Tag Archives | writing

Konsultrapporten H2 2018

Is there anything better than seeing the results of your efforts? I doubt it! During the past months, I’ve been heavily involved in my client Brainville’s reoccurring report ”Konsultrapporten”. Thus, it was very fun that we finally got to release it this week and start distributing it.

In case you’re not already familiar with Brainville, the short-short version is that Brainville is the leading marketplace for consultants and consulting assignments in the Nordic region. So if you’re a freelancer looking for interesting assignments – probably tired of trying to find decent clients on your own – just head to www.brainville.com to register your own profile and get started!

As I always have a love-hate-relationship with my work, I have to admit that I’ve historically been very bad at celebrating the results I’ve been contributing to. I haven’t really had it in me to do that sometimes necessary ”humble bragging”, which I think anyone ever involved in a well executed project should do.

Why? Well, that’s a good question. I guess it’s because I tend to get a little bit too involved in my work and loose the perspective. Combine that with a very critical mind and voilá: while I’m busy working and writing I typically can’t stand my own writing. In order to be able to appreciate it, there need to be some water under the bridge first. Except this time then. I decided to work on my own negative patterns and at least share a couple of snapshots from the report with you.

If you’ve read my blog for a while or followed my on any of my Instagram accounts, you might remember that I’ve mentioned my desire to write more as one of the reasons behind starting Ambaurora. Hence, I was very glad to get the chance to get my hands down and dirty with Konsultrapporten! In this edition of the report, we’ve heavily increased the editorial material. The report includes interviews with several freelancers as well as with interesting industry profiles. I’m no journalist, but working in an editorial role and setting is something I very much enjoy, so I look forward to continue deeper on that path going forward.

 

/M

 

Snapshots from Konsultrapporten H2 2018

Interview with Anna Möller, the impressive founder and CEO of PeopleProvide

 

Lacking motivation? Just catch up on Konsultrapporten and get some tips on how to quickly improve your freelancing skills!

 

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Real life business vs the business plan

Hi there! It’s certainly been a while since this blog got a proper update. Fear not though: the blog hasn’t been forgotten. The non existing updates have mainly been due to a combination of that so called work life and a heavy writer’s block (caused by no time for reflection). Writing for a living comes with its ups and downs. Up: it’s fantastic. It’s creative. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing and now I’m doing it. It’s very rewarding, developing and fulfilling to see one’s work come to live in front of you. On the downside: you put all of your heart and best efforts (obviously) into your client’s needs and desires and products. And then when you’re done with that, you notice everything else that’s been going on in the world while you were busy working. You look at your perfect business plan and all the actions you were supposed to take, such as for example keep your blog updated with relevant content. (After all, people might be looking at your website so it’s probably a great idea to also practice what you preach).

You look at all the crises you could have approached and written an in-depth and interesting analysis about, only to face the fact that still, you didn’t and besides, 50 thousand other people already commented on it so you realize that you just have to let that one go. On the other hand: once you’ve settled in that good old ”feeling the imposter syndrome again” and calmed down a bit, you’ll also realize that delivering value to your clients and focusing on your real life business obviously is exactly what you’re supposed to do and what you’ve done. And that once those new experiences and lessons learned during the projects have been processed properly by your brain, they will most likely be able to translate into something more valueable to share with the world. You know, more than just posting updates of your morning coffee in order to maintain some sort of content stream on Instagram.

Are you with me? Well. This is pretty much where I’m at right now. Working. While pondering, reflecting and processing all the things I’m not writing about. (Oh the irony!). I’m lucky to be working on a couple of really fun and challenging projects. I can feel that I’m growing and evolving almost every day, but yet at what I consider to be a managable level. Still not gonna lie to you though, not being able to maintain this blog updated will always be a guilty conscience for me. Plus, I don’t want to get caught up in ”only” writing for business. I need these tiny, personal updates every now and then as well. If nothing else, just to have a little check in with myself and see what’s going on.  

So here’s to this Thursday and one of these tiny updates 😉

I’ll be back.

/Malin

 

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”You’re never gonna feel like it”

I’m no huge fan of inspirational speeches. The cynic in me often find them either too general or just extremely naive. However, for whatever the reason: I tend to make some weird exception for Mel Robbins. In case you’ve missed it and are in a state of January procastination right now, watch Mel’s talk on ”How to stop screwing yourself over”! Even though I’ve already watched it, I like to get back to this session and remind myself of the fact that motivation only takes us so far.

At the end of the day – discipline is truly what matters. Being a highly sensitive person is often an advantage to me. Except when it comes to discipline on those difficult, unfocused days that I go through too. I’m constantly working on learning to close down my feelings when it comes to pure execution. Constantly working on that old Nike thing and just ‘doing it.

Don’t get me wrong: I get a lot of things done. I am doer, without a doubt. It’s just that my own internal working process is probably so much harder than it would need to be sometimes, due to all of the introspection and analyzing my brain loves to dive into if not restricted!

Today has however been a splendid Saturday. I got up early to deliver on a deadline without any overanalyzing whatsoever and all of a sudden I found myself in that fantastic state of mind when both productivity and creativity flows! I love those days. I was done with my articles rather quickly, then enjoyed some time to summarize  thoughts from a meeting earlier this week and circle back to a contact as promised. I’ve also had time to tick of both a meeting and a webinar from my to do-list, thus I have to say it’s been a great working day.

I have yet to get back to my promised blog post about goals for 2019, but in case you wonder about this pretty random blog post: writing and updating more spontaneously this year will definitely be among my goals!

Initially when I started to blog again, I was very much influenced by my previous working position and sort of lost in my old way of ”corporate thinking”. I had some grand idea that this would indeed be an extremely professional blog – just pure communication topics and professional matters. I guess it’s easy for all of us to fall into that trap, however, having had some time to reflect and evaluate, I realised that I will indeed be making some changes here! I will still strive for writing posts on interesting matters within media, communications and writing. But in order to keep up my own spirit and drive to do that, I can’t be deadly serious/on professional call 24/7. It’s just not who I am or how I typically behave.

I don’t want to turn this blog into a collection of anonymous articles and updates without a soul. Thus, this year I’ll also allow myself creative times to just post spontaneously about a bit broader scope. Hope you’ll still like it here and whether it’s big or small ideas: do let me know if you’ve got any wishes or suggestions for future blog topics. Just drop me a note: malin@ambaurora.se and I’ll see what I can do!

 

/Malin

 

 

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Fuckups, insights, growth – 2018 in review

You might argue that the last thing the world needs is more blog posts about 2018. I won’t hold that against you. Still, I love to read and take part of other people’s dreams, ambitions, fuckups, lessons… So just when you thought you couldn’t stand one more, sorry, but here it comes –  yet another introspective blog post about 2018. Bon appetite!

First things first: why on earth would anyone share personal things about and around their business? Online? For the whole world, haters, prospects and current clients to see? Isn’t that a bit over the top, you know, acting like an attention whore? That’s of course one way of seeing it. My perspective is quite different.

I believe that by sharing experiences, whether they’ve been good or bad, you’re not only becoming more human in other people’s eyes, this is also an essential step on your own learning curve. It’s easy to celebrate good days. The flow days. Looking into the mirror and dealing with the consequences of your own daily habits is, well, quite different. Much harder, nastier. There’s no place to hide. There’s nothing to do – except looking at the evidence of what’s in front of you, what you created and learn from it.

Secondly, by sharing your experiences you’re also becoming more approachable to people. For me, this is an essential, not to say crucial, part of running a business. Nowadays, as services, products and prices may seem similar, what becomes your USP is YOU. Like it or not, you’ve got to work that to your advantage. All business relations need to start somewhere. And honestly: how many of yours started in a strictly business setting? No? Didn’t think so either. Twitter, Instagram, connecting over silly memes? Probably more like it!

Ok, so now that we’ve got that sorted out, let’s move on and see what went on during my 2018!

 

2018 – what happened?

In order to understand part of the events, a short recap is a must: during autumn 2017, I had a burnout. While still on sick leave in the beginning of 2018 I decided to quit my job. I had a good corporate position, but it was in what unfortunately had become an unhealthy work environment. Although there was a lot of anxiety, thoughts and “what if’s” involved prior to making the final decision, I just knew there was no going back for me. I was done with that part of my life.

And so I resigned during sick leave. I would definitely not recommend anyone to copy this concept of mine, as it certainly adds to your blood pressure and stress levels. However, sometimes you’ve just got to jump to move on. I chose to jump this year.

I’ve rehabilitated and worked hard on rebuilding both my mental and physical strength again after my burnout. Needless to say – this is not a process which you can put a beginning or and end to. It just is what it is. For me, an important part of my rehabilitation is not having to hide it. I’ve had my burnout. It was bad. It will forever be a part of me, but I’ve moved on. I am still actively moving on everyday by making small, sometimes tiny, steps and changes forward into a new direction.

2018 was also the year when I acted upon an old dream of mine and started my own business as a communications consultant.

Insights:

  • “This too shall pass” will sometimes be exactly what gets you through the day
  • I still suck at simply asking for help
  • Complete honesty is a scary, risky, yet also one of the most rewarding business tools

 

2018 – what about the goals then?

  • Attend a “start your own business” course, then register and start my own company
    check!
  • Create a new communications platform for myself as a business owner – check!
  • Rehabilitate myself back to “work mode” by Q4/2018 – check!
  • Extend my network and preferably also make sure it includes new and/or different sectors than just the “ordinary” communications/pr/finance crowd that’s already in it – check!
  • Writing – this was really a topic of its own (which I will get back to later on) but in short, my writing goals looked liked this:
    -start blogging again – check!
    -contribute as a writer for an external website as well – check!
    -regarding topics: stay my own lane, even if it would be very uncomfortable on certain days, also dare to share personal things in order to grow as a person – check!
    -focus on finding interesting and developing writing assignments for Ambaurora – check!
    -attend and complete a screen writing course for the pure fun of it – check!
  • Photography:
    -buy a “real” camera – check!
    -leave for a week’s photography travel – check!
    -receive my first revenues as a photographer through iStock and Printlercheck!

Pure photography assignments is currently not something I’m offering within the scope of Ambaurora’s service. However, as I’m a keen photographer, I think of photography as a way of slowly creating sort of a “passive income” revenue stream for myself. During my spare time, I’m often out capturing shots and as the raw material needed is already there for me to work with, the next step to start selling images is not that far away.

 

Fuckups and lessons learned

  • Challenging my comfort zone is still a necessary evil. Note to self 2019 though: think about when and where I choose to do this. Not everyone will get it and yes, I’ll most likely be perceived as a weirdo a lot of times during next year as well. Be prepared to deal with those emotions.
  • Numbers aren’t my favourite thing. Leave it to my CFO. No “challenging” myself regarding this area. Just stay away and let the professionals handle it.
  • Trying to do everything at once: resign, mess with Försäkringskassan, start your business while in the middle of exhaustion, going through therapy. Yey! We’re gonna party like it’s ya’ birthday….! 2019 will be all about doing ONE THING AT A TIME.
  • Therapy – feels like a huge cost but when you start perceiving the effects from it it will still be the best investment you ever made

I will stop here for today. However, if you’re into goal-setting and planning your year ahead in a structured way as well – stay tuned, as my next post will be about setting goals for 2019!

 

/Malin

 

 

 

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6 copy newsletters that will sharpen your creative flow

Everyone does it. (No, not THAT, you pervert). I’m of course talking about “steal with pride” and and avoiding to invent the wheel every time you get caught in writer’s block.  

Whether you’re already an awesome communications professional or just a fellow language nerd trying to spark your creative juices and writing flow, here’s 6 newsletters on copywriting that you should add to your subscription list!

Photo: color image of binoculars and a beach view illustrating the blog postPro tip from yours truly before we get started: if you’re using Gmail – mark up all of your copy newsletters with a suitable label. Mine are simply marked up immediately with “Copy & writing” and let me tell you – do this and you’ll never need to search for that “good tip I read last week in some newsletter” again.

(And in case you wonder: no, this update has got nothing to do with Google, apart from the fact that I just LOVE Gmail’s organizing features with all of my Virgo heart, thus can’t promote it enough! That’s all).

Ok. Enough with the chatting now.

Ready for some proper newsletter tips? Here we go!

 

Gill Andrews

Action-oriented, direct, competent and sarcastic – what’s not to love about Gill Andrews? Ironically, I can no longer remember exactly when and where I came across this German powerhouse, but her newsletters certainly does the trick for me and I dare say you’ll also want to get up and get your professional shit together once you start receiving them. Subscribe for valuable tips and tricks on reviewing and improving your website as well as on writing better web copy!

 

Copyblogger

Ah well, a blog called Copyblogger on writing better copy, what a no brainer! Right? Maybe. However, ain’t nothing wrong with an occasional no brainer every now and then as long as it does what it should. And that’s exactly what these Copyblogger newsletter updates does for you, as they provide smart and snappy tips on writing copy, grammar and various language related topics + also some deeper insights every now and then.

Yes, you’ve probably heard of lots of the tips plenty of times before but some things can’t just be repeated enough. Subscribe and you’ll see it for yourself.

 

Exclusive tip for Swedish writers: Språkkonsulterna

Unfortunately, this newsletter is only available in Swedish but for those of you who live and work in Sweden – it’s a must read! What’s so unique about this newsletter then? Well, perhaps it’s just the pure beauty and simplicity of daring to pick one subject and stick with it. No trying to squeeze in 50 sub topics on marketing, growth hacking or cheap PR tricks here, just pure semantics and grammar porn! Whether you’re fully focused on mastering the beautiful Swedish language to perfection or just want to step up your game: ”Språkbrevet” is the newsletter for you.

 

Kate Toon

Sydney based Kate Toon is an experienced SEO copywriter/SEO consultant. I came across Kate for a while ago and since then, I’ve come to highly appreciate her witty and informative newsletter updates. Thus, highly recommended reading! While you’re still in the mood, please also take a couple of minutes to read this excellent post on that never ending discussion on how long and how often you should update your blog…

 

Mike Long – Mike’s Weekly Writing Tips

Let’s talk about Mike, baby! Seriously though, you need to add Mike’s newsletter to your subscription list. Do it now. I love these weekly updates – always insightful, sharp, yet eloquently put together with heart and soul. Yup, we could all need some more of Mike Long’s writing in our lives.

 

Mattias Åkerberg – Please Copy Me

I once worked with a colleague who had some (according to me) weird ideas about how to handle relations and the competition out there. Sure, I offer my writing services as well (as you probably know by now if you’ve read my blog for some time!), however, I’ve always liked to apply a “dare to be compared” perspective on my working life.

By that I mean that I think that instead of going for backstabbing or trying to just promote oneself, good things happen when you’re also able to see the greatness in your fellow industry colleagues! Gothenburg based copywriter Mattias Åkerberg is definitely one of those great industry colleagues that inspires me.  We’ve never met, but I have a deep admiration for his writing and how he’s built his own platform. Good news as well: shortly, he’ll also start his own newsletter (in English) on UX writing. Don’t miss out on any updates – visit him and sign up!

 

/Malin

 

 

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Print is dead. Long live print!

Print is dead. Media is dead. Journalism is dead. Nobody reads printed editions anymore. Right? Or is it really that bad? Perhaps not! This morning I visited a breakfast seminar which certainly awoke some hope for a brighter future for print products.

Photo: black and white product images of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

Despite the strong photograph on the cover of the magazine, it’s the typography that first caught my eyes. It’s delicious – functional with great readability, yet so attractive, soft and inviting. Simply irresistible. Oh, by the way. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, perhaps now would be a good time to add that both typography and graphic design are old and nerdy interests of mine. Thus the strong need to dive into these kind of details.

Having cleared that out, let’s get back to where we were. Swedish content agency Make your mark and their client Försvarsmakten have been nominated in The International Content Marketing Awards (CMA) for their staff magazine “Försvarets forum”. This is the third consecutive year in that the magazine has been nominated in the CMA.  

Photo: color image, close-up of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

On a breakfast seminar this morning, Editor-in-chief Fredrik Helmertz and Art Director Markus Hillborg talked about the working process behind the magazine. It’s been a long time since I last felt so eager and inspired as I did after this seminar! Few things are as interesting and amazing (if you ask me) as when you manage to combine great journalism with well thought through communication initiatives, graphic design and photography. And talking about photography: Fredrik Helmertz also touched upon the subject of newspaper photographers during this morning session. Needless to say, working conditions for professional photographers have been been rough during the past few years, with lower budgets for photo materials and so on. However, turns out that at least “Försvarets forum” is one of few magazines out there that still has its own photographers contracted.

This is probably one of the many success factors behind the magazine as it allows the creative process to take place in a more integrated, long-term and holistic way, instead of “just” buying photos and putting together something hasty.

Photo: black and white close-up from the inside of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

As a lover of both good journalism and printed media, initiatives like this makes me genuinly happy! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for “Försvarets forum” in this year’s edition of CMA.

Nerdy greetings & happy Friday!

/Malin

 

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Buying articles for your corporate blog instead of writing them yourself

Photo: black and white "genre" shot of computer and office toolsIs it really that time of the month again? You know: delivering on your organisation’s key metrics, building that thought leadership you’re always talking about – posting those blog posts you just never seem to have enough time for.

In case writing and publishing those much needed articles mostly causes internal headaches, it might be a good idea to simply outsource your content creation to a professional writer.

There are several good reasons to buy articles instead of trying to do everything by yourself:

  • No need for trying to invent the wheel every month
    By hiring a professional writer to manage your continuous blog posts, you’ll also automatically get that important external perspective on the topics you’d like to highlight and promote in your corporate feed and channels.
  • Focus on what you’re good at
    Let’s face it: even though we’re living in a constant flow of reading and receiving information and messages, it does not mean that each and everyone of us should be managing corporate information. Focus on what you’re good at and let a communications professional provide you with their expertise within writing and communication.
  • Guaranteed maintenance by continuous updates
    By finding yourself a professional, trustworthy and passionate writer, you’ll be guaranteed those weekly or monthly updates for your blog without having to worry about the quality.

Think your communications department should be able to handle this task? That’s understandable. However, here’s the thing: maybe they’d love to but just won’t be able to. Not because you haven’t hired highly skilled professionals, but due to how several organisational aspects, changes, issues or challenges a lot of times tend to involve your communication professionals and completely consume most of their time.

All of a sudden: there’s just never enough time, peace and quiet for your team to research and produce high quality content.

  • Don’t frighten your customers and stakeholders with poor writing
    Excellent communication is an essential part of any business. So you’ve got the world’s best products and services? Great! Make sure your poor writing skills aren’t scaring your customers or potential investors away then.

Good writing equals good business opportunities.

Next time – skip the headache and invest part of that communications budget on getting the texts and assistance you need.

 

Want help? Feel free to get in touch at malin@ambaurora.se

 

/Malin

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Celebrations: The Birth Of My Business

After a couple of intense months, things are finally starting to come together! Last week, I got the final approvement needed from the Swedish authorities to be able to actually call myself ”business owner” now. Such a happy, yet freaky feeling for someone like me, who’s always been employed.

A bright color image of balloons on a bridge

Celebrations and some bright balloons are in order when you start your business, am I right or am I right? 😉

This week has been intense too, as I’ve been working hard on finalizing the details and the texts for my website. You would think that things would be easier when you’re working for yourself, being able to have the final say on everything, right? Ironically, it turns out that instead it’s the other way around. Or at least for me, a never ending Virgo born critic…

It certainly seems that for every text finished it’s possible to immidiately find a new one that requires attention and corrections. On the other hand – definitely not complaining as this is really something that I love to do! As of right now I will still have to have some patience before I officially ”launch” my website and this blog to a broader audidence, as I will need to sleep on some texts and details before hitting the ”go public” button.

Stay tuned though, as I’m not only excited to get my business started but also being back as a blogger! Primarily, my blog will be written in English as I have lots of English speaking peers and stakeholders in my network with whome I want to be able to discuss. Still, I am based in Stockholm so I think that there will be a mix between English and Swedish blog posts here as I most likely also will want to comment on current events within Sweden.

Welcome to my blog, hope you’ll enjoy spending time here with me!

/Malin

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