Categories
future of work remote working writing

Merry Christmas🎄✨

An ode to offline. I’ll be back on January 9.

Thank you for all your support this year.

May this holiday season bring you lots of love, joy and happiness!

Here’s to 2022.

Nicci 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ps, I’d love to know what products and services you’ve found useful and the best book you’ve read this year. Doing a quick roundup to share.

Leave a comment

  1. Design inspired by Creative Ode
Categories
Freelancing future of work Small business Wellness

Thoughtful exit interviews: how to offboard yourself

My summer work project ended with a bang last week. I was given a day’s notice via email and asked to quickly hand over to the new in-house copywriter. 

I get it – budgets and a new project manager, but it still took me by surprise as we were in the final stages of the work. I also felt a handover was a bit out of my scope as a freelancer – surely this was the PM’s job? So I asked my hiring manager for advice. She backed me up and said she’d speak to the PM. I told the copywriter I was happy to chat but checking the process first (also not clear if I’d be paid for this). 

I was onboarded quickly to fill a gap during the holidays and the project ended as abruptly. Here I am three months later, waiting to be paid for work that started in July. I enjoyed the work but the transactional nature of it has left me feeling frustrated and a bit fed up – where’s the humanity? All a bit soulless. Adland can be like this and it’s something I struggle with. I like to build relationships with the team and see the final end product.

It’s made me realise how important offboarding and exit interviews are with clients, so I have a process and checklist for my personal sanity and mental health…

  • Review the final project – what went well, what could have been improved?
  • Get a testimonial from the PM.
  • Say thank you to the team (people move around all the time, you never know when you’ll be working with them again). Ask to see the end product if possible – for my portfolio.
  • Send the final invoice.
  • Give feedback to HR and ask them to fill in a quick survey if they have time.
  • Leave a review on GlassDoor to help others. 

I may not get a response from the PM, but at least I’ve wrapped things up my side. 

Onboarding and offboarding is something companies need to think about more as the freelance revolution grows, and they need to manage freelancers at scale. Even better, hire a Head of Remote as my hiring manager was in a different country and not involved day-to-day.

Good communication is crucial for remote teams and having a handbook means new starters feel connected and can jump right in. Otherwise, it’s easy to feel disconnected and undervalued – which won’t foster good work. 

I’m also wondering if I need to tighten up my T&Cs and ask for a part payment upfront with overseas suppliers (I’ve been burned in the past). I’m grateful for the NUJ – if I end up chasing payment I know they have my back. Union membership is worth every penny.


Pandemic social fatigue

Is it just me, or is going out exhausting? I went out for a meal last week at a new restaurant, and we ended up sharing a table with a group of guys who’ve just moved here. Sensory overload. Too bright, too loud, too many people. I found it a bit overwhelming, so I guess I’m just out of practice.

I’m not alone – a piece by Lisa Milbrand on why socialising is more exhausting now for both introverts and extroverts and how to get your mojo back. 

Wishing you a relaxing and restful World Mental Health Day🎗 🧠

I’m not going to overload myself this quarter. I’m focusing on what I have, taking care of myself, reflection and R&D – the key to the productivity puzzle, Bojo…

Take care,

— Nicci

P.S. The most beautiful thing I’ve heard lately.


🔗🖐 5 Things 

★ Global Study on Freelancing: 75+ research partners and 1900 freelancers. It’s a big tent – 31% were over 50, and 64% were full-time freelance by choice. Most have a solid workload, but ⅓ are struggling (consider timing and context with Covid). Tech workers are the happiest. Freelancing is large and growing, but the platforms must continue to add value — great to see the expansion into coaching and education.

— Global Study on Freelancing

★ Facebook outage: offline for over six hours on Monday and on Friday. I enjoyed the break, but it highlights the issue of small businesses putting all their eggs in one basket and selling their services via social media rather than websites and customer service software. Excellent piece on how Facebook is acting like a hostile foreign power, and it’s time we treated it that way. Wow to the new cover of Time👀

— Facebookland: The Largest Autocracy on Earth.

★ The future of work should mean working less. Now we have space to reimagine how a job fits into a good life.A call for creating policies to keep work in its place: Universal Basic Income, rights to housing and healthcare, a living wage, and shorter hours at full pay. Human wellbeing is more important than productivity.

— The Future of Work Should Mean Working Less.

★ Headlines Network: free workshops starting in November to support media workers’ mental health in partnership with Google News Initiative. Great to hear they’re working with MIND to tackle mental health stigma in the media. Free, weekly 90-minute sessions: tips and tools for wellbeing and space for a chat – looking forward to it.

— Headlines Network

★ “There is no such thing as info overload. The overload is from ‘noise,’ and your ability to segment and ignore that noise will be a crucial survival skill for the future of your career and personal sanity” – Rohit Bhargava. A deep dive into how we develop this skill from Nir Eyal’s perspective as a tech insider who wrote Hooked: how to build habit-forming products. Clever tips on how to improve your attention and limit distraction. 

— How to Survive in a World of Information Overload


💛 Enjoy this newsletter?

Forward to a friend and invite them to subscribe here.

Buy me a coffee to support what I do via my Ko-fi page.

Leave me a voice note: 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
AI Content writing

What if a robot could write your copy?

– The Shift: A weekly-ish newsletter about our work-from-anywhere future and making money online.

– Get your free subscription to The Shift, a weekly letter about our working from anywhere world—and how to make money on it.

– Learn from industry experts as they share their stories, tools, and resources for building a location-independent business.

Jarvis AI

That was written by AI – not bad, eh? 

I gave it a few words about my newsletter as a prompt – and it wrote that in seconds.

Jarvis is the latest AI writing assistant I’ve come across – thanks to Marianne Lehnis, who suggested it. These tools have been around for a while, but the new AI GPT-3 based writers go a step further and help you write long-form copy – ad copy, sales pitches, emails, product descriptions, social media and more. 

I’ve used it for client work and content pieces, and it’s a very cool tool. Fun to use: it’s made me laugh, surprised me, given me ideas, and saved me time. I’m trialling Boss Mode (the most advanced package💲) and have barely scratched the surface (53 templates, recipes, commands, long-form content), but it’s given me a sense of how powerful it is. 

I asked Jarvis to rewrite my bio:

I am a woman of many hats. I am the author of Remote: Office Not Required and Chief Tingler at Tingler Inc.

I’m Nicci. I write about remote work and building an online business. My favourite thing to do is go on adventures, make friends with animals, and take long walks in nature.

Spot on, Jarvis!! 

Open AI’s GPT-3 is described by Marketing Brew as ‘kind of a big deal’ – among the most advanced language models in existence.

Large language models are powerful machine learning algorithms with one key job description: identifying large-scale patterns in text. The models use those patterns to “parrot” human-like language. And they quietly underpin services like Google Search—used by billions of people worldwide—and predictive text software, such as Grammarly.

Emerging Tech Brew’s Hayden Field.

The goal is to humanise AI and help you write smarter, faster – and get over Blank Page Syndrome. The better you describe what you want to write, the higher quality content Jarvis will help produce.

Super useful for content marketers, digital agencies, and anyone who needs to generate a lot of content. The long-form option (Pro + Boss Mode) is a game-changer – interesting to see on Facebook that people are using it to write books.

It won’t steal your writing job. You get well written generic copy, the first draft as a base to tweak from. It’s not for complex articles, fact-checking or emotional aspects. This post by Danny Veiga, a digital marketer, was written by Jarvis – he told Marketing Brew Jarvis wrote about 80% of it, with 20% fact-checking. 

I see it as part of my writing toolkit. It’s helped me generate ideas, perspective, given me a creative boost and saved me time. Jarvis is a workhorse! 100% remote and 24/7 *shoulders drop*. Forget the threat – embrace the tech and use it to sell your services and promote yourself – 5 x your content in minutes! Read this now! 

Jarvis has over 30,000 users from companies including Shopify, Google, Canva, Zillow, Airbnb, Stripe, lots of positive reviews, and an active Facebook community. Learning in public – good to see them flagging issues and solutions, responsive to feedback and improving the product.

You can sign up for a free five-day trial here (Nicci on steroids – gives me a few more credits to play with) – I promise not to send you five newsletters next week 🤖

Have you tried Jarvis or any other AI writing tools? I use Grammarly Pro, but this is in a different league.


🔗🖐5 Things  

💸Twitter Tips – their latest experiment now lets you tip anyone with cash or crypto (via mobile). Twitter seems to have gone mad introducing new features to try and get up to speed with other networks – rolling stuff out to see what sticks – at least they’re experimenting in public. But if the content is freely available, where’s the incentive for users to pay? Good overview by TechCrunch.

🎙Burnout and exhaustion while working in content – you’re not alone (Content Rookie). I love this podcast. Interesting chat with Jane Ruffino and Candi Williams on setting boundaries at work and moving the conversation from productivity to burnout. How scale (scarcity mindset) shouldn’t drive a company over growth and community (abundance mindset). ‘We shouldn’t have to constantly perform ambition to do well.’ There’s a pressure to upskill – especially in an emerging field like UX.

👩‍💻Letting go of perfection – I wrote a piece for The Portfolio Collective on the rise of perfectionism as a cultural issue and how we can keep it in check – some strategies that have helped me. One of the members, Zarir ‘Zed’ Vakil said: “One tip I use for avoiding toxic perfectionism is being outcome-focused and always taking action. This avoids procrastination and rumination.”

🕵🏻‍♀️Reinvigorate your career by taking the right kind of risk – inspiring piece by Whitney Johnson on taking smart risks. Exploring underserved areas of your industry and crafting a new role for yourself, staying in your current job and inventing a new product or service or switching industries. Finding the gap – what no one else is doing – and creating opportunities – businesses don’t disrupt, people do.

📕Free book! Collaborate: Bring people together around digital projects by Ellen de Vries (Gather Content). Content is about people and collaboration – how to think about the work you do as a collaborator in your day-to-day life – and some practical activities to test out. How to work with others online efficiently – this will be helpful to anyone in digital, not just content people. Via the excellent & new Working in Content.


The future of work is now

Let’s build it. The Shift is your guide to running a small but mighty business. Start living and working on your own terms. Supercharge your solo work🚀

Your weekly-ish dose of inspiration, ideas and solutions.

• Question or comment? Email nicci@niccitalbot.io

• Enjoy reading this? Buy me a coffee

• Did someone forward this? Sign up here

Help me plant an Ecologi forest! To offset the carbon emissions of my online work, I plant 12 trees every month via Ecologi. We’ve got 10 years to sort this out – no time to waste.

Categories
Advice. Opinions. Conversation.

The Shift: Issue #21

#CopyCon2020—Top tips for being a successful copywriter; Death to perfectionism; Blogging for business; UX jobs—design systems are the new frontier.

“8 hours of copywriting gold” – 10 speakers, 8 training days, satellite sessions, poetry, illustration, networking, cats…🐱 ProCopywriters’ 7th annual conference and 100% online for the first time.

It’s my first one, so I had nothing to compare it to, but it was a fantastic event—inspiring talks (9 female speakers) and seamless tech. I’m still using the app (Attendify) to replay videos and download docs. If there’s one good thing to come out of all this madness, it’s being able to do global conferences that I wouldn’t have been able to afford. No travel costs and you can listen in while you work or on the go. I can’t sit at a desk all day, so I did a walking Zoom to break it up. See more.