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In Lists on
May 29, 2017

23 Questions to Ask Instead Of “So, What Do You Do?”

Let’s invite people to tell their stories, not their resumes. Here are 23 alternative questions to “so, what do you do?” 

 

  1. What creative projects are you working on right now?
  2. If money were no object, how would you spend your time?
  3. What do you think the future looks like for you?
  4. Who was your childhood hero?
  5. Who is your modern-day hero?
  6. Who did you want to be when you grew up?
  7. What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?
  8. What’s the last photo you took? 
  9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
  10. What’s the nicest thing anyone has done for you?
  11. What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for someone?
  12. What are you most looking forward to?
  13. If you were in power for a day, how would you try and improve your country?
  14. How do you feel your life has worked out so far?
  15. What habit or improvement are you working on?
  16. What’s been playing on your mind lately? 
  17. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?
  18. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?
  19. If you were on death row, what would be your last ever meal?
  20. What charitable or philanthropic cause are you passionate about?
  21. Who is your favourite author or recording artist?
  22. What’s the last film that truly made an impression on you?
  23. If you had to give a TED talk tomorrow, what would it be about?

 


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In Lists on
May 21, 2017

10 Career Commandments For Ambitious Creatives Everywhere

Every company has a list of “company values”, right? A manifesto, of sorts, that we, the employees, are all supposed to adhere to. But how often is it that we set our own manifestos? Where is the manifesto guiding our own creative careers? Inspired by the brilliant Ash Ambirge, here are 10 career commandments for ambitious and creative people everywhere. 

 

1. Thou shall not give work all of your time and energy.

Haven’t you heard? Working all the hours is officially unsexy. Busy isn’t a badge of honour, and your self-worth isn’t based on how hard you hustle. Studies show people who work less are more likely to get a raise or bonus than those who overwork. Make work revolve around your life, not the other way round.

 

2. Thou shall not limit your potential because society has taught you to.

As a woman, as an ethnic minority, as someone from a working-class background, or otherwise. Show up everywhere like you deserve to be there. Because you do.

 

3. Thou shall save your f*cks for the things that really matter.

You should give a f*ck. You really should. But only for the things that set your soul on fire. The competitive co-worker? That comment your boss made? The annoying email you received? Stop paying mental overtime to it. Save your f*cks for magical sh*t.

 

4. Thou shall not succumb to imposter syndrome.

Because even the best paid people in the game suffer from it, and we’re ALL making it up as we go along. Seriously. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

 

5. Thou shall always make decisions based on curiosity, NOT fear.

Because you should do what you said you wanted to do, before you got all tired and busy and life happened… you really should.

 

 6. Thou shall never stop learning.

Ever. Your mind is your life’s work, your ultimate project. Always be a work in progress.

 

7. Thou shall do things before you are ready.

Because great things never came from comfort zones. And if you’re wait for the “right time”, you’ll be waiting forever. Fact.

 

8. Thou shall ask for help and help others.

Take the ego out of your work. Because when we help each other shine, we all shine brighter.

 

9. Thou shall believe in your future self.

Because you attract what you believe you’re worth.

 

10. Thou shall pay attention to what you pay attention to.

Because THAT? That’s your calling.

In Lists on
April 23, 2017

How to Balance Career Success with Self-Care

Self-care. You’ve heard of it, but are you actually practicing it? 

If you’re skeptical, I get it. In a world of non-stop emails, endless opportunity and other people’s ‘hustle’ all over Instagram, it’s easier said than done.

And let’s face it… many of the people who preach about self-care seem to be yoga bunnies without bills to pay.

But self-care isn’t just another social media trend. It’s a mindset. Trust me when I say self-care is key to building a successful career you love, no matter what your situation. 

And you don’t even have to quit your job, or move to an eco-farm to get started. Here’s how…


Set an email curfew (and stick to it)

My boyfriend and I recently instated a rule that I love: An email curfew. From 8pm onwards, we don’t check or reply to ANY work emails. No excuses. No exceptions. Instead, we actually talk to each other! At first, it wasn’t easy. I’m ambitious, and the struggle to not reply and seem productive at all hours is real. But having an email curfew has helped me sleep better and given me a point of distinction from my working day, my commute and my own personal time. At 8pm, my working life ends and my personal time commences. Try it. And if you want to take it to a whole new level? Try a nightly technology curfew, too. 

Limit work talk to weekdays 

How much unpaid overtime are you doing? And I don’t just mean getting to work early and leaving late, but MENTAL overtime? How much time do you spend thinking and talking and worrying about your day job? Because, real talk, you’re not being paid a cent for that time. Not a single cent. My rule is simple: I don’t talk about my day job on the weekends. If my mind goes there, fine, but I don’t bring it up in my weekend conversations. Instead, I talk about ideas. Articles I’ve read. Things that are inspiring me. Not only does banning work talk allow you to take back some control, but it leaves you motivated and refreshed come Monday. Yay!

Work on your identity outside of work

This is a lesson I recently learned and can’t preach enough: to have a healthy approach to your work, you need to work on your identity outside of work. (FYI, the same rules apply to romantic relationships, and your career is no different.) But HOW, I hear you ask?

Start by paying attention to what you pay attention to. You know, outside of work. Think about what you loved doing when you were a kid and work back from there.

Being Brazilian, I’m a huge samba lover — singing and dancing badly to it. It may sound simple, but my time spent enjoying samba is mine and mine alone. It’s so far removed from my work, and it reminds me that there’s a whole world out there. A world away from the constraints of my desk.

Be less harsh on yourself

Girl, I see you freaking out about that comment you made to a co-worker. But if you want to make it (without burning out) you need to let shit go. Why? Because nobody (and I mean nobody!) is watching anywhere near as closely as you think. They’re just not. They’re way too busy worrying about themselves.

Pep talk: Be less harsh on yourself. Start talking to yourself as a coach, not a commentator. Replace your thoughts of “wait, is that comment I just made really stupid?” to “well done for speaking up in that meeting”.

A healthy career requires self-kindness. Lots of it.  


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In Lists on
April 8, 2017

20 Side Hustles You Can Start ASAP

Side hustle | Side hustles | Hustle | Work | Career | Work tips | Work advice | Motivation | Money | Success | Inspiration
Originally posted on girlboss.com 

Are people done calling millennials lazy yet? Whether it’s taking part in the gig economy or being an entrepreneur on top of your 9 to 5, there’s some serious career juggling going on amongst the ambitious set nowadays, and it seems to me that we’re actually a generation of side hustlers.

I should know. At 19, I started my first side hustle: a copywriting agency. What began as some extra cash on the side turned into a profitable pursuit and, after a year, I was hiring several freelancers to meet the demand. It increased my confidence, gave me work experience and helped me build my network. And of course, the extra cash doesn’t hurt.

So, where does one get started rustling up a side hustle? And with only so many hours in the day, how do you even find the time to get started? With a day job and social life in tow, side jobs can seem like a stretch, but they don’t have to be a huge time commitment. Here are 21 low-hustle side hustle ideas that are worth considering no matter your skillset. All you need is a little motivation and WiFi to get started:

1. Pick up work as a freelance copywriter or designer.

I’ve worked on various projects, from major marketing campaigns to filing financial copy, all without leaving my apartment. Same rules apply if you’re a designer. Companies all over the world are looking for logos, websites, apps and more, right now. Sign up for freelance job alerts from platforms like Upwork and People Per Hour and get applying.

2. Launch an online course.

Demand for e-learning courses is growing quickly. If you’ve got a skill to share, there’s a high chance people will pay for it. Check out e-learning platform Udemy.

3. Try Amazon Affiliates.

Sure, affiliate marketing may sound scammy, but it’s a great side earner that requires almost zero effort. Amazon Affiliates is my favorite. Link it up to your blog and you’ll earn money every time someone clicks on one of your links and purchases anything on Amazon within 24 hours.

4. Become a coach.

After IT, coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world. Right now, there’s huge demand for all kinds of coaches, from career coaches to dating coaches. If you’re an expert in something, all you need is a Skype account. Helping people and getting paid in the process? Sign me up.

5. Write an eBook.

Whether you want to ghostwrite for someone else or pen your own title, eBooks are worth exploring if you love to write. Upwork, Funds for Writers and The Write Life all post eBook jobs on the regular.

 

6. Walk a dog.

Arguably the most fun side hustle on the list, on-demand dog walking apps like Wag! can hook you up with busy dog owners in all major U.S. cities.

7. Sell physical products.

If you love illustrating or graphic design, you can sell your creations without any of the production costs. Simply upload your designs and virtually create iPhone cases, cushions and more via sites like Society6 and CafePress.

8. Review resumes.

This is not a drill: you can make money from helping strangers update their resumes and cover letters. Search for jobs on platforms including Indeed and Upwork as well as professional resume writing companies.

9. Thrift and eBay.

It’s how Sophia Amoruso started her empire (duh). Pro tip: it’s all about the photography.

10. Spend time on Fiverr.

Want to turn your time into cash? Enter Fiverr. Data entry, quick Photoshop jobs, proofreading… it’s all here and more.

11. Use your voice.

Literally. Voiceover work is lucrative, and open to pretty much anyone with a distinctive tone or accent. Voice123 can help.

12. Sell your stock photos.

You’ve got great Instagram game and love taking photos. So why not start selling your work to websites such as Shutterstock and Dreamstime?

Read more

In Lists on
March 19, 2017

52 Writing Prompts to Inspire Your Next Blog Post

Writing prompts | Blogging | Blog | Blogger | Blog tips | Writing inspiration | Blogging advice | Freelance Writing | Freelance writer | Blogging tips | Inspiration | Ideas |

Writing fatigue? You’re not alone. Here, I’ve gathered 52 writing prompts to inspire your future blog posts, personal essays and more.

 

Cheryl Strayed’s writing prompts (as featured in Tools of Titans)

Write about a time you realised you were mistaken.

Write about a lesson you learned the hard way.

Write about a time you were inappropriately dressed for the occasion.

Write about something you lost that you’ll never get back.

Write about a time when you knew you’d done the right thing.

Write about something you don’t remember.

Write about your darkest teacher.

Write about a memory of a physical injury.

Write about when you know when it was over.

Write about being loved.

Write about what you were really thinking.

Write about how you found your way back

Write about the kindness of strangers.

Write about why you could not do it.

Write about why you did.

And a few of my own…

Write about the woman who has had the greatest impact on your life.

Write about the man who has had the greatest impact on your life.

Read more

In Lists on
March 1, 2017

7 Apps to Help You Blog Smarter, Not Harder

Blogging | Blogging tips | Blogger | Blog | Social media | Success | Motivation | Productivity | Productivity tips | Creativity | Social |

Running a successful blog, with a day job and social life in tow, can be hard. But you know what helps? Apps.

Here, I’ve rounded up the apps that have made my blogging life faster, smarter and easier to manage. From apps that help you practice self-care on the go, to blog traffic-building apps you can utilise in seconds, I’ve got you covered.


Read more

In Lists on
February 25, 2017

5 Productivity Tips That Will Actually Make You Happy

Because your productivity has nothing to do with your value as a human.

 

I’ve always been fascinated by productivity. Who doesn’t want to get more done in less time?


But, with the Internet screaming at you about hustling and getting sh*t done, I’ll be the first to admit that the ~pressure~ to be productive can be overwhelming at times. That’s why I’ve been trying to take a more holistic approach to productivity and guess what? It works!


Here are five productivity tips that will help get you get things done *and* feel happy in the process. Because being frustrated behind a screen is so 2016.

 


Send one email a day to someone new

I’m all about this rule. One email a day sounds totally achievable, right? Right! Because it absolutely is. The idea is simple: reaching out to people creates contacts and contacts create opportunities. I’m also a firm believer in the law of attraction — the energy you put out there manifests itself. So start having some fun in your inbox — just one email a day pays dividends.


Create a ‘done’ list

There’s a time and a place for to-do lists, sure. But allow me to introduce you to a done list. The concept is simple: every time you do something — anything — useful, add it to your done list. Each addition will give you a little endorphin hit and, once you finish up for the day, you’ll be able to see everything you’ve done, rather than everything you haven’t. It’s pretty impossible to feel unproductive when all of your hard work is staring back at you. Positivity, found.


Stop complaining about time


“I wish I had more time!” “I’m way too busy” “I don’t have time for that”. Sound familiar? I thought so. Your relationship with time is like any other — you need to work on it. Challenge yourself to a whole day without once complaining about time — mentally or verbally. You’ll be amazed at the results. When you stop fretting over time, it starts working in your favour. Reminder: Time is on your side.

Go offline after 25 minutes

I never spend more than 25 minutes online at any given time. Even if I’m just chilling at home, my morning will be 25 minutes on the Internet, 25 minutes reading or moving my body, repeat. Why? Well, because my best ideas appear while I’m AWAY from the screen. Plus, it’s better to be itching to get back to my blog than sat in front of a blank page. Consider it a creative take on the Pomodoro Technique that actually works. Take my word for it.


Compile a productivity playlist and sing it. Loud.

If I told you that the La La Land Soundtrack has brought both courage and creativity into my life, would you believe me? If you mentally associate certain songs with getting sh*t done, you’ll be surprised by how music can make you more productive. Pick a few of your favourite songs (the louder and more energetic the better), work to them religiously and, after a few days, enjoy the mental stimulus that follows. Singing in public spaces optional.



 

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In Lists on
February 5, 2017

Hey, Your Page Views Obsession Is Holding You Back

Blogging | Blogging tips | Blogger | Success | Motivation | Wellbeing | Health | Career tips | Entrepreneurship | Online success

Page views.

 

I’m obsessed with them.

 

It all started when my blog started gaining a little traction. A few hundred here, a few hundred there.

 

Suddenly, a project I didn’t have any plans for became a possibility. An exciting possibility.

 

My page views went up and I liked the way it felt.

 

Validation for my efforts. Attention. Recognition.

 

But what goes up, must come down. (Or so the saying goes…)

 

As I saw my WordPress bar chart go from looking like a New York skyline to straight-up suburban, I felt, well… anxious.

 

Perhaps I’m not meant to admit it, but page views and vanity metrics and Google Analytics and unique visitors are making me miserable. Instead of focusing on the positives, I find myself obsessing over my next milestone.

 

“How many newsletter subscribers should I have? Why did Instagram have to change their algorithm? Will I ever become a “big” blogger?”

 

If you put yourself and your work out there on the Internet, I applaud you. Because this shit is hard. Hitting publish takes courage. Promoting your work takes courage. Building something from nothing takes courage. 

 

It doesn’t help that the amount of noise around growing your blog is deafening. Everywhere you click, there’s a friendly-looking blogger with an online course to sell you. More page views! More subscribers! More! More! More!

 

Damn.

 

But that isn’t why I started blogging.

 

I started because I love to write and, for the first time in my life, felt like I had something to share.

 

Maybe you dream of being a full-time blogger. Maybe you’re already one. Either way, my point is this:

 

Obsessing over your follower count isn’t going to change anything. It’s only going to STOP you from coming up with the ideas that can actually grow your audience.

 

So! The next time you start obsessing over your page views, here are some more productive and positive things you can do instead:

 

1. Write your truth

Authenticity may be the buzzword du jour, but it’s true. Writing honesty and candidly for yourself, rather than purely for page views, will help you attract your tribe over time. Repeat after me: Your tribe is out there. Make sure they find your best, truest self when they visit your blog.

 

2. Get to know your audience better

If you haven’t already heard the term “micro influencer”, you soon will. Many brands are shifting towards wanting to work with bloggers who have a strong and loyal audience. Quality not quantity, basically. Instead of spending ten minutes checking your stats, use the time to ask your audience’s opinion. What do they love about your content? What do they want to see more of? Invest time in building your engagement.

 

3. Support other bloggers

Go read another blogger’s work, leave a comment, share it and support each other. Building your online audience is all about building a community. How can you build your future audience when you’re too engrossed in your current metrics?

 

4. Trust your timing

If you’re consistent and continually producing high quality content, your blog and social media networks *will* grow over time.

 

Your value as a content creator isn’t based on your page views, or your follower count, or any other online numbers. It’s based on your engagement. With your audience and yourself.

 

5. Focus on your wins

Start keeping a blogging journal. This will get you away from the screen (hallelujah!) and be a positive outlet for you to reflect on all you’ve achieved so far, without looking at a graph for validation. Write down a monthly win. Document the posts that have done well. Identify any trends. My best ideas always take place away from my laptop. Writing everything down in pencil is proven to help you think more creatively.

 

6. Remember your intention

Disclaimer: it’s totally ok to want to grow your blog. Running a blog is time-consuming and you deserve to make money from your efforts. Just don’t lose sight of why you started in the first place

 

From now on, I’ll be following these steps religiously. 

 

And if my page views go up in the process? Well, that’s just great 🙂

 


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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