s Small Business Saturday on December 4, a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages people to ‘shop local’ and support their communities. A brief history of the movement here.
You can promote your services in the Small Biz Saturday UK business portal for free. Share your stories and give local businesses a shoutout on SoMe using the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #SmallBizSatUK. I’ll be doing my Xmas shopping in St Leonards—it’s all indie businesses here, bar Boots!
Jesse said he’s been focusing on SEO for the website, so I sent him the piece I wrote on Building Backlinks, doing the rounds on Twitter. It’s a bit of a rabbit hole, so my digital marketing strategy is little and often. As a colleague said this week: “From small acorns, big trees grow.” 🌱🎄
Have a great Sunday.
I’m working on a new project: Reimagining the future of scientific exchange and helping organise a hackathon for HCPs in 2022. If you’ve helped organise one or know someone who has—get in touch. I’d love to have a chat!
★ Free 1:1 mentoring with Google to help you grow your business online and find new customers. Get paired with a mentor from Google who will help you develop your digital marketing strategy—from building your brand on YouTube, Google Search and Maps to creating more ways to bring customers to your site.
★ Monzo’s founder Tom Blomfield on why he left his £1bn business after it negatively impacted his mental health (Management Today). On what he’s learned from his time at the top, and what he’ll do next… A call for better communication and transparency: it builds trust and happy customers.
★ 2021 Ideas Report(WeTransfer). They asked 10K people from over 135 countries how 2021 transformed their creative worlds. Big shifts in power with Latin America challenging the status quo. The Great Resignation: How creatives leave their jobs in droves in search of fulfilment (and money isn’t the answer). Also: how to get featured on WePresent.
★ TRL 131: Starting a country on the internet& social safety nets for the new world with Sondre Rasch (That Remote Life). Sondre’s views on the future of remote work and why SafetyWing has invested thousands researching the topic of internet countries. Remote visas vs digital citizenship, and top takeaways from year 1 of the Plumia project.
★ Focused work sprints on Zoom (via Hannah at Better Not Stop). Get your free 7-day trial. Start with the most difficult thing first. Do not disturb. Monotask. Facilitated by an experienced Cavedweller. Love the backstory. I don’t have a SheShed, so this could the next best thing.
Welcome back! I hope you’ve had a reset and some family time.
I’ve been juggling a UX project with a 30-day writing sprint, posting daily atomic essays on Twitter via #Ship30for30. I’ve done a few Cohort-based Courses and this one stands out because of the community, fast results, and learning in public. I’m on Day 21/30 – here are my thoughts so far.
Positives – shipping daily is powerful. It stops you from overthinking, over-editing and being a perfectionist. The aim is to get stuff out there and analyse your data, so you can see what’s resonating and go all-in on that. Progress over perfection.
Personal stories resonate the most, and work/travel content. I’ve had the most interaction on essays about digital nomadism, Smart Villages, and dealing with negative feedback.
300 words is tight, so it focuses your mind on short, powerful ideas. Constraints help creativity. Typeshare adds a visual element and reader experience. The curriculum is packed and fresh – internet-based courses can be updated quickly. And it’s more affordable than longer training – incredible value for what you get.
Visibility, accountability and community – you’re doing it under your own name and growing your Twitter followers, so there’s a personal benefit.
It’s a transformational experience and a rite of passage. At the kick-off, Nicolas Cole said, “See you on the other side.”
Challenges – there’s a lot of course material to digest, weekly live calls, and an accountability buddy I’ve not managed to speak to yet. It’s a large cohort: 200+ people, so a fair bit of reading and feedback. I can’t do it all, so have focused on the essays and engagement. I’ve read Nicolas’ (excellent) book, and I’ll catch up on the coursework and replays.
What’s happened organically is smaller breakout groups with people in the future of work and nomad space. We cheer each other on and will Zoom after the course.
Some people have done several cohorts, which is a testament to the power of CBC’s.
🇪🇸Digital nomads are here to save Spain’s ghost towns. 30 dying villages across Spain have joined the National Network of Welcoming Villages for Remote Work scheme. It aims to attract remote workers with a new 12-month work visa. It’s not sun, sea and sand, but tranquillity, nature – and a chance to experience the ‘real Spain.’ Brilliant. They also need to focus on the cultural heritage, history and food, glorious food!
👩💻Future of Work documentary (PBS) – a six-part docuseries chronicling six mid-career adults as they navigate the shifting work landscape. It covers the rise of the precariat, gig economy, remote work, working to live, digital nomads, UBI, new opportunities, and more. All the videos are on their YouTube channel. And there’s a virtual weekly event series exploring the FOW.
🎧Fadeke Adegbuyi on the On Deck podcast chatting about her recent article on Study Web and her experience joining Every, a writer collective (I’ve applied to join). The article is also mentioned in this Think With Google report on what YouTube culture can tell us about the changing future of video – the accelerated trend for ‘slow living’ and how we’re creating community through company.
📚Global Natives: The New Frontiers of Work, Travel, and Innovation by Lauren Razavi. I’ve pre-ordered a copy via Holloway (many excellent books, including a free one on using Twitter). It explores the origins of digital nomads and location-independent work, and how the internet has changed our relationship with place. Knowing Lauren, it will dig deeper than the hype and tired nomad beach photos.
🌎The future of work is now
Let’s build it. The Shift is your guide to running a small but mighty business. Start living and working on your own terms.
Your weekly(ish) dose of inspiration, ideas and solutions every Sunday.
Here’s to the new smart villages in Italy.🍷 🇮🇹 A number of towns have launched travel incentives – and will pay you to work from there.
Santa Fiora in Tuscany (the city of water and music) and Rieti in Lazio are both offering to cover up to 50% of your rent if you stay between two and six months as a remote worker.
Local rents are pretty cheap – €300-500 per month, so you could be paying around €150 a month to rent a cosy cottage or apartment in a beautiful village this summer.
Santa Fiora’s mayor, Federico Baloccchi, told CNN:
It’s not targeted at occasional touch-and-go tourists, but people who really want to experiment with our village life.
The goal is to incentivise people to move in and virtually work from here. We want Santa Fiora to become their flexible office.
It’s part of a 10-year development plan to revitalise rural areas which ‘is now more like 10 days [thanks to Covid] so we’re getting on with it.’ Phase one focuses on connectivity and tech and getting workers and firms in – to capitalise on the trend of people wanting space and moving out of urban centres.
And if you fall in love and decide to invest in tourism there, they’ll give you up to €30,000 to open a B&B, hostel or hotel.
I asked about eligibility for freelancers, age/earnings cap etc and ‘it is open to anyone in possession of a smart work job’. Pensioners welcome 😉 as long as you can show you’re working as an online consultant or indie contractor.
A great way to dip your toe in the water and test out Smart Village life.
Thailand→ Looking to overhaul its Smart Visa to allow digital nomads to remain in the Kingdom for up to four years without a work permit.
Interesting huh. Many more nations will follow suit and compete for citizens as Japanese technologist Tsugio Makimotopredicted 20 years ago – and he digs into the microelectronics and products that enable nomadism.
Can you still buy a house in Italy for €1?
Technically, yes – but the houses are put to auction where people can bid on them. Some sell for €1, the average €5,000 – & then you have to pay for the renovations (say €20,000) within three years.
Rubia Daniels was one of the first to buy a bargain-priced house in Mussomeli, Sicily, in 2019 and bought two more for her children. So far, she’s helped 20 people buy homes out there and hopes to take another group in June. She didn’t intend to buy that many houses, but ‘it’s how the people make you feel that makes you say, ok, I’ll buy three.’
Already 100 people have bought a house, what are you waiting for? – Case1euro.it
Not for the faint-hearted but a hugely rewarding project – an investment in yourself, your family, and a new business opportunity (and I’ve seen €1 houses in France and Croatia too).
London Writers’ Salon: The future of newsletters & publishing w/Substack’s Hamish McKenzie →
London Writers’ Salon spoke to Hamish McKenzie about his writing, the future of journalism and being co-founder of a tech startup, Substack.
Great brain food 🧠 Raw, revealing and honest – he’s no tech bro. Appreciate his vulnerability on his burnout at Tesla – engineers picking over his work, his confidence took a hit and it took him a while to come back. On the stresses of being a founder, which he describes as ‘psychological torture’. The Substack soap opera rolls on – their employees have had online abuse.
He comes across as someone who cares deeply about the future of writing and wants to create a thriving ecosystem for media based on a trusted relationship between reader & writer – rather than clickbait.
Substack is here to give the media ecosystem more options, not replace it.
He looked exhausted (it was 6 am in Wellington) and needs a break. I wanted to give him a big hug! So 👏 to Matt and Parul for a sensitive interview and giving him space to relax and open up. Refreshing for him to be asked about his writing journey and challenges rather than how to support everyone else’s.
On what writers can learn from startup culture
Put something out there, get feedback, tweak, adjust, don’t give up! Nothing important is ever easy or worth doing – stay focused.
It’s not self-promotion but giving yourself a promotion. Find the joy in marketing. You can’t be of service to this world if people don’t know you exist.
🔥People & Company is joining the Substack team to work on community upstart efforts for writers in its network. Spark the flame, stoke the fire, and pass the torch.
Let’s build it. The Shift is a weekly newsletter celebrating writing, good design, creativity, flexible working, growth, travel, and online communities. If you enjoy the content, please like it and share with friends. Thanks for reading!