Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Co-Working in the Country

For some time now, the trend has been for more and more entrepreneurs and self-employed people to stay in the countryside (instead of fleeing to the city) or to move from the city to the countryside - thanks to the ever-improving technical infrastructures and offers.

They are looking for places to work where they can still breathe a sigh of relief, where the clock is ticking a little slower and the surround sound leaves time for their own lifestyle.

The long-term goal of the action is to inspire founders and self-employed people to also develop co-working spaces in the countryside - in the old barn, the village jug, where it fits. The participants are to be encouraged by the project and made fit through coaching.

In addition to information and tools that can be found online, the qualification program 'How to Cowork' is also offered as support for those who have made up their minds. What the organizers hope to get out of it: To bring the digitalization and the founding spirit to the country.

Think Farm Eberswalde
A self-organized co-working and learning space: Think-farm with its whitewashed walls, the warmth of wood everywhere and masses of lush greenery is the perfect place for an eco-social shift. This is where the exciting minds of individuals gather in a cluster of friendly working areas.

There are about 15 work desks in total where professional people from NGOs, remote workers, freelancers, and scholars can work collectively amidst a network of socially and environmentally engaged initiatives or sustainable businesses.

  • High-Speed WiFiHeating
  • Standing Desks
  • Ergonomic Chairs
  • PrinterScannerPhotocopier
  • Lounge / Chill-out Area
  • Facilities
  • Kitchen Personal Lockers
  • Library
  • Accessibility
  • 24hr member access
  • Free Coffee

In the middle of Brandenburg, a Berliner has founded a place for young creative people to work.  They are looking for a simple life in the countryside, between vegetable fields and digital work.

They will not only work in Wittenberge but also live there.  The city has renovated and furnished former workers' flats for them, vacancies are now turned into living space.

The apartments are only a few minutes away from Co-working Space - the new residents pay 150 euros for a room in a shared flat, and only 300 euros for a complete apartment.  They don't have to pay anything for their workplace, the city takes over the lease for the owners of the oil mill.

Projects like this are currently attracting people all over Germany: They all work in creative professions, few of them have a permanent position - among them are a houseboat consultant, a journalist and a filmmaker.  The first floor of the Wittenberg oil mill now belongs to them.  Outside, the Elbe River flows, narrow and gentle at this point, and a nature reserve borders directly on the opposite bank of the river.

The small town of Wittenberge lies halfway between Hamburg and Berlin. The ICE stops here, and if you catch the right connection, you are in the capital in less than an hour.  For sure a great place to live and work - having the advantages of both worlds.

Read more:



Friday, August 9, 2019

Audio Books for Success

Are you wondering if you should turn your print and ebooks into audio?  
Or did you narrate (or let it do) your books already? Are you thinking about a career as a voiceover artist/narrator?  No matter in which state your books are, this latest guide book provides you with the necessary info and helpful links on your path to success.

Discover every aspect of audiobooks with this comprehensive guide for audiobook publishers, narrators, voiceover artists, and audiobook listeners. Get step-by-step instructions on how to plan, narrate, record, edit, master, proof, and sell your audiobook, plus countless tips on finding the best audiobooks and apps and writing an audiobook review.

ISBN eBook:  978-1-988664-36-1
ISBN Print:     978-1-988664-37-8

Learn the following and more:
  • Why investing in an audiobook is worthwhile
  • How to choose an audiobook studio or production company in the USA, the UK, and Canada, and most important: to find the right narrator for your title
  • How to set up your own DIY recording spot and which equipment to use for quality recording
  • Where to take narration training and learn voiceover techniques or build a career out of your voice
  • How to make words on a page come alive for the audience and create a visual image for the listener
  • How to find reviewers (including direct links) and how to market and distribute your audiobook
  • Where to find info about audiobook sellers and apps, and even where to find free audiobooks on the internet
  • All about audiobook industry associations and their awards


More books and ebooks by the author:

111 Tips to Create Impressive Videos: How to Plan, Create, Upload and Market Videos
111 Tips To Make Money with Writing: The Art of Making a Living Full-Time Writing—An Essential Guide for More Income as a Freelancer
111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free: Detailed Plans and Smart Strategies for Your Book’s Success
111 Tips to Get Free Book Reviews: Best Strategies for Getting Lots of Great Reviews Plus 1,200+ Reviewer Contact Links
111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer: How to Create, Where to Upload, and How to Market Your Videos
Book Marketing on a Shoestring: How Authors Can Promote Their Books without Spending a Lot of Money

Friday, August 2, 2019

The German Live and Work Productivity

German virtues such as cleanliness, punctuality, and order sometimes have compulsive traits.  Where does it come from?

Prussia's influence in Europe's past was based on Protestant virtues, formerly compulsory education and high status of all military, which previously existed only to this extent in France. When Preussen dominated the newly formed small German Empire from the age of high industrialization, these peculiarities came to full effect.

This development was by no means inevitable, but led first to the exaggeration of the presumed ordeal and then, especially after 1968, to emphasize, not always successful, sometimes slightly neurotic distancing: exaggerated thoroughness, pedantry and, above all, a focus on social order must be historically biased in Germany.

Being productive is not a wish, but a German urge that does not just reign in factories and offices.  Meeting deadlines, being on time and constantly improving work is part of the education, study, profession and overall social life.  Every street, every place can be embellished!  The buses and trains can go even faster!  Everyone strives to organize their lives more effectively.  Rules can be taken quite seriously in Germany.  But that does not mean that every rule is always followed blindly.

Being punctual means more: Punctuality is a sign of good manners, and those who are on time show that they value their counterparts.  Whoever comes too late, signals the other: You are not important enough to me.

Germans and Swiss were dependent on pure value creation by human capabilities, or sufficient frugality to achieve sustainable growth.  One can speak to some extent of survival value. It becomes problematic only through lack of distance and ignorance of one's own culture, namely, by absolutizing orderliness rather than as a strategic resource. Germans and Swiss sometimes rightly say that they have a penchant for spontaneity.  The dark side of neatness is the tendency towards social conformism - as in Japan, for example.

One reason could be that many of the people constantly think and live for two hours, two days, two weeks, two months or two years in advance.  From this, a dead straight forward planning seems to emerge.  Corresponding success and order will not surprise you either.

Business Life
It is said that "Englishmen and North Americans are too friendly, to be honest, that Germans are too honest to be friendly". 

The Germans have a problem: they are too honest and too bluntly speaking their minds. Other nationalities might be offended by it.  Germans admit when they have doubts or when something is not ready yet.  North Americans say: We have the best product in the world - even if it's not finished yet. They sell better...

Here is an article excerpt which shows the difference in work culture:
How can a country that works an average of 35 hours per week with an average of 24 paid vacation days maintain such a high level of productivity?

Working Hours Mean Working Hours
In German business culture, when an employee is at work, they should not be doing anything other than their work.  Social media, office gossip with co-workers, trolling Pinterest for hours, writing private emails, and pulling up a fake spreadsheet when your boss walks by are socially unacceptable behaviors.

Obviously, in the US, Canada, or Great Britain these behaviors are frowned upon by management.  But in Germany, there is zero-tolerance among peers for such frivolous activities.
A young German woman explained her culture shock while on a working exchange to the UK. “I was in England for an exchange … I was in the office and the people are talking all the time about their private things … ‘What’s the plan for tonight?’ and all the time drinking tea or coffee … She was quite surprised by the casual nature of British workers. 

Goal-Oriented, Direct Communication Is Valued
German business culture is one of intense focus and direct communication.  While Americans tend to value small talk and maintaining an upbeat atmosphere, Germans rarely beat around the bush.  German workers will directly speak to a manager about performance reviews, launch into a business meeting without any ‘icebreakers,’ and use commanding language without softening the directives with polite phrases.  Whereas an American would say, “It would be great if you could get this to me by 3 p.m.,” a German would say, “I need this by 3 p.m.”
When a German is at work, they are focused and diligent, which in turn leads to higher productivity in a shorter period of time.

Germans Have a Life Outside Work
Germans work hard and play hard.  Since the working day is focused on delivering efficient productivity, the off hours are truly "off hours".  Because of the focused atmosphere and formal environment of German businesses, employees don’t necessarily hang out together after work.  Germans generally value a separation between private life and working life.

To occupy their plentiful Freizeit, many Germans are involved in Verein (clubs); regularly meeting others with shared interests in their community.  Even the smallest village in Germany will have several active Vereine to accommodate residents’ interests. Rather than settling in for a night of TV after work, most Germans socialize with others in their community and cultivate themselves as people.

Germans also enjoy a high number of paid vacation days, with many salaried employees receiving 25-30 paid days (the law requires 20). Extended holidays mean families can enjoy up to a month together, renting an apartment by the seaside or taking a long trip to a new, exciting city.

Business Respects Parenthood
Germany’s system of Elternzeit (“parent time” or parental leave) is the stuff of fantasy for most working Americans.  The United States does not currently have laws requiring maternity leave, while Germany has some of the most extensive parental protection policies in the developed world.
The downside of these maternity leave benefits is that employers may avoid hiring women (with the fear that they will take advantage of the extensive benefits), and German boardrooms are consistently male-dominated at a higher rate than other developed nations, although the government is working to eradicate this trend.

The financial benefits of staying home (from both Elternzeit and Elterngeld or parents’ money programs) are often too good to pass up for German mothers and can lead to stagnant or non-existent careers.

Since “at will” employment does not exist in Germany, all employees have contracts with their employer.  Parents who have been gainfully employed for the previous 12 months are eligible for Elternzeit benefits, which include up to three years of unpaid leave with a “sleeping” contract.

The employee is eligible to work part-time up to 30 hours while on leave and must be offered full-time employment at the conclusion of the parental leave. bParents may also choose to postpone up to one year of their leave until the child’s 8th birthday.  Either parent is eligible for parental leave, and many couples make the choice based on financial considerations.

In addition to the preservation of the employee’s contract, the state will pay up 67% of the employee’s salary (with a cap of 1800 Euros per month) for 14 months.  Parents may split the 14 months however they choose. These benefits apply equally to same-sex couples.
Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet?

Put Some German In Your Office
The German work culture is very different from the average North American office, but there are certainly lessons to be learned from our German counterparts.  The diligent focus Germans bring to their working life is to be admired.  Separating work from play can help us lead a more balanced life; putting the phone down after-hours gives us a mental break from stressing about work, and we can return to the office refreshed in the morning.

When it’s time to get something done, closing Facebook and turning off push notifications helps keep our minds quiet and the flow steady.  Direct conversation can lead to increased efficiency and more clarity of communication among team members.

Americans often equate longer hours with increased production and superior work ethic, but examining the German model makes one wonder: When it comes to time at work, maybe less really is more!