Monthly Archives

January 2017

In Lists on
January 31, 2017

5 Inspiring Books I Read & Loved in January

Nasty Galaxy — Sophia Amoroso

Ok, so this isn’t technically a traditional reading book, BUT if you’re a fan of coffee table books (who isn’t?), Nasty Galaxy deserves a place in your collection. It’s a piece of art in itself, filled with inspiring interviews, essays, quotes, and amazing photography. Since buying it, I’ve flicked through it on the regular and instantly felt motivated and excited to curate my life. 


Keep the Aspidistra Flying — George Orwell

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It’s the age-old debate: a corporate life with money or a creative life with none. Although this book is set in wartime, it’s insanely relatable. In synopsis: Gordon Comstock gives up his good job in advertising to work part-time in a bookstore, giving him more time to pursue his real dream: writing. But he slides into a self-induced poverty that, in turn, destroys his creativity and spirit. I won’t give any spoilers away, but this book is thought-provoking, and challenges many of the existential crises that apply to millennial life today. 

Listen to it for free with a *free* Audible trial! 

 

 

In the Company of Women — Grace Bonney

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I absolutely adore this book. I feel happier just having it in my home. Seriously. It’s that good. Profiling over 100 influential and creative women from all ages, races, backgrounds and industries, In The Company of Women is filled with the BEST actionable advice for anyone dreaming of forging their own path. 


Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living — Manjula Martin
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In Scratch: Writers, Money and The Art of Making A Living, Manjula Martin has gathered interviews and essays from today’s most prominent and promising writers, from Nick Hornby and Jonathan Franzen, to Cheryl Strayed and Roxane Gay, to confront the age-old question: How do creative people make money? The result is an entertaining and inspiring collection filled with candid, revealing discussions about money, book deals, freelancing and everything in between. It’s an essential resource that will help any reader or writer understand how to make art in a world that runs on money–and why it matters. 


Swing Time — Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith needs no introduction and Swing Time, a story of friendship, music and true identity, should be on everyone’s reading list. Deeply human and filled with emotion, it tells the coming of age story of two black girls from London and the different paths their lives take. It’s brilliant, basically. If you’re looking for some escapism, I can’t recommend it enough.

Listen to it for free with a *free* Audible trial!




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In Lists on
January 28, 2017

22 Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Job Interview

 

  • First step: Know that you deserve to be there. Because you do.
  • It’s ok to feel nervous. It shows you want it. Everyone you admire has felt exactly how you’re feeling and still persevered. Do the same. You owe it to yourself.
  • Research the hiring manager and mirror them. In dress code, manner and formality. (If that means stalking them extensively online, so be it.)
  • Glassdoor.com is the best preparation tool ever. EVER. For larger companies, you can even view past interview questions. Result!
  • Practice your answers extensively. In the mirror, on the phone, to a friend. Practice until you’re comfortable with every syllable.
  • It’s also worth rehearsing your ‘story statement’, so when you’re asked to ‘tell us a bit about yourself’, you’ve got your life story down. Two paragraphs is plenty.
  • Get to know not only their website and what they do, but any recent company news. Then be sure to reference it.
  • Take a portfolio with you. It’ll help guide your thoughts and show you’re prepared. Plus, a prop is ALWAYS helpful, let’s be honest. 8-12 great examples is the sweet spot.
  • Remember: you’re interviewing them too, you know. It goes both ways.
  • For the love of god, breathe!
  • When they offer you a drink, only ask for water. Trust me on this one.
  • Talk less about your experience, and more about your achievements. It’s all about your achievements. Read more

In Essays on
January 25, 2017

Why We Need to Stop Calling People “Successful”

 

The importance of being mindful about not only our own success, but other people’s success, too.

I’ve always been the “successful” one.

The first to be a published writer. The first to have a managerial job. The first to save £10,000. The first.

There isn’t a conventional benchmark of success that I haven’t, at some point, tried to get to.

Last night, I was having dinner with a friend when she, a talented, smart and delightful woman, declared herself the “least successful” of our friendship group.

As I heard her talk about all of the things she thought she’d have at 30, I, an overworked, stressed and exhausted woman, realised something.

By now, most of us know that we need to be mindful of our own success. “We can be successful on our own terms!” say a recent flurry of think pieces, and I totally agree. But, perhaps most importantly, we need to be mindful of other people’s success, too.

Hear me out…
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In Essays on
January 22, 2017

How to Practice Patience. Because What’s The Rush?!

 

“It’s alopecia areata” the doctor said, as the lump in my throat rose.

“While one of your bald spots is growing back, the other isn’t. And we need it to.”

As she continued explaining my prognosis, the room blurred and big, fat tears followed.

The uncontrollable kind.

The kind that you couldn’t possibly conceal, even if you wanted to.

I’ve written a bit about my unexpected hair loss before. In a nutshell, I found two round bald spots on the back of my head over Christmas.

Granted, they’re hidden by the rest of my hair, but the anxiety is harrowing. What’s causing it? When will they grow back? Will there be more?

Some doctors say it could be stress-related, others say it’s an autoimmune disease… but the short answer is there are no answers.

It’s a waiting game.

“If I use the steroid creams and do everything I can, how long do you think it’ll take to grow back?” I replied.

“Give it time. You need to be patient.”

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In Guest Posts on
January 18, 2017

How to Grow Your Social Media Following Without Selling Your Soul

Social media | Marketing | Blogging | Blogging tips | Success | Business | Girl boss | Entrepreneurship | Twitter | Instagram | Social

 

By Michelle Rick

 

“If you get bored with social media, it’s because you’re trying to get more value than you create.” Fast Company

Have you seen that episode of Silicon Valley where Jared, out of good intent and desperation, hires a click farm to spike his company’s user numbers? Click farms are real, and they’re a good example of how far people will go to boost their follower count. And then there are the robots that automatically like posts with certain hashtags, people who follow you just so you’ll follow them back before they unfollow you, et cetera.

But you don’t have to swipe a credit card or sell your soul to build a following on social media…

The first time I really saw a post of mine resonate with an audience was at my first social media job, when I wrote about harmful thoughts and how they block creativity.

I was stunned at number of comments I received. People all over the world were pouring their hearts out to me about the inner critics they wanted to defeat so they could keep doing what they loved.

That’s when I realized that authenticity and speaking honestly about what matters most is key to getting shared and seen. If it mattered to me, it had to matter to someone else out there.

Boosted posts and audience targeting have their place, but there’s no real substitute for human interaction in social sharing.

Jordan Dansky said it best:  “In some way or another, your story will resonate with others. Sharing our collective human experiences is the most wonderful benefit of social media in my mind.”

Plenty of people use social media get attention and collect likes, but if you’re missing the puzzle piece of authenticity, it can end up feeling like the world’s most difficult video game. Teenage Instagram star Essena O’Neill addressed this when she quit social media in 2015, and rewrote the captions on all her photos with honest but imperfect truths. This move got her more attention than her Instagram stardom ever had.

What are we really looking for when we instinctively scroll through our Instagram feeds as we wait for our morning latte? Are we really trying to see how great someone else’s life is, or do we crave the authenticity that made Socality Barbie an overnight success?

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In Essays on
January 15, 2017

A Story About Imposter Syndrome… and Overcoming It

 

Picture the scene…

I’m 20 years old, bright-eyed, nervous as hell and attending an interview at a famous fashion magazine.

I’ve spent the entire morning preparing my outfit, because WHAT do you wear to such an occasion?!

“This is my time,” I think as I carefully apply my makeup. “This is the beginning of everything.”

Flicking through their latest issue, I finally decide on an outfit and walk out of the door. Portfolio in hand, butterflies in stomach.

In case you’re wondering, I opted for a blazer, a shift dress and point-toe flats because, let’s face it, layering is vital during an interview.

Oh, and a bag. A fake designer bag.

“Nobody will notice.” I tell myself. “My friends always say it’s a good fake and, besides, every magazine editor has a designer bag. It’s a faux pas not to.”

As I walk from my house, to the train station, to the office of my dreams, my stomach is ablaze.

I’m only two minutes into the interview when the sour-faced editor notices my bag.

And just like that, the conversation is over.

At least for her.

I carry on talking, hopeful and determined and trying so hard to be whatever it is they’re looking for.

The job itself paid a pitiful £15,000 a year for 50+ hours a week and yet I would have sold my soul for it.

But I never heard back. Every time I checked my email to see tumbleweed yet again, I felt like even more of an imposter.

My fake designer bag was more than a bad wardrobe decision. It symbolised my desire to fit in, and how I thought that simply being myself would *never* have been enough. Imposter syndrome.

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In Guest Posts on
January 12, 2017

Why I’m Proud to Be A Job-Hopping Millennial

By Emily Rodgers

 

“Wow, you’ve done a lot since graduating!” a colleague exclaimed, after I explained how I’d spent the last few years. 

 

7 jobs in 3 years. 

 

At a recent interview, (aka applying for my 8th), I was asked why I’d changed jobs so often. Like a rehearsed answer at a call centre, I reeled off my logical reasons for leaving each one. They nodded understandingly, but seemed uncertain. Of course, I see how it could look bad to a potential employer. Or could it?

 

In a survey conducted by Future Workplace, 91% of millennials expected to stay in their jobs for less than 3 years. I’ve already surpassed that… seven-foldBut my mentality matches that of many millennials, and that is this: 

 

If I ever lose passion, or motivation behind a job, or if I stop caring, I’ll question it. And if those questions only have negative answers, I’ll start to look for a change. 

 

Our attention spans, need for instant gratification and craving to make a difference are starting to become more and more apparent in our working life – and I am a living, breathing testament to this.

 

My mantra has changed from ‘it’s just a job’ to ‘I will not be underappreciated; I will never be a cog in the machine.’

 

I’m confronted with people every day who have no idea what they’re doing in work or in life

 

I may be none the wiser, but at least I’m trying to figure it out instead of staying hidden behind a good salary and a free gym membership. I’m exploring what I like and don’t like, and I’m happy to take a pay cut if it means my mental health is in check and I’m staying true to my principles.

 
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In Lists on
January 11, 2017

7 Great Pieces of Advice from James Altucher

 

James Altucher has a great mind. His book, Choose Yourself!, was one of my favourite reads of last year. That’s why it’s no surprise that an interview with him is full of thought-provoking pieces of advice. His conversation with David Kadavy, for the Love Your Work podcast, was no exception. Here are seven pieces of advice he gave that everyone should hear.


1. Practice doing things and not just thinking about things.

“Doing things is how you get things done. Productive people do things in little bits and pieces. Start small and get bigger and bigger.”

2. Come up with ten ideas a day

“Because one or two of those ideas in every 1000 or so is always worth pursuing. Get excited about one or two ideas a year.”

3. Figure out how you could be better spending your time

“Make sure you leave open space in your life. I had this friend who was working a 9–5 job so he’d get up at 6 in the morning. leave at 7am and not return until 7pm and then he’d have to play with the kids… and he kept wondering “where is the time in my life to do what my real dream is?” On his commute, he noticed that everyone would either be sleeping or reading the paper, so he would write a page a day of his novel. It took him about a year and he wrote a best-selling mystery novel. So always try and figure out how you could be better spending your time.”

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In Essays on
January 7, 2017

What We Can All Learn From Our Childhood Selves

 

 

“I’d give all the wealth that years have piled, the slow result of life’s decay, To be once more a little child for one bright summer day.” — Lewis Carroll

 


I was busy eating my weight in chocolate when my dad announced that he’d uncovered some old video tapes from many moons ago.

 

“Great”, I thought! An opportunity to watch my brother and I be boisterous children and laugh at our little ways. 

 

What ended up happening, however, was more than I’d anticipated.

 

The child I saw looking back at me was so full of life, wonder and excitement. And honestly? I was struck by her presence.

 

That young child was, in fact, me. It really was. Once. 

 

But there was something a little different… 

 

This child had no inhibitions. No pretence. No anything but love, laughter and light.

 

It made me wonder… 

 

When was the last time I truly danced FREELY, without a care in the world about my bloated stomach, bad moves, dirty feet or messy hair?

 

When did I honestly last enjoy dinner just because it was DINNER, without thinking about its nutritional content or feeling any clean-eating-induced-guilt?

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In Interviews on
January 5, 2017

Meet the Girl Changing Publishing for the Better

 

From the moment I met Jessica Montgomery at a recent networking event, it was clear that her energy is infectious. After all, she has founded Spora Literary, a platform that aims to change the face of publishing forever, making it possible for you and I to submit our manuscripts and get representation straight away. (The dream!). And she’s done it all while still maintaining her full-time job.

I spoke to Jessica about the future of publishing, her plans for Spora, where she gets her motivation from and more…


Where did the idea behind Spora Literary originate from and what was the catalyst for starting it?

I have always known that I have wanted to work for myself, and a year out of my Literature and Journalism degree I was working as a freelance content creator and marketing manager at a London start-up.

All my dealings with fellow writers and creators had taught me how closed off the publishing industry can be, especially to those who might not have the knowledge or the contacts. Working in the London start up scene also meant I was witnessing the changes other industries were making and thought; why can’t publishing make a change too? 

Similarly, (my then friend and now business partner) Dominic was experiencing the same thing working in publishing directly. He came to me with the basic idea for Spora wanting my opinion. ‘Could this work?’ After a few months of back and forth, brainstorming and picking our own ideas apart we grew the original model into Spora Literary as it is today.  

 

A lot of people stumble when it comes to finding the right business partner. How was the process for you? 

Going into business with the right person is crucial, and more often than not it’s someone you might not expect. I was friends with Dominic at University prior to setting up Spora and when he approached me with this idea, it started a dialogue that showed us another side to our relationship. We actually make great business partners and colleagues, who knew? In many ways we are complete opposites in terms of personality and skills sets, but that works to our advantage. We always challenge each other’s assumptions and aren’t afraid to call the other person out on an issue. Going into business with your friend doesn’t work for everyone but we know each other well enough to never take anything too personally.

 

You’re currently managing a full-time job and the launch of your own company. What sacrifices have you had to make? What challenges have you faced? 

For me being super busy is the status quo, I have always had projects on the go be it freelancing, events or blogging. I thrive in high-pressure environments. However, when the stakes get higher it takes a lot more focus and energy to keep the balance. I’m incredibly social and cannot live without seeing my friends and networking, so to fit everything in, my events job, Spora and other commitments, I do compromise on my well-being.

I definitely don’t sleep as much as I should! The biggest challenge is keeping things consistent and finding a structure that works for me. At my full-time job there are things in place, infrastructures that make doing my job much easier. With Spora, I have to create all those structures and processes myself.

I have to set my own deadlines and goalposts and everything always takes longer than you think. I’m still figuring it out. Fortunately I am very passionate about everything I do and the way my life is slowly evolving. I wouldn’t do it all otherwise!

 

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