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 💃💥

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Categories
digital nomads future of work work culture

Rethinking meetings 🌴

Welcome to Issue #86!

Ever heard of a tree meeting?

Tree meetings are when you climb a tree with your team to have a discussion.

A new perspective can bring you unexpected results….

Trees are uncomfortable, so you meet for a shorter time. Shorter meetings are better. 

Better than a shorter meeting is no meeting at all (lately, all mine have been voice notes on WhatsApp, usually when I’m out walking).

Edo Sadiković on how trees can be a metaphor for how to work your meetings differently. Plus more creative places to meet like mushroom and pool meetings.

You create better results when you enjoy something and stimulate all your senses. 

Where was your most memorable meeting?

– Nika

Via Fanny Marcoux – simple marketing for busy freelancers.

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 wordseditable). 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 impactAbortion 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.

Enjoy reading this? Why not buy me a glass of Prosecco? 🥂

Categories
productivity remote working work culture

Your async arsenal 💪

Welcome to Issue 84!

I joined the async movement this week.

Member 6,128 of a growing community who believe in the power of asynchronous communication to transform how we live and work.

Asynchronous – the new business buzzword, which OED defines as ‘not existing or occurring at the same time’. Meetings are the exception, not the rule.

Companies like GitLab, Doist, Zapier, Trello, Gumroad, and Automattic have worked this way for decades, so we can learn a lot from them.

Research shows that async brainstorming results in more novel ideas than real-time approaches.

Join the async movement here.

Scrolling through the member forum, I see we’re struggling with the same stuff: deep work and flexibility, slower productivity, working seasonally, and being free from the meeting monster.

#WorkAsyncNotASAP and “Life becomes fun again.” 💯

Great initiative and ideas from Doist to help you rethink your relationship with work and educate yourself on new ways of working.

Convince your boss and sell it to your teams

It’s challenging to ask your clients to adapt their routines and work differently, especially in big companies. They expect you to adjust to them, which causes friction.

I’m taking baby steps towards a (mostly) async way of working – show not tell. Documenting everything, sending links to Google Docs or Dropbox, asking for the goal/agenda of a meeting before agreeing to it, and sending Loom videos for visual work.

Clients love a weekly round-up email: “I really like this way of working.” They can see what you’re up to, and if you have too much on your plate, work can be reallocated.

Daily bookends – do the thing in the morning when I have the highest energy. Writers’ Hour (4 pm GMT) to wrap up and reflect in good company.

Slowly chisel away at it…let’s break the 9-5 apart.

Send them the async toolkit 🛠

It feels like a more intentional, focused way of working. But I’m mindful of not letting it overspill into my life – micro-actions and community are important and help me feel connected.

It’s convenient to drive to the supermarket, listen to a podcast and self-serve at the checkout, speaking to no one. Or I can walk there, help someone do their shopping and chat with the cashier. I have a choice and I know which one will make me feel better.

– Nika

PS. Here’s one tiny action you can take to help spread the async movement – steal this email signature.


Designing an async-first workday (The Async Review), Almanac’s excellent magazine.

What happened when we stopped having meetings and sending emails (GDS) – great to see Government is reevaluating ways of working.

Onboarding at GitLab is self-driven, self-learning while remaining as async as possible to help people settle in.

Cal Newport on slow productivity as an antidote to burnout and chronic overload. These ideas boil down to: Do fewer things. Work at a natural pace. Obsess over the quality.


Written by Nika Talbot, founder of award-winning Firebird Studio. Content designer and tech storyteller. Based near Brighton, heart in Italy 🇮🇹

Contact me if you have a project to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi.

Enjoy reading this? Why not buy me a glass of Prosecco? 🥂

Categories
future of work personal development work culture

I got fired over Zoom 🤯

Ever been fired over Zoom? 

This week, it happened to me – halfway through a six-month contract. I got a calendar invite for a ‘catch up and chat’ with my manager.

Big budget cuts and the client wants to focus on paid social media, not organic posts (I’ve been writing playbooks for them).

I’d done what they hired me to do, and none of the other teams had any work left for me, so that was it.

She did it nicely and better via Zoom than email – though it felt hardcore and surprised me.

You’ve done a great job. We couldn’t have done it without you. Love to have you back next year when budgets are back to normal. Let us know if you need a reference… 

Bit more than a ‘catch up and a chat’ !!

Two conversations were happening in tandem. The one on Zoom with my manager and the internal one in my head with Anxious Annie. FUCK. I can’t believe it. How are you going to pay the bills? What about the yoga holiday! Have you been slacking again? 

She’s good at her job 🙄

I find these short-term contracts with agencies exhausting. It’s hard to relax and do your best work when you’re on float with multiple projects. I feel disposable (had a week’s notice on this one), so my LinkedIn profile is always ‘open to work’.

How much energy do you put into precarious work, even if it pays well? It’s hard to get the balance right. 110% usually, all or nothing, which is a route to burnout. 

Here’s what I did to get over it.

1. BREATHE. Wrote down what just happened. Seeing it on the page helped get it into perspective – a tip I picked up from the author of The Kindness Method, Shahroo Izadi, on the Solo Collective podcast.

2. Went for a walk.

3. Finished the job and sent a friendly email to the team and my agent. Set my boundaries for future roles (3-months minimum, it’s hard to do strategy and make a difference in less time). A longer notice period.

4. Booked a Rapid Rewire masterclass with Steph Kwong via Growmotely“Learn a proven, cutting-edge methodology to confidently create rapid change for yourself, guaranteed.” Gotta feel it to heal it! Powerful stuff.

Have you ever been fired? How did you deal with it? I’m taking a break from Agencyland.

 Nika


Justice for Johnny! 🎉 😁 I’m happy you’re at peace and have your life back. 

Highlight: watching his doorman Alejandro Romero deliver his pre-recorded testimony from his car, vape and then drive off. “I’m tired … I don’t want to deal with this court case … everybody’s got problems, and I don’t want to deal with this no more.” Modern law. Remote justice.


5 Things 🧠 💥

Talent to Money Summit is on 7 & 8 June online. The first global summit run by The Ask, helping you to start (and grow) a business you love. Great speakers who will be sharing their stories and strategies for success. I heard about this via the Newsletter Mastermind group (Ness Labs).

How ‘digital nomad’ visas can boost local economies (HBR.org). A visual overview of the current visas via country and how they might play a key role in fostering entrepreneurship and the creation of technology clusters around the world. Time for the US to get on board or risk being left behind.

Recommended Substack newsletters related to the future of work (Workforce Futurist). It takes a village to grow a newsletter. Thanks to Andy Spence for the shoutout and profiling work you’re enjoying. Some new writers to check out!

Building a swarm of thoughts with the founders of Napkin (Ness Labs). An interesting experiment – gathering a group of 100 authors to help build the next-generation thinking and writing tool (it looks great – watch the video). Get a month for free when you sign up for their newsletter. 

Gitlab: The Remote Playbook 2022 – this is the 3rd edition of Gitlab’s famous playbook. This time focusing on how your team works, not where, evolving design, mastering future of work skills, reducing burnout, and boosting wellness at work. Learn how they’ve scaled as an asynchronous, no office company. 


Written by Nika Talbot, founder of award-winning Firebird Studio. Content designer and UX writer. Based near Brighton, heart in Italy 🇮🇹

Send me a note: nika@nikatalbot.io.

Enjoy reading this? Why not buy me a glass of Prosecco? 🥂