So, what do you do?

I realised recently that people don’t know about some of the things I do, or some of the projects I’ve worked on over the last few years. When I mentioned to two different friends that I’d published a couple of e-books last year, they didn’t know that, I’d obviously forgotten to tell them! People I have been working in an office with for 3 days on my last contract always said “have a nice long weekend” when I left on a Wednesday evening, without realising I was actually doing stuff on the other 2 week days as well….

It’s been almost 5 years now since I had a permanent job, and I’m about to move into a freelancing-from-home way of working, so I thought it was an appropriate time to write about what I have been doing. I’d like to do more with my photography, as well as the writing and websites, so hopefully my freelancing will allow me the time to work on those as well as some other projects I have up my sleeve.

30 Day Challenges

I did my first 30 Day Challenge in May 2012. The idea of the 30 Day Challenge is that you choose one project for the month, and work on it a little bit every day. It’s an organised event with coaching from Selina Barker (coach) and John Williams (author of Screw Work Let’s Play) to help you when you get stuck.

My first 30 Day Challenge was to write something every day for 30 days on a blog – which turned out like this: http://nina30daychallenge.wordpress.com.

Since that 30 Day Challenge I have continued with the blog, but also done a number of other projects, some taking a month, some more than a month. Each new project involves a weekly and monthly check-in to keep an eye on progress and things I learn from doing them – and to show the other participants how each project has been going.

Writing & websites

  • I enjoyed writing my 30 Day Challenge blog so much that it lead to the creation of what is now this website – https://worldoutsidewindow.wordpress.com. It started off as a blog with a variety of descriptive and poetic blog posts as well as my own photographs. More recently I started adding factual content, for example articles about local places to visit. This is an ongoing project with additions as and when I feel like it.
  • I wrote and published two e-books on Amazon – The World Outside My Window (which is a compilation of short stories and descriptive pieces) and The Lake (a short story in short chapters – features Dalmatians and a lake!). The books are still there on Amazon for sale, and can be viewed on any Kindle, Kindle app, Kindle for PC, etc…
  • I created an online magazine aimed at people wanting to move from full-time permanent work to a new way of working, with inspiration and tips. This is a continuing project with monthly updates: http://www.emerge-and-evolve.co.uk
  • I created a “Penguins in the UK” website and an associated Facebook group to share photos, videos and penguin news. This is a continuing project, mainly with regular Facebook postings. http://www.ukpenguins.co.uk

Photography

  • I created cards and canvasses from my penguin and nature photos and set up an Etsy shop to sell them, and a Photobox Gallery for prints and photo gifts – the Etsy shop is currently resting, but I will add the link when it is available again.
  • In April and June 2013 I did a photo challenge. I took one photo each day to publish as a set at the end of the month. The April one didn’t have a specific theme. The June one was on the theme of ‘green’ and I was joined by 12 other people, most also taking photos on the same theme, with some brilliant and very different results. I will be doing this again in October. To see the results of the previous two photo challenges and to read more on what it’s all about click here.

And the rest….

As well as all these projects that have been part of the 30 Day Challenge ongoing programme, I have also done a number of other things:

  • I was a founder member of a new Rotary Club in 2012, where my role included helping to set up a marketing plan as well as writing and editing the club’s newsletter for the first year.
  • I co-founded a Tweetup in 2012 which our new Rotary Club has now organised three times.
  • I co-organised a Rotary fundraising walk in fancy dress for the charity WheelPower in August 2013, which raised over £1500 between sponsorship and Rotary donations, and gained excellent press coverage in all three local papers.
  • I was secretary to our Rotary District’s conference committee 2012-13 and helped out on the weekend itself.
  • I completed a Three Peaks mountain challenge in 2010 which raised over £8000 for the charity Sightsavers. I created and wrote a regular blog about our training and fundraising, created a Facebook and Twitter feed and wrote the press releases that secured us local and national coverage.
  • I volunteered for a charity called School Aid, which included helping to organise two fundraising events for them that raised over £1500 in total in 2010 and 2011.

  • I set up a local writers’ group in 2013 by creating a Facebook page, WordPress web page, Twitter feed and ending up with a small mention in the local paper.
  • I wrote a regular blog for a year in 2010-11 for the website associated with Buckinghamshire Life and Berkshire Life magazines. I have also written articles for websites such as More to Life Than Shoes, Berks Bucks & Oxon, Blighty Traveller, Love Snowdonia and iVolunteer.
  • I completed the NCVO Effective Voluntary Sector Management course, the LSJ Freelance & Features writing course, and attended one day courses on proofreading, social media for fundraising, charity fundraising, and digital marketing.
  • I learned and added to my knowledge about new tools, services and concepts such as Google Analytics, A Weber and Mailchimp e-mailing services, Survey Monkey, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook pages, Microsoft Publisher, affiliate marketing, the Ning social media platform, guest blogging, eJunkie automatic document selling, Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • I have also helped a number of small and start-up businesses with research, marketing planning and website proofreading.
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