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Charity Russia-Ukraine War Small business

Stand with Ukraine 🕊️

I am shocked and angry about the news from Ukraine. Putin’s aggression is a horrific assault on democracy, freedom, human rights, and a sovereign, peaceful nation. It’s also emotional, not rational. He can’t erase history and recreate the USSR.

It’s heartening to see all the protests in Russia this week despite the threat of arrest. Nobody wants this war except Putin, and the young are furious – this is their future at stake. A defiant Zelensky’s not walking away either. Refusing to leave Kyiv with a request for additional ammunition instead. Ukraine’s military said this morning 3,500 Russian soldiers were killed in two days, 102 tanks and 14 planes destroyed – they’re putting up a fight despite much smaller military might 🦁

A Ukrainian woman telling Russian soldiers where to go – put sunflower seeds in your pocket because you will die here. A video showing an elderly man being pulled from his car alive after being deliberately crushed by a Russian tank – a miracle.

Putin shouldn’t underestimate the effect of soft power, either. Depriving Russians of things they need and love – sports, culture, entertainment, social media, and a sense of belonging in the world will lead to more riots and protests. Who wants isolation, insularity and to be cut off from the rest of the world? It’s not possible in the 21st century with technology and the internet, we’re interconnected more than ever. 

Ukraine needs help and support from us – a collective, collaborative and fast response. I hope we see bigger sanctions from Europe and will write to my MP. This is a threat to us all – Putin won’t just stop at Ukraine.

It’s been a complicated conflict for eight years and can’t be fixed overnight, but war isn’t the answer. As Maya Angelou said, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” Most of us want the same things – family, love, peace, meaningful work, a home, travel, freedom.

There’s much talk about the ‘borderless world’ and it raises the importance of border research. Recent work talks about ‘reconceptualising borders’ and borderlands as sites of cultural interaction, exchange and hybridity with individuals from all backgrounds. A far more positive way to look at the world, and it’s where we’re heading with work and travel.

Praying for peace and an end to this asap 🙏

Nicci 🙋🏻‍♀️

How to help people in Ukraine

Here’s a list of resources to stay informed and help Ukraine.

News 

Live Universal Awareness Map (‘liveuamap’) – a global news site founded in 2014 by a team of software developers and journalists who wished to inform the world about the Ukrainian conflict.

The Kyiv Independent – English-language journalism in Ukraine. Become a patron:  Patreon.com/KyivIndependent 

The New Voice of Ukraine – An English-language site covering developments on the ground via local journalists. 

Sign the open petition: War aggression against Ukraine: immediately exclude Russia from SWIFT. 

Write to your MP. Lobby the UK government and encourage maximum sanctions. Here’s a letter you can use. 

Make a donation    

The National Bank of Ukraine has opened a special account to raise funds for Ukraine’s armed forces – open to multiple currencies. 

Sunflower of Peace has started a fundraiser to prepare first aid medical tactical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the frontline. Also works to empower orphans and displaced people. 

Voices of Children – helping children affected by the war in eastern Ukraine – art therapy, psychology, storytelling and more. 

British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal for Ukraine – help someone affected with the basics: food, shelter, medicine, & first aid. 

Book an Airbnb – not to stay, but to show solidarity. Airbnb has waived all host and guest fees in Ukraine. So far, bookings have grossed $2m in aid.

Grammarly Premium – an AI-software tool to improve your writing. I use this all the time – an excellent product created by a Ukrainian startup. An update from CEO Brad Hoover – they’re offering free access to Premium for non-profits and NGOs. 

Categories
Blog Newsletter

Feeling the pinch 👀

Issue #74, February 6, 2022. Art: Rosie Johnson Illustrates

So there it is, Rishi to the rescue with a package of ‘support’ to offset rising energy bills, which covers less than half of the £693 energy bill hike for the average UK household from April 1 👀

£150 rebate on council tax for some and a £200 negative levy on energy bills from October to be repaid in instalments over the next five years. The Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts a £1,980 rise in overall living costs. The government is trying to soften the blow, but it’s not enough for the brutal cost of living crisis.

All eyes are on the UK to see how we handle this.

And there’s Andrew Bailey, Bank of England boss, telling us not to ask for a big pay rise!! i.e. the 0.5% interest rate rise will be the first of many if we start demanding higher wages. All well and good if you’re earning half a million a year…

Sod that! I’m going to have to raise my prices.

We’ve had bankers’ tax cuts, billions lost to fraud on Covid loan schemes, losses on PPE, and Shell reporting mega-profits. Good to see Red Ed back on it – excellent timing – with calls for a windfall tax on energy firms to help with the price hike.

Time to transform the way we do business. The Better Business Act is collective lobbying for change in company law to ensure companies align their interests with wider society and the environment. 900 companies have opted to be part of the coalition for a cleaner, greener, fairer future for all 👏

Will you join them? You can nominate a leader here.

What help can you get?

Covid cash cut… a running summary from the NUJ London Freelance branch of what help’s available. If you’re going to apply for the Household Support Fund via your local council, do it now – it expires March 31. 

Write to your energy supplier. I’ve written to Octopus to ask for help – they have a £2.5m financial hardship fund and the Warm Homes Discount, which gives you £140 off your bill. This needs increasing and extending.

Turn2us – benefit calculator and grants search to find out what support you can get.

Join a union: the NUJ’s charity has been brilliant and helped me financially throughout Covid as I wasn’t eligible for the SEISS grant. They’ve also given other key workers and me a pay rise and backdated pay to offset inflation.

Citizens Advice are helping record numbers with energy help, advice and referrals for crisis support.

We all need to slowly adjust to paying more for energy bills, and that’s fine. I can be frugal when I need to. But a scarcity mindset isn’t great for my mental health, business and creativity.

I don’t need to cut back – I just need to earn more. So I will be raising my fees and retraining for higher-paying work.

Not going out and spending money locally won’t help small businesses either or create a thriving community to be proud of.

5 Things to Know 🖐

Growmotely’s Align Summit: Building the thriving business of the future. A global online event for entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders transforming the world of work. 7-9 February, free or pay what you can afford. Excellent speakers and topics. Excited about this! Love Growmotely’s vibe ✨

→ Join: Align Summit (Growmotely) 

Tallinn’s Got Talent: Why Estonia’s capital is the best city in the world for digital nomads. James Ware on his week working from Tallinn, recently ranked the best city in the world for remote workers: “not because of one wow thing, but a gazillion small things that accumulate into your experience.” On my list.Love theIgluoffice, a workspace set by the sea – like an Airstream with frills.

→ Read: Tallin’s Got Talent (The Independent) 

Unlearning the way we work – Alastair Simpson, VP of Design at Dropbox, has led the company’s virtual-first transformation. Great to see a design-led approach to the future of work rather than the usual Ops and HR focus – we need more of this! The framework they used for their distributed teams is a Virtual First Toolkit.  

→ Listen: unlearning the way we work (Remote First podcast) 

Move to Sicily for free: restored 1Euro house in Sambuca looking for a live-in Airbnb host for a year. Be the host of a designer house in Sambuca, learning Italian, experiencing local life, and helping regenerate the region. Great initiative from Airbnb – remote work is the way to regenerate small towns. Also good to see CEO Brian Chesky doing the product research… 

→ Read: move to Sicily for free (Evening Standard) 

Clear thinking for 2022 – topline findings from a new report surveying knowledge workers and what we want (flexibility, change, hybrid). Intriguing to hear Julia Hobsbawm (The Nowhere Office) say, “the world is going freelance,” with growing numbers of solopreneurs making their own luck. Ipsos: “we’re going to need offices, but just not for work.” I enjoy every episode of Bruce’s thoughtful podcast. 

Enjoy this newsletter?

→ Listen: clear thinking for 2022 (Eat Sleep Work Repeat) 

Send me a note: nicci@niccitalbot.io

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Help me build an Ecologi forest! To offset the carbon emissions of my online work, I plant 12 trees every month via Ecologi 🌿 🌎

Categories
future of work mental health productivity remote working

Productive morning routines 🌅

Welcome to the Sunday Shift: a weekly-ish newsletter rethinking how we live, work and play.
★ This week: Productive morning routines; The great American road trip, CEO style from an Airstream; Europe’s largest remote work conference; Sync vs Async communication; wrkfrce’s Playbook Project; The Great Resignation; 5G: A short course.

As the saying goes, if you “win the morning, you win the day”.

Tim Ferris has talked to many successful people about their morning rituals and shared the five things he does to set himself up for a day of positive momentum and minimum distraction – including making his bed and journaling.

I love the reference in this episode to “the bookends of the day” – pay attention to the small stuff like making your bed, and the big stuff will sort itself out.

Last August, Chris Reeves set up the group #WTMWTD after hearing the phrase on a podcast about getting out of your comfort zone to help with the stress and mental health decline amidst COVID-19. They meet first thing in the morning for a walk or swim, coffee and a chat, and it’s been transformational for many. A movement with global groups springing up and a Facebook group with 3K followers.

It’s less about productivity and the to-do list and more about putting yourself first, so you’ve achieved something no matter how the rest of the day goes. He says it works because:

It’s free, I’m not selling anything, and it’s a welcoming environment for anyone who wants to step outside their comfort zone. I don’t like the sea. I don’t like cold water. But the reason I do this is that it sets me outside my comfort zone.

All good as long as you’ve had enough sleep!

And a big shoutout to Chase Warrington for this chat with the founder and CEO of wrkfrce, Jesse Chambers, about morning routines, mental health, and the future of work. Jesse and his wife left San Francisco to hit the road in a vintage Airstream while founding a company and managing a global remote team. Wrkfrce is an excellent one-stop shop for remote work, and great to see it has a dedicated Wellness section.

Chase has also written this piece on having a more productive morning routine by “paying yourself first”. Some personal finance advice on putting your “non-negotiables” before work obligations.

How you work is just as important as the work you’re doing.

Follow the plan, not the mood 😁

– Nicci


🛠🖐5 Things

★ Repeople Conference 2021 – Europe’s largest remote work conference onsite + virtual. Debating the top five topics around the future of work, managing distributed teams, digital marketing, live VR work experience. Nomad City has rebranded as ‘Repeople’ (repopulate) to reflect the growing number of remote workers. Contributing to the remote work ecosystem in the Canaries.

– Repeople Conference 2021

★ Synchronous vs Asynchronous Communication: How to find the right balance for your team. Top organisations like Doist, Gitlab and Buffer have become more productive by cutting back on meetings and learning how to embrace async comms.The pros and cons of both forms, when to use them, and how to make the most of them.

– Synchronous vs Asynchronous Communication.

★ wrkfrce’s Playbook Project – the global rise of reactive remote work in 2020 spawned a proliferation of playbooks by many leading remote-first companies, which open-sourced the knowledge they’ve gained to help other businesses. Trouble is, they’re loooooong. Here’s wrkfrce’s condensed CliffsNotes versions with the most useful, actionable insights to help make working remotely rock for you.

– wrkfrce’s Playbook Project

★ Do we have to work? RSA replay. What does work mean in the 21st century? It allows us to pay the bills – but it’s become about more than that – finding purpose, identity, and meaningful work for many people. Digging into The Great Resignation, production vs consumption, and what needs to change in the new era of work: UBI, zero or low-cost economy, and the growth of self-employment and portfolio working.

★ 5G: A short course from Axios. 5G is cast as a technology that will revolutionise cities, transportation, education and more, but it faces hurdles. A five-part video intro into how it might apply to your life and work and the debates surrounding it. “What we’re facing is the possibility of a global surveillance machine.”

– Get smart by Axios: 5G


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Forward to a friend and invite them to subscribe.

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Leave me a voice note: email nicci@niccitalbot.io.

Help me build an Ecologi forest! To offset the carbon emissions of my online work, I plant 12 trees every month via Ecologi 🌿 🌎

Categories
Portfolio careers productivity Small business writing

How to be a thought leader

Thought leadership is a bit of a marketing buzzword – vague and cringey, and unlike lead generation, hard to measure.

There’s no recipe for success. 

What does it mean on a day-to-day level for your business – and how do you do it well?  

The Portfolio Collective have invited me to speak at an event on ‘Raising your flag and becoming a thought leader’ and share my experiences on how I’ve done it with the future of work community and wider audience.

Thought leadership is about how people in your industry (and your customers) perceive you. 

  • James Clear (the habits guy) 
  • David Perell (the writing guy)
  • Pieter Levels (the nomad guy)
  • Amy Porterfield (the digital marketing gal)
  • Rosie Sherry (the community gal)
  • Bret Contrevis (the glute guy)
  • Ben Legg (the portfolio career guy) 

A niche focus makes you memorable.

One of my clients, a property agent, wanted to be the No #1 international agent in Berlin. So we positioned him as the ‘Berlin champion’, and put his face on the side of their black cabs so he was visible across the city. He wasn’t afraid to criticise government policy and say why it was harming the housing market so had a reputation as honest and trustworthy. Many of their leads were long-term clients.

How to be a thought leader

Think about your overall strategy and take a high-level overview before you decide on the content mix. What problem are you solving with your product/service? How are you going to get people from A to B? 

Some food for thought on the three types of thought leadership:

  1. Industry (a point of view on news, trends + the future)
  2. Organisational (company culture, talent development) 
  3. Product (how-to, best practices, strategy)

Do all three if you can, and if relevant: develop your point of view and then create content. If you’re overstretched (companies have teams working on this stuff), focus on one area and do it well. It can feel overwhelming for solopreneurs, so start small and be a thought leader for your clients and customers first, to build trust. 

Look at engagement over metrics – time on pages of your website and how many articles people read is more important than views and impressions. 

Thought leadership takes time, energy, consistency and authenticity, but it’s hugely rewarding and can transform your business. It’s not about self-promotion. As Alexandra Galviz (Authentic Alex), #LinkedInLocal co-founder, says: 

It’s not just about sharing your ideas; it’s also about inspiring others into action. 

Thought – give yourself time to think, observe, and horizon scan. Don’t fill every nook and cranny of your day. 

Leadership – have a point of view and don’t say the same as everyone else. 

I disagree with David Soloman, Goldman Sachs CEO, on remote work being an ‘aberration’, but I respect his opinion, and he’s been quoted everywhere. 

Some good advice from Tammy Ammon, Director of Thought Leadership at Acxiom, after a year on the job. 

She spent the first few weeks defining the role and mapping existing pieces of content. Content creation is a huge part of it – a passion for storytelling and strategy. Move through the organisation at all levels to have a broad view and perspective to share with your audience. 

Listen in on meetings, network on LinkedIn, and have monthly chats with your team about issues, no agenda. Manage your time – know what topics need your input and what you can delegate. You can’t do it all. 

Good books: Dorie Clark’s Entrepreneurial You – insights from building a high six-figure solo consulting business, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: the story of success

What’s working for you? Come and share your experiences at the Fireside Chat on 12 November.

Nicci 


🖐5 things

✍️How to create a Wiki in 9 simple steps – a guide and template. Every company needs a Wiki! It helps keep communication open with remote teams. I’m building one for myself – mission, vision, values, culture, tools and processes, passwords, resources for personal development. Great for onboarding, speeds up the day-to-day and focuses your mind.

💸Mirror.xyz – a new tool for writers working on crypto and blockchain. I’ve seen a few posts about this, but not many reviews, so I got on Reddit and Medium – good articles by Tim Denning and Casey Botticello on how it differs from traditional publishing platforms, and how you can make money on it. Exciting! I’ve been trying to sign up but having issues with the website.

💌Newsletters could be the next (and only) hope to save the media. As the journalism industry collapses, writers are turning to newsletters to make money and launch publications. Premium subs are still a tiny part of the market, and writers make money in other ways. I can’t see people paying $10/mo for several newsletters – these little things add up. I subscribe to Every – a bundle of newsletters on work and productivity – like a magazine.

✈️Africa is calling! Cabo Verde has launched a nomad visa to attract 4000 remote workers over the next three years for its DN programme. Ten sunny islands to explore – they’ve had virtually no tourism since 2020. See the best of Cabo Verde on Insta here. The national drink is Grogue, a rum at 60%, which will blow your socks off.

🎧Ways to make working remotely less lonely. It’s not talked about enough, and it’s among the biggest challenges faced by remote workers. Switching off is my biggest challenge, but this is a close second. My clients are global, so there are no team events. My networking is online so I’m going to start a local remote worker group. The team at Flexiple share some creative ways to deal with it – personally, at a company level, and in your community.