Interview with … ME! By EmpowerME.nl

Good morning! What a happy day. The interview I gave a couple of weeks ago is finally online.

Tamara Heskes from empowerMe.nl interviewed my about my view on entrepreneurship and the power within us.

If you are interested to read it, here you go:

Interview for empowerme.nl

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Don´t sell yourself under value

I am getting started as a freelancer. Wohoo!!

And now that I quit my job and started photography school it´s really time for this step. As many of you who have worked freelance, have hired freelancers or had a friend who worked freelance can imagine – it can be tough. You are on your own and sometimes a bit desperate for projects. I was not exactly desperate for a project. But definitely wanted to get started – Excitement!

When a client made a suggestion for a possible project together (in my mind) I nearly jumped at him, fell on my knees, kissed his shoes and thanked him for believing in me. I stopped myself. “Hold on”, I thought.

Is hiring me really something to be greatful for? Well, sure I am happy my client trust in me and believes I am the right person for the job. But the client does not do me a favour hiring me. I am hired because I have a special skillset, attitude and personality they need to complete the job. I realized this is not a master and slave relation – it´s a terminal partnership on eye level. I have the power to decide how to go into this project. Do I want to be their thankful slave, or a partner on eye level? I decided for the latter.

And when the client asked me for a full proposal for the project I re-structured the initial idea, thought it through AND changed the budget of the project to something I felt is more adequate for the amount of work I will put into it. I hit “Send” on the email.

And then the worrying began: What will they think? How will they react? Will they think I am too greedy to ask for more money? Will they maybe even tell me we won´t be able to work together at all because I am asking for more money in the first project? Again – I stopped myself and said “wait and see”.

The client replied a couple of days later saying they appreciate my offer and the thought I have given to the project. However their budget is the budget initially discussed. They would like to keep the project the way it was suggested. Phew – see Valeska! No negative outcome. I gave it a fair shot, made my suggestion and still got the job. I will do the project the way they suggested (and put less time in).

Don´t sell yourself short people. As my dad always used to say: If you sell buttons all you will ever earn is buttons.

Subway kindness

Subways are a great place to experience stuff.

On a hot, humid summer day you may meet prespiring strangers who unknowingly rub their moist backs against your arm. Whereas on weekend nights, especially the first weekend of the month, when everybody just received their paychecks, trains are THE place to extend your circles. Drunk strangers are willing specimen to practice small talk, hugs, or improve your skills on how to serve as a human sleeping pillow. (apply as needed)

But most of all, I think subways are a good place to get enlightened and practice mindfulness.

Why?

Staying calm can be challenging at times. After all, taking the subway is much more a necessity than a choice for most of us. Cultures, generations and different mindsets collide in a tiny little space. This can lead to loaded feelings and a general “I hate everybody” attitude.  But they are a great place for people watching.

And if we look closely we can see random acts of kindness everywhere on our subway rides.

Kindness unfolds in all different ways. The young girl offering a seat to an older man with a walking stick. The guy who blocks the door for the lady who runs to catch the train. The teenager giving his last coins to a homeless man. The musicians performing with a smile. Yes, even the drunk person giving me a hug or using me as a human pillow.

You never know what the person next to you is going through right now. Next time you think “what the ** is this ** thinking?” just take a deep breath and remember:
A smile or an understanding nod is maybe all they need.
After all, we are all sitting in the same boat, ehm train.

Life is short, do what you love.

The reaction to a german newspaper article showed me that it´s time to talk about more than make-up on youtube. People are interested in receiving more information about how to listen to your intuition and how to create the life you want to live.

Organization is everything

Friday morning 7 a.m.

I am tired. Nevertheless, strict organization and discipline proved to be absolutely crucial to staying on track with my vision.

The reactions that reached me in the past couple of days showed me you guys have a LOT of questions of how I am spending my time and how I structure my work. The comments were not solely positive. However, all comments have the same root – curiosity. And that´s never a bad thing. That´s why I´d like to answer your questions and give you insights into my work/ life schedule wherever possible.

In terms of productivity, motivation and business know how I LOVE Marie Forleo! She is a famous business woman and talented youtuber who gives advice to people who want to build a life and business they love. Well, she´s certainly helped me and is my reliable good-night storyteller.

She also inspired me to follow a strict daily schedule. Changing habits takes time, but setting a goal for yourself is a good start. I am getting better and better at applying this routine.

7:00 to 8:00 Wake up and work out.

8:00 to 9:00 Shower, eat breakfast and get dressed

9:00 to 12:30 Work it! (no email! I suck at the no email part)

12:30 to 13:30 LUNCH LUNCH LUNCH

13:30 to 16:30 Work it, girl (or boy)

16:30 to 17:00 Break. Breath.

17:00 to 18:00 Work sprint. Now it´s also time to answer emails.

18:00 to 18:30 Finish up work and close shop

This schedule has been working great for me. Especially taking so much time for myself in the morning allows me to start my day with a completely different energy. I feel relaxed, balanced and full of energy in the mornings. This routine can also work great for you if you have a full time job. You might need to adjust the times a bit, but the structure generally stays the same. I will practice this routine some more and if you want I can give you a more detailled description of the tasks I work on in each segment.

Happy productivity!

Be yourself. Forget about the box.

Wednesday morning. My inbox is full. It´s filled with messages from strangers that resonated with what I had to say.

On saturday when the journalist called to ask for an interview on escapethecity.org my life was different. Well, not exactly. But my inbox wasn´t full at that time.

I had not completely grasped how connected our world is and how simple it can be to get in touch with people. There is a theory called the “small-world-phenomenon” describing that every person in this world is connected to any random person through less than 6 personal connections. Wow. And the internet makes getting in touch with people even simpler.

So here I am. My current lifestyle allows me to stay at home with my cold and to wear my pyjamas until noon while booking appointments for interviews and shootings as well as coming up with new photography projects. I love my life.

But life has not always been like that. Actually it has not been like that until just a couple of weeks ago when I finally decided to take action. I stopped fighting my inner gifts and talents. And I gave up on fitting into the box I had put myself into. I have come to the realization that it is not an external force that puts us into a box. Only when we give away our power – that´s when we feel stuck. Every one of us has his/ her own set of unique talents and gifts. We are here to do what we came here to do. There is no recipie.

So, I hope you love what you are doing. Because that´s the only thing we are here to do.

 

This is why I said no to that 70k job offer

A couple of days ago I received a job offer. A headhunter from the UK thought I would be a good fit for a position paying 70k plus benefits and a brand new car. The vacancy was a perfectly logical consequence to my previous work experience.

It would connect the experience I had in the corporate world with the responsibility and flexibility I had in my latest job. But there was one thing the headhunter did not know.

I am not my CV.

My CV is based on acquired certificates and based on so called “facts” about my life. It does not reflect my hopes, dreams nor talents.

It does not show that every time I went to the library to write my Bachelor Thesis about “Change Management in IT Consulting”, I would allow myself to borrow one book for myself and that the books I chose were without exeption art history books and autobiographies of my favorite painters.

It also does not show that I chose a minimalist-oriented lifestyle that allows me to save as much money as possible just to spend it on my passions camera equipment and travels.

And finally, it does not show that feeling in my chest every time I see corporate people in suits. Or that I have fallen into depression several times during my “career” because I did not find any satisfaction, meaning, or joy in my work.

I am not blaming the headhunter. He was just doing his job. And after a bit back and forth he still wanted me for the job and I wrote him this message:

Dear XXX,

I appreciate your persistence. However, I am not the right girl for the position this time. When my heart is just not in it there is no need to put me on the shortlist of candidates.

It´s a privilege to have the freedom to say no to such a position.
All the best to your client and your search.
I hope you love what you do.
 
Have a great weekend!
Valeska