Posts

In union there is strength

Hey! Do you know the slack community ”Freelance Athens“? If you are a freelancer in Athens you should definitely go check it out! It is an initiative started by two digital nomads, Kim Gillick and Lucy Xu, based in Athens and its aim is to give the freelancers of Athens a nice, tight and functional online community to turn to when they are in need of some support!

Recently, we hosted their first event: “Staying Social as a Freelancer” here at Stone Soup. At the event, Kim and a very active nomad, Nathan Sudds, shared some useful insights and experiences relevant to Athens freelancers, helping the community to expand beyond an online-only presence! It’s been a successful and well organised event moderated and facilitated by Karolina Sieler, who recently joined the Freelance Athens’ team remotely.

Who is Karolina?

Karolina is from Poland and she has 6 years of experience as a teacher and a public speaker in England and Scotland. She used to be a university lecturer and – occasionally – a speaker at conferences all over Europe, until she realised she was craving a new challenge. After exploring new professional options for a bit, she initiated her first business by setting up a community for entrepreneurs, start-up owners and freelancers in London, called FBIZZ Freelancers Hub. She spent 2 years running events for the community, inviting speakers and facilitating panel discussions. She used the community’s platform as a ground for creating a business blog while she took her first steps as a freelancer. Two years ago, she decided to start a new chapter in her life and become a digital nomad.

Being a digital nomad: dreaming it vs living it

“My vision was to start from London and spend 5 years there, then go to Hong Kong for another 5 years, then New York etc. I was dreaming about living the big city life but only after a year and a half in London I realised it wasn’t right for me. Therefore, I decided to keep my work life in London and explore my opportunities in different places, including Athens.”

Being a freelancer may become frustrating and lonely. The reason Karolina appreciates Athens so much is for the vibrant city life that gives you the opportunity to build deep connections with local people, as well as, with other expats. This is the main reason she seeks for opportunities to engage and comes back whenever she is able to.

Karolina’s business and vision

Over the years, she has finally figured out the ideal business model that makes her happy and at the same time supports her financially. Karolina has built her own online platform supporting law students in the UK called 1stClassLLB. She creates online courses and runs a YouTube channel.

Both in London and in Athens, she tried at the beginning to work from home. She soon realised that she was missing the sense of belonging to a community or organisation. She was set out to find a coworking home and to be able to share workspace, initiate activities with other coworkers and potentially work on a common cause. 

Karolina drops occasionally by Stone Soup and has joined Kim and Lucy, to fulfil their common vision, that is to unite the Freelance Athens community both online and offline.  “I am very satisfied with my decision to work from here. Ever since I started I feel part of a big family, plus I witness myself being more productive!” 

Learn from the best aka Open Office Hours at Stone Soup Vol. 2

We open our offices to offer you value! In a previous article we introduced the philosophy behind our “Open Office Hours” initiative. We are excited that more professionals at Stone Soup are coming on board, making their time available to you and are happy to share their knowledge and expertise!

Today we will present Dimitris who is up for offering consultancy on web development and information architecture.

Technology is deeply rooted in our life and as we start a business, the online presence of our company and products is essential to make such business successful. A web developer is a crucial component to that success and for that reason our resident, Dimitris Perdikopoulos could help you understand the fundamentals and how you could move forward and evolve your online presence and most importantly your website.

Dimitris is a front-end developer with an professional experience of 8 years. He shares knowledge and studies both in web development and graphic design and has worked for several design studios like Bod Studio, G Design Studio, Kanella, before choosing to become a freelancer, and has had clients like ID&T, gregorys.gr, Eurobank.gr amongst others.

Through the lens of a specialist

Dimitris states that the most common challenge he faces in his work is that many clients ask for a website, because they believe they are supposed to have one, but without having first figured out what is the purpose of its creation. He supports that there are a number of questions we should answer before we decide to expose our business online.

Questions like; What is the need we want to cover when creating some digital appearance; what is the target group and what is the message we would like our audience to receive when looking at our page, will help us better organize and create our content as well as handle things like SEO. However, it takes a mentality of information architecture to transform in the most efficient way all this information, and present a customized interface that better suits each case.

Dimitris embraces this work-style and from the very first conversation with the person of interest he aims to understand their reason for entering the world wide web. Based on that he will come up with a unique system for them and visualize their requirements.

Thus, if you are in a point that you are looking for guidance in building your e-shop/ website from the ground up, optimizing/relaunching an already existing website, creating a platform of a kind, or SEO advice, gather your info and questions and wait for his availability to be announced.

Wanna learn from the best? Join the Open Office Hours at Stone Soup

In a recent post we touched upon the opportunities derived from the reversed brain drain, a very exciting process to witness happening in Greece the past year. Everyday we feel inspired by the people based at our coworking space and the example they set: fellow coworkers who are traveling around the world carrying with them their social and personal skills, transferring knowledge, and enriching the local markets they engage with.

We are happy to share the latest news from our community and the background of our highly skilled coworking members. We are also thrilled to announce our new venture that is designed to contribute to this positive change.

Open Office Hours

Open Office Hours are one-on-one sessions with experts in different fields. The sessions will take place at Stone Soup and they will be open to all, and fees won’t be charged. Their objective is to share the knowledge beyond our walls and to strengthen the Athens Digital Creative ecosystem.

Wanna learn from the best? Let’s cut to the chase, and introduce George Carey-Simos, a Stone Soup resident, and the first expert you are invited to visit during Open Office Hours.

George is a Digital Strategist and helps people and companies use the Internet to their  advantage. Born in South Africa and having spent most of his life in different countries; South Africa, Czech Republic, UK, and Greece, he eventually decided to anchor his life in Greece for good.

He has a solid 15 years of working experience gained from numerous positions in different industries and countries. He started his career in Sales and moved into more traditional Media & Communications and PR work – and worked in the field for several years. Then in 2013, he switched to a small digital agency, running various digital projects for SMBs and large multinational brands, also advising clients on social media and digital strategy as a whole. His passion to explore the cutting edge developments in the digital sphere, also led him to co-found WeRSM | We are Social Media at around the same time. It didn’t take long for WeRSM to be recognized for the value it provides to digital marketers of all kinds – and agencies – by keeping them up to date on the latest news, practices, and trends. WeRSM very soon became international.

For the past 4 years, George splits his time between WeRSM and working as a freelancer for his clients. His multidimensional experience gives him the advantage to provide holistic consultancy, project management, and custom training for his clients. He is well-connected, and has a broad network to tap into when he needs to recruit and orchestrate any project.

Apart from his freelance projects, he also runs custom training sessions in digital strategy, social media strategy, and growth hacking. His growth hacking course is taught as part of a series of seminars organized by KnowCrunch at Deree college. Finally, he is also a startup advisor, mentor at Founder Institute, a regular judge at social media awards and startup events, and a speaker at international conferences.

Book your slot!

Whether your business is up and running or you are just starting out, the sessions with George could give you valuable insights on your digital strategy, your resource and team management, but could also help you refine your pitch and develop your USP.

We will announce George’s availability and time slots next week.

Stay tuned!

 

#5 tips you need to know to start working remotely

The way of working is rapidly changing as a new professional culture is emerging, one that is swaying away from the traditional ways of doing business. This culture is evident in startups but is also gaining ground in more traditional companies throughout the world that are adapting to this reality.

The new era is bringing modern aspects to the workplace, and one of those is the concept of the remote worker, a professional who does not need a single workspace and is able to travel by bringing their work to any part of the world. But working remotely is not as simple as it sounds, it takes some skills and habits that most people don’t have and you can only master by trying and trying again. When you are juggling with work and traveling, if your don’t do it right you can ruin both experiences.

If your are aware of the possible risks and you are one of those who wishes to experiment with freedom while working, this list is for you! We present to you 5 tips to help you become someone who doesn’t need a permanent workspace.

#1 Find a workspace

It may be tempting to work from home or trying to bring your laptop to the beach or to the mountains to work, but for the sake of your productivity, you have to ultimately find a place that would minimize your distractions and that would help you do better in your work.

Most people think about working in the comfort of their home, coding, designing or writing in their underwear while laying in bed or the sofa. This might work for a few, but using your home as your workspace might mean that you don’t feel comfortable enough neither as a home or workspace, and being isolated or even start to feel lonely might affect your productivity in the long run, and even your mental state.

That’s why most of the remote workers recommend that you find a neutral place, that isn’t either your house or your office, some of them recommend to work on cafes, where you have food and good coffee, which is pretty useful if you find a cafe that suits your needs, and also, make it easier for you to travel and work in other places. The only drawback about working in cafes is the noise, especially if you need to present your work or make an important phone call and sometimes, the Internet connection is not on your side either.

To address that need, there are many coworking spaces that you may find in almost any city and they offer a professional setup to accommodate your needs while you work. At the same time, a shared working space offers great opportunities for meeting different people and business networking, that’s why such places are filled with remote workers and digital nomads all around the world.

#2 Plan and prepare

This might sound obvious but it’s always good to remember how important is planning yourself before starting working out of the office. You won’t have anybody to remind you what you have to do and when you have to do it. This freedom is great but you have to learn how to control and manage effectively your time and how to use your freedom in your favor.

To build your own work schedule and to work whenever you want is great and probably the quality of your work might be even greater because you mind and inspiration will be at your own time, but it is easy to lose focus and to procrastinate when you are not in your everyday office and routine.For that reason, building a schedule and organizing your tasks is a great thing to do and will help a lot with your productivity.

There are a lot of tools on the web to help with your task management and your organization, like Trello, that you can use on your computer and your phone and help you to organize your tasks and remind you when the deadlines are coming, Evernote, that is useful to keep your notes and to remember your tasks, and if you prefer analog methods, the Bullet Journal will help you organize our day to day tasks and do things efficiently.

#3 Improve your communication

Nat Turner once said that “Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity”, and his words are very meaningful when you think about working remotely. If you do not meet with your coworkers or with your clients at a physical office space, you need to make the communication between you clear and effective or you won’t be able to collaborate successfully and deliver your goals..

Most communication may be achieved with on-line appointments and frequent calls or emails, but your time and your colleagues’ or clients’ time is precious, so, take extra care in making your points clear and make sure that at all times you understand and balance expectations on both sides. This will make easier to approach them after the meetings.

#4 Know exactly what you do and how much it costs

Pricing is a common hurdle that most remote workers face, especially when they are starting off. Once you don’t work in a specific place, it is hard to measure how much time a day you are working, and normally, people forget to count the time that they are spending searching for clients or having meetings, even though this is an important part of their work.

To runaway for that mistake, the best thing to do is to know exactly what you can offer, to define the services you provide and how much they cost on the market you specialize. Then you price fairly, and when you do that, you keep in mind that you need to be able to compensate for all the hours that you spend looking for your clients and all the extra things that you have to take care to keep your business running. We know, this is not what you are meant to do or your profession but hey, being self employed comes with a toll.

#5 Make contacts and meet people

Being independent is great, working for yourself is amazing, but you need to meet people and make contacts to work remotely, because you work for people and with people, and networking will help you to get through the hard times that you might find in this adventure that is working remotely.

Exploring the places that you visit, and talking to people you meet is a difficult task, but it gets easier the more you practice it, and it will be a rewarding experience for you, try to connect with the people that you speak, ask their opinion and bring out yours too, if you know someone that could be useful for other people that you have met, bring them together, they will feel grateful to you, and they will be happy to help you when you need.

There are a lot of networking events happening all the time and you can use Meetup to find about it, most of the people in this kind of events are looking forward to the same things that you are, and they will be happy to talk to you, so be open to that.

To that end, coworking spaces make serendipity interactions smoother, because you will find yourself amidst a lot of people working and you can improve your networking all the time. As simple as it is,  it’s important to get out of the house and meet people, and this spaces are built for that.

If you are working remotely or want to try it out, and you are interested in keeping up with new business trends, follow Stone Soup on Facebook and come to visit our coworking space, we could be exactly what you’re looking for!