My not-so-typical workdays

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I see this question on my friends’ expressive faces whenever the topic of work arises. What does a day in my life look like? Well. It depends on which day because every single day is different.

Saturday, I spent most of the day planning work, creating content for social media (client work) and following online courses to stay updated and to further broaden my knowledge. Yesterday was slightly toned down. I started out with a hearty breakfast in Sliema, which was cut short thanks to Nina’s incessant barking (currently undergoing training). The morning transitioned into quite a ‘lazy’ afternoon of conversations, coffees, baking, creating lists (always) and writing.

A lot of people don’t really get what it is that I do. I saw the confused look on my aunt’s face a couple weeks ago; she was still trying to wrap her head around the idea of not having a salaried job. Just this month, it also happened with my friends. I have explained to them time and again what my work involves. One of them simply stared blankly at me and said, “You’re our Chandler.” If you haven’t watched FRIENDS, that comment is lost on you, as it was on me. Apparently, it means something along the lines of, “What you do remains a mystery.”

Let’s unravel this ‘mystery’ once and for all:

1. Content and creative writing

This is my absolute favourite. I love creating content from scratch; be it scripts for radio ads, TVCs, newsletters, newspaper articles, blog posts, website content or copy for social media. Storytelling has seen me through my toughest years and keeps the imaginative little child within, alive.

2. Social Media Management

Through my love for words, media, and communications, I found my passion for social media marketing. To date, I have helped businesses and individuals create and maintain their online presence on multiple social media platforms.

There is a misconception that I would like to address.  Some people think that taking care of, say, a business Facebook page is something that anyone can do. All you have to do is publish or share a post, right? Well, not quite. There’s so much more to take into consideration than just that. And this is exactly why the work of professional social media managers goes unappreciated.

Let’s put you in the picture for a second. These are some of the things I work on:

  • Planning & creating eye-catching graphics
  • Creating the right copy in the correct tone of voice for the right audience
  • Planning and creating targeted adverts and campaigns
  • Close & constant monitoring of accounts, comments & incoming messages
  • Creating monthly & quarterly reports

The list goes on. I’m writing a separate blog post on must-have skills for social media management to help anyone interested in learning get started.

3. Consultation

Through my coaching experience on digital marketing in collaboration with the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), I realised that helping small businesses and self-employed individuals who are willing to learn and expand their knowledge, is something I love doing. I have helped individuals understand the works of email marketing, mobile marketing and social media, in particular. Seeing them succeed gives me the boost I need to keep going.

It’s exciting to work on multiple projects and meet different people every week. It keeps me on my toes. One thing I’m sure of about my work is that it never gets boring. Hectic, yes. Crazy, maybe. But never boring.

Amanda x

Finding Inspiration: Interview with Caroline Ciantar-Barbara

It is safe to say that one of the hottest topics hogging the headlines is property. We have been debating the inflated prices, questioning the existence of a property bubble and shaking our heads in resignation at every block of apartments we see in construction.

But, in this article, published today on the @Times of Malta, I deliberately chose not to go there. Instead, I reached out to the talented interior designer, Caroline Ciantar-Barbara, to learn more about what comes after investing in a new home.

Get today’s e-paper to read the interview: Click here

[Property & Construction Supplement]

Check out Caroline’s work:  🌐 https://www.ccb.com.mt/

Go follow!

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#wallart #creativewednesdays

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You know how you tend to take care of everyone else’s needs and always postpone your own? Yes, well, this week, I made it a point to do at least this one thing.

A couple of months ago we got this Scratch Map® from Luckies of London which I went crazy about (and then felt bad after scratching off so little.) We came up with this idea of hanging the map on the bedroom wall with our travel pictures surrounding it. And for once, we decided to be in the pictures because usually we just print the beautiful scenery, maps, quotes – and that’s practically it.

Photo displays are super easy and fun to do if you don’t have a gazillion photos to choose from.  The only thing I dreaded in fact, was the idea of having to sit down and go through all our travel pictures and choose only one from each travel adventure (Stefan, my husband, never seems to let go of his camera whenever we’re abroad).

travelphotodisplay #byamandaliaI usually start by sketching the layout first after taking the wall measurements. And in the meantime, select my favourite pictures so I can design according to their orientation (portrait/landscape).

Ideally, the centre of the display should be at eye level. But to be honest, there are no rules! That’s the beauty of it! You can go frame-less, vary the frame sizes and material, have them in the same colour, different colours, display the pictures on shelves instead of walls…You’re telling a story with your photos, so there is ample room for creativity!

I love creating and designing photo wall arts. For the most part, I do it for others.  But, after I got the one on the stairwell done (proof below), I was constantly being reminded (or rather, nagged) that we had to do this other travel photo display. Now all I need to do is frame and hang them (hopefully this month!)

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Amanda x

#freelancebenefits

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I was meant to post this a couple of days ago BUT I needed to rearrange my schedule to accommodate my new clients *happy dance*. And yesterday was such a beautiful day, I simply couldn’t help myself. I decided to spend the afternoon sipping an ice cold spritz in the sun. Bliss!

Last week, I briefly skimmed through some of the pros and cons of working freelance vis-a-vis having a full time salary job. After giving it some thought, I decided to follow up  on my previous post, and this time, I will go into the possible benefits of hiring a freelancer.

Perhaps the notion of freelance in Malta is still relatively ‘new’.  At least from my experience, it seems that not everyone has fully grasped the concept yet. And to be fair, not every job can be outsourced so I get why the majority of vacancies I came across last week were mostly for full timers only. And, I also understand that businesses might prefer building their own team rather than working with ‘outsiders’. I get that. But, I am biased in this regard and happen to think that an ‘outsider’ can in fact turn out to be someone trustworthy with whom you can partner up eventually. So without further ado, here are some of the benefits that come to mind:

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For starters, by affordability, I do not mean that freelancers are cheap. By all means, they should always know their worth. But given that a freelancer is her/his own boss, there are things like, for example, equipment, work space, social security, leave, sick days etc. that an employer need not worry about. As long as both parties agree on the service, budget and time frame, they’re both set!

It may also come in handy having someone to outsource your work to on a need-basis. The flow of work is not always the same; you can have a quiet summer and a super busy winter. So, I think that having someone to turn to in times of need is always a plus! And when having worked with multiple businesses over the years, freelancers are exposed to a diversity of ideas and learn work on their own initiative.  So given the fact that they are used to working solo, there is no need for constant monitoring,  training or anything of the sort.

I also think that one of the main advantages is flexibility. Freelancers do not (normally) have any set working/office hours. For instance, I do not stop working simply because it’s Sunday, a public holiday or after hours. There are no after hours! I usually go about working during the weekend like any other day. A time schedule (and actually sticking to it) is all there is to it! With the exception of yesterday, that is! But as long as the job gets done, there’s no harm in having a couple of hours to yourself and regroup, no?

Amanda x

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#howtobecreative

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There is a perfectly good reason for delaying this blog post by 2 days.  In reality, there are 30 reasons!

Yesterday was my husband/best friend/partner in crime’s birthday – the big 3 – 0 and I wanted to do something he wouldn’t easily forget. When it comes to gifting, I tend to take it super seriously. And I always want to make it personal rather than just buying something off the shelf. For me, purchasing one gift is a safe bet but rather ordinary. Coming up with 30 gifts is crazy. So I decided to roll with the latter.

My organised self couldn’t resist not creating a list. So, I started jotting down his favourite things, foods, places, personas, films, books and even things I heard him yammering about needing for weeks on end. Once I had that covered, it was all about putting the plan into action. Design, print, purchase, wrap and HIDE! That’s the most difficult part, I guess, when you live together with your partner. And hiding 30 gifts is no joke. I had to mark one of the rooms off-limits for a couple of weeks!

Once the plot was revealed, I posted the image below and a lot of people were curious as to what I got him – 30 gifts, after all, is kind of a lot. To be honest, it was never about the actual amount! You have to understand that purchasing 30 gifts was a little well over my budget.

 

I asked myself, how can I be more creative? For instance, at the time, I did not afford to buy a ticket for a football match abroad. So, I took a step back and thought about it. Football was never my thing and I’m a real pain whenever there’s a match on; I’m fully aware of that. So, I tried looking at the football-related gift from another perspective. I can’t buy him a ticket but I can not complain during a match, right? It may sound silly and it did actually make him laugh! So I got to creating funny and cheesy “gift vouchers”. I also found our very first photo together taken in 2007 and had it printed and even spent hours logging 10 years of footage to create a 1 minute short trailer commemorating our years together!

So, it’s not about the amount of gifts but the fact that you cared enough for that significant someone to create something fun, memorable, personalised and meaningful.

The final gift; gift number 30, was a surprise party. I knew that he never had one thrown and that he secretly craved it (no one is old enough to want a surprise party it seems). And so I invited close family and friends for a personal get together. Given that I love baking (runs in the family), my lovely mum and I, spent the whole afternoon preparing finger food and mini desserts. This was yesterday and I’m happy to say that it turned out pretty great!

My point in sharing this with you: do not think that you are not creative. You are when putting your mind to it. And if you need a little nudge, just google your initial idea or go on Pinterest for help and you will be blown away with tried and tested ideas! S/he will definitely love every one of your gifts because ultimately, you put your heart in creating something memorable!

I’m sharing one of the coupons I designed with you. You can download and print for yourselves if you wish! Now get your creative juices going and enjoy every second of it!

Amanda x