Archive by Oliver Wheaton

How to Stay Productive in a Shared Workspace

09Aug

There’s something special about shared workspaces. Researchers who study how workers thrive have found that those who work at a shared workspace score an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. That’s at least a point higher than employees who work in regular offices.

There’s no denying that a shared workspace can be an inspiring, creative and vibrant place to work, but being surrounded by other freelancers typing, talking and generally going about their business can be incredibly distracting. So, how can you make sure you stay productive in your shared workspace? Here are our top tips…

1. Get up early

You might have hoped life as a freelancer would bring an end to early starts, but if you really want to be productive, it’s advisable to get up and head to your shared workspace while everyone else is still resting their heads.

Shared workspaces tend to open early to accommodate all working types, while some can even be accessed 24/7. In the early morning, you’re likely to find the space is lovely and quiet and you might even have it all to yourself. Come the early afternoon when the workspace is busy, you can head home for a well-earned nap.

2. Avoid impromptu conversations when you’re busy

One of the biggest advantages of a shared workspace is having the opportunity to meet other freelancers. Losing the social aspect that comes with employment can be tough, but a shared workspace is a great way to fill that void. That said, stopping for impromptu chats every ten minutes is not going to help you get things done.

Creating recognised breaks and sticking to them, such as stopping for a coffee and a bite to eat, will help you show people when you’re ready for a chat. It’s not about ignoring people; it’s about creating the time to engage with them properly.

3. Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones

If your shared workspace is a bit raucous towards the end of the day, invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to keep you in the zone. Even if you can’t work while listening to music, the headphones will still cancel out much of the ambient sound. It’s also the polite equivalent of hanging a ‘do not disturb’ sign around your neck, showing others that you’re well and truly in work mode.

4. Pay more for your own desk

If never knowing where you’re going to be working hinders your productivity, paying a bit more for a dedicated desk could be a sound investment. You can set your desk up however you like and choose to have it in an area that’s conducive to hard work.

When choosing your desk, make sure there isn’t anything chaotic and messy within your line of sight to help you maintain your focus. Face away from cluttered tables, rubbish bins and busy hallways. Instead, try to find a desk that faces simple, clean lines, such as a garden window or a wall, and ideally gets plenty of natural light.

5. Use your time wisely

The most productive workers are not those who work the longest hours, but those who work for a shorter period and take regular breaks. Studies have shown that to produce the highest quality work, freelancers should work intensely for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break. During those 52-minutes of work, ignore all emails, stay off social media, mute notifications and focus on getting your best work done.

 

How to find a good shared workspace

Now we’ve shared a few tips to keep you productive, it’s worth thinking about how you can find a good shared workspace in the first instance. With 85 percent of people more motivated and 88 percent having better interaction with other people during the working day, the reasons for choosing a shared workspace are clear, but how do you find one that’ll bring the best out of you and your small business?

  • Test drive the space: Most shared workspaces will offer a free trial for a day or up to a week so you can ‘try before you buy’. If they don’t offer you a trial, ask for one.
  • Check it has everything you need: Every co-working space will have essential office tech such as printers and high-speed Wi-Fi, but make sure it also has conference rooms for client meetings, private spaces to make phone calls and quiet areas where you can work without being disturbed.
  • Get a feel for the culture: Every space will have its own culture, which will make some workspaces a better fit for you and your business than others. Make sure you feel completely comfortable in the space before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Lease terms: You want a flexible lease deal that suits you. If one shared workspace can’t offer you a deal on your terms, there’ll be plenty of others that can.
  • Productive and varied workstations: Don’t just settle for a flat table space. Look for a shared workspace that has a variety of workstations that will support how you like to work.
  • A sense of community: Some co-working facilities specialise in supporting workers from a particular industry or build a sense of community by making introductions, hosting networking events and even holding a happy hour.

Take your freelance career to the next level

Finding a shared workspace that fosters your productivity is a great start to your freelance career. The next step is to enhance your digital marketing skills to boost your traffic and bring in new leads. Our SEO, PPC, social media and CRO courses in London will propel your business to new heights. Get in touch today to book your place on our next course.

Discovering the world of digital marketing: My work experience at Passion Digital

23Jul

Hi, my name is Neha and I’ve spent these past two weeks doing my work experience at Passion Digital. I learnt a lot about digital marketing and what it has to offer, as well as enjoying my time in the office and working with the Passion staff. Here’s a quick summary of what I got up to during my work experience.

 

What I Learnt

The first three days consisted of quite a bit of research into Passion Digital: What they do, what their website includes, analysis of their competitors etc. To make my experience more interactive and fun, I worked with different teams over the course of the two weeks (Social Media, PPC, Web, and SEO) to gain more of an understanding of the agency and its different digital marketing services. It was quite interesting to learn how differently all the teams operate and the work they do. This helped a great deal with my research, communication and adaptability skills. I also noticed myself become more confident as the days went by, which is something I personally struggle with, so it was good to be able to step out of my comfort zone a little. I liked the fact that I transitioned after every few days to another team, it just meant more knowledge for me!

What I Created

Whilst I was working with the social media team, I was given a task to write about anything I found interesting which, of course, was linked to social media. I gave it some thought and decided to write about the effect social media has on youth. I chose this topic since I come under the age category most people consider as ‘youth’, and with this in mind I thought it may have more of a personal touch if I could relate to my research. Whilst researching about the effects, I come across one article that I could relate to very closely during my research. I read a sub-heading that said “sleep deprivation” which instantly caught my eye because as a teenager that keeps my phone next to me at night, there’s no doubt that I’m not getting as much sleep as I should. After finding multiple interesting articles like this it became clear that the research I carried out was not only fun, but also showed how social media has its ways of educating us without us even knowing.

Who I Learnt From

This is where it gets interesting. Katarina (Passion Digital’s marketing and PR manager who I was mainly working with) told me that I’ll be interviewing people in the company so I would have to prepare work-related questions and choose five staff members to interview. I thought about who I’d want to choose and decided that it would be fun to pick one person from each team to get a variety of different perspectives. Not only was I expected to interview them, but also to record the interviews so the videos could go up on Passion Digital’s Instagram page. I like to think I chose questions that got everyone thinking about their job in more depth. The questions ranged from ‘how did you become interested in your field?’ to ‘how do you deal with people you don’t particularly like when working together/as a team?’ The answers gave me a fascinating insight into both Passion digital and the working world in general. It was an opportunity for the staff here to talk about their job and for me to learn more about the agency through talking to people individually. I have to say, this possibly the highlight of my whole experience here.

What’s Next For Me?

By doing work experience at Passion Digital, I can say with assurance that I’ll be taking a lot of knowledge and new skills with me to the next stage of my life. I’ve become more interested in and would love to learn more about digital marketing or a field that’s fairly similar to it. One of the main reasons I liked working here so much was because of how friendly and welcoming everyone was. They made it easy to fit in and helped me through any nervous or awkward feelings I might have had at the start. If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. It was a wonderful two weeks doing work experience at Passion Digital and I have high hopes both for myself and the future of the agency!

DIGITAL KITCHEN: 4 Things you Need to do Before Becoming a Digital Freelancer

10Jul

Have you ever thought about what your life could be like if you became a digital freelancer?

Actually, scratch that. Do you travel to work every day with a sense of dread when you think about what your day is going to entail?

Although so-called ‘digital nomads’ might have you believe otherwise, digital freelancing is not all about cocktails on the beach at lunchtime while occasionally checking your emails. But becoming a digital freelancer can be a huge breath of fresh air for those who feel like the world of employment is slowly squeezing them to death.

Becoming a digital freelancer allows you to live where you want, create your own schedule, be your own boss, choose the projects you want to work on and spend zero, that’s absolutely none of your time, commuting!

But before you make the leap to becoming a freelancer, there are a few important things you must do to give you the very best chance of success in your new role.

How to become a freelancer

  1. Think seriously about how you’ll find work

Becoming a freelancer and leaving the safety and security of employment requires you to take a leap of faith. No matter how well prepared you are, there is a chance it won’t work out, so it’s essential you take every step you can to minimise the risks. One thing you absolutely must do is think seriously about where your work is going to come from. Are you going to look for contract work that’ll keep you busy for several months at a time, or will you build up a portfolio of clients that you’ll do work for on a day-to-day basis?

Whatever sort of work you plan to do, there are a number of platforms you can use to find those all-important first few clients:

Whichever site you choose to use, take the time to create a profile that includes a detailed description of your work, a clear profile picture and link your profile to your website or portfolio if you have one. It’s well worth creating a profile on a few platforms before you leave employment as they do take to build.

  1. Invest in freelance training

Filling skills gaps you may have by completing freelance training courses can be invaluable in helping you prepare for the world of self-employment. As a freelancer, you are responsible for all the tasks involved in running a small business. That includes everything from maintaining accounts and completing your own tax returns to marketing your business and building your online presence. If there’s one aspect of life as a freelancer you feel you’re not prepared for, it’s well worth investing in some freelance training now, as you may not have the money or time to do so once your new career has begun.

Being able to market yourself to clients is an incredibly important skill. If you’re not familiar with digital marketing or would like to improve your skills, digital marketing training could be one of the best investments you make. Equally, if you’re going to work as a freelance digital marketer, completing relevant high-level courses and having the relevant certificates to show for it will give clients confidence in your work.

  1. Calculate the income you’ll need to generate and price your services accordingly

Unless you have a pre-established client base that you’ll receive work from immediately, it’s likely your income will initially fall. That’s completely normal and absolutely nothing to worry about. However, it is important you account for this likely drop in earnings and think about how much you’ll need to charge for your services to cover your essential outgoings over the short-term. That includes costs like rent, food, utility bills, travel, etc.

This freelance calculator is a good, albeit quite simplistic, place to start. It will give you an idea of the hourly rate you must charge to earn the desired level of income. Over the longer term, you might find your prices are too high or too low for the type of clients you’re trying to target. In that case, changing your pricing strategy or the clients you pitch your services to will ensure you’re selling the services your clients need at a price they are willing to pay.

  1. Build a simple brochure website

In this day and age, having an online presence can be a huge benefit when you’re starting out as a freelancer. Rather than having to compete on price for jobs available on some of the freelancing platforms listed above, having your own website will bring clients to you and allow you to dictate the terms.

The good news is that with so many simple website builders out there, it’s actually much easier to create your own website than you might think. Alternatively, you could contact a freelance website designer and pay for a simple site. To effectively sell your services, you need a site that:

  • Communicates the services you offer and explains why you’re the best person for the job
  • Provides examples of your work
  • Gives prospective clients a number of different ways to contact you
  • Includes testimonials from previous clients you’ve worked with
  • Is updated regularly to show your evolution and maintain your position in the search results

Digital training to help you take your first steps as a freelance professional

Not sure how to become a freelancer? Worried about your lack of digital marketing skills? At Digital Kitchen, we offer a range of beginner and advanced digital marketing courses to help you take your first steps as a freelancer with confidence. Take a look at our SEO, PPC, Social Media and CRO courses and get in touch today.

DIGITAL KITCHEN: Why You Should Always Include Training Courses on Your CV

26Jun

When it comes to preparing your CV, you have the challenge of fitting as much relevant information as you can onto just two sides of A4. While it might seem logical to focus on your employment history and education, that can come at the expense of other equally relevant information.

The truth is, there are other sections you should include to give prospective employers a more accurate picture of what you can offer the company. One of those is the details of training courses, such as digital training courses and other courses you’ve been on that are relevant to the position, along with a brief outline of the skills you’ve gained.

Give training courses their own section on your CV

Some job seekers and career changers include courses and training they’ve been on as part of the employment history section of their CV. However, this information, which is often vital to your application, can often be lost among all the other details. Recruitment experts recommend that you give training courses their own section on your CV to highlight relevant skills and knowledge you have that may otherwise be overlooked. It’s also evidence of your commitment to on-going learning and professional development, two traits that prospective employers value.

The benefits of including training courses on your CV

Including the details of training courses on your CV is a definite do, but only if they’re relevant. Even if the course was not necessarily delivered by a recognised name, it still shows your interest in the subject and your willingness to learn more. These are the benefits of including training courses on your CV:

  1. Showcase your digital skills

At present, the UK is facing a major talent shortage. New digital innovations are being developed at lightning speed that can drive faster growth and efficiency in businesses, but there’s an absence of employees with the skills to use them. According to Accenture, the digital skills gap could cost the UK £141 billion in GDP growth, with every sector being affected.

Clearly, if you have been on a digital training course or have received on-the-job digital training in a previous role, that’s an in-demand skill you want to shout about. Even in technologically advanced sectors, the ever-changing digital landscape is challenging to keep up with. For that reason, it’s well worth dedicating space on your CV to detailing the digital training courses you’ve been on and the skills you’ve gained.

  1. Highlight your commitment to professional development

Professional development is an ongoing process that continues throughout your career. In such a rapidly evolving landscape, the needs of businesses are constantly shifting. While an employer will look for candidates that possess certain skills now, they’ll be aware that their needs in the future will change. By documenting your professional development to date, including skills you have learned on internal and external training courses, you’ll highlight your ability and willingness to evolve with the organisation and continue to meet its changing needs.

  1. Show that you’re a self-starter

Experience always trumps training course certificates. However, if you haven’t had experience in a particular field, getting some relevant training and qualifications under your belt shows that you’re ready and willing to invest in your future and are committed to finding your way in your chosen field.

Self-starters are those who are aware of the need to self-educate and will take steps to acquire the relevant skills without having to be pushed in the right direction. Recruiters and hiring managers are always on the lookout for self-starters as they also exhibit a range of beneficial workplace behaviours such as conscientiousness, resilience and the ability to stay motivated and disciplined to overcome the obstacles that are in their way.

  1. …But prepare to be quizzed

If you do decide to include the details of digital training courses you’ve attended or other professional qualifications you’ve gained on your CV, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about the training during the interview. For example, if you’ve attended an advanced technical SEO course, make sure you can field questions relating to the specific expertise you gained. Making a list of a few questions you could be asked and thinking about your answers will help to make sure you’re prepared.

Want to boost your digital skillset?

At Digital Kitchen, we offer a range of digital training courses that will equip you with the sort of skills modern employers crave. Take a look at our digital marketing training courses and get in touch to find out more.

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