About this project
I’m so glad you found your way to this Kickstarter page. This campaign is for my third installment and as always, I’m incredibly excited to take you on another inspirational journey. Given you’re probably already a freelancer, you might know that freelancing is nothing less than a roller coaster, full of exciting ups and exhilarating downs. Sometimes.
Having called this book Work Trips and Road Trips, you might expect this to become a travel guide for freelancers. Stories on how to be a digital nomad or how to take regular vacations. When I first started researching the content of this guide, this was exactly what I was expecting to write about. But then, while conducting 15 interviews with incredible women whose stories might just blow your mind, I realized there were much deeper subjects that we touched upon.
This book will have five parts and you'll read more about success (read a sample chapter below), mindfulness, purpose, money and travel accompanied by real, honest and touching stories of 15 women who work as art directors, writers, photographers, designers, consultants or even as pop-up cooks or event planners. They all run their businesses either from the road or take regular vacations.
If you’ve read one of my other books, you’re probably familiar with the combination of articles and interviews. If not, you might want to check out the previews of the other two books, #TYWBD & #MCFSB, here.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
To make sure you'll not just love the content of #WTART (That's how I call Work Trips and Road Trips when in need of a shorter word) but also its looks, it's not just me working on this book but also the wonderful Ewelina Dymek, and the super witty Diana J. Joiner. While Ewelina makes sure you fall in love with the looks and the details in the book, Diana is the hero who always makes every single sentence I say sound better. The final book files will be designed by the incredible Christiane Wallner-Haas.
Here are some of the beautiful shots of the collages you'll get to see.. (Did I mention we usually also make postcards?!)
A SAMPLE CHAPTER FROM THE BOOK
This is the introduction to the part of the book about success.
Whatever kind of discussion I’m having, whether it’s a societal, personal, or political one, I always come to the conclusion that our intentions are fueled by our egos and how we define success. However, what success means is hardly ever a personal choice. In my opinion, it’s what our society - or more specifically, our peers - define as such. Being successful usually demands the comparison to others; having or earning more than them.
Let me ask you this. Whenever you meet someone new, is their first question what you do for a living? And how many times, when replying that you’re a freelancer, did you get a suspicious look? Personally, I’ve gotten quite of a few of these.
From my experience, it’s much easier to name the company you work for or drop your job title to get the recognition you most certainly deserve. The more well-known the company is, the easier it will be for them to be considered successful without you being questioned all too much.
Capitalism and our meritocracy has set the standard for how we, in the western world, define what it means to be successful. Working, or let’s say “keeping busy,” makes us feel important. Saying “I’m busy” or “I need to work” has become the norm when people cancel on you or tell you they have other plans. Being busy is excusable, though if done regularly, tells the person asking for your time that work is more important than them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you must be mindful that that’s what you’re essentially doing: putting work before people.
Judging by what the media considers newsworthy, success is often defined by how fast one climbs up the career ladder. It’s common for headlines to consist of how much money a startup has raised. Companies are considered more successful with the more employees they have, and it’s not even all that unusual for journalists to ask young founders about their exit strategy. Status and success are all too often measured in monetary terms, making someone who’s constantly busy and in high demand deemed as a more successful human being.
If you’re freelancing in the creative industries, chances are high it’s even harder for you to say what you do in one word or one sentence. All too often, freelancers start babbling once someone asks them what they do. It’s usually a lot to explain and it’s not that easy to pin down a definition of how one makes a living. All too often, freelancers will agree the boundaries between work and time off blur, and the question might – even after years – feel intimidating.
Additionally, the question about someone’s job immediately suggests someone puts their work first, which, as you know, isn’t always the case. A full-time mom who makes a side income as a graphic designer and manages to make ends meet is just as successful to me as a CEO of a large company. If her definition of success is to have time with her kids and their definition is to be in a leadership role and manage people. It’s all a question of how one personally defines success.
In 2015, I attended the DNX conference in Berlin, which is a gathering for digital nomads and wannabe remote workers. As a side note, and if you’re curious about that sort of lifestyle, I’d recommend going to the next one!
One of the speakers there, Mark Mason, gave an incredibly insightful keynote, and one of the things he talked about that stuck with me was his question, what do you optimize your life for? What is it that you strive for and you believe will lead to a fulfilled life? Is it more money? More time with your family and friends? Independence to travel the world? What is it that you want that will make you feel like you’ve succeeded at life? When coming up with an answer, don’t compare yourself to others, but rather judge by how much time and energy you dedicate to become that person. Live by your own set of standards according to your values and priorities.
You might’ve heard that you should never compare yourself to others, but instead, become better than you were yesterday. The measurement of your success, if you do need a definition, is how close you are in your everyday to the ideal of what you optimize your life for. If you optimize your life for travel, then it’s how you travel that defines your success. If you define yourself by being a good mother (or father), then it’s the time you can dedicate to playing with your children that makes you successful. If you optimize your life for money, then it’s the amount you have in your bank account that gives you proof of how successful you are.
It’s challenging to confirm your success, especially if things aren’t going as planned. For that case, I’d suggest clarifying your definition of success and really thinking about what you optimize your life for.
So whether you’re a mother who defines success in terms of providing for your family while also spending time with them, or you’re the CEO-type who feels successful when taking charge of a brand, find your definition of personal fulfillment. Find your optimization and strive for it!
A SAMPLE INTERVIEW: YANA GILBUENA
What's been your educational and professional path?
I was born and raised in the Philippines. There, I studied Pre-Med Psychology because I thought I’d go on to med school. It’s a cultural stereotype. However, in my third year at uni, I realized it wasn’t for me.
My mother said that given I wasn’t going back to school, it was time for me to move to the US. At the time, I felt like it was a punishment because at the age of 20, she asked me to leave all of my friends behind. But for her, she knew it was easier for me to get a greencard if I immigrated as her child. She worked in the US since 1983 as a nurse, so that’s why she had a citizenship. In the US, I was considered a child, so legally it was a family reunion.
When I came to the US, I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have a peer group, nor did I have any work experience because in the Philippines, your only job is to get an education; not like in the US where a lot of people have part-time jobs. And, as you sure know, unless you have work experience, you won’t get any work experience. It’s a vicious circle.
I started working at a local coffee shop as a barista and started looking for jobs that would have something to do with what I studied. I got a job as a behavior therapist for autistic children at a company that didn’t require previous work experience because they wanted to train their employees themselves.
I was going through a really rough time. Retrospectively, I’d call it a depression. It really was difficult for me to uproot my life and leave my family and friends, so I went out all the time and I was squandering all my money on drinks.
Then, at 23, I had a major car accident. It was pretty much a wake up call because I realized I could’ve died. I had this revelation that I had nothing to show. Do you know what I mean? There was nothing significant I created. After that, I went back to school to study architecture. I’m passionate about seeing how design influences our everyday lives. It might be something as subtle as the design of a tooth brush or even a cup that makes us feel a certain way. So, there you go, I thought studying architecture was the answer! But two years in, I realized it wasn’t the answer for me and I dropped out.
I started working in the interior design industry from scratch. First, I was a kitchen and bath coordinator before getting promoted to a kitchen and bath designer, then later on becoming a furniture designer and eventually an interior designer for commercial and residential spaces. That was in 2008 and you know what happened?The financial crash overwhelmed us all! Suddenly, no one had money anymore and no one spent the money they had left on remodelling their homes. In reaction, thrift stores became very popular, so I worked at an antique hardware store and, for some reason, also in the jewelry industry in downtown LA. Imagine me with diamonds stuffed in my pockets, trying not to look suspicious as I was transporting them from A to B. It was such an adventure! I constantly felt anxious, so I quit that job too after, like, three weeks!
Then, an opportunity arose and after seven years, I was able to visit my family back in the Philippines. I could visit my grandma again! When I got back to LA, I didn’t want to live there anymore. I quit my job with a two month notice and moved to New York.
I didn’t have a job prospect or an apartment. I just thought I’d figure it out once I got there.
It’s funny how the universe works in the sense of how it provides to us when we need something. Being in New York seemed like the life I wanted and things fell into place quite easily! I made a lot of great friends and it was much easier than when I had first moved to LA. I even got a couple of job offers. You know, it seemed easy and Brooklyn felt like home. Things were good.
Then, two and a half years later, I got laid off from my job. It happened during a time when I was already doing Filipino pop-up dinners. Losing my job forced me to make a decision; I could either get another job in the design industry or try myself out as a full-time pop-up cook and jump into a new industry I wasn’t very familiar with. I consulted a friend, a New York restaurateur, for his opinion and he made a suggestion that there were 50 states in the US and 52 weeks. I could go and do a 50 states tour and pop-up every week in another state. It sounded like a fun project and also very doable, something I could figure out. So, that was pretty much the start of what I’m doing now!
How is your business set up?
I was a contributor to a local Brooklyn blog and they kept assigning me food-related stories. Supper clubs were on the rise and I absolutely adored the idea! Writing these articles gave me a chance to talk to a lot of the hosts and to my surprise, they weren’t trained chefs. One was a psychotherapist, and another one worked as a TV producer. I had this realization that they set up all these amazing events on the side just because they were passionate about food! No formal training needed! They loved creating this particular experience and that was their motivation. I felt very inspired and saw a potential to put Filipino food out there.... continue reading here.
Dani Bradford – Digital Storyteller // Vanessa Bruckner – Journalist // Theresa Lachner – Blogger // Lauren Hom – Letterer // Becky Burton – Consultant // Michele Pauty – Fotographer // Yana Gibuena – PopUp Cook // Kayleigh Owen – Project Manager // Jule Müller – Editor in Chief // Laura Karasinski – Art Directrice // Natalie Howard – UX Designer // Yasmine Akermark – StartUp Founder // Liz Wellington – Copywriter // Stephanie Danforth – Designer // Kaitlyn Reed – Event Planner
for this book.
Some other chapters you'll read...
Life Goals // Self Determination // Doubts // Self-Initiated Projects // Celebrations // Confident Self-Knowledge // The choices you have // Independent by choice // Enhancing a solo-preneur business // Recharging your batteries // Educating yourself ... I'm still finalising the files.. but do let me know if any of the chapters I mentioned here are especially interesting to you. Maybe you want to test read them :)
.. AND THIS IS US..
Risks and challenges
Given this won't be the last guide for freelancers, we want to make sure everyone is happy and grateful they found out about this book while still on Kickstarter. We simply like to surprise our backers and add some surprises on top of what we've promised. However, as with any project, there might be delays that we cannot foresee yet. It can happened. Even though we shouldn't. But at least we've warned you, right?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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